Musings of a Career Consultant

SoCal Texan in Bmore Leading Rock Stars

What’s it All For? Really? January 15, 2013

Seth Godin wrote this great blog entry entitled, What’s It For?, and one line really struck me. He’s stating in his intro, that when asking Time magazine, a food service manager or a kitchen gadget company, what the they’re there for, they’ll give you a long-winded answer with the subtext “to please my boss”. He goes so far to say that “in most b2b [business to business] situations, the answer is always the same, ‘to please my boss.’”

As one would expect, someone as tornado-like as myself (I was literally described as a tornado by a fellow Director when I was newly elected), would take great offense to this statement. I can’t believe that’s the main reason for most companies. Of course, it’s a piece of the objective (it has to be to stay in business) and yet I can’t concede it’s true in most “b2b” situations.

Maybe I just follow really great companies. Maybe the Richard Bransons, Darren Hardys and Gary Vaynerchuks of the world have me a little dazed and confused. Maybe that’s not how all companies are run. It’s hard to believe because I love investing my time and money into companies that have high-level thinkers, fail-forwarders and learning-based leaders. That’s why Keller Williams has been such a good fit for me.

If you asked my boss if I’m in business to “please” her, she would probably laugh out loud. From day one, I’ve been a thorn in her side, pushing her in ways that have made our relationship uncomfortable and yet we’ve propelled our office into the top spot in our area. Thorns aren’t here to please their bosses. In fact, it’s probably quite the opposite. I’m here for your job.  I’m here to be a tornado on your existence. As Little Big Town says, “I’m gonna lift this house, spin it all around.”

Are we all working to please “the man” or are we working looking to spin our work-house?

 

Please Don’t Leave Me! – Avoid the “Unsubscribe” September 12, 2012

Along with the author of this article, I’m a SATC (Sex and the City) fan so when she made reference to the infamous “post-it break-up”, I knew exactly what she was talking about. Berger got back with Carrie just to leave the below message for her when she woke up… harsh, huh?!

 

I’m Sorry. I Can’t. Don’t Hate Me.

Is this how your sphere feels? Are they ready for a break-up and don’t want to tell you to your face? Or are you delivering the value they want? Read Kim Stiglitz‘s article courtesy of Verticle Response:

As an avid Sex and the City watcher back in the day, I’ll never forget the episode where Carrie got broken up with via a Post-it note. In this day and age of mass marketing and virtual anonymity, our prospects and customers can be and are sometimes total strangers to us. Why then, do we take it so personally when they “break up” with us via an unsubscribe? And why are they often unsubbing en masse? As a smart business person and marketer, how can you keep your customers in love with your business and engaged in your communications? Marketing, like dating or marriage can be a slippery slope to navigate. Read on and I’ll share a few tips from my years in the trenches.

First, some scary stats to illustrate that this is serious stuff:

91% of consumers have unsubscribed from opt-in marketing emails. (This means they chose to subscribe to your communication, then later changed their mind – Hmm, why?)

77% of consumers have become more guarded about giving companies their email address in the past year.(Because they suspect we may do something unscrupulous with it perhaps?)

The stats speak to an epidemic that marketers and businesses face. In a split-second we go from inbox cock rooster to feather duster. Why?

Many marketers, and I am not going to name names here, are not delivering on the golden promise they made when someone opted into their list. Deliver What You Promise. It’s that simple. If, when someone signed up for your email list, you promised you would send them tips on home repair once a month, do that. If you start sending emails every week with offers for 50% off paint and wood flooring, you break your promise. When someone provides you their email address, they’re saying they trust you to do the right thing with it (i.e. not bombard them with excessive self-promotional stuff). Your customers want something of value from you. There has to be something in it for them. And, usually that’s what you promised them that caused them to sign up in the first place. That’s why your opt-in form and page are vitally important. It is there that you vow that you’re a good, upstanding person/company and that you will use the power of email marketing for good, not evil. Capisce?

You Get Old & Boring. Of all the consumers that unsubscribe, nearly half cite that they found content to be repetitive or boring over time; another 25% found content irrelevant – Egad. We’re being replaced by a younger, hotter and more interesting version of ourselves? Now you get the dating analogy, eh? So, short of a tech version of a nip and tuck, how do we stay hot in the inbox? Content Rules. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, you must deliver relevant, value add content to your subscribers to keep them engaged and coming back for more. We even did a webinar about it.

You can get a good feel for how engaged your readers are by keeping an eye on the open and click-through rates (CTRs) of your emails. You can even segment your list (we’ve got a webinar for that too) on this information and provide specific content based on what your readers are responding (or not responding) to. If you notice your open rates dropping, take a look at things that may have changed. Are you sending out the same amount of mail as you have in the past? Are you sending at or around the same time and day you have in the past? Does this need to be tested or changed? And, how are your subject lines? Are they attention-grabbing and action-oriented? Or, are they a snoozefest like the oh so popular, September Newsletter? Your click-through rates can actually be a stronger indicator of reader engagement because they illustrate that not only did the recipient open the message, but they found content that made them want to learn more, or do something. You can affect your click-throughs by including strong calls-to-action in your message and being very clear about what you want your reader to do. Use an active voice and language in your calls-to-action and watch the CTRs climb.

SPAM I am (Not). When your subscriber has had enough, how do they choose to end it? 67% click “unsubscribe,” 17% just delete the email. And 8% stick it to you – they click the spam or junk button, sending your lovely message to the black hole of email hell and your sender reputation along with it. So, how to avoid email purgatory and stay in the good books with your subscribers? Mail on a schedule and stick with it. If you decide to increase the frequency that you mail your subscribers, communicate it in advance and let them know the value of getting more mail from you. 47% of subscribers unsub because they get too many emails. We’re all suffering from message overload, so the messages we allow in our inbox and engage with better deliver.

Check out this unsubscribe infographic from our friends over at Litmus to learn more.

What value are your messages adding for your subscribers? Share how you use email marketing for good, not evil, in the comments.

Stats sourced via Litmus.

 

Is Your SEO Helping You SELL? August 30, 2012

This article by Keller Williams Rancho Cucamonga Assistant Team Leader Melissa Krchnak originally appeared on YPN Lounge by REALTOR Magazine Blogs.

I’m often asked by REALTORS® how they can increase their online presence. What’s the best blogging platform? Which social media site will yield more ROI? Should I beef up my e-mail signature? What should I put on my Facebook page? How many Craigslist ads should I post a day and when? The answer is simple: Stop getting in your own way and do whatever it is that you want to do — and make it something you will actually stick to once you’ve time-blocked for it.

But here’s my take on these common questions listed above for boosting online presence.

  • For me, the best blogging platform is WordPress: it’s easy to use, navigate and edit (i.e. A+ in my book).
  • Instant messaging on Facebook and the search function on Twitter are tied for my favorite ways to build relationships with social media. Pinterest or LinkedIn might be better for you, but these two methods work most ideally for me.
  • My e-mail signature is simple and it’s always been that way: I have two lines of info and a third row of 10 small social media/online icons that link to my online presence, which is courtesy of WiseStamp.
  • For me, I don’t have a Facebook business page. Go ahead and bring out your rope to tell me I’m hanging myself. I sincerely believe that your page has to be different from your profile. I believe the key is to ask yourself, what value will your page provide that the average consumer can’t find somewhere else? Provide content that’s worth creating a page over.
  • My company has a wonderfully easy way to post to Craigslist that I, slap my hand, haven’t taken advantage of yet. I intend to time-block for Craigslist postings on Mondays.

How long should this all take each day? Good question, my friend. Your blog should be about 15 minutes. Blog about topics/questions your clients have asked you (or advice you wished they listened to),  so it shouldn’t take long to come up with is your post. I have a friend that jots down ideas on scrap paper by his computer so he has material if something isn’t immediately coming to him. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) should be about 30 minutes. Any longer and you’re playing. We’re here to prospect so get in, get connected, get off. Craigslist should be about 45 minutes and I would cut that into 15 minutes at 10 a.m., 1/1:30 p.m., and 6 or 7 p.m. When are people online? After they’ve settled into work, after they’ve gotten back from lunch, and when they get home to unwind.

Just remember to keep it simple, time-block for it daily, and follow-up… and you’ll be on your way creating a successful online presence. Happy Prospecting!

 

From 17B to 8,000B in 12 Years July 24, 2012

Do you think text messages have really jumped in usage? I’m going to go with, ugh, YEA!

I remember watching the first commercial for texting and thinking it was ridiculous… I’m obviously no Steve Jobs. Now ask me how many texts I sent the last month. I actually don’t know. After going over two months in a row years ago, I knew I had to go unlimited. It’s been worth every penny. How could I dream of restricting my texts?!

If you’re not using texts to keep in contact with your clients – before, during and after the transaction – you’re missing a free and fast form of a ‘touch’.

What’s my favorite ‘touch’ via text? Texting my clients on Friday afternoons and wishing them a wonderful weekend. Sometimes I include a bit.ly of the weather to show off how awesome it’ll be or a link to a cool event. What do ya’ll think? What’s your favorite way to communicate with clients?