Stop Shouting, Start Listening!

Two Many People, Sharing Too Little Content, Much Too Often

In their unending quest for social visibility, business professionals are publishing urgent updates I’ve already read, important tips I already use, and adding almost zero value beyond the original content. It’s getting harder to distinguish between actual news from news sites and infomercials from self-serving vendors.

I’m sure the online marketers reading this have no intention of stopping their digital onslaught. That’s okay. This isn’t for you. This is for those who are really in charge of content marketing distribution. The reader.

During my recent 18 minute Webinar of leveraging LinkedIn, the most popular topic was how to lose a LinkedIn follower, without letting them know. Apparently leaving someone’s LinkedIn party without saying goodbye is more acceptable than ending a relationship via text.

Industrial Grade Shedding

I’m migrating from East coast to West coast next month. I’m shedding everything. Not only furniture, but equipment and a collection of tools acquired over three decades. I’m doing the same with people and organizations who no longer create value in my life or for my business.  Those who use technology to shout at me are hard of listening.

Should They Stay or Should They Go?

The first test is, “Do they add value?” Everything on the ‘Net is only one click away. Unless marketers add value during the process of sharing, cut out the middleman. the second is the Pest Test. Do they post in the middle of your night, every three minutes, stuff you’ve already read?

Breaking Up is Hard to Do, NOT!

Here’s how to lighten your load online.

  • On LinkedIn, view all your contacts. Scroll (don’t search) until you find your target. Point to their listing in your contacts. Click the More link and kick them to the virtual curb.
  • To leave a LinkedIn group, point to the Member button. Click when the label changes to Leave.
  • Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms use similar processes.

Concerned that you’ll get caught? Trust me, they are so not into you that they will not even notice you’re gone.

You will be amazed at how light you feel once you stop dragging 19 pieces of luggage through the virtual airport.

 

 

The Road Ahead

Just Another Day in Paradise Tour

On May 10th I’m leaving Florida to return home to San Diego. I’ve shared this goal with so many people for so long I’ve finally begun to believe it myself. I decided to drive to recreate my original journey East 38 years ago. My friends along the way invited me to stop by, even spend the night if I needed to do so.

It wasn’t long before the requests turned into opportunities for special events, and then, The Just Another Day in Paradise Tour was born.

5 events are scheduled across the country. If you’re anywhere nearby please let me know. If nothing else, I can wave as I go by. My hope is I’ll get to meet folks in person that I’ve only spoke with by phone. Wouldn’t that be a hoot.

Check out the Events schedule to see when I’ll be near your town. If you’d like to follow along subscribe to the tour blog, or connect with me on Twitter or Instagram.

May all your days be Just Another Day in Paradise!

 

Gmail Jail

Sometimes Technology is not the Answer

I participated in a Facebook conversation this morning. The challenge was what to do with a collection of 12 years worth of business cards. The respondents provided helpful answers including scanning the cards or delegating the task to a virtual assistant. All helpful uses of technology. No one addressed the challenge of what to do going forward. A strategy to prevent a sequel 12 years from now wasn’t discussed.

Sometimes, “Could we use technology to…?” is the wrong question. When it comes to leveraging the power of technology to create business success a better question starts with, “Should we…?”

Which technology to use is an important question. In fact, it’s a great second question. A better first question is, “What are we trying to accomplish?” Followed closely by, ” Who is this for and what do they need?”

The tech landscape is littered with great technology in search of a reason for being. Here are a few of my favorites.

Could You or Should You?

Hootsuite

You could use it to schedule future social updates. As soon as you do you’ve turned a conversation into a broadcast. “Posted by Hootsuite” identifies your brand as “hard of listening.” I use Hootsuite to promote social listening, it’s best feature by far.

QR Codes

You could use it to connect printed offers with a web-based landing page. Sounds great until you consider all the overhead. Not just on the production side, but the user has to have additional software. It has limited value. Great concept, lousy execution.

Re-marketing

Stalking me online does not build a relationship, it destroys it. Marketing that follows me everywhere online annoys me. Please stop.

Google Glass

States ban texting or using cellphones while driving because it’s distracting. Focusing on the people you are with should be at least as important as paying attention while driving your car.

Someday the people you are with today won’t be here. Will the photo or video you captured be enough to replace the memory you missed? Don’t wait until your state bans the use of your technology. Put the technology away, be present, right now.

Insight

People buy from people they trust. Sometimes, technology is not the answer, it’s not even the right first question. Use your technology to build bridges, not walls.

 

Infinite Remarketing

5 Reasons Remarketing Won’t Work for You

Have you ever researched a product online and then saw an ad for it the very next day? It’s not a coincidence, it’s remarketing.  It’s a feature of Google Adwords, designed to target those who recently visited a site.  It’s a cookie based system. Not only does it track your visit, but how close you were to making a purchase decision.

On sites where remarketing is implemented, you’ll end up on on either the General Visitor, Product Viewer, Shopping Cart Abandoners or Past Buyers. My spellchecker thinks the word Abandoners is bogus. I think remarketing  is bogus.

I get the whole “Know Thy Customer” concept. This idea is just plain creepy, not to mention annoying. What I don’t get is the idea of stealth ad harassment. You don’t know it’s happening, and even if you do, good luck trying to turn it off.

If you’re a vendor and think this might be a really neat way to stalk your prospects until they call the police consider this approach…

Ask them. I know, it sounds scary. You might have to invest time and dig into your web traffic to understand your prospects. We are so enamored with the letter “E” that we’ve come to worship eMail and eCommerce over engagement.

If you’re considering launching a remarketing campaign, consider exhausting these options first.

  1. Cart Abandonment – When shoppers choose to leave, ask them  why. The direct approach is pure engagement. If you’re straight with them, and you listen carefully, you’re going to hear exactly what it is going to take to fix the problem.
  2. Help is Near – When shoppers have a problem, offer them an immediate solution. For them it’s a problem, for you it’s an opportunity. Publish your phone number prominently.
  3. Content Marketing – Publish engaging content including how to use your products, who they are for, actual customer testimonials. Education is a perfect form of engagement.
  4. Train Your Team – I’m shocked how unfamiliar team members are with your website. Why do we invest so much in telling customers what’s going on and leave our sales reps in the dark?
  5. I am not a Google Lab Rat - If Google and it’s advertisers ever chose to treat me with respect and gain an understanding that permission-based marketing is my choice, I may start paying attention to those nagging ads on the right.
Bank Vault

Your Heartbleed Vulnerability Response, Act or React?

This one really is a big deal. Not the discovery of this Internet vulnerability. It’s the media-induced hysteria-driven response. You can run around with your fire hat on, making sounds like a fire engine, but the bottom line is it’s a reaction to a problem that’s been out in the wild for some time now.

If your response is nothing more that a flurry of replacing all your passwords with even easier ones, please stop right there. Step away from the media hype machine and take a deep breath. Good, let’s ponder our options.

Maybe, just maybe this is the digital earthquake that gets the human race to realize that not only do we have the ability to protect our  personal digital security, we have the responsibility.

The true is this. Not only did this happen, it’s going to happen again. Below are some tips you can use right now to keep your heart out of your throat then next time something like Heartbleed appears.

Before we start let me say, if your password update strategy includes paper and pencil or breaking out a fresh pad of yellow stickies, please stop, find the box your computer came in and ship it back. You don’t need a computer.

Assess the Risk

If you don’t have all your passwords collected in one secure location, do it now.  Include all your devices, especially mobile. Put on your cyber criminal hat to figure out where you are at risk.

Use Good Tools

I don’t care if you use a digital password vault or just a password protected worksheet or document, write them down. Until you do, the passwords you create will be too simple, too scattered and too old. Make it easy to update. Changing your password on a regular basis is the single most important thing you can do to protect against the next attack.

Develop a Strategy

Strong passwords, stored securely, updated frequently. Sounds easy doesn’t it? It is.

Work Your Plan

Don’t let your guard down once the pain of urgent dissipates. Create a recurring calendar event to remind you to update your passwords on a regular basis.

The Bottom Line?

Your bottom line is the first to take a hit. I know you’re busy. Vigilence takes time and costs money. So does going out of business.  You have the ability, take responsibility.

Insight

There are only three kinds of people in this world, those that make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. When it comes to personal digital security, where do you stand?

Resources

Be Present

Engaging Your Guests – Making Meetings Work

Jeff Hurt’s post, “From strangers to friends: Bridging attendee loneliness with conference community“,  struck a nerve. Not because of what he said, but what I saw. The post included an image of a meeting attendee sitting alone amid rows of empty chairs. Just a week ago I witnessed a similar scene.

I didn’t have to read her badge to know she was a first time guest. My new friend was sitting alone while all the regulars were engaged in conversation around her. It was my first visit with this chapter, so we both wore Guest badges. As we chatted I learned about her area of expertise, that she was a mother of 7, and learned why she choose to invest in her first visit.

The future growth of your organization will spring from the seeds planted in the minds and hearts of your guests. We all know that, talk about it, profess that it is our most important goal. But is it? Here are 3 tips to help your organization deliver on that promise.

Put on Your Guest Hat

Audiences laugh when I put on my Prospect hat from the platform. Until they start to see their business through the eyes of a prospect. Put on your Guest hat and walk through your meeting experience. Explore each of the 7 phases of your event from Save the Date to Celebrate. What do your guests see, experience, remember?

Extend From Beginning to End

Leverage the technology you already own to set high expectations from the beginning. Make sure the meeting details are included in the registration confirmation email. Schedule a reminder to arrive just before the meeting. Use social platforms, event mobile apps and live displays onsite to keep attendees calm, connected and in control. Use event reporters like Jolene Jang to surprise and delight attendees along the way.  Use post event communications to express gratitude. Never leave the next step to chance. Create auto responders to remind attendees not only why they attended, but why they should return.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Once you’re finished playing the role of guest, document the process and commit to a guest marketing strategy. Leverage your existing technology to automate whenever it makes sense. Soon you’ll have a consistent, repeatable process to make sure your guests feel both connected and committed to your organization and it’s mission.

It’s 2 AM, Who Can You Call?

For decades my mantra has been that success on the net is not about technology, it’s about connecting with people. More than a mantra, marketing tagline or mission statement, the concept hit home recently while working with a client on a digital security challenge.

I brought all of my technology expertise to the table of course, but it’s what I did with my Smartphone that created a wow moment for my client. I called in the experts. A team member expressed amazement that not only did I have a resource to call, it was one who responded to the challenge.

The 2 am Call

If you needed help in the middle of the night, who could you call? Not just call, but who would be willing to get out of bed and make things happen, right there and then?

Nathan Maingi of DialTheGeek.com is just such a person. I think of him as my IT Clark Kent from Kenya. I simply called, and Nathan responded. Calm, reassuring, focused, Nathan not only removes viruses, he removes anxiety, restores calm, rebuilds trust.

Who are your Nathans? If you don’t have a team, or even a Digital Army of One, here are tips for getting started.

Grow a Standing Army

Standing as in trained and ready to go. If your hardware breaks, who are you going to call? Start building a list of recruits right now, before you need them.

Take a Geek to Lunch

“An army marches on its stomach.” – Napoleon. Keep your digital army well fed and they will be there when you need them. Besides, it will create an opportunity to discuss strategy, instead of making it up in the middle of a crisis.

Enlist

Join their Army and develop a mutual defense pact. To expect commitment, be committed.

Train Hard

Everyone talks about the importance of data backup. The question, “Have you attempted a restore?” is often met with silence. Make sure your team is ready to respond before they are needed.

Award Medals

Although they would downplay the designation, people like Nathan are heroes, and should be accorded respect. Take a moment today to seek out one of your heroes and pin a medal on their chest.

Peacetime

The client is once again safe and secure, but my Army stands ready to respond the next time a digital dilemma rears its ugly head. How about yours?

Bright Shiny Objects

Beware of Bright Shiny Digital Objects

While working on the phone with an associate to choose which domain names to register I lost the connection. The technology was just fine. The problem was that the person at the other end had encountered a bright shiny object.

It happens all the time. Calls come in, Tweets chirp their urgent arrival, emails dare you to ignore them. Some folks sigh and call it the curse of modern living. Some shout at the onslaught of overwhelm. Some find a cure.

If you find yourself in the red zone of distraction, try these tips:

Be Present

My best friend Jeff McBride invested 3 hours in being present with me while I was in Jacksonville. Jeff is easily the world’s best dad, husband, employee and martial artist and friend. His problem is he used to try to perform these roles 24/7. Each role. Now he is focused. The unintended benefit was it make me focus on giving my best during our visit. Thanks Jeff

Consider sharpening your focus to the one thing you are working on, instead of everything you could work on.

Be Ready

Each day I use the template I gained from Peter Bregman.s 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. Five minutes in the morning. One minute each hour. Five minutes at the end of the day.

Consider investing Five minutes each morning. Write down your plan for the day. Chart your own course.

Be Forgiving

It’s the one minute each hour that helps me get back on track. Just like a sailboat, I spend much of my time off-course. As soon as I realize I simply “Prepare to come about” and steer back toward my original heading.

Consider cutting yourself some slack, when you go off course. Just remember you have a daily destination in mind.

Be Ruthless

Say no to bright shine objects, especially the ones you create to avoid your daily challenges. My son Andrew friends those he would send Happy Birthday greetings.

Consider conducting a digital spring cleaning of the apps on your phone, the newsletter subscriptions in your inbox, some of those virtual friends you barely know.

Be Happy

On May 9th I’m leaving Florida to move home to San Diego. I didn’t even pick the day. My long time loyal client Linda Harvey opened her calendar last week and decided the kickoff event for my Jerry’s World, California or Bust Tour will start in Jacksonville on May 10. Stops in cities all along the way are planned.

Each day consider choosing  two tasks. Do something you love. Do something that scares the hell out of you. I don’t know what’s going to happen on the tour, but I’m going to love every minute of it.

Jacksonville, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona are on the way. An event is planned for each stop. The timeframe is May 10 – 24th. Contact me for details.

I’d love to see you on my way back home.
727-278-3982 or 858-255-0697.

Business Card Gift

5 Tips for Dealing With Your LinkedIn Invitations

Oh, there’s another one of those LinkedIn Invitations. Why does it always feel like they’re sneaking up behind you? You can ignore them, but not for long.

At a live networking event, you’ve got time to see them coming, size them up and choose how to respond. With LinkedIn, you feel awkward, behind the curve, off balance.

LinkedIn is the #1 digital networking source for business professionals. Here are 5 tips you can use immediately to eliminate invitation anxiety, take control of the process and start enjoying your digital business networking.

Don’t Respond Immediately

Like voicemail, the sender has no idea if you’ve seen their invitation, or even received it. You should respond to each invitation, but respond accordingly. Start with the invitation. A picture is worth a 1,000 words. No picture is worth one word, NO! A generic invitation is both lazy and ignorant,  See, this is easy, we haven’t even gotten to reviewing their profile.

Review Their Profile

If the sender has a photo, and has crafted a personal invitation, check out their profile. You can quickly size them up by reviewing the following. How you are connected? Who do you have in common? What elements of your skill set do you share? If your LinkedIn focus is on prospects, connecting with your peers is not the best use of your time. To which discussion groups do they belong? Is there a fit?

Respond first, Then Connect

Respond to the invite to request more information. After reviewing my LinkedIn Network last month, I now request information about why they want to connect and invite them to a phone chat before accepting their invitation. Just like a party invitation, it’s appropriate to ask, “What can I bring?”)

RSVP, Regrets Only

Not everyone will be the right fit. You don’t have to connect, but you do need to respond. LinkedIn (and the sender) will continue to contact you, so you might as well set the expectation, even if the answer is no.

Engage, With Gusto!

If you choose to accept the invitation, go for it! It is lame, not to mention shallow, to accept a LinkedIn invitation and not engage with your new contact.  Be of service, start a conversation, ask questions. Engage!