Category Archives for "Professional services marketing"

Put this Tiny Patch of Marketing Real Estate to Work

By Lori


Image of woman holding business card
Chances are there’s a tiny (but mighty) bit of marketing real estate that is not pulling its weight in your business: your business card.

This 2″ x 3.5″ piece of card stock can do some heavy lifting for you. It carries your personal brand and your fame building message where ever you go. It makes promises for you, when you’re not there because it represents you and the results you deliver.

No more slacking! Here are a few ideas to help you make your card WORK for you:

1. Make your business card a reflection of you and your brand.

Don’t be cheap. Don’t use the freebie cards that have the printing company’s name on them. Pony up a few sawbucks to get quality cards, printed on heavier paper stock. Use your signature brand colors and logo. You should feel delighted when you look at your card. It’s a representation of YOU…and you’re pretty awesome, right?

2.  If your goal is to be famous in your field, put the spotlight on your name, not your business name.

Think about it – when you give your business card, the recipient is connecting with you, the individual, not a company. Be sure that your name stands out! (This goes double if your business name leaves people scratching their heads, wondering what you actually do. Strategic Solutions, anyone?)

3. Use ALL your real estate by printing both sides of the card.

Everyone will turn the card over, so why leave the backside blank, when you could generate interest, share a message or an offer? I suggest that professionals have a few questions on the back of their cards that speak to the common concerns or challenges that your ideal client faces. The questions should capture your ideal client’s attention and have them (inwardly) shouting “That’s me! That’s me!”
Here’s what I’ve got on the back of my card:

Tired of being a best-kept secret?
Wish you could break out of the commodity trap?
Need to leverage your time and resources?

(Now, I know that there are some who howl at cards with design on both sides because they like to write notes on the backside of the card. That’s a handy way to track information but keep in mind that in some cultures, writing on a person’s card is a sign of disrespect. You can still make your notes – just carry a packet of tiny sticky notes to scribble your reminders. One more tip for the note writers: please don’t do it in my presence when we’ve just met unless I’ve specifically asked you to provide me with a contact or a recommendation. When I see you writing notes about me, in front of me, it’s a visceral reminder that I’m just another “contact” that you hope to follow up with. I want to feel special, as though you’ll remember me without writing yourself a note. So humor me – wait until my back is turned to write your note.)

4. Give a little something.

Use the real estate on the back of your card to invite people to your free, valuable newsletter, or a get acquainted phone session. Ask them to download your free ebook, audio or report. When you make a free valuable offer, it gives people an opportunity to get to know you and your services.

See how much marketing work that little piece of card stock can perform for you? Work it, baby!

Your fame boosting assignment:

Pull out your business card right now and run through the four suggestions above. Can you add any of them to boost the marketing power of your business card?

Not confident in your writing? Focus on these two things.

By Lori

Admit it. You secretly long to be a published author.

Image of hand writing with pencil on yellow legal pad.

You can imagine the phone ringing.  The caller, completely breathless with excitement (hey, it’s your fantasy, right?) says that he’s just read your article in the Leading Publication for Your Industry. The topic you so brilliantly covered is exactly what he’s been struggling with…how soon can he hire you to work your magic?

But there’s a problem. You haven’t actually submitted articles to the Leading Publication for Your Industry.

Deep down, you’re just not confident in your writing. In fact, you think that it might stink. A lot.

(Rather watch than read? Just hit the play arrow on the video below.)

Relax. When it comes to publishing articles for business, there are two critical aspects to focus on. And neither one is sounding like Hemingway.

Clarity and Voice.

Clarity is just what you’d guess, how clearly your work communicates with your audience. It’s kind of a big deal, if you actually want people to read your articles.

“When asked what qualities they value most in writing, people who must read a great deal professionally put clarity at the top of their list. If they have to invest too much effort in figuring out the writer’s meaning, they will give up in dismay or annoyance.”
(Maxine C. Hairston, Successful Writing. Norton, 1992)

Noooo! Don’t let your potential new clients give up in dismay (or annoyance.)

Use these questions as a filter for your articles and blog posts:

  • Are you using words and expressions that your audience is familiar with, or is it full of jargon?
  • Is it organized, with a logical flow?
  • Are you getting the point across to your reader? Or are you leaping from one concept to another, expecting your reader to connect the dots?

Test for clarity

One way to test the clarity of your article is have someone you know and trust (who is not part of your industry) read your article and give you feedback. Ask the person to summarize the content of your article in two or three sentences.

If your test reader understood the point you were trying to make, then your article is clear. Great job – you’ve met the first objective of writing that will benefit your business.

Find your voice

The second quality of writing that will build your brand and your business is VOICE.

Voice is a literary term to describe your unique style as a writer – it includes the words you choose, the length of your sentences, even how you use punctuation. Your writer’s voice is (or should be) as uniquely you as your fingerprints.

Often inexperienced writers (especially those in more technical fields) try to be overly formal and professional, because they want to impress the reader. But this backfires. String together an article or blog post stuffed with complex sentences and big words and you’ve lost your reader. Probably for good.

Here’s a mini formality test you can perform on your own writing. Scan for the word “utilize”? A pet peeve of mine, “utilize” is the perfect example of using longer, more complicated words when a short word would do the job.

The best way to shrug off fear of your 8th grade English teacher’s red pen and find your writer’s voice is to focus on writing conversationally and to write.

And write.

And write.

Yep, it’s like exercise. You’ll uncover your unique voice once you burn off all those layers of overly complex sentence constructions and fatty words.

When you focus on clarity and expressing your unique voice, your writing will convey your expertise and attract exactly the right people to you and your business.

Your fame boosting assignment:

This week, work on finding your voice. A great technique to use to get ideas flowing and remove the filter of perfection that blocks your unique voice is to write for the trash can. This means that you write with the intention that you’ll throw it away. This helps to get past writer’s block and to avoid perfection paralysis.

The Simple Shift that will Make Your Videos More Engaging

By Lori

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Enjoy your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on The VIP List for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)

Video, video, video.YouTube logo

In case you haven’t heard, video is hawwt. YouTube is now six years old and this first grader is only gettin’ more popular by the minute. Three BILLION hits a day, 48 hours of video uploaded per MINUTE.

Yikes, that’s a lot of content.

Solo professionals, consultants and coaches want to share their message and thought leadership via video, but are worried about how they’ll look or sound on video.

Google the phrase “how to make better video” and you’ll get screen after screen of links to articles and blog posts recommending certain equipment, to create story boards, and specific settings for your uploads.

When it comes to making your video engaging, there’s one simple shift that makes all the difference. And this shift also makes creating video less stressful for you (bonus!)

Check out the video below. I’ll talk about the simple shift and why it works:


Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

This week, record a video where you answer one question that you’re often asked by your clients. No scripts allowed though! When you look at the camera lens, picture your friend, colleague or family member and have a natural conversation. You’ll feel the difference when you watch the results.

The Secret about Trade Magazines that Could Boost Your Business

By Lori

Want to build your fame platform? Get published. Get articles published in trade magazines? Yes, you can!

Small business owners, coaches and consultants know that being published will make them more widely known and boost their credibility, but are hesitant to approach magazine editors.

Janet, a business consultant, and I were talking at a conference for women business owners where  she shared that she’d really like to be published but she was nervous about approaching a magazine editor. She worried that the editor was too important – too much “above” her – and wouldn’t want to hear from her.

I want to share a secret with you.

While editors of the newsstand glossies like Vogue, Fortune, Esquire and Inc. receive hundreds of story ideas each day, there is an entire category of magazines where the editor is waiting and hoping that you’ll submit an article.

Trade magazines.

Trade magazines (also called professional magazines) are written for a specific industry, business or profession. They have titles like CFO Magazine, Golf Course News International, Business Law Today, Supply Strategy and Event Solutions.

While getting an article published in Pig Farmer Monthly might not have the glam factor of a mention in Vanity Fair, if you’re in the swine industry, it positions you as an expert to a highly targeted audience, ripe for your services.

A few of these publications have editorial staff including writers who pen the articles that appear, but most trade magazines operate with a skeleton crew. Sometimes it’s just one lonely, harried editor/writer/publisher who works her tail off to get the issue out each month.

She needs you.

You are actually doing her a service when you write an article that would help her publication’s audience.

Trade Magazines are Target-Rich Environments for Your Expertise and
Editors Actually Want You to Write Articles for Them.

Convinced? Here’s how to get started:

1. Visit the publications website or send an email to request the publication’s editorial calendar. This is a listing of the magazine’s issues and the theme of each, along with topics that the editor wants to cover in that issue.

2. The magazine might also have writer’s guidelines. Read them to learn what kinds of articles are accepted, whether you should query the editor first (send a short message outlining your proposed topic and your credentials), desired article length and format and how far in advance of the issue publication you should propose your article idea.

3. Pick your topic, follow the guidelines and contact the editor with your short (one page) email or snail mail query.  When your idea is accepted, celebrate and start writing!

Here are few lists and directors of trade magazines:

And one paid (but totally worth it) service:

  • http://www.writersmarket.com – WritersMarket.com lists more than 2,000 magazines, as well as hundreds of newspapers and online publications. Listings include contact information, submission preferences, types of articles accepted and more.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

Pick one magazine, look up it editorial calendar, select an issue with a topic that you could educate the readers on and send your email inquiry to the editor.  Happy publishing, you famous expert, you.

How to Move People to Action with Your Words

By Lori

Speaking is one of the pillars of becoming Famous in Your Field.  As a marketing tool, you can’t beat it.

Speaking to an audience of ideal prospects lets you shorten the typical selling cycle – the length of time it takes for a prospect to become aware of you, know what you offer, believe that you’re credible and to hire you.

With one powerful presentation, you can go from an unknown quantity to a must-have business partner in only an hour’s time! Speaking accelerates the “getting to know you” stage, so that you can establish trust and likeability in one interaction.

But if you want to stand out from the business pandemonium, you’ve got to pack a punch with your words. Trouble is, too many business pros undermine their own credibility as an authority on their topic by peppering their talks with wishy-washy words and phrases.

Here’s the truth: the language you use creates the impression of credibility (or…not.)

Listen to your presentations. Are your words weak and whiny or power-packed?

Here’s a list of powerful phrases to use:

“I know that together we can…”

“This is key for use today because…”

“My goal today is to…”

Want more power words? Add these to your speaking arsenal:

  • aim
  • do
  • want
  • right
  • will
  • challenge

Your fame boosting assignment:

Inspire yourself! Read or listen to some of the most influential speakers throughout history and notice the words they use to move people to action.

Make a list of those words and phrases. Then, practice weaving them into your talks and notice how your listeners respond.

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

Business Boosting Books: Steal This Idea from The Contrarian Effect

By Lori

I love to read.

But not everyone does, and even if you do, you may not have time to read the hundreds of business and personal development books published each week.  So, I wanted to do something that gives value to you at the same time that I do something that I enjoy.

That’s why I started my series Business Boosting Books. Here’s how it works:

Once a month, I’ll share the Cliff’s Notes version of a business book so that you can glean some of the benefits without spending hours of your free time. As a bonus, I’m including the Steal This Idea tip, where I share a single idea from the book, along with a quickie exercise to put that gem to work for your business.

The Contrarian Effect: Why It Pays (BIG) to Take Typical Sales Advice and Do the Opposite

Michael Port and Elizabeth Marshall

Pretend You Read It

An incredibly fast read, much of the content of this pocket-sized book is focused on debunking conventional (really, at this point, almost old-fashioned) sales practices. Think cold calling, deceptive tactics and ABC (always be closing) sales techniques. The Contrarian Effect advocates doing the opposite of these traditional tactics. Here are the Contrarian Effect rules, along with my commentary:

1. Instead of cold calling, customers find you and initiate the buying process.

For this to be effective in bringing prospects to you, you have to be findable. Are you? When you Google your business name, what comes up?

2. Door to door selling and sales scripts are dead. Customers control how – and if – you reach and communicate with them.

That’s why it’s so important to be where your clients are – being published the magazines and blogs they read, speaking at the events they attend and being mentioned in the media they consume.

3. Customers have unlimited choices and access to unlimited information. Clients want a relevant and valuable offer tailored just for them.

This tenet highlights why you must position yourself as the perfect solution to the challenges your clients face. To do that, you’ve got to be super clear on who your ideal client is, what they struggle with and the results you deliver.

4. Customers decide when it’s time to buy – not you.

Your solution? Give them all the information they need to get to know you, to trust you and what you offer, to make a decision and to volunteer to work with you.

Steal This Idea!

Co-author Michael Port advocates having what he calls an “Always Have Something to Invite People to Offer.” It could be a free weekly conference call, a lunch & learn brown bag, a webinar series…some regular event that delivers value to your potential clients, builds trust and gives them a taste of what it would be like to work with you.

One of the companies profiled in the book sponsors a Best of Business series where experts and authors share strategies and tips custom designed for the company’s target clients.

The genius of this idea is that it takes the pressure off you completely. You don’t have to worry about “following up” with every new contact. You can just extend the invitation to your call/event/webinar, etc. with generosity. It’s valuable for your prospective clients and it’s no risk, unlike a meeting, a product demo or a free introductory session.

Proof That it Works

Port himself used this strategy to grow a database of 40,000 subscribers and potential clients. He hosts a weekly free conference call, the Think Big Revolution, where small business owners and service professionals can learn strategies and tools to increase their sales.

Your fame boosting assignment:

  • This week, make a list of ideas for your own Always Have Something to Invite People To Offer. Come up with at least 10 different things that you could do that would be valuable to your ideal client.
  • Ask three people who fit your ideal client profile to review your list and pick the one or two ideas that they would be most likely to respond to.
  • Choose one and put it into action.
  • Now get busy extending your Always Have Something to Invite People To Offer to everyone you know!

Get Ink Now: Boost Fame with Articles

By Lori

I’m creating my own proverb:

The road to business fame is paved with words.

Words that come in the form of articles, blog posts, videos, presentations. The formula works: lots of words, read or heard by lots of ideal clients will lead to fame for you and your business.

“Who are the consultants in the top 5% income-producers?  They are the thought leaders who regularly publish books and articles.”

-Kennedy Information Systems

One of the best ways to make a name for yourself is to publish articles in professional and trade magazines. If your business is focused on a particular industry or niche, chances are there is a magazine (or several) dedicated that audience.

While some marketing gurus will tell you to jump into the next Pinterest to promote your business, the truth is that the most effective marketing move you can make is to go where your prospects already are.

Work with spa owners? Interior designers? Pig farmers? There’s a magazine for that.

The best thing about publishing articles in trade magazines is that the readers are your target audience. And the second best thing about trade magazines is that many editors are desperately seeking well-written articles on industry topics. You can help the editor serve his or her readers with helpful information, while you position yourself as an expert. Everybody wins!

Not sure which magazines to target? Try this:

  • Ask your clients what magazines they read to keep up to speed on their industry.
  • Check out Tradepub.com. From CFOs to casino operators, there are hundreds of trade and professional service magazines listed on the site.
  • Use Google to search for “your industry” or “your client’s title” and “magazine.”

Next, grab several issues and read the articles. You’ll get a feel for the types of articles, the reading level and the topics the magazine covers.

After you’ve surveyed the publication, flip through the first several pages to find the magazine’s masthead – the list of staffers. Locate the editor and send what’s called a query or pitch.

The pitch sells the editor on your article idea and why it’s of interest to the magazine readers. Your pitch should have three parts:

1. The hook. Grab the editor’s attention so that she or he wants to keep reading. A mini story, a compelling statistic or quote usually works.

2. The body. This tells the editor what your article will be about and why the magazine readers will benefit from your knowledge. This should be concise and should actually give away your best stuff. A few bullets and a couple of quotes from industry pros works nicely.

3. Your bio. A sentence or two about you and your credentials lets the editor know why you’re the perfect person to pen this article.

Before you press send, ask for the job. “Does this sound like something you’d like to publish?” “Do you have room in your editorial calendar for an article like this?”

Your fame boosting assignment:

Visit Tradepub.com or just search for magazines that fit your target audience. Make a list of five that you’ll target to publish an article.

Ready, set, pitch!

More About You, Please

By Lori

Famous in your field: your website's About page is one of the most important on your site. Tell us about you!Business owners (especially us small and solo biz owners) try so hard to appear credible to prospects and clients. We write verbose, staid, high falutin’ paragraphs so that we appear “professional.” The sad result is we actually look like corporate clones – colorless, devoid of personality. All in the attempt to appear professional and bigger than we are.

Ughh.

The truth is that your prospects and clients actually choose you because you’re not big and corporate. They’re seeking a credible, personable solution to their problem.

Check out your website, brochures and newsletters. Are they filled with references to “the team,” “our staff,” and phrases like “at xyz, every employee strives to ensure customer satisfaction..?”

That’s not what makes clients choose your company.

They choose you.

Don’t hide your personality, your particular life’s experience. Don’t hide your you-ness.

How can you infuse more of you into your marketing? Start with your website’s About page.

Chances are, it’s one of the most popular pages on your website. Why? Because visitors – potential clients – want to know about your company. Most of all, they want to know who’s behind it.

They want to know about you.

And not some glossy, polished, perfect version. Your prospects want to relate to you and to feel assured that you understand the struggles they’re facing. And that you’re the one who can help them.

Do that. Share your personality, your imperfections, your passions, the challenges you’ve faced and overcome. When prospects read your compelling story, they will be more likely to buy from you. Because you stand out. Because you’re like them – imperfect.

Juice up your website’s About page by weaving the answers to these questions into the narrative.

  • How did you become a [photographer, management consultant, life coach]?
  • What was the defining moment in your life? What challenge did you face?
  • What steps did you take to overcome the challenge?
  • How did that experience make you a better [photographer, management consultant, life coach]?
  • Why do you continue doing what you do? What drives you?

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

Boost your relatability factor by injecting more you-ness in your marketing this week. Weave the answers to these questions into your site’s About page.

C’mon, share your amazing with us.

7 Questions to Solve Your “I’m stumped for Press Release Ideas” Dilemma

By Lori

Hey there smart and savvy biz owner! You’ve heard the advice that to been seen as a leader and expert in your industry, you should generate media coverage for yourself and your business, right?

It’s true. Publicity is powerful stuff. Experts typically peg the value of media coverage at 5-7 times  the equivalent amount of advertising.

So what’s stopping you from grabbing your fair share of online and old-school ink?

Sometimes it’s just not easy to see the forest for the trees. You’re deep in the trenches in your business or your practice every day, so you don’t notice the publicity gold scattered all around you.

Don’t lose hope! You can train your brain to spot newsworthy developments. It just takes a little practice.

Here is a list of questions that you can use to uncover press release topics lurking in your midst:

1. Do you have any upcoming events scheduled? Will you be speaking, exhibiting or hosting a conference, a workshop or a session?

2. Have you or your staffers pitched in to help any charities or volunteer organizations in your industry or your community?

3. Published something lately? Even if it’s on your own website, a guide, an article, a webinar or checklist is worth a mention.

4. Have you been quoted or featured on a blog, at a conference, in a newspaper or magazine?

5. Are you running a contest?

6. Have you or your clients earned an award or recognition from your industry?

7. Have you formed a strategic partnership or alliance that will move your industry forward or better serve your customers?

Now that you’ve warmed up your brain with those seven questions, I know that you can come up with even more to add to this list.

Your fame building assignment:

This week, uncover a newsworthy item about you or your business. Then, write a press release and send it to five media sources that typically cover that type of story. While you’re at it, post your news on the best free press release sites, too.

Now with Even More LinkedIn! New Follow Company Button

By Lori

LinkedIn, that navy blue suit of social networks, is stealthily adding more features that let its 150 million members promote and follow brands.

The latest? Recently, LinkedIn announced a new “Follow Company” button that brands (um, this means you!) can embed on their websites.

How does it work?

Similar to Facebook’s “Like” icon, or the “Follow me” on Twitter, LinkedIn’s Follow Company button lets your followers receive automatic updates from your company in their LinkedIn feeds. (Hmm, sounds like another tool in the Famous in Your Field toolbox to me!)

Now, the ability to follow companies within LinkedIn isn’t new. The feature has been available for a while, but this new Follow button brings the LinkedIn party to your house: your website!

And now the big question on your mind, “How can I use this Follow Company feature to build my business fame factor?”

Here are two ideas:

1.Follow companies that might be good prospects for your business. You’ll be able to keep track of new developments that will give you a natural reason to reach out to offer your services or products.

2. Add the Follow Company button to your own website. And be sure that you’re sharing regular company status updates on LinkedIn. Let your network know where you’ll be speaking, link to your latest article or media coverage and announce new services or products.

Your fame building assignment:

Hop on over to LinkedIn and get the new button right here on LinkedIn’s Developer blog.

Pop that baby onto your website and be sure to encourage people to follow your company. Add it to your email signature and your business card, too.

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