Letting Go on Facebook

John died almost a decade ago. His ghost haunted us for years, on Facebook. His birthday was the worst. Each year we would receive an automated announcement, followed by happy updates on his timeline from all the clueless well-wishers. Eventually Facebook changed their account termination policy to ease the pain of those tasked with laying their loved ones to rest online.

Which is why I was startled last week when I stumbled across the profile of a deceased client on LinkedIn’s People You May Know page. Not startled because he died, but because his profile had not yet been laid to rest.

Those who have lost a loved one experience many seasons of grief. At first, we want to hold on to everything that was a part of their life, even their social profile. As we move on we learn to let go. If you or someone you know is facing this modern end of life dilemma, here are some ideas that may help.

Celebrate Their Life

The rites and rituals surrounding end of life are mostly for the living. Not everyone can participate in person. Consider memorializing their Facebook account. Invite their online community of friends to post remembrances including images,home movies and what they learned from or gained by knowing this special person.

Ask What You Can Do To Help

Baking a casserole is often our first instinct. Once the daily influx of visitors subsides, a random bag of groceries demonstrates your continued concern. If like me, you become startled when you stumble across a ghost in the machine, offer to tie-up those online loose ends. Use the links below to learn the process for letting a loved on go.

Keep Their Memory Alive

For many years my main password was HelloJen. One day I changed it to something cryptic, more secure. Not to feel more protected, but because I was ready to let go. Even with all the vast knowledge available on the net the answer still isn’t clear. If you’re not sure if it’s time to close an online profile, consider this. The best way to honor the loss of a loved one is to keep their memory in your heart, not on Facebook.



Path of Engagement

5 Tips for Right-sizing your Digital Footprint

New Year resolutions have been abandoned. It’s too early for Spring cleaning. We are stuck in an unsettling place and time where we know we need to do something about our web presence, but are not sure what to do, or even where to start.

It’s easy to acquire cloud-based software that promises to bring us more leads, expand our reach, or become a social networking star. Once you add up all the monthly fees and compare it to your results, it’s hard to define your ROI.

It’s not too late to start a fitness program. For your technology I mean. No need for an extreme makeover. Just a sensible, measured strategy for right-sizing your digital footprint.

Does it feels like you are carrying around more technology this year? Here are some tips to help you return to that lean and mean web presence you were so proud of years ago.

Measure – Review your bank statement, your account logins and your business development metrics. Are you paying for systems you no longer use? Are the ones you use performing their intended function at the level you expected?

Shed – It’s not easy to let go. Especially when vendors bury their account closing process, or make it so difficult it’s easier to keep paying the monthly fee. If you’re no longer using the platform, kick it to the curb. If you still need to perform the function, go to the next step.

Go Shopping – Digital tools are faster, easier to use and getting cheaper everyday. Review your digital portfolio and go shopping. Research what’s new. You may be surprised to find a better offer at a better price.

Have a Plan – In the beginning, being on all the social platforms made sense. No more. Develop a plan for focusing your energy. You will end up with more time and more money in your pocket.

Isn’t it time you became the Master of Your Digital Domain?




Mobile Web Presence

Pick Up the Phone and Call (?)

For the longest time, TV ads would invite consumers to “Pick up the phone and call now!” How quaint.

Your new reality is simple, your prospects have already picked up the phone. The first time your prospects view your valuable online  it’s on a mobile device.

The impact of this change requires more than a shift in semantics. It requires a shift in mindset on your part. The number one trend for 2015 is mobile content delivery. Your success will depend on your awareness of this shift and your ability to execute on mobile delivery. As you develop your marketing strategy for 2015, use these ideas to view the challenge differently.

If You Can’t See it, Delete it – As your competitors adopt mobile-centric design, users are becoming less tolerant of tiny text. It’s no longer enough to get your email opened. It must be readable.

Open Rate is a False Metric – Getting a prospect to open a message was once a great indicator of future success. Now the hurdle is do they decide to read it now, later or simply delete it forever? When it comes to content delivery in 2015, consistency is king. Delivery schedule, length/duration, content organization help your community become familiar with your content and helps them decide to hold onto your newsletter to read later.

Read, Listen, Watch – Not only do you have to produce killer content, you have to deliver it in your prospects favorite format. Podcasts are back because mobile devices come with earbuds. Text is hard to read, video is easy to share. Poll your prospects to be sure.

Take a Page from the Newspaper – The weekend edition is a different animal. In 2015 look for longer content and casual formats on days when prospects have more time to interact with your content.


Where are my Customers!

It’s January, Do You Know Where Your Customers Are?

Part 1 of a 5 part series published last year on how to get started at the start of a new year. Today, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Next- Social Listening –  Part 1 – CRM

Welcome to the first Monday of 2015. That feeling in the pit of your stomach is directly linked to the sound you are not hearing this morning. I’m referring to the sound of your phone ringing with new customers. No matter how hard you stare at it, you simply can’t will it to ring. You will have to place the call yourself if you expect to start the ball rolling in 2015.

Before you jump in and make a bunch of cold calls to just anyone in your contact list there is something you should know. Business professionals rang out the old year by ditching cold calling. This year the most important tool in your business development toolbox is a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution.

Outlook? How Lame!

I’m not talking about Outlook or some other address book. I’m talking about a system you can access from each of your devices. One where your team members can check your calendar without tracking you down. One that contains not only where you’ve been, but where you are heading with that valuable business relationship. One that doesn’t make you look stupid when you place that all important re-connect call this morning.

5 Levels of CRM

You’ve got to climb 5 levels to reach CRM Nirvana. They are:

  • Address Book – Contains nothing but contact demographic info.
  • History – Where you’ve captured your discussions and decisions.
  • Social Listening – Real time information about where they hang out and what they and their peers are talking about .
  • Connections – Who do they know? Who do you know that they know?
  • Schedule – The result of asking the question, “What’s Next?”

Where are you in the food chain?

Making Sense of CRM

Custom is the the word for getting the best fit for your CRM solutions. My clients work with any of a half dozen solutions. Before you grab a credit card and signup for any old system, define your needs:

  • How many contacts?
  • Where do I need to access their information? ( Just in the office, or also from a mobile device?)
  • Who needs to access their information? (just me, or also staff members?)

The answers will get you started toward a custom fit. But no matter what, you are going to get dressed up for 2014, and a CRM solution is a great suit of armor.

Need advice? I can help, give me a call 727-278-9382

Special Gift – CRM Checklist

I’ve created a quick and easy checklist to help you make sense of CRM. Request your personal copy right now,
Making Sense of CRM


Happy 2015

New Year, New You?

First of all, breath. Yes it’s First Monday. That is not a reason to be anxious.  Focus on what got you here. You survived 2014. It’s simply time to turn your attention to 2015.

No big honking resolutions, or “This year will be different!” Just start out this morning connecting. Ask yourself, “Who can I help today?” The rest will take care of itself.

You did great work last year. You are about to repeat the magic. So, no New You,  just Happy New Year.

Ready? Let’s get started.


Giving Thanks in Freeport, California

The Gitchel family gathered Thanksgiving day on the Sacramento River in Freeport, CA to give thanks and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Brother-link reunion.

The local CBS affiliate, Channel 13 interviewed us to ask what we have experienced and what we’ve learned. We invite you to use the link below to watch the broadcast.

Brothers Celebrate 20 Years Since Thanksgiving Reunion That Brought Them Together After 26 Years

Schedule Update

I’m on assignment in Florida through the end of the year. I’ll be presenting in Jacksonville on Jan 10th. and in San Diego Feb 7th.

What I’m most excited about is the San Diego premier of Why I Hate Chicken Pot Pie this spring. I’ve been invited by Executive Women International to present the true story of a resilient 5th grader, home alone for three weeks and the caring adults who made a difference in his life. This will be the first time I’ve presented this story in the city were it happened.

Bright Shiny Objects

The Importance of Invitations

Yesterday I published a LinkedIn post on the The Art of the Online Invitation. It focused on how I go about sending LinkedIn invitations. Today I’d like to share why both giving and receiving the right invitation is so important to your business.

I received an invitation to connect this morning from Joe Burton. We had both worked individually with one of the top automotive groups in St. Petersburg, FL. Two years ago Joe and I had discussed working together. The result was not a no, just more of a not yet.

Of course I said yes to his invitation. Joe stands head and shoulders above everyone else in his field, and not just literally. That’s why Joe’s invitation is so important. His decision was measured, well thought out  and timed perfectly. It happened when Joe was ready.

I attended a holiday party recently. Almost everything was beautiful, except for the desert table. One of the guests had chosen to bake something special, placed it on the table, then surrounded it with business cards. I wasn’t sure about the protocol, so I grabbed the gooy chocolate treat, popped it into my mouth and picked up a card.

Too late I realized my mistake. I couldn’t clean the card, couldn’t put it in my pocket, so I had to throw it away. I’ll remember the treat, the individual, and the incident for a very long time.

Twenty years ago I received an email invitation with the subject line: “Looking For My Lost Brother”. On Thanksgiving morning, me, my big brother Lee and CBS will gather together to celebration the anniversary of that first reunion.

I am thankful for each invitation I receive, and respectful in the way I extend an invitation. Here are some thoughts on why invitations are important:

When you extend an invitation, It allows the individual to choose to accept. Prospects respect your understanding that in today’s marketplace, they make the decision to engage. You simply provide the opportunity.

Crashing the party may work, but often something gets broken in the process. Don’t let yourself get in a situation where they need to call a wrecker to haul away that fragile bit of trust you drove off the cliff.



The Brother-link Story, Twenty Years After

Yesterday CBS News called my big brother Lee about an email he sent 20 years ago. They want to be there on Thanksgiving day when we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our reunion.

It all started with his email. The subject line read, “Looking for my lost brother”. On Thanksgiving day 1994, I rolled up on his house in Sacramento to a group of his neighbors, a CBS camera crew, and my big brother Lee and his wife Dorothy.

That first reunion was aired coast to coast. This time we hope to share it with all of you via the Internet. Who knows, you might see us in your TV while eating desert.

Tim, Jerry, Lee, Thanksgiving 1968
Tim, Jerry, Lee, Thanksgiving 1968

The Internet gives us the ability to connect across the miles and all the years. Making it happen takes more that ability, it takes responsibility.

My gift for your Thanksgiving is simple. Do you have someone in your life whom you are thankful for because they were born and that they live in this world? Send them an email, give them a call, even just a text message.

My wish for you is that this Thanksgiving, the holidays and all of the days of your life be Just Another Day In Paradise. I hope you’re the one who receives that call.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Making Sense of Mobile Marketing

Social Trending, Moving beyond Trendy

Nels Jesen, San Diego Business Journal’s (SDBJ) Insider what very excited. You could almost hear the pride in his voice in his report, And Now For The Top Story: Us*. While recounted the success of SDBJ’s “Woman Who Mean Business” event, he remarked, “But it took a few of us by surprise that afternoon when the San Diego Business Journal was the No. 1 local trending account on twitter.”

He congratulated staffers Shannon Taylor and Leslie Fulton on, “their social media prowess“. Nels wrapped it up with, “We never really thought of it, but I guess we are cool and trendy over here at the SDBJ.” I agree that the team as well as the co-emcee Susan Taylor did a great job of promoting the event, the SDBJ and San Diego as a place where women mean business, but I’m not surprised.

The Internet was made for women. The majority of my clients are successful women business owners. When they speak about the Internet they use words like tool instead of weapon, collaboration instead of competition, conversation instead of confrontation.

No Longer Cool or Trendy, Just Effective

Using social networking to connect your digital dots has gone beyond being cool or trendy. Now it’s effective, essential and easy. Here are some tips you can use to get your social networking game on:

Pre-event Promotion – use images from a prior event to build the buzz, as well as ticket sales. Engage your loyal fans by having them post “Why you should not miss this event!” profile updates.

Capture the Excitement – Use mobile tools to capture memories of these special moments during your event.

Break the Fourth Wall – Extend the celebration and the learning beyond the place and time of your event. Carry what you learned out into your community. The best way to grow your membership and effectiveness is to present images and accounts of HSP (Happy Smiling People).

Social networking is no longer a novelty, or a marketing strategy out on the fringe. Whether in-person or online, social networking has taken center stage in business owners efforts to get discovered.

What trend are you going to start today?


*Editors Note: SDBJ’s paywall prevents me from linking directly to the article. If you’re a subscriber, log into SDBJ.com and search for the title.


Helping Organizations Become the Master of Their Digital Domain