The thought of “customer complaints” makes many business professionals bristle and cringe. Many view customer complaints as an unpleasant situation where a disgruntled client wastes precious time by voicing their woes and pointing out perceived flaws and errors. As owners and managers, we all know that being able to handle negative feedback in a positive way takes plenty of practice, but we also need to remember that complaints are not necessarily always a bad thing. Like the old adage, “Complaints are merely a request for service” these situations can be a valuable marketing fact-finding tool and something business owners need to keep an open mind to. [Read more…]
Spring cleaning is a time to scrub up, tidy up and freshen up all that has become old and stale during the long winter months. Did you know your online presence could use some “spring cleaning” as well?
Tidy Up your Site: Make sure all WordPress updates are completed (including plugins and themes), and delete any plugins that are not active.
Change All Passwords: In light of the newest Internet bug called Heartbleed (a virus that allow someone to steal the information protected under normal conditions), it’s more important than ever to change all passwords. NOTE: When choosing a password, please avoid using easy ones such as “123456” or “password.” Those are ridiculously easy for hackers to break and could put your valuable info at risk. Don’t forget the passwords for your web host, all social media and even your email.
Google Yourself: Search your name and business in Google to see what pops up. Is there old information connected that needs to be updated? Are there negative comments, complaints or bad reviews that need to be addressed? To stay on top of your brand and business name, setup Google alerts to monitor all things that are being said about you or your business.
It’s a Match: Make sure your spring “look” is cohesive. For branding purposes, it’s recommended that businesses use the same profile picture and information across all accounts.
Some business professionals view any background noise while they work just that; noise. Others find that having music playing while they work increases productivity and helps them stay focused. One theory behind why music may help increase productivity is that it helps you feel better, and most people find themselves more productive when in a positive mood.
There’s a project deadline looming. You’re not sure what it is, but you know it’s coming. You also know there’s a client meeting in 30 minutes and you find yourself scanning your notes and wondering “has the research been done yet? And if not, who was it assigned to?” If this scenario sounds all too familiar, it may be time to consider using a task management application.
Enter Trello by Fog Creek. Trello is a free task management application that can help individuals, small teams, and even organizations stay on task in a very simplistic way. With over one millions users, Trello has been a “sleeping giant” of sorts for several years and was named in “The 7 Coolest Start-ups You Haven’t Heard of Yet” by Lifehacker in 2011. In a nutshell it’s a way to organize projects, goals, brainstorming sessions, and even product launches in an easy-to-understand horizontal format. In one glance, users are able to see who’s working on what, what’s “done,” and what tasks still need attention. Trello also has the ability to assign tasks to specific people on your team to eliminate the “who’s working on what” questions that can often derail projects. [Read more…]
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find a way to grade our websites and online presence? You know … just like during our school days when reports cards were the baseline for how our education was progressing, and an indicator of what we were doing well and what we could be improving upon.
Well, in a way Hubspot has come up with that very thing for blogs and websites.
Hubspot’s MarketingGrader is a snazzy site that replaced the super popular BlogGrader and it’s not only free, it’s really cool. MarketingGrader is a great tool to help pin-point areas where your blog or website could use some improvements. Simply plug in your URL and Hubspot immediately presents you with a customized report card. This report shows “grading’ based on yes-or-no questions asked by Hubspot, and how your site performs based on those answers. Hubspot also breaks it down in three categories:
Top of the Funnel – (blogs, posting frequency, RSS feeds and shareability)
Middle of the Funnel – (SEO, Social media, appearance on mobile & list building options)
Analytics – (The use of Google Analytics or other traffic measuring tools.)
Within these three categories, if problems are found, a simple “action list” is provided to help rectify the situation and optimize your website or blog. It’s a quick and easy way to uncover mistakes and amp up the effectiveness of your site.
Planning for Halloween seems to be in full gear in our community, and the stores are buzzing with wannabe Princesses and Dracula’s. Seeing all the vampire gear has made me think of a different kind of sucker … the dreaded time sucker. You know what they are, the annoying, necessary (but sometimes NOT!) and distracting parts of your day. Some you have control over, some not-so-much. Here are two that can sneak right up on you if you’re not looking:
Social Media: Yes, we all love and need social media … but there are times when it can be flat out distracting. Well-meaning friends ping you for a chat, someone posts an amazing article you just have to read, or you get sucked into a lively discussion on Facebook (These seem to get me every time!). Solution: Keep your social media browsers closed during your most productive time of day or during your peak creativity hours, and set a time limit on how much time you spend on whatever site it is that seems to draw you in and keep you otherwise occupied.
Skype: Truly (in my world) Skype is the coolest thing since sliced bread. HOWEVER, I am also a “sucker” for that “ping” noise when someone is contacting me. Since I am connected to clients and team members and Board and committee members of the organization I belong to, this happens to me a LOT. Solution: Take advantage of the settings on Skype that allow you to be in “do not disturb” or “away” mode and use them when you need to set aside some un-interrupted time.
Little by little, these distractions pull you from your daily focus and away from the critical tasks at hand. But the bottom line is, if you are aware of “time suckers” and are proactive about preventing them you are guaranteed to have a more productive day. Now go forth and conquer your day!
Getting the best results with social media takes time and effort. It also takes a lot of trial and error, as sometimes things work well with certain audiences, yet not so great with others. And sometimes, even with your best efforts, you don’t see the results you had hoped for. It can seem like a lot of work, but is it worth it? You bet it is. In fact, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced recently that Facebook currently has one billion active monthly users. Now, your social media reach obviously won’t see anything near these numbers (don’t we wish!). But this should be a wake-up call about just how many people there are out there that you COULD reach. If you aren’t actively engaging on Facebook, you should be, and pronto!
Now just having a presence on Facebook is not all it takes. You need to work it, and work it the right way. Here are our recommendations: [Read more…]
Time is a precious commodity these days and there is no “reset” button. Lucky for us busy professionals there’s plethora of timesaver apps and programs available that can help us make scheduling appointments easy and less time consuming.
Here’s a quick glimpse at three of them.
Tungle: Tungle is a free resource that allows user to share their availability with anyone. You can even block out times and visitors to your Tungle so visitors can already see what times are filled, eliminating double-booking.
TimeTrade: Time Trade is unique because unifies online appointment scheduling across Apple, Microsoft, and Google Calendar Clouds to a single appointment system. It also allows you to customize your needs by asking questions like what will it be used for (retail, marketing), how many people will be using it, and how many locations your company has. Time Trade offers a free personal version or a paid professional version.
Schedulicity: If your business involves booking appointments or classes, it’s a whole new game out there. Schedulicity is not free ($20 per month) but people can actually book themselves for events and pay for them with their credit cards. It looks like a really cool way to schedule appointments and things. Schedulicity puts your calendar where your clients are: on the web, search engines, social networks, email, and the big gun-MOBILE.
Why make it a point to write press releases on a regular basis? Mainly, because they work and bring you the special attention you and your business deserve. They provide you with the perfect avenue for announcing a big event, (such as an upcoming teleseminar or speaking engagement); or sharing a great achievement, (such as an award for your book); and other newsworthy events. It’s your opportunity to brag a little, and by all means you should be taking advantage of this. Sometimes we find it hard to toot our own horns; that’s totally understandable. However, in your business, this is something you should be doing. You need to let the media and potential buyers know what you are up to. Think of it this way—if you don’t do it, who will?
Some fail at their press release efforts because they just don’t do them well or they make critical mistakes, which prevent them from getting the exposure they should. Fortunately, with these tips you no longer have to. Let’s touch briefly on the basics for a press release and how to get the best results when sending one out. [Read more…]
Susan Levin has over 18 years experience in the world of speaker marketing. She is the founder of Speaker Services since ‘92. Her company offers marketing and training services for professionals who are interested in growing their business or service through speaking http://www.speakerservices.com. She has coached thousands of individuals on the nuts and bolts of the speaking industry.
Twenty minute complimentary session. Click on this link for the ASSESSMENT FORM