Larry BraunerIvana Taylor, consultant and author of the marketing blog, Strategy Stew, presented 10 Must-Do Marketing Tips for 2010 in the OPEN Forum Idea Hub for Innovation.

Reading through Ivana’s tips, I stopped at “Productize Your Services: It’s much easier to understand and purchase something that looks like a product.” This task has been on my list for a while, but now I feel compelled to tackle it sooner rather than later.

Team Collaboration TechniquesDuring 2009, I focused on researching, analyzing and blogging about social networking sites and social media paradigms. However, I’ve already formulated some key objectives for 2010, which include closer collaboration with peers.

Here are ten of the many ways we might be able to collaborate in the year to come:

  1. Brainstorming - Teaching each other and working together to find creative solutions to problems. I currently brainstorm a lot with close friends.
  2. Masterminding - Forming mastermind groups to help each other reach our goals by overcoming obstacles and remaining accountable.
  3. Networking - Sharing contacts, either directly, through new social networking sites or via other business networking groups.
  4. Lead Sharing - Providing each other with business or job leads.
  5. Blogging - Group blogging is a proven concept.
  6. Strategic Alliances - Combining our skills and resources to create synergies.
  7. Team Projects - Pure team collaboration, i.e., working together on projects together as a group.
  8. Blog Promotion - Using our influence to promote each other’s blogs and other content.
  9. Fan Page Promotion - Inviting our Facebook friends to join each other’s Facebook fan pages.
  10. Content Promotion - Bookmarking, linking to, commenting on, and retweeting each other’s content.

I can envision collaboration strategies such as these benefiting teams in a corporate setting as well.

Please share your ideas below before you go.

If you’d like to collaborate, send an email with “Collaborate” in the subject to collaborate at braunersolutions dot com. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Larry Brauner

This post is somewhat longer than usual. Sorry for that, but I put a lot of work into it. I hope you like it.

Last Wednesday during my regular bi-weekly business mentoring tele-conference I revealed several powerful business success secrets.

While I was specifically addressing entrepreneurs, small business owners and sales professionals, these principles apply to all people and to all areas of our lives, not only business success.

Have you noticed? The year 2008 is half over.

Near the end of 2007 I posted Personal Development: 10 Simple Success Strategies to “help turbo charge your personal development in the New Year”. This may be worth re-reading if some of your goals and objectives have lost much of their earlier inertia.

Commitment

What are you committed to?

Mike Hernacki in The Ultimate Secret to Getting Absolutely Everything You Want wrote:

“In order to accomplish something, you must know what you want and be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish it.”

It sounds too simple, doesn’t it? However, it is your intention and commitment that set The Law of Attraction into motion on your behalf.

Want proof?

Reflect back on your most important accomplishments, such as raising a child, getting a college degree, running a marathon, starting a business, or developing an Internet presence, and you’ll agree that your commitment to your success was absolute.

It wasn’t that you felt obligated. Rather you felt that the goal was extremely important to you, and that you would deal with any obstacle that might arise — without knowing in advance exactly what would be demanded of you on your way to success.

Without total commitment The Law of Attraction would have probably delivered an obstacle that you would not have been willing to handle, and you would have failed.

This success secret is so important that I’ve read Mike Hernacki’s timeless book about a dozen times over the past decade.

Acquiring New Skills

I am commited to ongoing personal development and acquisition of new knowledge and skills. I read mind expanding books, blogs and e-books.

Your objective may require the mastery of new skills – or it may not. Your willingness to do what it takes is what really matters. If new skills are required, then you must be ready and willing to learn them.

Working Hard

You may be required to apply a great amount of effort. When I wanted to run the New York Marathon in 1984, strenuous preparation was absolutely necessary. In 1985 that was still true but to a lesser extent, since I had maintained a high level of fitness in the interim.

Tenacity and Persistence

Let’s bring this home.

You want to develop a presence at one of your favorite social networking sites – or you want to write a blog – or you want to build an Internet presence. These objectives usually require a high degree of tenacity.

So often people abandon online social networking, blogging or social media optimization without realizing their objectives. They weren’t willing to persist. Perhaps their belief system was weak.

I have been social networking online for many years. I have continuously posted to this blog for nearly eight months.

Why?

I know what I want, and I’m willing to persist until I achieve it.

Belief

As I stated in Personal Development: The Law of Belief, “Our motivation and how we act is determined by our underlying beliefs.

“If we don’t believe that something is possible, we won’t even try to make it happen. Please listen to a conference call I recorded on 8/22/07 that illustrates this concept.”

A healthy belief system is critical to success in business and life.

Treat Your Business Like a Business

Production

Showing up counts for something, but it doesn’t count for enough.

Success in business and life depends on producing value either directly or indirectly through people you influence.

If you have a job and don’t produce, you won’t get very far, and sooner or later you won’t have a job.

If you have a business and don’t produce, you won’t have money in the bank.

If you don’t come through for people, you won’t have their friendship.

You must make a positive contribution in order to be successful.

One way to ensure that you’re productive is to set daily or weekly goals or benchmarks.

For example, let’s suppose you’re in sales. You need to make six product sales per month to meet your business objectives. In order to make six sales, you need to make 15 presentations. To get 15 appointments, you’ll need to speak to 60 people.

You work about 20 days per month. On average you will have to speak to three people per day in order to speak to 60 per month.

Your benchmark or goal becomes three a day. If you focus on 3+ per day with consistency, you will likely make your six product sales per month.

You’ve succeeded at breaking down your abstract monthly goal into concrete daily actions.

Diversification

Big corporations employ a wide variety of media and messages to bring their product to market. They advertise on television, radio, in print and through direct mail. They experiment with many versions of their ad copy.

You cannot do everything a giant company can do, but why not learn from their example?

If you use half a dozen methods to reach out to your potential clients, you’ll enjoy these benefits:

  • You’ll achieve success with some approaches, even if others fail.
  • You’ll attract a wider variety of clients than using a single method.
  • You’ll be able to see which methods perform better relative to each other, so that you can refine your marketing plan.
  • You’ll lower your overall risk through diversification.

Here are some of my favorite marketing channels:

Over time you’ll develop your own favorite marketing channels if you haven’t already done so.

Tracking and Analysis

If you want to make informed business decisions, you must track your results and analyze your data. If you can’t do it yourself, then you must get an expert to do it for you or show you how to do it.

Tracking and analysis are not something optional.

Let me ask you, would you even consider driving your car with your eyes shut?

You can’t afford to run your business with your eyes shut or even partially covered.

Cost per Acquisition

One of the most basic marketing measurements is cost per acquisition, the amount that you’re spending on average to complete a sale using each marketing method. Simply put, it’s the total spend divided by the total number of sales.

It is important to consider your staff costs including your own time, not just the out-of-pocket expenditures for design and media.

Cost per acquisition is an excellent way to compare marketing channels, but there is one very important caveat. Customers from one marketing channel may be more valuable than from another. Therefore marketers must take into account customer long term value, the other side of the equation.

Customer Long Term Value

Customer long term value can be difficult to calculate, but it is generally approximated as the income you expect to earn from a customer over a 12 to 24 month period. If your business is on the risky side, lean towards 12 months. If it is very stable, then 24 months may be appropriate.

To be successful, cost per acquisition cannot exceed customer long term value. It ought to be less.

Trend Data

You can also track your performance or the performance of your staff. Trending performance data and marketing data over time will help you see the bigger picture.

Masterminding and Mentoring

As stated in my post Even Mentors Need Mentors, “I learn from reading many books, e-books and blogs, and from speaking frequently with friends and mentors. Having mentors has greatly shortened my learning curve.”

Masterminding with your peers and seeking out mentors will help you as much or more than any other single strategy mentioned in this article.

Please feel free to comment and share those strategies that have made the biggest difference in your business and personal endeavors.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about me and my social media and web marketing services.

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Larry Brauner

Or is it?

Your plate is very full. Don’t get me wrong. I understand. I really do.

You wonder how you could possibly fit blogging into your hectic schedule. You also wonder whether you have the wherewithal to adequately research and write articles week after week, something that you believe good bloggers ought to do.

Before addressing these issues, let’s take a step back and discuss a scenario that you’re familiar with if you engage in business networking at your local small business association, chamber of commerce or business networking group.

Business Networking Model

At a business networking meeting, you meet several people you feel you’d like to get to know.

Business Networking MeetingYou exchange business cards, and being a sharp networker, you resolve to get in touch with these new contacts as quickly as possible once you return to your office. You know very well that if you want to get something going, you’ll have to be the one to take the first step.

Unfortunately most people simply won’t follow up. They’ll hope that you’ll be sufficiently impressed with them and their business card, brochure or website to pick up the phone and call them to get the ball rolling.

You’re not as impressed as they would like, but you do understand business networking and human nature, so you take the initiative and give them a ring.

Your phone converation goes well. You ask enough questions to build rapport and to identify at least one business problem they have for which you should be able to provide a solution.

You sense that it’s too early in the relationship to try and sell them your idea. Instead you’ll maintain contact with them to build mutual trust and respect in accordance with the First Law of building relationships: Nobody cares what you say until they know that you care.

At this point what do the textbooks tell you to do?

They say that you should call periodically and look for newspaper and magazine clippings to send — along with a personal note of course.

Suppose that you have a hundred good contacts, and suppose also that you want to mail and speak to each one about every two months. That’s about eleven calls and the same number of news clippings per week or about two of each per day.

Even if you’re a sociable person, that’s going to be a hard schedule to stick with over a long period of time. You would have to be a master networker to make such a scheme work for you.

Blog Marketing to the Rescue

Fortunately blog marketing comes to your aid.

You invite your contacts to visit your blog, and ask permission to register them as a subscriber.

If they accept, you’ll be able to keep them in the loop with a reasonable amount of effort. Even if you write only one blog post per week, they’ll still hear from you every week. They have the option to comment on your articles and start a conversation within your blog’s community.

They can get to know you really well, and this will help as much or more than sending them clippings every couple of months. They may even give you cues to let you know when they’re ready to do business. You’ll be able to pick up the phone and tell them your idea, and they’ll be favorably pre-disposed to accept it.

All this is wonderful, but there’s even more.

Put Your SEO Training to Work

Many people will find you through the search engines if you’ve done good keyword research, and if you’ve paid enough attention to ongoing search engine optimization.

Make it easy for your visitors to subscribe, and those who like you will.

The search engines will be working on your behalf even when you’re sleeping or on vacation. They work 365/7 and never complain.

Save Time and Effort

If you are very busy, or you’re not sure how to research and write articles, you can rely on the tried and true clipping method. However, you’ll clip online articles instead of newspapaper or magazine stories.

You’ll frame these online articles for your readers in your post, just as you would have done using a short personal note accompanying newspaper clip. You’ll also provide a link to the site where they can read the entire story.

This approach saves you time and effort, and you can still write original content for your blog as frequently as you wish.

In Conclusion

Add to this rationale the Top Reasons Why I Blog, an earlier post, and your decision “to blog, or not to blog” will most likely be affirmative.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about me and my social media and web marketing services.

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