Archive for the ‘Marketing & lead generation’ Category

How to choose Twitter name

Wondering how to choose a Twitter name or handle? Picking the right handle can help reinforce and build your brand.

How to choose a Twitter name or handle

  1. Determine whether you are establishing a business, personal or professional account on Twitter. Some people create multiple accounts – for their business, for personal use, for advocacy, for political messaging or other reasons.
  2. Decide whether you are going with a business name, an anonymized handle or your own name. For example, someone might have one personal account for speaking openly about political situations, but use a handle that obscures their identity. Others may just wish to keep their identity visible, but separate their discussions about the latest in legal policy from their personal rants about the way their sports team performed in the playoffs.
  3. Choose a relevant name. If it’s your business or professional account, look for a name that mentions your business, your brand or what you do.
  4. If your preferred Twitter name is taken and you think your copyright is being infringed, take a look at Twitter’s infringement policy . But note that even celebrities have had to resort to workarounds. Look at @aplusk or @taylorswift13.  If someone is just squatting on the name and not using it, you can also look at asking Twitter to release the handle.
  5. Avoid numbers and meaningless letters. @AustinMarketing99a just doesn’t look very credible.
  6. Reinforce your brand. Consider using a handle that matches your email address or what you use on other sites. It reinforces your brand and is easier for people to remember. If people need to look you up on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other sites, it will be easier for them – and you’ll be less likely to send someone your audience by mistake.
  7. Strive for a short handle. No one wants to type out a long stream of letters and it makes a typo more likely. You’re limited to 15 characters, but try for fewer.
  8. Keep in mind that your Twitter handle may be printed on event name tags, shown on screens in presentations, mentioned in other media or elsewhere. If you go for @CuteSeattleChris, @LAHockeyHater or @RepublicanJo or something along those lines, be sure that you’re comfortable with everyone seeing and using your handle.

What to do if your Twitter name is taken

  • Shorten your name. Turn Peggy into Peg. Richard into Rick. Kelly-Anne Kendrick into KAKendrick.
  • Add a descriptor/adjective. Try @AuthorPeggy or @RickAccounting
  • Include an initial. Try@JanetFSmith or @MeilingTChan
  • Add your state, city or country. @MacAccountingVan, @MacAccountingCA, @MacAccountingUS.
  • Use an abbreviation. The @WSJ, @NYTimes and @nbcsnl all do.
Got any other suggestions? Check out our article on choosing a professional email address for related tips.

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How to sign up for Twitter

How to sign up for Twitter – shortly after asking about the merits of getting an account for Twitter, a friend and colleague asked how to go about signing up for the a free social media service. While you can merely check the steps on the Twitter site, some people prefer a step-by-step guide.

How to sign up for Twitter

    1. Go to Twitter.com.
    2. In the top right corner, you’ll see a “sign up” button. Click it.
    3. Provide some basic information about yourself. You’ll need to include your name, email address and a password. (See our password management app article.)
    4. You may need to try a few times to find an account name that hasn’t been taken. Try adding information, as opposed to numbers. MarketingConsultant2017 or MarketingConsultant443 are less memorable than DavisMarketingChicago.
    5. Then click “Create my Twitter account”
    6. Upload a photo (people connect better to pictures of people, but you could also use your logo)
    7. Add a background (a relevant landscape photo can work)
    8. Write a short bio. You may want to include some keywords that describe your work or interests, as well as something that makes you feel a bit more personable (“Father of 3. Longboard deck collector.)

Once you’ve created an account, start following some people and lurk on Twitter for a while. When you feel like you get the idea, try your hand at tweeting. You may want to write out some tweets ahead of time, then post them one at a time. You can experiment with replying to others, sending inbox messages and following conversations.

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Should I join Twitter?

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Professional email address names

 

 

Should I get a Twitter account?

Should I get a Twitter account? That’s the question a friend of mine asked recently. She was about to make a presentation at a conference and the organizers had asked for her Twitter handle. Although she knew what Twitter was, it wasn’t part of her typical social media use and she wondered what it might offer.

When she asked me “Should I get a Twitter account?”, I took some time to find out why she was asking. After all, the answer to whether you need a Twitter account varies.

Twitter, which launched in 2006, is a social media and news platform where users post and interact with messages. Messages on Twitter are called “tweets” and are limited to 140 characters. Brevity rules on Twitter.

Messages are sent directly to people when you put an @ symbol in front. If you write @usernamehere and then a message, it will be seen by that person, but it’s still visible to the larger world. If you put that @usernamehere into a message, such as “Hey @username here, this article on accounting might help you start your business”, it will also be seen in the Twitter feed of anyone reading the post.

People often use hashtags on Twitter (#consulting, for example) to create conversations that others can follow. So, if you want to know what’s happening in #consulting, #marketing, #Seattle or with the #WHO, you can search or click on those tags. You can add tags to your conversations to help others find them, too.

You may choose to follow people on Twitter, so that you get a sense of what topics are popular or what’s hitting the news. Here in Vancouver, when an earthquake rumbles, an accident occurs or even fireworks burst, people will search Twitter to see if anyone else has mentioned the situation. News, business events and laws may also be topics of conversation, along with scientific discoveries, magazine articles and entertainment. If people think about it, it’s probably on Twitter.

If you decide to start posting on Twitter, it can help with building your profile — assuming you get in front of the right audience. I’ve used Twitter to make business connections, generate blog traffic, share information, get media interviews and build my profile.

Since Tweets are so short, it takes very little time to write a tweet. It’s less commitment than writing blog posts, articles or taking part in other marketing.

That being said, if you’re going to do Twitter right, you need to have a goal, a target audience, key messages and a plan for using it. Like anything else, it may or may not work for you. It’s always better to choose effective campaigns for your business than to do something poorly.

Do you have a Twitter account? Would you recommend it to others?

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Bite, snack and meal – original reference

If you work in the online content world like I do, you may have run into the term “bite, snack and meal”. This phrase refers to creating content for readers with different appetites for your content. Sally might want to eat the entire dinner, but Mei-Ling just wants a little nibble and Ahmed wants more of a snack. I’ve seen this term thrown around by writers for years – but I recently went looking for the source.

After all, ideas come from somewhere. In this case, I turned up a 2001 Inc. article on the bite, snack and meal by E-Write. And a 2011 book by Charles Marsh et al, Strategic Writing, p.19, said Leslie O’Flahavan and Marilyn Rudick came up with the phrase in a book they wrote in 2002.

I looked up Rudick, O’Flahavan and E-Write. Upon seein Leslie O’Flahavan owns E-Write LLc, I contacted Leslie, who let me know that she started using the term in her courses around 1997 and popularized it through her 2001 article.

I’ll be making sure to cite this wonderful idea in my work – and I’m encouraging others to do the same. As a writer, I know how frustrating it is when others start using your ideas or words. One year, I had to file 200 requests for people to stop infringing on my content. Intellectual property and academic integrity rules still apply to online content.

What is free publicity?

What is free publicity going to do for your business? When it comes to marketing your small business, promotion can be key for building brand awareness and showcasing your products or services. However, most of your budget probably goes towards cash flow to actually run your business. Fortunately, there’s another promotional tool that doesn’t cost a dime – free publicity.

What is free publicity?

What free publicity means is a new avenue for your marketing. Just like advertising, publicity is a part of the promotional marketing mix but with one critical difference. Advertising costs. Publicity is free.

Free publicity definition: “Using the news or business press to carry positive stories about your company or your products; cultivating a good relationship with local press representatives” – Entrepreneur.com

That’s right. Free publicity can help you promote and expand your business, attract new clients, and build business credibility and reputation at no cost.

In fact, free publicity meaning and value vary from company to company. You can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. You need to create goals and define an approach to publicity for your own business.

What is free publicity likely to offer your small business?

Free publicity can help your business:

  • Stand out in the crowd
  • Start building relationships with prospective clients
  • Reassure existing clients that they made the right choice
  • Leverage the credibility of having someone else – the media – endorse your messages
  • Help you communicate your company’s personal story to the public
  • Build a connection and presence within your local community
  • Give you the flexibility to capitalize on current events as a promotional tool

Take some time to think and define free publicity for your small business. What is free publicity value for one company may not be valuable for another. For example, one company may seek a story from a blog or website because they want to get the attention of that publication’s audience or build links and search engine credibility. But another firm might have nothing to little from a mention from a small site – or may even find the association with a small publication detracts from their overall credibility. You need to plan out your overall marketing and define goals for your publicity and other campaigns.

In defining free publicity for your business, you can start to build out your marketing plan. You’ll want to take the time and determine what it will mean for your firm. After all, free publicity can come with risks.

Defining the risks of publicity

With advertising, a business has creative control of the content they directly put in front of the end-user. A business designs and crafts the messages they want to communicate. You don’t get that with free publicity.

With free publicity, you pitch a story or idea in hopes of getting media for free. The value and meaning of free publicity includes influencing:

  • Clients
  • Customers
  • Partners
  • Board members
  • Executives
  • Employees
  • Stakeholders

By building a favourable image with those stakeholders, you can reduce hesitation to buy, speed up transactions and even justify higher fees and prices.

What can free publicity do for your stakeholders?

Publicity means more than just product promotion. It can also help you with:

  • building community connections
  • fulfilling corporate social responsibility (CSR) agendas
  • launching charitable giving campaigns
  • carrying out reputation management
  • lobbying
  • managing crisis communications
  • and more

Free publicity meaning in examples

Free publicity can come from various tools. These include:

  • holding a press conference
  • writing a press release and sending it out to mass media – directly or by newswire
  • pitching media contacts by email or phone
  • launching a ground level event
  • using social media to draw attention

But according to Ragan’s PR Daily, free publicity comes with no guarantees. You need to be ready for different possible outcomes. The media may not pick up your story. You will also have less control over the content, because it will be covered by a journalist, blogger or reporter.

Still, what free publicity you gain is a powerful persuasion tool. It’s something you can leverage at no cost to promote your business, manage reputation and even attract new clients. It can be effective in building brand awareness, even before you ever get into advertising.

Interested in what free publicity can mean for your business? Check out our consulting course with more marketing tips and tricks.

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Inbound marketing for small businesses

Inbound marketing for small businesses – that’s the art of getting clients to come to you. When many people think of marketing, they think of pushy salespeople. But that’s more of an old school approach. Many small businesses increasingly pursue inbound marketing techniques that bring clients to them.

With inbound marketing, small businesses – and organizations of all sizes – make it easy for clients to find them and interact with them.

Inbound marketing brings clients and customers in

Instead of pushing your business at customers, inbound marketing puts you and your businesses where those clients are, so that you can start establishing and building a relationship based on trust. Inbound marketing means:

  • Creating and distributing content
  • Developing lifecycle-based marketing and relationship tools for every step of the customer relationship and lifecycle
  • Tailoring and personalizing content to the individuals in your audience
  • Approaching people in the channels where they want to interact, how they want to interact
  • Integrating content and messages throughout all your tools and media
  • Getting permission to keep the relationship going

Inbound marketing examples for small businesses

Some examples of inbound marketing – used by small businesses and even large ones – include:

  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Whitepapers
  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Speaking
  • Event marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media
  • Pay per click advertising
  • Content marketing

Inbound marketing builds trust

With inbound marketing, you provide the information clients need, as they need it, where they need it. By holding out trustworthy, well-developed content, you establish your business as an authority and a brand of trust.

How do you market to your clients?

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Red Hot Chili Peppers mixed up with bag piper band

Red Hot Chili Peppers vs The Red Hot Chilli PipersWhat happens if you confuse Red Hot Chili Peppers with a bag pipe band called The Red Hot Chilli Pipers? You may know the famous alternative band, Red Hot Chili Peppers. A client emailed me recently to say she’d been looking at their videos on Youtube. She was looking at one clip that featured bag pipes and thinking Flea and the boys looked a little less gaunt than usual.

But, somewhere along the way, maybe after a video or two, she realized she was watching The Red Hot Chilli Pipers. She had been duped! This wasn’t the band she was looking for. You’ve heard about brand confusion – this was band confusion. And it’s made worse by Youtube’s autocorrect spelling feature that seems to pull up both bands in search results for either name.

Turns out The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are a popular Scottish bag pipe band. I kid you not. Check out their amazing covers of Thunderstruck, We Will Rock You, and Chasing Cars.

My client wanted to know how on earth this was possible. How could there be The Red Hot Chilli Pipers in a world where Red Hot Chili Peppers no doubt trademarked their moniker long ago?

My first thought was maybe that the Peppers never trademarked outside the US, although this seemed unlikely to me. A quick search of the UK trademark database revealed that the RHCPeppers registered their trademark in 2002. (In fact, they made several filings for different intellectual properties related to their name.) The RHCPipers, on the other hand, attempted trademark registration in May 2011.

I thought about this for a bit. It seemed a bit unusual that the Pipers had gone to the trouble of filing, but then withdrew their application. I assumed that the Peppers must have got wind of it and blocked the submission. Some cyber sleuthing reveals that the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lawyers posted about the trademark situation and brand confusion. (Or is that band confusion?) It sounds like the Pipers can call their band The Red Hot Chilli Pipers because it falls under the realm of parody, but that perhaps they are unable to register their trademark or perhaps even sell wares under that name.

Let this be a lesson to all of us. If you go to the trouble of creating and marketing an intellectual property, make sure you can use it. In the case above, there’s no doubt in my mind that a pipe band playing on the name of the Peppers probably got more fame than one with a more bland name. But, with success, they now may be stuck with a name that they can’t legally use on t-shirts or merchandise. And t-shirts and merchandise are the main source of revenue for most independent artists.

If you’re starting a business and you want to be clever with your name, make sure you’re not so clever that you land in legal hot water. Take time to look at registered trademark databases. At the very least, search online to see if your name is similar. Even if you pass the muster of your state or provincial name registry, find out if anyone else is using the name. For your brand to work, it needs to be unique and legal, not just memorable. Otherwise, you may be building and marketing an intellectual property that you don’t even own. (Incidentally, I’ve left all the videos on Youtube, rather than embedding them here…I don’t want to break any rules either!)

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How to use LinkedIn to build expert status

Using Linkedin to build expert statusHow to use LinkedIn to build expert status – Are you wondering whether LinkedIn can help you build your expert status? Curious whether LinkedIn is anything more than just a fly-by-night social media portal?

LinkedIn is a unique social media site that can be a powerful tool when used appropriately. And one of the most effective ways to use LinkedIn is as a tool to help you build expert status.

Here are five tips to help you build your expert status on LinkedIn:

1. Be a valuable member of influential groups

Have you joined a LinkedIn business-related group yet? If not, a quick browse in LinkedIn offers a window into many online business groups. 

But don’t just join industry organizations. Consider frequenting complementary groups and becoming known as the resident expert in that group in your niche.

And don’t just post your own status updates. Answer others’ questions and demonstrate your expertise by giving back.

Not sure where to start when it comes to LinkedIn groups? Check out which groups your peers and colleagues have already joined.

2. Share your favorite book recommendations

Check out the LinkedIn "Amazon Reading List" application. It’s a great little app that allows you to share the business-related books that you like. Your chosen books are displayed right on your LinkedIn profile. Or, better yet, if you’re a published author, you can load your reading list with your own books–peppered in with a few other useful picks, of course!

Displaying your reading list on your LinkedIn profile is an effective yet subtle way to demonstrate that you’re active in your industry and that you’re an expert in your field.

3. Officially associate yourself with the movers and shakers in your industry

Are there big-wigs in your niche? Use your existing LinkedIn network to ask for an introduction from one of your existing connections so that you can be connected with the movers and shakers in your niche.

Become an expert by affiliation.

4. Ask for referrals from your best clients

You know who they are: the clients who think that you’re the greatest. The clients who love your work and what you do.

Don’t be afraid to request a recommendation or testimonial from your biggest fans. Nothing speaks louder than what someone else has to say about you!

5. Fill out the LinkedIn Honors and Awards section

If you’ve been nominated or won awards, don’t be shy. List ‘em in LinkedIn! 

Never been nominated for anything? No problem. Why not join the board of an industry association instead?

Take action on at least one of these tips on how to use LinkedIn to build expert status to see results today. Increasing your expert status can do wonders for your business, so have the confidence to see yourself as an expert!

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8 reasons the economy means opportunity

Opportunities for consultants in a bad economyWorried about the economy? Don’t be.

When you’re a consultant you’re in control. You create your own business, your own contacts and your own client list. Being in control is one of the many reasons why consulting rules.

Here are 8 reasons the economy means opportunity for consultants:

1. Layoffs mean gaps that need to be filled

Fewer employees in the workforce mean that there are unmet company needs that can’t be filled by regular employees.

2. Less competition

When the economy is threatening to go sour many on-the-fence consultants looking for a change take the opportunity to get back into the regular 9-to-5 workforce.

3. More short-term contracts and one-off projects

Many companies are hesitant to take on new employees during so-called “bad” economic times and turn to consultants instead.

4. During a down-turn companies get serious about growth

During a shaky economy companies tend to get serious about marketing and planning their future. This can mean more work for consultants who offer strategic advice.

5. Opportunity to diversify your client base

If your regular source of work dries up during tough economic times it can be a great time to tweak your primary target market. Try government or healthcare or other industries who are less affected by the economy.

6. Look for new opportunities that weren’t there before

Downturn in the economy? Consider the market and whether that downturn has opened up a new opportunity in your service offering.

7. More time on your hands? Get focused.

Finding yourself with a gap in your schedule due to a slow economy? Take the time time think. Have you been too reactive when it comes to accepting new clients? Why not take this opportunity to go after the clients that you really want–rather than take the jobs that come knocking on your door. If you’ve been running from project to project without a chance to catch up or plan strategically, get serious about your business and go after the clients that will really take your business to the next level.

8. Work-life balance

Many consultants take few vacations and operate on a boom and bust schedule, often working erratic schedules if they are driven to grow their business. Finding yourself with a bit more free time? Relax. And take a moment to catch up on your work-life balance.

So don’t get sucked into worrying about the economy. Focus on the opportunities that are out there and how you can provide value in your industry.

Do you agree with these 8 reasons the economy means opportunity?

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Marketing – Turn a necessary evil into self nurture

Marketing – Do you look at marketing as a necessary evil? If so, stop thinking of marketing as a necessary evil. Instead, start thinking of marketing as an exercise in self nurture.

Marketing doesn’t have to feel like a necessary evil

When you think about "marketing," do you think of expensive advertisements, pushing your business on others or awkward business card exchanges? Do the words "cold call" send shivers down your spine?  If so, you need to flip marketing on its head.

As a consultant, marketing doesn’t have to be a hard sell; it can be subtle. Marketing can be as simple as intentionally expanding your network of friends and contacts. As I wrote in a recent article, becoming a consultant is as much about knowing stuff as it is about knowing people.

Think about it. When was the last time you hired someone to provide a service for you? Odds are that you hired someone based on who you know–for example, someone in your social circle–or from a referral made by a friend or colleague.

Turn marketing into self-nurture

Expanding your social circle can be very self-nurturing. We are social animals, even those of you who consider yourselves shy. Needing to expand your network for marketing purposes can be an excellent reason to connect with inspirational, like-minded entrepreneurs and colleagues. And there are few things as pleasurable or self-nurturing as meeting new friends who share similar experiences, such as running their own consulting businesses

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with cold calling and sometimes it’s necessary. But there is no need to think of marketing as a hard sell where you push your services on absolute strangers. Instead, approach marketing as a reason to expand your network and enjoy some much needed social interaction during the process.

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