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Back in January, I had the assignment from hell. Every day, I had to cold-call 50 people I didn’t know, asking if they wanted digital marketing for their business. There were several things wrong with this scenario:
1) Most people I spoke with didn’t know what digital marketing was or why they needed it.
2) I had a quota to fulfill, so I didn’t have the luxury of time to research their companies.
3) I undervalued what Got Clicks brought to the table thinking that a big-named company could deliver the goods better than my little company. I was wrong.
4) The power is NOT in the list, (I had literally thousands at my fingertips…) the power is in what you have to offer.
What did I do? Well, I didn’t hit quota, I can tell you that. (Nor did many of the other salespeople I had trained with for that big conglomerate.) But I came away with something far more important. We were missing something in our technique – the ability to listen.
Stop Putting Cats in Dresses
I made the simple (yet fatal…) mistake of talking about my solution before understanding their company, their products, or even understanding what their pain points were. As entrepreneurs, we create a product or solution first and THEN look for customers to sell our product to. It needs to be the other way around. Find the Pain, Find the Money THEN Follow Your Heart. Otherwise, you’re putting cats in dresses – forcing your solution to people who really don’t want (or need…) what you have to offer.
I spent endless amounts of time yapping about how I used Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a kickin’ lead capture page to generate leads (and results.) What’s wrong with that? Nothing – if it’s the right fit for that customer.
But what if it isn’t?
I’ve had more than one client have HUGE success independent of social media. Why? Because they spent the time learning what their clients REALLY were hungry for. They created what I like to call “Raging Cookie Fans.” Raging cookie fans will go to great lengths to find you if you have what they’re hungry for. Social media and web pages only make it easier for them to find you. But you MUST have the product, solution or service your fan base is hungry for, otherwise, no Facebook, Twitter or cool website will EVER work if you fail to understand the pain points your customers face and how you can solve them.
The Click Retreat Begins This September
S-E-L-L is a four-letter word
Marketing means misery
Your client base has fallen off and you don’t know why…
Then maybe it’s time for The Click.
I began teaching this workshop last April and it was a HUGE success. I’m teaching it again in September and it’s perfect for those of you who are:
- Stuck in your business and need a serious reboot.
- Considering starting a business, but you find social media and website stuff overwhelming.
- You want some hand-holding and help honing your message and finding RAGING cookie fans for your product or service.
- You’d like someone to unveil your communication style and how you can successfully approach your clients without it being a hollow, sales-y pitch.
- You want to meet other entrepreneurs who are interested in joint venture opportunities.
- You want a weekend away where your main focus is on the messaging of your company.
- You don’t want a “rah-rah” weekend and then it’s over. You want continuity, a well-defined start-to-finish program that you can implement with your style and your clients in mind.
If it’s time for you to Find The Click, LEARN MORE HERE
This entry was posted in Facebook, Niche Marketing, Rebranding, SEO, Social Marketing, Social Media Training, vt internet marketing, Websites and tagged 50+ entrepreneurs, baby boomer entrepreneurs, business startup, Small business, start a business.
After sleeping on friends’ couches, bunking in spare rooms, having our dog mark her new territory at the most inappropriate times, I finally came to the end of my patience. I snapped. I cried. I felt disoriented – muddled and couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag even if I wanted to. Chaos gives you the gift of seeing what really matters and my First Mate, Vinny, is at the top of the list. We have stepped into the unknown and it is as terrifying as it is empowering. As I broke down for the 1,000th time, Vinny quietly brought me out in the kayak onto Lake Rescue (yes, it really is called Lake Rescue…) and pulled my boat up alongside his. “We’re in this together – I’m sorry if my words hurt you earlier today, but I love you very much.” Stinging words, lashing out, endless crying jags, lack of sleep and mountains of stress result in one winged-out Sarah. It is at these times when things are at their darkest; when you question everything including the point of your own existence.
I’ve never met Cheryl Hanna, the law professor who was a popular commentator on WCAX who recently committed suicide. I don’t watch TV, so I can’t say I’ve ever seen or heard her before. But I can certainly feel her – that dark, lonely place where no matter what you do, you just can’t pull yourself out of a long, dark depression.
Eva Sollberger’s post rang true, brave and honest. She wrote:
“So I’m taking off my social media mask for a moment to be as human as I know how to be. Let’s be kind to each other as we all try to figure this beautiful and sometimes terrifying life out. Rest in peace Cheryl. You fought so hard and accomplished so much. You make us brave.”
While I’m not sure if Cheryl’s action made me feel brave; Eva’s tender commentary did make me think.
Do we really need to wear a mask on social media? Is it all too real for those of us who show our persona’s in the public hot lights – where the cloak of social anonymity somehow makes the timid say the most rancid comments, all in the sake of “being honest?” Cheryl was concerned someone would “find out” about her illness and “take her down.” So she (and many of us,) continue to mask it until it spills out in the weirdest ways. There’s a fine line between being “honest” and being hurtful. I used to tell my son, it’s so much better to be kind than clever – especially in the world of social media. But then, what a world if we all ran around as mindless Pollyanas with our rose colored glasses slipping down our collective noses as we pass judgement upon those who dare to say, “I’m having a really shitty day.” You can choose joy all day long, but eventually, it sounds hollow, fake and lacks the altruism originally intended. I’m not saying to be a Debbie Downer or Pollyana – I AM saying… be honest. Post with integrity.
I love posts that make me think, and especially the ones that make me FEEL… No, I don’t know Cheryl, but I really appreciated Eva’s brave, honest words – letting down the costume mask and sharing a commonality those of us who have dealt with depression endure. That’s when it stops being social media and starts being human.
Lake Rescue continues to resuscitate me, but it’s always nice to have someone pull your kayak up alongside them when you’re too tired to row against the tide. Thanks, Eva, you’ve made me more mindful to write what matters, what makes me feel and stay true to it. We need to be kinder by helping each other navigate safely to shore or to pull each other up when we drift off course.
I recently worked with a large Vermont company to obtain a contract to manage social media for them. One of the topics that came up repeatedly surrounded the ethics a public company faces when posed with less-than-flattering posts from trolls. How do you handle it?
I had this question come up when I taught a seminar in Lake George where competition between hotels and B and B’s is fierce. Many of them relayed stories about competitors posting negative reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor. So what DO you do? Is the response for a small hotel or BnB in Lake George different than what I would advise a large, publicly traded company? Suddenly, my ethical compass was tied in a knot. As I went sans sandwich or bathroom break and we were closing in on 6 hours of grilling, the magical question came up.
“If faced with a negative comment on our social media page, how would you handle it?” I was asked as my potential new client leaned forward.
“It depends.” I said. “Is it a common problem that more than one person has posed? If so, you may want to address it internally and then respond on your social media outlets. But it needs to be communicated clearly internally so the message is well thought out before broadcasting on social media. However, don’t sit on it for a week – Social Media is immediate and demands attention or you’ll be seen as uncaring in the face of adversity.”
My interviewer leaned back in their chair with a decided frown briefly crossing her face.
“No, that’s not how we work here. We are a publicly traded company.”
“So, what do you do?”
“Nothing. We don’t respond.”
Wow. She explained it further to me,
“If we give attention to someone complaining on our social pages, it leaves us open for liability.”
“Do you offer to reach out to them offline via email or customer service line?”
“No. We also do not post news stories that are unflattering to our customers.”
I shifted in my chair. If it’s a troll and they just post on a large corporate entity’s page to get more attention,I agree, do nothing; most intelligent people will understand that the person’s not worth your time. What’s even sweeter is if you’ve taken the time to cultivate a loyal following of your brand, many of THOSE customers will step up to the plate and address it for you – establishing something that money simply can’t buy and that’s customer loyalty.
However, in a situation where there is genuine customer dis-satisfaction, my gut just tied in knots over their answer of doing – nothing. If you make a mistake in your company? Fix it. If it adversely affects others? Tell them. Fast. Give them an idea when you’ll be able to solve it just as Buffer did a few weeks ago when they were compromised. Posting unflattering stories of your clients I don’t recommend, but I also don’t think it’s right to bury your head in the sand, either. Does your customer know the story’s out there? What’s their take on it? Perhaps you could offer a platform to your customer that the traditional news media hasn’t given? It’s a slippery slope for a CEO to determine what is released into the Wild, Wild, Web. That’s why Buffer’s story is so wonderful:
1) The CEO addressed the issue directly.
2) They responded within 10 minutes of the breach. On a weekend.
3) They could have lost customers, but instead, they gained the magic glue that’s been holding companies together long before the Internet: TRUST.
Yes, if you have a chronic Negative Nellie posting on your wall and it’s minor, let it go. However, if it is customer-affecting, is seen as a sore-spot and you can take action to resolve it, take action.
Planning Posts Prevents Poor P.R.
Get your ducks in a row internally first, so that you have a game plan. Then, by all means, communicate with those who put you in the driver’s seat in the first place – your customers.
About a year ago, I spent so much time extolling the features of our products (Social Media Management, Search-Engine Friendly websites, ) showing my vast knowledge of Internet Marketing that I would miss the tell-tale signs of client burn-out: eyes glazing over, arms crossed, leaning back in the chair and looking out the window wishing they were anywhere but in my office… What did I miss? Showing my customers not only the WHY of social media (they already know it intuitively) but the HOW?
I saw this happen at a recent workshop I observed on Social Media. It was excellent material and I was completely enthralled. However, I heard questions from the audience that I didn’t feel were answered:
- I don’t have TIME to manage Facebook – I really don’t want a second full-time job.
- How do I know if anybody sees my posts on Facebook? (ie, ‘is this mic on?’)
- How do I get people to “Like” my page?
Granted, you can’t always answer everyone’s needs in a one-hour workshop. However, showing slides of statistics, graphs and quotes will do nothing but disengage your audience. Business owners already know they need to be on social media; they just don’t know the how yet.
Time Management: Pick ONE that you love to post on – Facebook or Twitter and TIE them together. That way, you post on one and it’ll show on the other. Now, I realize there are pros out there who will squawk at this advice and you are absolutely right – in a perfect world, ALL the posts should be unique. However, we live in the real world where time is money. Tie them together – save yourself a headache. The other nifty tool? Hootsuite. It posts to all of your networks. You can schedule your whole week out in advance. Just make sure you check in daily to see if any new comments are in.
Getting Posts Noticed: With all the algorithm changes, it IS very hard to get professional pages showing in newsfeeds. I’ve found if I share my posts from my Got Clicks page onto my personal Facebook page, it helps with the number of people who see it. If I have a seminar, I ask friends that I think would benefit to share it on their pages. I shared fun photographs of my friends supporting one of my seminars (you’ll see the Selfie my good friend, Jerry took of him hanging one of my posters for my upcoming seminar in Middlebury and Williston). If it’s fun, interesting and gets the point across, go ahead and post it!
Getting Likes to a Page: Let’s say you don’t have a ton of friends on your personal page in Facebook, let alone your business page. Find friends of yours who do have a regular following and ask them to recommend your page. Another way is to have an offer – “Like” my page and get a gift certificate to ______” Make it relevant to your business. If it’s a gift card to Starbucks, so what? But if it’s a discount to one of your products or services, it does 2 things: allows people to check out your stuff and gets them buying with an upsell opportunity.
It’s Not All About YOU… Don’t forget to LIKE other pages that compliment your business! Not only should you “Like” them – COMMENT on their stories. Chances are, they’ll comment back, or be more likely to share your content. Don’t be spammy, be relevant.
Something in Common: Find companies that compliment what you already do. This is easily accomplished in Twitter. Simply type in one of your keywords with a # in front: #social media #paintedfurniture. Do this and you’ll see which companies commented most recently. Follow these pages, then look them up on Facebook to have a cross-promotion.
BUT… You could do ALL of this and STILL have no “Likes” to your business page. Why? Because you may have missed the most important lesson of entrepreneurship that no Facebook page, no blog – heck, no website could ever fix. If you’d like to learn what that is, don’t miss “Got Clients” workshop. The next session is listed HERE.
Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive. Plays that song that’s so elusive and the magic music makes your morning mood.
In my house as a kid, we never went a morning without the radio playing in the kitchen over bowls of Fruit Loops. In October 1985, my world had kinda turned upside down: I had just turned 20, my mother had died that August and I felt like a loser. All of my friends were in college and here I was: mucking stalls for a living.
A new radio team, Q-99’s Louie Manno and Jim Condon, went on FOREVER with this trivia question I knew the answer to. I mucked 1 stall, 5 stalls, 20 stalls – still, no one answered. I drove home, picked up the phone and answered the question. I continued bantering with them for a good 5 minutes or so. Louie said, “Hey you’ve got a great voice!” I said, “Hey, have you got a job for me?” He invited me down immediately. My father cautioned me “Don’t get too excited, they might just be pulling your leg.” I retorted, “Well, as you say, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ I grabbed the keys and eagerly went to WJOY/WQCR to redeem my prize – a 6-pack of Cherry Coke, 2 tickets to “Steeltown” and a job. I arrived in my Dad’s pick-up truck as a 20 year old would – with fresh horse dung on my boots and the unrelenting smile only found on the faces of those who have been told, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ Who knew that 28 years later, I would sit in the audience, laughing at Louie’s antics and having the 6-pack of Cherry Coke bring back those sweet memories?
I stood in the lobby where Laura, the receptionist (a.k.a. the glue that held the radio station together) told me to “wait – over there…way over there.” as I became painfully aware that my barn boots announced my arrival before I did. I went deeper into the studio which felt like stepping into the control room of The Great and Powerful Oz – a tiny room of blinking lights and whirring cart machines that would soon hold music, interviews, joy and memories I would relish for the next 20+ years. I loved radio, and apparently, radio loved me too, as my birthday, Christmas and Thanksgiving never went by without an endless stream of listeners feeding us pastries, asking about my son and genuinely calling with concern if I shared on my show that Tony had an ear infection, which always touched me.
I loved radio for awhile and then, all at once, I felt I was “pushing the buttons and reading the cards.” I had lost my Mojo, so to speak, and it became mechanical – I had lost my own Spirit of the Radio and knew a chapter was closing and another one beginning. I tried to hold on, but mounting bills and the endless hours radio demands tore me in two while I tried to raise my infant son as a single mom.
“Dan, Wendy needs to leave the lost boys.” I announced clenching my fists in my lap as Dan Dubonet listened with that intensity that instantly terrified and intrigued me. I didn’t want to ask for a raise, because I knew they simply didn’t have it. So I invented a way for me to make more money AND still keep my job as a DJ. He knew he risked losing an announcer before I really knew, but he saw the bigger picture (thank GOD…) and helped me anyway. I created “Reality 2000,” a life-sized game to teach kids how much it costs to work and live in Vermont. He donated airtime to the project, he connected me to other people, he showed me the ropes of marketing. Dan gave me the best education on the secrets of promotions than any 4-year University could ever provide. I ran Reality 2000 for 2 years before being hired as the Area Marketing Manager for Adelphia. I watched his daughter introduce him and all I could think of was her as a little girl sitting in his office, absorbing everything he did. As she spoke, I could see her wit, humor and I thought to myself, “There’s a powerful woman in the making.” You can see her for yourself below:
As I watched both of my mentors this past Saturday at the sold-out VAB Awards; the timing was not lost on me. I’m facing another personal ending and another beginning just as I did when these 2 powerful men pushed me unwittingly into the magic of radio. Isn’t it funny how we come full-circle in our lives sometimes to embrace something that was so sweet from our past and molded us into what we are today?
Salute to Louie and Dan who impacted my life in such wonderful ways. I raise my glass and face the future assured.
It’s one thing to get the marketing message right for a new business, but what about a well-established, well-loved, successful business? That was the challenge that came into the shop a couple of months ago. How do you transition clients over to the new brand?
Beth Estey of Tootsie’s Mini Spa had a couple of dilemmas:
1) Gift Certificates – The system she had was tricky for customers to order gift certificates and print them off.
2) Rebranding – While Tootsies had received 5 Daysies awards for Best Pedicure, they were being pigeon-holed into that one service. Many customers were surprised to learn of all the other offerings. Beth needed a way to educate her clients that Tootsies was a lot more than playing footsies…
4) Social Media – Tootsies has a very loyal following, how were we going to bring them to liking a new entity such as Mini Spa VT?
Here’s a before/after video of the transformation of the website. You’ll see some of the ways we made it easier for Beth’s clients to buy from her. What do you think?
Last Saturday, Beth conducted a “Win a Free Facial” Facebook contest which was very popular. She gave me one so I could have the whole experience. The result? The REN products left my skin softer than a sugar glider. She had light appetizers, she had another upsell opportunity of receiving a full-blown facial for $50. She also took the care in writing down all the products used that day and emailing the list to the client so they knew the products. Later, she’ll set up a coupon code so those same participants can use her new website to order REN products at a discount (how cool is THAT?)
As for transitioning the social media, Beth will use the techniques outlined in this blog post – again, it will go slow and steady so that clients aren’t jolted. If you make it easy for your clients to continue buying from you, tell them what you’re doing, give them a forum to give an opinion (such as Facebook), you’re engaging your customers and have your hand on the pulse.
If your company needs a website makeover, let’s talk!