I have been asked frequently what is LinkedIn and how can it help my business?
Let me begin by explaining what LinkedIn is. LinkedIn is a Professional Social Networking site that allows you the ability to post your professional profile and capabilities and then connect with people you know. In addition you become connected with people that your connections know. So how can this tool help your business?
LinkedIn is a tool that helps you to promote your area of expertise. Individuals looking for your kind of service can review your profile and make a determination as to your abilities to assist them. In addition LinkedIn has a Q&A sections that allows your to answer questions that others may have posted and if you are selected for contributing the best answer you have formed a connection that will lead to future sales.
Through LinkedIn you can give and receive recommendations. We all want to do business with people we know and trust. So if you have a client, invite them to join your network on LinkedIn and request a recommendation. Now when they add someone to their network, who most likely has a similar need, that individual looking for the services you provide is now connected to you and sees a recommendation for the services that you performed. This could potentially lead that individual to contact you because you come recommended from someone they trust.
Linked in is a visible Networking reminder that can help you build your business through the power of relationships. Just this week I have been contacted twice by individuals whom I have not been in touch with for some time, which has led to potential business opportunities. There are so many other ways that LinkedIn can help your business. Perhaps I shall write a future eBook on the matter. But I think the next question to answer will be how can FaceBook help my business. Check back for the answer to that one
Remember: Byte or Get Bitten
When attempting to connect with your target market it is important to focus on your customer. Instead of focusing on what you do or what you have, focus on your customer’s needs. All consumers have problems that need resolving. It is your job to help your customer clearly identify the root cause of their problems and then educate them regarding how your product or service can address their specific problem.
How do you do this? Walk your customer through the 3 why approach?
The key here is to truly interact with your potential clients. Listen to their concerns and offer the best solutions. Do not try to force them into your solution just to make a sale. Refer them to a better source and he will come back to you when their needs align with your solutions. Better yet, this gives you the opportunity to refine your offerings so as to add value. Then you will be focusing on the customer in your marketing efforts.
Remember: Byte or get bitten
I have long been a Microsoft zealot, starting with Windows 3.0. But on Friday I had a Vista breakdown for the third time and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had been toying with the thought of getting a Mac for the past year. So, instead of attempting to rebuild my laptop, I went out and bought a MacBook Pro. All that I can say is WOW!!!! I should have done this a long time ago.
One of the biggest holdbacks for me has always been Outlook and Exchange. But Microsoft has a program called Entourage, which is Outlook for Mac. What I like about it, is that it not only has Mail, Calendar, Contacts, & Tasks but a feature that I have always wanted in Outlook and that is Projects.
No, I did not go with Office 2008 for Mac I went with iWorks. It is simply but powerful and is compatible with Office. I have always been an Access expert but decided to give FileMaker Pro a shot. The verdict is still out on that one. I use Visio daily for mapping out processes, plans, information architectures, and other flowcharts. But ConceptDraw is just as good. I use and love MindManager for brainstorming and they have a Mac version. Of course, all of my Adobe Web 2.0 tools work seamlessly and now I have more tools available because of being on a Mac.
Everything about Apple is cool, trendy, hip and it just operates so much better. I??ve gone Mac and never going back.
Byte or get Bitten
Intelligence is the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. Within the business environment we acquire knowledge everyday through the many transactions that we conduct.? As we examine, understand, and then act on the information that we collect we demonstrate intelligence.
Intelligence is the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience. Within the business environment getting to the point where we understand the relationships between the data that we collect and identify areas that when acted upon can make our businesses profitable then we demonstrate intelligence.
Intelligence is the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria. Within the business environment as we analyze our metrics and change our actions based on where the facts tell us where we are in contract to where we need to be we demonstrate intelligence.
Byte or get bitten!
I have a loan officer who does not live in Grand Rapids, who sends me direct mail once a month. For awhile I opened the letters thinking that there was something of value in the mailings, but now I don??t even open the letters.
OK, here is the good thing about her Marketing efforts; she is always top of mind. She has helped me purchase two homes and I would definitely use her again. Not because of the mailings but because I trust her. The bad thing is that I throw away her mailings as soon as I get them without opening them. The truth is I throw away a lot of ???Junk Mail??? all the time.
On the other hand, I get a ton email from all sorts of people I do not know or trust. But every now and then I get caught by an email that compels me to open it.
So, one hand someone I trust sends me something I don??t read and someone I do not know sends me an email I read. Why the difference?
First, like everyone in this technology age I, like all of you, have been conditioned to tune out a lot of information that screams, ???BUY ME??? unless it is relevant to your current needs and interests. ???Snail Mail??? comes in a sealed envelope and makes it easy just to discard it.? Whereas email gives you the option to quickly preview before making a discard decision.
Here is an example of an email that caught my attention. It was from a company that I did not know but they had a compelling subject that enticed me to look and within the first 3 seconds the email grabbed my attention and I kept reading.
Not only did I read the email but I actually called them, sat through a demo and will definitely start using and recommending their services.
Now please keep in mind that I am not bashing, at all, direct mail campaigns. They have their place but here are a few tips. If you are going to send out a direct mailing make sure it is infrequent and that it has something a value to me related to your products or services. You should use your customer database to ensure the mailings are personalized to each customer??s interest. Even mom and pop shops can do this inexpensively using mail merge. And please do not send letters to someone who does not know you.
On the other hand email marketing campaigns are different, but only slightly. Here are a few tips
1.? You can send me (the consumer) an email if I do not know you, but don??t act like you know me. That is a trust breaker. If our relationship starts on a lie how can I ever trust you again?
2.? The subject should be an arousing ???pick up line???. Why do I want to interact with you?
3.? If you have not figured this out yet let me state it again. Don??t try to sell me something. Inform me and educate me.
4.? Make your message engaging and create brand awareness. That is why I like OnMarketer, they give you the ability to brand your email without fat attachments and providing links back to your website. And guess what? It makes it trackable.
5.? Don??t spam me!!!!! As a consumer I am ok with regular emails from you, especially if they are informative and engaging. But don??t spam me, stalk me, make me Wanna Put Your Number On The Call Block Have AOL? Make My emails Stop. (oops sorry to break into Destiny??s Child.)
Anyway there are other things that you can do to create compelling email messages that will get consumers to read them and I would be glad to help you out with more advices, but I must be getting punchy if I am breaking into song. So this should do get you by for now.
Byte or get bitten
I have a fundamental problem with several names that describe technology. I think that some of the great names that IT folks have come up with fall short from meeting business expectations.
Take for instance BI (Business Intelligence) great name and it has a lot of potential to live up to its name but the problem is that too often the term is used describe the tools and technology and not the value it brings to organizations.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) create term and when done properly it can add tremendous value to an organization. However, once again the term now applies to a piece of technology and not the art of managing the relationships that businesses have with their customers. So what happens is that business owner look to a piece of software to try to resolve their customer issues and when it doesn??t work as they perceived it would because of the name they want to throw out the CRM application and Nix the budget for all future IT projects.
Then there is the term Internet Marketing. Great term! But it has now become synonymous with SEO/ SEM which is only a very small piece of what a term like Internet Marketing should really do. Then add to that the never ending websites and spam-o-grams that promise you that ???for just $29.99 you can have millions of visitors to your website in minutes.??? I think the term Internet Marketing and the vultures around have taken a term that could have meant a lot and put it in the same light as ???Network Marketers??? or the ???Carpet Baggers???.
So I have had a problem coming up with a name for what I do then it came to me, if it was a snake it would have bit me. MANO (Marketing, Advertising, Networking, Online) that??s what I do.
True marketing centers on a strategy and Marketing 2.0 involves the 6Vs as outline in Denise Shiffman book Age of Engage. Advertising is a form of communication whose purpose is to inform potential customers about products and services and how to obtain and use them. Networking is about connecting people who share interests and activities or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. All of this is done Online that means do just on the internet but the variety of ways that people are and will interact with the web, be that through phone, GPS units, Cameras, you name it.
Adam over at Audetta Media also wrote and interesting blog on terminology. That inspired me to vent my frustration here. I am on a mission to rally the industry around MANO (marketing, advertising, networking online)
Byte or get bitten