January 2015 Archives

Think about your website and LinkedIn as the former being a booth in a tradeshow & the latter providing the traffic or flow of leads to your booth.

So, what typically happens a tradeshow?

Well, somebody drops by your booth.

After a short chat, you carefully hand over your business card.

And wait. Expectantly. Perhaps, this will be a sale? It's been a long day and sale would make it better.

But, soon your visitor leaves.

You made a rookie mistake, though. You didn't get the business card. The entire point of being at the tradeshow & you blew it.

Nobody buys from you the first time that they meet you.

You have to follow up, navigating the know, like, and trust cycles to get to buy.

You vow never to make that rookie mistake.

And so you don't.

The Biggest Mistake You Are Making on Your Website

But, every day your website commits the same type of error -- to all those visitors coming from LinkedIn.

Remember last time, I told you about 2 surprising but also well known facts about websites.

1. Your 'about us' page is the most visited.

2. Your 'about us' page is the weakest page on your website.

Jeff Hayden had some great general ideas about how to spruce up your 'about us' page.

I also gave you one idea about how make your 'about us' page more like an elevator pitch.

But, there is one bigger change to make.

People who visit your website don't immediately phone you and ask "Can you help me? Name your price."

Worse, they might never get in touch, despite it being a good deal for both of you.

You have to ask them to leave their name/email so you can get in touch with them.

You must offer them something in return.

Like meeting your visitors at your tradeshow booth, it is rude not to offer something of value for their name/email.

And when you are collecting their names/emails, you know that they are interested in what you have to offer.

Otherwise, they wouldn't have made the exchange.

Make An Attractive Offer


Joe and I have signed up tens of thousands of people over the last couple of years.

We make offers that people are interested in. Exchanging their information for something of value from us.

Many times, we simply ask them if they want more of the same. And ask them to sign up for our newsletter.

One article is a perpetual lead generator, since it was published in September, 2013, our article on Popeye's Louisiana Chicken has generated over 7,000 readers.

popeyes.png

It is the Energizer Bunny of lead collection. Leads come in on a monthly basis to our Franchise Buying Newsletter.

Here is how we ask them if they are interested in knowing more.

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When a visitor clicks on the image, they are whisked away to a simple Mailchimp sign-up form for our How to Buy a Franchise - Tips for Savvy Franchise Buyers

And we can help you do the same, collect leads from those people who are interested in doing business with you.

Generating leads and much more ....

If you liked this idea, sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

3 Quick Twitter Strategies

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When developing B2B public relations and marketing strategies, it's important to never underestimate the power of social media. With over 284 million active users on Twitter and 500 million tweets sent per day, creating engaging content is key to promoting your brand.

If you want to create great social media content that drives interaction, sometimes it takes thinking outside of the box.

Here are three types of unique content your business can integrate into its Twitter strategy:

Start a Twitter chat: A tweet chat is a live, virtual event hosted on Twitter that engages followers by asking questions focused around a single topic. To host, your brand would promote the event beforehand, set a time frame, and use a unique hashtag for users to engage. The chat is normally moderated by a single authority who moderates the discussion. The Disney Institute hosts a regular Twitter chat monthly focusing around a professional development topic such as customer service or leadership. The organization uses #DThink to engage followers and also retweets their ideas and input.

Develop branded quotes: Most social media users enjoy sharing quotes for inspiration across all platforms. In fact, a Quicksprout study showed that quotes consistently outperform questions on Twitter, receiving 847 percent more retweets. Recently, social media has seen an influx of image-based quotes - quotes that are featured on top of an image to create a visually appealing, easily sharable post. Your brand can create these quotes that are unique to your business and feature your logo by using different tools such as smartphone photo apps (Be weary of copyright laws. It's also best practice to contact a designer to create rights-free image templates). Not only will you see increased customer engagement, but you will also see increased visibility of your company logo.

Create your own hashtag: If your brand is committing to a new marketing campaign, starting your own hashtag is a great way to generate buzz. Whether you're promoting a new advertisement, contest, or event, a unique hashtag can increase customer engagement. For example, Coca-Cola used #ShareACoke to promote one of its largest and most successful campaigns. In a period of less than two weeks during the summer of 2014, the company reported over 125,000 Share a Coke posts across digital channels. These posts remained consistent for an extended time, and the campaign resulted in serious sales and brand recognition increases for Coca-Cola.

If you're looking to develop a unique social media strategy for your business and don't know where to start, Ripley PR can help. Our team is experienced in creating engaging content that is representative of your brand and its message. Contact us today for more information.

One of the biggest frustrations as a business owner is when someone leaves a review that is inaccurate, doesn't pertain to your business or is extremely damaging.

Review websites, such as Google, Yelp and Facebook, don't offer you any easy solutions for handling problematic posts either. On one hand, they don't want to damage the integrity of the brand by allowing businesses to remove reviews that could give potential customers a different view of a business. On the flip side, some reviews do contain inappropriate language, false information and can discourage new customers from coming into your store.

I'm sure you already know the impact reviews can have on your business -- a one star increase on Yelp can result in a 5-9% revenue increase. Positive reviews are easy to handle, but there is also a way to boost your ratings with negative reviews.

To remove reviews is to remove trust

Trust-this-business-

Removing reviews is not recommended (or allowed) on many review sites because it damages the credibility of the site and the business.

Have you ever gone and seen a movie after hearing your friends, family, coworkers, gym buddies, barista at the coffee shop, etc. singing its praises like it is the best move they have seen this century? Without fail, when you finally go see the movie, it doesn't live up to your expectations and you don't believe the hype next time around.

Just like the movie hype, if a potential customer comes across your reviews and sees only good experiences and not a single bad one -- they might visit your business -- but they are also going to be suspicious that it isn't as great as the reviews say. 68% of consumers trust reviews when they see both positive and negative ones because it's unrealistic that a business will please 100% of its customers 24/7.

To build trust, you should gather reviews organically (vs. paying for positive reviews, which is not allowed FYI) and accept and learn from the feedback your reviewers provide. Perhaps you have a consistent problem with a server who has a bad attitude or aren't open late enough for students leaving night class at the local college to grab a bite; reviews on websites can provide you with opportunities and problems you need to address.

Reviews (negative or positive) give you the chance to see your business the way a consumer sees it -- and become better. Whether it's capitalizing on what you already excel at or improving in areas your business may be lacking. Perhaps you have a consistent problem with a server who has a bad attitude or aren't open late enough for students leaving night class at the local college to grab a bite; reviews on websites can provide you with opportunities and problems you need to address.

However, there is a line that a review can cross and become inappropriate. Inappropriate reviews should not be ignored and should be treated in a careful manner.

When should reviews be removed and how?

Review sites will not allow you to remove reviews unless they violate their established rules.

GOOGLE

Google allows you to flag material you think is inappropriate, which will then be reviewed and removed if deemed necessary.

Google's removes reviews if it is:

  • Advertising
  • Spam
  • Contains phone numbers or URLs
  • Off-topic
  • Contains offensive language
  • Poses a conflict of interest
  • Contains illegal content
  • Has copyrighted content in it
  • Sexually explicit material
  • Involves impersonation
  • Contains confidential content
  • Hate speech

If a review falls under into any of these categories, you can flag it and it will be checked out. Remember, the review needs to violate one of the offenses listed above and a low rating or no explanation for the rating is not a disqualifier.

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FACEBOOK

Facebook follows a similar practice of reporting as Google; they explain inappropriate content that should be flagged in the Facebook Community Standards.

Facebook will remove posts that contain:

  • Violence or make threats
  • Self-harming information
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Hate speech
  • Graphic content
  • Sexually explicit content
  • Private content
  • Spam
  • Compromises security

To report a review to be removed on Facebook, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the review and click in the top right
  2. Click I don't like this review
  3. Click Report and follow the on-screen instructions

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Just like Google, Facebook will look into the post and determine if it should be removed based on the Community Standards.

YELP

Yelp is a bit trickier to maneuver. Unlike Google and Facebook, they don't tell you outright what qualifies a review for removal, but instead lay out what content should not contain:

  • Threats, harassment, lewdness, hate speech and other displays of bigotry
  • Conflict of interests
  • Promotional content
  • Irrelevance
  • Privacy concerns
  • Intellectual property

When it comes to reporting content that does not follow Yelp's guidelines, things get more complicated. Depending on what guideline was not followed changes how it should be reported. More often than not, you can simply flag the post and follow up with a short explanation about why you flagged it.

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With every one of these sites, not only can business owners flag reviews as inappropriate but current and potential customers can as well. Therefore, if a customer suspects that a review is fake, they can flag it, too.

What to do when the review isn't removed

Whether or not a review qualifies to be flagged for a removal, you should always respond to it. Whether the content of the review was off-topic, suspected as fake or simply incorrect, you don't have to sit idly by and let potential customers hear one side of the story.

Just as you do when you are replying to any review, you want to acknowledge what the reviewer has written and respond quickly. In the example below, the reviewer doesn't mention the extra fee for re-installing a screen protector. While the omission of this fact doesn't qualify the review for removal, it may influence future buyers and give them unrealistic expectations.

You will also notice that the owner responds to the review and mentions the lifetime warranty and the short fee, which resolves the issue.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.54.36 AM

One of the worst things online reviews can do is to make potential customers distrust your business. Whether the distrust is created due to false or negative reviews is irrelevant -- the bottom line is that you are still losing customers.

You have the ability to respond to people talking about your business (on a page dedicated to your business); take advantage of the ability this forum allows to have an open conversation and show customers why they should trust and give you their business.

The first step in responding to reviews (true or false) is being aware that they are being posted. There are many tools available, such as LocalCast, that can help you monitor review sites so you never miss a chance to converse with a customer.

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The post When to Remove Reviews appeared first on LocalVox.


Attention - A Basic Need.

What do people crave even more than security?

Attention.

We learn at an early age that attention is the best gift of all.

My young son gets attention, so far, like his father used to, by being the class clown.

My young daughter gets attention, so far, by applying herself studiously to her lessons.

The basic human need for attention has not been attenuated by social media.


Attention - From People Who Could Do Business With Us

In the last two articles, And, What Do You Do? & Using Rich Snippets to Create Compelling Headlines, we showed you two things.

First, how to create a better 'About Us' page.

Second, how to create a better title and headline for your 'About Us' page so that more more people who saw only the headline click through to your 'About Us' page.

Ok, now that more people have shown an interest in what you do, what would you like them to do?

If you were at a tradeshow, it would be normal to introduce yourself, ask some questions, and engage in chit-chat.

If all went well, they would want you to ask them for their business card. So, you would. And then get back to them in due course.

Now, how can your website play this role?

How can your website offer to exchange business cards with only people you will get back to --because they are qualified to do business with you?

Well, it cannot. Not exactly. But, your website can do something similar.

By presenting your LinkedIn business card to visitors, you achieve a similar effect. It looks like this. Here is the Franchise-Info Business card.

Example of LinkedIn Company Business Card -in an article

Here is Reid Hoffman's business card, Reid Hoffman is one of the founders of LinkedIn.

Example of LinkedIn Individual Business Card -in an article

Looks good, doesn't it. How can you get one? And what should you do with it?


Getting Your LinkedIn Business Card


The only difficulty with getting your LinkedIn Business card is how to implement it on your "About Us" page.

You want to put this javascript at the into your html, wherever your want your business card to show up.

instructions.png

Of course, replace http://www.linkedin.com/in/reidhoffman. with your own LinkedIn url. (If you don't know how to find your own LinkedIn url, the instructions are here, just click.)

As always you can ask me for more information in the comments section & I will do my best to answer.For your Smart About Us business listing, we do this automatically for you. You can ask whomever manages your website to do the same for you.

More on Modern Business Cards from LinkedIn ...

If you liked this idea, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

A great business idea combined with an outstanding franchise model carries no weight if potential owners never buy in. For franchisors, attracting potential franchisees is at the core of business success.

When you've invested excess funds into paid advertising without generating solid leads, it may be time to change things up.

Here are just a few ways that a franchise public relations strategy can work for you:

  • Add credibility: Having a third party endorse your brand generates credibility for your franchise and its business model. A franchise that is regularly represented in media outlets, such as in national trade or local publications, conveys the message that it is well-established. This is particularly helpful when entrepreneurs look for opportunities to own their own business. Seeing consistent news coverage will make a potential buyer feel more confident.
  • Increase awareness: You cannot generate sales leads without getting the word out there. A well-thought-out public relations plan can ensure your franchise gains the attention it deserves from customers and potential franchisees. PR pros know how to target specific audiences and "sell" your franchise model without having to use billboards and magazine advertisements. We leverage your unique selling points to gain media attention, organize discovery days and road shows, and increase audience engagement.
  • Maintain reputation: Every aspect of your franchise public relations strategy, from press releases to social media, should work together to build a positive reputation for your business in the industry. A PR team is well-versed in reputation management, including knowing how to develop a crisis plan for when things take an unexpected turn. With a strategy put into place, your brand's reputation can remain consistent.

For companies that want to take their franchise to new heights, there are agency professionals like us at Ripley PR. We know how to leverage your unique business model to get your name out there and generate sales leads. We've been in franchise sales meetings. We understand franchise marketing. And we truly "get" your business. Contact us today to start working on a plan to take your company to the next level.

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

Shoe Store Runs Wild Online

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Runnin' Wild Kids Shoes opened in August 2012 in the heart of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Since opening, this shoe store has become the go-to shoe store local families because of the major brands stocked, shoe sizes and styles for infants to tweens, as well as extremely knowledgeable staff. There is nothing run-of-the-mill about Runnin' Wild Kids Shoes and the customer service is reminiscent of an era when a customer would visit a store inquiring what shoe was best for him/her and leave with the employee's recommendation in hand.

Runnin' Wild Kids Shoes entered a competitive market, due to the rise of large online retailers and discount chains that can undercut local businesses; this competition was compounded by the fact that New York City has a population as diverse as the stores that cater to each audience.

Breaking Into the MarketAs a new business, Runnin' Wild Kids Shoes struggled to gain exposure in the bustling metropolis of Brooklyn, with many niche stores popping up to service the rapidly-changing neighborhood. Runnin' Wild Kids Shoes had a weak web presence, with only Facebook and Tumblr pages. The shoe store's main source of new business came from word of mouth, and in this competitive market, this strategy wasn't cutting it.

After a friend recommended LocalVox to the owner, Anthony Fauci, Runnin' Wild Kids Shoes revamped its entire marketing mindset. Instead of focusing on in-person word of mouth, they focused on growing business online. In addition to upping their rank on Google, they also built out their social media presence/reputation and increase the number of contacts on their email list.

Local Online Marketing With the Click of a Button

Fauci chose LocalCast because out of all the platforms he reviewed, LocalCast was the easiest -- in fact, as simple as a click of a button. With LocalCast, Running Wild Kid Shoes was soon growing business online by publishing news and deals to hundreds of local touch points and updating their social media, directories and email lists from one central platform.

Fauci quickly noticed an up-tick in new customers and when he inquired about where they heard about Running Wild Kid Shoes, the response was always the same: on Google or another online network.

Running Wild Kid Shoes owner, Anthony Fauci explained how LocalVox helped grow business online.Anthony Fauci

"If you are willing to participate fully in [LocalCast] I do not know of or can think of any better product. We are #1 on Google and it does not get any better than that. LocalVox has shown they are committed to helping my business grow. I would recommend them because they act as more of a partner than a provider."

Driving Revenue by Messaging Customers Across the Web

Runnin' Wild Kids Shoes now regularly messages current and potential customers online:

  • 4,600+ local customers engage with their content
  • 700+ reads on their first few posts (vs. 200 for the average local business website)
  • 375+ customers keep in touch with email and social media
  • 5 stars on Yelp

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From Zero to Hero in Organic SEO

The quickest improvement Runnin' Wild Kids Shoes experienced was a sharp spike in web activity and local search results on Google, Google Maps and leading local directories.

Running Wild Sharp Spike

The shoe store began ranking for key terms to drive new local customers to their store and continue to have 19 terms listing in the top three on Google.

Top 3

You Can Grow Business Online

Not everybody has the time to becoming an online marketing expert, especially when you are running a business, and LocalVox built our online marketing software to meet these constraints. LocalVox enables businesses to dominate on search and bring new customers in the door with a simple, effective and affordable online marketing platform.

To learn more about how LocalVox can help you grow business online, please contact us. We look forward to learning more about your challenges and creating a search engine optimization strategy that allows you to meet your goals.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.


1. Getting People to Buy Your Stuff

I want to inspire you. So, I tell you about a great thing:

"Here's a great thing for you."

What I left unsaid but was heard, by you, is:

"Yeah, it would be a great thing for me, if you bought my stuff."

And, then I go on to say to you:

"I have excellent instructions about how you can achieve this great thing."

You respond with:

"Yeah, it is a great thing."

But don't do anything. Because you have also said to yourself something like:

"Looks like a lot of work."

So, I need to hear what you didn't say. I need to have a reply. Something like:

"Because doing this great thing will produce these wonderful benefits that you have always wanted. And it's easy."

And, I want you to say in return:

"Ok, let me see at your instructions."

Anything else is a failure. I did not inspire you.


2. Getting People to Click on Your Headlines

How can we inspire our readers to click on our headlines?

Let's look at an real example.

Last week when I was researching for my article, "And, What Do You Do?", I searched using this keyword phrase "how to improve about us pages".

The top article listed for this keyword phrase is Jeff Hayden's article which is called "8 Ways to Improve Your 'About Us' Page". (By the way, you should read Jeff's articles carefully. He is excellent at making the complex clear.)

But, Hayden's article also appeared in the 8th spot.

Here is picture of the two entries which were returned from search, the search engine results page or SERP, when I searched for "how to about us pages."

Which one would you click on? Headline 1 or Headline 2?

Headline 1.

About Us LinkedIn.png

Headline 2.

Inc About Us.png

Ok, both have the same headline in bold. But, the description of the benefits to the reader are very different.

Headline 1 gives a plausible reason to why I should care. Because "chances are, [your about us page] is one of the most visited pages on your website. It's also probably the weakest."

Most visited and the weakest? Got it. Ok, I want to know why & I am going to click.

Headline 2 offers the reader no such incentive. It is true, interesting, but why should I care? Feh, big deal. Move on, nothing to read here.


3. Geeky Stuff About Open Graph Mark-Up & Meta Tags

Figuring out how to get the description of your article to show up is an interesting exercise.

Let's take a look at the underlying html for Jeff's article.

(You will have to blow this image up to its full view by clicking on it to read it.)

View Source Inc.png

Ok, when Jeff's article was shared into a LinkedIn group, LinkedIn looked at these two lines of meta description.

1. <meta property="og:title" content="8 Ways to Improve Your 'About Us' Page" />


2. <meta property="og:description" content="Chances are, it's one of the most-visited pages on your site. It's probably also the weakest. Here's how to fix it." />

This tells the LinkedIn bot to describe the article with themeta property "og:description". And that is good, because the description makes the headline more clickable. Good LinkedIn bot. But not great, because the title is repeated again before the description of what benefits reading the article have.

On the other hand, the Google bot ignored these mark-up instructions and returned the first line from Jeff's article as a description. Bad Google bot. And that is bad, because the first line offers no incentive to read the article.

This is not what Jeff had in mind. Naughty, Google bot.

How do we know what Jeff had in mind? Look at his article:

2nd Headline.png

Jeff clearly understand the function of the second headline -- in this case, to inspire us to move down the page and read his instructions. About a great thing.


4. Franchise-Info's Implementation of this Great Thing - An Extra Headline

We don't expect you to hand code your Franchise Directory page or entry. Or become SEO experts, or anything difficult like that.

You just want your headline that people saw on LinkedIn to be clicked more, so your article is read more often. (If they aren't reading you, they won't do business with you.)

Do you want us do to that for you?

More about Rich Snippets, and much more. Take a look ... click here ...

If you liked this idea, sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

Social media has been inching its way into other forms of advertising, including commercials.

At first, it was "innovative" when companies would include their Facebook URL or Twitter handle on their commercials, but Panera took it to a new level.

Did you catch it? They used actual tweets from customers to promote their products.

panera-twitter.png

This is a great way to reward customers for talking about your brand, and also connecting with customers on a more personal level. There are a few ways you can get this type of conversation to use in your marketing strategies:

Start with your fan base: use a content for a double win - encourage customers to tweet about your product with a specific hashtag on your social media sites. Select a random post every day as a winner. Not only can they win something such as a gift card to your business, but the opportunity to be highlighted in your upcoming marketing piece.

Thank & reward those who are currently doing this: you may not need a contest - you may find that your customers are already talking about your brand, even maybe using hashtags. By reviewing the data from your social media monitoring program, you can identify these consumers, connect with them, and ask permission to use their content in your upcoming marketing promotion.

This is a great way to engage and reward your customers!

Using social media conversations as marketing tools is yet another great reason for monitoring social media data surrounding your brand and products. Use the unstructured feedback as a tool while building relationships and engaging your fans.

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories, in Franchising a weekly report, click here & sign up.

The good news in PR during the '90s? Clients on magazine covers, Wall Street Journal columns, 900 word stories in their major dailies. The bad news? Lots of mistakes, lots of jockying for space, bad photos appearing, misquotes.

2015-Content Management. I'm liking this better. Here's what we can do now and make sure it's seen by thousands of people. With photos, graphics and artwork.

WINDOW GENIE CLEANS HOUSE IN 2014

National Brand Partnerships, Technology Enhancements, Franchisee Growth Planned for 2015

(Cincinnati, Ohio)---If 2014 was any indication, Americans are appreciating home cleaning services the likes of which Window Genie provides more than ever. The 21 franchise locations opened throughout the year--with three additional locations pending an early 2015 opening--are proof enough of the growing demand for the mobile cleaning service famous for window cleaning, window tinting and pressure washing. Now, heading into 2015, the company that celebrated its 20th year in business in 2014 is gearing up for even greater growth, spurred in large part by the multiple programs and partnerships set to take off in the year.

Beyond franchisee growth in 2014, Window Genie was also lauded by a number of business journals throughout the year. Inc. Magazine recognized Window Genie as the 13th fastest-growing business in the Cincinnati metropolitan area in addition to placing it on the upper half of its annual Inc. 5000 listing of fastest-growing companies in the United States. In addition, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Window Genie 195th on its annual Franchise 500 list, cementing its place as one of the fastest-growing and top home-based franchises.

In 2015, says Window Genie founder and CEO Richard Nonelle, the company has big plans to benefit franchisees and customers alike. "We will continue to focus on improving the experience between franchisee and customer," says Nonelle. "We'll do this both through new partnerships we've founded with a number of national brands, including Yelp and Home Advisor, as well as by enhancing our technology." Window Genie's mobile search strategy, adds Nonelle, will be in full effect in 2015, which will entail an improved online presence and SEO enhancements to benefit owners.

Window Genie aims to continue its growth in 2015, and Nonelle points to years of consistent annual expansion as proof that his plan is a sustainable one. In the last three years, 60 franchisees have joined the Window Genie system. Window Genie franchisees can be found all throughout the United States, with target markets for growth for 2015 in the East and West coasts and throughout Florida.

###

About Window Genie

Founded in 1994 by Richard Nonelle, Cincinnati-based Window Genie is a mobile cleaning services company focused primarily on its "big three" services: window cleaning, window tinting and pressure washing. The company also offers, among many other services, dryer vent cleaning, chandelier cleaning and gutter cleaning and re-securing. Window Genie services primarily residential customers, as well as small offices and commercial spaces. The company currently has 72 franchise owners operating 140 units in 28 states, and expects to grow to 100 franchisees by the end of 2015 and over 300 within five years. Target markets include California, New York and Florida. For more information, visit www.windowgenie.com.

(This was originally published in Progress Magazine, Volume 21 No. 5, and is relevant for all regional economic centers, not just Atlantic Canada.)

When it comes to developing partnerships and maximizing partner relations for business growth (and to strengthening Atlantic Canadian business overall), there are a number of online strategies that can support that process. In fact, neglecting these strategies often results in missed opportunities.

Here are four strategies to help your organization build partnerships with potential clients, investors, advocates, employees and other businesses.

1.Connect on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools today for building partnerships, so when you send an invitation to connect, write a short personal greeting. You'll be remembered for this. Ask for an introduction when you need one. Join and participate in relevant groups. Don't be shy. LinkedIn's entire purpose is to help people connect. Use it.

2. Monitor and Engage with Twitter Lists

Creating Twitter lists is a powerful way to stay connected with partners, stay on top of their activities, provide support and strengthen relationships. Lists cut through all the chatter and allow you to focus solely on the users whose activity you want to see.

From there you can share their content and engage proactively. Lists can be public, which is perfect when you want to make a display of your support. They can also be private when you want to keep a personal eye on things.

3. Link to Your Partners

Once partnerships are established and if you want to let the world know, use your online platforms to make the partnerships as visible as possible. Put their logos on your website. Share their blog posts through your social channels. Feature them on your site in interviews or partner profiles. This isn't fitting for every partnership, but when it works it can be a powerful promotional tool that benefits you both.

4. Stay Top-of-Mind

Use online tools to make sure your partners know that you're thinking of them. If you come across an article you know your partner would like, email the link. Send happy birthday tweets or more personal notes when special occasions occur. Celebrate successes by congratulating partners on milestones you come across on LinkedIn or by retweeting their good news.

Above all, be authentic in your online development and support of partners.

Also, consider where we would be collectively if all Atlantic Canadian businesses began to see everything other Atlantic Canadian business as a partner. Maybe it's time to break down the online (and offline) barriers and discover the difference we could make if we all truly did support each other.

And, What Do You Do?

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The Problem with Elevator Pitches

When people ask "What do you do?" they're just making polite conversation. With rare exceptions, they don't really care.

Tim David, Improving Your Elevator Pitch.

You care to let people who visit your website what you can do for them.

But, do you care if some of those people are really interested in what you do? Interested enough to buy from you?

(Or do you have too many good high-paying clients already to bother worrying about your website, or online business directory listing?)

First, let's think about how you get people you meet in person to care about what you do. Because that is not easy, is it?

Second, we can change that dialogue into something just for print on your website or online business directory listing.

It's your job with your first response to shake them out of the polite convention.

How to Make People Care What You Do

Tim David, whose fine article on elevators pitches I just quoted, has a good 4 solution to making people care. (Read the whole article, you will enjoy it.)

Here is my summary of his solution:

1. Respond with a surprise. Here is how he answers the question, "What do you do?"

You mean, in addition to be being an international body building champion?

Tim is 5'10", weighs 135 lbs and when he steps on ants, "they live". It is obvious that Tim is angling for a laugh - or a real connection. And he gets it.

2. Now that you have their attention, maintain their interest in the original question. Get them to agree with your both problem formulation and offer a potential solution.

3. When the timing is right, and you hear in the conversation something like "How do you do that?" & give them a results based story. Something you have just done for someone just like them.

4. Finally, ask for the meeting.

How does this help us with our website or online business directory?

With a modern online business directory listing, or your own website which you can edit, you could produce a similar effect to Tim's in person dialogue. But, you would have to give up on having your 'About Us' page read like a static big yellow page ad.

Break your single 'About Us' page into 4 'Smart About Us' pages, and lead the reader from one page to another with next buttons.

Surprising Opening.png

Now, each vistor that goes to your website & visits your 'About Us' pages will click through your 'About Us' pages by pressing a "Next" button.

Each time that visitor presses "Next", to learn more, the closer they are to being your next client -someone whose next step is to ask for the meeting.

There's more .... 'Smart About Us Pages'

If you liked this idea, sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

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