Archives for October 2008

Brand Booster 21 Thanks

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You can’t create cool. Can you?

Let’s face it.  Everyone is envious of Apple right now.  They were the king of cool with the iPod.  But then they got out cooled.  By the iPhone.

Who doesn’t want to be the iPod or iPhone of their industry?

But that’s the rub.  The more you chase cool, the less likely you are to catch it.  That’s the premise of the book Chasing Cool: Standing Out in Today’s Cluttered Marketplace by Noah Kerner and Gene Pressman.  The book interviews brand visionaries about how they discovered, invented or in some cases, tripped over cool.

Here are a few cool deal breakers:

How many of those are you guilt of?

The book is an interesting read.  While it gets you fired up, wanting to be cool — my beef with the authors would be that 90% of their examples are retail, consumer products.  It’s a lot easier to be cool selling an iPod than it is being an accountant.

That doesn’t  make it a bad read.  Just fair warning. There’s still plenty of inspirational stories and solid reminders of how we can better invite cool into our companies.  But I would have liked it if they went one step further and helped more with the “how to” section.

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10 Branding Brownie Points

Good branding practices are not always the big stuff.

There is also the small things that makes a big impression on your audience and goes a long way in moving your brand forward.

Heres are 10 moves that will paint your brand golden:

• Pay your bills in reasonable time-frame.
Cash flow is the heart of all businesses, paying your bills is honoring your word.

• When you get paid on an invoice, thank your customer. Humility is a great brand value and it shows your respect for your customer.

• Ask suppliers how they are doing from time to time.
It shows you care about their success.

• When booking an appointment with a new customer (or even an existing one)
offer to pick them up a coffee on your way in.

• If you get free offers from time to time, share them among your customers. Ie: I get offers for free printing on specific items – I offer them to my customers. Big smile stuff.

• Always be on the look out for business for your customers. Perhaps a few of your customers might be a great fit for cross-promotional opportunities.

• Pass along publicity opportunities you feel might be beneficial to customers. Reinforces the fact that you are on their team.

• Pay attention to customers’ hobbies or favorite charities.

• Encourage your staff’s input in promoting the company. Corporate fashion is usually worn with pride.

• Contact a long past customer (one with whom you have no contact) and compliment them on something that they are doing that you honestly admire, especially if it is being done by a competitor.

This is only a short bit of wisdom, I’ve picked up over time that helps me keep The Branding Experts’ brand in good stead. You no doubt do things that keep your brand in the “I love ’em category,” – share them with us here.

What can you add that you found is a small effort with BIG impact? Brag about how your brand shines because of them!

Twittering Around With Twitter

I haven’t been on twitter all that much lately due to being sick this last week (which is why this post will be a short one) but today I’m at least up to the computer and went inside my email management Aweber to send a broadcast out to my email list.

While I was in there I noticed that you can now twitter your broadcasts at the same time over to twitter, cool.

(you can read the story at Aweber here)

A couple things of notice:

1) You can only do this for broadcasts only, not follow-ups

2) You can only send with one Twitter Account, this may just change in the future.

There’s some other fun things I’ve also added to enhance my twitter business building experience that I’ll soon share. 🙂 If you want to follow me on Twitter you can here: http://www.twitter.com/veraraposo

I’ve secured interviews, events, and build relationships with Twitter. Fun!

Blog Mastermind Review – Success!

Looks like some people are having some great success with the Blog Mastermind Program, I figured as much. I hate to say that I have not been applying anything yet from the program. The problem is that I’m working on other courses and applying those as well. But for now, I’m putting all programs on hold except for the Blog Mastermind Program.

The problem is when you try and focus on too many things on top of running a business it just becomes too much and you have too many things in the air. It’s due time for me to buckle up and sit down to apply what I’ve learned at Blog Mastermind.

First let me say that I’ve only followed the first 4 lessons to the program. Mostly alot of it is setting a good foundation, installing the proper plugins that Yaro suggests, permalink structure and more. Most of which is already set up here at SBB so there’s not much to do, just to compare my list of plugins to Yaro’s.

I’m half way through Lesson 4 and will report when I’ve made some more changes to what I’m doing. I just wanted to bring your attention to some success..

1) My success in that I’m actually applying what I’m learning now and putting all other programs on hold until I master this one.

2) Check out the success of Yaro’s student Leigh. He did an interview with her on his blog where you can listen to her story of going from 20.00 a month to $4500.00 in one month! And it was mostly just following Yaro’s step by step format. I took some notes on the audio for you to take a look at before listening.

BLOG MASTERMIND INTERVIEW WITH YARO AND LEIGH

Leigh went from 200-300 RSS readers up to 5000-6000 RSS readers. She averages in the high 3000-4000 readers each day.  Inside this interview she talks about what techniques she used.

1) Commenting & Questions – Instead of just blasting out information, she started commenting and asking questions from her readers. She would also leave her blog posts open ended with questions like, “What do you think?” “Am I right of Wrong?”  In the beginning she didn’t see that this would be important and she realizes now they were coming to her site because of her, for her.  Once she started getting feedback, she realized she kept people at her blog reading more because of her follow up.

2) Networking – Leigh brought people to her blog by talking and networking with others in the industry. She said that interviews played a big role, giving away free stuff, and giving them what they want… free information.  She started making videos, and doing critiques for her readers. She also said that it’s pretty easy to get people to interview, naturally most people do want to talk about themselves or their business.

3) Other Sites
– She also had others with a larger audience add her to their blogrolls and forums.

4) Connected With Her Readers – She asked her subscribers what they wanted, she made a blog post and asked them what they wanted. She says that if you want an audience you have to cater to them.

5) Making Friends – Get someone with a much larger audience to help her out. She says to have them see you for who you are and let them tell the world about you. You must have confidence in presenting yourself to others.

6) Above the Fold – On her site above the fold she has her subscribers email list and her ebook for purchase. She makes the most money from her ebook and has not looked into advertising on her site yet.

7) My Take – I found this interview very enjoyable to listen to, mostly because it was “to the point” and not alot of blah blah to it. It was a very focused interview and it prompted me to not only get my butt in gear, but to write a post for you today. 🙂

WHAT I’M CURRENTLY WORKING ON

I’ve got it planned out in my project management to make sure all plugins that Yaro suggest we have listed will get loaded into my blog here. All focus for this course will be on the site here at Small Business Branding.

I will not focus on any new products etc, and will focus only on quality content. Period. I do have a couple of sites that are set to release, but one is a complete rebrand of an old site, and the other is an event that I’ll launch probably next year.

I will continue to report on my progress here at SBB and hopefully will have some great success following Yaro’s suggestions for a great blog! Won’t you join the journey with me?

Who Really Owns Your Domain Name?

Are you sure it is you?

There was once a client who contracted our services to build him a new e-commerce site and to rescue his domain name from the previous host. The host was one of those companies who sold their services by phone only, claiming to be everything this small business owner needs when it came to his business online.

Not knowing too much about web sites and how it all works, he figures this is a job best outsourced. He’s right about that. Unfortunately the company chosen was not. Long story short, the site was built, it had a lot of limitations and the bottom line was, it’s not what the client wanted. He had paid a lot of money for a useless web site in his eyes. He was done with them but they weren’t done with him.

When he inquired about transferring domain names, they simply told him it would cost $30. Now, $30 is not a big amount, but those of you who have worked with web sites know that it doesn’t cost anything to transfer a domain other than a few minutes of administrative time. They were holding his domain name – his brand if you will – hostage.

By now, he’s so angry that he wasn’t going to pay it whether it was $1, $30 or $100. Lucky for him the old domain was not established and instead of arguing and hoping to swipe the domain on back order which is hit and miss, we simply went for a new domain and started fresh.

This is sadly, not uncommon. Many businesses have web sites they invested so much money, time and effort in but when you check the records, they don’t have control over the domain. Don’t let it be you.

Here’s the thing. It is OK if you let your web designer handle all the ‘technical’ stuff of your web site down to the domain. Especially if you truly trust them. But, I’d advise that you at the very least demand that the domain be under your control. It’s no different than your office. You can allow people to come and work in it, designate staff as contact for different departments but at the end of the day you must be the one holding the keys to your office.

To check your own domain’s details, visit Whois.net, and enter your domain name to look it up.

Like staff, web designers come and go. You may have a superb relationship with them now and in the past but things change. Either the relationship goes sour, they decide they are no longer interested in that business, they sold the business, your needs change etc. Having control over your domain is crucial for your branding and business overall. Do not let any one convince you that the domain has be controlled by them or it won’t work. It is just not true.

Ideally, you should be able to log in to a control panel, where you can manage the details of your domain. If you do not have this or are told you cannot do this, chances are the host or designer has registered the domain under them. In this case, your best bet is to tell your host/designer you want the domain transferred to you. Get an account at a domain registrar like GoDaddy and request a domain transfer. This will add another year to your domain and ultimately get it in your control 100%.

Do not wait till there’s bad blood between you and your host/designer because they can always reject your transfer request and still hold your domain hostage.

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