Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Lesson about Managing Social Media from Burger King

McDonald's Purchases Burger King

Real Story: Twitter Account Hacked

Here is a link to an article:

(Image taken from
According to Burger King's Twitter account, McDonald's just bought out Burger King.

Obviously, that did not really happen, but the hackers got into Burger King's Twitter account and started sharing all sorts of lies and negative publicity about Burger King...right from their OWN account.

Luckily, Burger King was on top of things and suspended the account before too much damage could be done.

However, it provides a good lesson.

We need to make sure that we are paying attention to all of our social media accounts that we've opened.

Ideally, we are communicating from each of our social media accounts, but the lesson here is that we should be MONITORING them.  We never know when we need to address something, like....

A. Someone hacking into our account and spreading messages contradicting our intended message.
B. Someone lodges a complaint against us or a service we provide.

On a lower level of urgency but equal in importance, we should also be monitoring social media accounts to see what people are saying about us, our competitors, and our industry.

How often are you checking your social media accounts?

How would you handle a situation if someone broke into your account and started using it to give you a bad your own name?  How soon would you realize there is a problem?

This is a good lesson for all of us.  Luckily, Burger King identified its problem early enough so that it could react.

Could you?

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Learn from My Mistake: 4 Ways I Lost My Last Sale

Do you want to lose sales?

Stupid question, huh?  Would you like a better one?

Recently, I did some foolish things that caused me to lose a sale.  Would you like to try learning from MY lesson so that YOU don't repeat it?

If not, then you might not want to read this post.  Otherwise...

A small business owner was nice enough to arrange for me to teach his coworkers some marketing skills.  He set aside a day for them to come.

The catch?  Each of them had to pay their own way.

Now this guy is a great salesman, and he told me that he'd take care of it.  That was nice of him, but he is a busy guy, and he has other things to handle besides my class.

In the end, I lost the sale, and I realized that I could have--and should have--done things better.

  1. Spend Individual Time: Find What Matters
  2. Create a Professional, Easy-to-Read Flyer
  3. Send Reminders
  4. Offer a "Can't Miss" Special

1. Spend Individual Time: Find What Matters

In this case, I met most of the people; so I have a little bit of a relationship with them, but they never had to pay money to spend time with me.

I should have taken time to find what their needs and wants are.  This would have helped me shape my discussion to find ways to help them with their concerns, instead of me just asking them for money.

Since I relied on the business owner to make the pitch, it was easier for each person to say, "No."  More importantly, I failed to find how I could make each person's life better.

I needed to spend time with each person individually.

2. Create a Professional, Easy-to-Read Flyer

People often need time for buying decisions, especially when it is for something intangible.  People are not looking for reasons to spend money, anyway, but they really are not interested in spending money on something that they cannot touch nor relate.

A professional looking flyer that is easy to read would make it easier for people to get excited about what they are going to learn.  A good flyer spells out everything, making people almost fearful of missing on really important information.

A professional, easy-to-read flyer would be a constant sales pitch, even when I'm gone.  Plus, having people register makes them just a little more committed than a verbal "Yeah, I'm coming."

That often leads to, "Oh, I forgot.  Sorry!"

3. Send Reminders

People have busy lives.  They certainly have more important things to remember besides your event...UNLESS you MAKE IT IMPORTANT.

How do you do that?

You present it AND keep reminding them.

You can send them emails or even remind them in person.  If you really want to make an impression, you can send a "Thank you" letter in advance.  You really are thankful they registered, right?

I didn't do any of that.  I needed to remind them, and they forgot.  That's my fault!

4. Offer a "Can't Miss" Special

Most of us need some encouragement to spend money.  Many of us need value.

I don't mean some crummy deal that we're insulting people's intelligence by calling a "value," but we need to create an offer SO good, they feel more uncomfortable saying, "No," than they do saying, "Yes."


See Also: Are you offering an incentive or an insult to my intelligence?

When you make an offer they can't refuse, they want to accept it.  Just as importantly, they will remember.  They won't forget; they won't want to forget.

I did not think to do this until it was too late.  If I want a group of people to respond to what I'm selling, I need to make the offer so appealing that it becomes fashionable to say, "Yes."

Next time, I plan to get that sale.  Of course, that means I will have to apply what I just suggested to you.

Don't lose any more sales for the wrong reasons!  (especially those that you were about to get)

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

3 Marketing Lessons to Take from Street Beggars

I made a strange realization about marketing recently.

Unfortunately, street beggars are in many places throughout the US and the entire world.  It's unfortunate that  our world has enough to abundantly feed everyone yet still leaves some people starving.

I live near Detroit, which has more than its fair share of street beggars.  I suspect that some of them legitimately need the help and don't know any other way to "earn" money, and several others are pure scam artists.

I don't have any way of knowing which of these street beggars are legit, but I noticed something really interesting--and important--about street beggars.

The best street beggars are really good marketers.

Realization #1: Location is Key

The best street beggars understand the importance of being at the right location.  You don't see very many street beggars sitting in the middle of the desert.

You find them where there are lots of people, either walking or waiting at busy traffic lights.  The best ones spend time hanging around places where people are likely to have money to spend (like near businesses or on the way to work).

The best marketers go where there tend to be a lot of people who have money, and those people might spend some of that money of those marketers' products (or services).

Realization #2: Emotions

Most street beggars get money in one of two ways.  People feel guilty, or they are fearful.  Either way, emotions play a big part, and most street beggars appear to be well aware of this.  (Thinks of signs: "Homeless Need Help - God Bless - Thank you!")

There are other ways, but no matter what, when people give to strangers, this is not a rational decision; it's an emotional one.

The best marketers use emotion to manipulate a buying decision (or some other action to take) from you.

Maybe they play on your need to reduce stress from not having enough time or not knowing how to do something.  They might make you believe that you will have a better life experience for it.

People buy on emotion and use rational thought to justify that buying decision.  (A lot like street beggars!)

Realization #3: Persistence

There are not too many street beggars who just try asking one person for money.  Most people ignore them or give them snide remarks.  Most street beggars understand that they need to keep asking, because the more they ask, the better chance they have of someone giving them money.

The best marketers know and understand this.

Most of us consumers are not looking for reasons to spend money (unless we're inside a store...we're foolish that way).  If we decide to live in the civilized part of the world, we need to find a way to make a living.  Given that we are not looking for reasons to SPEND money but everyone needs to MAKE money, this can be tricky for the marketer.

The best marketers know to keep marketing.  They don't ever stop marketing, because they never know what will work or when that same thing will work.

See Also: Marketing Tip: You Never Know What Will Work

Like street beggars, the best marketers realize that most things they try will not work.  They just keep trying, knowing that they will hit pay dirt, eventually.

So it's true that if you're a marketer, you really CAN learn things from street beggars.  You actually have more in common than you might have ever realized.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

4 Ways to Find Related Blogs to Leave Blog Comments

Leaving comments on other people's blogs can provide several benefits for you.

See Also: 3 Major Reasons to Leave Blog Comments

However, how can we find blogs that relate to our topic and leave comments?

Key Question: How do you find related blogs?

I have four (4) suggestions.

Method #1: Include "blog" in Your Google Search

This is the easiest to implement.

1. Go to Google (or any other search engine)
2. Type in your search phrase: Keyword + blog

Example: If my keyword is "best trails to see raccoons," then I would type

Phase 1: "cheese makers" blog (include "quotes" around the keyword)
Phase 2: cheese makers blog (do NOT include "quotes" around the keyword)

NOTE: You might find forums instead of blogs, or you might find a review site.  This technique still applies.  We just want to find places that relate to our topic so that we can leave comments.

After trying your targeted keyword, try words that relate.  Mostly, you want to leave comments on blogs that relate to your topic.  (Plus, if there are NOT any blogs for your keyword, you MIGHT have an opening. ;-)

Method #2: Search on Google Blog Search

If you are reading THIS blog post, you almost certainly know about Google being a search engine.  However, many people are not aware that you can REFINE your search on Google.

NOTE: By the time you read this, Google might have changed their interface (again), but as of the time I am writing this post,

Key: You can use Google to search for blogs, specifically.

Suggestion #1 used Google to try finding blogs, but it only searched for sites that INCLUDED the word "blog."  Other websites might contain the word "blog," and some blogs might not contain the word "blog" at all.

So how do we use Google to search for blogs ONLY?

1. Go to Google
2. On the top bar (on Google), click "More" to get an expanded menu.

3. Select "Even More"

4. Select "Blog Search" (This will take you to Google Blogs search)

5. Type in your keyword (or words that relate to your keyword)

This might lead you to articles.  Either way, you will get a chance to leave a blog comment or an article comment.

Method #3: Search on Twitter

This is almost as easy to implement as Suggestion #1 of typing your keyword into Google.

Since many people Tweet links to their website and blog posts (including me), all you have to do is type in the keyword into the Twitter search bar.

It won't take long before you find a blog that relates to your keyword.  You can leave a comment on any or all of the blogs that you find.

To help reduce the amount of things you need to search on your list, you can use a search filter:
Keyword + filter:links

Example-Phase 1: "cheese makers" filter:links (keyword in "quotes")
Example-Phase 2: cheese makers filter:links (keyword NOT in "quotes)

Method #4: Use LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups have a lot of members who leave links to their blogs and other people's blogs.  Some of the blogs are better than others, but they many of them leave us with an opportunity to leave comments.

Here is how to use LinkedIn Groups to find these blogs and find which Discussions within those groups might contain related blog links.

2-Part Strategy to Use LinkedIn Groups to Find Related Blogs
Part 1. Find Related LinkedIn Group
Part 2. Search for Related Blogs

Part 1: Find Related LinkedIn Group
1. Go to LinkedIn and enter your login info
2. Move your Mouse over "Groups" >> Expand Menu >> Select "Groups Directory"

3. Enter your keyword (or words that relate to your keyword)

4. Click "View" for any LinkedIn Groups that you might like

Part 2: Search for Related Blogs
1. On the Menu Bar, click "Search"

2. Type in your keyword (or words that relate to your keyword)

3. Look through the Discussion Posts - See which has links to blog posts.
(NOTE: In this case, we are not trying to find places to post on LinkedIn - only links to blog posts.)

By using any of all of these methods, you should be able to find some blogs that relate to your topic so that you can leave blog comments and reap the benefits.  (Don't leave SPAM, please! :)

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

3 Major Reasons to Leave Blog Comments

Many blog writers almost PLEAD visitors to leave comments, but most people do not understand how "being nice" and leaving a comment can BENEFIT YOU, the person LEAVING the comment on that person's blog.  Yes, it helps the blog writer, but it can really help you, too!

Benefit #1: Backlinks for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Nobody EVER knows the algorithm that Google (or any other search engine) uses to rank websites to which  search phrases.

However, logic makes it clear that is does not hurt to have backlinks TO your site FROM sites that relate to your website's topic.

You can even add value by including keywords in your own comment.  (Hopefully, you are finding ways to ADD VALUE with your comment and not producing SPAM.)

See Also: Good Question: How do I know when it is SPAM?

NOTE: If you can leave your backlink as anchor text that contains your keyword or words that relate to it, that is a bigger bonus for you.

Benefit #2: Builds Your Network

Some blog writers get comments all of the time, and that is good.  However, many blog writers are so tickled  whenever someone leaves a comment that they will suddenly be one of YOUR biggest fans.

This is an especially good strategy if you try to find targeted contacts, meaning that you find people who are likely to share the type of content you have or refer the type of business that you do.  Heck!  You might even get a customer.  (I bought a book from someone who responded to me on Twitter.  Do you not see this working on a blog, also?)

The chance of this happening is even greater when--and if--the blog writer responds to your comment.  It is not uncommon for conversations to begin, and that's all it really takes to begin a relationship.  This is great, especially if you are building a relationship with a targeted contact.

Benefit #3: Opportunity to Brand Yourself (or Your Company)

Even if you cannot leave a backlink for SEO (See Benefit #1), and the blog writer does NOT respond to your blog comment, you have another benefit.

By leaving a comment on a blog post, you give yourself a chance to leave YOUR personal or company name on that comment.  Other people who visit that blog post can see your name.

Honestly, leaving one comment will (probably) not make a difference, but if the same types of people tend to be attracted to the same types of posts, they will KEEP SEEING YOUR NAME.

Isn't that one of the key things about branding?

Depending upon your industry, it might not make sense for you to spend time scoping for blogs, but before you visit a good blog post without leaving a comment, think about the benefits you might be missing.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Worthwhile Content on Your Website Beats Social Media

You can have a ton of Twitter followers, Facebook friends and subscribers to your blog, but worthwhile content matters the most.

This is guest post by Craig Martin of Craig Martin Business Writing.

You can have a ton of Twitter followers and subscribers to your blog, but the content on your website matters the most – otherwise you just have a busy website with no readers.

Obviously, the most important characteristic of a website is its content, whether you are displaying artwork, writing a blog or selling photographs. You can use app or widget you want, but it's a waste of time if it doesn't connect people with worthwhile content.

Think about history. Morse code transmitters, television, ham radios.. just like the content on your website, there was a reason to tune in. Sure, people want to be entertained, but there needs to be something concrete that connects with the audience.

Nowadays, people could change Internet chatrooms with ease, due to the lack of cohesive, worthwhile content. And we're still making the same joke that there's still nothing's on television, even with 500 channels!

But the Internet always has something on.. although a significant amount of people don't want a constant stream of fluffy entertainment. Television shows like South Park and The Simpsons have lasted more than 10 seasons because the focus on worthwhile content is just as critical as the level of entertainment. If your website has a significant amount of flashy widgets and glittery add-ons, then don't act naïve when only a handful of people read anything on the site.

For example, during my time in Chile, I lived with a family that enjoyed two game shows that focused on two things: competition and skin. These shows were repetitive loops of a few people competing in staged events, dancing solely for the camera and bad-mouthing each other. In my opinion, the ratio of entertainment (if you could call it that) was high and barely a shred of worthwhile content.

Compare this to something like Jeopardy , a different type of game show that has been on the air for decades. Instead of flashy effects, you have something that entertains your mind with challenging material. Maybe that's why it's still successful and fun to watch.

For me, goofy and off-the-wall entertainment is great, although it must have some amount of underlying logic to it. Monty Python's Flying Circus is a great example of a wacky, yet intelligent, comedy show because there's a tremendous amount of worthwhile content in each episode, including sketches that involve discussions about linguistics, philosophy and/or politics.

If the content on your website is all sizzle, then you need to replace it with a juicy steak. You might want to enhance certain widgets or social media apps, but focus on content that connects with your audience. And if you need to tweak the writing, perhaps you should think about hiring a freelance writer.

About Craig Martin: Craig Martin is a professional freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. You should check out Craig Martin Business Writing to read more about his reasonably-priced services for small businesses – hire him to write SEO content and fulfill your company's content marketing needs.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Is Your Title Right for Where It Is? (Comparing SEO, Newspapers, Ads, and Social Media)

Your title is awesome...or is it?  If you're not getting clicks, is it a problem with your title...or WHERE you are putting that title?

Doing a little bit of work with different groups makes me realize one thing.  A title in one (1) place might be terrific, but a title in another place might be a colossal failure.

See Also: 6 Great Headline Ideas That Make People Read Your Book, Article, Blog Post, or Press Release

Depending on your goal, determining whether title or headline is good--and effective--is not simply following the same, mindless recipe.  Well, it might be, but we have to make sure that our title fits the user's expectations while meeting our expectations, too.

Key Point: Good Titles help our reader do what we want them to do, and they're happy for it.

There might be other breakdowns, but I notice that there are different objectives based on the Call-to-Action.  That is somewhat formal terminology meaning that a good title makes the reader want to do what we want them to do.

Let us explore a few different media types:
  • Classified Ad (or Flyer)
  • Search Engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.)
  • Newspaper
  • Social Media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
Titles or headlines for each of these should look different.

Media Type: Classified Ad (or Flyer)

Here we want you to buy, call, email, or something like that.

So what type of title makes sense here?

Here, in addition to WHAT we're selling, we want to know what BENEFITS our customer is seeking and either state or imply that in the headline.

Example #1: Highrise for Rent in Chicago - 2Bedrooms - Lake View

Example #2: SALE: $2000 Discount on Cars Sold TODAY

Example #3: Call before Wednesday and Receive Coupon - Buy 1 Get 1 Free

Example #4: Come Vote TODAY to Keep Police Protecting Your Neighborhood

In each of these cases, it prompts you to take a specific action.  The ads either point out an obvious BENEFIT from following our targeted action or a disturbing CONSEQUENCE from NOT taking action.

It's even better if we find a way to prompt action sooner rather than later.

See Also: Hidden SEO Internet Marketing Secret: Classified Ads Really Work--Just not how you expect!

Media Type: Search Engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.)

Search engines try to guess which websites will provide answers to things that people want to know or find.

So what type of title makes sense here?

We want to identify what our customer or reader WANTS TO SEE and include THAT WORDING in our title.

When search engines, like Google, pull up websites in its search results, it shows the (a) Title and (b) a Snippet.  Of the two, the TITLE is more visible and likely plays a stronger role in Google selecting our site over another.

More importantly, since the Title is in BOLD and a little LARGER, people NOTICE it a little more quickly.  So do you think it might make sense to include the words that people are typing in  your TITLE?

Example #1:NFL Tie-breading Procedures

Example #2: How to Find a Good Accountant

Example #3: List of Mayors of Detroit

In any of these cases, is there ANY doubt what the listed website covers?  (or at least SHOULD cover?)

See Also: Keyword Research Tip: Internet Marketing Research

Plus, the words the user types into the search engine are BOLDED, drawing even MORE attention to our website listing on Google (or any other search engine).

Media Type: Newspaper
Most newspapers like to inform people of the news.  While individual reporters and journalists might want people to read their respective articles, that is not the primary concern for most newspapers.

Most newspapers simply want their readers to be able to look through the paper, grab the headlines, and feel like they can decide which stories they want to read more.  Mostly, newspapers want people seeing their paper as THE source for info they want to get...and keep returning to their paper to get that news.

So what type of title (or headline) makes sense here?

On the FRONT page of the newspaper, you want to make them curious.  (Those articles begin on Page 1, but they continue to a different part of the newspaper...INSIDE it.)

Example-Front Page: Snow Coming Tonight - Will Schools Close?

However, INSIDE the newspaper, the best headlines quickly SUMMARIZE the news.  Those headlines allow a reader to skim headlines and feel like he (or she) knows enough of the current events to keep trusting that newspaper to keep providing that info tomorrow...and the next day...and so on.

Example #1-Inside Page: Snowstorm tonight predicted to be biggest in 5 years

Example #2-Inside Page: City Committee members meeting today to discuss possible park expansion

Example #3-Inside Page: ReallyBigg Company laying off dozens of workers next month

Example #4-Inside Page: Local Team drops another game to Other Team 64-57

Notice the difference between the "Front Page" example and the "Inside Page" examples.  In the Front Page example, you HAVE to read get the story.  The Inside Page headlines give you enough to get the news, and you--as the reader--can decide to get more details.

If we own a newspaper, we want eyeballs to roam to as many different parts of the paper as possible, because that increases the chance that readers will see more of the advertisements, the real economic driver (what really makes them money); it's not the readership.

Key Point: Good newspaper titles keep people's eyes moving by summarizing news.

NOTE: Online versions of newspapers have a different model.  They want you to spend time on pages for individual articles and news stories.

Media Type: Social Media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)

Even after a few years of being part of the mainstream, social media is still nearly all of the rage.

Social media changed a lot about the way many people use computers, because it is so interactive.  Things we post can be seen by people we know.  Of course, the way we define people we "know" online is different than we do offline.  (meaning that we might not really know them at all)

See Also: Marketing Idea: Use Twitter to Test Marketability of Headlines

When we post things on social media, we want people to click on our link to read more.  This means that we want to TEASE them.  We want to give them JUST ENOUGH to make them want more.

Generally, people click to read things online for a few different reasons:
  • Entertainment - We give the impression that we will be funny or lighthearted.
  • Nosy - We give the impression that there is something "juicy" here.
  • Education - We address something that they want to learn.
  • Thought Provoking - We might state something controversial to make them think.
People get overwhelmed with things to read while they are on the Internet.  Plus, we're competing with other things, like games, social exchanging between friends, etc.

So we need to find ways to capture their attention to make it seem worth their while to spend their time with something we write.

See Also: Twitter - The Combo Punch - An Effective Way to Use It

Example-Entertainment: Movie Review - Star Power Doesn't Light Movie

With entertainment, it helps if we tease people, but people tend to be drawn toward entertainment easily enough.  In many cases, we could simply state a summarizing headline, similar to a newspaper headline.

Example-Nosy: Local Political Figure Caught with Women - Not His Wife

These could be good or bad examples, but most of us LOVE scandals...or anything that could be seen as scandalous.  Plainly put, we just like to get "the dirt."  If we appeal to this to the right people, clicks will NEVER be a problem.

Example-Education-Bad: Marketing Better

Example-Education-Good:  3 Basic Steps to Getting a Top Ranking on Google

Example-Education-Better:  Using Google to Get More Customers: 3 Simple Steps

Educational posts are tricky, because there are SO many articles on the Net.  It helps if we address a specific topic, but it's really important to address a topic that is "in demand."

Notice that the "Bad" example just gives a limp, generic title.  It does not make it easy for someone to determine whether this will explain "how to" do something or simply an opinion piece, and it is not obvious what benefit the reader gets from reading this.

The "Good" example makes it clear that we will benefit, but the "Better" example makes it clear HOW we will benefit.  (Why do we care about getting a "Top Ranking" on Google?  Some people will know, but not everyone does.)

The best educational headlines make it seem like the reader's life will be better AFTER reading what we wrote.

Example #1-Thought Provoking: Beyonce Suggests Beauty Hides Talent for Many Performers

Example #2-Thought Provoking: How Adjusting to a New Job is Like Going through Puberty Again

The more our title makes someone scratch their head, the more likely they will keep thinking about our post...UNTIL that person clicks on it!

If we try to tie together seemingly unrelated things, that will cause people to pause (and look at our stuff).

If we imply that something most people consider to be true to actually be false, this will also draw attention (and clicks).

Are you getting as many clicks as you want?  Are you sure you're using the right approach for where you are leaving that title?

I know that many people aren't.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

3 Things to Learn from $800 per Haircut Beautician

I saw an outrageous story on Yahoo ( called, "Secrets to Your Success: Sally Hershberger."

She charges $800 for celebrity haircuts.

Obviously, there are cheaper places to get haircuts, and I am not looking to debate whether it is worth $800.  Most of us will come to the same conclusion, but there are some things to learn from her.

See the 2.5 minute video here...

Lesson #1: To get the best rate, you need to be the best in your field.

This hairstylist Sally Hershberger was obsessed with own hair as a child, and she wanted to learn every way to make HER hair look better.  Then she started working on people's hair on movie sets, and she (almost certainly) saw that big movie screens show more flaws; so hair perfection was in more demand than usual.  So Sally learned to be the best in her field at working with celebrities' hair.

You need to learn all you can about what you represent.  You do not have to know everything about everything, but you do need to know as much as you can about what you do.

There is a big difference between the amount superstars are paid and the next level of people.  Which would YOU prefer to be?

Lesson #2: Focus on the perceived value you provide, not the cost of the labor to produce it.

Sally Hershberger wisely focuses on the BENEFITS of getting your hair done well.  She describes the difference in the way we feel when we have a "good hair day" vs. a "bad hair day."  She reminds us that a good haircut can make us look 10 years younger (in some cases).

In Sally's case, we're not really paying for her haircut.  We're paying for our desire to feel good...and possibly even sexy...about ourselves.

Sally did NOT focus on the amount of time it takes for her to do our hair.  She did NOT mention anything about the cost of materials or hair tools she needs to use to cut our hair.  She focused on selling something many people LOOK GOOD (and therefore...FEEL GOOD).

Are you focusing on what you sell or what people want to buy?  Despite what people say, people buy value, not cost.  When you sell value, you often can charge more money, especially if that value is tied to a person's emotions.

Lesson #3: Put yourself around people who will appreciate that perceived value you provide.

Sarah Hershberger seemed to get lucky on this one.  She and her mom happened to live in or near Hollywood, but she wisely hung around people with money...the people on the movie sets.

Sarah started doing hair for everyone on the movie set, and she started to understand what was really important to them.  They wanted to feel beautiful and sexy.  The movie director wanted his cast of characters to look "just right."

Simply put, Sarah was in the middle of a whole bunch of people who VALUED what she provided...a haircut to meet their needs.

She built up a list of celebrity clientele and learned what is important to them.  She used these basic things and opened up her beauty shop.  She built up a demand for her and ran with it.

Even if you have a great idea and do awesome work, does it really matter if you are nowhere near people who will APPRECIATE what you have to offer?

You could have the world's greatest make-up products, but if you are stuck in the middle of an all-boys boarding school, do you really think THEY will appreciate what you have to offer?

Make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who are thirsty from sitting in the sun watching that ballgame.  THOSE people can't wait to give you money in exchange for whatever beverage you are offering them, especially if it just happens to be their favorite.

Yes, $800 might be too much for a haircut, but I think it's more important to understand how she positioned herself to have people WILLING to pay her that much.  She reminded me of some really important lessons.

Did you learn anything?  How much are people willing to pay YOU?

Are you making yourself in demand as much as you can?

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

LinkedIn Endorsements - A Success or Failure?

LinkedIn added a feature that allows people to readily endorse other people.

This Endorsement feature is NOT to be confused with LinkedIn Recommendations, though it is easy to confuse in name--not the function.

What are LinkedIn Recommendations?

LinkedIn Recommendations are when people write out complete sentences that explain why they would recommend or endorse someone else.  These are listed within a current or previous position we listed on our LinkedIn Profile.

Example-LinkedIn Recommendation: I recommend Joe Blow Smith to handle your plumbing issues.  He was courteous and on time for his appointment with me.  He explained what I needed and told me things that could wait and things that could not, and he outlined why in each case.  Plus, he did not charge me and arm and a leg.  If you live in the Anytown Area, I suggest that you call Joe to handle your plumbing.

What are LinkedIn Endorsements?

This is newer than LinkedIn Recommendations.  LinkedIn Endorsements focus on individual skills within the "Skills and Expertise: section within LinkedIn.  For each skill you have, I can simply click on a graphical button indicating that, YES, I endorse that you have THAT specific skill.

Example-LinkedIn Endorsement:In the example below, if I endorse this person's ability to do a specific skill, then I would click on the "+" sign beside the listed skill.

LinkedIn Endorsements allow people to select individual skills they endorse we have.

I contend that LinkedIn Endorsements are BOTH a failure AND a success.

Why LinkedIn Endorsements are a Success

LinkedIn Endorsements might be considered a success by many, because many people do not like to write.  Most people prefer clicking over writing, especially when the skill categories are provided for you.

Each time someone endorses me, I get an email from LinkedIn with their name attached.  This helps makes us think of a person an additional time.  Likewise, if we want to make a person think of us, we can simply "endorse" them for a skill.  They will get an email from LinkedIn with OUR name on it.

Plus, for many of us, this triggers a near-automatic response to "return the favor."  So we tend to look at their profile (another visit to LinkedIn), and we search for a skill (if not more than one skill) we can endorse for that person.

Good Benefit of LinkedIn Endorsements: Social engagement between LinkedIn members increase, and the number of visits to LinkedIn increases.  (This is really good for the company, as it drives up the value of LinkedIn Advertisements that they sell.)

Why LinkedIn Endorsements are a Failure

Failure is probably a strong word, but I do not see LinkedIn Endorsements making LinkedIn better in the long run.

Because it is SO easy to "endorse" people's skills, there is not anything close to a standard that we can apply to decide whether we should endorse that person's skill(s).

In fact, I have a "skill" that is listed, and several people have endorsed me as having that skill.  The problem is that I would not endorse THAT specific skill for myself.  I don't have that skill, but a lot of people who are NOT qualified to determine whether I have that skill identify that I have that skill.

Downside-LinkedIn Endorsements: This cheapens the quality of the information contained within the LinkedIn database system.  This is important, because that data is what makes LinkedIn so valuable.

This means that I cannot be sure what skills other people have endorsed are real or not.  If I "know" the answer, I probably do not need other people to tell me (via their endorsements).  Since there are not any words to describe how the "endorser" knows we have that skill, we don't have a way of knowing the legitimacy of that endorsement.

For all we know, that "endorsement" was politically motivated on a social level.

Therefore, depending upon the objective LinkedIn had when they created this opportunity for people to endorse each other so easily...and without any explanation, LinkedIn Endorsements are each good and bad.

My Prediction: LinkedIn Endorsements will be removed or redone within a few years.

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