Micro-Marketing: Developing Business in 15 Minutes a Day

Posted by dscaringi on June 26, 2015

One of the biggest perceived obstacles to marketing is ‘lack of time’.  Today’s pace of life is crazy– balancing demands of work, family and personal time contributes to feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to add on anything.  Often marketing responsibilities fall to the bottom of the list because people feel like self promotion and business development is a huge undertaking that is difficult to achieve.  I would argue it’s quite the opposite.  Stop thinking of business development as a chore.  Rather, start thinking of it as a chance to build friendships and business relationships. With that frame of mind, it somehow feels easier to carve out fifteen minutes everyday to connect with someone.  If you think about it, we easily waste 15 minutes a day on a myriad of things– running out for coffee, chatting at the reception desk or checking in on Facebook. What if you took those 15 minutes every business day to do one marketing or relationship-building task?  That adds up to an hour and 15 minutes during a 5-day business week!  Here are a few marketing activities you can accomplish in that timeframe.

  • Send an Email.  Followup on a conversation with a colleague, business acquaintance or client via email.  Let them know you are thinking about the topic that is on their radar.
  • Communicate via Facebook, Linked In, Google +.  Post a status update, share an article, ‘like’ a post from someone in your network, ‘follow’ a company page, send a direct message or find people in your network to connect with.
  • Tweet. Share a thought, article or retweet something interesting.  Find others to follow, ‘favorite’ someone’s tweet or create a list on a specific topic.
  • Make a Phone Call.  Call a client, colleague or referral source to check in.  Let them know you are thinking of them in connection with a particular topic.
  • Blog.  OK, I know this takes more than 15 minutes, but if you work on one post for 15 minutes over 2 days, you have a completed post.
  • Update Your Website. Review your content, add new material, load a new photo. Keeping your website fresh is important for search engine optimization.
  • Thank Someone. Send a written note or pop an email to thank someone who has done something nice for you or helped you to promote your services.
  • Ask for Work. Follow-up with your referral sources or clients and ask them if there is anything else you can assist them with.
  • Make a Lunch or Coffee Date. Choose a client, referral source or reporter to catch up with.
  • Update Your Marketing Plan. Review your progress to date and create a quick plan of action to further your goals.

There are a multitude of activities you can undertake to forward your marketing goals.  In reality, you don’t have to take on something complex that takes lots of time. Marketing and business development has to be part of your daily and weekly routine.  Most importantly, it must be sincere.  Schedule your fifteen minutes each day now for the next month.  You will see results over the long haul.

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6 Steps to Problem Solving

Posted by dscaringi on April 15, 2015

My youngest child came home from school the other day and handed me a paper explaining his second grade Open Circle session that day. The topic: Problem Solving. I am impressed that our kids are being taught such practical skills. This topic relates to everyone! These second graders were presented with 6 simple but smart steps to empower them to resolve their daily problems. After reading through the program synopsis I found myself thinking about how everyone could use this approach. In fact, we can substitute any words for “problem solving” into the method… Try using the context of conflict resolution, business planning or business development instead.  Here’s my take on the topic:

  • Calm Down.  Before we can begin to solve any problem, it is important to calm ourselves down.  Taking a moment to absorb a situation allows us to think more rationally. Emotional responses are never productive.  Often driven by fear and excitement, we can easily be distracted by the need to try to “fix” a problem before we understand it.
  • Identify the Problem.  Know exactly what the problem is.  Are there underlying issues driving the conflict?  Are there outside forces effecting behaviors?
  • Choose a Positive Goal.  Envision the most positive outcome and then determine how you may get there (or close to it!).  Sometimes it is hard to think positively when faced with a difficult task.  Take the time to turn things around to the most positive place possible.
  • Brainstorm Potential Solutions.  There is often more than one method we can take to achieve the same or a similar outcome.
  • Evaluate the Method to Reach Resolution. Once you have some options identified, consider each of the solutions, how they may affect those involved, as well as what the potential outcome may be.
  • Make a Plan.  Once you have weighed all of your options, select the best one and identify the steps needed to move forward.
  • Resolve the Conflict.  Execute upon the identified steps to resolve your conflict as efficiently and amicably as possible.
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Payment-Friendly Invoice Methods: An Extension of Your Service

Posted by dscaringi on March 12, 2015

Customer service standards touch every business. People always notice bad service and the negative association that comes along with it.  On the flip side, people also always remember the feeling of a great service experience.  When it comes down to it, people like to feel that they have made good purchasing decisions choices and their service experience is directly related to that validation.

This is exactly why super customer service needs to be a priority in any marketing plan. Good service is a sure-fire way to have happy customers, support word of mouth buzz, generate referrals and…. have invoices paid in full and promptly. Money isn’t an easy topic for people to discuss, but it is part of the overall success formula.  A few thoughts on how to make invoices a part of your customer-friendly plan:

  • Ask clients what they need to make payment easy.  Have a billing conversation with your clients early on in the relationship.  Make sure you understand what is important to them for reviewing and processing invoices.
  • Be concise and consistent.  Now that you know what clients want to see on the invoices, provide it in a concise manner. Don’t be over-inclusive, but also don’t make them chase down clarifying information. If they need to do more work on their end, you are ultimately creating a bad service experience and holding up payment processes.
  • Take time to invoice properly. Make sure your invoices reflect detail regarding the services you performed. Don’t just throw a number on a bill and send it along.
  • Make it personable. Include a brief cover letter or email with your invoices so that you may acknowledge the importance of your relationship.
  • Please and thank you.  You earned the work from your clients, so make sure they know you appreciate the trust they have put in you. In your cover letter, politely ask them to please process the invoice for payment. Perhaps more importantly, make sure you include a brief thank you that let’s them know you value their relationship.

A quick review of your invoicing process offers you an easy way to make sure you meet service expectations from start to finish. Think about how you like your business interactions as a consumer and use that information to your advantage. Good service experience always translate into happier clients who are more prompt with their payments.

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