October 23, 2007

Is Word-of-Mouth Too Passive to Be Effective?

If you've been anywhere around the Internet in the past five years or so, you would have heard about the internet equivalent to word-of-mouth advertising: viral marketing.

Lots of people love the idea of word-of-mouth and viral marketing because it doesn't require a lot of work. Just ask people to talk about you, right?

Wrong.

Word-of-mouth marketing and viral marketing take work. You have to give them something to talk about. In fact, you have to give them something SO SPECTACULAR that they can't help talking about it.

People are busy. They're distracted and stressed. They rarely have small talk with others where they say, "Golly, I got this great free ebook the other day! Here's the website. Go get a copy for yourself." (When was the last time YOU were chatting with your best friend and told her about an ebook you just downloaded?)

If you want to use word-of-mouth and viral marketing in your marketing campaign, then plan for it in a big way. Do something really cool. Do something that stands out in the crowd. Better yet, do something that draws a crowd, like this magician levitating in front of a building.



October 20, 2007

How Often Should You Update Your Blog?


I use a blog reader to look at the blogs I've subscribed to. The blog reader not only shows me the most recent blog entries for each blog but also shows me how long it's been since the blog has been updated. I was amazed to notice that some big-name internet marketing folks hadn't updated their blog in a month or more!


It seems to me that when you start a blog, you're creating a silent agreement with your readers: you'll post regular entries. If you let your blog fizzle out, you lose all momentum and soon your readers will stop paying attention to what you've written.


So how often should you update your blog with new posts? There are no hard and fast rules here. After all, it IS your blog; you get to decide. Some blogging gurus will say that you must blog daily -- or even twice a day. I say that it depends on your audience. Do they have time to be reading multiple entries from you each day? Do you have enough to say to them that you can sustain that kind of output?


The number of posts per day or week isn't what's important. What is important is that your posts are regular. For instance, I try to post at least 3-4 times a month, and in some months I'll post closer to 10-15 times if there are good posts to write. The quality of the post, and the fact that you post regularly, are more important factors than some arbitrary number of posts per week. If you're going to fill your blog with fluff in order to hit your daily posting requirement, don't bother. That's worse than not posting at all.


But please (please, please, please) -- if you're going to have a blog, commit to posting regularly and don't make us wonder, "Whatever happened to Joe? Isn't he writing anymore?"

October 17, 2007

Designing Effective Workshops and Teleclasses


Teleclass begins October 25


Increase your income teaching what you know.


A good workshop design allows students to learn with ease, and offers a holistic approach to learning by using students' intellect, their bodies and their heart in an integrative experience. It allows us, the presenter and facilitator, to speak with comfort and centeredness.


It also gives us an opportunity to build a trusting relationship between ourselves and our students, who may be current or future clients.


For many years, I was the International Director of Education for a software company and creating new educational class was what my team did, day in and day out. I have studied the structure, process, and psychology of good adult educational design and am happy to share my knowledge with you and to help you create an outstanding class for your own students!


What You'll Learn


In this 5-week teleclass, you'll learn:

  • the psychology of how adults learn

  • how to design a structured, multidimensional workshop or teleclass

  • how to construct lessons, lesson plans and exercises for optimum student learning

  • how to analyze the needs of your students

  • how to conduct post-class evaluations to give you feedback

  • how to price and market your workshop or teleclass

Come with your ideas and questions, and walk out with a class design of your own, ready to teach and ready for students to learn!



A copy of my 86-page book, Designing Effective Workshops and Teleclasses: 7 Proven Steps to Creating Classes Students Will Love, is included with this class as your student guide.


To learn more about this class, and to register:
http://www.passionforbusinesslearning.com/calendar.html



*** What Students Say ***



Thanks for presenting a fantastic class. You shared all of the pieces required for creating a class or workshop, and you role-modeled by giving us such a valuable and well-designed class. I feel I now have the tools and greater confidence to complete the classes I've been wanting to offer to my network. Thanks also for being so available to support us during the class. It was great to have your personal inputwith our homework!
--Julie Cohen, PCCCareer & Personal Coach

Karyn, this is one of the best tele-classes I have taken. Your material is extremely well organized and presented. I found the needs assessment very helpful and appreciated the resources that can simplify the process. Conducting an assessment is a great pre-marketing tool, as well as making sure the workshop is targeted to a need. I also benefited from the easy-to-use format for putting together a lesson plan.
--DiAnne ArbourThe Leaders Studio

After taking a few free teleclasses with Karyn, I took her Designing Effective Workshop and Teleclasses course. What an outstanding course! The time flew by and Karyn was a great role model, a teacher who gave constant feedback, guidance, resources and support. Our class was at varying levels of familiarity with Instructional Design. Karyn was able to create a positive learning environment, and her own dynamic, energetic sense of humor made the learning feel effortless and fun! I'd recommend this course to anyone serious about effective teaching where your students are receptive and truly value your knowledge!
--Marcia MerrillCareer Coach

When and Where and How Much



Begins October 25, 2007 and runs for five weeks. There is no class the week of Thanksgiving Holiday.


Oct. 25

Nov. 1

Nov. 8

Nov. 15

Nov. 29


All teleclasses are 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM eastern


Fee: $159


Instructor:


A copy of my book, Designing Effective Workshops and Teleclasses, is included in the class fee, and will be shipped to you a week beforeclass begins.


Can't make these sessions?



We record each class, then put it up on a students-only website the next day for you to download and listen to. You can listen to it either on your computer, or an MP3 player (if you have one). You can either choose to listen each week and follow along with us, or simply keep the MP3 files and use them for self-study whenever you're ready.

 

October 13, 2007

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times


What would happen if your revenues decreased by 44% in one year and looked like they would continue to fall in the next 12 months?
Or increased by 30% rapidly and because of an unpredictable series of events?


The recent downturn in the mortgage market reminds us how quickly things can go sour.Countrywide, a mortgage lender, reported this week that the number of mortgage applications have decreased 44%. While the real estate slump and sub-prime mortgage mess might have been predictable, businesses were too busy raking in the money to create a contingency plan.


On the other hand, Lauri Toys, a USA toymaker says that her sales have increased 30% over last years' numbers, all because of the spate of China-made toy recalls. Now she has to find more workers to build her toys and the big holiday shopping season is coming up fast.


Imagine your market has a sudden upturn or downturn: are you prepared? For most businesses, the answer is a pre-planned strategy to deal with these types of events AND access to capital to weather the changes. Don't stick your head in the sand and pretend it can't happen to you. Create a plan to deal with these types of contingencies -- including your own illness or disability, or losing a key team member, or a landing a big contract.

October 11, 2007

Over 50% of Searchers Use Google


According to a Comscore press release this week, 60% of all searches worldwide, both at home and at work, are done using Google and Google-owned YouTube. Yahoo sites came in at 14% and Microsoft site searches came in at about 4%. Note that these are worldwide numbers.


Nielson NetRatings released it's August "Search Share Rankings" report with the following statistics for United States users:



  • 53.6% use Google

  • 19.9% use Yahoo

  • 12.9% use MSN

Comscore also reports that the average North American conducts 77.4 searches per month based on August numbers.


When planning your SEO and Search Engine Marketing strategy, it's important to pay close attention to Google. While no one knows for sure how Google exactly ranks sites, there are many SEO items that are surely in the mix: sites that have relevancy, content, and are updated frequently.

October 8, 2007

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: How to Fire Your Assistant, Website Designer, etc.


There must be something in the air. Three of my clients called me this week to talk about firing an employee or subcontractor. One client asked me, "Can you please write an article about this so I know what to do?" And thus this article was born.

We hire people to help us grown and run our small business: assistants and virtual assistants, website designers and graphic artists, copywriters, coaches and consultants, and bookkeepers. But what do you do when their work isn't up to par or they are constantly missing their deadlines?

These issues can lead to other problems, so even if they seem small they can blow up on you in the future. Your reputation relies on the quality of the work you do and all the people who you hire need to have the same level of excellence. If you demand it of yourself, demand it of your employees and subcontractors.

Terminating an employee or subcontractor is never easy, but it helps to know why and how to do it. With this checklist, you should be able to get through it with grace and confidence.

DETERMINE WHY YOU ARE FIRING THEM

There are many reasons to fire someone who works for you. It helps if you have clarity about why you are letting them go. Write a list of things that aren't going well and be specific. Here are some examples:



  • They're making too many mistakes.


  • There are too many typos and grammar errors in the work they give you.


  • They don't reply to your emails and phone calls in a timely manner.


  • They don't abide by the terms of a written contract or oral agreement.


  • They overcharge you.


  • They do things without your permission that have a strong negative impact on your business or reputation.


  • They don't get work done on time or ignore work they don't want to do.


  • They treat others poorly, including co-workers, colleagues and clients.


  • They don't have the skill to do the job, even though they told you they did.


If you have a written contract with the person, read it in advance and make sure you understand that terms of the agreement when it comes to ending the contract.

Finally, before you fire them, protect yourself by changing your passwords (and if necessary, credit card numbers), or any other personal information they have access to. This includes passwords to your hosting company, domain registrar, shopping cart, banking accounts, etc. Make sure you have a copy of all paper documents and electronic files (such as website files, Quickbook files, Word documents, etc.) before you fire them - you may not get them afterward without a fight. If the person has a key to your home or office, consider having your door locks re-keyed by a professional locksmith. While most people will respond with dignity, there may be some who will want revenge. Forewarned is forearmed.

If you don’t think you have time to document all this, ask yourself: Do you really have time to constantly be fixing their mistakes or trying to get them to communicate with you? Don't let this process drag on; once you have sufficient reason, fire them.



THE BIG BREAKUP

Plan a time to speak with your employee or subcontractor when you won't be disturbed. While uncomfortable, it is better to do this in person if at all possible. Otherwise, use the phone. Do not terminate someone via email or instant messenger.

Here are some pointers to consider:



  • Be clear about exactly what's wrong. Give examples.


  • Identify the times you asked them to change their work or their behavior. Remind them that you've spoken to them previously about what was not working for you.


  • Tell them how you expect things to be.


  • Be clear and professional.


  • Do not get sucked into their emotional reaction. Some people may cry, shout or give you the silent treatment. Some people don't handle rejection well even though you've spoken to them before about being dissatisfied with their work. Allow them to have their reaction without you participating in their emotions.


  • Don't give in and re-hire them. Some people will beg -- or worse threaten -- to get their job back. Be firm and keep saying No.



AFTER THE BREAKUP

Now is the time to begin considering how you will replace the person you just fired. First, write up a job description, listing all the tasks they did for you. Also write up a list of qualities you expect from the person: accuracy, timeliness, open communication. Include in this list the skills they must possess in order to do the job.

Next, document your normal procedures so that the new person knows how things are done. This will reduce the amount of training time and get the new person up to speed quickly.

In the future confront every task poorly done, every miscommunication, every job avoided when it happens. Don't procrastinate hoping they'll fix it themselves. If you're lucky, these immediate comments about their work will forestall having to fire them in the future. At the very least, they won't be surprised when they are fired.

Finally, sit back and relax. You've done a good job in handling a tough situation and you need time to process your own thoughts before moving on with your day.

October 5, 2007

Sound Strong and Confident


Attention: Teachers, Speakers, Teleclass Leaders, Coaches and Consultants

Do you want to sound strong and confident -- no matter what the situation?

Sounding Authentic: Proven Voice Strategies for Compelling Communication
A teleclass custom-designed for those who use their voice in business.

Teleclass begins October 9


As a small business owner, you use your voice all the time: over the phone, giving speeches, and teaching classes (especially teleclasses!).

In this five-week teleclass you will:
  • Understand the importance of your voice and how it affects every level of your communication.

  • Tap into the real source of your power and reflect that power in your voice.

  • Learn how to be effective on the phone with no facial expression or body language.

  • Recognize why your emotions affect your voice and how to work with them, not against them.

  • Use all your senses to create a memorable picture of your powerful voice so you can command it in any situation.


Bonus!

  • Vocal Warm-up audio with specific voice exercises to strengthen and balance your voice.
  • 50 page e-book The Sound of Your Voice is the Sound of Your SELF.
  • Resources/Workbook to accompany classes.
  • Voice assignments and evaluation after each class.

The instructor for this teleclass is Katherine Scott. She is a professional voice coach who helps both singers and speakers evolve their voice in order to enhance and further their careers, creative potential and life purpose. Her clients include authors, media personalities, sales people, toastmaster champions, voiceover artists, teachers, singers, songwriters, coaches, and speakers.

This five-week teleclass begins October 9 at 1:00 PM eastern. The class registration fee is $159.
Sign up today!

http://www.passionforbusinesslearning.com/sounding-authentic-class.html


Listen to a free teleclass with Katherine Scott, "Your Voice Tells Your Story":


http://www.passionforbusiness.com/teleclass/katherine-scott.htm

October 4, 2007

New "Biz Info Library" Available

In a collaborative effort from several groups, including The James J. Hill Reference Library, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Edward Lowe Foundation, a new and free resource is now available to entrepreneurs:

Biz Info Library