Tag Archives: social media

YOU are the Sale

17 Jul

In 2019, we are selling ourselves. It doesn’t matter what your position might be – frankly, it becomes more and more important the higher you are in a company. And as an entry level salesperson, you carry YOU forward – whether that’s at the same company all your life or more likely, whatever career is generated from your first few years in the workplace.

How do you sell yourself today?

1 – You have a kick-butt LinkedIn profile. Because that’s what professional people do. You also have other social media sites – at least Facebook – where you are community-facing on a regular basis. In the old days, networking happened in your neighborhood or at your place of worship or the grocery store where you knew everyone. Today, it’s on the world wide web.

2 – You operate every day with every person under the golden rule. People around you start saying (because you usually succeed at living the golden rule), “I wonder what that guy does…”. They won’t listen or remember – unless they ask with genuine curiosity. That curiosity only comes when they like you as a human being.

I grew up learning from people and many sales books that the buyer didn’t need to like you. It’s actually true – but then you can only be one thing – an expert with a perfect product or service. In case you aren’t the expert yet and/or your product service is only very good in a competitive field, genuine, trusting relationships go a long way in the ten years that I’ve been running my own business.

3 – You are authentic. Part of being likeable is being vulnerable. You have a couple warts and you talk about them openly.

For example, I don’t like golf. That makes me a bit odd in the business community, but I haven’t played a hole since my third child was born. Somehow, I’m accepted.

I’m also a spazz. My children and fiance definitely understand this. They also know they can say “shoosh you dumb bear”… and I’ll immediately realize that I might be talking an octave too high about something that probably isn’t that big of a deal.

4 – You strive to be the best in the world at something. It doesn’t have to be work-related because whatever it is, it makes you human and helps people remember you. I’m not the best in the world (yet) but my passions and talents are in writing. I’m a recruiter, consultant and salesman, so I decided to put off the fiction novel and pour my efforts into these blogs and business books until I’m 50 (then I write the novel).

If you have these four principles above well in hand, there are many directions you can go from there. It’s all about taking your passions and making you memorable – beyond the privacy of your friends and family...

You’re good at golfing… then represent your company at EVERY charity tournament this year.

You’re a juggler… then learn how to juggle EVERYTHING and tell everyone about it (think concise, short stories ūüôā ).

You love to travel… is your office covered with pictures from your vacations away? What’s the front-page screensaver on your phone? Buy a padfolio with photos on the cover. Start a blog for photos or writings.

You’re a pastry chef… then why isn’t EVERYONE at your office getting a birthday cupcake from you every year? Or maybe deliver some cakes to your clients? They will think you are nutty… but they won’t forget you.

You’ve got a heckuva story to tell… you don’t have to be a writer to be an author. What would be cooler than starting your own book? I can help you with that one if you reach out.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Blogs Written at a 5th Grade Reading Level are Better?

9 Apr

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Surprisingly, blogs (or any of your marketing materials) that are written at lower grade reading levels typically get the most attention. I’m failing. My last three blogs were written at 8th, 9th and 9th grade reading levels. This article is written at an 8th grade level. I’m striving for a 7th grade reading level.

The Wall Street Journal is written at an 8th grade level. My local paper, the Star Tribune (and probably most newspapers), is written at a 5th grade level. Hemingway wrote at a 4th grade reading level and Leo Tolstoy wrote at a 7th grade level. The Affordable Care Act is written at a college reading level! 

4 reasons why I think blogs written at lower levels succeed:

1. Your entire audience can’t read at a 7th grade reading level.¬†

There’s a book called What Makes a Book Readable that cites:

  • 1/3 of adults read at a 2nd-6th grade reading level
  • 1/3 of adults read at a 7th-12th grade reading level
  • 1/3 of adults read at college levels

If you write at a lower level, everyone obviously has a better chance at being able to understand it.

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2. Even the smart people need new material dumbed down a bit.

Learning Solutions magazine says that we forget 50% of what we learn within an hour.¬†The more complicated, the more likely we are to forget. Humans require immediate comprehension of the material to increase our chances of retaining the information; when reading an article, we are often reading about topics that we don’t know a lot about.

3333. We want it quick and fast. 

In the internet age, things get skimmed, not read. The most popular blogs are one of two types: Lists and How-to’s. The most attention any of my 100+ blogs have ever received was a recent post I did on the Top 50 Largest LinkedIn Groups (Largest Groups on LinkedIn). Lists are simple – and how-to’s tend to be quick lessons that can immediately be applied. It has been found that on screens, we read faster and consequently, understand less.

44444. Reading has changed.

With the younger generation clamoring to YouTube and Facebook for “news” and information – and communicating through short texts and emojis, the demographics have shifted to suit our shorter attention spans. As a writer or blogger, you should embrace this change versus fighting it. If you want to write the next Moby Dick, go for it! But recognize that half of your audience CANNOT comprehend it (granted, it is probably much better material than your average blog).

What is the ideal grade level for your writing? 

The answer is dependent upon your audience, but my overall point of this blog is that it is probably a few grades lower than what you think. A few suggestions for “improving” your score include keeping your paragraphs and sentences short, avoiding complicated and unnecessary words and breaking up your content. And a few pictures and bulleted lists go a long way in keeping the reader’s attention.

There is a measurement called the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Reading Formula to determine the level of any piece of writing. It was first published in 1948 and it relies on the structure of the English language taking sentence and word length into consideration in order to determine readability.

How to figure out the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level:

  • If you are a user of Microsoft Word, go to the Review option at the top of the screen and Check Document.
  • This will give corrections (like spelling, as you probably know) and other refinements; after running through those, the¬†Readability Statistics window will pop up.
  • Listed are the word counts and averages as well as the readability score which shows the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of your document. This will pop up after you run through the suggested corrections and refinements.
  • If you aren’t a Word user, you can also go to this site to measure the documents readability: https://readable.com/
  • Here is another site for editing lengthy and complex sentences: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/
  • Lastly, there are a few other formulas if you’d like to try them out: the Gunning-Fog Score, the Coleman-Liau Index and the Dale-Chall Formula.

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Now, my title is a bit deceiving… I don’t think 5th grade level blogs are “better”. But if our end goal is to garner attention and educate, we need to be thinking of our audience and cater to them. I personally need to do a better job of making it easier to read my material. It’s not about dumbing it down but rather making your point clearer and more concise.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew Schmitz

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

 

How to Maximize LinkedIn Groups

5 Mar

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This is my 6th entry in a 7-part series about LinkedIn. Feel free to check out my previous posts at: BlueOctopus. Next week, I’ll finish this series by covering recommendations.

Last August, LinkedIn updated the group section of their site and now have a dedicated team of engineers to support and focus on it. For a while, many of us were wondering if they were abandoning groups altogether – but even though their changes were subtler than I’d prefer, it’s a great sign that LinkedIn is now recognizing the importance of groups.

There are 6 primary reasons to join a LinkedIn group:

  1. Find a group that is specific to your industry.
  2. If you are looking for your next job.
  3. You are hiring.
  4. Your organization sells something.
  5. You’d like to lead a niche group (specific to your industry or otherwise).
  6. Discover various learning opportunities outside of your industry.

Searching groups on LinkedIn is a bit clumsy but can be done one of two ways:

  • Go to Groups by clicking on Work in the upper right. At the bottom of the page of your groups, you can click on Search other trusted communities that share and support your goals.
  • Otherwise, just use the normal search box in the upper left. Then you will have to define your search under More and change to Groups.

SUPER GROUPS.¬†The largest groups have the most activity. That doesn’t always translate to being the best options, but it’s a great place to start. Here is a list of the biggest LinkedIn groups as of 2019: Top 50. By joining some of the larger groups on LinkedIn – including some specific to your industry – you give yourself further exposure to others.

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GET A JOB.¬†If you are looking for a job, there are some obvious groups to join. If you aren’t looking for a job, you probably will be in the future, so joining a job group still isn’t a bad idea.

Here are three options for you: Linked: HR, Hub.Careers & Engineering Jobs Worldwide. These are larger group options but don’t forget to find smaller ones in your area and industry (LinkedMinnesota, Minnesota Job Seekers & Minnesota Jobs.com are examples in my home state). Also note that any and all groups can help a job seeker. They usually allow openings to be posted and can be extremely supportive for someone promoting themselves for work.

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RECRUIT YOUR NEXT HIRE. If you are hiring, there might not be a better place to find your next hire than on LinkedIn. The Recruiter.com, The Recruitment Network and HR Jobs are great for full time recruiters and HR professionals. Also, join the three job groups mentioned above. And again, find a niche group to your industry and look for those specific to your area.

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LAND A NEW CUSTOMER.¬†If you’ve read my past articles, being active on LinkedIn as a salesperson is a no-brainer. Figure out where your prospects hang out and join all those groups. Worst case scenario, join all of the largest groups as this will allow you to directly message more people.

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FIND INDUSTRY & NICHE GROUPS.¬†If you are in marketing, social media or just curious about this industry, join SocialMediopolis, Digital Marketing, Marketing CMO Social Media Business Digital, Marketing Communications and Media & Marketing Professionals Worldwide. These are huge groups because marketing folks are among the most active on LinkedIn for obvious reasons. But if you are a project manager selling SaaS software, join a project manager and SaaS group… if you are fascinated with cryptocurrency, join those groups.

Niche groups are wonderful for everyone. Join a few and determine which ones are the most active. Even the smallest can be wonderfully effective depending upon their activity (and the manager that runs the group).

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BE A LEADER.¬†You may want to consider starting and running your own LinkedIn group. As a promotional tool for you and your business, this is a great way to build awareness, position yourself as an expert, showcase your company, generate interest and nurture relationships. You may also be a part of a smaller group of people that you just want to “collect” for internal discussions (I’ve done so for two alumni groups). Just make sure if you start one, that you are actively leading the group and contributing to discussions at least on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. For more detail on starting and managing your own group, here is a resource: https://buffer.com/library/linkedin-groups.

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GROW YOUR BRAIN.¬†Sometimes the benefit of LinkedIn isn’t a job, a hire or a new client. LinkedIn is a great place for educating yourself about the latest and greatest trends in business, technology, your industry/interests and other happenings in the world. There are people like me that post articles but within groups, there is all sorts of additional content – and you can post questions to the group. People love helping people and LinkedIn can be a great example of that.

If you want to join groups privately: 

  1. Click the Me icon in the top right of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy from the dropdown.
  3. Click the Communications tab at the top of the page.
  4. Under the Channels section, click Change next to Email frequency.
  5. Click the Right icon to the right of Updates from your groups.
  6. Check or uncheck the box next to the group you’d like to receive updates from.
  7. For more detailed control, click Manage to the right of the group name.

Once you’ve joined a few groups, you can message other members directly, post new conversations within the group (like “I have an opening!”) and comment on others’ posts without requiring a first degree connection.¬†

I highly recommend doing some work searching and joining groups. There are too many benefits, so join a few more this week!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

The 50* Largest Groups on LinkedIn

26 Feb

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Over the past month, I’ve been trying to find a way to cull a list of the largest groups by searching on LinkedIn and the web… apparently, it’s not that easy. There hasn’t been an updated list (that I can find) since 2017, so I’ve assembled the 50 LinkedIn groups below and would like to share them with you. There is an asterisk next to my title as it required a lot of inefficient hunting and pecking, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve missed a group or two or three that tops 300,000. If you know of one, please make a comment (or email me) and I’ll get this updated!

Please see my blog series on the LinkedIn topic at: blueoctopusllc.wordpress.com. I go into further details about selling, recruiting, job seeking, groups and recommendations.

There are many groups that have 200,000-300,000 members but the list below contains all that currently surpass 300,000 (note you can click name to link to any of the groups listed):

  1. SocialMediopolis.com (1.9 Million members)
  2. Software & Technology Professionals (1.8 Million)
  3. Digital Marketing (1.2 Million)
  4. Harvard Business Review (1.1 Million)
  5. Linked: HR (969K)
  6. Finance Club (900K)
  7. Forum VAGAS.com  (894K)
  8. The Project Manager Network (865K)
  9. The Recruiter.com Network (833K)
  10. Marketing CMO Social Media Business Digital (743K)
  11. Dubai Recruitment (715K)
  12. Marketing Communications (700K)
  13. On Startups (638K)
  14. Telecoms Professionals (599K)
  15. Media & Marketing Professionals Worldwide (582K)
  16. Lean Six Sigma (572K)
  17. Pete Asmus’ Real Estate Networking¬†(565K)
  18. The Recruitment Network (543K)
  19. Sales, Marketing, Social Media, Advertising and Technology (542K)
  20. Future Trends (534K)
  21. Retail Industry Professionals Group (525K)
  22. Engineering Jobs Worldwide (515K)
  23. Banking Careers (504K)
  24. Finance Plus: Private Equity Venture Capital and M&A News (481K)
  25. Consultants Network (468K)
  26. Digital Marketing: Social Media, Search, Mobile & more (464K)
  27. Cloud Computing, SaaS & Virtualization (460K)
  28. Oil & Energy Recruitment (453K)
  29. Oil & Gas People (445K)
  30. Hub.Careers (423K)
  31. Cloud Computing (410K)
  32. Information Security Community (399K)
  33. Event Planning & Event Management (379K)
  34. Project Manager Community (379K)
  35. Procurement Professionals (374K)
  36. MarTech Advisor BD Guild (368K)
  37. Vagas & Jobs (368K)
  38. Pharmaceutical Jobs (351K)
  39. SAP Community (351K)
  40. Big Data and Analytics (348K)
  41. Executive Suite (333K)
  42. Java Developers (326K)
  43. Information Technology, FinTech, Blockchain and Bitcoin (326K)
  44. Oil & Gas Industry Professionals (316K)
  45. Marketing Pros РLargest Marketers Group (312K)
  46. Sales Best Practices (310K)
  47. Sales Management Executives (310K)
  48. Business Development Рthe Missing Link (309K)
  49. International Export Group (307K)
  50. .NET Developers (302K)

thumbsblogWho did I miss? Let me know!

If you enjoyed the post and are a LinkedIn user, please do me a HUGE favor Рclick on this link to the Pulse article and reshare or give it the thumbs up icon: LinkedIn Pulse article Thank you!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedins-35-largest-groups-drew-schmitz/

#linkedingroups #largestlinkedingroups #linkedinrecruiting #linkedinsales #sales

A Free Social Media Dashboard

22 Jul

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I wanted to share one format that can tremendously help your social media attack and overall lead generation ability in less time.

Blue Octopus’ secret to volume of social media activity and organically getting to the top of Google after four years of work is a composite dashboard. This is the covert ingredient to what many social media companies are doing for their customers besides outsourcing offshore to cheaper labor (which I’m not opposed to FYI). If you decide to hire a social media partner, be sure they know their stuff and can teach you tips on Google Analytics (many of them do!).

What is a social media dashboard?

  • It allows you to write one post or tweet and have it go out to several social media sites (I key in on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ as they “own” 90% of the market).
  • Dashboards let you to schedule future posts (for the rest of the week… rest of the month)
  • And much more…

Here’s a list of 9 of your options:¬†http://socialmediafuze.com/9-social-media-dashboards-to-manage-multiple-social-media-profiles/

I haven’t used all of them, but I have used several and I’ve returned to Hootsuite. I like it because the first five social media sites you link are free – and it’s as easy to navigate as any of them (don’t be fooled by the elaborate look). All I currently use it for is posting to multiple sites and writing future posts. It has a lot more features than that.

If not Hootsuite, just pick one and use it. In my opinion it’s like a sales CRM; any of them are better than not using one.

I apologize for the lack of blog entries this summer. It’s been crazy busy between work and play but I intend to get back to writing weekly sales blogs in August.

That’s your free tip for the day! If I can help in any way, please reach out.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blue-Octopus-LLC/176668965728096

Twitter: @drew_schmitz

8 Tools for an Efficient Salesperson

22 Jan

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Normally, I focus on specific sales methods, but today I’m sharing some ideas that will make any salesperson run a little faster in 2014. As a manager, you can help your team use all of these methods. As a salesperson, I encourage you to hit up your manager for these tools that will make you more efficient and effective.

  1. LinkedIn & Social Media: Please, I’m begging you… it’s 2014 – if you don’t have one, create a LinkedIn profile and expand your network. Today, I have over 4,000 LinkedIn contacts and in Minneapolis, I can mine the names of anyone in the Twin Cities and reach them using LinkedIn Inmails. These Inmails have a much higher response rate in comparison to standard emails.
  2. Email Discipline:¬†I’m a huge believer in this Timothy Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week technique: don’t constantly answer email. Unless you are instructed otherwise, I would suggest only reading your emails at the beginning, middle and end of every work day. At first, I thought it sounded ridiculous but I decided to give it a try and fell in love with being there for people daily, but not hourly. Phone calls and texts are urgent. Emails are important – if you respond to the important ones within four hours, no one is likely to complain. If you have clients calling you throughout the day because of fires, you aren’t a salesperson, you are an Account Manager. This is not your excuse to let emails pile up in your inbox. Every email use D.R.A.F.: delete, refer, act or file it away. If you are going to prospect, block off a half hour three times a day for email – and save the other 6+ hours for selling.
  3. Personal Free Time:¬†If you are the typical salesperson, you not only have a job, but a family 30+ minutes away from work. You run like crazy Monday through Friday, “relax” on Saturday doing chores around the house (or worse, chasing your kids around at odd hours who are participating in sports). On Sunday, you might spend half of your day attending a religious service in your community. Then after the football game, you eat dinner and start worrying about your bills or work on Monday. Sound familiar? Escape the rat race once a week. Take time to celebrate the victories! SCHEDULE some “me time” to unwind and figure out what drives you¬†(and trade this time with your spouse so that they get the same opportunity). I can’t tell you how freeing this has become for me on Thursday nights. No one is a priority but me that night – and it allows me run that much faster throughout the hustle and bustle.
  4. Work Planning Time: People always complain because of the scenario above, that they don’t have enough time. Well, there is enough time if you have a little discipline. Stop watching television or playing solitaire on your computer and carve out just one hour a week for planning so that you are as efficient as possible. The first hour of the work day should be spent on the important and urgent items. Do the worst activities first (like the 10 phone calls to prospects), so you can have a fulfilling work hard/play hard lifestyle.
  5. Testimonials: The proof is in the pudding. You can talk about your offering all day, but prospects want to hear the stories from your happy customers. Even better, share stories from your happy customers with prospects that are in the same industry.
  6. Referrals and Warm Leads: Cold calling is dead. The best way to get referrals are to earn them.  Give people in your network who are relevant to your business a referral first and then ask nicely for one in return.
  7. Optimism: A good attitude, determination, confidence or whatever you want to call it – salespeople need to be excited about what they are doing. You need to believe in your product or service and be borderline overconfident in offering your solution to prospects and customers. I believe I am helping people. Do you feel the same way about your work?
  8. A Sales Book:¬†Always carry one with you. Read it on the road, over lunch and in between appointments. If it’s inspiring, talk about it with your prospects and customers. Buy the good reads for your best customers. I’d rather have a salesperson give me a random business or sales book versus another brochure.¬†Doesn’t everyone look smarter with a book under their arm?

A few book suggestions (of course 8 of them!):

  • Sam Richter’s¬†Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling
  • David Kurlan’s¬†Baseline Selling
  • Jeffrey Gitomer’s¬†Sales Bible
  • Maxwell & Dickman’s¬†Elements of Persuasion
  • David Mattson’s¬†The Sandler Rules
  • Martin Seligman’s¬†Learned Optimism
  • Tony Hsieh’s¬†Delivering Happiness
  • Marshall Goldsmith’s¬†MOJO

Order a book and start using all eight tools next month!

Make every day count!

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/131nqty

Twitter: @drew_schmitz

8 THOUGHTS WHEN HIRING AN INTERN

15 Nov

interns

It’s the off-season for interns but it doesn’t mean you can’t hire them in the coming months.

For the past seven years, I have worked with interns in my own business. They are talented, tech savvy and more productive than you probably realize! Having managed them myself and worked with 100 employers hiring them, I’ve also learned the do’s and don’ts of working with interns. Interns shouldn’t be hired too quickly and they shouldn’t be put in a corner closet and left to fend for themselves!

Over the years, I was so impressed with the experience in working with them, I decided to help employers find them three years ago. I rarely tout it, but Blue Octopus has a subdivision, blueinternsandgrads.com, that can do the recruiting for you Рespecially if you are seeking sales and marketing candidates.

Here are My Highlights of How to Find and Manage a Great Intern:

1 – Have a specific job description before you start looking!
2 – Put some real work into the search and interview process so you hire a strong intern (design criteria for applicants and interview questions – and consider testing).
3 – Place a single person in charge of hiring and managing the intern but have others involved in their mentorship (internships are about teaching too).
4 – Be clear on the expectations on their first day (and week to week). I would suggest laying out a general weekly schedule of their likely responsibilities.
5 – Have a weekly review with the intern over coffee to discuss how it’s going and to provide feedback. 15 minutes is often all it takes.
6 – Be there daily for their questions.
7 – Offer a flexible set schedule to work with their class schedule.
8 – Stay in touch with them after the internship (especially if they are sophomores or juniors). If they did a great job, why aren’t you hiring them?

Overall, make it an enjoyable experience Рthey are here to learn and see that your workplace can be a fun place to work!

Make every day count!

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/131nqty

Twitter: @drew_schmitz

IS GOOD BEATING GREAT?

7 Oct

Big_Mouth_by_plunkie765

A quick thought for a Monday…

Good to very good companies with big mouths are beating out great companies in America. It ties into who has the biggest sales & marketing budget and the size of their sales force; overall the most aggressive business development campaigns win.

  • Are Coca-Cola’s beverages the best on earth? No, they spend more than $4 billion annually on marketing.
  • Is Pfizer’s Viagra better than the other ED options? ūüôā Well maybe, but if you don’t believe it, they hammer you over the head with their $1.2 billion dollar budget.
  • Does McDonald’s make the best cheese burger? No, it’s a small and at best, very average little burger. ¬†But McD’s spends an estimated $2.3 billion annually on marketing.
  • Is it that big buck the reason more of us to turn to Hartford Financial? Or is it the 175,000 salespeople they employ in America??

Yes, I’m mocking the big companies a bit, but I am envious. My point is you need to be LOUD to grow your sales today. This doesn’t mean you need an enormous budget, but you better figure out how to get the most out of your sales force and marketing dollars. How are they spending their time? Are you capitalizing on the cheaper avenues of social media, e-newsletters, and digital marketing strategy?

If your product or service is very good, I would encourage you to put less emphasis on being perfect – and more on sales and marketing.

You only need to be great to the niche you service.

Does everyone in that niche know that you exist? 

Grow – be a big mouth!

Make every day count!

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/131nqty

Twitter: @drew_schmitz

8 Social Media Strategies for ALL Companies

27 Jun

Social-media-for-public-relations1

In my last blog post, I talked about Business Development in general: Marketing, Social Media, Lead Generation, Mid-tier Selling, and the all important, Proposal and Close. I will cover five of these except Marketing as a separate, upcoming posts. Today, I begin with social media.

First off, you need to think of social media as a critical marketing activity at the top of your sales funnel or pipeline. You should see the broader spectrum under the “digital strategy” category – an extension of your web site (your primary brochure) and a critical component to SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is the HOLY GRAIL. If you can dominate your key words and be one of the first three UNPAID companies in your niche, then you may be printing money right now. Companies have to quickly figure out SEO or they will fall far behind.¬†Starting now, implement the social media tools below and you will be well on your way…

The 8 Social Media Tools You Need to be Using:

1 – Facebook fanpage: Facebook was the #1 web site last Christmas (Google was the other 364 days in 2012). If you hadn’t figured it out, Facebook is big. Huge.

2 – LinkedIn: If you are a business person shucking professional products and services, you need to be there. It should sell you like a resume, but it should also promote your company. LinkedIn is also a valuable tool for sales research.

3 – Online Blog: WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger are the big three. I’ve heard rumors that Blogger may be pulled by Google, so I’d start with WordPress. Not a writer? Determine who is inside your organization. Don’t make this so cumbersome. A paragraph written every week is a lot better than a perfect three pager written four times a year. Blogs need to be smart and spell checked, but they don’t have to be perfect.

4 – Email Marketing: I would recommend Constant Contact or MyEmma as the best options. Constant Contact is generic but easy to use. MyEmma is “fancier”, more expensive, and a little harder to navigate. Keep in mind that your blog posts can easily be good content for your email marketing (and vice versa).

5 – Twitter: You’ve probably heard of it right? And you probably have a company or personal Twitter account that you don’t use. My answer for content here is #8 below. Don’t think of it as more work after you build it. Twitter may contain a lot of noise but it led me to two clients in the last year. There are also countless Twitter add-on programs available including Twellow for searching and ManageFlitter for faster following/unfollowing.

6 – Google+: It’s on the rise and comes with some features that you don’t have on Facebook and LinkedIn. Google+ now offers company pages that you can colorfully customize, which I highly recommend. I am still learning, but Google ain’t goin’ away folks so be there today for its evolution.

7 – YouTube:¬†It is now for everyone. Here I am preaching to the choir with minimal Blue Octopus video production (it’s been on my to-do list for two years now!). I have done it for my social media business and other clients in the past. You need all your videos out on YouTube not only for business development purposes and overall branding, but also for recruiting great employees.

8 – A Centralized Dashboard: Seesmic, SocialOomph, Gremln, Hootsuite, or TweetDeck are all options for you. You must have this in order to manage all of the above. It combines all your social media onto one platform. “Tweet” once and you can send it to almost all of your social media sites through your dashboard. Schedule future posts when you are on vacation, monitor all the mentions and reactionary activity to your posts, and the list of options goes on and on. I’m using Gremln now, but can also recommend Hootsuite. Both allow you to combine up to 5 social media sites for free.

Everything that is web-based can be public on-line or can merge with other social media platforms (Salesforce, Constant Contact or Xobni are three great examples of all of this). It’s ALL digital strategy – here is a list of some of the sites that you may not realize can also work as top of the funnel marketing tools (in no particular order):

  • Salesforce (or other on-line databases)
  • evite
  • Pinterest
  • Jigsaw
  • Foursquare (it almost made my top 8 list above but there is Facebook check-in as well)
  • GoDaddy
  • Groupon, Living Social, and similar coupon sites
  • bitly
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Instagram
  • Path
  • Klout

This is my “short list” of tools that I use for business. I read a great article on social media tools the other day that will give you even more to read up on and try:¬†http://www.dreamgrow.com/69-free-social-media-monitoring-tools/.

Of course, having these tools up and running is only the start. How will you keep them interesting? How can you maintain them and better yet, be proactive with them? I’d be happy to help, but recommend that you simply start reading others’ social media pages and playing around with your own platforms. If you can’t, then find someone under your company flag that has the time. If you don’t have a marketing person that can do this, go out and find an affordable intern (http://www.blueinternsandgrads.com).¬†The best part – all of the above except for email marketing is FREE¬†(unless you purchase a premium account that come with a few more bells and whistles).¬†Get out there!

P.S. The graphic at the top of this page is from Wordle.net – check it out!

Make it a great day~ Drew Schmitz

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

@drew_schmitz

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

Screaming Sales and Marketing

6 Jun

stock-footage-scary-boss-a-businessman-with-megaphone-mexican-wrestling-mask-and-caution-and-danger-tapeMy apologies if my image is a little scary this week, but I couldn’t resist.

Business development – it‚Äôs all about screaming sales and marketing. At least after you master the leadership and operations components (see my May 15th blog posting). Wikipedia’s definition: “business development¬†comprises a number of tasks and processes generally aiming at developing and implementing growth opportunities“.

You know how to lead a company and develop people. You have a good idea in your product or service. Now there is really only thing that can totally screw it up – sales and marketing!

So categorically, what is sales and marketing exactly? That’s what I’m here to help you breakdown.

Marketing:

  • “Traditional Marketing” – It’s the sales materials, billboards, radio, yellow pages, and more. It is important for all businesses, but getting really expensive for small companies.
    • Strategy: the classic four P’s: Price, product, promotion and placement!
    • Branding and communications
    • Supply chain management
  • Digital Media – SEO (search engine optimization), your web site, email campaigns, and oh, those 100 social media sites. This is affordable but confusing. Because of that confusion, too many business are falling behind.

Sales:

  • The top of the sales funnel –¬†Assuming you know your target market – it’s cold calling, qualifying, and lead generation.
  • The middle of the funnel –¬†Warm calling, lead follow-up, networking, and carrying your business card wherever you go.
  • The bottom of the funnel (it’s the best part!):
    • Meetings, proposals and demos. I’m a big believer in metrics. You should know what your percentages here so you can predict future sales.
    • Closing time. Some businesses do all of the above well, but don’t finish. We talk about closing all the time, but we still don’t work on it enough.

Overall, what is important in business development? Here are our Eight Octopus H’s or Oh8’s:

  1. Having a solid business plan (fixed and flexible)
  2. Hiring the right people
  3. Holding onto ALL your good employees
  4. Helping them succeed
  5. Harping on teamwork
  6. Hacking the problems (inside and out)
  7. Hyping your business process (written, posted, trained, measured and retrained)
  8. Heaping the rewards (rinse and repeat over and over and over again)

And what is this new version of sales & marketing in 2013? Over my next four blogs this summer, I will delve into digital media strategy and the three sales categories listed above. It’s time to perfect your sales and marketing process!

Make it a great day~ Drew Schmitz

@drew_schmitz

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/