Archives for May 2010

How To Discover The Social Media Fit!

Every week it seems there is another channel we can use to market our companies. Social Media for one appears to be leaping on to the stage at every opportunity. My inbox is constantly pushing out new sites to sign up to in the promise of delivering to us a new and exciting piece of business. I’m sure, like me, you wonder is it worth all the hype and will they get me any more notice than what I am experiencing with my current nest of sites.

All I can advise is that it is extremely important that you do your research and see what “appears” to be a good fit for you. By that I mean, how much effort you have to put forth to get the results you hope to achieve. You can’t do them all and be effective. As long as you realize that social media marketing is unlike any other traditional channel, you will appreciate what it takes to build audience. That difference of course is that social marketing is not about selling but is about the conversation. Branding loves social marketing because that conversation leads to relationships.

Social media also can be powerful in the right hands. Would you enjoy knowing when a key person in a business you have been aching to do business with leaves, opening the door for a new relationship, quite possibly with you? Trolling social sites can harvest this type of information. Developing a social media guide for your employees, can establish points of reference and alert them as to how the company wants them to identify themselves when ever they comment on the company online.

How ever you use the medium, finding that great fit, reduces unrealistic expectations and allows you to connect with your audience in more meaningful ways.

Try This Team Building Outline!

Opportunities come to you in a variety of ways:

Referrals. These are by far the most desirable. These come from people who generally have a great deal of respect for you, and they feel that they can trust you with their contacts.

Advocates. Advocates are people who follow you. Once you discover who they are, it is amazing what the cross-section of talent is.

Colleagues. I consider this group part of my peer group. They are in many ways my competition, but they bring certain specialties to the table that I can draw from. You could call them “strategic competition.”

Friends. We associate generally with people who share our values and interests.

Live Networking

Getting out into your community and meeting people allows you the luxury of sizing up people by how they handle themselves. You’d be surprised at the amount of talent that exists with an hours drive of you. When you’re networking, don’t just mine this resource for new business, BUT talent as well. You know the market you operate in, look for people who could make your services more compelling.

Online Networking

Sites like Linkedin are terrific networks to find talent with which to expand your service network. As you start to see individuals with talents that appeal to you, start the conversation. Look for ways that you can reach out to them. Give first. This is true for any situation, online or off. Showing your willingness to help them, makes you a trusted contact to them.

Blogging

Whether it is my blog and several other blogs that I frequent, you would be surprised at the number of followers you eventually become acquainted to. Over the years respect for one another grows and because you are all essentially in the same community, certain expertise is realized and the opportunity to share in it rises. In several cases I have built a pitch for new business, from the unique expertise that I have acquired from blogging associates. They in return have brought opportunities my way.

I am always on the look out for opportunities that will help grow my circle of influence. So if networking for new business doesn’t appeal to you, then maybe the fit is discovering new resources that you can add to you roster that will enable you to go after business, previously out of reach.

Create Loyalty & Confidence With Your Website

Customer confidence is imperative for small business owners. The more confidence your customer has in you and your business, the more loyal they become. Confident customers make repeat purchases and repeat visits.

Confident customers also tell others about your website products or services.

They spread the word.

Here’s how to generate customer confidence into your website.

Quality Content

One of the best ways to communicate your strength in your industry and give your customers confidence is to write quality content. Quality content positions you as a credible and trusted source of information.

It won’t come up until your customer is ready to make a purchase however a secure transaction with an SSL certificate is important. It shows customers you value their business and respect their privacy and security.

Testimonials

Customer testimonials are social proof. They tell your visitors that you have followed through on your claims and promises. Post testimonials on your landing page and where appropriate throughout your website.

Certifications and Associations

Any certifications or associations you belong to will also ad credibility to you and your website. They help increase customer confidence when they know you belong to other business organizations. For example, a BBB,  Better Business Bureau, certification can be the difference between a purchase and a click away.

Contact Information

Including your name, address, email and phone number helps people feel reassured that you’re not only a real business, they can get a hold of you if they need to. Place the information on your home page, in the footer is fine. And consider including a “contact” button or page to make your information easy to find.

Use your About page to tell people who you are and help your visitors get to know you. As a small business owner, who you are is often your strongest asset. Tell them your story.

How long have you been in this business?

What made you get into it?

Why do you enjoy it?

People like to buy from real people.

What is your experience?

FAQ/Customer Service

Make sure you have an easy to use customer service system including a FAQ page. When people have questions, they tend to trust those who present the answers up front or make it really easy to find the answers.

Policies and procedures. In this day and age transparency is essential. Make sure all of your policies and procedures are 100% communicated and up front. This can be communicated with autoresponders when people sign up for your list or buy your product. However, you can also make sure to communicate on your website itself.

For example, if you have a subscription form, you can have a link in that form to your privacy policy.
Establishing customer confidence on your website is an important strategy.

Take a look at your website from your visitor’s perspective.

Are you doing everything you can to ensure they have confidence and trust in you?

Tishia Lee Discusses Working From Home

Click Play to Listen To Interview

 
Tishia Lee took the plunge of working from home in 2006 and has never looked back. Tishia is the exact person I go to when I want transcription work done and boy is she fast!

If you’re looking to work from home and start your own small business you will find this interview to be very inspirational as Tishia is a single Mom and not only runs her business but she does it completely from home.

Tishia is able to live the lifestyle she wants and enjoys it.

Here’s More About Tishia:

Tishia is owner of Tishia Saves Time and takes pride in providing excellent customer service. Tishia knows that as a Virtual Assistant it’s about not just working with you as a VA but partnering with you to help you succeed in your business.

She offers several years experience in administrative support, transcription services, as well as other services. She is dedicated to meeting deadlines which she strives to meet ahead of time and pays close attention to detail.

Before starting her VA business in January 2006, Tishia worked as an Optometrist Assistant. While she enjoyed doing what she did, running a home business and working with small business owners to help make their businesses successful is what Tishia felt led to do. With dedication, determination, and perseverance, Tishia has built a successful VA business and continues to grow as time goes on.

To stay up to date and on top of technology changes and trends, Tishia is a member at Mom Masterminds, as well as several other forums and message boards.

Tishia is the proud mom to one child, a boy who is 10. They reside in Southern Michigan.

BUILDING BRAND MUSCLE

Brand Workout Program

This is for all the brand masters out there who may have had sand kicked in the face of their brands on the beaches of the business world. A healthy fit brand is a brand to be reckoned with.

A brand willing to sign-up for this bootcamp is one that recognizes the value of stretching their brand muscle and takes their market with a strengthened brand position. This is not a workout for the feeble minded. This is not a 3-day-a-week brand workout, but an intensive 24/7 regime.

Take you eyes off the prize and your brand will put that belly fat right back on, and your brand loses the momentum it has build from the program.

All right let’s stop talking and starting working!

The Warmup.

Make sure that you have all the necessary items to represent yourself. Business cards, letterhead, brochures and presentation folders. Do you have a powerpoint for generic pitches and a resource website? Is there a tool on your site to harvest eMails and eMail marketing components? These items could be considered basics. Be sure that the brand image is consistent across all.

Heavy Lifting

Have you a strong positioning strategy? Do you stand out from the competition with a strategy based on differentiation? Living up to your brand promise is the toughest part of your brand workout. It relies on you having the moxie to carry out your strategy no matter what state the economy is in. There are not many brand visionaries who have what it takes to break a sweat here.

Blogging while not for the faint of heart is a premium channel of promotion. Doing this exercise properly will reward your brand many times over.

Over-deliver on your promise and make customer relationships a key driving force within your brand culture. Use every opportunity to provide valuable experiences. Don’t try to make it easier on yourself. No sweat, no reward.

The Cool-Down

Are you taking your brand out into the community and attending networking opportunities and volunteering your time? Pushing your personal brand within these channels are important to the overall health of your brand. Networking online is also a key part of this workout. Frankly, you have to constantly move your brand forward with as many touch-points as you can handle.

The Frequency

This has more to do with what fits you. We all have a life and other responsibilities. But once you commit yourself, you have to execute your brand intentions. Consistent effort with reward you. In networking, giving comes before getting. Reaction to your efforts will reinforce your determination in branding. Every time you feel the burn, you will know your brand strength is growing.

5 Tips To Magnetize Your Brand

Do you have a magnetic brand — what efforts are you doing to develop a brand that truly draws people to you and your company?

A magnetic brand is a brand that attracts people. Think about the brand’s you’re familiar with and attracted to.

What makes them magnetic?

Chances are they portray a certain image that you like to associate with. As a small business, you can take this theory and run with it to develop a magnetic brand for your business.

Here’s How to Develop a Magnetic Brand

#1 What is your personality?

Most small businesses would do well to brand their business to their personality. For example, if you’re a straight shooter then brand your business that way. If you’re fun loving, then develop a brand around that. And if you’re a serious sort, then use that. Branding your business around your personality makes it much easier to send a consistent and solid brand message. And you’ll be working with people you can easily communicate with and relate to. It’s much easier than trying to build a brand that isn’t you.

#2 Build your brand around your customer’s needs and wants too.

For example, if your business is about cancer insurance and you’re a sarcastic individual, the two many not go hand in hand. Consider the feeling and brand image your customers need to trust you and connect with you.

#3 Embrace colors and images that support your personality and the brand voice your customer’s need and be consistent when presenting them.

Use your logo, colors and graphics consistently throughout your web content, marketing materials and communications. Create a theme and an image you want to portray and stick to it so prospects and customers can begin to recognize you.


#4 Interact.

Get out online and participate in the world wide web. The more your audience sees you the more powerful your brand becomes. Experts say that people need at least three exposures to a brand before they remember it, which means you need to be out interacting online with your prospects and customers to make sure they know you. Use social media to facilitate the process.

This is what makes social media such a powerful tool. Three positive interactions with a prospect create brand recognition and social media opens you and your company up to thousands of potential prospects.

#5 Focus on what your brand does best.

If you try to be all things to all people, you’ll end up being nothing to everyone. Be unique and focus on your USP, Unique Selling Proposition. Differentiate your brand around your strengths and your personality. Determine what your brand stands for, and deliver on your promise.

Building a magnetic brand takes time, focus and consistency. Decide what your message and your brand is going to be. Make sure it fits with your personality and your target audience and cultivate your brand in everything you do. Be active online, participate in social networking and media, communicate your brand in your messages and activities and focus on giving your audience what they need and want.

Ed Roach Chats About Branding

Click Play to Listen To Interview

 

I invited  Ed Roach to be a guest here at the podcast to discuss all things branding. I had some very specific questions that I thought would really help you if with your branding efforts.

We discussed many things and to start I wanted to know what was the ONE thing we needed to remember about branding  — plus we talk about branding mistakes people make and you get to listen in when Ed answers my question about what he thinks is the “brand” here at Small Business Branding.

I think it will surprise you to know that branding is all about perception, what people think of YOU and your company.

Questions Asked On The Call:

1) What are the biggest mistakes you see people making with their branding efforts?

2) What is ONE thing we all should remember about branding?

3) What are the key aspects of branding?

4) How would you explain your brand at The Branding Experts? how would you explain my brand at Small Business Branding?

5) Truly what is the importance of a brand?

6) Why do you think people have a hard getting the fact that they need to brand?

7) any last thoughts?

Here is Ed’s Bio:

For 25 years or so I have developed positioning strategies for small businesses that helps to differentiate them. I appreciate working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions. Opportunities come to light in every discussion. I consult predominantly with small business and and implement the solutions developed. I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed in all media regarding branding small business, most recently in “America’s Best” magazine and the “Christian Radio & Music Industry” trade magazine. I am available for speaking engagements and I have authored “The Reluctant Salesperson“, an Introvert’s Guide to Selling. Contact me if you are looking for practical advice on bringing your corporate brand to the next level. You can also reach me at my blog here.  I also have international speaking experience including a recent event in Prague, Czech Republic. I am currently working on a branding conference in Mumbai, India for next year.

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