What’s free publicity and what can it do for your business? The meaning of free publicity – not to mention the value – varies from company to company. Consider these tips for determining whether you should include this marketing tactic in your overall plan.more »
Do you need a laptop for business? Take a look at your needs before you delve into the products available.more »
You can use an iPad mini in your business – it’s not just for games and Netflix. The iPad mini turns out to be a valuable business tool.
For example, here’s the iPad Mini:
How to use an iPad mini for business
Combined with a Bluetooth keyboard, case and stylus, you can use your iPad to:
- Take notes – use the Evernote app to jot down thoughts and points during meetings, when you’re standing in line or waiting for things to get started
- Create, edit and collaborate on documents using Google Drive’s spreadsheet, document and presentation tools
- Email – ’nuff said
- Make video and voice calls – use FaceTime, Skype and other tools, along with your earbuds, to make calls from anywhere
- Meet – whether you use GoToMeeting or just get creative with voice and video tools, you can run a meeting from anywhere
- Access your files – DropBox and other cloud-based tools allow you to access your documents from anywhere
- Present documents like you would on paper – just open up a PDF or other document on your iPad and swipe through it. Or bring along a presentation, report, whitepaper, video or other document.
- Get the power of your phone without a tiny screen – you probably can’t go without your smartphone, but an iPad can give you that bigger screen and ease of sharing with a client that a phone makes difficult.
- Gain portability – an iPad is easier to slip into your folio, purse or briefcase, without adding the weight of a laptop.
Do you use an iPad or other tablet in your business? Tell us how you use an iPad mini for business.
Disclaimer: Consultant Journal is part of the Amazon affiliate program.more »
Have you ever considered using a label maker for business? More commonly associated with labelling kids’ clothes and school supplies, label makers may have a place in your business.more »
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:
- 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?
Related to inbound marketing
- Should you market your business with PPC?
- Is search marketing right for you?
- Marketing – turn a necessary evil into self nurture
If you’ve ever considered whether consulting would be right for you or you’ve dabbled with the idea, you may be wondering how to come up with the kind of consulting business that really leverages your unique skills, interests and attributes. Working through those points can help you find your way.more »
Your professional email address may be one of the first ways you make an impression upon prospective clients, employers and contacts. And it’s one thing to come up with a professional-sounded email address if your name stands out. But if you have a name like Robert Smith, Jane Jones, Meiling Li, Jose Martinez or Mo Khan, there’s a good chance your name has already been taken. So what do you do then?
First, read our post on Seven terrible secrets revealed by your email address. You want to be sure that you’re not making the common mistakes that people with any old name might make. So start there.
But, say you’ve already done that. What do you do when your name is taken?
What you can do about your professional email address when your name is taken
Before we get started, it’s important to know any rules related to the host for your email. For example, Gmail does not treat periods as periods. So email to jane.jones and janejones goes to the same person. It’s the same account. If there’s already a janejones, you won’t be able to sign on as jane.jones or jane-jones. But other email providers may allow you to do so.
Combine your names
- First name + last name = RobertSmith
- First name . last name = Robert.smith
- First name – last name = Robert-Smith
- First name + middle initial + last name = RobertTSmith
- First initial + middle name + last name = RTrevorSmith
- First initial + middle initial + last name = RTSmith
- First name + middle name + last name = RobertTrevorSmith
- First initial + middle name + last name = RTrevorSmith
Modify your name:
Invert your name:
However, if you invert your name, some people may forget and transpose the names. Then RobertSmith may start getting your email.
Combine your name with your business, profession, degree or city
Did your college give you a lifelong email address? Find out if your old email address is still available or sign up for an alumni account. MoKahn@almamater or firstname.lastname@example.org may be an easier find than MoKhan@ major email provider.
You can also check with your industry, professional or other associations to see if they offer a lifetime email address.
Set up your own domain
Buy a domain and simply forward the email to your favourite email provider, regardless of whether you have a website set up. You don’t need to have a website to forward your email.
Set up an email address for a specific purpose and forward it
Some people find that they can stick with the long, unwieldy or typo-prone email they’ve been using for years. They do this by setting up a separate email account and forwarding it. So jobhuntrobert@ may be forwarded to RobertTrevSmith82. Some email providers will even allow you to set it up so that you respond from the same account, meaning no one will ever know your secret identity, at least not when you’re replying to recruiters.
Set your email to show your name, not your address
Make sure your email is set up so that messages say, “Jane Jones” or “Jane K. Jones” not “jjonesengineer@”. And use your full name. A client, recruiter or business contact scanning a list of recent emails or trying to search a huge history will not be able to tell “Jane” from all the other “Janes”. And, honestly, if you’re not in elementary school, most people will need your last name to help distinguish you from others.
Whatever name you choose, keep it professional. And bear in mind the norms for your industry. In some cases, an email such as “TheRealMeilingLi”, “MrJoseMartinez” or “OhThatJaneJones” may produce a smile without reducing your credibility. This may go over better if you’re a graphic designer than if you’re a corporate tax attorney, so weigh up your choice.
Choosing a professional email address poses just one step on your journey to establishing credibility. If you’d like to learn six more tips for jumpstarting your expert status, sign up here.more »
Learn proven models for setting your consulting and freelance fees. Our new book trailer highlights some of the content and review from Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants.
Almost 10 years ago, I wrote a post on how to set consulting fees. At the time, there was nothing else online. The post went viral and people started contacting me for more information. I’d dared to talk about money – a taboo subject – and, to top it off, I was sharing how I went about setting my fees. Soon, Consultant Journal had a loyal following and I’d published a short ebook. Over the years, I’ve expanded and refined that information to develop a full book, available both on this site and through bookstores worldwide.
Need help with your rates? Pick up a copy of Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants.more »
Building a sustainable business is what can hold your prospects for the long haul – it’s about more than choosing recycled paper.more »
I got a call the other day, from a small business owner. They said they knew they didn’t need to be on Facebook because their market isn’t on Facebook.
“Who’s your target market?” I asked.
“Men with money.”
“Men with money are on Facebook,” I replied.
In fact, about 31% of Facebook users are 31-54, according to statistics from Jetscram.
And more than 72% of households with incomes above $75,000 use Facebook, according to Statista.
In fact, if you use Facebook ads, you can target users by income and other demographic factors.
However, PPC ads are just one way to get to people on Facebook. Facebook pages, social sharing, news stories, images and quotes and other content can reach people on Facebook.
But, even if your target market uses Facebook, it may not be the best place to meet your market. It makes a lot more sense to put together a marketing plan, based on research and strategy, and target your market based on careful thought.
I mean, sure, maybe your market is on Facebook. Maybe it’s on LinkedIn. Maybe it’s standing at a bus stop, looking at the daily paper. Maybe it’s in a board room, talking to other key influencers or at a concert, looking at a t-shirt. There are a million ways to market and Facebook – in all its iterations – poses just one method.
The more important thing is to figure out your market, the best way to reach them and the best messages and tools to use.
But don’t discount a medium just because you think your users eschew social media. Take the time to get to know your market – and the statistics behind the social medium. You might be surprised, for example, to see just how many key influencers and household decision makers use Facebook and LinkedIn. Make strategic decisions and take the time to learn more.more »