Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby Steps

If you’re going to move forward you can take big leaps, regular steps or baby steps. It’s fun to focus on the big leaps because that seems like the fastest, most direct way to go. I used to think that and was always percolating on what big leaps I could take and then something happened to change my point of view.
It was last year when I decided to stretch myself by entering a beauty pageant. I had never entered a beauty pageant in my life, so I had a lot to learn. One of the areas of my attention was fitness, since there was a swimsuit competition that was 25% of my scores.

For two years, I regularly attended a weightlifting class twice a week. When I decided to enter this pageant I knew I needed to step it up but I wasn’t sure how so I asked my teacher what to do. She gave me the most amazing tip. She said I should use two bars. On the first bar put my usual amount of weight, and on the second bar put that amount plus a little more. Then she advised me to start with the heavier bar and stick with it for as long as possible, switching back to the lighter bar when it got to be too much.

I followed her advice and in a very short amount of time I was able to do the whole class with the heavier bar. Going to that higher weight helped to sculpt my muscles, which combined with watching my diet gave me a defined, strong, physique so that I rocked that swimsuit competition and took home the fitness award.

The coolest part though, was that it all happened not from a Big Leap, like grabbing some huge heavy weight and trying to pump that. That would have just given me injuries and set me back. No, it was the baby step of adding just a bit more weight and then just a bit more after that that did the trick.

The older I get the more I see the incredible power in baby steps and I think it's because they are so sneaky. They're so easy and do-able that it's hard for our minds to get involved and start talking us out of things. Baby steps build on what is already happening in a way that's so subtle we hardly notice. Baby steps are like a cute little toy you want to play with. They're non-threatening and fun, yet the results they can produce are astonishing.

TIP: The next time you’re brainstorming action, start small with questions like, “What baby step can I take to move me closer to my goal today?”, or “What one small thing can I do right now that will be the very best use of my time?” Notice what you come up with, and what results it produces.

© 2010 Barbara Wayman, APR, BlueTree Media, all rights reserved

Barbara Wayman, APR, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning monthly ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at http://BlueTreeMedia.com

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Smile! You’re On Camera!

We all know that person who ducks for cover every time a camera comes out. Maybe you even are that person. With the explosion of social media and online communities, it is getting harder and harder to not have a flattering headshot. There just seems to be more and more call for using one for both professional and personal pursuits. To stop hiding behind avatars of flowers or your children, follow these simple tips:

1. Decide that you should have an attractive headshot for no other reason than you deserve it. There’s a reason why makeover shows often culminate in photo shoots. It’s remarkable how seeing yourself reflected can shape your self-image and self-confidence. If you haven’t had a professional photo taken since high school, you might be surprised at how it makes you feel.

2. Tear our pictures of pictures that appeal to you. Maybe it’s the lighting, maybe it’s the makeup. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re outdoors and look happy. Don’t try to figure it out – just hang on to them and keep them in a file. When you’re ready, you and your photographer will use them to help arrange a shoot that is likely to give you the results you want.

3. Pick a photographer whose work you like. To find one, call up some local modeling agencies and ask them who they recommend. Many photographers offer basic packages and clearly spell out how many looks and images you’ll receive for what price. Often a professional makeup artist and hair service is included.

4. Make the most of the shoot. Play music, wear your favorite clothes, bring friends or no one, whatever it takes to make you feel happy and comfortable. Schedule enough time so that you don’t feel rushed. If you’re really stretching outside your comfort zone, schedule a celebration drink with friends afterwards.

5. Use your resulting images widely – Post them on your social media accounts, use them in your marketing and public relations, have them on your website, as avatars in comments you post to blogs and maybe even on your business card. Your headshot is one more way for people to connect with you and feel comfortable with you. Enjoy having one that you’re proud of.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at http://www.bluetreemedia.com

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.

©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Trade Show Tips and Tricks

Has this ever happened to you? You decide to participate in a trade show so you print a stack of pricey brochures, spend three days shaking hands and afterwards you’re not really sure what you accomplished. Here are some tips I recommend to my clients to make the most of their trade show investments.

1. Have a goal – like any other business tactic, you’ll get better results if you begin with the end in mind. Are you going to the trade show to meet new prospects? To launch a new product? To take a leadership role in your industry? Know what you’re there to do and then set up every aspect your participation to support that.

2. Have a theme – the best show booths convey a message before the visitor even approaches. Assigning a creative theme to your booth can help you come up with great ideas to support your show costumes, promotional giveaways and handout materials. It is also a valuable ice-breaker. For example, if you’re a travel agent and you want to showcase your Caribbean products, play steel drum music, wear Hawaiian shirts and hand out pineapple shaped pens. You’ll get the message across.

3. Train your staff – Make sure everyone knows what they’re there to do and can talk knowledgably about your company, product and service.

4. Take advantage of the pre- and post- show windows – It doesn’t cost much to send out a mailer with a special offer inviting people to your booth before the show. Contacting people before and after adds only a small amount to your overall costs, but can deliver a big impact.

5. Quickly identify serious prospects vs. “lookie loo’s” – Trade shows are dynamic environments and the fact is you won’t have time to have in-depth conversations with everyone. Use some questions that help you sort out where to focus your time, and know how to send folks who are just looking on their way feeling good.

6. Follow up with your leads – I know this one seems obvious but you would be shocked at how many companies fail to follow up at all with the potential clients they met.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at http://www.bluetreemedia.com

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.

©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Top 7 Marketing Mistakes New Consultants Make

Becoming self-employed can be liberating, exhilarating, frustrating and terrifying. Often all at the same time. Most entrepreneurs I meet know they need to be doing marketing. They just often lack a clear sense of what marketing is, or they have no idea where to start. Here are the seven most common mistakes I see new business owners making with their marketing (and how to fix them):

1. They don’t do any – New consultants tend to focus their attention on the skill they offer their clients. Usually they are very talented at that skill, they’re just not talented at talking with people about it, or explaining how it will help others. If you aren’t doing any marketing don’t be surprised if the world does not beat a path to your door. People won’t know you’re out there if they never hear about you.
2. They market inconsistently – Although it’s better than not doing any, marketing in a hit-or-miss manner is not a recipe for success. Massive brands like Coke and McDonalds didn’t get that way by approaching their marketing as an afterthought. Without consistent effort it is difficult to stay top-of-mind.
3. They have no plan – It takes a plan to identify the best opportunities and timing to reach your ideal customer. Drafting an annual marketing plan forces you to identify your goals, target audience, geographic market, key messages and the tactics you will use to spread the word. Don’t skip this step.
4. They fail to delegate it – As a business owner you wear many hats but it doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. There are lots of administrative assistants, virtual assistants and interns who can take many of the basic tasks of marketing off your plate, freeing you to focus on serving customers and selling.
5. They fail to fund it – While some tactics like social media require only time and no money, other marketing initiatives do require funds. Take a look at your expected revenues and determine an appropriate amount to invest. By seeing your budget as a whole you can better invest those dollars wisely.
6. They see it as an expense and not an investment – When done correctly, marketing is an investment, not an expense. It’s not like your rent which flows out every month never to be seen again. The dollars you spend finding the right people and letting them know about you should flow back to you in the form of new business.
7. They expect immediate results – Marketing is both an art and a science. There is no one silver bullet that will completely provide you with all the business you could ever want. It takes time for your target customer to feel ready to buy, so commit to a long-term view to get the best results in marketing your consulting business.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at http://www.bluetreemedia.com

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.

©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

7 Most Powerful Sales Questions

Do you know the difference between a crocodile salesperson and an elephant salesperson? The crocodile salesperson is all mouth, no ears. The elephant sales person is all ears, little mouth.

If you spend all your time talking, you miss the chance to hear what your prospect is thinking and wanting, which is a surefire way to miss making the sale. Recently Jessika Ferm of J.Ferm, LLC and I came up with our top seven questions that can best draw out what is motivating your prospects to buy.

1. What are your goals? –If you don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish, how can you know if you can help them? Don’t assume you know what is motivating your prospect right now. Let them tell you. You might be completely surprised by the real reasons.

2. If you reach your goals by using our product/service how would your life/business be different? – Let the prospect identify the benefits that matter most. This question also help you determine if you can realistically help.


3. What is one of your most important challenges right now? – Pain
problems are bigger motivators than gain problems. It would be nice to upgrade the kitchen sink, but it’s more likely to happen when it’s sprung a leak. Find out what pain problems are motivating your prospect.

4. How long has this been a problem? – It’s helpful to understand how big of a pain the problem is.

5. What have you done so far? – Knowing what has and hasn’t worked may help shape your approach toward a solution.


6. Why is it important to you to act on it right now? – Sometimes people are motivated, sometimes they’re not. As a salesperson, it is extremely helpful for you to know which of your prospects is ready to buy. If it isn’t the right time and they’re not motivated, the best thing might be to work out a plan to keep in touch, rather than try to force things.

7. What is the cost of things remaining the same? – We all tend to focus on the cost of things, but doing nothing also has a cost. This question is a good reminder of that.

Remember, don’t just ask the question, really listen to the answer. As an action step, try picking something from the list above and using it with your next prospect. Notice what happens.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at http://www.bluetreemedia.com

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.

©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Video

This quick video shares a habit that is key to success.
video

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Master This Habit To Soar

I once read a story about a boy who received a very expensive art kit from his grandparents for his birthday. He loved art so he saved the kit for when he felt like he was a better artist. Finally one day he went to get the kit and couldn’t find it. He asked his mother if she’d seen it and she said, “Oh, you never used that so I figured you didn’t want it and gave it away.”

The universe works a lot like that boy’s mother. If you receive amazing gifts and then ignore them, it figures you didn’t want that and doesn’t bother sending you more. That’s why a key habit to master in life is celebration. Regularly celebrating the good in your life is an incredibly powerful way to increase the amount of good in your life. Why?

1. It forces you to notice the good. How many times have you been halfway through a meal before you even begin to slow down and taste it? To experience wonderful things you have to involve your consciousness.
2. It bonds you to those closest to you. Recent research indicated the happiest couples were those who responded positively to their partner’s success. That one factor was the strongest predictor of current and future satisfaction in the relationship. Sharing your wins allows your relationships to grow closer.
3. It shows you what you want more of. We Americans are so into keeping up with the Joneses that sometimes we aren’t sure of what it is we want most. By noticing what gets you the most excited and really lights you up, you’ll be better able to recognize the handful of things that bring you the most happiness, which will allow you and others to guide more of it your way.
4. It prevents burn-out. Life quickly becomes a joyless hamster wheel if you finish one big win and immediately turn to the next challenge with no acknowledgement or break. Taking a moment to realize what you’ve done is a major way to start the next project with fresh, positive energy.

The next time you land a big account, get a new job, receive an award or even just make a really difficult phone call, acknowledge yourself, share the news and find a way to celebrate. Your future will thank you.


© 2010 Barbara Wayman, APR, BlueTree Media, all rights reserved

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Help! There’s a Reporter on the Line!

Business owners and professionals can feel a stab of fear when the media comes calling. “Will they make me look like an idiot?” “Will they misquote me?” “What if I say something really stupid?” These are common thoughts before answering a media request.

As a PR person who trains clients on how to gracefully and powerfully interact with the media, here are some tips on how to make the most of the opportunity media attention provides.

1. Take a deep breath. Recognize that fearful thoughts are completely normal when stepping into uncharted territory. The media would not be calling you if they didn’t think you had something of interest to share.

2. Organize your thoughts. Before calling the reporter back, take a moment to think about what your goals are for the conversation. Do you have a main point you want to get across? You should.

3. Keep it simple. Today’s media coverage is concise and snappy. Make your remarks succinct and memorable. If there are areas where you feel vague, practice until you can sharply clarify your message.

4. It’s okay to say “I don’t know.” No one knows everything. If you are asked a question you don’t have the answer to, simply say so without undue apology. Offer to track down the information and forward it by email.

5. It’s okay to not talk about everything. While transparency can be a powerful tool in enhancing a corporate reputation, it is not always possible or appropriate. If you’re asked something you’re not able to talk about, simply tell the reporter by saying something like, “Our policy is not to release our sales figures,” or “I’m not able to disclose that, however I can tell you….”

With these tips, your media interview will help you and your company to truly shine in the spotlight.

©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

5 Great Ways to Create Bad PR Outcomes

“Failure is not the only punishment for laziness. There is also the success of others.”
--Jules Renard

I’ve been working in PR for over 15 years, so you can bet I’ve got some expert thoughts in how to make the absolute worst PR decisions possible. Below are my top 5 ways to ensure the worst PR outcomes.

1. Be inconsistent in your messages. Sure, big successful companies come up with a clear platform of messages around their product that they use over and over again, but that’s so boring. Rework your key messages frequently and make sure they change radically. Use lots of industry lingo too, to make your messages obscure. People should have to work to be able to understand who you are and what you stand for. Don’t make it so easy on them.

2. Hire a professional PR firm but don’t listen to them. It’s true, you weren’t getting great results on your own, which is why you hired the professionals in the first place. But once they start getting results, (or even before), decide that you know better and over-rule their recommendations.

3. Only reach out to the media when you want something. Don’t bother to familiarize yourself with media outlets. They won’t notice. And take your time responding to media requests. They overstate the importance of deadlines anyway. Operate your media relations on a sporadic basis, and only when it suits you. Keep your focus on how mighty and important you are.

4. Don’t work from an annual plan. Shoot from the hip. Planning is too fussy and besides things are always changing anyway. It’s more fun to make decisions about what people think about your company on the fly.

5. Don’t respond to your PR firm in a timely manner but still expect them to produce quality deliverables on time. They can pick up your brainwaves. After all, telepathy is a valid means of communications in many movies.

I suppose that by now you’ve noticed that my tongue is firmly in my cheek for this list, but I truly have seen people implement these tactics and still expect great results. Don’t let that be you.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Should You Be Famous? How Editorial Calendars Can Help

“It is just the little touches after the average man would quit that make the master’s fame.”
--Orison Swett Marden

Those of you who would welcome media coverage of your company but are not sure how to get started, let me give you a great tip: editorial calendars.

What's an editorial calendar? Simply a written plan of topics a media outlet will be covering in a given year. Many of the publications you read most often have editorial calendars they work from, as it gives them a structure to plan their content.

What can this mean for you? Well, if you can get your hands on a media outlet's editorial calendar, you can scan it to see where a story that mentions your company would best fit. So if you manufacture silk, you'd be a good candidate for planned coverage under manufacturing companies, home d├ęcor or maybe a fashion feature.

The media is generally more receptive to story ideas that fill their needs. If you can call and say, "I've got an idea for your June issue on fashion about special silks being manufactured here in Pittsburgh, Kansas," you will stand a better chance of capturing their interest than if you called and said “Hi I run a silk manufacturing firm here in town and think you should do a feature story on my company.” Remember the old adage, WIIFM, or “what’s in it for me?” Editorial calendars give you a shortcut to exactly what a media outlet is looking for, so that you can help provide it.

Many publications post their editorial calendars online. If you don't see it there, call and ask if they can email or mail it to you. Look for places where an upcoming topic matches your product or service and make your pitch.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at www.bluetreemedia.com/ezine.html

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.
©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Conditions Aren’t Perfect. Market Anyway.

“In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.”
--Miyamoto Musashi

You can hear it every time you turn on the television. You can feel it emanating from those you work with. Perhaps it even keeps you up at night: fear. Fear of our uncertain economy, of loss, of what the future holds. Because we’re going through a state of flux right now, many people have adopted a siege mentality, hunkered down in a metaphorical bunker, waiting for the challenging times to pass by.

While that approach seems safe, it really isn’t and here’s why: the siege mentality is ruled by fear, which leads to indecision, which leads to inaction. Inaction is the kiss of death for any company’s growth and success.

Now is the time to invest strategically in those things that offer the greatest potential return for your business, your skills and your life. Eventually the economy will pick up and when it does, the ones who have been continuing to turn the flywheel of marketing will be in the best position to ride the wave.

The truth is, conditions are never completely perfect. I used to think I had to have a complete strategic plan before undertaking even small marketing initiatives for my business, and while strategic planning is important, so is action. Now I understand the importance of taking consistent action during good and bad times.

• TIP: Notice what causes your fear to increase and then take steps to decrease or eliminate those things. Consider new habits, like turning off toxic, sensationalistic television news shows and getting your news from the Internet or avoiding friends who share “doom and gloom” stories and spending more time with optimistic people. Brainstorm small, inexpensive marketing tasks that can keep your flywheel turning.

©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

Barbara Wayman, APR, helps companies identify and deliver their messages to the right people. She is president of BlueTree Media, LLC, based in Dublin, Ohio. To learn more about these concepts, contact us at (614) 766-6878 or Barbara@bluetreemedia.com.

Feel free to forward this newsletter but please be sure to keep our contact information.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Twitter Followers

PR expert Barbara Wayman shares her top tips to help get you more Twitter followers. video

Your Thank You Chain

“Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.”
--Gertrude Stein

It isn’t often I come across a completely novel and unique business tip that’s both powerful and simple. It happened recently when I was reading Million Dollar Networking by Andrea Nirenberg. Andrea is a master networker who came up with the thank you chain. It sounds like a fun piece of jewelry, but it represents all the people who play a role in making success possible.

Think about it – sometimes you meet someone at a networking or professional event and they become a client, vendor or whatever it is you’re looking for. But perhaps more often that person introduces you to another who may connect you to yet another before you find what you need. Each of these individuals would then become links in your chain.

Wouldn’t you be delighted to receive a handwritten note in the mail letting you know that two people you introduced at a party are now happily working together and that you’re the one who made it possible? It would make you feel great, right? Add power to your referral network by finding out how new clients heard of you and be sure to acknowledge each one. Success usually involves at least a small group, if not a crowd.

• TIP: When you win new business or solve a major problem, don’t just thank the most obvious contributor. Look closely for others who may have played a role and be sure to thank each link in the chain.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at www.bluetreemedia.com/ezine.html

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.
©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Networking Power Tips

video

Why Be On Facebook For Business?

“I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.”
--Richard Feynman

It’s the biggest social media network in the world and the second biggest website on the Internet. Over 200 million people are using Facebook regularly, which naturally leads business people to wonder if developing a presence there makes sense. The answer is probably yes.

When it comes to the online world, having a website used to be enough. You could post content to your website and drive people there and consider that a successful program. Today things have changed. You still need visitors to your website, but as more and more people spend big chunks of their online time on social media sites like Facebook, you really need to have visibility there as well. The reason is that there are only 24 hours in a day. If people are spending 30% of their online time on social networking sites, they may no longer have the time or inclination to visit your website.

I think of it as the Old West, back in the days when the first saloons were being built. You could stay on your homestead and be afraid to go down and sit in the saloon, but if you did that, you’d miss out on all the conversation and relationships you could taking place there. It’s no different with Facebook. People are becoming fans of their favorite companies and products on Facebook. They are posting comments and photos of their experiences with brands.

You need to have your content on your own website but you also must take it to the places people are gathering. If you don’t, you won’t be part of conversations that are taking place about your industry, company, product and service. Simply put, chances are your prospects and customers are on Facebook. That’s why you should be too.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at www.bluetreemedia.com/ezine.html

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.
©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What To Post On Twitter

Sometimes business users are at a loss as to what to post to their Twitter pages. Twitter used to prompt you with the question, “What are you doing?”, but that led to people posting such statements as, “I am eating a grilled cheese sandwich.” Hardly riveting information.

Recently Twitter switched its prompt question to “What’s happening?” perhaps in an attempt to guide users to broader posts. Below are my guidelines to the four main topic areas I recommend to my business clients who use Twitter.

1. Quotes and inspiring thoughts – Because of its limit to 140 characters, Twitter is the perfect place to post memes, or short ideas that transmit easily from one person to another. It can be a good practice to boil an idea down to its essence, and share the main point without any fluff.

2. Retweets and links to helpful resources – One of Twitter’s main applications is as a resource for all sorts of useful information you would not come across any other way. When you retweet other users’ posts, you validate them and help pass along good information. When people retweet your posts it showcases you to all of their followers, which in turn attracts more people to follow you. If you do nothing else but post relevant, useful information to your Twitter page you will be adding value to Twitter, your followers and your brand as well.

3. Messages to other users – Twitter is a social media, and as such it tends to attract people who are interested and open to other people. Answering questions, posting direct comments and interacting with other users is a wonderful way to build relationships and get the most out of Twitter.

4. Self-promotion and news about what you’re doing – If you’re using Twitter for business reasons, you definitely should be letting people know more about you. Just make sure it isn’t more than around 20% of your content. Too much is a turn-off because Twitter is not an advertising vehicle, it’s a community. Be on the lookout for third-party information that supports your brand – so instead of you posting, “Hey we are a great company,” you can post a link to an online testimonial one of your customers provided, letting him or her tell everyone how great you are.


This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.
©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Your Business Cards – Top 10 Blunders

They’re the most important marketing tools for any professional, yet many people continue to miss the boat when it comes to getting the most out of them. Business cards are often a company’s number one means of contact, follow-up and advertising, but they won’t work well if you are making any of these top errors with them. Run down this checklist and see if any of these apply to you.

Top 10 Business Card Blunders

1. Flimsy paper – If you can bend your card into a curving s-shape the paper stock is too thin. Business cards need to hold up well. They can’t do that if the stock is like a piece of copy paper. Invest in a more substantial card stock to be taken seriously. If your product or service is high-end or in a luxury niche, this advice goes double.

2. Lack of design or poor design – Just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you should when it comes to the look of your card. This small piece of paper is going to represent your business 24/7 with every prospect and client you ever have. Their impression will be based on how the card looks. Even if you have to work with a recent graphic design graduate, investing in quality design is well worth it.

3. Too small type – Does the recipient need to take out their bifocals to read the words on your card? If you’re any smaller than 8 point font you’re hurting people’s eyes. Stop it.

4. No social media listed, or critical info missing – It’s 2010, so if you’re using Twitter or LinkedIn for business, get that on your card. Don’t make people hunt to connect with you online. If you don’t have room on the front of your card, put this information on the back. Nowadays you are likely to have more interaction with people via your computer than in person, so make it easy on everybody. Also, have your snail mail full address somewhere on the card too. It is annoying to have to hunt that down when someone wants to send you a press clipping or a check.

5. Scissor edges – Scissor edges on business cards scream “amateur.” They’re unprofessional and make it seem like you don’t take your business seriously. If you have business cards with scissor edges, throw them away. Or at least clean up the edges with a paper cutter.

6. Obvious home printing – Obvious home printing sends the message that quality is something that doesn’t matter to you, which would make me think twice about doing business with you.

7. Vague about what you do – Does your card say you’re the Vice President of Red Run Corp? That’s great, but it doesn’t give the slightest clue what that even means. Make sure your card lets people know what industry you’re in and how your firm is different.

8. One card for multiple businesses – If you’re involved in multiple businesses have a separate card for each. There isn’t space on a business card to promote two businesses effectively. Multi-use single cards make you seem like you lack focus.

9. Inaccurate or crossed out information – If your cards are out of date, reprint them. Do not take out a pen and handwrite in new information. That is like sending your best sales rep out into the field with laryngitis.

10. Cheap – says “Vistaprint” on the back – If you’re not willing to invest $9.95 to have your card not promote Vistaprint, then why should I be willing to invest in your product or service? If spending a few hundred dollars on quality business cards that you are proud to hand out to others is not possible, then you might want to rethink your business idea.

Great business cards are the foundation of professional success. When you hand your card to people, listen to what they say. If it’s not “Wow, what a great card,” know you have room for improvement.


© 2010 BlueTree Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at http://www.bluetreemedia.com/ezine.html

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why You Need a Marketing Plan for 2010

"Good plans shape good decisions."
--Lester R. Bittel

By now I'm sure you've noticed what an amazing habit planning is. It's hard to accomplish things when we aren't exactly sure what we're doing or what success is going to look like. We are all much faster and efficient at doing tasks when we've set aside some time at the outset to think about the exact outcome we want.

Even if you've never worked with a marketing or PR plan, or even if you've never seen one, the same principle applies. Taking some time at the outset to decide what your business goals will be this year and how marketing can help you achieve them can be a very wise investment in your success.

In fact, after over 15 years of doing marketing work I'd say the number one mistake I see business people making with their marketing is failing to have a plan of any kind. I see people putting attention on their sales, on their team, on their facilities and on their customers, but not envisioning their marketing as an engine that drives it all. As a result they constantly make important decisions on the fly. This can be a huge time waster because as you have probably experienced, business owners receive a lot of unsolicited phone calls and emails related to marketing and advertising.

If you have no plan and an advertising representative calls you with an opportunity, you have no way to judge whether this opportunity will serve your business. Then tomorrow another rep calls with a different opportunity. Which one should you choose? The absence of a plan can create a lot of busy work and distraction in your day when really, if you were to sit down and write up even a basic description of your target customer, you'd be easily able to hold that up to the demographics of each opportunity and see right away if it is a fit for you.

That's why I always recommend my clients start with a strategic plan. It will save you time, money and effort as well as get you to your goal more seamlessly and more enjoyably.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at www.bluetreemedia.com/ezine.html

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©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.