Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Marketing Tip #32: New Feature on LinkedIn

Have you been wondering about the new “Endorsement” feature that LinkedIn introduced in early October? To get started, go into your LinkedIn profile section and add your “Skills and Expertise”. Next, similar to a Facebook “Like”, you can easily endorse your connections for a skill listed in their profile.You can do that one of two ways: at the top of your profile page, a “short-cut" graphic will appear showing your connections along with a recommended endorsement. Or, you can also go into their profile page and endorse them from their “Skills and Expertise” section. You may also suggest additional skills that may not be listed. Have questions about this new feature or on updating your profile? Feel free to call me 248-787-6623.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Marketing Tip # 31 - Facebook in Search Engines

If you want your Facebook profile to be more visible on search engines, go into “account settings,” choose the “subscribers” section, and click the box saying “subscriber search.” What this does is allows people to find you more easily on search engines so they can subscribe to your posts. 24 more tips from Quinton O’Reilly at http: /

Monday, November 26, 2012

Brand to Expand Your Business

If you have been following my blog, you can see that I'm well into my 90-day Marketing Makeover. I have reworked my marketing plan as well as defined my target market and feel confident to move on in the process to review my company branding.

Again, your niche has to be fine-tuned and well-defined before you can brand your company. Marketing Expert, Beverly Cornell-McGlynn, in our 2010 M3 radio interview, asks the question, "If your business brand was a person, what would he/she look like?"

According to www.entrepreneur.comthe definition of “branding” is “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” Sounds simple enough but what does this mean exactly?

A memorable brand starts with your company logo. Do you have a logo that is old and outdated? Does it convey the proper image you want to present to your target market? One of the best investments you can make in your company is to enlist the help of a professional graphics and design company to create your logo and company image.

In a 2010 M3 interview, Linda Kleist, Marketing Director at Identity Graphic Design, points out that your logo can help or hinder the business, as it is the first impression that you project into the world. It comes from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. It is the "it" factor" that sets you apart from your competition.

After you have that symbol that reflects your business, the logo and brand will then carryover into your promotional materials such as business cards, brochures, website, blog, social media pages, etc. In our interview, Diane Krueger, the Brand Identity Artist at Contagious: Cure of the Common, goes into more detail.

Coca Cola, Nike, McDonald's, Craftsman are just a few of the most famous and easily recognized brands. Because they have built powerful brand recognition, when stacked up against their competition, they can charge more for their products and consumers will happily pay that higher price. When your brand is consistent and strong, it brings added value to your company's products and services that raise you above your competition, especially a company that may not have invested in the strategic branding of their company.

Once we have the logo and brand in place, we can move on to getting the word out about our products and services. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Have You Found Your Niche?

Last  week during the first week of my 90-day Marketing Makeover journey, the focus was on updating my business plan and marketing strategy.  Did you do that for your business as well? Did you find that you had trouble creating your marketing strategy? Or did you notice that the one you had in place isn’t working for you anymore?
If so, the problem is most likely that your target market isn’t clearly defined or your original niche market has changed.  This is crucial, especially when planning your internet marketing strategy to achieve optimal marketing success online.
Perhaps in the beginning you thought that all you needed to do was to build a website and people would automatically be drawn to the site with credit cards in hand to buy your product or service. The hard truth is that in order to reach some level of financial success on the internet, you have to do all you can to get your message in front of your target market and get them to even notice you in order to buy what you are selling.
By definition, “target marketing”, or “niche marketing” as it is also called, is the strategy of identifying your  potential clients by segments, such as age group, geographic area, business industry, etc., and gearing your marketing efforts to one or more key segment.

To refine your niche market, you need to ask yourself a number of questions including:
·     Who is going to buy my product or service?
·     Are my clients limited to a certain industry or demographic? Or can anyone be a potential customer?
·     Does my business appeal to residential or commercial consumers? Or both?
·     Is my business limited to a local geographic area?
·     What is unique about the services or products my company offers?
·     How is my company set apart from my competition?

Once you have clearly defined your specific target audience, you’ll realize a number of benefits.
·     You’ll be able to maximize your marketing budget. You’ll know where you need to focus your efforts to find your niche customers. 
·     You are able to tailor the content of your website specifically to your target market. Using keywords pertinent to your niche, the content can then be optimized for search engines so that your potential customers can easily locate you online.
·     You’ll also, in turn, be able to search for blogs and related sites that are catering to your market.
·     You are able to develop new products or services that focus more directly on the needs of your refined group.

And now that you know who your marketing efforts are directed toward, you will be able to better develop your company brand.

NEXT BLOG POST: Branding Your Company

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Marketing Tip #30 - Spell Check Can Be Your Friend

Proofread. Proofread. And proofread again. Lately, I’ve gotten quite a few email blasts that were riddled with typos and grammatical errors. Hey, I’ve been guilty too. Even though I have five proofreaders look over my e-newsletter before I hit “send”, errors do happen. No time to have someone give your missive a once-over? Remember, Spell Check can be your friend, most of the time.  When there are errors, people view you as unprofessional and don’t take your message seriously. Not to mention all the emails and calls you will get pointing out the mistakes. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Marketing Tip #29 - Keep Eye Contact

When meeting someone in a networking situation, a simple technique that makes you memorable is to keep eye contact. As the other person talks, give them your full attention and nod your head from time-to-time letting them know that you are sincerely interested in the exchange. Don’t be scanning the room looking for the next conquest. There is nothing worse than spending any amount of time talking with someone who is mentally checked out and already on to the next person.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Marketing Tip #28 - Become Proactive

If you are like most business people, your time is mainly spent being reactive to your clients needs and in turn, you neglect the needs of your own company. Why not become proactive by setting aside the first half hour of your work day to focus on what you need to do to expand your business. Create a checklist of updates you have been putting off and work through the list as you can. Need help creating a checklist? I’m happy to help.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Practicing What I Preach! A 90-Day Journey

My client was in a panic. Within the next two weeks, he would finish a long-term project for one of his clients and was concerned that there was no new project immediately in the pipeline.

It didn’t take me long to figure out his problem. After delving into the mechanics of his business, it was blatantly obvious that he was primarily "reacting" to his client's requests, rather than "managing" them. Even after being in business for a number of years, he still hasn’t made the effort to be proactive by getting his corporate infrastructure in place.

We reviewed his goals and aspirations for the company and came up with a 90-Day Marketing Plan. For the next three months, before he concentrated on his clients, he was to commit to spending the first half hour to an hour every day working through a checklist of things that he has to explore in order to expand his business. To help him get 'up-to-speed' quickly, he has hired me to manage his list and implement the plan.

While looking over his checklist to determine what marketing advice I was going to suggest to him, I 'subconsciously' reflected on my own business. It was obvious that I needed to take my own advice! So, I’m inviting you to come along on my 'journey'.

Today is day one of my own 90-Day Marketing Plan. I’ll be reviewing my existing Strategic Marketing Plan and determine where I need to re-evaluate and update.

A Strategic Marketing Plan is a living document that changes at least monthly, sometimes weekly, or for some, daily as your company evolves and adapts to your business environment. It is a companion to a Business Plan. The marketing plan describes, in depth, how you are going to promote your product or service to your target market. The business plan defines all the other aspects of your company.

The first thing I did was to bring out my neglected marketing plan and created a checklist of areas that required my attention. The first order of business was to redefine my target market, or sometimes called a niche market. I simply made a list of all my current clients and determined what they had in common.

Do you currently have a strategy in place to market your business? There are a gazillion books and online resources to help guide you through the process of creating your own business/marketing plan
or just email me at and I will send you FREE, a simple outline you can use as a guide for creating a business plan and marketing strategy that I give to my clients.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fun Definition of Social Media

While reading “How to Make Money with Social Media” by Jamie Turner and Reshma Shah, Ph.D., I came across a fun definition of social media and thought I’d share it with you.

“What is social media? You can find dozens of answers on the Internet, some helpful and some flat wrong. But for our purposes, social media are the digital tools that enable a two-way conversation between your prospects or customers and your business.

Unfortunately, most businesses are social media for one-way monologues instead of two-way dialogues. This brings us to our first analogy:

Social media is more like a telephone than a megaphone.

Businesses that use social media as a megaphone are missing the point. You know the kind we’re talking about. They’re the businesses (or consultants) that can’t stop talking about themselves and what makes their products or services special.

Now let’s take that analogy a step further. If using social media is similar to using a telephone, then what is Facebook like? Or LinkedIn? Or Twitter?

• Facebook is like a pub. It’s a casual place where you can go to talk about what you did over the weekend, tell a dirty joke, or tell people about the checkers convention you attended last week.

• LinkedIn is like a trade show. You wouldn’t tell people at a trade show what you did in Vegas last weekend, would you? Limit LinkedIn to your professional side. Talk about business. Talk about interesting articles in the Harvard Business Review. And use plenty of phrases such as “value chain” and “business model” in your profile. That should do the trick.

• Twitter is like a cocktail party. Just be sure you send out tweets that are helpful. New Tweeple make the mistake of taking Twitter seriously when its home page asks, “What are you doing now?” Well, we’ve got some bad news for you. Nobody cares what you are doing now. They care about information that will help them in their daily lives. So stick with helpful tweets that will position you (or your company) as an expert, drive people to a landing page on your site, or promote someone else in your industry who will someday return the favor.

• YouTube is like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Times Square on New Year’s Eve is packed with people clamoring for attention, which illustrates the problem. Just as it’s hard to stand out in Times Square, it’s hard to stand out on YouTube. Too much competition exists. [You’ll have to read the book to find out their solution.]

• MySpace is like Woodstock. MySpace has suffered the same fate as AOL – it was huge at one time, but it has faded a little during the past few years. That said, MySpace still provides some very good uses. If you’re a musician or a cause-oriented marketer, you should be all over MySpace. But if you’re selling industrial widgets in the B2B space, you should do two things: 1) avoid MySpace like the plague and 2) think about getting a new job, because selling industrial widgets in the B2B space sounds like a terribly boring job.”

Taken from “How to Make Money with Social Media: An Insider’s Guide on Using New and Emerging Media to Grow Your Business” by Jamie Turner and Reshma Shah, Ph.D. FT Press, 2011. Pgs. 34-36. More info at

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Marketing Tip #27 - Watch What You Post!

 In matters of defamation of character, the hard truth is that when you are careless with your postings on Facebook, Twitter, or any social media site, you can get into ginormous legal trouble with statements that directly target an individual, company, association, or anyone that has a reputation to be damaged. And if the matter is pursued in court, it can cost you big-time.  Also note that even a truthful statement can bring on legal issues if sharing that information damages someone’s reputation.  Once it’s out in cyberspace, it’s out there forever.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Can You Be Sued For Posting the Truth Online?

During a meeting this past week, a client revealed that he had been drawn into an on-line argument with a friend. What began as a private email conversation between the two of them, evolved into the “friend” posting snarky remarks and innuendos broadcasted to all their mutual friends on Facebook. He wasn’t sure how to proceed and was wondering if these remarks were defamation of his character.

First of all, there are two kinds of defamation of character: Libel is the defaming of character or reputation in the form of a written statement, in this case, on a social media site, or slander, that is a damaging statement which is spoken.

As a former publisher of a newspaper, I was faced with the issues of libel and slander every day. I purposely wrote the content of the paper from the “third” person, disconnecting my feelings and opinions on any given matter. It took a lot of discipline not to be dragged into disagreements that were between two embattled neighbors or one business owner who was doing everything he could to put the other out of business. But my reputation was that of fair and unbiased reporting, a reputation that I am proud to have.

The hard truth is that when you are careless with your postings on Facebook, Twitter, or any social media site, you can get into ginormous legal trouble with statements that directly target an individual, company, association, or anyone that has a reputation to be damaged. And if the matter is pursued in court, it can cost you big-time. Also note that even a truthful statement can bring on legal issues if sharing that information damages someone’s reputation. Consult an attorney for the laws governing defamation of character in your state.

Before you begin sharing your matters of discontent on the internet, here are some things you should keep in mind:

• Defamatory language does not have to be direct. It can also be innuendo.

• That language must be “of or concerning” the person claiming to be harmed by the language.

• The language must have been “published” for all to see.

• The language has to damage the reputation of the person of whom the remarks are directed. It should be noted that even a statement of opinion can get you in trouble.

The bottom line: Use common sense with everything you post on the internet for all to see. This is especially true before you post something in a hasty moment of anger. Once it’s out there in cyberspace, it’s out there forever.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Marketing Tip #26 - Think Like a Celebrity!

Are you speaker, trainer, author or anyone who speaks to groups? Stop promoting your events as “speaking engagements” or “training sessions” or “lectures”. That’s what ordinary speakers do. Celebrities promote their “appearances”.  Why not add a tab to your website or blog listing any upcoming appearances you may have, as well as articles, podcasts, and upcoming events you will attend. It will make you look in-demand, an authority in your niche and even a celebrity.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Marketing Tip #25 - Want to be Taken Seriously?

Do you have a Hotmail, AOL, Gmail or Yahoo address on your business card? Do you want to be taken seriously in your business? When people notice those addresses, they immediately think “cheap.”  If you’re just getting started in business, you can be excused if you don’t yet have a website. But it only takes a minute to buy a domain name for about $10 ( or, connect it to a Blogspot or Wordpress blog, and pay about $9 a month for hosting. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Marketing TIp #24 - Who Owns Your Domain Name?

Last week I heard from a website designer who was closing his business and moving on to a whole new endeavor. And it made me think, who owns my domain name? I discovered that chances are good that the person who created and manages your website has ownership of your domain name as part of the set up process. In order to protect your personalized email address, it is in your best interest to transfer the ownership into your name. Usually, all that is required is to identify the hosting company with the help of your web person, put the account in your own name and then simply pay them the minimal yearly fee directly. You will still need to pay a monthly fee to your web site person for ongoing hosting and maintenance, but you will own your domain name.  If you can’t find out who actually owns your domain name, you can go to and trace the history.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Marketing Tip #23 - Resumes Out, LinkedIn In

Did you see the 60 Minutes segment, “Job Programs for People Trapped in Unemployment”?  John Carbone, the subject of the piece, runs a program for the unemployed in Connecticut. In the segment, he tells how resumes will soon become a thing of the past. Employers will skip right to viewing your social media and online presence to screen candidates, with LinkedIn being the first web site they will check. Whether you are out-of-work or looking for more customers, ask yourself: Is your profile up-to-date? Is there a professional picture? Do you give a detailed description of your products or services? Do you have testimonials about your company?  Do you need help with your profile? Give me a call.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Volunteering is Networking at its Best

“ Volunteers are not paid. Not because they are worth less ……. Because they are priceless”.
Seen on a sign at the Senior Center at the Costick Center in Farmington.

Summertime is generally a slower time of year for most of us, especially late July and August. I take advantage of this lull by volunteering with different organizations. Not only does the effort benefit a worthy cause, but it provides the perfect opportunity to network with people I wouldn’t ordinarily meet at an organized networking event.

Last year, I joined the VFW Oxbow Post #4156 to honor my father, a decorated WWII Navy veteran, and got recruited to be secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary. I have also offered my PR talents to help them promote their fundraising efforts. Are there also business owners and members of the Post that could benefit from my marketing services as potential clients? You betcha!

I help out quarterly at the West Bloomfield Friends of the Library annual used book sale at the West Bloomfield Township Public Library. Not only do I get first crack at the used books but I am working alongside community leaders and activists.

This is the second year that I volunteered at Detroit Bike Week  and it was three days of non-stop fun and interaction with all kinds of people. A highlight of the weekend was meeting Ryan “Opie” Hurst, one of the stars of the FX show, Sons of Anarchy, which is one of my favorite shows.

Coming up on Saturday, September 8, Heartfelt Harvest will be selling hot dogs outside of Busch’s (14 Mile and Farmington) as part of their Summer Block Party. Heartfelt Harvest is an independent, grass roots, non-profit organization that partners with local businesses, such as Busch’s, and delivers food daily to food pantries in Farmington Hills, Farmington and West Bloomfield. Stop by and I’ll sell you a hot dog or two.!/events/457303047633318/

The bottom line is that any time of year is the best time to put your energy into helping the community and as a secondary benefit, meeting and network with a diverse and “new” group of people. There is no shortage of organizations that can use your help and will welcome you with open arms.

Marketing Tip #22 / E-Newsletter vs. Blogging

Blogging expert, Andy Wibbels, is often asked if it is better to use an e-mail newsletter or a blog. His answer: Use both! “A blog makes managing your past newsletter archives easier, brings newsletter readers to your site, and centralizes responses and feedback. Instead of having to mess around with getting each edition of your newsletter online, you simply add the newsletter to your blog and it’s online immediately and archived for posterity. Also, if your newsletters are archived, they can be indexed more easily by search engines, providing you and your newsletter with increased visibility.” From “Blog Wild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It Happened Again! Guest Blogger Lin Klaassen Offers Some Advice

I’m not kidding when I say it happened again at another networking event that I was at a few days ago. Not once, not twice but three times. I was engaged in three different conversations and was rudely interrupted mid-sentence each time by a different person. And during two of the interruptions, I was ignored like I was invisible, while the interruptee talked only to the other person. C’mon people. . . .

Who better to give us some insight into how to solve this apparently common problem than guest blogger, Lin Klaassen, of Face Reading by Lin. She offers some suggestions on how to politely approach two people that are engaged in conversation by observing their face and body language.

“You should begin to approach slowly until you are in their peripheral vision and watch to read their reactions. Most people will instinctively turn towards you and most people read this as an invitation to approach. WRONG. They are only being polite.

Look to the feet for the truth. The face is the most expressive part of the body and the least honest. As we go through life, we train ourselves to respond in a socially acceptable manner, which is often far from how we are truly feeling. The feet are wired in our instinctual survival patterns and are the most honest part of the human body.

Both people have now turned a foot towards you. This is a signal that they are both comfortable with you joining them.

Always look at the feet of both people. If only one person has turned a foot towards you, do not approach. The person who has not turned a foot towards you will resent you approaching.

Just smile and keep walking. As the event continues, watch for them to go their separate ways or create an opportunity to walk by again and gauge your welcome at that time. Often, if they are winding down, they may both be ready for you to approach.”

For more fascinating face reading observations and workshops, visit Lin’s website at You can also hear my interview with Lin at

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Networking Etiquette

It happens to all of us at one time or another at networking events. It happened twice during the same event last week. It happened again last night. I was engaged in an interesting conversation with someone and mid-sentence, another person came into our conversation by shoving a business card into our hands, and without skipping a beat, started spewing their all-about-me-and-my-business schpeil. No hello, no introduction, no preamble and not even an "excuse me".

Now let me ask you . . . if you barge into a conversation in progress, do you think that your message is going to be well received? All I can see are lips moving, but the words come out as blah, blah, blah. My frustration at being interrupted prevents me from focusing on the message they are trying to deliver.

We’ve all heard the expression, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. And at a networking event, a memorable first impression is even more important when you are meeting potential customers and business associates.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when walking into a room with a group of relative strangers, is the daunting task of just going up to someone and start a conversation. If you see someone you want to speak to and they are engaged in conversation, politely join their circle and try to assimilate into their discussion. At the appropriate moment you will be able to introduce yourself to them and explain what you do. By being less intrusive, they will be more receptive to your message.

When you work the room faster than the speed of light, no one remembers you or your message. What they will remember will not be so good. When you take the time to begin a relationship with that new person at the event, you can determine if they are a potential client or referral partner and whether or not your product or service is a fit. Or, at the very least, you may just make a new friend.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What's Your Marketing Strategy?

Let’s face it. When the economy takes a dive, businesses are forced to compensate with downsizing, restructuring and taking drastic cost-cutting measures. During the recession of the last few years, as in other years of economic down-turns, dollars allocated to advertising and marketing are the first line-items to be eliminated. However, on the other hand, it makes perfect sense that when your competitors are cutting back on such spending, now should be the time to charge full speed ahead of your competition in getting the word out about your company, product and services.

With money tight, especially for the small to mid-size businesses, self-promotion is the most economic and viable option. Where do you begin? Do you have a business plan and marketing strategy in place? Have you identified your niche market? How will you reach your target client? Which social media option is the right venue for marketing your products and services? When it comes to marketing, these are just a few of the questions that business owners wrestle with on a daily basis.

Where do you start? The place to begin is with having a solid business plan in place. And, in addition to the business plan, having a strong marketing strategy is the key to your success. A marketing strategy is part of the overall business plan and is best described as a well thought out and step-by-step plan that shows how the business proposes to create revenue.

If your company doesn't have a business plan and/or marketing strategy in place, now is the time to create one. There are countless websites on the internet or books in any library that will guide you through the process. Or I will be happy to critique your business plan and work with you in creating a marketing strategy the best suits your business. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.