Category Archives: Marketing

How To Create Linked In “Company” Sites

Creating a company website for your business inside Linked In is another great way to detail the actual products and services your company offers without writing lengthy descriptions on your Profile Page.  I created my Linked In website and added several virtual administrative assistant services that Southeastern Admin can offer to businesses in Cumming, Alpharetta, Dawsonville and nationwide.  I hope that you will “follow” my company in Linked In.

Get started by using this link:   http://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/company-pages/get-started.html#

Thank you to Irene Doehring of Creative Graphic Design for sharing this tool, as well as other useful information.   I can’t tell you how great it is to have such a knowledgeable network of professionals on my side.

Lora Zibman |  www.Southeastern Admin.com   |   770-609-0904770-609-0904

Linked In Site

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Digital Marketing for Small Businesses

I found this interesting white paper that discusses digital marketing from, of all companies, YP – rebranded Yellow Pages advertising:  YP_SmallBizFacts_WhitePaper.

Here’s an excerpt from the publication:

“…small business marketers know what works for them. 77% of business-to-consumer SMBs have acquired a customer through Facebook, compared to 60% from a company blog, according to HubSpot. Business-to-business SMB marketers found LinkedIn most effective, delivering new customers to  65% of respondents, followed by company blogs (60%), Facebook (43%), and Twitter (40%).   Frequency of blogging makes a difference—92% of respondents who blogged daily got new customers through their blogs.”

digital marketingDigital marketing has become the largest percentage of Southeastern Admin’s business.  We help our customers with email campaigns, blogging and social media posting.  When meeting with small business owners, I try to impress upon them the need to communicate with their customers.   There are so many FREE resources out there to stay in touch!  A few are:  MailChimp, Pinterest, Facebook, Google Plus, and local community sites.   Consistent communication is crucial and will produce ROI, but you must dedicate the time to make this happen.

For those that don’t have the time and/or don’t want to have to learn the new outlets, having a virtual assistant is a huge advantage.  We work 1:1 with business owners to determine what will work best for them and within their budget, and then we ensure that the message is getting out consistently.  Once a relationship has been established, most business owners find that we can assistant them with a multitude of other projects.    We place a high value on these relationships, and have built a network of trusted professionals in different service areas who may also be of assistance to our clients.

Lora Zibman |  www.Southeastern Admin.com   |   770-609-0904770-609-0904

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Linking Facebook Business Posts To Twitter

FB TweetHi there.  I love to share when I find useful information.   If you’re tired of posting to both your Facebook and your Twitter accounts separately, link the two applications so all FB posts go automatically to Twitter.   Takes seconds, and here’s how:

  1. Open your browser, and then open 3 tabs.
  2. In the first tab, log into your Facebook account
  3. In the second tab, log into your Twitter account
  4. In the third tab, go to “www.facebook.com/twitter”
  5. Choose the business page you would like to link, and authorize it.   You can also link your personal page to your Twitter account.

How easy was that?!

Lora Zibman   |   www.SoutheasternAdmin.com  |  770-609-0904

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A Time For Thanks

2013 Thanksgiving Card

Have you taken the time to thank your customers this year?    Thanksgiving is by far the best time: it’s the start of the holiday season rush, everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, and it’s non-denominational.     If you did not take the time to thank your clients prior to Thanksgiving, there is still time to close out 2013 by showing your appreciation.    While holiday cards and gifts are a great way to connect directly with your customers, they can be out of reach for some budgets.

A great alternative is to send email-based communications and newsletters.  I have used Vertical Response, Constant Contact and iContact, and can tell you the best application by far is iContact.    Pricing for one of these subscriptions can vary significantly depending upon how many contacts you have in your database.    There is, however, a free alternative.   MailChimp is a great program that allows you to upload up to 2,000 contacts and send them unlimited emails.  Of course you don’t want to bombard your client-base; I would recommend sending monthly or bi-monthly communications.

Every business has a lot to communicate.    You need to make your clients aware of what is happening in your industry, what new services you are offering, what awards/recognitions your business has received, what’s happening in your community, why your services have value, and much more.

As we all know, timing is everything, and being in front of your clients and prospects on a regular, monthly basis does pay off.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to learn new software, Southeastern Admin has the experience that can help you get your monthly campaign going by:

  • uploading your contacts
  • create appropriate lists for your market segments
  • create eye-catching email templates that match your business and branding
  • add in links back to your website and social media; and
  • create original content.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to thank you customers for their business!

Lora Zibman

Southeastern Admin, the small business administrative solution

www.SoutheasternAdmin.com  |  770-609-0904

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Your Online Presence

Getting Startedwww

Mike Remer with LocallyVisible shared some tips to quickly check your online presence and ratings.

If you’re just starting out and want to list your business, where to start?   Mike recommends starting with Google, Google PlusYahoo and Bing.  Other good directory sites are Yelp, Insider Pages, CitySearch, Kudzu, Manta, Mapquest, YellowPages, SuperPages, Foursquare and Angie’s List (you can create free business listing).

Make sure that you are listing your business information consistently and accurately.   For Google, listing is not instantaneous.   They will mail a postcard containing a PIN to the address you list as your business, which you will have to enter on the set up site to verify that you are the owner of the business.  This can take up to 5 business days.

Check Your Listing & Reviews

If you’ve been in business for a while and want to make sure that your business is listed correctly and check your online reputation, go to http://I-GM.com/reputationreport.   Just enter in your business phone number, and this site will quickly check your listing on major sites and provide a quick snapshot on how your company has been reviewed by your customers.

Reviews are very important.  How many people do you know who search for local services online exclusively?   If you have a choice between a provider with 5 stars and 30+ reviews, and one with 1-2 reviews with 3 stars, which would you choose?

Encourage your customers to review your business on sites you choose.  A follow up customer satisfaction survey might be a great way for you to understand how your business is perceived, collect quotes, and allow you the opportunity to ask your clients to review you online as well.   You can create a free survey using SurveyMonkey.  You can also create a free email / newsletter broadcast, asking your customers to review your business using MailChimp.  Or, you can use the services of a professional company like LocallyVisible, who can do it all for you, including assisting you with addressing any negative feedback you might encounter online.

If you’re a client of Southeastern Admin, you can review our services here.

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Content For Facebook – Fast!

This month I wanted to talk about the advantages of using an RSS (Rich Site Summary) Feed Reader.

rss feed

We’re all busy, and Facebook can become a chore.  If you frequently visit the same sites for content for your Facebook reposts, or if you sign up for their newsletters which then clogs up your inbox, STOP!

If the site or blog that you frequent offers RSS feeds, use them to consolidate all new articles into a single Reader site.   This way, you just log into one site and pull off all the content you need in seconds versus minutes.   You will know it’s fresh (no more posting 3 day old articles) and you won’t get sidetracked.  It’s easy to get lost once you hit a trade website, clicking on other articles that have nothing to do with what you want to post.

You can categorize the feeding sources, so if you post about banking and, more specifically about lending, you can create separate categories.  You can also create personal categories to stay up-to-date with your interests/hobbies.   Then just find the right article, open it, copy the URL and post to your page – easy peasy!

A friendly reminder that if you use posted content for your blog, plagiarism is a no-no!   We all know that it takes quite a while and focused-thought to create a blog post.  If you repost someone else’s content, you need to give them full credit as well as linking back to the original article. You can though, use the feeds to find news trends and then write about that subject from your own perspective.  Don’t forget to activate RSS feeds on your own site as well to gain more traffic and exposure.

If you’re already familiar with RSS feeds, then you undoubtedly know that Google is pulling the plug on it’s Reader.   If you haven’t already migrated from Google, you need to do so before July 1st.

A great, free Reader is Feedly. This is feed site only.  You can also migrate your Google feeds to Feedly.   For directions, click here.   Again, make sure you move them somewhere before July 1st.  There are a lot more Readers out there, so look around and find one that best suits your needs.

If you were an iGoogle user, I found an article listing other alternatives that you might want to check out.  I might blog about one of these later.   I am so disappointed that they are doing away with the feeds – I used iGoogle to keep all my information on one page (my feeds, Gmail, Google Calendar, Facebook, etc.).

Still don’t think you have the time?   Call Southeastern Admin to manage your Facebook and Blog posts.

Lora Zibman

http://www.SoutheasternAdmin.com | 770-609-0904

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Mashable – Pinterest for Social Media

Before I opened my business, I never had a Facebook account, never bloggedmashable, never had anything to do with social media!

Like a lot of people, I thought that it would just be an invasion of my privacy.  I had (and still have) no burning desire to tell people if I was feeling happy or sad during a particular moment – can you say TMI!

However, as I began networking and introducing my company and services, the first question people usually asked  was, “Do you do social media?”.   I can now say with confidence, “Yes”!  Social media is a great business tool, a great way to stay connected with your clients, and – hate to admit it – addicting and fun if you like to be creative.

One of the best sites for the latest social media news is Mashable.   When you go to the Social Media page, it looks a lot like a Pinterest Board.    Mashable is the largest independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology, and claims to have 13+ million unique visitors each month.

If you haven’t been there yet, check it out and learn something new.

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Great Tips for Public Speaking

Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely abhor speaking to a group.   One on one, I’m totally fine, but when the room gets quiet and everyone is focused just one me?  Panic!!

I found these basic public speaking tips and have been using them.   Guess what?  They work!

To overcome nervousness, know your subject and your speech.   If you’re going to be speaking about a particular subject, you need to know what you’re taking about and be prepared for questions.   Read all the information you find on the subject and become an authority.   There’s nothing worse than listening to someone speak about a subject that you know more about than the speaker. MicrophoneMake sure your speech has a message/point.  If you don’t know the point, your audience won’t either.

Master your presentation by practice, practice, practice.   Rehearse the difficult parts until you get your whole speech down pat, and you can recite by rote.  Most important, make sure you know the order of the messages.  If you mess up and skip a point, you will be able to get back on track quickly.

Know your audience and the venue.   If you’re speaking about a technical subject, will your audience know your technical jargon?   If you use industry phrases and terms that no one in the room has a clue about, you’ve lost them.   Will there be a culture, age, industry similarity in your audience?  If so, know what would be appealing to those people in your speech.   If you’re speaking to a group of senior citizens, including a reference to Justin Bieber might not be appropriate.  Similarly, if you’re speaking to a group of people where English is their second language, you might want make sure to speak slower and limit the use of slang.

Where will the speech take place?  Do you need to have a contingency plan for rain?   Do you need to have a screen for a PowerPoint presentation?  If it’s a large area, will you need a microphone?   If you’re a soft speaker or everyone’s going to be clinking dinnerware during your speech, you might need a microphone even for smaller spaces.  Being properly prepare will reduce distractions for you and your audience.

Never apologize.    If you make a minor mistake, chances are that your audience won’t even know.   Just find your way back on track and make your next point.   The apology will take more away from your speech.   Remember people generally want you to do well.

Focus on your message, not on yourself.  This is the most important thing to remember.  You’re giving this speech for a reason – to relay important information that your audience wants to hear.   They did not come for you in particular (unless you are already a star), they came for the message.   If you keep this in your forethought, then it will help you relax and stay focused on the message, not on the delivery.

Lora Zibman | Southeastern Admin.com

http://www.SoutheasternAdmin.com

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LinkedIn InMail Messages That Get Results

I found this posting on Ere.net.    Great advice here so, as always, thought I’d share!

LinkedIn InMail Messages That Get Results

by David Anderson  Apr 11, 2013, 5:30 am ET

linked-in

A common mistake I see LinkedIn users making is not keeping InMail and invitations personal. In other words, don’t use InMail as another direct marketing message. It shouldn’t feel like another piece of spam for cheap prescription meds. If it does, you’re doing it wrong.

LinkedIn with its InMail tool does a good job of allowing you to create targeted, meaningful messages and save them as templates for tracking and future use. The following list will help you craft messages that get results.

I commonly get over 35% response rates on messages I send.

  1. Write a compelling subject line.
  2. Don’t assume too much. I’ve even written something like, “Forgive me if I’m missing the mark here…”  Be a little bit vulnerable.
  3. Ask for help. LinkedIn is a community of professionals who like good karma and are willing to help because they know somewhere along the line the favor will be returned. Plant and harvest later or elsewhere.
  4. Identify the connection you have with the person(s) and reference it in the opening lines of your message.
  5. Be casual and personable, but not gimmicky.
  6. Tell them where, when, and what — the what being the most important thing your organization is trying to achieve with this position. In other words, the key performance objective.
  7. Promote your employee value propositionor the best one or two things about a career with your company.
  8. Don’t include the job description or tell them too much. Include just enough to appeal enough to their interest or willingness to help in order to create a dialogue.
  9. Ask for a brief dialog over email, chat, or an old-fashioned phone call.
  10. Ask for referrals if the opportunity is not right for them.
  11. Ask for a direct connection and offer to help them in any way at any time.

Here’s a sample InMail message containing these elements…

Subject Line: (Specify the industry) Career Connections

  1. Tell  them why you’re contacting them and ask for help: I reviewed your profile today and found we share some commonalities in the (industry). Forgive me if I’m off target here, but I thought you might be able to help.
  2. Specify the position, location, and the key performance objective: We’re looking for a (insert position/skill set) in (insert location) — ideally someone with experience in (type of work/processes/technology) and who can (paint a picture using the most important position performance objective — or the most important thing one could achieve in the position and how it will make a difference).
  3. Promote your EVP: The best thing about working for us is that you (insert the best thing and make it personal).
  4. Ask for a dialog: Let me know if you have interest and we can talk live.
  5. Ask for referrals: If the timing or fit is not right, please let me know who you recommend.  
  6. Ask for a direct connect: Also, please connect with me directly (insert email address). Perhaps I can be of help to you in the future. 

Other tips for continued LinkedIn Recruiter sourcing success:

  • Save your message as a template and track its results in LinkedIn Recruiter Reports.
  • Connect directly with those who reply to your message, even if the opportunity is not right for them. By connecting you may be able to be of help to them in the future.
  • Look through their connections for those who have similar skill sets and ask for an introduction.
  • Save your search and go back later and see which of the top potentials did not respond. Perhaps they have not visited LinkedIn in a while or maybe they’ve been on vacation. In this case, call for them directly at the company where they work.

Thirty-five percent may not sound like much, but keep in mind targeted direct mail (that paper stuff we get in our mail boxes) only gets a 4% rate of response. I’m sure some of you do even better, which is great. If so, I hope you will comment with your best practices.

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Marketing Focus

Thank you for the positive response from last month’s Newsletter.  To follow up, we thought we’d provide you with a Marketing Plan Template to help get you started on the path to great marketing and keep you focused.

Click here for your free Marketing Plan Template, and make sure to frequently check our blog and Facebook pages for more tips and resources.

YOUR MARKETING PLANMARKETING FOCUS
Your day-to-day business marketing activities are likely to be focused on communicating with potential and existing customers.     A Marketing Plan sets out how you will put your strategy into place and will help you stay focused.  Be sure that your Business Plan and your Marketing Plan are in sync.

Set Objectives, Budgets and Deadlines
An effective Marketing Plan must set clear objectives that will help you toward your long-term strategic goals.

Timing
Start by building a schedule by identifying key times of the year when customers plan the next year’s budget or seasonal purchasing peaks.  Examples would be Spring and Summer breaks if you run an auto shop, or Christmas if you run a gift basket business.  Time your marketing campaigns to fit with these dates and look for other opportunities, such as trade shows.  If there are significant gaps in your marketing schedule, fill them out with cost-effective activities to help maintain customer awareness (newsletters, email or mailing campaigns, etc.)

If you rely heavily on a small number of crucial customers, consider developing individual account management plans for them.   Key accounts merit regular personal contact (phone calls, meetings, business entertainment, etc.).

Marketing Mix
In addition to marketing communications, your Plan should span the full mix of marketing activities.  An example might be developing new products and/or building your distribution network.   You will also need to plan for any price increases or tactical moves, such as an end-of-season sale.

Be sure to note in your Plan whether you intend to give your staff sales training or introduce new CRM (customer relationship management) technology.  Maybe you need to find more efficient systems or measure customer satisfaction.  Including activities like these in your Plan helps ensure that they are identified as priorities, and that you dedicate time and money to them.

Branding Considerations
Branding is more than your choice of corporate color, logo and catch-phrase.   Branding is best defined as your customers’ experience when they engage with your business, so it extends to such things as how you and your employees dress, how you greet your customers and email communication – the entire experience!

Think of branding in terms of a restaurant that you frequent. You go there because you know what’s on the menu, what it will taste like, what type of service you will receive, and how much it will cost you.   It’s the same for your customers.

Before you can develop your brand identity, you need to be sure that what you want to tell your customers about your business and your offer matches what your target customer segment wants, and what you can actually deliver. Successful businesses realize the importance of having a world-class brand and making full use of its potential.

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