Creating an Aha Moment for Prospective Clients

When was the last time that you broke down what you do into small enough components so that your prospective clients understood? I stopped by a local jewelry store today, in order to have a necklace repaired.

As I was standing in line waiting to be served, I saw this display at Robertson’s Jewelers.

Robertsons Jewelers display - A creative display of services

 

I found it fascinating! I had never seen a watch broken down into such detail before, and I suddenly had a much deeper appreciation for what went into keeping a watch functioning.

It would’ve been easy to assume that a watch with a face about an inch in diameter was simple inside. However, this display showed the rich complexities of the inner workings of a pocketwatch or two.

When you tell people what it is that you do, is it broken down into enough detail that they can see the richness of what it is that you offer? [Read more…]

What’s Behind a Smile?

Leo Widrich, the cofounder of Buffer, recently wrote an article for Business Insider called “How to Smile Better, According to Science.” It’s a fascinating article, even for the layperson.In It, Leo discusses the science behind smiling.Tara Alemany, author, speaker and owner of Aleweb Social Marketing, with a real, authentic smileAn important point that he makes is that there are real smiles, called Duchenne smiles, and there are fake smiles. It’s easy for a viewer to tell the difference.

A fake smile only affects the lines around the eye socket. It does not evoke a genuine smile in return.

The Duchenne smile creates a reaction in the viewer that is hard to ignore. When someone is responding to a Duchenne smile, they mimic it and experience the same chemical rush that the smiler does.

This became a topic of conversation with a client of mine recently (before I ever read Leo’s article). I’m working on his website and he has a professional headshot that is nicely done. However, it’s not an effective photo. [Read more…]

Missing Your E-mail

Gmail logo in "Missing Your Email" on https://alewebsocial.comDid you hear about recent changes?

Gmail is rolling out its latest inbox improvements, and Hotmail and Yahoo have plans to follow suit real soon. But what does that mean to you?

Unfortunately, what it means for many marketers is that their e-mail campaigns will be filtered into a new folder called “Promotions,” never actually hitting the Primary inbox.

Depending on who you listen to, this is either the end of the world for marketers or it isn’t.

I tend to be a bit more pragmatic about the whole thing.

People who actually wanted to read your marketing messages in the first place will probably take the time to do a few simple steps to reroute your messages where they want them.

Those who couldn’t care less what you had to share won’t go looking for your messages, but they probably weren’t really enthusiastic about what you had to offer in the first place.

So, this is simply a good opportunity to clean up your list and make it more targeted, at the same time as letting individuals who have signed up for one-too-many free offers start pruning their inboxes. A win-win, really!

For those who haven’t been upgraded to the new inbox format yet, you may want to send a “farewell” message letting them know where your notes are going, and how they can mark your messages to go directly to the inbox instead.

Groupon demonstrated this nicely in a mass mailing they send out in early August.

Heads Up: Fix Yo Groupon

To avoid missing the messages you want to see, drag one of the messages from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab, and then save the changes when prompted. Alternatively, if you want to avoid the whole silly thing, you can simply delete the Promotions folder and nothing will be routed there.

And if you need further help getting your e-mail campaigns seen and responded to, contact us!

Are You Networking in Your Pajamas?

How’s your LinkedIn?

How much of your time do you spend networking for business each week?

Hours can be spent away from the office, going to meetings, walking away with a handful of business cards and no real follow-up method in place.

What if it could be simpler, done at your own convenience, and through targeted conversations?

That’d probably be much more efficient for you, huh?

Greeting the dayBut what if you were unprepared to start those conversations? Maybe your hair hadn’t been brushed yet, you had morning breath, your forgot your business cards in yesterdays’ outfit, or you were still dressed in your sweat pants…

I often see people whose LinkedIn profiles aren’t “ready yet” trying to get started with LinkedIn, and it’s a bit painful to watch. Their profile pictures are either missing or inappropriate. Bios are incomplete.

It’s clear to those they connect with that they haven’t really considered how to present themselves on LinkedIn yet. And then they become discouraged when it’s not the Magic Bullet they keep hearing LinkedIn can be.

There are no magic bullets!

LinkedIn is a powerful social network for any business professional to be on. But you have to approach it with the same care and planning that you would going to a networking meeting in person.

Consider your 30-second elevator speech. That’s your bio.

The professional history isn’t a resume as much as it’s a showcase of your talent.

The groups help form points of common interest.

Is it time for you to learn how to use LinkedIn the right way? Contact us for a profile assessment today, and we’ll get you spruced up and ready for powerful networking in no time!

5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Website

Today’s guest post is from Sarah Boisvert, who is an author who writes on a wide range of topics from small business to investing to high technology. She also covers social media and has written profiles of Bill Gates, Steve Wynn, and Chuck Hull.
Spider web image for 5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Websites

Backlinks help readers find your website in the tangle of the Web! [Photo credit: Tina Phillips via FreeDigitalPhotos.com]

In this Internet age, websites are key to selling every product and service from books to videos and speaking engagements to webinars. But having a website is just the beginning. To get potential customers to find your specific website in the tangle of the Web requires having a high page rank for your keywords in search engines like Google.

Search algorithms increasingly rely upon backlinks to evaluate content strength. The logic goes that if a website is mentioned with a hyperlink to it on another website, then the content must be valuable to readers.

Knowing this, some webmasters went overboard creating links to hundreds of sites. Many of these backlinks also had no relationship to the subject matter or were connected to sites that bordered on spam.

Google responded to these tactics intended to “fool” the system, of course, and now includes relevance of subject matter in their algorithms. Consequently, backlinks of good quality are essential to driving more traffic to your website.

While it takes a little more effort now to get good backlinks, there are many unique ways to be sure your website stays within Google guidelines. Here are some tips to get you started.

Partner with Smaller Vendors

Large vendors like Amazon have established backlink programs for authors and product suppliers, but don’t ignore the smaller outlets. Get a list from your distributor of stores that carry your books and contact the manager or owner about backlinks. Organizations that hire you to speak are also a good source of backlinks. Of course, you’ll need to reciprocate and link back to these vendors on your website, but that is just good business for everyone.

Befriend Bloggers

Bloggers are always searching for new topics for blog posts. By searching for top bloggers in your subject area, you can build a list of potential websites for backlinks.

Perhaps they could include a book or podcast review, an interview before an upcoming book signing or speech, or a general interest story. This provides an opportunity for the blog to link to your website. As before, you need to be a good member of the online community and reciprocate. You can do something simple like create a page of News and Reviews with links and a brief description.

Twitter logo used in 5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Website

Twitter is filled with media writers and bloggers [Image credit: Twitter]

Social Media

Twitter is a great social media platform for finding writers and bloggers who might be interested in reciprocal links. The Twitterverse is full of media types from national, local and international news agencies as well as bloggers covering everything you can imagine. Search for some keywords from your field and create lists of the writers you find.

There are rules of etiquette that accompany being a good member of the community. First, you’ll need to engage with the writers or bloggers, getting to know them in Cyberspace. Once you’ve established credibility and demonstrated that you’re not a spammer, you can ask for a backlink. Most Tweeters who “know” you are happy to comply.

Trade Associations and Other Organizations

Trade associations or other organizations are always happy to promote members. Often they will publish news about individual members or business and corporate members and include a backlink. This is true for every type of group from your local Chamber of Commerce to the national alumni association of your college alma mater. Get to know the membership director or IT specialist to see what kinds of backlinks they can provide.

Don’t Forget Fans or User Groups

It goes without saying that fans are always willing to help out since they are happy customers who want you to succeed. Reach out through your database or blog, but again, you don’t want to be a spammer! Limit the number of requests and, if possible, offer an incentive such as a small gift card or a promotional item.

Working on backlinks has an additional benefit beyond search engine optimization. You’ll be interacting more with the world, and it’s through being visible that good PR opportunities also arise. Following these five tips, you’ll be sure to increase sales of all your products and services through a variety of channels.

5 Reasons to Check into a Person’s Online Reputation Before Entering a Business Relationship

Today’s guest post is from Bev Sninchak, a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for both print and online publications. She writes about many subjects, from managing your online reputation to mastering social media strategies. She lives with her husband, kids, and a menagerie of pets in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Cufflinks, not cuffs! - Aleweb Social Marketing

It’s best to have a business partner in cufflinks rather than cuffs!

When you start a company with another person, you are connected to them personally, professionally and financially. Are you sure you know everything about your soon-to-be business partner?

Here are five reasons to check into your potential business partner’s reputation so you can avoid unexpected pitfalls.

1. Criminal Background

If you plan to start a business with an individual, it’s a given that you want to be sure he or she isn’t a criminal—or worse, a felon. You wouldn’t want to place your company in the hands of a known embezzler or con artist, so it’s paramount that you check your would-be partner’s criminal record.

If you fail to investigate your partner and don’t uncover a hidden villainous background, you’re not only risking the personal safety of you, your employees, and your customers—you’re gambling with your livelihood and financial future as well. [Read more…]

Testimonials Are Music to a Brand’s Ears

5-star-rating for Aleweb Social MarketingWe hear it all the time. Word-of-mouth referrals are a brand’s bread-and-butter.

No amount of traditional or social marketing can equal the power of a friend who recommends a product, service, book or experience.

Today is the start of the new week. You may own your own business and look for these longed-for referrals, but how do you get them?

Have you ever heard the adage “It is better to give than receive?” When it comes to referrals and endorsements, this rule holds true.

You can ask friends and close acquaintances to endorse your product or service, but after a while you’ll run out of people to ask.

As JFK was quoted as saying “…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Or in this case “ask not who can recommend your business, but whose business you can recommend.”

Think over the past week.

Who have you interacted with? Where did you go to lunch? When you took your teenager to the mall, which stores did you go to? What book couldn’t you put down? Whose advice and support has been crucial to your own success?

I challenge you to come up with one thing each week for the next two months that you want to recommend to your friends. It can be a business that provided excellent customer service, an enjoyable experience, or that went out of their way to make your buying experience exceptional. Or it can be a book, play, concert, or any other experience that you loved.

Why two months?

I want you to establish the habit of looking for people and experiences you can appreciate. Enjoy that feeling. Appreciate the sense of gratitude. Pass it forward. Catch people “in the act of getting it right,” and let them know you’ve noticed.

It will change you too.

Being more focused on showing your appreciation for others will take the pressure off trying to get people to appreciate your brand too. You’ll internalize what you’re learning from brands that “do it right” and potentially improve what you’re doing as well.

Regardless, in giving, you will receive. And don’t be surprised if you start to see your own client testimonials increase as well.

So… Have you thought of someone for this past week?

Go ahead and think of one. We’ll wait for you…

Have it now?

Alright… Here’s the easy part. Go find that brand online. It doesn’t matter if it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Angie’s List, Instagram, Google, their website or wherever else you feel comfortable. Just find their listing and post a review.

What should your review look like?

Write it as if you’re talking to your best friend. Tell them about your experience and what made it so special.

Businesses hear often when they’ve done something wrong. Give them a boost. Let them know when they’ve done something right so they can do it more often!

Wherever you posted that endorsement, share it with your friends.

People like to buy from brands they know, like and trust. Your recommendation tells your friends who you know, like and trust, and exactly why. And perhaps that experience is exactly what they were looking for too!

Share a link in the comments below to a brand that made you feel special recently and let us know how they did it.

The Best Social Media Platform for Business

I’ve been asked many times before, “What’s your favorite social media platform for business?”

Many people think that if you’re in business, LinkedIn is the only place to be, and while LinkedIn has its many benefits and is a strong contender in my social media platform, my answer may be surprising to you.

My favorite social media platform, hands down, is Twitter.

I know. I know. I hear it all the time. You’re thinking “What? Twitter? I just don’t get all that tweeting stuff. All it is is stuff about what everyone had for breakfast!”

That’s where I’d jump up and down, pointing my finger at you and shouting “Wrong!” Well, maybe not so much jumping up and down… And probably not shouting. (It’s not my style.) I have no idea why I’d point a finger either…

But you’re definitely wrong. Sorry!

As simple as the site is, Twitter is the most powerful tool in my social media arsenal.

The Best Social Media Platform for Business

twitter

When I found out in 2009 that I was soon to be unemployed, Twitter was where my job search took root. It was where I was first exposed to the power of hashtags to find and sort content being shared on the internet.

I was a bit nervous at first about using Twitter. Was everyone a scam artist?

Then, I came across Steve Keating (@LeadToday) on Twitter. For some reason, his simple reassurance in his bio that he wasn’t selling anything on Twitter, only giving back, set my heart at ease. I started engaging with him a bit, and enjoying his nonsensical animal trivia on Saturday mornings. It reminded me of a book my kids and I enjoyed called 365 Days of Nature and Discovery: Things to Do and Learn for the Whole Family.

Our shared interest in leadership topics led me to discover the Lead Change Group (@leadchange and #leadchange) shortly after their Leader UnPalooza in early 2010, which sounded like a lot of fun. I struck up a friendship with Mike Henry Sr. (@mikehenrysr), the founder of the group, which led me to discover and make connections with many of the founding members of the Lead Change Group.

[Read more…]

2013 – The Year of Social Selling

Today’s post is a guest post from Kurt Shaver, a former VP of Sales turned Social Selling speaker/trainer, and founder of The Sales Foundry.

If you want to guest post on this blog, contact us for our submission guidelines.

Social Selling Boot Camp 2013Often, major shifts in business occur when a confluence of factors combine to change the status quo. Think about the impact that affordable cars and trucks plus the interstate highway system had on the railroads. More recently, consider the impact that the Internet plus mobile devices are making on the newspaper industry. Old-fashioned selling techniques may soon begin to fade away, too, due to the influence of multiple Social Selling factors in 2013.

Consider these factors:

The Rising Awareness of Social Selling: The term Social Selling is yet another spin-off of the Social Media mother ship (i.e. Social Business, Social Enterprise,…). Individual consumers starting embraced social applications 7-8 years ago. As audiences grew, corporate Marketing Departments and Customer Service jumped in a few years ago. Now, corporate Sales Departments are realizing that they cannot manage the bottoms-up social activities of select salespeople. Instead, they are developing top-down social strategies so they can standardize and manage these activities.

Big Changes at LinkedIn: As the 800-lb gorilla of B2B Social Selling, LinkedIn experienced some significant milestones is 2012:

  • 1-year anniversary of IPO (think “cash to innovate”)
  • 185M members and counting
  • Launch of Sales Navigator, a dedicated version for salespeople.
  • Biggest redesign of the Profile format in company history

Taking Center Stage: Thought-leaders started using the term Social Selling about a year ago and a few conferences held break-out session on the topic.  Now dedicated Social Selling conferences and seminars are appearing on the 2013 calendar.  These events combine the proven principles of sales prospecting (rapport/trust/credibility) with new tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. The fact that organizers can draw both attendees and exhibitors is evidence of the growing popularity of Social Selling.

So, as you plan your 2013 goals and strategies, consider how to take advantage of the growing power of Social Selling tools and techniques.

Want to learn the latest Social Selling techniques? Attend a free introductory webinar, “New Ways to Grow Sales with Social Selling,” this Wednesday, January 16, from noon- 1:00 PM ET, or jump right in and  join the Social Selling Boot Camp, a 30-day virtual training program beginning February 7. Save $200 with Coupon Code: 200BCA. See full program information here.

Welcome to 2013!

2013 is an open book filled with magicThe New Year has begun, filled with all sorts of possibility and wonder. For some reason, the changing of the years seems to remind us to look back at what’s behind us, and eagerly anticipate what’s ahead of us.

However, in business (and in life), each new day yields the same opportunity. Learn from the past. Plan for the future. Dream big, live fully, love deeply, fail fast, and grow more.

With 365 new beginnings lying before you this year, what dream are you pursuing today? Or are you simply trying to keep up with the demands of Life?

Set aside time each day to step back, think about where you are right now, and where you want to be in the future. Are you positioned to get there? If not, what changes do you need to make to adjust course?

For your business, review your business plan. (This applies, even if you are a personal brand!) If you don’t have one, sit down and write one. Without it, you have no discernible measure of where you are in relation to your goals. If you have one, is it current or does it need updating?

The process of having to document your business, your products and services, your position in relation to competition, etc., helps to clarify and define your business. This makes it easier to make decisions about growth opportunities, future direction, prospective client projects, and much more. Without a business plan, you’re simply reacting to events as they unfold, left to the whim of others.

Michael Hyatt, former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, also recommends having a life plan for your personal affairs as well. Certainly if you want to be in control of your life, instead of reacting to events all the time, knowing what you want out of life is important. Having a plan will help you balance the demands on your time and resources, while also allowing you to create the legacy you want to leave.

How does your business plan align with your life plan? Are there areas of conflict that need resolution? For example, if spending time with family and friends is a huge part of your life plan, does your business plan ensure you have the time and freedom to do that?

By understanding where you are now and where you want to go in the future, you’re well-equipped to figure out the steps required to get from here to there. Check back regularly to ensure you stay on target. Keep both plans updated as things change.

You don’t have to wait for a New Year to create the life you want. You just have to decide here and now, in this moment, that you’re starting. Then, let nothing stand in your way!

As a thank you to my readers, and with permission from its creator, Dave VanHoose of the 7-Figure Speaking Empire, here’s his Success Goal Workshop worksheet to get you started thinking. I’ve already filled mine out and have been re-reading it frequently the past few days.

And if you’re free today at noon ET, join Dave for his Be Legendary BlogTalkRadio show. Today’s topic is on planning your goals for 2013, and you’ll be able to call in to get your questions answered. If you miss the live show, you can always explore the archive!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below. We’d love to know what your big goals are!