Friendship on Facebook – How to conquer the 3 P’s for you and your business: Step One

Productivity, popularity, or problematic. The kinds of friends you have determines what they do, and ultimately what they can be, for you and your business.

I’m not talking about character and personality of the people you have befriended, I’m talking about if their friendship benefits you.

That may seem selfish, but really if it doesn’t benefit you it’s not doing either of you any good. So think about it, the 3 P’s they can be for you and your business can be answered by asking 3 questions, first on a majority basis and then on an individual basis: do they encourage your productivity, give you popularity, both, or are they simply problematic?

The good news is that no matter what kinds of friends you have, you can maximize what they do and can be for you by recognizing their role in your friendship and taking the appropriate action.

So, the first step you have to take is figuring out the kinds of friends you have. Breaking down the words productivity, popularity, and problematic can help you determine your friend base, and then what to do to maximize them.

Your Productive friends:
A productive base of friends encourage your productivity because they are valuable to your business, in other words they will be within your target market for clientele.

If you made a single post about a success your business or industry has just had, or a new house, car, dog, or toilet for sale, besides your family who just wants to see you happy, how many of your friends would really care, or better yet, benefit from knowing that? If the numbers are slim, and you are seriously trying to use Facebook as business tool, chances are you need to revamp your friend base.

Having a productive friend base does great things for you and your business. When people visit your page and interact with you, the conversations, even when they are not about business, will be stronger and more targeted because they are coming from a similar group of people – your target market. You will find that common topics will surface among you, your friends, and their friends and soon you will be seen as solid connection and common ground that people turn to when they need your service or product.

This type of friend also helps you to be more productive because your time spent for marketing on facebook is so efficient. You are only speaking to people who you know have something to lose from not engaging with you, because your friends are all in your target market.

Your Popularity friends:
If you have a high number of friends, but they are not people you know personally or are part of your productive base then they are there simply making you look popular.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s not a good thing either because you miss out on common threads that tie you, your friends, and their friends together. You become just another random friend that makes them look popular too, and there is no mutual connection, common ground, or benefit.

It’s great to be friends with people of all walks of life, but if you’re a wild horse whisperer and only 1 in every 100 of your friends has or cares about horses, then any time you spend marketing on facebook is a waste of time. Why bother telling all those people about the latest psychological development between horses and people, or that they just made a movie about how great you are, if they aren’t ever going to need your services?

A base of these friends makes your facebook for business weak. It fills it with holes and randomness, makes you forgettable, and diminishes the value of your presence and posts on facebook. There are rules that need to be followed about the ratio of personal vs. business posts, but when you do post about business to a base of popularity friends…. no one will care.

You also want friends that are going to interact with you, participate in your questions, discussions, and groups, and show interest when you make both personal and business posts. If all your friends do is make you look popular, then they probably don’t care anymore about your babies taking their first steps than they do about your work. Who wants friends that don’t care?

Your Problematic friends:
Hopefully you wont have mass numbers of these types of friends. Chances are if they are annoying they are problematic and you have already gotten rid of them. There is no real formula to what makes a problematic friend, and most of the time you can rely on common sense but below are a few guidelines.

It is easy to assume that if all a friend does is make you look popular, that they are also problematic. However, just because someone doesn’t know you, isn’t in your productive base, and doesn’t engage with you doesn’t mean you have to get rid of them.

A person can become problematic when they make so many posts a day that it fills up your wall, or when they bombard your wall with spam-like posts selling everything from suntan lotion to urns. Remember that when someone is your friend they can see your wall and everyone’s statuses and comments on threads that they’ve posted to.

If you’re in this for business, it’s probably a good idea to remain tasteful with the types of friends and posts you allow, after all, it takes years to build a reputation but only seconds to ruin one.

Ask yourself if specific friends are hindering your efforts to build your relationship and reputation with your productive base and your target market. If they are actually specifically ruining it, then they are probably problematic.

You can have multiple types of friends in your base. Now that you’ve analyzed your friends as whole, do it again on a smaller scale – individually.

To be continued –
Find out how to maximize what your friends can be for you and your business

Friendship on Facebook – How to conquer the 3 P’s for you and your business: Step Two

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

What’s in a niche?

In a nutshell, a niche is an infinitely specific category or group of anything with common qualities. A group of people can be a niche. A type of book can be a niche. A type of store can be a niche. To elaborate even further, you could have a niche that includes women who read romance novels purchased from grocery stores.

Typically, the more targeted your niche the more specific you can design your marketing campaign. There are an infinite number of niches, and even more, there are hundreds of thousands of ways to make another niche out of any niche.

Can a niche be too targeted? That depends on what your trying to do, or sell. Say for example that you are a book publisher, you want to use your marketing dollars efficiently so you decide that you have sell something. Unless of course you are a book publisher trying to sell cars, you have to sell books to someone; perhaps a very specific someone or small group. Following my previous example, your niche would women who buy romance novels from grocery stores.

Could it be that a too-targeted niche would be a detriment to your sales? Maybe, if your niche was women who like to read these novels, only purchase them from the local grocer, and to top it off, exclusively look for the two dollar novels covered with Fabio’s sweaty Italian chest, and literary styling that could as well have been penned by any 9 year old on an iphone.

Something that specific may not maximize your marketing dollar. So just remember that a niche is specifically targeted, but not overly exclusive.

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

Make New Friends But Keep The Old – good food (i.e. example) for expanding your target market like your waistline after Thanksgiving.

Name that store:

A man only zone. The unyielding smell of grease, no-frills white linoleum floors displaying craftsman tools as far as the eye could see. Selling off Carhardt jumpsuits and dickies jeans with a quickness only rivaled by a border town thrift store outlet.

How you might ask did such a place, created by and for the American flannel clad male handyman suddenly become a new beacon for current women’s fashion? Creative marketing, which not only maintained a tight grasp on their current demographic but simultaneously extended a well manicured hand towards their new potential female buyers.

“Come See the Softer Side of Sears”. After a failing market share and a much needed revamp of the store’s product production, available and exclusive brands, and location layout and design the company unleashed a direct invite to a new consumer. Women between the ages of 25-54.

Simply inviting a new type of person (who is already familiar with you but doesn’t think you have anything to offer them) to check out how you’ve changed for them is passive and nonthreatening yet very aggressive. It drove traffic into the stores, and by focusing on women and letting them know Sears had the fashions that were right for her, it changed a woman’s perception of sears to include her and demonstrated a commitment to stay that way.

If you’re looking to expand your target market, do just that and expand and add to it. As long as you have specifically marketed campaigns towards all of your target markets you can be successful. The key is to build your brand one target market at a time and not try to jumble it all up in one campaign. Doing that feels fake and pushed. It makes you seem too desperate to reach everyone at once, and it doesn’t help to capture the attention of a specific niche.

Sears was successful at first because they had a very specific target market and men knew that Sears wouldn’t fail them. They wanted women to feel the same way without abandoning their men. So, they kept their male population happy by maintaining their strong manly aura, and then inviting women to see their softer side, not the new softer them.

While they were successful, they didn’t add their new target market until they were slapped in the face by their competition and lagging in profit margin. Had they opened their eyes, made realistic predictions about the future of the market, and marketed towards new audiences earlier they could have avoided a downfall in sales.

Too often businesses think that they must help everyone right away because they don’t want to miss out on potential clients. Sears shows that having multiple target markets does increase your profit margin, but to thrive you must master them each individually.

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

5 Tips to Creating Video When You Hate Cameras

I just met with an attorney who is great at what she does but when I put a camera in front of her she froze up.  This was not a shy or insecure person but when she saw the little red light, she was became a real wall flower.  Here are some tips to creating great video if you hate being on camera.

1)   The Screen Capture
You can create videos with great content by using a presentation software like PowerPoint and free screen capture tools you can download online.  Create your presentation, start the screen capture software and talk your audience through the slides.  You’re not on camera so there’s no need to hide under the covers.

2)  The Interview
Ask a friend, colleague or total stranger to interview you.  You provide the questions, they simply ask them and you answer.  You don’t look at the camera, you look at them.  Position yourself close together with your bodies facing forward at a table but turned just enough to face each other and not the camera.  You’ll find that you will be great at answering their questions because you wrote them and you answer them every day.  The camera is just an innocent bystander.

3)  The Host
This seems like it would be hard but it’s really quite easy.  Reverse the interview and ask someone else the questions and let them answer.  This has the power of a testimonial because it a non-sales person giving straight answers to questions that you wrote.  Don’t worry about looking at the camera.  At the end, you can cut to a screen with your web site on it and voice over your “sign off” such as “This is John Doe – we’ll see you next time.”

4)  The Actors Guild
Get a couple of friends to act out a normal scene between two people who represent your customers.  You may not thing that you know many people who would do this but you’ll be surprised how many Brad Pitt wannabes you have in your life.  Just ask around and they’ll start auditioning.  Give them a loose script to follow and shoot until it’s interesting and gets your point across.

5)  The Hard Truth
This one is off the path of the previous four.  If you struggle to be on camera… get over it.  The honest truth is that your fear of being on camera has more to do with you and your own issues than what anyone else would possibly think of you.  You are a business owner or sales person – take some flippin risks and get over yourself.  You’ll get used to it and you’ll sell a whole lot more stuff if you do.

Take these 5 Tips to heart and don’t let your fear of cameras get in the way of using video to market.

3 Reasons to use Webinars in your marketing strategy

Depending on who you talk to you, webinars are either time wasters, are too technical, or are the perfect marketing tool.

To determine whether or not they are valuable for your business, you should examine your target market. If you target market does not typically have internet… webinars are a bad idea. If your target market does have internet… webinars are likely a very good idea. Those who feel that webinars are a waste of time have unfortunately been subjected to worthless webinars. You may have to work a bit harder to get this group to jump in but if your content is rich, you will win them over quickly. If it’s not rich, don’t do a webinar.

3 Reasons to use Webinars

1) Everyone stays comfortable

The sure convenience of webinars makes them attractive and will otherwise gain a great number more participants than a live seminar that requires travel and time away from the office or home.

Make sure to choose a user friendly webinar delivery service so that it’s not too cumbersome for your audience to register, login and participate. It also helps if it provides tracking statistics to see who actually attended and for how long.

2) Part of the Social Media Revolution

Although you don’t have to choose the option of having interaction, webinars are a great place to engage in deeper conversation with your target audience. Many services provide survey tools that you can take pre, post or even during the webinar to get feedback and guide you through your target audience’s most pressing problems.

Allowing chat function or Q & A can be very powerful for webinars as well. Your prospects love the opportunity to get questions answered on the spot and it builds your expert status in their minds at the same time.

3) Duplication & Re-purpose

My favorite aspect of webinars is that they can be recorded. Once they are recorded they can be easily converted to sellable products or used as freebies to attract future prospects in exchange for their contact information.

Once you have a recorded webinar and you have replay capacity, the sky is the limit in terms of how many times you can use that content to get your target market’s attention and you don’t have to do a fresh webinar every 2 days. This is a massive list building technique that can be used in ANY business, online or off.

I personally use webinars as much as possible with tremendous success in attracting prospects directly from my target market. For some, it’s a real game changer for their business.


Finding Your Pond (narrowing your marketing target)

I make a big deal with folks about learning to fish in Ponds vs. Oceans.  The basic concept is that there are more fish in ponds than businesses can usually handle but they’re wasting their time blindly swimming in a giant ocean where it’s hard to find fish, hard to grow and easy to get crushed in the jaws of a shark.

It’s all about “ponding” down to a target market where you can excel as a small business, grow fast and expand to other ponds.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to almost all small businesses is the ability to narrow their focus to a segment of their overall target market.

The reason that small business owners have a hard time “ponding” down is because they are not thinking critically about their target market and breaking it down to it’s most advantageous customer pool.

The best way to overcome this problem is to start asking some pointed and difficult questions.  When answered in truth and focus, these questions can radically change your understanding of your target marketing and bring clarity and laser like focus to your marketing message.  These are good things, by the way:-)

Start by “pondering” these questions:

Describe your overall target market. i.e. small business, medium sized business, consumers, young consumers, old consumers, etc.

Describe several (7-10( smaller segments of your overall target market that should be or have shown interest in your product or service. i.e. small business owners who are currently leasing space, consumers who are Mothers of young children, etc.

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List 3 segments for each of these
questions in order of best, 2nd best, 3rd best.

Which segment most needs my product or service? (all segments need you, who needs you most)

Which segment most wants your product or service? (think of who is regularly using your competitors)

Which of these segments would give you the highest profit margin if you could sell your product or service to them directly?

Which of these segments would it be easiest to establish a strong value presence in? (Value presence is when you are a feeder of quality information to a particular group)

Which of these segments is your company most capable of servicing with the fewest number of changes to company infrastructure?

Which of these segments are you most familiar with and would take the lease amount of research energy?

Which of these segments are you most passionate about and can relate to the best?

Which of these segments would offer you the highest number of joint marketing opportunities? (teaming with other industries that serve the same segment)

Which of these segments is most likely willing to pay for your product or services?

Which of these segments do you have access to the highest level of decision makers or influencers? i.e. executives, owners, trade leaders, etc.

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Okay… now for the fun part:

Take all of your best segments and assign them a value of 3

2nd best should have a value of 2 and…

3rd best should have a value of 1.

Add up the values and see who comes out on top.  Confirm the conclusion with your gut instinct as a professional.  Argue about it with your business partners and finally make a decision on who your best “pond” target market is.

Now… sell out on that market with everything you have.  Dominate it!  Crush it and win it over.  Once you’ve done this, you will automatically be taken down stream to other profitable ponds that are eager to pay you money.

Always Have A Point – How To Light Your Video

Bright and blinding, dark and squinting, monotone and wide eyed. What would you have your audience do? Do you want them to be mystified, scared, board? You can use lighting to convey a point, but only if you have a point! What emotion do you want to evoke from your audience, and how does that emotion relate to your point?

Perhaps you are a photographer and you want to create a video that displays your colorful and contrasting style! Perhaps you open your video with a bright and blinding light that slowly fades to a playful puppy romping among a field of colorful flowers, and in the background is a bright blue sky with puffy cumulus clouds. Then you come into the shot with your camera chasing the puppy and snapping glamorous photos the whole while with John Denver playing in the background. Then the video cuts to a darker stormy sky with thick rain-filled clouds and lightening. That same puppy, amongst the same field of flowers, is now contemplative over how to catch his tail, and sitting erect with his head held high the audience can see you in the background hidden in the brush (so as not to disturb the puppy’s meditation) photographing the puppy as if in his natural habitat. Perhaps the video then fades out dark to black.

Now, perhaps you are a loan officer and you want to convey to your target audience that you are giving them a market rate update. Perhaps more of an even tone would work better, given the nature of your craft, but you can still sit in a field and use the bright sunny light if your point is that things are going great with the market rates and sunny times are ahead, or sit in that same field with the dark stormy sky if rates are about to take a turn for the worse (or are already there) and the audience needs to act quickly less they be rained on with bad rates!

Just be sure to bring something to light your face to even out the tone of the lighting. On a sunny day you will want it to even out the shadows, and on a stormy day you’ll want to make sure there is enough light so that can see your pretty face!

What were the lessons learned today? Different types of lighting evokes emotions out of people, determine your point to determine the emotion you want your audience to have, and then determine the lighting!

Tip: Think of how you would feel in those different lighting situations, most of the time that’s how your audience will feel as well!

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

How do I get you to buy from me? – Question #3

(The 3rd question in the top 3 questions to ask yourself to determine how you market)

Brewing in all of your answers from the previous first two questions, is the answer to this question. To get them to buy from you, you must empty any doubt from their minds that you are the best person to go to. You have to be the best, know the most, and offer them great stuff they can’t get elsewhere. At least that’s how you have to appear to them.

That’s not to say you lie about who you are, what you’ve done, or be shady in anyway. This is about building relationships with a solid foundation of trust of loyalty. You do have to be good at what you do and truly have their best interests at heart. Even if you have confidence issues and believe that there are others out there that are just as good if not better – get over it, and when portraying an image of yourself, be sure that it’s one you can back up and are proud of.

To do this, do your research and know your answer when your asked why you want them. Beware that they wont ask you directly, you have to tell them. By and large, people don’t know they need something until someone tells them.

Truly listen to them and learn all about them. Know the kind of presents they like – so you know what to give them. Say thank you to show you appreciate them, and know what they like to do with their time and where they like to hang out, and go there for them! The biggest thing to remember is to hit from all angles and be everywhere so that you pop up no matter where they turn. It builds recognition and trust.

If it’s Facebook, grow your friend base with your target market and show an interest in the posts they make by liking and commenting on them. Create groups and discussions for them to participate in. This is also a good place to go to listen to what they want and need.

LinkedIn is another good one. It’s geared more towards professional networking, but it’s another place that your customers will look to confirm your credibility, and it’s great for networking for recommendations and business relationships.

A majority of your customers will likely soon be on Twitter using it much like a google search engine, so get on the bandwagon now to listen to what they’re saying.

As more and more consumers flock to real time accessibility of current and fresh information, blogs are predicted to take part in replacing the traditional website, especially as businesses are able to update, provide, and address the demand at the same speed.

It’s all about the relationship you have with your customers. Whether or not they trust you, like you, and believe you to be the best will determine if they buy from you. Use how you’ve answered the first two questions to develop your relationship with the customers and get them to buy from you.

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

How do I get you to see me? – Question #2

(The 2nd question in the top 3 questions to ask yourself to determine how you market)

A) By getting attention from your clientelle.

You may be asking yourself if that’s not the same thing. Let me assure you that it’s not. In order for someone to see and notice you, you first have to get their attention and let them know you exist.

But before you start tapping on their shoulder, tugging at their clothes, and chasing after them at the bus stop, you’ll need to be ready with your opening line and what you plan to say to them. And since you only have one first impression, you have to get their attention in positive and memorable way.

A first impression may get you in the door but it sure doesn’t keep you there. Getting them to truly see you, now that keeps you there and in order for that to happen, you have to be the one to see them first, and you do that by getting to know them.

Taken as an excerpt from my previous post: When you’ve figured that [why do I want you] out, ask question number two: How do I get you to see me? Just like in a relationship sometimes lots of compromise is required. You have to listen to them, give them presents, comment on how nice they look and how much you appreciate them, and, you have to spend time with them, which means you go where they are, and you do what they like to do.

Listen
Now, you listen. You know that whatever it is your selling is the answer to a problem that someone needs resolved. You’ve already determined what mutual relationship exists between you and your customers by answering the first question. You then turned it around and looked at it from their side by asking: “why do you want me”. Figure out who has a problem and they will be your customers, figure out why they need it resolved and you will be their hero.

This is how you determine where and how much you compromise. Do research on the market that you’re in and find out what your customers are talking about and saying. What do they like and dislike about that market? What do they want to see more of, what is lacking? Do surveys, ask questions, hold Q&A sessions. You compromise by listening to your customers and shaping what they want by telling them what they need.

Give Your Customers Presents
Giving them presents refers to offering them free stuff. If you know what they’ll love, then they’ll like it even more if it’s free. Offer them something they’ll find valuable for free in exchange for a couple pieces of information. You can then continue to offer them bigger and better deals and great exclusive offers to keep them coming back.

Show That You Care
Show your appreciation to your customers by sending them thank you cards and taking an interest in what they’re doing in their lives. People love to talk about themselves, so let them and they’ll let you even further in their door.

Go Where They Like To Go
Know where your customers are. Go there and take part in any activities. A big ones right now is social media; those are online communities like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs. People like to see your humanness, the fact that you have friends and a family but at the same time are professional and an expert at what you do impresses a very high value of you to them.

Putting yourself out there and staying in touch with them in these ways will help them to see you. You will soon become worthy of their attention and a trusted and reliable source for information, and that’s how you get them to buy from you.

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

Why do I want you? – Question #1

(The first question in the top 3 questions to ask yourself to determine how you market)

Why this question and why do you have to ask it in these exact words? Well, when running a business it’s inevitable that you will have to market. After all, there is no value to having a product or service if no one knows about it. But who do you tell?

You have to decide who you want to market to by deciding who you want to buy your product or service. So, answer the question: Why do I want you? By answering that question you will figure out the qualities that your clientele will have, and then you can properly design a marketing campaign that will appeal to them, get them to see you, and ultimately, get them to buy from you.

The nature of relationships is the same no matter the kind, be they relationships with loved ones, families, friends, or your clientele. By thinking of your relationship with your clientele in this sense, because they too are someone’s family and friend, you get into their heart, their needs, and their desires. Knowing this information helps you to market to them in a way that will get them to see you.

Taken as an excerpt from a previous post: “Number one, ask: why do I want you? This refers to your clientele. Think of it like you are in a relationship with them. Why do you want them, need them, crave their approval, and why on earth are they so stubborn some times”!

Get specific with this question. Typically you want them because you know they have problem or issue that they need resolved, and you know that you alone have the best remedy. Identify what their problem or issue is first and inevitably, because you have the remedy, you will figure out exactly what they need to resolve it.

Turn this question around and ask: why do you want me? Look at it from both angles and soon you’ll be able to answer the next question: How do I get you to see me?

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

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