Archive for promoting yourself
CONFIDENCE COMES FROM COMPETENCE
YOUR UNEXPECTED FRIENDS
In the course of building up your knowledge, you begin to know and be known by everyone in your niche. I like to call out other speakers in my presentation as I notice them– citing their work and expertise. Sometimes I call them on stage to present with me! This builds your authority, creates interactivity, and makes a receptive crowd.
CHICKEN AND EGG
- Know the conference productivity hacks as an attendee first.
- Know how to prepare during the show.
- Get with the organizers to be super helpful. You can get anyone’s time with these tricks.
- Start guest blogging so that these people see your knowledge. Like this.
- Don’t read the slides. Tell stories with your slide imagery backing it up.
- Never pitch your product or service, even if you’re a vendor that has the hottest thing on the market. If you need to generate leads, invite a customer to talk about how they solved a problem– lightly mentioning your tool, but focusing more on the issues your client faced.
- Don’t be the AH MONSTER. Tape yourself and see how many “umms” and “ahhs” you have. You might be surprised. If you’re under 30, watch for “like” and “you know”. Once you see this, you’ll never be able to un-see it among your friends. Go to ToastMasters, pause between sentences– do anything except eject verbal diarrhea upon your audience.
- Bring at least 30 business cards. The instant you’re done speaking, if you’re done a decent job, expect a queue up front.
So I decide to have some fun and ask a local student to write a biography for me. This is what he came up with.
Dennis Yu is not only a Facebook Marketing expert and CEO of a company, he is also an avid anteater collector and loves Magic: the Gathering!
Dennis Yu, CEO of BlitzLocal.com and Facebook marketing expert, has recently shocked the online world, both with his expertise and knowledge of Facebook dashboards and analytics, but also by revealing more about his interesting and dynamic personal life.
“First and Foremost, my passion is Facebook marketing,” said Yu. “My company provides dashboards to really help companies see how their social media is working and devise plans to grow and succeed their social media, and in turn, their brand.” However, to most Facebook experts, that is not news. Dennis has been a staple provider of must-have tools and is an industry legend. The more newsworthy materials are what Dennis revealed in a recent interview with local student and social media wannabe Mitch Mallory. “Dennis is such a dynamic person, and to learn more about his personal life was an absolute revelation to me,” said Mallory. “It was a look inside the mind of a successful, dynamic, and exciting man.”
For one, Yu is an avid collector of anteaters. As in, those animals with the long noses that eat ants. As is expected, his interest in them came out of mere practicality. “In college, we had an ant problem,” said Yu. “I’ve always tried to think outside the proverbial box, so I thought it might be fun to adopt a rescue anteater, as we had a shelter close by.The rest, as they say, is history.” Interestingly enough, Yu now has seven anteaters, and this reporter can say accurately, each one is known and loved by Dennis. (He claims to not have a favorite, but Grizelda, the 7 year old pygmy anteater, seemed to get the most cuddle time.)
Another lesser-known fact about Yu is that he is an avid player of the card game Magic: the Gathering, which had its heyday in the early 1990’s. “Again, this interest came out of my passion for marketing,” said Yu. “I love strategizing a plan for companies and providing them with the tools to really find the success they’re seeking. Magic, for me, provides that same challenge but in the relaxed, friendly environment of my basement. I love finding the right tools, in this case the warlocks and dragons, and executing a plan to help myself and my orcs succeed.” Although Dennis is world-renowned for his social media tools and strategies, these new revelations made him even more beloved to his dedicated followers and fans.
“Wow, anteaters?” said an obviously delighted Sarah Darlington, a devoted Facebook and Twitter follower of Yu’s. “I honestly am considering getting one of my own if it helps me be as good as Dennis is.”
Dennis is an avid Tweeter, Facebook marketer, and CEO of BlitzLocal.com. Dennis has been featured by CBS News, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal, among dozens of other publications and outlets. His social media tools have been used by brands big and small around the world. Dennis can be contacted at email@example.com
Below is an opinion piece that I solicited from a total stranger. I paid him $5 using a service called Fiverr asking him to write a quick bio. Below is what I got. Pretty cool, huh?
Keith Wilcox is living a life many parents can only dream of. After a string of soul-sucking and unfortunate jobs, Keith has finally found the good life, home-schooling his kids, working from home, and imparting parenting wisdom to people around the globe.
The first thing people may wonder about Keith is how, exactly, he is able to give credible parenting advice? The reasons are many, but consider these:
First, Keith was a nationally-ranked high school athlete. What does that have to do with parenting and advice? Plenty—it took hours, months, and years of dedication to get to that level. Keith, even in his early years, was able to stick to a task and find success after the hard work. Those same principles of hard work, discipline, and success have translated quite well into his parenting skills and advice.
Second, Keith has used that athletic success to help his son become a professional tennis player. Again, it’s almost hard to comprehend what a difficult task that is, with the level of competition and the insane amounts of dedication it takes, not just from the player, but from those around him, and in this case, his dad Keith.
And third, Keith has chosen to home school his sons. While the reasons are sundry, it doesn’t take much more than a glance at any news story on any day (like today’s shooting at a public school in Ohio) to see why a father would want to home school his sons. Not only does he get to impart to them the many life lessons and character-building experiences he has had, but he is able to bond with them on a level many fathers with they could with their children.
Lastly, Keith is simply a fulfilled person. So many people go through life searching for a purpose, trying to fill a void, and that emptiness can affect them and those around them. Keith, on the other hand, is extremely fulfilled, living the life he always desired. In Keith’s own words, “My life will be complete and I can die happy when I know that my kids have grown up to be strong, intelligent, and self sufficient people.” With the amount of love and dedication to his children he has shown in his life thus far, it can be safely said that Keith is a complete, happy, and dynamic businessman, blogger, husband, and father.
Congratulations! You’ve been promoted to manage your very first project. You’ve demonstrated that you’re a good worker bee— you can make campaigns, prepare reports, and do whatever else you’ve been assigned.
But managing a project is a completely different matter. Now, instead of dutifully doing what you’re told, you have to figure out what the client wants, build project plans, coordinate between multiple people, and make sure things happen on time and in the right way. Being new in the position and perhaps even young (which makes it harder), you’re afraid that your co-workers and client might not respect you or that you don’t have authority.
Relax—use these simple techniques and it will be hard to fail.
First, get organized. If you are not organized yourself, there’s no way you can begin to think about tracking all the things that your teammates are doing. Are you using basecamp to track who is doing what? Every task should have a description, be assigned to a person, and have a due date. These 3 items are the building blocks of project management—who is doing it, what they’re doing, when is it due.
Use it for anything you could potentially forget about—people you have to call, stuff you need to read, even personal errands. You don’t need Microsoft Project Central or any fancy software—even the Tasks feature in Gmail is sufficient. Even a simple spiral notebook works just fine.
When you’re organized, you don’t have to worry about that one thing you know you were told a few weeks ago, but lost track of. Terrible feeling to be lost and behind—it’s like drowning. So don’t let yourself get there. Check your email twice per day and quickly take care of things by doing one of the following—do it, delete it, or delegate it.
There’s no other option. Don’t read it and then mark it unread. Don’t skim over things with the thinking that you’ll come back to it later. You gain massive efficiency by taking care of things just once—the first time. Plus, when you take care of things right away, they don’t fester into bigger problems that result in all sorts of drama later. I can’t tell you how many people I see complain about being busy or having too many emails, when all they’re really doing is just moving sand from one pile to another, getting nothing done.
Second, create a specific statement of the goal. If you’re lucky enough to have just one project to manage, this is easy. The client may want a website to do X in Y amount of time for Z dollars. Then you break down X into minute little measurable tasks that you assign out to people. Perhaps there is a Statement of Work you can reference where most of the work is already done for you.
In either case, you should check back with the client to affirm the requirements, if for no other reason that to show them that you care and to start building a relationship. Many first time project managers fail by hiding from the start, letting their project go down in flames while they bite their lips in silence. Perhaps they are afraid of looking stupid or whatever reason, but the net result of these good intentions is failure, all the same.
Establishing with the client that you are the lead—the person they can go to for anything—is critical to get you off on the right foot. It then takes the burden off your boss, who likely doesn’t want to step in and do your job for you. Your boss is busy doing other things and if they’re a good boss, will only want to step in if you are in trouble. If the client feels the need to relay requirements or other project communication with your boss, then they are saying you have failed to do your job. So you want to establish the requirements early and make it clear you are responsible.
Third, communicate actively with your project stakeholders. We like to use the RACI model, which stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.
You are the R— meaning that you’re Responsible for the project success. Completely. The buck stops with you, even if so-and-so didn’t reply to your email or give you access to that particular system. It’s your job to stay on top of dependencies, as opposed to having a great set of excuses later when someone else fails in silence. There is only one R, else you have too many cooks in the kitchen.A is Accountable, which covers multiple people that are accountable for doing particular tasks. Sometimes you are the R and the A for smaller projects. But more often, you delegate tasks to engineers and designers who are on the hook for various things. And these folks will forget to do their things, do them improperly, provide excuses why it was someone else’s responsibility, and so forth. You are there to resolve these issues before they become visible to the client—you want to monitor this BEFORE you have slipped the schedule irreparably, and before the big emergency. A great project manager can see problems in advance, then escalate as needed.C is consulted, which means that you might need the expertise, advice, or permission of others to proceed. The C role is dangerous here, since a lot of people will want to be involved in your project, especially if it’s high profile and involves social media—something that everyone feels they are an expert in. To prevent meeting madness, where you’re unable to hold meetings because of too many people wanting to attend, make it super clear who is doing what in the Accountable section—the list of tasks.You’ll come across many corporate folks who will say they are responsible in some vague sort of way, upon which you politely explain your role, who else is accountable for certain tasks, and then ask them what exactly they would like to do in this project. If you’re suave, you can pacify these backseat drivers. If you’re too blunt, you’ll offend these people, even if it’s clear that they have no specific useful skills to the project or add any type of value.I is Informed. These are folks who you should keep updated, usually AFTER you have made a decision and have taken action. Only the Consulted people need to be asked in advance of a decision. Because most corporate folks attribute their value in direct proportion to how many meetings they attend (if you’re busy, then you must be in high demand and very important), you’ll have to fight to keep most folks in the I bucket versus somewhere else.The easiest way to ward off these folks is to publish meeting minutes. That way, they’re not afraid of missing something juicy from not having attended—they can merely read the summary. Ask yourself how many project managers are guilty of not publishing the meeting minutes? They’re the ones who are struggling and haven’t even gotten around to placing people in the RACI roles. Ironically, their excuse is that they’re too busy. The reason they’re too busy is that they’re wasting time doing nonsensical things to actually have time to produce things of value.There you have it. Nothing magical. But it sure works like magic. When you make it clear that you have a goal, specified the team and specific tasks needed to get to your goal, the waters will part. The cubicle dwellers will respect that you have a mission. Those who want to know what’s going on don’t have to call a meeting to waste the precious time of your team—they can just log into basecamp or read the latest meeting minutes.If the big boss decides to derail you because of the latest fire drill, you can confidently say “yes” to any of her requests, because you at the same time mention the impact to the work schedule you’re already on.If the client decides to change his mind and increase the scope of the project (they would never do that!), then you can say “yes”—AND the impact is $X and Y days to the timeline. You never say “yes, but”, which is arguing with them. You say “yes, and”. Let them trade off between time, money, and scope—pick two, as they say.If you follow these three steps I this orders— to get organized, be clear on your goals, and run the RACI project management model—you’re well-protected from every angle. People will marvel and how well you manage and what a good job you do. By making the model clear, everyone knows what is expected, so there’s little room to hide. The typical corporate cubicle monsters who are looking for a big company to hide in will know they are not welcome. And you’ll be spending less time dealing with the same old excuses, and more time doing things that you enjoy.
How do you fare against this model? Are there certain techniques that work well for you? Perhaps you have a horror story to share (names kept anonymous to protect the guilty)?
I met this fellow Jason Stephens on fiverr.com. He did a killer impersonation of Morgan Freeman and Christopher Walken, which you can listen to here. Yes, I got this for only $5. And, no, this is not a paid endorsement. I was so thrilled working with him that I wrote this blog post in gratitude.
The unintended effect is likely that Jason’s book of business will get so full from word of mouth that I’ll never be able to hire him again– at least not at this super steal of a price. So go in and hire him for $5 before it’s too late. This is his profile.
If this was a good tip, please let me know in the comments below.
Sometimes you get a piece of advice so deep, yet so obvious, that you have to stop for a minute to think about it. Thanks to Gillian Muessig, President of SEOmoz, for mentoring me on this– her five magic words a bit later….
Have you ever been approached by a prospective client that would like to do business with you, but clearly doesn’t have the money? These are “wanna be” clients. They can’t afford to be clients, but have champagne tastes on a beer budget. See if any of these sound familiar to you:
- “We want to be business partners with you and share the risk” (translation: “we have no money”).
- “If you deliver us the revenue, then we can pay you your fee” (translation: “we have no money”).
- “I can get this a lot cheaper elsewhere” (translation: “we have no money”).
- “Let’s do a trade-out of services” (translation: “we have no money”).
- “We need to ask you some questions to qualify you” (translation: “we have no money and want to string you along for free advice in the meantime”).
If you ever hear any of this, here are the 5 magic words you say…. Drum roll, please…
WE ‘RE NOT RIGHT FOR EVERYONE.
Repeat that to yourself three times to lock it into your head. Don’t fall into the trap of selling yourself short. You’ll regret taking on a cheap client– and not only are they the ones with the least money, but also the neediest and hardest to deal with. Our best clients pay us handsomely, treat us well, and are a joy to work with. The clients where we’ve made exceptions to this rule suck the life out of us and sometimes make us wonder why we’re in this business. Spare your staff the angst and remember these 5 magic words, else you risk losing your best people, too (who can work anywhere).
Tell the prospect, firmly and politely, that you work with a select group of clients — that you work with the best in the industry and pay your people well, because you have the best people. Mention that you don’t compete on being the cheapest game in town, nor are you the most expensive. If they keep pushing, hold the line — say that you’re not a discount agency, that you can refer them to other agencies that would gladly take their project.
The clients that do pass this bar are going to be businesses that are likely to be solid in their operations, have folks who appreciate value, and will rekindle the excitement that caused you to strike out on your own to begin with. You’re being paid well enough to afford to do a good job, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your staff members look forward to working with these clients and the enthusiasm is infectious.
Bruce Clay pulled me aside at SMX Advanced last year and gave me similar advice. He said the key to getting the right clients is to “stand in the middle of the road, arms outstretched, screaming that you are the best.” Half the people will think you’re crazy and walk away. The other half will say “Gee, he really must be the best” and then hire you.
Bruce also advised to ask the prospect this question, “If your child was sick, would you go for the cheapest heart surgeon or the best?” That should do it. If not, you don’t want to work with them. Their business is like their child– and when you have only one shot to do it right, they should choose the best every time, unless they have no money.
You don’t want or need to have every potential deal that’s out there. Be choosy. Would you rather have 40 clients that each pay you $1k a month in fees or 4 clients that each pay you $10k a month? If you have 4 clients, you can focus your efforts to deliver solid value, build a solid relationship, and have on-going solid business deals — as opposed to spreading your efforts thin among the chorus of squeaky wheels that compete for your attention.
So let’s make it 6 magic words, courtesy of Gillian:
SORRY, WE’RE NOT RIGHT FOR EVERYONE.
Maybe when that prospective clients get a little larger, they’ll be right for you– or maybe if they’re serious about what it takes to succeed in online marketing. But remember that if you’re having a hard time with them when they haven’t even paid a dime, imagine how they’ll be when they’ve handed you a few dollars.
If you follow the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule), then remember that you need only a few clients to have a great business. Don’t be afraid to cut some clients loose. They may have been right for you a couple years ago when you were a smaller firm or just getting started. But now you’re a different company and have moved on to a different client base. You can recommend others that can do a great job.
If you like this, please let me know or send a note to Gillian thanking her for the advice she’s has generously given here.
On November 4th, 2009, the new Facebook promotional guidelines took effect with little notice. Whether you’re selling Maggianos or marijuana, the rules have a major impact on you and are strict. For example:
- You can’t require the user to post, friend, or comment as part of being entered into your contest.
- You can’t notify winners via Facebook’s platform– comments, posts, email, whatever.
- You have to even place this specific text as part of your promotion:
- “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to [recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for [disclose any way that you plan to use the user's information].”
- You can’t mention Facebook anywhere, as people may easily be confused into thinking that Facebook is sponsoring it.
- You have to get written approval from Facebook at least 7 days before you run a contest.
I’m paraphrasing here, so you should read the whole article in its entirety itself. It’s well-written and clear. Most of the brands I see running promotions and contests on Facebook are breaking these rules. Now let’s see whether Facebook actually enforces these rules. If the past history is an indicator, Facebook writes policy more to allow enforcement against the bad actors, than to try to bust anyone that may run afoul, but doing so in a non-spammy way.
Confused by these changes? Need help from a Facebook advertising agency? We might be able to help.
I get pitched a ton of ideas and most of them are pretty good. No doubt, it’s a GREAT idea! Odds are that it might not be truly unique, as is typical in web entrepreneurship. However, the winner in the space is the first to properly execute. No experience founding a company before, don’t have a lot of money, need engineering expertise? Have no fear. My advice for you is to go out and buy “Founders at Work”– which has interviews with a dozen web entrepreneurs who went on to found Yahoo!, PayPal, and other ventures. Find out what it’s really like in taking something from concept to a multi-billion dollar reality– it’s probably not what you think.
Already have in mind an agency you want to pay to develop your concept? Don’t do it. That agency likely has solid experts in PHP, Facebook development , WordPress, or whatever,— but if you look at the stats, rarely does a tech startup succeed by having agency development resources. Unless you have a TON of cash and don’t need inspired engineering, the odds are not in your favor going this route. The catch-22 of agency work is that if these folks were so great, why aren’t they building their own ideas? Analogously, if you’re such a great stockbroker, then why aren’t you building your own portfolio? Great tech startups need a technical co-founder. If you’re paying a contractor or worse– an agency– you’re not getting someone who is sleeping, dreaming, and eating your idea, 24×7.
Ideas are a dime a dozen– execution is everything. And rarely can one person summon the energy needed to pull it off, even if you have all the skills needed. You might also read “Hackers and Painters” which goes into detail on how great builders, innovators, and engineers in the web space are the same thing.
So first order of business, before you’re looking at hiring other people or spending money on marketing is to find others who will join you in the cause. Let those other guys spent a year chasing those VC dollars, while you focus on execution, are absolutely frugal with every dollar, and have a lean, hungry team looking for results.
Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to meet Dharmesh Shah, founder of HubSpot. His tips, while seemingly anti-VC, are right on target. Fail quickly by releasing early– then you can suck less faster. Don’t release your product for free– charge for it. Start demoing on real customer, not your friends who will say what you want to hear. Focus on results, not on powerpoint presentations. Don’t go pitch everyone you know– you’ll end up spinning your wheels. And ignore those naysayers (often friend and family) who mean well, but serve only to pull you down.
Good luck on your idea!
3 months ago Microsoft spent $100 million to launch BING search. And now Yahoo! has followed suit, spending another $100 million for their own branding campaign. All the while Google and Facebook are laughing at the big company mentality for marketing– to spend money on traditional advertising.
If your search quality hasn’t changed, then invest the $100 million to build a better product, not to just advertise.
Yahoo’s new ad campaign is called “It’s You”, which harkens back to the Life Engine campaign of several years ago– lots of purple. What I want to know is– how is the new Yahoo! about me, as they claim?