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PLEASE move with me over to our NEW SITE. I think you’ll love it there! =) (All previous blog posts have already been moved, so you won’t miss a thing!)

NEW SITE for NEW YEAR….

And our new SLOGAN for the year is this: because business success is more STRATEGY than secret. See you there!

Okay, I don’t think I’ve ever claimed to be any sort of social media guru, have I??? I really hope not… because you should know from the start that I am COMPLETELY unqualified to write this post about social media.  YET, here I go! =)

One of the things that I get asked about a lot is social media… and what I think about it, regardless of how blatantly I say that I am NOT the person to ask.    Specifically, I’m asked:  Does it drive sales?  AND How do you automate it so you can “manage it all”?

First: Does it drive sales? NO.  It doesn’t drive sales.  But, it IS worth doing because here’s what it CAN do:  It can be an incredible lead generator… It can open doors, start conversations, and cultivate connections with your prospects and peers, as well as others within your industry.

Bottom-line:  It isn’t a sales tool, it’s a marketing and messaging tool.  So, be diligent and committed to this engine for business growth… just know that there MUST be a sales process implemented once the conversation is started, the lead is generated or the connection is made.

Second:  How do you automate it so you can “manage it all”? Trust me, I get it.  I have three kids in two different schools and multiple sports / activities, a husband I love, a house to keep, weight to lose, and all the rest of the blessings that keep MOST of us united in our “busyness”.  I get the desire to automate and there are no shortage of tools you can use to automate social media.  However, I really, really, REALLY caution against it.

Fine.  Automate a tweet or two a day if you must, schedule well-choreographed marketing campaigns with hootsuite when you need to…. but realize that there is ABSOLUTELY NO VALUE  IN PRETENDING TO BE ENGAGED. None. Zero.  Nada.  Your social media platform will be more robust and more profitable when you are THERE… actually, really THERE… engaging, responding, asking questions AND answering them… touting your own celebrations AND celebrating with others…. speaking AND listening.

That’s just my two cents.  If you’re a REAL social media expert, I invite you to set my tribe straight on this…. Don’t let me continue to mislead them! =)

You know that the Spark & Hustle National Tour kicks off NEXT MONTH…. and yesterday was lucky day 1-11-11.  Lucky indeed… because we received more scholarship money to make it possible for many more of you to attend the location of your choice.  To celebrate…. the Spark & Hustle team decided to round up 11 reasons why women told us they were registering. If any (or even all) of these resonate with you, it’s time to commit to a Spark & Hustle conference.

1. You’re tired of considering conferences that you can’t affordSpark & Hustle is very affordable and teaches you to master the marketing and sales maze that most experts are content to leave a mystery.

2. You’re through with “experts” spouting advice that doesn’t work or you’ve already tried unsuccessfully. Every speaker, panelist and mentor we bring to Spark & Hustle is a profitable business owner with specific knowledge to share.

3. You’re sick of “secrets” and “blueprints.” We know what it takes to increase income, exposure and profit and won’t sugar coat any of it for you. It’s about the HUSTLE. I — and my team of experts — will show you how in terms you’ll understand.

4. You’ll explode if you invest in another multi–day conference — only to have a slew of coaches and consultants trying to sell you expensive programs, giving you just enough of the “solution” to convince you that you should hire them. Spark & Hustle is a comprehensive, jam–packed conference and nothing will be sold to you once you arrive. You came for a solution. That’s what you’ll get. (Well, maybe you’ll want to shop among the few fun vendors at our Friday night party where some of the attendees will display and sample their stuff.)

5. You’re ready to see PROFIT in your business, not just potential. Maybe you’ve vowed to make your mark in 2011, to reach YOUR potential. If this is your goal, Spark & Hustle is for you.

6. You’re looking for a supportive network of driven women. Research says I’m in the top 3% of income earners for entrepreneurial women, which I’ve worked deliberately to achieve. The women I surround myself with to makeSpark & Hustle possible are well on their way, too — if not there themselves — and so are the dynamic women registering to attend. Surround yourself with success. Find a mentor, a champion, an accountability partner, or support network. It’s all at Spark & Hustle.

7. You’re embarrassed by your business results. You know that you — and your business — are capable of much more. You have financial goals — replacing your fulltime income, allowing your husband to retire, creating a lifestyle of your dreams — but you’re nowhere close to meeting it. We have ONE focus for THREE days: teaching business owners the HUSTLE they need to implement to make MORE money now.

8. You find yourself waiting for things to come to you because you aren’t quite sure what to do next. As Einstein said, “Nothing happens until something moves.” We’ll teach you exactly what to do to see the results you want. No fluffy overviews or vague ideas. Strategies that work. Today.

9. You used to be more successful than you are now, but the world has changed. If you’re wondering if you’ll ever get your business mojo and money back to where it should be, we have what you need. The market has changed, but there are still profitable business owners in every conceivable industry in our nation. We’ll teach you how to change your hustle to be one of them again.

10. You’ve lost your spark and realized that, while your business used to be fun, it’s now drudgery. If this is you, we promise your entrepreneurial zeal, passion, optimism and spunk will be renewed, refreshed and stronger than ever when you leave.

11. You’ve already tried everything else. You’ve got the blueprint systems. You’ve hired a coach (or coaches). You invested in a new website, bought ads, worked with a PR agent — and your bottom line is still not what you want it to be. Spark & Hustle is for anyone who has been burned by costly programs and options that “didn’t work.” How do we know Spark & Hustle will work for you? Because every strategy we’ll teach works for us — NOW, in today’s economy — and because they are working for hundreds of women we’ve taught before you.

If any or all of that rings a bell or fires you up, you belong at a Spark & Hustle event. Read the requirements carefully and apply for a scholarship if it’s truly needed. Otherwise, click on the city of your choice to register now.

I’ll be there… getting real… and getting results. I definitely want to see you there!

 

BUY this poster at http://www.theposterlist.com! Put it on your wall. Look at it as you PLAN 2011... and as you live it!

 

2010.  I know it’s cliché, but I can’t believe today is the last day of the year.  No time for a two-minute drill to sound.  It’s all but over.

Time to reflect, repurpose, re-invent, and re-engage. Looking forward to all of that…. but I have NO interest in RE-learning any of the (sometimes heart – wrenching) lessons 2010 taught me.

As a public reflection, I’d love to share MY journey and lessons from 2010 AND invite you to post your own….  Let’s dig in… before the ball drops and ushers in the new year – which I’m sure is CHOCK FULL of new lessons, new potential, new connections and new HEIGHTS for each of us!

 

Lessons from 2010

This past year, I traveled a lot.  (Too Much.)  I learned that travel is a lot less glamorous than I thought previously and vow to do MUCH less of it in coming years.  I found myself navigating a FRIEND”ship” down the turbulent waters of business, and learned to communicate OFTEN, EARLY, and HONESTLY.  I gave fabulous business advice and saw clients make HUGE strides in income… and failed to implement those same strategies in my own business.  I learned:  Never again.

I strengthened and expanded my partnership with one of the most engaging, impressive and urgency-driven business owners of our time… and I learned more than I could ever post on this blog… although over the next year I’ll certainly try.  =) I put off what I thought I had plenty of time to do later… and had to sacrifice family or “mister” time to get it done… and learned that I must harness every hour of my “work day” to create the time “off” I desire.  (A major goal for 2011.)

I spoke to groups of all sizes in locations all across the United States and realized that polished, shiny and scripted are passe’ and that people embrace me because I am real, approachable,  and purely results-driven.  (And maybe UNintentionally funny??  I’m sure you’ve been laughing WITH me and not AT me… right?) For 2011, I vow to revel in and leverage our new economy’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for all things practical… and marry it with my commitment to all things PROFITable. It’s a good marriage, don’t you think?

I treated those closest to me as an inconvenience when they called in the middle of the work day and learned:  Never again.  I lacked commitment to my spiritual walk and vowed to get it back on track immediately.  I learned that some things are too important to let slide. I allowed “busy-ness” to creep into my home and saw my parenting  become re-active.  I learned to hate being “busy” even more than I always had and re-committed to pro-actively guiding my kids… and infusing our home (again) with joy, spontaneity and laughter!

I made incredible connections with impressive women and learned to dig in, engage, and SERVE. I lost my commitment to fitness, thinking I was “too busy”…. and I learned that there is ALWAYS an excuse to put off doing something important if you’ll accept one. This year:  NO excuses.  I listened to so many… TOO many… women who were willing to operate in planning mode – indefinitely?- and made every excuse in the book for why they “couldn’t” do this or that.  I learned to hate excuses even more… I learned how pitiful they sounded.. how UNempowered… and vowed:  NO excuses.  (I’m seeing a theme here.  In fact, I’m naming MY 2011:  the year of NO excuses!)

I sold my services, my conferences, my intensives to many people.  I learned that selling is DIFFERENT now… that ALL power has shifted into the hands of those we sell TO… and I shifted my approach to meet this new reality.  I now teach this approach, and it has become a profitable “pillar” in my business.  I had some major wins in 2010, went farther than I originally aimed, and have MUCH to reflect on with gratefulness and joy.  But I also made many mistakes and certainly have some regrets.  I know better than to dwell on them… I know to learn from them, make a new commitment, and to Roll ON.  Without further ado:  Here’s to WILD, OUTRAGEOUS, AUDACIOUS success in 2011.

If you need me, you know where to find me:  IN the trenches of business… shoulder to shoulder with the rest of this incredible WOW! factor community… and always, always, always rooting for you….

There’s nothing (professionally speaking) that revs my engine like helping “experts” increase their income…. partnering with them as they package their own mental real estate for profit…. It’s like creating something out of nothing… creating the tangible out of the intangible.  When done right, it’s like magic.

Tory Johnson and I just wrapped up an exciting Income Intensive for Experts in Dallas, TX… ALREADY those in the room have reported extraordinary ($$) results… and Tory and I have been blown away by the outpouring of love and gratitude from those in the room.  Truly,  the experience was without parallel and we look forward to the next one we offer.

Until then, though, I want to clarify some TRUTHS around what I’ve found to be TOP goals of most “experts”:  To develop a continuity product / service / membership…. and to hold, host, and fill their own profitable events.

FIRST, let’s tackle this idea of continuity.   The idea (as it is pedaled by most gurus) is to develop this sort of “FIX IT AND FORGET IT”  info-based program that you break into monthly installments and “feed” to your “tribe” slowly… rather than giving it ALL to them in one comprehensive product.

Now, there are many problems with this… from a marketing, sales, and over-all VALUE perspective… BUT I can’t get into all of that now.  (If you’re considering a continuity “roll out” of some sort for 2011, email me at michelle@womenwhowow.com and we’ll set aside some time to talk.)

Let’s just cover the BASIC principle of America’s “buy-ology” today:  A program lacking ANY human touch will be a hard, hard sell.  I would say impossible…. but there are exceptions to almost everything… so I’ll just stick with hard, hard sell.  Don’t try it.   Invigorate your “continuity program” with a human element instead…. a human touch….

Also, don’t “child-ize” your market by attempting to  determine FOR THEM how much they can “handle” each month… and talk about “spoon feeding” them with your product every month.  If they aren’t insulted by that sort of language…. Well, if they aren’t insulted by that sort of language, sell them anything you want… Bottom line, we should be INSULTED by that sort of language… and should stop using it immediately.  Moving on… =)

About those “events” we all want to host… those five- or six- figure pay days the gurus teach us how to market and sell….  Even in today’s super – busy, techno-savvy world of information overload and overwhelm, events and seminars, retreats and intensives, conferences and workshops… they still SELL because there is something really attractive about leaving behind your everyday problems to focus your attention on creating SOLUTIONS to those problems. There is one caveat, however:  Events sell BETTER when packaged as a solution or a program in which the physical event is one PART of the program as a whole.

As an example, the Income Intensive Tory and I offer is a three day event, that KICKS OFF the three months of personalized support and coaching for the experts that attend.  So, essentially, it is a private coaching program that includes an intimate income intensive…   A three – day intensive alone would be a much harder sell.

So, a GREAT question to ask yourself is this:  How can you COMBINE your idea of a continuity product or program WITH your idea for a live event????  How can you make them work together to create an unparalleled value for your market?

 

Mackenzy Shay as a Lady Bug

So this is a picture of my niece, Mackenzy Shay.  She’s just about 10 months old and is one of the most adorable little things out there.  (OBVIOUSLY!) =)

Yesterday, I talked with her on the phone and (of course) did my usual, hyper-excited, baby jibberish talk to her.

IS THIS MY KENZY SHAY?

YOU LOVE AUNTIE?  HUH?  YOU MISSING AUNTIE?

You know, baby jibberish….  that  super high-pitched talk that is so exaggerated that you’d be humiliated to talk to anyone else like that.   And, on the other end of the phone, Kenzy was grinning, beaming, sooo excited.

Now, I’ll tell her Mom that it’s because she KNEW exactly who it was, recognized my voice and needed to be with me desperately.  I’ll use it as “evidence” that she needs to spend some more time with me….  But, the truth is, I’m pretty confident that’s not it.  You see, Kenzy may not have known AT ALL who was on the other end of that phone, but one thing is for sure. She knew that whoever it was, they were talking DIRECTLY and ONLY to her.

Your clients – and mine – should feel the same way!  Do they know when you talk (or write) that you’re talking directly to them?  Are you speaking so deliberately  and strategically to THEM that it’d sound like jibberish to anyone else?

If you want more information about how to research your market and (exactly) what you should know about them, so you can speak ONLY to them… email me (michelle@womenwhowow.com) and I’ll shoot that information right out  to you.

IDIOCRACY, the movie

So, in my monthly NO B.S. Marketing letter I learn many things…

things that make me (and more importantly, my clients)  lots of money…

things that I could use to set myself apart from any of my “competitors” – if I were to acknowledge that I had any – which I would never do.  (LOL)

And, because my marketing mentor writes this newsletter with wit, biting sarcasm, and hilariously dry humor, I also get to laugh (a lot) while I learn…. This month, I got a SUPER-SIZED laugh at the total ignorance of the McDonald’s marketing crew when I learned that they decided  to pay FARMVILLE (that game people play on Facebook) real money to be an official corporate advertiser.  More on that stupidity later… BUT first….

Did you know that aside from wasting hours a day on this social media game FARMVILLE, that people (real people) spend money (real money) to buy and run (FAKE) farms… feed and raise (FAKE) livestock, and then gather at (FAKE) markets? And not just a few people…. but 18 MILLION people pretending to farm for at least 15-REAL-minutes each day.  If this doesn’t BLOW YOU AWAY, perhaps you have a lot less on your proverbial plate than I do….  If you are one of those 18-million people, save your hate mail and throw some pretend rotten tomatoes at me instead! =)

So, back to the pitiable marketing department over at the McDonald’s corporate office.  They pay money to have an Old McDonald’s Farm day … where these 18-million fake-farmers can play to win FAKE hot air-balloons, trucks and the like that are branded with the REAL McDonald’s logo.    The numbers (18-million people) are certainly impressive… So, Why is this so far off-base?

  1. Because nothing about this little marketing gimmick even HINTS at possibly bringing in a REAL customer into a REAL store.
  2. Because BRANDING – if you’d throw that often costly and mis-used word at me – or BRAND AWARENESS is something that McDonald’s does not need.  I mean, how many burger-eaters are not painfully aware of the McDonald’s on every corner?
  3. Because there is no way to measure it’s – this marketing investment’s-  effectiveness.

As Dan Kennedy suggested, perhaps they could have had people pretend to farm in an effort to earn a REAL coupon for a free BIG MAC or 6-PC NuGGETS… something like that – something geared towards getting these pseudo-farmers into a real store to spend real money – THAT would have turned this act of stupidity around…

Alas, the marketing geniuses over at McDonald’s (most likely “gurus” who have never had their own business… never spent marketing dollars of their own… and never had their own skin in the game so to speak)  are probably congratulating themselves on the “creativity” of this painfully ignorant display of corporate marketing at it’s worst.  And as Dan says,

As long as nobody asks to see how many Big Macs were sold that wouldn’t otherwise have been sold, everything’s hunky dory.”

Hunky dory indeed.  For the rest of us… let’s make sure we INSIST on accurately measuring the RETURN on the money and time we spend building our businesses.  If it can’t be measured… don’t do it!

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