At our PIC meeting on November 6, Dan Trommater will use magic to help us think differently. In this brief podcast interview, Dan speaks with Donna Papacosta, past chair of PIC, about what you can expect to see – including magic – on November 6. Please join us. Register on the IABC/Toronto website.
When prospects Google you, your presence on LinkedIn should be front and centre.
So how does your LinkedIn profile stack up?
Listen to this short podcast interview with Leslie Hughes from PUNCH!media, who will be speaking at our PIC meeting on September 11.
In this discussion, Leslie talks about some quick fixes you can do right now to improve your LinkedIn profile. But come out to the PIC meeting on September 11 to gain even more knowledge about this important topic.
You can register for this event on the IABC/Toronto website; just click on Events. (Registration will open about 30 days before the event.)
For now, hear what Leslie has to say.
Download the podcast:Indy Cast 42
If you’re an independent communicator, you know that your online marketing efforts must include attracting, converting and keeping clients. Sounds simple, right? So why aren’t we all doing this well?
On May 1 at our PIC meeting, you’ll meet Robert Clarke and Chris Barnes, partners at Op Ed Marketing, a digital agency in Oakville.
In this short podcast, Robert and Chris offer a preview of their presentation, which will include advice on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimization and more. Be sure to sign up and learn more about this important aspect of your business.
[IABC/Toronto Professional Independent Communicators | March 6, 2013] Does your website help build your business, or is it actually turning away clients? During her presentation, Marie Wiese—founder and president of Marketing CoPilot—explained how the buying process has changed and what business we
Tonight’s speaker, @mariewiese, owns Marketing Copilot. Test your website with her 30 second test >> http://marketingcopilot.com/ #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
"People don’t want to be persuaded to do anything anymore, they want clarity around why they should make a decision." @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
"Clarity trumps persuasion": Formula from @MarketingSherpa explains How To of online comms via @mariewiese http://ow.ly/i/1DCWA #PICtipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
"My buyers don’t go to my website" is a dead argument; 97% of buyers will look. @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Customers/clients will be 70% of the way through the buying process before a company ever hears from them. via @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
What’s the "Zero Moment of Truth" for your customers? Check out this research from Google >> http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com/ #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Winning the Zero Moment of TruthVisit zeromomentoftruth.com to get a free copy of Google's marketing eBook and vook ( Winning the Zero Moment of Truth – Trailer; G…
How good is your website (or client’s site) in helping someone through the buying process before they speak to you? @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
"Homepageitis" is when everything the company does goes up on the home page. You can’t be all things to all people. @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Your website cannot be… http://ow.ly/i/1DDam [PHOTO] via @mariewiese #PICTips #marketing #smallbizPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Remember: When it comes to search, your home page doesn’t need to rank — you can drive people to other targeted pages! @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
On social media: Be where your customers are. If you’re B2B your customers are not likely on Facebook for business @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Where you host your site (in Canada?) and how you access it (is it easy?) all matters. @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Three simple questions people ask when they land on your #smallbiz website, where you should answer http://ow.ly/i/1DDkr [PHOTO] #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
People want choice, but they don’t want to work that hard. Three choices will work way better than 15. @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Recommended reading from @mariewiese about website design: "Don’t Make Me Think" by Steve Krug http://ow.ly/1TcxGN #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Recommended viewing from @mariewiese about website design: "The Art of Choosing" by Sheena Lyengar http://ow.ly/1TcxOY [VIDEO] #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Sheena Iyengar: The art of choosingtedtalksdirector
If you’re an author, make sure you have a good CMS, like WordPress, with an all-in-one SEO package; know your keywords. @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
What’s hot NOW with #smallbiz websites, from @mariewiese http://ow.ly/i/1DDr6 [PHOTO] #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Treat your website like a sales rep: You can’t build it and ignore it for the next few years! @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
The "Find Customer and Keep Customers" process wheel >> Get it here http://ow.ly/1Tcyzz from @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
What questions did @mariewiese go through for a recent client’s website redesign? Here’s the list http://ow.ly/i/1DDzV #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
To recap: Buyer behaviour has changed. Your web presence needs to be your best sales rep. @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
To recap: Clarity trumps persuasion. Communication flow has changed; die or adapt. @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
To recap: Take control of your web presence. You have the keys to the car, you need to drive. @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
From @mariewiese: "15 Must-Have’s for the Savvy Website Owner" http://ow.ly/1Tcz1G #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Want great marketing data? Check out @MarketingProfs and @MarketingSherpa, says @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
MarketingProfs: Marketing Resources and Strategies for Marketing …One source for online marketing resources, marketing strategies, marketing articles, online seminars, case studies, conferences and eve…
MarketingSherpaMarketingSherpa is a firm specializing in tracking what works in all aspects of marketing through research that is catalogued into guid…
How important is blogging? "Hugely important, but you have to have a strategy" = keyword strategy + editorial calendar @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Quick advice on anti-spam for email marketing: Don’t buy lists! A more intimate opt-in list worth its weight in gold. @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
On keywords: What do your BEST customers search for when they look for you? What are their problems, buying process? @mariewiese #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
More suggested resources from @mariewiese re good content, learning about keywords: @Copyblogger and @TheSalesLion #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
Copyblogger: Content marketing software that worksContent marketing software, tips, and training for online marketers, copywriters, and bloggers. The advice, strategies, and solutions t…
The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan — Inbound and Content …Inbound and Content Marketing, Social Media, and Branding Success for Businesses.
Check out the "How do I" guides from @mariewiese >> http://ow.ly/1TcAnd #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
A big thank you to @mariewiese for sharing her expertise this evening! Our next meeting is April 3 if you can join us then #PICTipsPIC @ IABC/Toronto
PIC’s bi-monthly networking meetings give soon-to-be and long-time solo communicators an opportunity to discuss their most pressing issues. If you weren’t able to attend, here are some snippets of the conversation that took place.
At the February meeting, several members mentioned having problems with defining themselves and selecting a niche. We agreed that you can’t be all things to all people, but how much should you limit yourself? One attendee wrestling with this issue said, “It’s scary to limit yourself.”
Don’t say no when a potential client gives you a project that’s not your specialty. Instead, help him by referring someone else who can do the work. That way, your potential client will remember you as the “go to” person for recommendations and will come to you when he needs a project in your field. Another approach that works for some independents is forming alliances with other communicators who have different specialties.
Hourly rate vs. project pricing
When independents get together, the conversation usually turns to fees and the hourly rate versus project pricing dilemma. Some people noted there’s a squeeze on hourly rates and often clients want more for less. We agreed project pricing is the way to go. But we need to ensure we have a contract that also includes the responsibilities of our client as well as our own. That way, the client can’t increase the scope of the project or insist on multiple revisions without incurring additional costs!
Making time for marketing
Many independents say it’s always feast or famine in their business. It’s important to market ourselves all the time so we’re always visible, even when we have enough work to make a good living. We need to schedule time for marketing just like we schedule time for client work, as we don’t want to start over when we finish our projects.
Seasoned communicators have discovered marketing is about building relationships; it’s not about selling. Several people highly recommended subscribing to Steve Slaunwhite’s e-newsletter Marketing Memo and reading his book, The Wealthy Freelancer for practical marketing tips that work.
Having a website that can be updated personally rather sending new information to a website designer is the way to go. That being said, when writing for your site, don’t start with a list of your services. Your website should be about helping people solve problems and should also make it easy for clients to find you. (And for the latest on what makes a good website, don’t miss PIC’s March 6th meeting, Websites 2013: What’s hot, what’s not.)
Making yourself accountable
Some attendees told us that being accountable to someone for what they’ve done helps motivate them. This is especially so for reaching project milestones and for prospecting. Several PIC members have accountability buddies, either through a business coach, an online group or with one or more other communicators.
Some of us agreed this is a matter worth pursuing. If you are interested in having an accountability partner, contact PIC at email@example.com. If we get enough responses, we’ll raise the issue at a future meeting.
The speaker at our March 6, 2013, PIC meeting will wow you with her tips about effective websites. Marie Wiese, founder of Marketing CoPilot, will share her 30-second litmus test to determine whether your website it working, and much more. Just listen to this short interview with Marie by PIC chair Donna Papacosta, and you’ll see why March 6 is a MUST-ATTEND event, whether you’re a newly minted independent communicator who needs a website, or a seasoned pro who’s wondering why her existing site is not pulling in business. Listen with the player below or download the IndyCast 40 here. This meeting will be held in downtown Toronto at City Hall. PLEASE NOTE VENUE CHANGE! To register, please visit the IABC/Toronto website and click on “Events.”
Start the new year right at our January 9, 2013, meeting featuring Donna Messer, the Queen of Networking. In this short podcast, Donna Messer speaks with PIC chair Donna Papacosta about the “give before you get” approach, along with other networking tips. Learn more about Donna Messer at her website. By mid-December, registration will be open for the January 9 event. Check the IABC/Toronto website for details and to register.
You won’t want to miss this PIC meeting on November 7, 2012. In this short podcast interview with PIC chair Donna Papacosta, special guest speaker Ilise Benun gives a preview of her talk on proposals, estimates and RFPs. Don’t waste time again on proposals that go nowhere! Listen below, and sign up for this meeting at the IABC/Toronto website. And be sure to check out Ilise’s site at Marketing-Mentor.com.
When he started his business, marketing coach and consultant Steve Slaunwhite made hundreds of cold calls hoping to land new clients. He wasn’t comfortable with this hard-sell approach as he felt like a sales person. There had to be a better way!
At the September 12 PIC event, Steve shared one of his tried-and-true ways – email prospecting – to win new clients by developing relationships.
Steve’s six guidelines for painless prospecting:
Adopt a new definition of a prospect: A person who is likely to be interested in your services. Prospecting means getting an introduction; it doesn’t mean making a sale.
Be selective. Define your ideal client and create a “dream” list of prospects. It’s better to nurture 20 or 30 prospects, not 100. Ask yourself “who is most likely to be interested in your services and hearing from you.”
Do your homework. Find a connection and find what’s “top of mind” to them. Look for “top of mind” events in press releases, new product launches, new accounts (for ad and pr agencies), and industry surveys.
Create a personal message just for them, using their name and mention what you think may be “top of mind.” Remember they’ll take about three to six seconds to read your email so make sure you write a catchy headline.
Suggest an “easy-to-say-yes” next step to get the conversation going by offering to send something to them – your tip sheet or “buzz piece” or by creating a customized fee schedule just for them.
Focus on actions and not results. Results will come once we prospect enough.
To illustrate his message, Steve showed a prospecting email from a client that didn’t work. It was a form letter that could have been sent to anyone. It was obvious his client didn’t do her homework as she failed to demonstrate that she knew anything about her prospect’s business, including her name.
When his client rewrote the email, she personalized by identifying the recipient’s “pain point” by asking a question and offering to send her an article. After an email and phone call or two back and forth, Steve’s client landed a new client in a few weeks.
Most people think they spend more time on business development than they actually do. Steve suggested using a weekly “Prospecting Actions Tracker” indicating that 25 to 30 prospecting “actions” a week will result in two or three clients over the next few weeks.
Other helpful suggestions include:
Send emails when people are most likely to read them: Friday afternoon, lunch time and first thing in the morning.
Follow up your initial email by making a phone call in about four business days and sending another email in seven business days.
Use peer-to-peer language as if you were having an actual conversation.
Limit each email to 100 to 150 words.
Focus on one topic.
Don’t mention all your services and above all, don’t send your resume.
After starting a conversation, it must be kept going, even if the prospect doesn’t respond to your initial contact. Keep contacting your prospect though different means. Send a helpful article or a thank you card (when appropriate), phone them or send another email.
By following these steps, results are bound to follow.
If you have used Steve’s email prospecting technique and found a new client, it would be helpful for you to share your story with other indies by posting it on the PIC blog or by telling us about your success at our new bi-monthly networking meetings.
What makes you different from your competition? Are you in love with your business? Do you know how you are going to make more money and move your business to the next level?
These were just a few of the critical questions that Rhonda Page, a.k.a. “clarity girl”, a moniker that she has earned as a result of years of experience in helping entrepreneurs and large businesses in building their brands and discovering what makes them different, asked the independents gathered together for PIC’s Know Your Difference session on June 6.
Debunking misconceptions about branding
The discussion started with acknowledgement that there are three major misconceptions about branding:
brand is the logo
brand and sales are unrelated
only the “big guys” need to worry about brand
Rhonda clarified that your brand isn’t your logo, it’s the overall impression you leave with your customer; that brand is essential to every business, regardless of size; and that brand and sales are inextricably linked.
To stress the relevance of brand to business owners of all sizes, Rhonda listed some red flags that indicate the need to work on your brand:
You don’t stand out
You don’t have the right words to describe what you do
You’re working hard, but not making money
You have a slow sales process that’s not working
You’re in marketing overwhelm
Where are you now and where do you want to go?
Working through a series of questions about our understanding of the benefits of brand, whether we had articulated a clear vision for our business, our ideal audience, desired revenue growth, understanding of our clients and the competition, and the overall experience that we want provide to customers, we got a snapshot of our current brand performance.
Start with your vision
Rhonda stressed the importance of a business vision in taking performance to the next level, noting that “operating without a vision is like taking a road trip without a map.”
She helped the group to create a vision statement capturing where we want to be in three years’ time – the service we will provide, the customers we want to work with, where (geographically) we’d like to be working, and three actions we could take to bring this vision to life.
The evening wrapped up with an overview of six steps that can be taken to achieve brand clarity:
Get clear on your vision
Get clear on your ideal client
Get clear on your competition
Get insights – by asking questions of others
Develop your differentiated message
Bring your brand to life
These actions seem obvious, but Rhonda highlighted that far too often businesses, large and small, stall because they haven’t taken the time to assess where they are and where they want to go.
Rhonda offers a product and coaching program to help entrepreneurs apply the same business strategy principles that big companies do in building their brands and differentiating themselves in the marketplace. Rhonda’s book, virtual branding course, and information about one-on-one workshops can be found on www.knowyourdifference.com