What is Pinterest and Why Should You Care?

Pinterest Logo[ Spoiler Alert: There’s a freebie for you at the end of this post. Just thought you’d want to know. 😉 ]

You may have noticed (and I hope you have) that the list of ways you can connect with me on the web is G-R-O-W-I-N-G.

Why is that?

Because I know that not everyone is on Facebook (well, except those 800 million people – yes, literally! – that’s the latest number).

Because I know not everyone loves Twitter, although I find it really effective for engaging the 1,000+ people who have decided to follow me there.

And because I know many (most?) people have not yet heard of Pinterest, although this visually stunning pinboard-style site is one of the hottest social networks on the web – in the top 10 just 2 years after launch!

What is Pinterest and Why Should You Care?

In its simplest terms, Pinterest is a pinboard style site where you PIN images and videos of your INTERESTS. While I’ve been playing with it mainly for fun thus far, I am working on creating some business-related boards as a brand-building and brand-sharing tool with a fun twist! And I think you may want to do the same. Here’s why … (more…)

Your Can of Corn

Are you concerned that the products and/or services you offer are being commoditized – that is, reduced down to a “price list” – and that is becoming the determining factor as to whether or not a prospect decides to do business with you?

The problem I see with many businesses in the current economic climate is that they feel compelled to compete on price alone. And when money is tight, this is an easy trap to fall into. In their heart of hearts, every business owner fears that they might push their prospects into the arms of the competition by charging what they’re worth.

The irony is, that’s precisely the kind of thinking that directly contributes to lower sales and/or profitability. Let me explain. (more…)

Do You Really Care So Little?

I got another one today.

Another friend and colleague sent out an email newsletter that was so badly broken I was embarrassed for them. Glaring mistake right up front in the “From” line. Broken links within. Pictures/graphics that didn’t upload properly (the dreaded little box with the red “X” in it). It was a nightmare. A simple pre-launch test would have avoided the whole mess and what I’m sure was a brutally embarrassing day for them.*

Later, while on a (different) colleague’s LinkedIn profile, I was shocked to find (more…)

Seize the Opportunities this Fall

This time last year, I was about three months into my new lifestyle on Mount Desert Island, Maine – something we’d dreamed about and planned for years! That was the “upside.”

ChagrinedThe “downside” (if you can really find a downside to finally living in your vision of paradise!) was that my business revenues were at less than half of where they had been just three years earlier.

This was not primarily due to the move, mind you, but rather to the fact that the industry “basket” into which I had placed all my “eggs” (homebuilding) had been decimated by the economic realities of the day.

And while I had been slowly repositioning my business to serve a more diverse clientele and to focus on social media, online, and email marketing, the months-long process of preparing for and actually making the move did take away from my business-building (or, should I say, rebuilding) activities.

What’s Around the Bend?

After catching my breath by spending much of last Summer as a bit of a tourist in my new hometown, in the Fall I began in earnest to rebuild and re-brand my business.

Fast forward to August 2011, (more…)

How NOT to Greet Your Prospects & Clients for the Holidays

As an early adopter of email marketing who now helps others harness the power of online and social media marketing to move their businesses forward , I felt compelled to send a little note to a company I follow on social media when I received their 2010 holiday email greeting.

I’m keeping their name to myself, for reasons that will become obvious to you:

“All of us at [Company X] would like to wish you and your family a happy holiday. [So far, so good…] If its [sic] Chanukah or Kwanza [sic], Solstice, harvest or December twenty-fifth; Peace on earth to everyone and abundance to everyone you’re with. Happy Holidays”

Yes, there are also usage, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization errors in the body copy as well, further tarnishing what should have been a welcome holiday greeting – reason enough to call them out. But to name no fewer than four December holidays and then to allude to Christmas simply as “December twenty-fifth” – well, I’m amazed. No, make that appalled.

With the stroke of a pen – well, the tap of a keyboard – they’ve just potentially offended fully one-third of their audience. Of course, that’s only if their reach is worldwide. But for this particular company, it’s much worse. You see, their market is exclusively the United States, which means they have potentially alienated over 75 percent of their market!

I can guarantee that a certain percentage of those receiving their email will not want to hear anything more from them after this slight – that is, they will opt out of future emails. Some will actually complain to the company, but others will share their anger online – on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other online forums – and they’ll name names!

Depending on how diligent the company is about monitoring these channels and addressing potentially reputation-wrecking complaints across the media spectrum, they will either rebound from this and maybe even win over a few new fans or they will experience the very expensive sting of watching enough of their future marketing efforts fall on deaf ears that they will be left scratching their heads and wondering why.

Your Takeaway: Please, please take extra care with ALL of your business communications. If you do not have someone on staff who fully understands the critical importance of your interaction with your prospects, clients, customers, vendors, employees, and others – and knows how to use that knowledge consistently to build and maintain your brand – your investment in outsourcing those responsibilities will pay you back tenfold.