Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

February 2, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 4

Yesterday we discussed the third golden rule of email marketing. So far we have addressed ethical vs unethical ways of adding names to your mailing list, making it as easy as one click to be taken off a list (no haggling), and not using your own email programme or mail-merge to send your broadcasts.  Today, ethical list building tip number four is:

4. Only send relevant, useful information

Why? If the articles and information you send out are not directly related to your core business, it will do nothing other than damage your credibility rather than position you as an expert in your field. Sending information on dress and grooming are appropriate if you are an image consultant, not an accountant.

Also, if you make a habit of sending low value gumpf you will quickly irritate your readers, see your unsubscribe rates soar, and risk being marked as a spammer.

Not exactly rocket science, is it?

Tomorrow we’ll look at the 5th and final ‘top tip’ in this series.

December 17, 2009

How NOT to Twitter

Nate Whitehill, an online marketing genius recently wrote this excellent post with his 5 top tips for using Twitter (and what NOT to twit about!).
Enjoy!

June 12, 2009

Online vs Offline?

Philip Rosenthal sent Vanessa an email asking:

‘How much effort should a consultant put into their online presence versus offline face to face networking?

It may be different for different consultants, but how do you decide how much time to put in or what mix of time to put into different areas? I am concerned that online marketing is a potentially endless sink of time and am not sure what the returns will be compared with traditional marketing.

Also, I have been on [a particular online networking facility] for less than a month and have about 30 connections – some of whom are people I don’t really know but are members of professional societies of which I am also a member and live in the same city as me – I hope to get to know them better this way. Any suggestions?’

Hello Philip,

Great question, and one which I’m sure many other Marketing Edge readers are wondering about. You raise three separate points, which I’ll address one by one:

Online vs offline networking

How much time you decide to spend in one area versus the other depends entirely on where your prospects are and you may have to do some research of your own to find out where that is. As a business owner with many commitments you simply cannot afford to waste your time, money and effort in activities that have minimal impact.

Are your prospects researching and making buying decisions from behind their PCs? If so, are they building relationships with potential suppliers through social networking, or are they using search engines to find information on specific services? (Two distinctly different approaches!) Or are they making those decisions on the golf course? Do they read specific trade journals or attend business to business shows and exhibitions? Find that out, then find a way to regularly get in front of them.

The returns compared with traditional marketing

Any marketing you do – whether online or otherwise must fit in with an overall strategy. They cannot be adhoc events or activities that get done on a whim and without proper forethought and planning. Remember too, that not all methods work for everyone. You have to test it and measure it. If it works, do more of the same. If it doesn’t work, or doesn’t work well enough, change tactics.

For example: Just because you’ve always had an advert in the Yellow Pages doesn’t mean you should just keep on renewing it. Do you know how much business you actually get because of that advert?

The same principle applies to your weekly networking breakfast; your brochures; your website; etc. Don’t blindly keep doing something just because you think you should, or because you think that ‘doing something is better than doing nothing.’

Getting to know your contacts better

Well done for creating an online profile and getting active in making connections! (For some top tips on creating and maintaining your profile, see my article Revamp Your Online Presence in Four Easy Steps.) It is important that your connections have substance and that you can add value to each others’ networks.

What is the point of hundreds of connections that are just there to boost your numbers, but you know nothing about each other and never interact? It would be just as ludicrous to collect hundreds of business cards at face-to-face events and stuff them into an overflowing business card folder that never gets opened again, other than to add more cards!

Your approach to connecting with fellow members of professional societies you belong to and people who live in the same town as you is a good place to start. May I suggest you take the initiative in arranging a meet-up to build those connections into REAL relationships. Perhaps something like meeting for a drink after work – invite all thirty connections and see who turns up. Not only will you benefit from getting to know them better, but they will benefit from meeting each other too. (By the way: This suggestion works equally well if applied to that over-stuffed business card holder too!)

Thank you for your question,

 

Other readers with questions are invited to submit them here and we’ll do our best to answer them in an upcoming issue.

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March 20, 2009

Revamp Your Online Presence – Ramp Up Your Results

Every second ezine and blog I read at the moment is talking about Twitter and Tweeting so I’m not going to bore you with more of the same. Rather, let’s take some time to talk about revamping your online presence on more traditional online business networking sites like, for example, LinkedIn and Ecademy.

 

We’ll look at why you need an online profile (if you haven’t got one yet); how to create a profile that attracts visitors; and discuss some etiquette that needs to be borne in mind.

 

The internet is the place where prospects go to first these days when researching an organisation to do business with. This research extends way beyond looking only at the business website or blog, to Googling the names of the directors or owners while hunting for additional information. It is therefore crucially important for an independent professional to have a strong online presence. There are a number of ways of getting your name out there but the biggest one you can proactively control is your professional profile on business networking sites.

 

Just like with offline networking where you need to be a ‘regular face,’ you cannot join every online networking club or you will never do them justice. Pick one or two and focus on building really powerful profiles and then being regularly visible and active online.

 

Revamp Your Profile

 

I can’t tell you how many profiles I have come across that have little to no information of any value; don’t attract my attention or give me a good reason to connect; and don’t even have a photograph!

 

Of first and foremost importance is putting a professional looking photo up on your profile. If your prospects can’t even put a face to your name how will you build their trust in you? You don’t want them wondering what you are trying to hide. Also, please note that I said a professional looking photo – not candid holiday pics, wedding photos, or an avatar (yes I have seen all of the above on the profiles of supposedly professional executives. I can’t say I was filled with confidence).

 

Secondly, your profile must contain your key marketing message (not your ‘Sales Pitch’). People browsing through your profile aren’t interested in doing business with you yet – they don’t know you or trust you. If you’ve been developing your Verbal Signature,* this is an ideal place to start using the written version.

 

Thirdly, you need to include a sprinkling of appropriately placed links back to your business website and blog and even to third party sites where you have had articles and research papers published. This is a great (and easy) way to improve your SEO or search engine rankings, as well as giving your network ways to find out more information about you. Remember that in terms of the Marketing Relay * once you have a prospect’s attention, the next step is to provide them with more information that builds your credibility.

 

Lastly, and this is closely intertwined with the previous step, is inviting your profile visitors to take the next step in getting to know you, so you need a call-to-action. Asking them to visit your blog and leave comments is a good way, as is requesting them to connect with you or join your network of contacts. You could even suggest they learn more by reading an article you wrote, or visiting your website (hence all those links mentioned above). ‘Call me for a quote’ is not a good call-to-action!

 

Ramp up Your Results

 

Once you’ve got your profile up and running, you obviously need to get out there and proactively expand your network. Of course you can’t do this without having a goal in mind and a clear strategy for achieving it. One idea could be to actively seek out the types of people you would like to connect with (ideally they fall within your target market), but you would also want to see if your clients, suppliers, colleagues (past and present) etc. have profiles and reach out to them too. Please though, bear in mind the same common courtesies that you would in an offline or in-person networking environment.

 

You wouldn’t simply walk up to a group of strangers, interrupt them, and shove your business cards into their hands. That would be rude! Similarly, in the online networking environment you should make a polite approach, take the time to introduce yourself and offer something of value. It’s not ok to just send an ‘add me’ request or click a ‘join my network’ button without including those personal touches.

 

And please don’t fall in to the trap of spamming your contacts either. Some online networking sites allow you to put a tick in a box to ‘re-invite’ someone or ‘remind’ someone on a monthly basis of your outstanding or unanswered request. If the person hasn’t responded to your outreach they have made a choice not to, so don’t harass them!

 

I have lost count of the number of ‘add me’ requests I receive everyday from people who can’t even be bothered to offer me a compelling reason. If you’ve read my ‘Knock Their Socks off Networking’ e-book, or been a Marketing Edge subscriber for some time, you’ll know that I am a strong advocate of the ‘Quality over Quantity’ approach because it works.

 

* Transform Your Networking with a Verbal Signature™ is a 20 minute audio programme and The Marketing Relay is the first of seven principles that govern marketing in a professional services environment. You can download both of these programmes with our compliments (along with many others) in our private subscriber download area at our website. If you’re not yet a subscriber, look at all the free stuff you’re missing.

 

©Vanessa Deakin and Zee2A Limited 2009. Would you like to reprint this article? You may do so as long as you include the copyright notice and the following paragraph: Vanessa Deakin works with Professional Service Executives frustrated and disappointed with their current growth rates, marketing efforts, and business profitability. Through one-on-one and group mentoring programmes she helps them to skyrocket their results and break their own best records. To learn more, sign up for her e-zine, or make an enquiry please visit our website at www.zee2a.com.

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November 11, 2008

Look What We Have Lined Up For Next Week:

As you are aware, Executive A&E is taking place at Highfield Park next Tuesday, the 18th of November.

The panel of experts has been hard at work ploughing through Hot Seat applications and selecting participants that represent a cross-section of all attendees – so that everyone gets the greatest benefit from being there.

Look at some of the issues that will be addressed:

  • New Business Start-ups
  • Business Expansion Plans
  • Franchising
  • Online Marketing
  • Creating Multiple Revenue Streams
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Image and Branding
  • And much much more!

If you haven’t booked a seat yet – this really is your last opportunity. Seating is limited and we only have NINE places left!!

Remember that added to the great morning of mentoring and coaching, you also have plenty of time for networking with local business people and a scrummy buffet lunch – all heavily sponsored so you only have to pay for your lunch!

Don’t delay another second – book your seat today.

See you next Tuesday.

September 10, 2008

LinkedIn Bloggers

 

Zee2A are proudly participating in a Blog Carnival for LinkedIn users, hosted by our colleague Merlyn Sanchez of Smart Business Owners.

 

What is a blog carnival?  It’s an event where different bloggers come together and collaborate on a particular topic.   In this instance: marketing a professional service business with great articles on relationship marketing, social networking and online marketing, blogs and blogging, to name just a few.

 

Please follow this link to read on

July 22, 2008

Grow Your eZine List The Honest Way!

You may recall my recent article, published here on June 3rd and in my eZine The Marketing Edge entitled: Right vs Wrong: How To Build an Email List wherein I outlined some of the dishonest, and soon to be illegal ways that many businesses and email marketers grow their email subscriber lists.

Many so-called marketing experts and self-proclaimed gurus are the worst offenders – adding every email address they’ve ever collected onto their unauthorised s*p*a*m*m*i*n*g lists.

I also outlined a number of best-practices for building an eZine (or email newsletter) subscriber database with people who have chosen to subscribe, by opting-in to receive emails from you. 

Few other email marketers would be prepared to share their statistics or inside information, but I would like my clients, subscribers, and readers to feel comfortable that I not only ‘walk the talk’ but can substantiate advice I give them, based on my own experiences. (more…)