Social Media Cheat Sheet
April 6, 2013 No comments
3 Apps to simplify your life
February 14, 2013 2 comments
As a technologist techie and gadget freak, I’ve always been an app fanatic. These are my favorites, Asana, a to do list app, EEBA a budgeting app and Anylist a shopping list app and here’s why:
As a power Microsoft office user, former teacher and staunch advocate, it pained me to move to apple and a macbook pro. The angst lasted for about five minutes. The thing I did miss most though was my to do list and the ability to drag and drop from mail to calendar to tasks and around. It created the ultimate flexibility in information management. So while I quickly grew to love my mac it really frustrated me to revert to little pieces of paper to keep my tasks. Some apple forums discussed neat tricks like creating all day calendar items for each task and then moving them into the timeslot in which they belong. That works save for the fact that you don’t get a reminder that you were supposed to have done something last week and you forgot. Hello Asana! I found it when my frustration of managing 6 projects and being a mom hit an all time high. The best thing about Asana is that it’s free up to 30 collaborators and available both on your phone and on the cloud via desktop. It is phenomenal at collaboration and provides all the reminders you need, it even synchronizes with a calendar. It allows me to invite clients only to their portion of a project so that they can see what’s happening, what are the tasks associated with their project and what are the due dates. This saves me from having to create a separate document or provide an update, as it emails them any time I’ve updated a task to which I’ve invited them, and it’s completely intuitive. Despite my Microsoft expertise, I struggled in the early days with the mac, to me it wasn’t so intuitive, so Asana is definitely silly proof.
The first time I saw the ad for the new banking application Virtual Wallet by PNC Bank I was insanely jealous! Why couldn’t I have that, the ability to manage my finances on my phone, and budget from a perspective of what I’ve allocated and not what I’ve spent. By the time you’ve spent it, the damange is done. EEBA has been a Godsend. You fill your envelopes every month with your income, you enter very easily every time you spend something and indicate which envelope and voila! Money Management. It’s been great for me as I’m seeing patterns and opportunities for saving long term by cutting back in certain areas and being more realistic in others.
EEBA incorporates your bank accounts although I’ve not enabled that functionality. My accounts are in different currencies so I thought that might confuse it, but I shall try it and provide an update. The app also allows you to share the app with your family members so that if you’re working from one household budget and someone spends from “Takeout” for instance, you know right away.
I’ve used a number of grocery store list applications, I won’t name some of them as many were frustrating and overly complex in their execution. Anylist on the otherhand anticipates what you’re typing pulls from a master list that they already have which is so obvious I don’t know why the others aren’t all doing at least that, and it sorts your list into the areas of the grocery t hat you have to go to get it, so that you don’t realize you need milk three aisles after you’ve passed dairy. It has also been updated to manage multiple lists so that you can do a separate one for pharmacy, hardware store, mega store or shopping abroad, and it’s shareable.
I’ve discovered if you need it and can think of it you can find an app to do it, and if you can’t find it, you might have just stumbled upon the next big business idea. Multiple online services can help you create your dream app, we can help you prepare the plan and beta test it.
With this arsenal of new apps at my fingertips I should be ultra over organized, if only I could get all of my bills and statements solely electronically I could save a forest of trees and never see a piece of paper again. Maybe that’s the next blog, how to save the earth one app at a time.
3 Reasons Your Business Needs a Facebook Page
by Nicholas Mayne, Domayne Social
Many small business owners believe that a website is the only digital presence needed to represent their firm, inform and acquire prospective clients. Whether you have a website, or are considering Facebook as an alternative here are four reasons why Facebook may be the only presence your business needs. Facebook is social, targeted and cost effective advertising, and most importantly has the ability to increase the depth of your interaction with your client.
1. Social - First and foremost Facebook is social. Which means that you can facilitate two-way communication between yourself and your prospective client. Websites are notorious for being static and lacking opportunity for true interaction. Facebook on the other hand, is built for exchange. It’s a natural extension of people’s propensity to tell a friend when they receive exceptional service and it’s so simple. Unlike a blog where you start most of the dialogue, Facebook puts the power in the hands of your customers and friends to start the conversation on your behalf. Good or bad, people get a sense of your personality as a business and how you deal with things.
You can actually sit back and see the recent activity happening on your page, as customers share photos, information and interests surrounding your product or solution. Your prospective client evolves from an anonymous visitor, to a real person that you and your community can interact with.
Anything posted on your Facebook page can be shared by anyone. The importance of this is that you can generate massive exposure for your business simply by posting content that is useful to your followers. If your content is shared it takes on a life of its own, with it, your company logo and name with no limit to where it may reach. Your brand recognition grows as the conversation continues. Whenever something you post is responded to through a like or comment, the impact is exponential, it shows up in countless newsfeeds.
2. Targeted and cost effective Advertising – With over 1 billion+ users, millions accessing their pages every day every possible demographic is tapped. The beauty of Facebook advertising is that you have the ability to target your ads to a very specific audience based on criteria such as gender, location, age, family status, interests, device used to log into Facebook (e.g. smartphone, desktop, tablet) etc. Also, you can also limit your advertising to friends of your current followers accessing new customers who may have heard about you through their friends already.
So if your target market is Caribbean Entrepreneurs between the ages of 25-50 who list CARICOM and investing as an interest on their Facebook profile, you are in a position to engage them directly with your services. It is far more precise and cost effective than other mass marketing options.
3. Deepens Relationships – The Facebook platform can be customized in a number of different ways through Facebook and third party applications. Your Facebook presence can have a web type experience while still having a number of different opportunities for you to be interactive. Beyond just posting on your wall you can host a Q&A session to develop relationships and understand what your prospective clients real needs are. As a means of engagement prospective clients can private message you a question they need answered. You can steer the client in the right direction, and then urge them to sign up for a paid consultation to get more detailed and customized information based on specifics.
You are able to make your client, a better client. For example, An intellectual property attorney client of mine, regularly posts IP law advice and information on a custom Facebook page we created for him. Given all of the information available on his page, by the time a prospective client decides to engage with his firm for legal services, they are already familiar with the laws that apply to their situation. They’re able to ask smarter and more relevant questions providing the attorney the opportunity to accomplish more with each interaction.
Social marketing is now, if your business doesn’t have a Facebook presence it needs one. Similar to the invention of the telephone, fax machine, radio, TV, and e-mail, social marketing is simply the next step.
Nicholas Mayne is founder of Domayne Social, a consulting firm helping small businesses take advantage of social networking to acquire new clients and enhance business operations. Please feel free to contact him at 315-527-0227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheap, Quick, Quality Website in 6 Simple Steps
I’m sure you didn’t think it was possible, to have a cheap, quick quality website, as it turns out, you can have your cake and eat it too.
I’d once heard that you can get cheap and quick, without quality, quick and quality, but not cheap, or cheap and quality but not quickly never all three. Either you get it quick and cheap but the quality suffers, it’s great and inexpensive but takes long, or quick and great quality but expensive. That doesn’t apply to websites, not any more. These days, you can have it all.
Using the 6 simple steps below you can have a quality website, quickly without a huge investment.
1. Strategy - Evaluate your strategy, what are you using the web presence for. Once you determine what that is, the process of having a website up and running is extremely simple.
2. Website or Simple Blog – Determine do you really need a website. In the current times of giving to get, and by that I mean Blogging, if the primary function of your website will be to share information and facilitate easy updating then I strongly recommend that you use a Blog. WordPress is my favourite template, it’s easy to use and even easier to update. You don’t have to be particularly web savvy. If you’re going to use a WordPress Blog then pick a free theme, buy a premium theme, or pay for customization, either way it will run you under $150USD. You can have different pages and a reasonably sophisticated menu system, and if that’s all you need then you could be set up in under an hour. There’s even an option to purchase your domain from WordPress so that your blog can appear at www.mycooldomainname.com or whatever you choose.
3. Website Template - If you must have a website, then unless your requirements are super sophisticated, I’d suggest you use a template and a cheap service to update it. www.TemplateMonster.com is my favourite to find a great selection of templates. It lets you search by service, key words, colours and/or format so you can easily identify the right template to use. Just about all of the elements are changeable so if you find something close to what you need then go with it.
4. Photography selection - If the site is fantastic but you’re not crazy about the images they’ve used try www.istockphoto.com for some lovely pictures that are also easy to search and find.
5. Resourcing - Finally to update it, post on elance, you can find thousands of suppliers ready and willing to assist you in completing and uploading your new site.
6. Instruction Template - I used the following template form that I created in order to provide the page-by-page text and images in order to update the site. It includes an example of the type of instructions.Website Template Completion Instructions
These instructions were sufficiently brief. If you need more detailed instructions in any area, please feel free to write to me.
5 Must have sales tools critical to successful selling
You wouldn’t go into battle unarmed and you never see a doctor without a stethoscope? So then why would you send sales people into customers without the tools and materials that they need to be successful? Far too many organizations focus on hiring the right sales team, which is really important but what is equally important is that they have the tools necessary to sell and close efficiently making the best use of their time. Taking for granted that they have the basics which I consider to be business cards, a smartphone, a computer and the company website. There’s simply no excuse for not having a website. These three can make or break your sales targets:
- Commission Plan & Target – Steven Covey was right in the 7 steps, put first things first. If your sales team doesn’t have an incentive plan they don’t really know what you consider is important. Targets are hard wired into sales people’s DNA. You get the kind of performance that you create an incentive around, which doesn’t mean that you have to create an incentive for everything, but you do need an incentive plan to provide some direction.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – This to me is the single most important sales tool. Keep track of all of your contacts and the contact you’ve had with them, measure your deals, and measure performance against target. Keep track of all correspondence in one place. CRM is the gauge of your performance.
- Company Brochure – Certainly your sales team can articulate the basics of what you have to offer, however, a brochure, collateral material or leave behind is critical to your sales team’s success. Most buyers forget most of what you say by the time you leave. A brochure serves as a colourful and pesky reminder of your offering and early conversation. The trick is to create a brochure that speaks to your value proposition the way that your best sales people would. It can serve as a training aid for new team members as well.
- Proposal Template – Once you finally get a client really and truly interested in a solution, you’ve assessed their needs, you’ve qualified the opportunity and determined why they simply cannot survive without your product or service you have to put it all in writing. The problem is, this can be quite a time-consuming event, robbing sale people of much needed client facing time. Worse if your team aren’t natural writers it makes executing a proposal document even more difficult. The truth of the matter is, outside of the positioning to that specific client, your proposals should be pretty standard. Proposals should include the same information about the product or service and why they should choose you. The information that differs is the positioning, configuration and price. Create a template for those things that are repeatable so that minimal time is used re-writing what has already been created. It also provides the opportunity to put your best foot forward.
- Linkedin Page – Admittedly I was one of the last people to see the merits of LinkedIn. I think it’s just not intuitive to me, so I didn’t take to it. Moreover I don’t like how most people use it as yet another opportunity to spam others. However, LinkedIn is invaluable to understand who your “six degrees of separation” are. If you’re in the Caribbean it’s less than two. If you’re polite and have a well-developed page, you can have your LinkedIn connections introduce you to potential customers. See where they’ve worked and what they consider their value proposition. When selling to a customer, a scan of their LinkedIn can tell you what their personal wins are. How quickly they’ve escalated through the organization and what their career aspirations might be. Be the person that helps them to get there with your solution.
If you have all of the above then I’ll say you’re golden, on to the next sale for you. If not, contact us, let’s see if we can help.