Category Archives: Good Marketing Fortune

Anne Orfila
Old School Rules Still Apply in The New Web World

I have been in the wild web world longer than many of you who are reading this. I’m a Gen X, not a Millennial. Most likely, the biggest differentiating factor between me and a Millennial who is doing the same type of web marketing work as I currently am, is that I worked in an office. Sure, sure, you’re saying that so have you. But my first job was in a serious mega corporation that wasn’t full of young people aspiring to hit it big with IPOs and stock options. My employer was already on the stock market and I had the bigwigs from New York breathing down my neck for sales revenue reports, forecasts, and whatever else they needed. This also happened to be my first job out of college. I was young, but eager to be a team player, and a fast learner. What I learned in those 3 years of corporate life was something I have taken with me to every job since. Old school office etiquette works wonders. Even in this current fast-paced web world.

Mind your manners in the wild web world. What is old school etiquette in the office? Basically, it’s using proper manners in the workplace. Etiquette applies to “netiquette” too! Show respect to your coworkers and their privacy, speak (or email or call) politely, mind your (political, religious, controversial) opinions, use “please” and “thank you” whenever appropriate, keep your voice down, ask to borrow other people’s office supplies, keep team members in the loop, show up to meetings on time, stay at home when you are sick (unless you are already home, then just be thankful for your work-from-home job!)

I’ve been working at home for more than a decade, but I never let my etiquette slip. Since my clients, and Web Marketing Therapy coworkers are all over the U.S., all of my work and most of my correspondence is done electronically so my office manners have been transposed a bit to fit the web world, but the gist is still the same.

Follow These Old-School Rules in Today’s New-School Web World:

  • Keep your emails clear, polite, to the point, and prompt. If there is something you need, be clear to ask for it…nicely!
  • Emails should not be one word or in all lowercase. I don’t care if you reply from your phone! You don’t talk in one word sentences (and even if you do), your emails should not just be one word sentences.
  • Address the recipient with a pleasant greeting such as “Dear xxx”, “Good Morning, xxx”. Not “Hey”
  • Confirm receipt of work emails from clients, even if you haven’t completed it. Occasionally something doesn’t get delivered and if your client is used to a confirmation, than they’ll know if you haven’t received their email.
  • Use “please” and “thank you” whenever necessary.
  • Your email subject needs to reflect what your email is about.
  • Don’t forward anything personal (jokes, political statements, funny cartoons, chain letters, etc.,) to clients, even if you are on “friendly” terms.
  • Stick to a basic font (Arial, Helvetica), in a “regular” size, and use black.
  • Do not use ALL CAPS, EVER.
  • No profanity belongs in any client email.
  • Temper the exclamation points, the bolded words, and underlining.
  • Avoid shortcuts for words: “u” for “you”, “bc” for “because”, “gr8” for “great” and so forth.
  • Use emoticons sparingly.
  • If there are multiple people on a message you receive, decipher whether it is appropriate to “reply all” or to just reply to the sender.
  • Keep your client or coworkers in the loop. You may be half way through a project, but it’s always nice to send them a brief status email update so they know that you are working on it.
  • Sign off your emails with a pleasantry such as “Sincerely”, “Warm Regards”, “Kind Regards” and include a signature with your contact information.
  • Notify clients and coworkers of vacations or times when you are away from your office.
  • Use your out-of-office assistant when taking extended time away from work.

Whether you are Gen X or a Millennial, don’t be afraid to throw in some old school office etiquette in the new wild web world. After all, courtesy, respect, and professionalism never go out of style.

virtualwordspecialist
Ten Reasons for More Humor at Work

lol-706869_640 copyA sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.– Dwight D. Eisenhower

It’s way more fun to work in a culture and environment that encourages humor. It’s also a useful and productive marketing strategy. An article by Forbes “10 Reasons Why Humor is a Key to Success at Work” shares why allowing people to be more open with tasteful humor in the workplace can help a business flourish.

The ideal workspace involves balancing the art of allowing respectful humor, taking yourself too seriously and just plain having fun.

Below are Forbes’ 10 reasons why humor is a key to success at work:

  • People will enjoy working with you. This is especially true when you are enjoy what you do.
  • Humor is a potent stress buster. According to Forbes, laughing creates a cognitive shift of stressors in the body.
  • It is humanizing. All sides can seek common ground using humor (properly).
  • It puts others at ease. Humor is a great tool for easing tension especially when conflicts arise.
  • It encourages creative thinking. Studies show that humor is a major factor in creative thinking.
  • It helps build trust. Effective use of humor lets your authentic-self shine through.
  • It boosts morale. Humor can lower retention at work if employees are laughing and having fun!
  • People who use humor tend to be more approachable. Honest and open people are often surrounded by the same people.
  • Humor can allow your company to stand out. Using humor as a strategy, businesses can leverage brand loyalty.
  • It can increase productivity. Humor creates an upbeat culture that can increase “out of the box” thinking, camaraderie and the sharing of ideas.

At Web Marketing Therapy, we knows how to get the humor flowing – heck, we have to!  Web work involves tech challenges, difficult clients (we love our clients, but sometimes we deal with behavioral issues!)

It’s not uncommon for the entire team to chuckle through email (we joke in hashtags and send a lot of videos and photos amongst each other) and via social media (especially on Funny Friday)! Laughing helps us relax, have a good belly laugh and get on with our day with a smile.

Please share any humor at work stories here. We would love to hear them.

Sources:

Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/05/03/10-reasons-why-humor-is-a-key-to-success-at-work/

virtualwordspecialist
Stop Business Stress and Anxiety – Start with Exercise

Jim Rohn healthy-quotes-1Running a business has great rewards; it can also be very stressful! If you are stressed, chances are so is some aspect of your business. March is National Nutrition Month, a perfect time to remind business owners that controlling their stress with good nutrition and exercise can help ease business stress!

The effects of stress on a person’s life are quite harmful – personally and professionally. Statistics from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) show nearly 40 million adults are affected by stress and anxiety. Studies taken around the world show solid evidence supporting the health and wellness benefits of consistent, regular exercise.

Here’s some stats from those studies:

  • Exercise can elevate depressed mood in many people and relieve anxiety and depression.
  • Exercise improves mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress.
  • Exercise can help physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people.
  • Regular exercise can work medication for some people to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The good news for busy entrepreneurs and working professionals is that it really takes no time at all to reap the rewards of daily exercise! According to a recent study cited by the ADAA, a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout and deliver several hours of relief akin to taking an aspirin for a headache. Come on, we can all do that!

The best way to stay on track is to schedule daily exercise into your calendar. If you are just starting out remember to take one step at a time and perhaps begin with a 10 minute walk a few days a week. Just like your marketing efforts the only way to get good results is to be consistent. Exercise is no exception so get up, get moving and release the stress from your body and your business!

While we tout HEALTHY MARKETING = WEALTHY ORGANIZATIONS®, we also care enough to want to remind you that HEALTH = WEALTH.

If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t give the best to your family, friends, coworkers or company.

So get off your butt, ok!?? 🙂

Sources:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics article: http://www.nationalnutritionmonth.org/nnm/

Anxiety and Depression Association of America article: http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety

virtualwordspecialist
Shape Up Your Marketing Efforts in 2015

The stars don't align for those who just dabble image 10376089_10155089531745268_8366638418436921466_nI recently noticed that the gym parking lot is emptier. Sadly, according some sources, only 59% percent of the Americans who made resolutions to get fit in 2014 kept their word. The problem is that making changes takes a plan (goals), making exercise a priority, being consistent and willing to stick to it no matter what to get the results.

The same is true for marketing. Busy entrepreneurs and small business owners are so overloaded. “Bettering marketing” projects dive to the bottom of “to do” lists where most things never get done….just like fitness resolutions. You don’t have to be a statistic – start small.

Want to shape up your marketing efforts this year?  Start by STARTING. If you are ready and determined to change your marketing to get it up and running better, follow these three marketing tips for success:

1) Determine marketing goals. You probably don’t need an entire overhaul, but perhaps just to focus and tighten up your efforts somewhere (i.e. social media or website optimizations). Whatever ideas of what needs to get done pops into your head, write them down and prioritize their order.  Need to have’s first, nice to have’s later.  It’s like cutting soda as a start to fitness – you aren’t working out 10x/week, but you are making a small step that will be part of making a big difference in the long run.

2) Delegate the workload. Determine who will be the marketing “person” in your company if there is not already one. Consider one of your employees for social media posts if applicable. You can also hire an online marketing agency to help share the workload.  With fitness, it would be like joining a fitness class, hiring a personal trainer or a healthy cook to help so your future efforts are done more strategically.

3) Set a realistic budget and timeframe. Most companies spend 5-10% of their budgets on their marketing efforts every year. This is the point where the goals list (Step 1) is necessary to determine the importance of the tasks at hand so you are clear to help get estimates to to the work and plan time to complete them. This is also an opportunity to audit current marketing spend. Cut things that don’t work – it will free up budget to use towards things that support your goal list.

Creating a road map implementing that strategy and measuring results are the simple keys to healthy marketing. If you feel overwhelmed with it all, reach out for help! Creating a solution for that problem may be easier than you think.

Resources:

http://elitedaily.com/life/everyone-gives-new-years-resolutions/894828/

http://maristpoll.marist.edu/tag/new-years-resolutions/

virtualwordspecialist
Business Leaders Share Career Development Tips

Sheryl Sandberg opened up a flurry of opinions and enthusiasm when she discussed women and their careers in her book “Lean In.” Continuing the “lean in” discussion, online learning company, lynda.com selected five video course instructors (including WMT’s Lorrie Thomas Ross) and shared their helpful career development tips in a Slideshare presentation titled: “Five Ways for Women to “Lean In” to Their Careers in 2014.”  The advice ranges from getting out of your comfort zone, the importance of personal branding and managing your career to negotiating your worth to values and vision leadership.

Business News Daily staff writer, Nicole Fallon also highlighted the best five quotes from the “Five Ways Women Can “Lean In” to their Careers” presentation in her article: “5 Changes That Will Take Your Career to the Next Level.”  Tips follow.

  • Disrupt yourself to get to the next level. Speaker Whitney Johnson inspires people to shake things by using the power “disruptive innovation” to their own careers. She encourages people to actively take the right risks, play to their distinctive strengths, all the while understanding and recognizing constraints. Johnson admits this will not be easy and that you may step back, sideways or even fail in the process but that eventually, your strategy will emerge.  Quote: “Learn how you can disrupt yourself.”
  • Tend your personal brand. Personal branding expert (and our company CEO), Lorrie Thomas Ross points out that people need to be aware of the personal brand they are building every day, through their actions, ideas and their online presence. Quote: “Be intentional about the brand called you.”
  • Proactively manage your career. Valerie Sutton recommends people seeking their dream job create a gap analysis to map a path to it. First, they will need to determine through research the requirements needed for the ideal position. Then, they will need to identify which requirements are missing from their skill set (gaps) and come up with a plan to fill them in. Quote: “You can shadow others through informational interviewing to think through how you might fill some of those gaps.”
  • Claim your worth. Lisa Gates contends that learning how to successfully negotiate your salary and career opportunities is critical to career success. Lisa also affirms that every savvy leader is also a strong negotiator who knows their worth and is not afraid to claim it. Quote: “To be successful in negotiation, it’s best to walk in prepared.”
  • Lead with vision and values. Britt Andreatta contends that people want vision and values from their leaders. Leaders who clearly articulate their values and vision for the future, will build a healthy and positive culture. Quote: Having a clearly articulated set of values and a vision for the future, both contribute to a healthy, positive culture.”

For additional information on Lorrie’s personal branding video course, check out Lorrie Thomas Personal Branding Basics course on lynda.com.

Lorrie Thomas
The Power of C.O.U.P.L.E.ing for Personal and Professional Success

Relationships are everything.

Any success I have personally and professionally is because of relationships. I frequently reflect on how I met my friends, clients, my wonderful Web Marketing Therapy team mates, how I have built my business and watched my passionate professional clients build theirs. People who have rich lives both personally and professionally have one common success trait: they understand the value of valuable relationships.

You don’t have to be an extrovert to be good at or value the power of relationships, you just need to know how to “get” relationships (as in making them and growing them). HOW this is done will vary for each and every one of you.  As I wrote in my book about marketing, there is a fun success equation that I call C.O.U.P.L.E.ing that is applicable for both personal and professional success. Let this be a good source of motivation to work and live smart (not hard) so you do what you like and like what you do!

The Power of C.O.U.P.L.E.ing for Personal and Professional Success:

Commitment: Let’s face it, relationships take work. Not painstaking work (ideal relationships should be pleasurable vs. painful) but dedication to stay the course. We need to show that we’ll go the distance – trust is not granted overnight.  Let’s say you close a new client or get new web purchases (or any new type of relationship, date, whatever). Once that first connection happens, YOU AREN’T DONE! Commitment to following up, staying in touch and keeping the love alive is a must. Commitment is about connections without demanding a payoff (anyone who is a parent personally understands this). Slow and steady wins the relationship race. Personal or professional, relationship making is a journey, NOT a destination. And it takes two to tango. You can’t force a relationship if the energy is not coming from the other direction.
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Outreach: Relationships don’t happen passively. We have to reach out to get the wheels in motion. Relationships are not just from one source either – it can come from a variety of venues, alliances, communications or networks. Outreach also means looking for partners that you may collaborate with to amplify your message. Think about fundraising. Do donors wake up one day and say, “I am dying to give my money to some nonprofit today! Let me go find one!”  (uh, unlikely)  Instead, it takes reminders (communications) that educate where donations go, events happening, etc.  Passive outreach = passive results. No need to be a used car salesperson (that is old school outreach), just get in the habit of outreaching. Call, text or Facebook a friend. Tell your loved ones that you love them or were just thinking about them. Check in with a client “just because”. Do a meaningful blog post or email (you get the idea…just do SOMETHING!)
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Understanding: Understanding is everything in relationships. Understanding doesn’t mean you have to agree with a spouse, coworker or a client, but if you can just put yourself in their shoes to UNDERSTAND where they are coming from, your service will improve as well as your communication (which equals better relationship results!). Try understanding the relationship from the other partner’s points of view. What do they want? What problems can you help them solve? Why do you think they feel the way they feel?  Often, they simply want to be heard and UNDERSTOOD. Understanding what they want and getting good at listening will lead to a symbiotic relationship (and expedite problem solving). My favorite tip:  When you just don’t get where the other party is coming from try: “Help me understand_____” as the conversational lead in. This has no judgement involved and helps get right to the heart of understanding.
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Passion: Believe in yourself as a person, professional, as an owner or participant in an organization and how you/it can help people. Get excited about the possibilities and use your authentic voice to share your value and values and help people. Passion is contagious and engaging. Passion is purpose. This drives the energy of our heart and can move mountains to enhance personal and professional relationships.  Nail your WHY (click those previous words to watch a mind changing video!)
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Love: We can’t have long-lasting relationships without love, can we? Love doesn’t have to be sloppy drippy puppy romantic love, but some love’s gotta be there. I see professionals who want to boost their business but they don’t love their jobs or they don’t attract ideal clients (so they don’t love the people they work with). When I see this I diagnose disaster. Put some heart in the art (and science like email, social media, etc) of your relationship work to make it work wonders. In my industry (marketing, which I LOVE) many professionals think marketing means buying ads and sending lots of emails to build traffic and sales. WRONG.Marketing means loving your customers instead (then mindfully using tools like ads, etc to connect and make relationships with them). If you care about the other person/company/work/etc, it will show. If you don’t, this will also show. If you lack love in any areas of life, try to understand why and clean house so your energy goes to what (and whom) you love. I can honestly say that I love writing, teaching, running Web Marketing Therapy and working with my team mates. I LOVE our clients – their unique abilities, their entrepreneurialism, their services, products, professionalism and integrity. I also attract ideal clients to my company because we are clear on WHY we are in business (our WHY is to support passionate professionals by taking the overwhelm out of marketing so they can invest in health marketing solutions) so sales are closed with people who are an ideal match.  **This same “ideal client” concept translates to relationships. If we aren’t clear on what we want in friends or romantic partners, we can’t attract that!**
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Effort: Healthy relationships require making management effort. Little things like making regular updates, being present, sharing your appreciation for clients & coworkers are little gestures that pay off big-time. A one time gym visit will not get you in shape, but little efforts repeatedly will – same goes relationships personal and professional! Nothing in life is free, but with effort towards relationships that matter…well, wheeeeee!

Ready for win-win success in relationships?  Get ready to power C.O.U.P.L.E.!

Success is not about what we know, it’s WHO we know.

Take inventory on your ideal clients (the ones who are a pleasure to work with…identify why and put more energy into those relationships). Relationships that you want to have but do not have?  Look critically at why and make steps to change that. Evaluate your personal relationships too (friends, family, community).  Do you have relationships that fuel you?

Virtual Marketing Hugs!