Are Business Cards still relevant ?

In this digital age of many of us swap contact details on LinkedIn,by Email and on Twitter.Its instant you can import them easily into your Marketing/CRM software.Is there still a place for using Business Cards in your business dealings?

The answer is yes just as we said in our item on using handwritten communication (HERE) some more old fashioned methods of marketing can add some formality to your digital strategy .

So here’s why Business Cards still work ?

1. Swapping contact information digitally is impersonal.
Networking is about making genuine connections. Sending contact information via text or email on the spot is convenient but it is also extremely impersonal. Engaging in eye contact and actual conversation is how real relationships begin.People buy from people .Giving a business card helps people remember your encounter.

2. They are the most effective direct marketing tools.
Email marketing, search engine optimization and paid media all do a great job of attracting leads and prospects, but they still aren’t as effective as an in-person meeting sealed with a handshake along with a business card exchange.

3. A business card is the first impression of your brand.
When you meet someone that could potentially be a great prospect or connection, don’t you want him or her to walk away with a great first impression? A memorable business card does a lot more than just pass on an email address or phone number.

4. Creative business cards get shared — spreading the word about your brand.
A business card is a physical object that a potential prospect leaves the encounter with. Your brand stays with them. If you hand over a creative business card that makes a great impression that person is likely to show it to other people — putting you and your brand in front of additional prospects.

5. Business cards show you are prepared.
Have you ever had someone write his or her contact information on a cocktail napkin and hand it over to you? How about someone that had a mobile phone with a dead battery? It isn’t the most professional approach.

We are always looking to differentiate ourselves from the competition so here is a great way to do this?

For a free consultation on your Video,Online,Social Media Marketing or even Written Marketing needs or for more information Contact Us for more details.

Time for a refresh ?

Social Media is a fast changing landscape with best practice changing daily and new Social Media Channels being launched every month.

Its often hard to keep up with how to make the best use of Social Media whilst trying to run your business.

With that in mind we are offering a half-day refresher version of our highly sucessful Social Media One to Ones (you can see what people said about them here). Our One to Ones help you find out :

How to build an audience on Twitter and Facebook
How to convert followers and likes into customers
How to develop a Social Media Strategy
How to define your marketing message
How to measure the success of social media campaign
How to manage your social media in under 30 minutes a day

You can really boost your business with Social Media Marketing its just a matter of know how and we can supply that.

Our Social Media One to Ones are held at a location to suit you. For a limited period we are offering these for a discounted prices of £95+vat per person.

To find out more or to book Contact Us .

How to use Social Media to sell.

Selling is a social activity . Before Facebook, LinkedIn and the Internet generally people bought from people in social ways.

They asked for advice from friends, they gave their opinions over the garden fence and they wrote letters to manufacturers when products failed to live up to their promises. This is why salespeople spend so much time establishing a personal relationship, not just selling their product

Technology now makes it so easy for customers to find out anything they want about your products and service – both the good and the bad. They don’t even need too simply rely on what’s on your website says. Quite often that’s the last place they look.

There’s a wealth of blogs and forums and networks where they can get an unedited take on what it’s like to buy from you. Customers are more vocal than ever (especially about the bad stuff).

We quite often talk about the threat of social media however it also brings many opportunities.

We categorise these opportunities as Social Selling.

There are buyers across the world over who want what you’ve got to sell. They have a need, they have a timeframe for purchase, they even have budget. If only you could get in front of them, they’d buy from you right now. If only. Of course, to get in front of them you need to find out who they are, where they are and how to contact them.

Prior to Social Media this was very hard and very expensive. We often talk about using Social Media to Market our business and even now to provide Customer Service (see here).

There real opportunities however to use Social Media for selling .Research conducted last year by advertising agency OgilvyOne found that in the UK alone:

  • 69% of respondents think the buying process is changing faster than sales organisations are responding
  • 93% have received no training in using social media (and 53% want help doing so)
  • 71% believe that being a salesperson will be radically different in 5 years time.

So how can you start using Social Media to sell?

There are some relatively simple steps.:

  • Make extensive use of Facebook and Twitter to see what your customers and prospects are saying and to find those looking for customer service and sales help.
  • Follow customers, competitors and thought leaders on Twitter/LinkedIn to see what they are saying.
  • Join key customer groups on LinkedIn and begin monitoring what they are saying.
  • Run LinkedIn searches for carefully selected outbound targets.
  • Endorse a prospect/customer’s abilities on LinkedIn.
  • Research prospects on LinkedIn and Twitter before an email, call, or meeting.
  • Like or comment on a prospect/client’s social media post.
  • Set up Google Alerts for competitor terms (brand names, products, key people) –see google.com/alerts.

There is a lot more to Social Selling of course so if you would like us to help you use Social Media as a Sales tool for your business get in touch for a free consultation. contact us

Social Media Trends in 2015

Now the New Year celebrations have subsided its worth taking a look at what might happen in Social Media over the next year:

1. Facebook Video will continue to grow.

Video is the latest powerful trend in social media, with Facebook taking advantage of it to a full extent. It already saw a massive surge in video views during 2014, that’s why there are plans for more features.Ultimately Facebook video may overtake Youtube which would really be an achievement.

2. Facebook will focus even more intently on good content.

Facebook relies heavily on media coverage, that’s why they tend to place news links higher on our news feeds. Facebook is determined to end like-gating (the use of artificial incentives to get people to like your page), which means that it’s more important than ever to focus on good content, as a way to inform your audience and gain a bigger audience.

3. Twitter Real-Time Use

Twitter is already powerful for real-time updates, especially when it comes to emergencies and live events. I think more users will experiment with live chats, proving that your updates are fast and relevant to anything that might be happening worldwide.

4. Twitter For Customer Service

Twitter has also turned out as very useful tool for customer service, with users reaching businesses in a convenient way. It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, since users tend to be impatient, but if you manage to win social customer’s satisfaction, then your business should feel really grow! It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, you need to resource it.Its a big opportunity to interact with your customers and help spread positive word of mouth about you.

5. Instagram

Instagram got bigger in 2014 and it’s not expected to stop during 2015. Its now the third big Social Media player and you can no longer ignore it. Businesses are already increasing, taking advantage of its visual power, which means that you need to add it to your list of new things to learn.

6. Visual Quality is becoming more and more important.

Visual content is already very important, but maybe it’s time to raise the bar for the quality of content you are producing.Users are getting tired of the same old images (and videos by the time they get viral) and prefer your own perspective on any type of content.

7. Pinterest

Pinterest is still growing and is still the best Social Media network for referral traffic and it even turned into a useful image search engine alternative to Google Images.If you are a retailer selling visually appealing products Pinterest is becoming more and more important.One to watch.

8. LinkedIn articles

LinkedIn launched its Publishing Platform in 2014 and this was clearly a new opportunity for content marketing. Many users are starting to use this feature and this should be the year we see it really grow.Time to try it out.

9. LinkedIn For Company Page

LinkedIn is increasing its status as the number one professional social network if you haven’t set up a company page for your business yet then maybe it’s time to do it and boost both your presence and your authority!

10. Time For Short Videos

Video is already a huge growth area in Social Media but also short videos are becoming more crucial with newer media like :Snapchat, Vine and Instagram. These offer a great opportunity to become creative in a new way.If you learn how to use it in times of fast decreasing attention span, short videos should definitely be part of your social strategy and marketing.

There are many ways all businesses can benefit from this and other key trends so for more information contact us for a free consultation to help your business grow .

Becoming a Linked In Power User – Part 1. The foundations-an effective profile.

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This is the first of a series of posts on Becoming a Linked In Power User.

Part 1 is below and over the next month or so we will publish the remaining parts :

Part 2: Understanding the Difference between Linked In Company Pages ad Facebook Fan Pages

Part 3: How to use the latest features in Linked In to get sales leads

Part 4: How Linked In can really help your SEO

Part 5: How Linked In Groups can help grow your business

Subscribe to our updates here to be sure you dont miss them,

Becoming a Linked In Power User – Part 1. The foundations-an effective profile.

Most of us know that Linked In is the Social Media Channel to use for Business to Business Marketing with around 50+ million members in Europe alone. There are a lot of key factors in using LinkedIn effectively and successfully but hopefully its obvious what the starting point is -your profile.
Linked In say that having a completed profile provides you with a 40% greater chance of
marketing, prospecting, networking, recruiting successfully. Having an effective and completed profile is important as ’first impressions count’.

linkedin profile james caan
Linked In Profile

A good profile tells people who you are more and is a showcase for your talents, background, experience and interests. It also makes you appear to be a more competent user in the network and therefore someone a prospect would like to network with. Your profile is the foundation for growing your influence and building your business.
complete your Linked In profile.

Here are key steps in building an effective profile:

1. Upload a Professional Picture.

Professional Linkedin Picture
Professional v Unprofessional Linked In Pictures

Absolutely essential really. Without a picture people think you have something to hide or maybe just cant be bothered. You should use a recent (you want people to recognise you when you meet) clear, in focus ‘Head and Shoulder’s shot of you. Avoid holiday snaps and silly expressions or poses. This is your best opportunity to make a great first impression,and it is essential to attracting connections.

2.Create a Compelling Headline

You only have 120 characters at the top of your profile to describe what you do and attract attention. Typically I see people use a Job Title but I recommend you use that space more imaginatively. Your current position further down your profile will give people your title. Use brief, descriptive, compelling keywords so the right people on
Linked In can discover you. For example: Automotive Manufacturing Expert rather than Manufacturing Director,Automotive Components Ltd. I know it sounds a bit corny to some of you but it does work.

3.List Your Current Position and At Least Two Past Positions

Use the same descriptive keywords that you quoted in your headline if possible, and be sure to describe your role for each position. Don’t go all the way back to that paper round you did as a Teenager but some history is good as it helps you pick up useful contacts amongst former colleagues.

4.Complete the “Summary” Section of Your Profile

Describe who you are,what you do and how you help people. Its often suggested that you write your summary in the third person and I agree. If you don’t you will be using the letter “I” quite a bit which puts some people off.

linkedin summary
A Linked In Summary

5.Complete the “Specialities” Section of Your Profile

These are the terms that will help you show up in search results within Linked In so think carefully what you want to put. Just like SEO don’t just use keywords that you think describe what you do but use phrases that people in your target markets might search for re your background, experience, and products/services.

6.Give and get some recommendations as soon as possible.

You will need at least three recommendations in order for Linked In to label your profile as complete. The best way to get recommendations is to give them so connect with people you know and ask them.

7.Complete the “Interests” and “Groups and Associations”

Your potential connections like to see what kind of person you are and what your professional interests are so give them an idea. Join at least a few groups relevant to what you do. Each of the terms in this section will be hyper-linked and will take you to other users in the network who share these interests.

8.Edit your Public LinkedIn URL

Linked In allocates you a rather lengthy LinkedIn URL unsurprisingly because unless you have an unusual name there are going to be 100′s or even 1000′s of people with your name. Customise it using the edit mode in LinkedIn. For example uk.linkedin.com/in/barackobama looks so much better and shorter (well it does if your called Barack Obama but you know what I mean!) .Customisation will optimise your Linked In profile to show up in search results on major search engines when someone searches for your name.

linked in customise website and linked in url  links
Linked In > Customised Website and Linked In url links

9.Customise Your “website” Listings

Under the “websites” section of your Linked In profile, you can list up to three URLs. Choose the “other” option when setting up these links and describe them with relevant terms. For example,rather than using the terms “website,” use your business name or name of a blog if you have one. Not only is this more descriptive, it also gives you a better opportunity to rank for those keywords in search engines.

10.Include a Link to Your Twitter Profile

Adding the link to your Twitter feed give people another opportunity to connect with you!

11.Make Your Entire LinkedIn Profile Publicly Visible to Everyone.

Linked In allows you to restrict who can see your profile in its privacy settings. If you have something to sell and want other professionals on Linked In to be able to find you being invisible won’t help you build your network. Once you have implemented these tips you will then be ready use Linked In to really grow your network and your business.

I hope this helps please get in touch here if you would like a free Linked In Training Needs Assessment.

Coming Soon : Part 2: Understanding the Difference between Linked In Company Pages ad Facebook Fan Pages

Subscribe to our updates here to be sure you dont miss it.

How to use the latest features in LinkedIn to really grow your business.

OK its the last full working week before Christmas so its a good time to reflect on the last year and put in place plans for next year. Once thing that has really changed this year is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn continues to grow and grow. Its amazing how many business people I now see using LinkedIn so widely compared to just a year ago.

This year LinkedIn has added lot’s of new features that help marketing managers and business owners to network and develop their business and of course reach more customers and potential customers.

The really key features are now :

-The new improved LinkedIn Profile

-The new improved LinkedIn Company Page

-Follow Us

-Skill Endorsements (controversial these)

-Likes

-Sharing

-Updating

-LinkedIn Today

-Answers

-Groups

A lot has changed on LinkedIn this year and its now an even bigger source of business than ever.

I have noticed how many of my clients seem to prefer one to one tuition to a course or workshop. So with that in mind I have developed and ran a number of LinkedIn One to Ones for a variety of businesses The reaction has been great here’s what a some of them said:

Clair Wilkinson and Sandra Venables
Franchise Consultants Green Frog Consultancy

“I had a one to one training session on LinkedIn with Richard and I now really understand how amazing LinkedIn really is. I now have all the tools and techniques I need to really get the best out of a very powerful marketing tool. I wanted to know what Linkedin was used for and how it could be used to help me grow my business.Thanks to the ’50 day action plan’ I now feel really motivated to put aside half an hour a day to get the most out of it. Richard certainly knows how social media can help a business grow . I am now looking forward to finding out all about Twitter .“

Angela Dalzell
Director at MTD Residential Lettings Limited

‘Thank you Richard for the one to one training session for Linked in. I was secretly pleased that the group training had been cancelled. I found your training to be extremely informative and as you will see if you look at my profile I put your training to good use immediately. I have already received a business enquiry and hope to receive many more. Once again thank you. I now look forward to my Twitter training course. ‘

So I have a special offer for you.

The first 10 people who come back to me can book their 2 hour LinkedIn One to One with me for a special price of £60+vat (a 30% discount).

I’ll come out and see you and really help you make LinkedIn work for you.

If you would like your LinkedIn One to One get in touch here  Contact Us .

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Richard

LinkedIn,Customer Relationship Management and Sage/ACT Masterclass 26th April

We are delighted to announce that we have now finalised the programme for our new LinkedIn and CRM Masterclass . We have partnered with Sales Dynamics who are Sage Accredited Partners so we can show you how the effective use of LinkedIn and best practice Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) techniques can help you really grow your business massively !

The first Masterclass will be on 26th April 2012 in Warrington  and you can see more information and book here .

LinkedIn and Customer Relationship Management Masterclass – Launching Very Soon

I am delighted to announce that we have just about finalised the programme for our new LinkedIn and CRM Masterclass . We have partnered with Sales Dynamics who are Sage Accredited Partners so we can show you how the effective use of LinkedIn and best practice Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) techniques can help you really grow your business massively !

Our first Masterclass will be in late April and the booking website will be launched shortly . In the meantime Contact Us here to make sure you get an invitation .

LinkedIn Training -The Personal Touch !

After the success of last year’s LinkedIn Masterclass’s many people have been asking when we will be running some more ?Well the answer is late March and early April 2012.

A number of clients have also asked us to run one to one LinkedIn Training at their Office and of course we are happy to oblige ! Its a more flexible and personal service and at the moment for a limited period we have a special offer the same price as a place on the course £65+vat !

Angela Dalzell of MTD Residential told us ‘“Thank you …for the one to one training session for Linked in. …. I found your training to be extremely informative and as you will see if you look at my profile I put your training to good use immediately. I have already received a business enquiry and hope to receive many more’

Sandra Venables of Green Frog  also commented “I had a one to one training session on LinkedIn …on January 30th and I am very pleased I did. I now have all the tools and techniques I need to really get the best out of a very powerful marketing tool. I wanted to know what Linkedin was used for and how it could be used to compliment my other networking and referral marketing activities. I now feel really motivated to put aside half an hour a day to get the most out of it. Richard certainly knows how social media can help a business grow .”

If you want to book a one to one LinkedIn Masterclass then Contact Us now or Subscribe to our Email Updates so you don’t miss the next course !

Richard