Author Archives: Janet L. Falk

Vote. Vote for Email and NOT for Social Media

Email is the way. Whether the email newsletter is read that same day or at another time, the subscriber sees your name and mentally records the fact that you entered their In box. Now that it is more difficult to conduct business face to face and in person due to COVID, it is imperative that you remain top of mind among your connections. When relationships are reinforced by periodic email, it is more likely you will be remembered for a future contact or receive a positive response to your next phone call.

Team Up to Improve Your Client’s Marketing RBI

Two can play the Marketing game better than one. After you team up, thank the client and celebrate. When you speak at an event or write an article, acknowledge the shared success. Post a summary as an update on LinkedIn, with a link to the article or the event announcement. You may also mention your article and presentation in your newsletter, again, thanking the client. When you attend the networking event or the trade association’s program, take photos that feature you and the client. Both of you can post the snapshots to your social media accounts.

Make Your Less-Than-Perfect LinkedIn Profile Stand Out

Your profile may be complete according to LinkedIn’s checklist, yet underperform. Make the most of this free space.
1. LinkedIn automatically inserts the title of your current job in the Headline slot. You can change that easily. Does your headline describe the value you create for clients or the team? Does it use terms someone outside your profession would use? (Hint: No one seeks a Director.)
2. Is the length off the Headline close to the maximum of 220 characters? You can achieve this by using a mobile phone or tablet when you edit the headline.
3. Does your photo convey you are approachable?
4. Is your background default LinkedIn blue? Does it display information about your services, a cityscape or your company logo?
5. Have you received (and given) recommendations recently?
6. Do you display examples of your work, such as reports, videos and news articles, in the Feature section? 

Your Less Than Perfect Website Costs You Business

Run this checklist on your website. After you answer the questions about the home page, look at a few other pages and consider these issues:

1. Is there a sample of your expertise — a free downloadable white paper, tip sheet or quiz — upon submitting an email address?
2. Are the images relevant?
3. Do you invite visitors to contact you and display your phone number and email address on every page?
4. Is the latest issue of your newsletter available for review? Is it current? Is it easy for visitors to subscribe?
5. Does the website display well on mobile?

Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (10 in a series)

How often should you execute these marketing activities? Most businesses do not change dramatically in a short period of time. Schedule a date once every quarter to review each of the following, individually: Website, LinkedIn profile, Media Profile and an idea for an Article. Your Newsletter is probably published quarterly, as well.

Establish a system to add contacts to your Database on an ongoing basis. Plus, set dates to periodically reach out for a quick catch-up call or an invitation to attend a webinar or networking event together. 

Schedule time to participate on Social Media at least three times a week, whether you post your own thoughts, share an article by another or comment on posts by your connections.

Whenever you create new material, such as a published article or newsletter, post it on your website, promote it on social media, incorporate a reference and link to your Email Signature and add it to your LinkedIn profile. (Links to your website and LinkedIn profile remain the same.)

Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (9 in a series)

What are good questions to get the conversational ball rolling in your Networking Squared meeting? The best questions are open-ended, permitting the respondent to share an example or anecdote that illustrates the point of discussion. Some favorites are:

1. How do you help others: Save Time, Save Money, Make More Money or Get More Joy out of Life?
 2. What was the highlight of the past year (or quarter) in helping a client? 3. 
(In reply to a statement) That sounds hard. How do you do that?

Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (8 in a series)

Who might you partner with on this case study/publication/speaking project? Start by reflecting on the work you most enjoyed or found most remunerative and where you wish to secure more engagements. Now, create a list of those previous clients who deemed your services and advice a resounding success. Add to it other professionals who collaborated in a key component of the project. Perhaps vendors who contributed substantively to the outcome might be valuable collaborators in this case study as well.

Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (6 in a series)

It’s easy to turn your audio into print by following the Marketing strategy of C O P E (Create Once, Publish Everywhere). Summarize the key points of the discussion in a numbered list. Place the write-up on your letterhead and add the link to the podcast. Publish these Highlights as a post and article on LinkedIn, plus on your website. This makes it easy for someone to scan the topics and decide that she wants to listen to your remarks for 28 minutes.

Take Marketing Off the Back Burner (5 in a series)

It’s Give and Take, not Take and Give. Networking works best when you think about others and reach out to assist them. Accordingly, offer to be a resource to the people you know. Set aside time every day to make a phone call or two that will get a conversation started. Suggest an introduction to someone of potential mutual interest. Ask for some advice. Put the ball in play and see where it leads.

What’s Up with Your Elevator Pitch

Play to the audience of your elevator pitch. It’s helpful to have several versions that you can tailor when you are speaking to one person, a trio of workshop participants or a room of networking group members. Consider also whether the audience is from the same profession as yourself, are members of a target market or represent a random assortment of occupations. Adjust your remarks accordingly.

Two Can Network Better Than One

These are among the most common networking groups. Consider letting your clients know about an upcoming program of possible interest, so you may attend together.
1. Professional membership associations
2. General business organizations
3. Interest groups (e.g., women-owned, ethnic)
4. Community service organizations

Keep, Delete or Re-Connect on LinkedIn

It’s never too late to re-start the conversation. Use these subject line prompts, or your own variation, making sure the question requires a response, not a yes/no answer:

1. Your name came up in conversation with ____ (Put the name in the body of the email, so the reader will open the note.) What are you working on now?
2. This article/podcast reminded me of our conversation about ____ (link). What do you think?
3. Remember this email? Please help me recall what happened next.
4. Your business card re-surfaced. What’s new?
5. Your name came to mind in a review of contacts. Let’s meet for coffee and catch up.
6. According to LinkedIn, you are now (at a new company) (in a new role). Congratulations! When shall we celebrate?

Write a LinkedIn Post that Stops the Scroll

How often should you post and when is the best time? Daily posts are recommended. If you want to post more often, wait at least four hours before posting again. People post and publish articles at all times of the day. Research indicates the best times to post are Tuesday through Thursday, with activity peaking at noon and between 5:00 and 6:00 pm.

Your Business Card is Your Paper Partner

Take a closer look at your own business card and see how it matches these criteria:

Your name, title and company name
Description of your profession/service
Ideal client or target market
Contact information: street address, phone number(s), email address and website
Tag line that amplifies your offer
Distinctive logo or visual element that is not overused, e.g., not the scales of justice for an attorney
White or light-colored back, so the recipient can write a note there
Font size of at least 8 point for legibility
Substantial card stock that is not paper thin

How You Can Stand Out as a Conference Attendee

Plan your post-conference activity. Take selfie-photos with the attendees you meet and event hosts. Post the pictures individually on LinkedIn with the name (@New Contact) and refer to the idea you discussed. Email the photo (and perhaps the link to the post) to the person with a note about your great conversation, along with the article or contact you promised. Invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn. You’ve started an in-person conversation; keep up the momentum.

Are You Too Busy to Write? Then Crowdsource Your Content

Offer value to the crowdsourced participant. When inviting the attorneys to provide ideas for the law practice article, I explicitly stated that their name, law firm name and a brief phrase about their practice would be included in the article. Similarly, I indicated my newsletter would include a link to the websites of the LinkedIn coaches who gave permission to cite their remarks. This approach underscored the benefits to the attorneys and to the coaches.

Speak at an Event AND Report

When you prepare to give a talk, remember to promote it before and after the event. Assemble a list of three to five takeaways. Recruit someone to take a photo, if there is no official photographer. As an attendee, plan to take notes AND photos.

Post the highlights of the event and a photo, with a substantive caption, on your LinkedIn profile and in relevant groups, plus on your Twitter account.

Connect (and Re-Connect) with Members of Your Networking Groups

Make a list of your professional membership organizations, networking groups, LinkedIn groups and other communities. Peruse the membership directory and cross-check those names in your LinkedIn network. If you are not yet connected, compose a connection request to introduce yourself, citing your mutual association. (Note: I am currently engaged in this outreach with a 90-member virtual group; about one-half have accepted my invitation.) When you are already connected on LinkedIn, and it has been a while since your last interaction, get a meaningful conversation started.

Your FREEBIE is Valuable to Your Prospects

Your free giveaway can keep on giving. Once prospects receive the link to the giveaway, or download the freebie, it is easy for them to share it with their colleagues and other contacts. This results in a wider distribution. Even if you may not know where the giveaway has been sent, by using a link shorten-er, you can track the number of subsequent clicks.

Why You Should Co-Lead a Workshop with a Colleague

When your co-presenter for a speaking engagement is a client, a referral source or a networking contact, you provide a more comprehensive view that also aligns with the participants. Plus, the interplay between two speakers –- when one asks the other a question, for example –- enlivens the session and keeps the attendees engaged.

What’s in Your LinkedIn Profile’s Background?

Instead of the default LinkedIn blue background, make it True Blue You. Get the LinkedIn background format for the DIY-er. Open a free account on Canva; there is a LinkedIn background template, plus there are formats for other social media platforms. Experiment with different text, fonts, colors and images. When you are ready, save the file; then have a design professional review and polish your work for viewing on a computer and on a tablet.

Up with Referrals! Down with Word-of-Mouth.

You keep in touch with industry colleagues, current or former clients and business contacts, among others. When one of them introduces you to someone, who becomes a new client, congratulate yourself. Give yourself the credit you deserve. That is a referral from your network. That is not word-of-mouth.

WII-FM? Why Should a Dentist, Landlord or Supermarket Clerk Care About Your Nonprofit or Business?

Look at the bigger picture from the perspective of a dentist, landlord and supermarket clerk. What is their desire or need in the community? For themselves? For their business? Which are the most pressing issues for them regarding time and money? Invite a dentist, landlord or clerk for a coffee chat, ask these questions and listen as you put yourself in her shoes.

As You Like It, Please Say Why

When you agree with and like another’s LinkedIn post, make this opportunity work for you. Take the time to respond to the person and the discussion, as you like it. COMMENT to indicate: what you agree or disagree with; how this confirms or disproves the trend; what the discussion overlooks; how this relates to another topic or lesson learned; why this is or is not a best practice; or any other interesting aspect.

Is Your Company’s Launch a Secret?

Everyone should review these tools and accounts in an Annual Communications Audit. Approach various social media platforms from the perspective of someone who is not familiar with your company and services. Where might they look for information (website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter)? What would they find there? Is the content current (timeless or within the last week)? Take a few minutes to check the latest entries on your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and others that your audiences visit.

Improve Your Networking: Pre-event Marketing (2 of 3)

One week before you attend a networking event sponsored by a membership organization, contact key officers and committee chairs to apprise them of your interest in the group. The Program Chair, Membership Chair and Communications Chair, as well as the chairs of any committee that aligns with your profession, will be eager to meet you. At the event, ask them to introduce you to the President of the association, which enhances their stature and helps you join the inner circle of leaders.

Improve Your Networking: Attitude (1 of 3)

Networking is not about ME; it is about YOU, the other person. These are the reasons to attend Networking events: Be seen as a connector/Recruit resources. Make introductions. Maintain contacts. Learn from the speaker. Stay up to date informally. When you are seen as knowledgeable and trustworthy, you will attract clients and prospects.

Send a Better Holiday Card

Like other marketing activities, this holiday card is not about you, personally. It is about the you on the other side of the table, the person who is opening the envelope. Keep the image and discourse neutral. The United States has many faith groups. Respect them; you cannot be sure another person shares your beliefs about a seasonal holiday and may take umbrage.

Do You Lead Workshops for Free?

Speaking at events is one of the top five ways to attract new clients. Where can you find speaking opportunities? Try: Networking group, Classes taught by colleagues, Professional membership associations, Business associations, Local merchant associations, Chambers of Commerce, Municipal public library, City and county small business services agency, City and county economic development corporation, Associations of nonprofit organizations and United Way, Center for management training.

Your Garden of Media Relations

Media Relations activity is like gardening. You clear, plant and cultivate. Then distribute. It’s up to you to propagate the news story you’ve placed by sharing it everywhere you can. Don’t trust that the wind (social media) will carry the seedlings (news coverage) of its own accord. As the gardener, you have to play an active role. Root around for ideas and find fertile ground to plant them.

Time to Improve Your Marketing RBI

Five key marketing activities are Networking, Speaking, Writing, Trade Association and Digital Presence. Consider which approaches are most comfortable for you and which will be most effective in reaching your target market. Set goals for participating in these marketing activities monthly.

Keep Your Recent Conference Current

Your business or nonprofit group held a conference. Considerable effort went into preparing the event; once over, strategize so that the conference still remains relevant. Undoubtedly, the issues addressed will persist. Treat the conference as a launch pad or a way-station in the extended conversation and cultivate future exchanges for fruitful follow-up and action.

Close-up of Your Digital Portrait

When someone you met at a conference searches for you online, what will she find? What you say about yourself?

Or is there a blank or incomplete space?

You have the positive obligation to shape your digital presence and tell your story through multiple channels. As a business or nonprofit professional, place yourself in the most favorable light.

Create Your Own Traveling Classroom

To lead a workshop that will attract new clients, look beyond the membership of a professional organization and the four walls of a classroom. Develop an interactive session and offer it to your connections for their professional development and that of their peers. At this contact’s office, you’ll collect their colleagues’ cards and their appreciation.

Grasp the Hidden Power in Your Networking Group

Tap into your network for advice and your own brain-stretching. Networking meetings are not only about individuals and their presentations. It’s the collection of multi-disciplinary perspective each one brings to the table. Informally advising your colleague will help you exercise your brainstorming muscles, build trust among contacts and garner ideas to develop your own business.

COPE: How Writing Can Re-Broadcast Your Audio

What is COPE?: Create Once, Publish Everywhere.
Clients, prospects and supporters are looking for resources and information across multiple platforms: online, newspapers, magazines, newsletters and video. Whenever you create content, take steps to share and promote your insights. Whenever you are the subject of media coverage or another’s blog, you can respect copyright and reference the media outlet.

Holiday Haiku

I have sent a holiday haiku as an e-card to clients, colleagues and other contacts since 2009. Click on the year to see recent haiku e-cards and a related image. If a similarly customized holiday greeting appeals to you, please contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com or 212.677.5770. 2019 All faiths celebrate Winter solstice traditions. Light reclaims […]

Vote for Email and NOT for Social Media

Email is here to stay.
Email has a larger reach; there are THREE times more email accounts than Facebook & Twitter combined.
Email delivers to the recipient 90% of the time; only 2% of Facebook fans see posts.
Email converts with a 3% click-through rate vs .5% click-through on Twitter.
YOU control the distribution of email, not Facebook or Twitter algorithms.

Take Your Own Advice

You probably love to give advice to others. We all have insights on (un)usual business issues and strained relationships, plus tips for gardening, exercise and travel.

Ever get that AHA moment when you realize the suggestions you offered work for your own situation?

Your Gold Mine of 5,000 Contacts

You may not believe it, but you’re probably sitting on 5,000 contacts in various pools of connections.

Imagine the opportunities they represent for new business, new alliances and new volunteers directed your way.

Possibilities for you to refer connections to them also abound.

It’s Business. Not Personal.

Consider: “It’s not business, it’s personal.”

Or “It’s personal.” (meaning It’s not business)

These slogans were designed to reference a close, even intimate, working relationship. Some clients prefer to be reassured and reminded, on a frequent basis, that a vendor or partner has their interests top of mind at all times.

Consider that what is personal from a client’s perspective may not be reciprocal. Many clients think primarily of themselves and may have a limited interest in the individual private lives of their contacts.

How Are You the Opposite?

Consumer goods are well known for flaunting their other-ness. Apple urged customers to Think different. In the beverage industry, 7-Up was the Un-cola. For cars, one manufacturer nearly denied its heritage: This is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile. Consider the attributes of your cohort to see where you might be most different and distinctive.

Take Your Idea for a Test Drive

Who might be your sounding board? Members of networking groups. Former clients and former co-workers. Set up a phone chat with a social networking contact whose thoughtful blog posts and comments exhibit insights. The retired executives who serve as coaches at SCORE counsel business owners for free; ask to be paired with someone who worked in your industry.

Wake up your sleepy email signature

Your email signature is a fundamental component of your brand, as are your logo, website and business card.  Every team member should have an identical signature, to reinforce the organization’s positioning and messages. After a revised email signature template is developed, provide the model and instructions for an update to all personnel, along with a two-day deadline for implementation.

Make the most of your event photos

Make a list of photos to be taken at an event, as if you plan a wedding. Prepare to stage photos with the management team, Boardmembers, key staff and special guests. Hover near the principals, with the photographer ready to aim and shoot. Keep groups to a maximum of five people. Note the name of anyone who is not immediately familiar, to identify the person for a caption and perhaps share the photo with the attendee later.

Listen to Aretha: RESPECT

Do your colleagues treat your clients and prospects with respect? It’s polite to begin an email with Sidney, or Dear Leslie,. These forms of address acknowledge the virtual distance between the writer and the recipient and do not overstep the bounds the way that Hey Nicky, does. Write complete and grammatically correct sentences. Use restraint in tone, limit exclamation points and avoid emoticons. Finally, consider that the email might be forwarded to the CEO or another senior executive who has the final say-so on the buy decision.

You and your colleague worked very hard to get the reader’s attention; don’t let your email be discarded because it was disrespectful.

Orient Your Newsletter

Take the reader by the hand. Start with the end in mind, i.e., what you want the reader to do, and write clearly. Include the necessary details (event date, time, location and fee), as well as phone number to request additional information. Make your newsletter easy to read with headings and subheads. Use bold and bold italic font for emphasis. Proofread by reading aloud every word in the sentence, from the period backward.

Make Your Pro Bono Client Newsworthy

Why should a board member or volunteer care about news? The president of a foundation once remarked, “I give money to nonprofit groups that I’ve heard of. One way I hear about your organization is in the news.”

Because many nonprofits with a budget of less than $2 million do not have a professional to manage contact with the press, it is the responsibility of the board — and an opportunity for volunteers — to support the organization in its media outreach. Otherwise, multiple opportunities for fundraising, promotion and collaboration might be missed, as discussed in When Nonprofits Fail to Communicate.

Are You Find-able Online?

Do you have to list your company’s or nonprofit’s website in your profile? Of course not. On the other hand, why ignore the free real estate on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook where you can reference your professional successes? Even a cursory mention may invite someone to visit your organization’s website or click through to your business or nonprofit’s page on LinkedIn or Facebook. The potential for a prospect or referral to learn more about you should not be overlooked.

Playing Politics. Telling Your Story.

How might you get a politician’s attention? Put your business or organization (and yourself) on the leader’s radar screen BEFORE you ask for any assistance. Attend a program the elected official is hosting or look for her or him at a community gathering. At the event, speak to an aide about a shared interest or concern, then ask to be introduced to the politician. Write a letter commending her for introducing legislation. Offer positive feedback on his stance on an issue in the community. As with any sales outreach, it’s best to have interacted with the individual prior to making the pitch.

Save Time. Save Money. Make More Money.

Save Time, Save Money or Get More JOY Out of Life.  A restaurant and a museum offer a less tangible service. They create a transformative experience and people are willing to spend their time and money to capture an elusive mood, engage their senses or master content. Compared to the quantitative terms like time and money, these moments where participants get more JOY out of life are best described as a before and after. Even those who are not patrons or supporters can recognize the possible uniqueness of being connected to such an experience.

Why Your TV News Interview Never Aired

Sometimes stations butcher a news story. In industry lingo, the news story was bumped, cut or killed. Those are the terms that reporters (and Public Relations professionals) use to describe the assault on the fruits of their labors. Typically, a television reporter visits an event, conducts an interview with the principal organizer of the program […]

The Three R’s of Crisis Communication

A similar approach uses the acronym STEEP. Speed, you must make a public statement quickly. Transparency, you must be available and accessible at all times during the crisis. Empathy, show your concern for those affected. Expertise, engage a respected consultant to analyze the situation and make recommendations. Pledge, that you will do everything possible to prevent recurrence. Professor Peter Horowitz of Baruch College follows this approach.

Why You? Why Now?

Reporters call the people that they know, so introduce yourself in a professional way. But, when you receive a call from a reporter to whom you have not been introduced, be on your guard. Consider whether the reporter knows something that you do not — or that you are not prepared to talk about right then. Let’s strategize now, before you get that call, so you’ll be prepared.

Do The Right Thing

Who do you know that could use a helping hand? Look at your list of former clients to identify someone who might value a thoughtful introduction. She or he might benefit from a connection to a vendor, prospective customer, employee or donor. Plant the seed with an e-introduction that describes the two parties succinctly and their shared interest. Then step back to watch the relationship bloom.

Networking Towards the King

Who do you know who knows Someone Special? You probably abhor name-droppers, yet someone you know has a contact who might refer you on to the next person whom you’re eager to meet. LinkedIn offers various ways to approach this issue, via searches among connections and by companies. Best of all, locating a person among its 300 million members will yield the names of the intermediary contacts who will put you on her or his radar screen. Everyone knows someone worth knowing. You don’t know who that person is until you ask.

How Derek Jeter Managed the Media

Do you have to answer the tough question? Yes and no. It’s always best to respond to a reporter’s question, whether nasty or nice, to prove you are open and trustworthy when dealing with others. When your answer to a tough question is a statement that does not merit repeating, the question evaporates. You are not cited as unavailable for comment, which may give the appearance of not being forthright.

Your News Article is Just the Beginning

The clock is ticking on your 15 minutes of fame. After you speak to a reporter, prepare to spread the word, even before you see the article. When the news story is published, you’ll be ready to launch the amplification process, so your target audience may encounter you in multiple venues, a positive reinforcement.

Is Your Website Up to Date?

A traditional website layout may make your business appear out of step. A pre-2011 design could fall short of visitor expectations. Compare your site to those of your competitors and see if you are on, ahead of or behind the curve. Then budget accordingly for an update — and also for the next one three years later.

The Tao of How

It’s not always who or why — but HOW. Be sure you highlight the HOW of the product or service to show your impact on people and organizations. For ULTRA Testing, their HOW means that clients receive better outcomes and exceptional people get jobs. That’s a clear win-win and readers see the benefits for everyone

It Takes Two: You and a Client

It feels like a light bulb. Prospective clients are more likely to identify with the needs of satisfied customers than with self-proclaimed expertise. When reading brief case studies, the potential client imagines that the solutions described will have a similar impact and will solve their problem. Voila!

No Photos, Please

Photos given to reporters and shared via social media accounts must adhere to your objectives. Reputation management entails confining the discussion to the facts and ensuring personal privacy is respected and maintained.

Back to School — As a Teacher

Teach your contacts and prospects in partnership with other groups. The fundamentals, advanced techniques, new technologies or latest trends in your field are vital subjects for sessions sponsored by organizations whose marketing muscle will fill the room.

Would You Rather Be Lucky or Good – A News Story Replay

Why you? And why now? That’s what reporters will ask. Introduce yourself, your organization, your event, etc., to journalists at appropriate publications in a memorable way. Reporters call the people they know and they do not call people who wait for the phone to ring. Find a reason to put your name in front of the press as an authoritative source on a timely matter.

Maximizing the BIG Name

Who do YOU know? Board members, advisory board members, former officers. Everyone knows someone worth knowing, so spend some quality one-on-one time with the inner circle to build lists of contacts and locate candidates whose presence will enrich your group’s fundraiser.