Posts Tagged ‘constant contact’

Year End Gift Giving: Knowledge is love and light and vision!

December 16, 2010

Helen Keller

One of my favorite quotes is “Knowledge is love and light and vision” by Helen Keller. This time of year, we put out Christmas lights to let our Santas know we were good all year and deserve a gift. Well, for business owners, the best gifts are the gifts of great advice. This advice and knowledge gives us love, light and vision – if we let it.

For many business owners, stretching ourselves into new arenas can be uncomfortable. Most folks resist change and fear the unknown. Years ago, having a more engaging website worried me. Next, social media networking seemed to be a chore that would drain all of my time. But, once I became more open to getting the advice and knowledge from others that were doing these things, I realized it was not so bad.

Let me give you two examples. First, about three years ago, I participated in the Georgia Governor’s Mentor Protégé program. Heery International was my mentor firm. It was a blessing. One thing they encouraged me to do was to take my one page simple website to another level. Their marketing staff urged me to create a website that was more engaging. They explained to me that nowadays folks want to learn more about businesses behind the scenes. They want to know more about the history, mission, purpose, services, founders, etc. For me personally, I did not care about that when I visited other folks’ websites. I felt that I did not have time to peruse a lot of web pages. I actually found that to be annoying. I just wanted to get at the information I needed and that was that. But, now I am realizing that taking the time to learn as much as possible about prospects and potential teaming partners is simply plain ole good for business. So when other business owners complain that they do not have time for web browsing, I tell them it is not about them. It is about doing what is best for their business.

To grow my firm Lemongrass Consulting, I have been working on a revenue model that incorporates social media. First, I took Heery’s advice and assistance and revamped my plain one page website to a more interactive one. We now have thirteen (13) pages that include a blog, fan page, and archived newsletters.

Next, I took a few social media classes offered through trade organizations; and read business articles on the subjects. I learned about ping, facebook, linkedin, twitter, constant contact, and blogging. I created a flow chart that I call a Revenue Model. The model begins with identifying our target market of ideal customers based on their service offerings and revenues and geographic locations; and whether we have other synergies and things in common (our race, gender, experiences). I then target these folks and try to connect with them online. I have done well as a newbie. I now have more than 1,000 connects on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Outlook. I now use gist to capture all of these connections. The total is more than 4,000.

My revenue model includes daily microblogging by posting a few things about what I have going on, the importance of strategic planning, famous quotes, and words of encouragement. I also have a wordpress blog that I try to write weekly; converting the weekly blogs to articles; posting the blogs in social media groups to get market penetration; and a monthly constant contact newsletter with more than 1,000 subscribers. I also give my new connections a free ebook that I wrote which are business development tips. These are all great marketing tools. It keeps my firm present in folks’ minds and I am building a community. I use google analytics and I can see that I get about 100 visitors a month to our website.

No matter how much you do, you can always do more. Next year, I want to peer more into my connections’ web pages and take the time to have more engaging dialogue with them. I also want to be sure to thank folks for connecting with me and take our conversations offline by scheduling teleconferences and face to face meetings.

But, let’s get back to the importance of being open to good advice. I mentioned having two examples. Here is the second. When I first revamped the website, I posted online that it was finally done. Well, one of my connections told me to do more than just have a Contact Us link that enables folks to email you. She said, “Clovia, I hope you don’t mind me giving you this constructive criticism”. I replied that I did not mind. But, it took me years to become open to changing that feature. I do know if it was ego, ignorance, or what. But, this year, I finally revamped the Contact Us link to capture more information about our website visitors. We also ask them to share their planning needs and choose services they may be interested in investing in.

The bottom line is that we need to view constructive criticism and business advice as a loving gift. For me, as Helen Keller put it, knowledge is the gift of light and vision. This holiday, give and accept light and vision!

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

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Do you Tweet?

June 14, 2010

I completed two Social Media classes a year or so ago. My first thought was: “who has time for this?” I also, thought that if you are always on the web, when will you have time to do your work?

Well, I decided to try Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. I had accounts since 2005, but never put them to any real use.

When the economy took a nose dive, I had to get out “there” and market my services to try to earn a living. Online marketing can be free and it’s a great way to stay present on the minds of potential buyers or to stay well connected to achieve “presence of mind” when it comes to getting referrals.

I spend a minimum (and usually maximum) of 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night each day. Here’s what I do with Twitter:

You get followers by following others. If someone does not follow you in about a week or so, then stop following them.

How to find followers:

1) ask your linkedin and facebook groups: “Do you tweet? If so, what is your twitter address”
a. then use the search tool in twitter to find them
i. be careful – don’t click on any links because they could be a dangerous to infiltrate your computer with worms, viruses, trojans, etc…
ii. instead type it into twitter search and if the link shows up, click on it and then click follow
b. then follow them (click Follow)
2) type keywords for topics that interest you in the twitter search box
a. then check out folks’ profile pages
b. if you like their tweets, then click follow to follow them
3) use twellow to search for folks to follow using keywords for topics that interest you
4) follow other folks’ followers if you have similar interests – eg find the coaches that follow me and follow them

How to get folks to follow you:

1) usually folks will follow folks that follow them (reciprocal following)
2) you need to have a balance of followers (ie your followers number) and folks you follow (ie your following number) – or you will be viewed as a spammer
a. so be sure to check weekly or monthly if the folks you follow are following you back
b. if they are not following you back, then stop following them
c. but bare in mind that trade orgs and news outlets may not follow you back. Nevertheless, I keep these because I want their content

What to do if someone follows you:

1) you’ll get an email
2) use the Direct Messages feature in your twitter Home page (off the right) to thank the person who is following you …be careful about not posting your personal messages for everyone to see …I love Direct messaging because only that one person will see it
a. usually if you reply and acknowledge a follower, that will solidify your relationship and they wont stop following you
b. I post “Thank you for the follow (or follow back)! I look forward to your tweets! You can learn more about me at http://www.lemongrassplanning.com
c. Always try to get them to visit your website …you can also direct them to a free gift or a blog post on your website

What and How to post:

1) Each post can only be 140 characters
2) DON’T post hard sales “buy this” or “hire us”
3) DO try to get folks to your website
a. Send a notice when your constant contact newsletter is available
b. Send a notice with each new blog post on your website
c. Send notices about videos on youtube
d. Send notices about freebies
e. Send notices about events
4) I use ping fm (http://ping.fm/) to post once each morning to twitter, linkedin, and facebook by email
a. Ping fm will give you an email address
b. You email your message to the ping fm email address and the message will get posted wherever you want it to
5) You can preset posts to automatically go out using tweetdeck or hootsuite
6) Share content – go for just one main topic
a. Famous quotes
i. just google “famous quotes” for websites
ii. search with keywords
iii. collect into a word document
b. events
c. awards
d. Articles
i. If you post articles, use tiny url (http://tinyurl.com/) to convert the longer url where folks can find the article
ii. Sources of articles – sign up to get articles emailed to you
1. NAWBO (and other trade organizations)
2. forbes and forbes woman
3. Entrepreneur.com Small Business News and Updates
4. Inc mag
5. Smartbrief on Social Media
6. Smartbrief on Entrepreneurs
7. Smartbrief on Leadership
8. NFIB Smartbrief
9. Businessweek’s Small Biz Insider

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o