When Inspiration Shines

How to Share Well With Others

Creating new, valuable content each day is exhausting work. The real crime is when we use it once, then put it on the shelf. Blogging is meant to be all about the hear and now. Every now and then, we accidentally produce great stuff that transforms our ideas from timely, to timeless.

While teaching a client how to leverage shortlinks to promote blog posts on social I learned a valuable lesson in sharing.

How to Share Well With Others

Client Success Linda HarveyLinda Harvey of the Institute for Dental Compliance and Risk Management took my idea and turned it into a resource by capturing the post title, Full URL and shortlink in a document. She uploaded it to Dropbox to make it available to her team.

She intends to draw on the resource whenever she wishes to share content with a prospect via email. It will also be used in future posts to connect the dots to similar posts on a topic. I think it would be a great way get more than a single use from your best posts.

Tips for Sharing Well With Others

  • Narrow your blog categories to your top five topics. Capture the category URL in your shortlink document to share when asked what you know about a specific topic.
  • Capture the title and shortlink to important guest posts like my Forbes interview.
  • When you sense you’re composing a timeless post, add it to your archive.
  • Use a link shortening site like bit.ly to craft custom URLs you can add to printed pieces. I use this to share a link on the back of my business card when networking. They need to be easy to say, spell and type.

Insight

Composing valuable content is hard work. Create an archive of links to help you share your content more than once.

Resources

  • Workflowy.com – A cloud-based outline resource available from all your devices. I use it to create an outline of titles and shortlinks I can use everywhere.
  • bit.ly – A link shortener site that features custom URLs, tracking and Bitlinks an easy way to save, search and organize all your shortlinks.
  • Forbes Interview - When they asked, “Which CRM should business professionals use?” I answered, “That’s a great second question.”
  • Linda Harvey – Her new start up is a game-changer in the Dental Industry, DentalComplianceInstitute.org

Linda, thanks for helping me both teach and learn at the same time!

Successful Launch

We Have Liftoff! – A New Era in Dental Compliance

Rarely do I announce a new website. It’s like buying a new car and not offering a ride to your peeps. It’s not about the site, it’s about the value the content brings to your community. I’m breaking my rule because the launch of this start up is a parable for anyone who wants to leverage the power of the Internet to create a successful business.

On Friday Linda Harvey and her team launched the Institute for Dental Compliance and Risk Management DentalComplianceInstitute.org. We had been working quietly for three months on this game-changing, first-mover online learning organization. From their About page,

“Emerging integrative healthcare models and technology advancements make this an exciting time for dentistry. Yet when coupled with an ever-changing regulatory landscape it creates new responsibilities and unknown risks. The Institute is dedicated to providing national certification for staff and leadership in order to promote proven compliance practices throughout dentistry.” Linda describes this launch as, “A new era for dental compliance and risk management”

I agree.

Significant Factors

Let me share the inside story that lead to Linda’s success.

Understanding the Need

A few minutes before the launch Linda shared with me that this company had been a dream of her’s for 10 years. Like all great companies, it started with the idea that there was a need in the marketplace. Linda started with a keen awareness of her customers and what they needed.

Awareness of Emerging Trends

Linda spends much of her business day traveling and working with customers onsite at their dental practice. It was the acceptance of online learning by businesses more than Linda’s desire to get off the road that fueled the decision to move her training online. This was our second successful online learning management project, proving it’s more than a fad, it’s a movement.

Demands a Plan

Delivered under budget, two weeks ahead of schedule. The original launch deadline was September 4th. Tech start-ups are known for a flurry of activity right up to the launch. That’s not Linda’s style.

She is basking in the glow of her well-wishers and fans as she prepares for the official launch at an industry conference in San Diego. Keep Calm and Carry On Linda. Her attention to detail and communications style allowed the team to complete the initial scope ahead of schedule.

Integrated Marketing Communications

It takes a virtual village to build momentum. It takes all the channels. Our launch included:

  • An email broadcast to ten’s of thousands of Linda’s fans
  • Blog based press releases
  • Social engagement via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Most importantly, live agents available by phone to engage prospects in real-time.

This strategy allowed Linda to develop a path of engagement from discovery to relationship building to sales. The initial courses are already full. We launched a pre-registration feature to handle the overwhelming response to this “New Era”.

New Technology Mindset

Like any other start-up, she had access to all the available technology. Linda’s entire web presence was created with off the shelf technology.The difference is in mindset. We started with the business model, identified the customers, their needs and what we wanted to accomplish. Then and only then did we proceed to acquire and connect all of the technologies needed to create this extraordinary learning platform. It’s not about collecting the dots, it’s about connecting the dots.

Debt-Free Start Up

My association with the folks at San Diego’s CyberTech incubator has been invaluable. The mantra of working toward a debt-free start-up helps me understand that it creates tremendous value in the marketplace. The revenue model for the Institute is staggering to comprehend. The fact that Linda didn’t need to give any of it away is impressive.

I have always measured the success of Make Technology Work using the yardstick of my clients success. By all measures the Institute for Dental Compliance and Risk Management is an unqualified success!

Linda, thank you for the opportunity to be of service!

Integrated Marketing Communications

The Day CNN Got Away

A successful integrated marketing communication strategy requires that you connect all the dots. I  work with a client who is a recognized expert in their field. Recognized by Cosmopolitan, Simple Magazine, NPR, Motley Fool, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and too many TV and Radio outlets to mention.

It is not a lucky accident, but the result of a detailed media engagement strategy . It involves social listening and a blog publishing effort that guarantees discovery by producers and freelance journalists. That’s why it hurt so bad to learn CNN International reached out, but nobody was home. Well no one was near a mobile device to respond to the email, or the follow-up phone call. It’s rare, but it happens.

A mobile device is your ultimate “ear to the ground” communications tool. Voice, text, email, social messaging, you’ve got it all in the palm of your hand, so don’t leave home without it! The success of your integrated marketing communication strategy relies on completing the connection. It only takes one broken link to kill your brand buzz.

Advance Planning

During a 90 minute 1 on 1 coaching session (TechTalk) we worked together to build a new plan. Media outlets don’t plan ahead, it’s up to us to do it for them. Besides, if you’re ready, you will control the outcome. On the content side you need to talk about trends and field questions about your topic of expertise. Have three issues in your pocket at all times, as well as an awareness of what’s going on right now in your field. Oh, and carry your phone with you at all times!

Integrated Marketing Communications

Strong SEO will get them to your site, but it’s your mobile device that completes the connection. Here are some tips you can use to prepare for your next call from CNN:

  • Publish your “Direct” number on your site, especially in your media center.
  • Configure your phone to vibrate whether the ringer is on or off.
  • Include a response expectation in your voice announcement, then honor the commitment.
  • Did I mention to always carry your phone?
  • Be prepared to answer all calls, even when the number is unfamiliar. It could be a telemarketer, or it could be CNN. If you don’t pick up, how will you know?
  • If you’re up on current events in your field, you already know both the questions and the answers. Wait for the questions, then dazzle them with your immediate insightful answers.
  • Always ask how they discovered you and get an email address and direct number.Media folk are nomads, make sure you can connect with them in the future.
  • Thank them in writing whether you get the gig or not.
  • Add them to your contact database. Don’t forget to tag them as media and include their “beat”. For local media include their location. A radio interview when you hit town is better than rolling out the red carpet before an appearance.
  • Follow up with a separate email that includes additional story ideas and your direct number.

Insight

A successful integrated marketing strategy requires that you use the right mix of communications tools. When you are prepared and have a plan, there will always be a next time.

I work with business professionals who want to connect their communications dots. Not just campaigns, but an integrated marketing communications strategy the delivers consistent success over time. Don’t wait until you miss the call. Call 858-220-0499 now. I would love to hear about the one that got away.

Stop Shouting, Start Listening!

Summer of Missed Communications

Not miscommunications, but missed, as in missed opportunity. It seems the more communication channels we use; the  more garbled the message becomes. The problem is not a lack of technology. It’s the lack of an integrated communications strategy.

In the classic movie, “Cool Hand Luke” the warden tells Paul Newman’s character, “What we have here, is a failure to communicate.” The warden understood that Luke wasn’t hard of hearing, he was just hard of listening.

Anyone who has received a “Dear Valued Customer” message understands that organizations, not customers now have a hard of listening problem. It’s no longer an isolated incident; it’s an epidemic. I watched two organizations I hold dear fail at this challenge this summer. Time for some serious change.

Integrated Marketing Communications

Starting now the primary mission of Make Technology Work will be to work with organizations who want to create an effective marketing communications strategy. It’s been an essential component of my services; now it will become the primary focus of my work.

Thursday is zero day. I’m launching a 5 session group coaching program. It will help you create a strategy for all of your online communications from social all the way to customer service. For now, let’s start with what you can do today to create an effective online communications strategy.

Tips for creating your killer integrated marketing communication strategy

Strategy, Not Campaign – In the past I’ve worked with clients who had a singular focus. Our focus was to launch a book, a product or new business. It’s hard, intense work. Then we started all over again with the next project. Integrated marketing communications is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself and plan accordingly.

Customer Focused – It’s not about you or your organization. Really. In the moment you change your focus it becomes clear that where and when your prospects receive your message is critical to your success. Put your customer hat on, grab a mobile device and as CRM pioneer Jon Ferrara suggests, “Walk in their virtual footprint.”

Same Thing, But Different – Each of the available communication channels are different. Customers choose a channel preference, not organizations . Become adept at understanding what each tool does and when each should be used.

Have a Plan – Customers discover, build a relationship, buy and remain loyal to those organizations that maintain consistent messaging. Create a communications matrix that includes a handful of channels that work in harmony to build your brand and customer loyalty.

A New Focus, Not a New Direction

Getting the right message, to the right person, at the right time has been the forte of Make Technology Work for 24 years. What gets me out of bed each morning is not an alarm clock, but the question, “Who can I help today?”

I hope it’s you and other business professionals who are ready to turn down the noise and start communicating with their best prospects in a manner of respect. I’m excited about the opportunities, are you?

Change is the way forward

To Make Change Work, Change your Mindset

Mr.Gitchel, let’s go up stairs and get rid of that toe, you don’t need it any more.

My surgeon’s invitation was the start of a transformational change back to who I really am. It’s the moment I understood that change starts with a change of mindset. Funny thing, change. You can invest so much time resisting and pushing it out of view that you are totally surprised when it appears. The only thing that’s really changed is I now have a cool hashtag, #NineToedJerry. Can’t wait to see it start trending.

I didn’t lose my big toe Friday night, I let it go. I struggled for 10 years to keep it. For those of us with this disease, when they start up the diabetic meat slicer, they don’t turn it off until you’re tooling about in a Hoveround.

For me, change started not in the operating room, but in my mind. Now I wonder why I didn’t just let go sooner before I was forced into the decision.

My first question for you: What are you holding on to, that you should just let go?

My hospital could use some help with that. I know diabetic care; they do not. Worse, they were not open to a conversation. Then it hit me, they were trying to save the “toe”. They were so into “the doctor ordered” and “hospital policy” that it took until Sunday to get the meds changed. That meant my body joined this fight late.

I let go of the toe; the infection has not let go of me. it’s early Tuesday and my temperature is still elevated. Two doctors in two days told me they were ready to let me leave. Why?

I know an expert when it comes to change so I asked for a little help. Just a quote I could use. Of course, that’s not his style. So please listen to what we are going to call “Randy Pennington’s guest post”. I’ll be back in a minute with some insight and tips.

Dear Jerry
I am really sorry to hear about your toe and lousy hospital experience. But, I’m glad that you are on the road to recovery from the surgery. 

Here are a few thoughts. Use them as you wish. I appreciate the opportunity. 

Your nature to fight against a loss in the face of a disease like diabetes is what keeps you going. It is one of your most important weapons. And, it can be an anchor that keeps you from moving forward if you allow the loss to define you. We all experience this in some fashion. That is the nature of aging. Some of the losses are visible – like yours – while some of them are internal. They are all emotional.

The question for all of us when change isn’t a choice is: “Do you think about the reality you could create, or do you allow your perception about the circumstances to dictate your response?” 

Acknowledging reality is an important part of the process. It is equally important to consciously separate emotion from response and take stock of what has and hasn’t changed. We all have a tendency to lose sight of the things that haven’t changed when faced with a loss that represents change. Your doctor’s comments that you don’t need this toe any more helped you shift your mindset. And, mindset is the key factor when dealing with change that isn’t a choice.

And now for one quick comment on the hospital – To resist change when you know that staying the same has the potential to endanger others is arrogance. It might be different if this hospital was locked away in a time bubble and didn’t know that there were other options for communicating. But that isn’t the case. You can look at it as trying to save the toe, but I see it as a failure in leadership that didn’t create a patient-centered culture where everyone takes responsibility for doing their part to achieve the desired outcome. They might argue that they don’t have the funds to pay for technology upgrades, but clear processes followed by everyone don’t cost money – only commitment.

Be well, my friend,
Randy

As always, exceptional insight, eloquent, exceeded expectations.

I asked for a quote, Randy delivered truth.Thanks Randy.

Insight

Change starts the moment you decide, before you’ve spent a dime. So why wait, change.

Ideas You Can Use

  • 24 Hour Rescission Notice – Call it buyers remorse if you will. You can decide to change, then rescind it if you choose.
  • The first lesson I learned about fitness is you not only have the ability to get fit, you also have the responsibility.  This simple core concept lead to losing 45 lbs.
  • When you think you don’t have what you need, you are wrong. All you have to do is ask (thanks Randy).
  • Fear is a great GPS. It means you’re heading in the right direction.
  • Read Make Change Work, by Randy Pennington

 Resources

 

Technology Is Not The Answer

At least it not the first question you should ask when faced with a business challenge. In a recent interview with Forbes.com, contributor Henry Devries, l share why “Which technology should I use?” is a great second question.

Forbes.com

What is the Best Database for a Small Business?

I’m encouraged by the opportunity to share this important concept with the Forbes audience. Big technology is big business, but investing your hard-earned small business budget in technology just because someone says it’s cool or everybody is using it is not sound business advice. By asking the four questions I mention in the interview first, you get to the right answer quickly.

Hope you enjoy the interview. If you do, please share it with your business associates that need to eliminate that feeling of tech overload.

Beware the Facebook Police

15 Minutes of Infamy

Roosevelt and Warhol had it right. The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor the President stood before the Congress and told the American people, “This is a day that will live in infamy.” The artist Andy Warhol said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”

This may seem like an odd pairing of quotes until you reach the logical confluence…

Facebook

Yes, that fun way to see what all your casual acquaintances had for dinner. It seems to be filled with people either using their outdoor voice to tell everyone what they’re angry about or angry people telling everyone that they should stop talking about what they are angry about. Is it just me or does this line of thought also make you dizzy?

It has its good features. Like the message I received from my son Andrew after the Boston Marathon bombing, or the message I received yesterday about the tornado. Knowing John and Andy are alright is priceless. Other than that, I’m finding less value in my time spent on Facebook, I think I’ll focus on social listening. If you find value in your Facebook investment, let me offer some tips.

Personal Brand Reputation

Everything you say, every personal opinion you share, can be seen and read by everybody. You knew that right? Maybe you just forgot. Emotion over events tends to produce temporary amnesia. You can use that defense in a court of law but it won’t fly in the court of public opinion.

Be advised, we may seem to be ignoring you, but we can still hear you. All of it becomes part of your permanent record.

People experiencing grief need to talk about it. If an organization makes a decision that is perceived by a group of loyal members as a death in the family, they are going to talk about it. You may think it’s gone on for too long, but it’s not your call. Let them talk, when they are done and ready to move on, we will all move on together.

Personal attacks, including calling people names, become part of your personal record. It’s more than 15 minutes of fame, it’s a character flaw that will live in infamy. Maybe the Facebook police will expunge your post, but it still happened.

Social is not a weapon, it’s a tool. It’s a way to capture the hearts and minds of those with which you want to connect. Keep your tools sharp, don’t abuse them and they will serve you well.

Thanks for reading. You may now return to your inspirational quotes.

Business Card Gift

The Art of the Social Ask

Should I put a QR code on my business card?

Jenny Olding posed this question not on Google but on Facebook. She got a better answer, and much more.

SEO will always be important, but there’s a significant shift in how people find information on the Internet. It comes from the combination of social and mobile. When business professionals need immediate answers to tough questions, their first move is to reach out to their social networks from a mobile device. As a marketer or business owner, you need to be there waiting to respond to their very special invitation.

Savvy business professionals are discovering that social shouting is not only ineffective, it drives prospects away. Social listening on the other hand, engages new contacts and builds relationships.

The Art of the Social Ask

J. Summer Rogers, CEO of nPruv, Inc. finished her presentation yesterday with, “Here’s my ask.” For me it was the best idea to come out of the, IoT (Internet of Things) Start-Up Table Breakfast.The technology start-up community here in San Diego gets it. Asking questions engages prospects, investors and prospective team members.

Would you like to increase your social engagement? All you have to do is ask.

5 Tips to Improving Your Social Engagement

Pose a genuine, thought-provoking question -  If your question is self-serving or self-promotional, don’t bother. Most folks on social have their BS filter on max.

Answer a thought provoking question, thoughtfully -  Have an opinion? State it, but respectfully. I think QR Codes, like all technology that include the word “Cool” in their definition, are stupid. I simply shared why I thought they were less than effective. What I liked best about Jenny’s thread was the real world examples and multiple points of view.

Honor the Conversation and Contributors - I added an update to Jenny’s thread stating clearly what I liked best.

Engage Contributors – I use social engagement to build relationships with those I serve best. As suggested by Jon Ferrara, CRM Pioneer and Founder of Nimble.com, “Walk in your prospects digital footprints.”

Close the Loop – If you start a social ask, finish it. Thank everyone, share what you decided and most importantly, your results. Handle  this right and you will earn the right to ask a second question.

My Social Ask

I’m considering closing comments on my blog. I’m finding that ideas spread faster via social. If you find value here, please consider sharing it socially.

 

 

Pacific Surfliner

Take a Ride on the Peace Train

Took my first train ride Friday. At least the first where I was actually on the way to a real destination.I rode the Pacific Surfliner from the Santa Fe Station in San Diego to Irvine Center. I love the fact that trains have names and not just numbers. As with all public transport, there is the ever present, “Will I make it on time?” Not just me, but the train. In this case, I had nothing to worry about. It was a great first experience.

I left my apartment in Golden Hill, walked a block to the bus, switched to the Trolley in East Village, and arrived at the Santa Fe Depot in just a few minutes. We left the station on the dot and headed up the coast. That’s when the magic began.

I was simply not prepared for the change in perspective from the panoramic windows of the train. Up high, out of commuter traffic, gazing upon early morning surfers, joggers, and all the other early birds. I found myself relaxing, being present, focusing on the meeting in Irvine.

Peter boarded at one of the beach communities along the coast. He was headed north on this sunny Friday morning. With the Pacific ocean as a backdrop, Peter shared that this was his regular Friday commute. He loves to drive, but during the summer, I-5 is more parking lot than freeway. He switched to the train when his Friday night extended into Saturday morning. Not on the road, but in his head. He figured fighting traffic should not be part of his job description.

 How Do You Define Convenience?

People tell me the ability to jump in a car and just go is convenient. After flying by all those car dwellers on I-5, I’m not sure I agree.

Technology has changed the definition of the word convenience. Mobile devices turn wait-time into work-time. For business owners and the marketers who support them, it’s a new world. I’m often asked, “How long should by blog posts be?” The new answer is, “As long as your prospects can read while waiting in a line.”

Mobile-centric is more than resizing images or text. It’s a mindset that extends to where, when and for how long prospects can pay attention to your message.

Three tips to calculate the perfect blog post length

  • Go stand in a line – Sorry, but it’s the most accurate. Make sure it’s a line your prospect would stand in. See if you can read your last blog post before you reach the front of the line. Works the same for video or podcast.
  • Perform the CTA (Call to Action) – Did it make sense in the current context? Can your prospect fill out the form? Download and print a pdf? If the answer is no, you just blew your marketing campaign.
  • Start all design reviews from a mobile device – Mobile-first is a design protocol that places a priority on mobile usability.

 Insight

Your prospects have left the building. To successfully engage them online you need to go stand in the same line.

 

 

canstockphoto17809662

Relying on the Wisdom of Technicians

We trust our most critical decisions to a dedicated core of individuals with poor vision. It’s not their fault. We’ve asked them to work on the smallest, most challenging parts of our world. To dig in, find that infinitesimal problem in the code or circuit and eliminate the problem.

Myopic Minutia

A disturbing trend in digital design and development is the decision to outsource a founders vision to those who can lack the strategic eyesight to take the company where it needs to go. There is no justification for the excuse, “They told me it had to be like that.”

We have plenty of silly examples like QR codes, re-marketing and dizzying image sliders to remind us that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

It’s time for a new job description. Not just for your techs, but for yourself as the CVO, (Chief Visionary Officer). Reach out to, retain and reward your team, you need them.

They also need you. Make the really hard decisions each day that affect real people, your customers, your team, your community. The software doesn’t care, you must.