Archive for September, 2009

Vacation is ‘a comin’

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 | Implementation planning with No Comments »

I’m going to be honest with you.  The next 4 -6 weeks, I’m not sure exactly how much I’ll actually get to blogging.  Yeah, I could do as I tell my clients and schedule a post every week.  However, I have no idea what I’d talk about!

Here’s the deal.  I write my blog posts as ideas come to me.   I only plan them out in advance when lots of ideas are floating around and I just want to get them down on paper so they can be used.  Otherwise, my posts are written very close to the time that they appear on my blog.  Sitting down and trying to convince myself that I have 12 blog posts in me right at that moment doesn’t work.  I’ve already written a lot of the information that I’ve been waiting to get out…lots of posts have been done that way since I started this blog.  I’m kinda done and brain dead at the moment.

I DO encourage clients  to  be transparent in their marketing…so that’s what I’m doing today.  At this moment, I have nothing else to write except that I am going on vacation.  Do you take a vacation?  This year, I feel it’s totally necessary.  Between all the craziness of life and the craziness of business I’m plain tuckered out and brain fried.  My husband and I are taking 8 days off starting Thursday and I am totally psyched!  I need some time away from my computer.  We both need some down time to just exist.  No lavish vacation for us (which we have done in the past).  This year, we’re staying home.

Now, does that mean the marketing I do stops?  Nope, I’ve pre-schedule my newsletter.  I also have some pre-scheduled broadcasts going out through AWeber.  One thing I’m not willing to give up is my social networking.  Now, if you follow me on Twitter or have friended me on Facebook, then you know I don’t just talk about my business.  While I’m on vacation, I will be on vacation.  I may tweet or update my Facebook status, but it’s going to be about my vacation.  NOT work.  I’m stepping out of work mode as of Thursday at 9:00pm and I won’t return until my first day back in the office.  I’m even shutting down my laptop.  I’m also turning off all e-mails to my iPod Touch, except my personal one (NO work goes there).  I need to step out of my business for at least a week every year.  If I don’t, I’ll go stir crazy.

After my vacation, I have exactly 6 business days to work.  Then I leave for Marketing to Millionaires in Los Angeles.  So, things are gonna quickly get busy again once I return.  Thus the reason I’m not sure when my next blog post will be.  I may do a post vacation post, but I’ll be seriously busy when I return so I won’t promise that.  After Marketing to Millionaires I’m taking a week to visit with virtual friends, clients and family while I’m in California.  So, I will promise you this.  I’ll update you when I get back from the west coast, but that won’t be until November.

Until next time, have an amazingly wonderful time!  Make sure SOME marketing is getting done, regardless of where you are or what you are doing.

Please leave your comments and questions below.

What’s in a headshot?

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 | Branding with No Comments »

I recently had new headshots taken and it got me thinking…I see a lot of websites for coaches and life changers that have no picture or a really bad one.  Do you have a headshot or picture of yourself on your website and networks?  If not, add one!  Your potential clients want to know what you look like.  As a coach or life changer, of any kind, your services require that people put their trust in your ability to help them get where they want to go.  A current physical representation of you is one of the fastest ways to build that trust.

I’m a big fan of the headshot, but I’m not a big fan of a picture.  Yes, there is a difference.  A headshot is a picture that reveals who you are.  A picture is just a physical representation of what you look like.  A headshot is an attraction tool and gives people a peek at who they will be talking to on the phone when they choose to move forward.  This is especially important when what you are selling is a one-on-one service!  When potential clients look at your headshot, they are looking for something they can relate to.  This is their first impression of you, outside of the text you’ve written for them.

As a former Actress, I’ve been through several sets of headshots.  Most business owners just go to a regular portrait photographer or they ask a friend to take their picture.  This is NOT the way to do a headshot!  I’m going to share what I’ve learned over the years that will help to bring out who you are and get you a shot that sells.

1) Hire a professional headshot photographer - Don’t have your friend take the picture or hire a portrait photographer (unless they specifically do headshots too).  Not all headshot photographers are the same and they don’t exist everywhere.  Sometimes a photojournalist can do a great headshot.  Also, there are some portrait photographers who are all about capturing the personality.  These are the people you want to talk to.

Now, in NYC and Los Angeles headshot photographers are a dime a dozen.  Each has his/her own style.  Go to a photographic printing house and get a headshot photographer book or look at them online.  You see all the different styles.  Look for the headshots that you feel bring out who the people are most…not necessarily the most artsy (unless you ARE artsy), but the one that has more human in them.  Reproductions is a big and very reputable company, I recommend, on both coasts:

NYC - http://www.reproductions.com/NYC/directory/index.html
Los Angeles - http://www.reproductions.com/LA/directory/index.html
In smaller areas, you can look in the newspapers or go to the studio and look at some of their pictures.  If they just have pictures of people, then you want to go elsewhere.  If they have pictures filled with personality then it’s worth talking to them.

2)  Interview your photographer - You have the right to a phone call or in person visit with the photographer before you commit to the shoot.  Ask them if they have experience with headshots. Ask how many rolls or shots they will take.  You want 2-3 rolls or 60-100 digital images.  Ask if they do color shots, which you want.  Ask if they have a variety of backgrounds they can use.  Ask if they do outdoor shots.  Ask if they allow for a change of clothes.

3) Clothes - It’s best if you have several outfits for the shoot.  Every outfit will bring a different personality trait out in you.  If you are a very professional, male, corporate coach, then you may want to bring a few different colored suits.  If you are a creative coach that works from home, you may want to wear your most comfortable creative clothes.

DO wear solid colors.

DO NOT wear white or black.

For women, especially, bring a few different outfits that bring different emotions.  Bring one that makes you feel compassionate, another that makes you feel very confident and happy, then another that makes you feel absolutely in love with your life.  How you feel will translate to the picture.  If you are a wellness coach, then bring outfits that make you feel healthy, well, and whole.  It’s important that you represent the type of person you are on the calls with your clients so think about what clothes will elicit that.

4)  Music - This is a trick I learned early on as an Actress, but didn’t actually use until a later round of headshots.  Music will help you find the personality you want to convey.  I’m in love with the song “Defy Gravity” from Wicked because of the strength and courage of the words.  Using this song got some awesome smiley headshots from me.  I took a whole bunch of songs to a shoot and got some great pictures because of it.  So, I highly recommend finding some music that goes with the type of coach you are.  Make sure to ask your photographer if there will be a way to play music during the shoot if you choose to do this.

5)  Be conversational - If your headshot photographer is good, they will get you in conversation about your work.  You can ask them to talk to you about it too.  If you are thinking about your work, your mission, and what it means to you, it will come through in the shot.  If your photographer asks questions, engage!  It will create amazing shots for you.

6)  Take Charge - Be the person you are on the phone with your clients!  This is the key.  Take a few minutes, before you start the shoot, to think about who you are as a life changer.  Think about how you are with your clients.  Get in that frame of mind and ask for a few minutes to refocus through the shoot if you need it.  It’s easy to get distracted by all that’s going on in a shoot.  You want the best shots you can get, so take charge and create what you need in order to BE the life changer you are.

What have you learned from your photo shoots?  Do you have questions?  Leave a comment!

Business building events for coaches and life changers.

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 | Business Events for Coaches with No Comments »

It’s fall and there are lots of business building events for coaches and other life changes going.  Several great ones are coming up Thursday that I feel would be helpful to many of you, so I’m posting them here for your convenience.  If you have others that are appropriate for the life changing community, leave a comment for approval and we’ll see if fits to add yours to the list.

Interview with Tom Buford, The Charge What You Deserve Coach - I’ll personally be interviewing Tom about the challenges of investing in your dream business without breaking the bank.

WHERE: The comfort of your own telephone line.

WHEN:  Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm Eastern (1:00 pm CT, 12:00 pm MT, 11:00 am PT)

PRICE:  FREE (except your cost for long-distance calls)

How to attract affluent clients - Just this free call alone will give you valuable information you can take right away and start putting into action.  Kelly O’ Neil will be revealing her tips for attracting affluent clients.  This is the introductory call to the Marketing To Millionaires Retreat that is the talk of the season…and I’m attending!  woo hoo!  Even if you can’t attend the event this call is totally worth your time…it flipped my thinking on it’s head.

WHERE: The comfort of your own telephone line.

WHEN:  Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 8:00 pm Eastern (7:00 pm CT, 6:00 pm MT, 5:00 pm PT)

PRICE:  Call is FREE (except your cost for long-distance calls)

Do-It-Yourself AWeber - For the last 2 weeks, I’ve been leading a 30 minute webinar on using AWeber as part of the DIY Tech Talk series.  We are going step-by-step through the system and teaching the technology along with important information that will help you use the system in your marketing.  We have the last free webinar this week, but next week (Wednesday evening) we’ll be doing a 2 hour advanced Technology Session where I’ll go into ad tracking and RSS Broadcasts and other advanced features of this system.  Come to the final free one this week and see how easy it can be to use this amazing marketing system.

WHERE: The comfort of your own telephone line and a computer.

WHEN:  Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm Eastern (4:00 pm CT, 3:00 pm MT, 2:00 pm PT)

PRICE:  Call is FREE (except your cost for long-distance calls)

Even Apple messes up their marketing.

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 | Implementation planning with 2 Comments

Every day my team and I work on marketing campaigns, newsletters, blogs and other internet marketing strategies for our clients.  We usually get a plan together and have milestones for completing that plan.  The reason we do this is so that every little detail can be taken care of in the process.  Well, okay, everything we KNOW that needs to happen anyway…technology is technology, and sometimes things don’t go as planned and we have to work on plan B.

As someone who is a proud owner of her iPod Touch, I signed up to get Apple’s newletters about their products.  Of course I want to be up to date on the latest, greatest gadgets for my Touch.

All too often I get newsletters or some sort of e-mail where someone missed a predictable step in their planning process.  I got just such an e-mail from Apple today!  Yes, the big company that sells iPods, Macs and other products.  They missed a critical step in their newsletter today.

I got my usual mailing (which is likely scheduled in advance and comes out at the same time every day).  I had heard rumors that a new iPod was going to be released today, so I was excited to get my regularly scheduled mailing from Apple.  I clicked through on the iPod link in the e-mail.  What do I find?  A “We’re busy updating the store for you and will be back shortly” message.  Um, hello?!!  I wanna see the new iPod!  Don’t send me an e-mail with a link to a page that isn’t working.   Now, I could understand if this e-mail had come to my inbox today and I checked tomorrow, or even 3 hours later.  I checked the site right after I got the e-mail and the page wasn’t up!  BIG oversight.  Especially when the e-mail is ONLY to market your products.

Now, I’m sure someone at Apple is just running behind on getting that new sales page up for the iPod release.  This is a clear example of one hand not talking to the other.  I’m guessing no one in the sales page department mentioned to the newsletter department that they were running late.  I’m SURE the newsletter could’ve been held a few hours, but they didn’t communicate.

This is SO important and exactly why I have built my team to communicate with each other.  One person holds the entire plan, so that each little detail gets taken care of.  When something goes wrong, then our plan holder knows exactly what needs to be changed to accommodate Plan B.

So, the moral of this story is…communicate with your team or have someone who is holding that plan for you.  Don’t miss the little things that make big differences.

What are your thoughts on this oversight?

Even the font matters in marketing.

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 | Branding with 2 Comments

I was reading through my Twitter stream the other day and found a very interesting article linked by Mary Motz (@provirtual). I keep saying that it’s the littlest things in marketing that make big differences.  Everything from your branding colors carried through, to your font choice being consistent.  Well, Mary was nice enough to point out an article on Time Magazine’s website that demonstrates this perfectly!  The article is:

The Font War: Ikea Fans Fume over Verdana

If you read the story, you’ll find that Ikea’s loving fans were in an outrage about their brand font change.  Now you may be thinking, yeah, right!  Like anyone cares about your font!  Um, read the article.  Read Twitter.  You will see that people do care!

Your potential clients see your brand over and over again before they buy.  They don’t register that.  Most of the time they aren’t even consciously aware that they’ve seen your brand.  However, the moment you change it up and do something different, they WILL notice.

As I keep saying…consistency builds trust.  If you decide you are going to change your font, your biz colors, your entire brand, your website domain, etc… let your public know about it first so they aren’t caught off guard.  Social networking helps tremendously here.  Use it!  Make sure you give those in your network a heads up.  Let your list know.  Let your partners know.  Let everyone know beforehand, so you lose nothing in the transition.

Just my 2 cents.  What do you think?