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

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Password Management apps make it easy

Password management apps can make your life much easier. Tired of trying to remember all your passwords? Stuck resetting every time your saved logins get wiped out? Turn to a password management app.

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Bite, snack and meal – original reference

Bite, snack and meal – this content chunking strategy comes from writer Leslie O’Flahavan, who created it in the 90s and popularized it in an Inc article. The strategy involves writing contents for the varying appetites of readers.

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What is free publicity?

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.

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Do you need a laptop for business?

Do you need a laptop for business? Take a look at your needs before you delve into the products available.

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How to use an iPad mini for business

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.

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Label makers for business

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.

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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?

Related to inbound marketing

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What kind of consulting should I do?

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.

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Professional email address ideas for common names

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:

  • RobSmith
  • RbtSmith
  • RobTrevSmith
  • RobertTrevSmith
  • RTrevSmith

Invert your name:

  • SmithRobert
  • SmithRT
  • SmithRob

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

  • RobertMLTLaw
  • RobertLawyer
  • RobertChicago
  • RobertSmithLawyer
  • RobertSmithChicago
  • RobertSmithLogistics
  • RSmithMBA
  • RobertSmithMD

Associations

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 mkhan@alumni.almamater 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.

Combine a Personalized Email Address, Website and Blog

You may have figured out how to set up a solid email account. But, to be honest, a generic email account will never bring the same respect that one with a brand behind it will.

Problems with Generic Email Addresses

You’re creating future problems. A generic email address from Gmail or your Internet Service Provider may suffice, but what if the email provider changes, closes or falls out of favour? Suddenly, you have to update all your contacts, but possibly also all your logins and accounts elsewhere.

You’re losing a chance to brand. With a personalized domain name, you can build on your professional brand identity, whether you own a company or not.

Creating a Personalized Domain Name

You don’t need a website to have a personalized domain name. In just minutes, you can set up a domain like FirstName@DomainName.com and set that email to automatically forward everything to your favoured email address. You can even configure Gmail or other email accounts to respond using that email address too. If you ever change Internet service providers or email accounts, the change will be invisible to your clients and contacts, since youre FirstName@DomainName.com can just point to the new account.

That being said, it can be even more powerful to sent up that domain to include a business card page, a profile, your professional social media contacts, or, ideally, your professional blog or website.

Why Build a Blog

If you receive my Six Tips for Building Your Expert Status emails, you already know I’m a huge fan of building your professional status by publishing and building authority. Building a blog is faster and easier than you might expect.

With a blog, you can publish and share articles or comment on other articles and content you share. It’s a way to build your voice, your professional brand, your credibility and more.

Why get your own website

With your own website, you can build an online presence – as a professional or as a company.  You can present your professional image, articles, photos…whatever you need to build out a brand. It can be a simple 5-page website or something far more sophisticated.

Interested in a mini course on building a website and a blog? Sign up here.

How to move forward with your professional address and website

Whether you’re building a domain name, blog or a website, you can take some of the same steps:

  1. Pick a focus
  2. Choose a platform
  3. Find somewhere to host your blog
  4. Select your domain name
  5. Set up and design your blog
  6. Start writing and posting
  7. Go live!

1. Picking a Focus for Your Blog

Take a few moment to consider:

Are you creating a blog or a website? A blog presents your posts. A website can offer up information about you, your resume, portfolio, services, testimonials – whatever you want. Setting up a website only takes a little more time, if you just want something basic.

What will your website or blog be about? Is it about you, your company, an approach, a specific topic?

Got an idea? Great! Let’s move.

2. Choose a platform

To put together a blog or website, you need a platform. I’ll come right out and say I prefer WordPress. You could choose something else, like HTML, Drupal, Wix, Shopify, Weebly or another service. But I like WordPress. I find it easy to use and I use it for all my personal and business sites…and it’s what I usually recommend for clients, too. It’s open source, has a ton of plug-ins, a large user community and it’s free.

3. Find somewhere to host your blog or website

Think of this part of your blog or website experience as the campsite for your tent! You’ve got all your camping gear ready, now where will you pitch your tent? You need somewhere to keep your blog or website. I suggest starting with a hosting provider that provides a lot of prepackaged services, if you’re just starting. You can always move up to your own server or more customized packages, if you’re more experienced or if your budget allows. I’ve signed up as an affiliate partner for Bluehost. I take you through all the steps to signing up here.

4. Select your domain name

A domain name – the URL for your website – should tie into your brand and your message. Your own name, your business name or another strong brand will likely work best. I like using the name suggestion tools at Nameboy and Webnames when I’m stuck for ideas. You can buy a domain name at one place and then port it over to the place you choose for hosting, but you may find it easier to keep everything at one place, if you’re still learning all this. Bluehost does both, which is one of the reasons I partnered with them.

5. Set up and design your blog

I recommend using one of the packaged themes, until you get a bit more used to things. You can also cruise through the templates at WordPress or ThemeForest.

6. Start writing and posting

You can just make a list of topics and start writing. But, for best results, you might want to create a bit of an editorial calendar – a list of what you’re going to write and when. I keep mine in a spreadsheet, but you could just as easily write it down or put it in a document or on an actual calendar.

7. Go live!

When you’re all set, release your work to the world! You can choose whether to use word of mouth, a marketing campaign or other strategies and tools to tell others.

If you want to set up your own site, you can look at some of the packages at Shopify or the hosting packages at Bluehost, along with my post on how to sign up and set up your blog, website and domain. I’m an affiliate partner for both, which means I receive a commission if you sign up. These aren’t the only places you can get set up, but, when I took a look around for some packages to recommend, these seemed to be the best fit for Consultant Journal readers.

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