The Art of Digital Leverage

There is nothing quite like food and cooking to bring people together. Long before you fire up the burners, shop for ingredients, or plan the menu, you need to create your digital invites. Today's Gastrofest event at Hemming Plaza is no exception. Here in Jacksonville, we love our food events. In a few short years, GastroJax has become a big deal. I believe much of the credit belongs to their social media presence. Here are some of the ingredients they use to entice residents and guests to join them at the GastroFest.

The best way to demonstrate future fun is to post photos from the past. Just the short video of the 2015 night time scene makes you want to get up off the couch and head downtown. Foodie photos rarely reveal the hard work involved in creating the dishes you'll find at this event. The same is true of the social posts. There are three essential ingredients in a successful post. The image, the text for the invitation and the link that serves as a Call To Action.

If you are a business owner looking for a the best way to use social media to promote your business, the GastroFest Facebook page is a great choice from a menu of digital delights! 

GastroFest Jacksonville is being held March 18, 2017, in Hemming Plaza from 11-7 pm. See you there!

That was then, this is now. The distance between then and now could be as little as 24 hours. I taught a course at University of North Florida for the Small Business Resource Network here in Jacksonville a few months ago. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn just before the class. Not soon after LinkedIn put on a new face. Users immediately started falling out of their chairs, including me. Time to pick ourselves up and get back into the LinkedIn game.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Ugly - I'm not a fan of the new profile look. Those who view your profile have to dig deeper to discover the real you. Most of your profile is hidden. 

The Bad - the new "See More' link transforms your profile into an iceberg. You'll need to pay more attention to the top of your profile. I recommend including a call to action "Click to See More".

The Good - One of LinkedIn's most valuable and least visible features is advanced search. I'm happy to say it's still there and just as valuable. Now it's really hidden, not to mention cryptic. Click in the search box at the top, then scroll all the way to the bottom and click, "Search for people with filters". To be clear, you are not looking for people who have filters, you'll be using filters to find the right people. 

My best advice is to block out an hour to explore the new user interface. LinkedIn is a valuable tool, but I'd be careful not to point it at any qualified prospect until you've had some time to become familiar with this upgrade. Use the link below to access some valuable tips from Viveka von Rosen at Linked at Linked Into Business.

When business leaders become aware of a company-wide business challenge, it appears small on the horizon. As it moves closer, the problem grows. Eventually, it will grow large enough to engulf leaders, organizations, even entire industries. Such is the visual that comes to mind when the term digital disruption enters a conversation or business meeting. Kodak, Sears, Kmart were crushed, simply because they took their eye off the event horizon. Instagram, AirBnB, Lyft, Zappos soared. Not only did they see what was coming, they took action to meet the challenge lurking on their horizon. Why is important to your organization? As a leader, you have not only the responsibility but the opportunity to choose your future. Win or lose, it's up to you.

Just speaking the phrase digital disruption out loud make business leaders queasy. The want to cover their ears, denounce the messenger, run the other way. Except there is nowhere to hide. Even worse, times running out for established companies who have hoped to dodge the digital bullet. All industries either are or will be affected. 

In KPMG Internationals latest edition of their CEO Outlook Summit, a majority of the 1,300 CEO who responded present two key finding. The first is the next three years will deliver the greatest disruption to business we have ever seen. the second is that organizations can choose to disrupt their organizations or be disrupted by a small group of kids in a garage. 

Whether you get your news in print, from a media site or in your social feed, sometime today you' hear about digital winners or losers. Lately, it is more about losers than winners.   

Where to Start

With all the choices of platforms, programs, and Apps it's easy to become overwhelmed. Use the list below to find a starting point that fits your operations and culture.

  • Look for the clipboards. Rarely do they contain handwritten information. A closer look reveals computer generated forms. The overhead, effort and time involved in printing, distribute, inputing data, and process the results require brute force. Replacing clipboard with tablets eliminates effort, cost and produces better results in a fraction of time requires for manual processing.
  • Extend the process outlined above target procedures that are hampered by bottlenecks. If a technology asset is underperforming, an investment in staff training will increase the value the asset. Eliminate any technology that is in search of a reason for being.
  • Measuring business performance is a well-defined element of successful management. The lack of a digital performance measurement standard creates an opportunity to hold your technology investment to a higher standard. Measure your tech investment to a revenue and profitability benchmark. Web traffic and clickthroughs are a poor standard of financial performance.   

Despite decades of hype and a bouquet full of rosy performance projections, technology is limited to a very short list of ways it can be used to create value for your organization. Connect the dots between highest use and what you're attempting to accomplish.

  • Extend Your Reach - Growing your customer base to new or under-served markets can be accomplished via social engagement, event management, and online publishing.
  • Build a Community - Using social media to demonstrate your commitment to those you serve best creates fiercely loyal customers and transforms them into brand advocates.
  • Speed - The Internet has built an expectation of instant gratification. Responding to prospects and loyal customer in real-time is the new standard for customer satisfaction. 
  • Mass Marketing to Individuals - At no time in history have so many known so much about everyone on the planet. Leverage big data to build a personal relationship with every customer.

Digital disruption is real. It'a happening now and the pace is quickening. By the year 2020, all industries will feel the impact. While they all will survive, the same can't be said for all of the organizations within these industries. Denying digital disruption is not a strategy for survival, let alone growth. For more than a quarter

Denying the existence of digital disruption is not a strategy for survival, let alone growth. For more than a quarter-century the experts at Leverage Unlimited and guided clients through revolutions and evolutions.

Call the number below when you're ready to make your technology work.

Jerry Gitchel, CEO
Leverage Unlimited

904-566-8325

 

Quick, stop typing for a second. Is this the first App or program you opened today? Are you working at a desk or on your mobile? How you start your day has a lot to do with how you will finish. I hear from many successful business executives that email is the worst place to start. But where is the best place to start?
 
My trusted advisor, Frances Fisher, VP of the Jacksonville Chapter of SCORE, starts with her calendar. Not just to review her appointments, but to schedule them, with herself. 
 
I love making To-Do lists. I’m never at a loss for something to do. Frances shared with me that the quickest way to get from To-Do to Done is to schedule a task on your calendar. Adding a task to your calendar is faster, decreases the effort while increasing the likelihood of completion. 
 
She suggests breaking tasks down into a duration of 20 minutes each. Using her system I've found I can always fit in one more task in between meetings. I could never figure out why she always arrived early to our meetings. Arriving 20 minutes early creates a window of opportunity to complete another task from your To-Do list, not to mention how impressive it is that you always show up early. 

Can't find enough information on the Internet? Do you find yourself craving, even more, knowledge? The what you need is a Chat Bot. In a Forbes.com article published last May, 10 Facebook Messenger Bots You Need To Try Right Now II found two very interesting approaches that may be of interest to marketers. If you, like me are a frequent flowers purchaser, 1-800 Flowers is a Facebook Messenger Bot that's even easier to use than their mobile site. Although I haven't found all of my faviorite news sites, the WSJ bot keeps me informed.

Here in Jacksonville I can think of my own top 10 companies that could profit from a chatbot of their own. How about you? 

Sometimes the quick tips are the best. If Twitter is one of your favorite tools, here is a trick you can use to create digital leverage. The biggest challenge of twitter is the tweets go by so fast! What if you could pin your very best tweet to the top of your feed to expose it to more visitors? It's a simple process and takes longer to talk about than setup. This is brought to you by, Social Quant. How to Pin a Tweet and Why You Absolutely Should.

 

Sales professionals expect to hear, "They are not in." during a prospecting call. I did not expect to hear, "His phone doesn't work very well." when I called to speak with a referral contact last Friday. I followed with, "Not a problem, may I leave a voicemail?" I really didn't expect to hear, "I'm not sure if it's working". I can't reveal the name of the organization. All I can share is I was referred by the top executive at one of their other locations. I was attempting to connect with one of the partners.

In the digital age your organization as three opportunities to make a good first impression. The first is social media. Digital PR is where discovery happens. The second is when then respond to your Call To Action and accept your invitation to, "Visit our website". The third is when you answer the phone.

In my experience, organizations make a huge investment in the first two and zero investment in the third. I worked with a similar organization a few years ago. We identified voice communications as their primary challenge. We ditched their investment in a high-priced online lead generation platform. Instead, we developed a solid voice answer/announce platform. They doubled their sales in 5 weeks.

What impression does your voice answering system leave with prospects, customers, partners? Not sure? If your system includes a recorded message, put your customer hat on, give yourself a call, and listen carefully. If your phone as a live person at the other end, ask a friend or associate to play secret shopper and share their experience with you.  

You can go to considerable expense to invest in your digital presence. If connecting by phone is your ultimate goal, invest in making a great first impression.

Resources

Will you be my secret shopper? Give me a call at 904-566-8325. Listen to my announcement. Leave me a message with a tech question and I will return your call promptly, I promise. 

 

It takes more than money in the bank to create prosperity. You have to spend it, invest it, spread it all around. The same is true of your contact database. Building a big database is impressive. It becomes valuable only once you start using it. Documenting phone calls by entering what you discussed, what was decided, what's next. Your database increases in value each time you tag a contact by their location, interests hobbies. 

In my experience, clients are reluctant to invest time adding contacts to their databases due to lack of perceived value. Don't blame your database. The yield you receive from your contact list comes from your ability to cultivate relationships through engagement.  Here are five actions you can take today to turn your contacts into gold. Each of them start with opening your contact list:

  • Scroll through your list until you find a former great client. Give them a call for no reason at all. Record what you discussed and more importantly, what you learned.
  • If your CRM platform allows, search for someone you have yet to engage, a contact with no record of interaction. Compose a reconnect email, introduce yourself, state why you are reaching out, invite them to reconnect.
  • Create value for those you serve best by Googling their topic of expertise. When you find a post of value, sent an email that includes the link. Document the link and schedule a follow-up call to confirm if it was helpful.
  • Share an attitude of gratitude moment with someone you know. Send a hand-written thank you card. Add an entry to document your action. For extra credit, snap a photo of the completed card and attach to their contact record.
  • If your CRM platform allows, search for local contacts and send them a personalized invitation for an after-work get together. 

Digital Daily Office Hours

What am I most excited about Today? Office Hours! You are invited to stop by my office later today via Live Video to chat about technology and get answers to your burning tech questions. No agenda or formal presentation, just an open channel to create value by connecting with those I serve best. Won't you join us?

Office Hours

1-2 pm Eastern 3/3/17

Via Zoom Cloud Conferencing

Visit: https://zoom.us/j/3217348168

New to Zoom?

Office hours is an easy way to get started with live video conferencing.

On your desk

  • Visit Zoom.us
  • Open a free account
  • Download the software
  • Join us

On your mobile or tablet

  • Download the App
  • Open a free account
  • Join us

 

Getting folks to like your Facebook page requires them to take a leap of faith. It is a long journey with scant chance of success. It starts with giving them directions to your page, then helping them find the Like button. For those of you who would love to increase the size of your social following, here's a thought. What if you could simply display a Like button on your webpage? 

 What's not to like about a Facebook Like button you can publish to your website? It eliminates the need for fans to visit your Facebook page and wander around looking for the Like button. All that is required is to add some code to a page on your site. The button that appears makes your page easy to follow. 

I would add one more step to help your visitors accept your invitation. Consider adding an explanation above the button. Something simple like, "Use the button below to like our Facebook Page to receive our updates, news, and event information directly to your Facebook feed."

How to Add a Facebook Like Button

Use the resource links below to all the details. There's even a video tutorial:

[Edtors Note] Every few years I return to the subject of the value of blogging. In this updated report I'm happy to say that blogging creates more value each year. I hope you enjoy this classic.

I once again returned to a Wired Magazine article by Paul Boutin touting the death of Blogging, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004. Based on the needs and standards mentioned in the article, I agree with the "Blogs are Dead" pronouncement. It's the standards I don't agree with, or should I say, no longer agree with. 

The idea that a blog is the best way to publish your personal memoirs is certainly dead, but that's not its contemporary purpose. As mentioned in the article, blogs have evolved into a convenient and useful way to publish long-form content. I have to laugh at the idea that blog posts are now considered long form. Twitter's 140 character limit has certainly redefined the meaning of long form. The most valuable function of your blog is its ability to build the trust of those you serve best. Before prospects pick up the phone, they need to develop a relationship with you and your brand. 

As a dyed in the wool historic preservationist, I still see blogs as useful. Not as a historic relic, but as a candidate for adaptive reuse. By placing your blog closer to your web site, (similar graphic design, menu placement and such) I see not only a continued usefulness but a bright future as well. 

The word blog may disappear, but I believe the publishing structure will endure. In fact, I intend to expand my use of blogs to accomplish the following specific goals: 

  • Newsletter Blog – The greatest benefit? Automated article archiving.

  • What's New Blog – When integrated into an existing website, it creates a quick and easy way to update your content.

  • Individual Topic Blog – Creates a global platform for your favorite topic.

  • Event Blog – Used within a limited time-frame, allows you to connect and interact with attendees before, during and after an event.

  • Public Relations Blog – Compare the page layout of a blog to an online media room, and you'll have a clear reason to use a blog to post and archive your press releases. 

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other similar sites offer a robust platform for online expression, but what happens when they grow up and get replaced with younger, sexier technology?

If I were you, I'd keep your blog, but perhaps invest in a face-lift or at least a banner tuck. One of the best ways to extend a blog's usefulness is to connect it to your other online channels. This blog is published using Joomla and allows me to connect to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other service I choose.

Mardi Gras

Look closely at the featured photo and you will see our Mardi Gras beads. Before you head out to your Bal Masque this evening, study up on your Mardi Gras Lingo.

You see the signs everywhere, "Todays Special". Street-side signs have been used by established businesses, many from their opening day. The concept is simple, capture the attention of those who drive-by the business location. What about those who use the Internet "Highway"? Restaurants, flower shops, or weekly events are great candidates for capture and post treatment. It's a quick, simple and inexpensive way to extend your reach beyond your street. For restaurants, start with specials boards, and move on to photos of plated meals. For the ultimate, move to the kitchen and reveal the secrets that make your best dish special.

The process is so simple you'll wonder why you didn't think of it before. Update your specials board or changable text street sign. Snap a quick photo, publish on social to share with your loyal community of shoppers.  

When the Smith Brothers Butcher Shop returned to downtown Savannah, they launched a Facebook page instead of a website. Each morning they would publish a post to Facebook. It became a mouthwatering expectation for their loyal customers. 

Tips for Turning Your Daily Specials Extra Special

  • Snap a photo immediately after your daily update
  • Post to social immediately, same platform, same time of day.
  • Include info on how to take advantage of your offer, "call now", "Limited time offer", etc. 

Using technology to extend your reach is a powerful way to create digital leverage. How will you make today special?

 

LinkedIn continues to evolve their user interface. In a blog post titled, How to Use the LinkedIn Notifications Tab to Stay Connected, LinkedIn provides an update highlighting how you can view real time info on your network. Often all you need to connect with a lead is something to talk about. Conversation Starters is a new feature you will find under the Notifications tab to help you get started. 

The other feature under this tab is Calendar Sync. It was developed to provide intelligence on those you are about to meet. I'm not so sure I want to share my calendar with LinkedIn at this point. 

For now your ability to manage notifications is limited. LinkedIn promises to give you granular control. Check out their post and did in to this new tab. Let me know what you think.

 

 

Trends are easy to spot on arrival. It's the hoopla. Embedding videos in emails started just like that. Eventually, trends lose steam, fade away, but rarely go away. Thom Winninger showed this trend the door, "The video we supplied was not getting enough click throughs". Knowing when to let go takes experience. Online marketing has become a legend in its own mind.  I sat through a seminar this week where the presenter claimed 50% of people love to receive emails containing video. Is it time to let it go? Author Ezra Fishman asks, Should You Embed Video in Email?  I think it's a definite maybe. 

An even better first question is, what are you trying to accomplish? It is much too easy to get wrapped up in the content and forget why you adopted a trend in the first place. If you embed a link in your email that takes them to your site, you've met your goal. Ezra's post outlines how to make that happen. 

Online Marketing - Too Big for its Britches

The premise, "Everybody is doing it" is a trap. We read about a new online marketing trend, eagerly grasp it with a huge hope, and hold on for dear life. Thom stepped back, took the measure of embedded video and made a choice. Be like Thom. 

I use a secure password vault. It's device independent and lives in a secure cloud. It's also expensive, and not as user-friendly as it should be. For the longest time, I simply accepted it as the price of keeping passwords secure.

All that changed yesterday when a client mentioned she keeps her passwords with her contacts. Cue the lightbulb over my head.

It never occurred to me. My contacts are organized, secure, and with me at all times. All I did was add two new fields to my CRM: Username and Password. Done and done. We all need a place to keep our passwords. This idea makes a lot of sense.

Strong Passwords

As for passwords, the best resource for creating secure passwords was written years ago by By Bruce Schneier in his post Choosing a Secure Password.

Have a safe day!

 

 

They are everywhere. Whenever you find yourself in a check-in line, you will find someone holding a clipboard. If it is in the hands of a team member, congratulations! You just discovered one of the easiest and most profitable ways to streamline your business. In their annual CEO Survey Report,

In their annual CEO Survey Report, Now or Never - CEO's Mobilize for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, KPMG International reports this key finding: Your company will experience digital disruption sometime in the next three years. The fundamental way you conduct business will change, forever. You can either wait for it to happen, or you can make it happen. Let's get back to that clipboard. Take a close look at the form under the clip. I'm willing to bet it was printed from a computer. It may even have checkboxes, either to confirm attendance, take inventory, or to document readings or metrics.

Let's get back to that clipboard. Take a close look at the form under the clip. I'm willing to bet it was printed from a computer. It may even have checkboxes, either to confirm attendance, take inventory, or to document readings or metrics.

Clipboards as a Crutch

 Here at Leverage Unlimited, we work with companies in three areas: tools, talents, and techniques. We make sure you have the right tools and that your team is trained to leverage their talent. Streamlining techniques increase profits. It's the point where we discover ways to upgrade processes, either by lining up the steps in your customer journey or automating manual processes that free up staff. They can focus then on what they do best: help customers buy your goods or services. 

The Art of Digital Leverage

All it takes is replacing a clipboard with a digital tablet. Clipboards are used to build a bridge between the information in your computer and the people who need that information. However, working with a clipboard requires many steps:

  • Type information into a computer
  • Turn it into a report
  • Print it out
  • Put it on a clipboard
  • Check some boxes
  • Take it back to the computer
  • Enter or update the info 
  • Run another report

There is a Better Way

Replace the clipboard with a tablet and you receive immediate, positive results. It eliminates the need to print. You deliver real-time information to the right person in the right place, right now. Using a tablet instead of a clipboard eliminates all of the post-event follow up. The impact is immediate, profound, and permanent. 

Clipboards are just an obvious place to start. Once you start streamlining, you will find many other ways to eliminate unnecessary steps. The next three years are critical for established organizations who have not embraced a digital upgrade. By 2020, your industry will have experienced digital disruption, if you haven't already. Many firms will not survive.

The question is, who will survive, you, or your competitor?  

 

  

It was a single sentence in a recent BunkerLabs article that brought me to a full and complete stop. In his article, How To Master Your 2-minute Video Pitch, aAuthor Harry Alford remarked, "Public speaking has the highest ROI with the lowest amount of exertion." 

I've spoken professionally for 17 years, I've pitched, I've coached those who are about to pitch and I've seen the strange simultaneous combination of flop-sweat and dry mouth while judging pitch competitions. The lowest amount of exertion has not been my experience. Launching a startup is tough. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, you get to stand up in front of a bunch of folks with knitting needles in their hands waiting to burst your bubble.  

Once I calmed down and read to the end, I realized Harry has some great tips for you who are about to enter the pitch arena. Here's a few of my own.

The Worth of a Word

Harry's example of two minutes means you don't have 120 seconds, you have 300 words. Divide the number of words by the investment you seek and you'll discover the true worth of each word of your pitch. Suddenly, "hello", "thanks", "the" and "um" come with a high pricetag.  Here's a trick you can use to figure or the true cost of your pitch. Open a word-processing document on a mobile device. Tap the mic key and speak your pitch. Like magic, your words will be transcribed. Select your speech. Use the word-count feature to arrive at the total word count. 

You could try to speak faster to cram more words into your pitch. instead, I hope you'll consider all the words that fail to bring value to your presentation. Like a backpacker who sheds every piece of equipment they really don't need, soon you'll find yourself on an easier journey toward the funding you need.

Practice, Practice, Practice

This is going to be painful. Take your much lighter pitch and record it for your personal review. Jacksonville Certified Speaking Professional Richard Hadden says it's the only way to pick up the difference between the written and spoken word. The good news is the pain dissipates quickly as your pitch improves. Reducing the number of words infuses each those that remain with power and weight. 

I was on a call last night with 30,000 people. Less than a dozen spoke. They joined the call from around the United States. Each was positive, respectful and inclusive. Most importantly, everybody learned, in real time. each attendee showed up with their particular worldview. Before I begin, let me share my worldview. I believe digital technology can be a force for good. My big brother Lee taught me that when he found me on the Internet. I believe technology works best when it stays backstage, when it becomes invisible, allowing people to leverage the power of ideas. 

Before I begin, let me share my worldview. I believe digital technology can be a force for good. My big brother Lee taught me that when he found me on the Internet. I believe technology works best when it stays backstage, when it becomes invisible, allowing people to leverage the power of ideas. What I am most excited about is when technology helps people reach farther, bring them closer, help them move faster. This is for those of you who lead or develop leaders. It's about how technology can help you gather followers and start a movement. Here's how they used existing technology to create a customer journey/

It started at Facebook where attendees discovered the organization. The posts from the organization included a CTA (Call To Action). Following the link took folks to a landing page, where they received information relevant to their needs. The landing page included downloadable resources, 'Learn More' links to additional information and an invitation for an email subscription. Subscribers received an RSVP for the last night's conference call. Fifteen minutes before the call they received a reminder with a landing page destination.

The Call

No software to download, settings to adjust, just show up. The slides were in view, the audio used a music bed to confirm your sound was working. An MC invited folks to use the on-screen form to submit a question. They host welcomed everyone, thanked them for arriving on time and asked everyone to standby while everyone else arrived. All we heard was music and announcements. Gone were the annoying beeps as everyone joined. Everyone was muted, so no bathroom noise. It was organized, so much so that the technology disappeared. How very cool. 

The Art of Invisible

Here's what you couldn't see:

  • The organizers used a single slide deck to eliminate the ugly switching in mid-streaming. 
  • The upfront assumption was that everyone was using a mobile device.
  • Polling was conducted by pressing number keys. Poll results were delivered in real time.
  • Each presenter was scripted and timed. Each focused on teaching instead of promoting.
  • The host muted her mic to take notes on the presentations.
  • Links were provided on-screen, via upload and on-demand.

Resistance is Futile

The US is experiencing tremendous conflict right now. There is a clash of ideas, a battle for power. There is a call to just shut-up and listen to President Trump. From my experience last night. Stopping the resistance is futile. 

 

 

 

Oh, I'm sorry. I don't know their name, but you should. In a recent Daily Dairy post titled What Do You Mean - Contented Cows? author Richard Hadden proposes a method to identify that #1 (and #2) top performing individual as well as a neat way to raise up rest of your team.  

It's mind numbingly simple. Find your best, ask them why they stay, make it a rule, copy/paste. 

Here's a trick I pulled on myself after reading Richard's post. I sat down and had a similar conversation with myself. If you are a solo practitioner, try this, and write down what you learn. We all have days where we need a good talking to. Wouldn't it be great if it were a pep talk?

 

Sales Slump? Not a prospect in sight? Here's how you can take steps immediately to boost your results.

Do you know your sales from yesterday, this month, year to date? Of course you do. I'll bet you could quote the numbers for your team, provide a count of FTE's and last week's payroll. Everyone on your leadership team is constantly aware of business performance. Unfortunately, established businesses rarely have the same awareness of the firm's digital performance.

My research indicates that businesses who wish to compete in the coming years need to start now to achieve an awareness of the performance metrics of their online presence. Yesterday I met a client company that uses a web analytics platform to identify companies who visit their site. Not just user visits, companies. Yesterday we used it to uncover the possible theft of intellectual property under the guise of "content curation."  

More than Awareness, Intelligence

Is the social base growing or declining? Are they engaged? Who are your advocates, your influencers? How many prospects signed up for your newsletter this week? In our current market environment, your online presence serves as the first impression your prospects experience. Is your organization putting its best foot forward? 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs for business are well-known. Digital performance indicators are often unfamiliar. Business development now relies on the Internet to generate brand awareness, reputation, and lead generation. Sales force automation has surpassed online marketing as the engine for growth in both revenue and profit. 

Your Most Valuable Business Asset

Your most valuable business assets in the digital age are the contact databases containing contacts, social followers, and newsletter subscribers. Focus on quality over quantity. Break down your lists into segments. The more you know about each segment, the better the quality of your conversations. Cultivate influencers, elevate loyal fans, keep frequent visitors close.

Same Thing, But Different

When your Career was bright, shiny, and new, you were forced to learn the language of business. Now it's time to learn a new language, with a new vocabulary. The language of digital performance.

 

 

The #1 digital challenge faced by business leaders is the lack of a connection between their efforts online and their bottom line. The #1 solution to the challenge is identifying the customer journey. Chefs post beautiful food images that patrons will never taste. Event planners post images of attendees the day after the event. Retailers post photos that resemble mini billboards, with mini results. 

Digital performance, like business performance, must be visible from the bottom line. Your online presence has moved. Once it was, "Way over there". Now it's become center stage. If you feel like your technology has you running in circles, here are some tips you can put to use this morning to connect your digital dots.

  • Start with the end in mind - Ask your customers how they found you. If they don't mention online, find out why. 
  • Focus - Reduce the number of posts. Make each one count. If you are a foodie, don't just show them. Tell them where they can go today for a taste.
  • CTA - Include a Call To Action to get customers off the couch, out of their desk chair, out of their car. 

Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble.com, says that less than 1% of businesses use CRM (Contact Relationship Management). He should know. He was the pioneer who created the genre with the launch of Goldmine Software over 30 years ago. Jon invited me to a live video chat to share his latest product launch, a Nimble Add-in for Microsoft Office 365 for iOS. It is not the first foray outside the walls of their flagship SRM (Social Relationship Management) platform. It's simply the latest in a series of Add-ins that bring the power of Social Selling to the world where sales professionals live. Jon explained, "At their core, CRMs don’t do anything for you because you live outside of the CRM. It’s too much work."  Creating value for your organization requires that every member of your team have access to contact information where they work: email, contacts, calendar and social.

Jon's larger vision is to make Nimble available to everyone, whether they use Gmail, Chrome, Office or any application where users need access to contact information. He's decided to offer the Nimble Smart Contacts Add-in for Outlook on iOS to make it easy for users to benefit from Nimble’s full and detailed view of any contact’s social business insights, right next to their Outlook inbox.

Did I mention the Add-in is free? More than that, it's valuable. During our conversation, Jon shared his method to this madness. Established businesses are overwhelmed at the vast array of technology choices. So much so they have lost trust in the companies who tout "cool" software. Jon believes to build a following of loyal customer you need to, give your knowledge away. Share content, teach them to fish then let them know you also sell fishing poles.

It's working. Microsoft is making the Nimble Smart Contacts Add-in for Outlook on iOS available to 100M users. If your organization uses Office 365, read Nimble's announcement.

On a Personal Note

Jon Ferrara is passionate about listening. Not just social listening, but listening to his customers. He lives in Santa Monica, CA, the so-called Silicon Beach. We chatted beyond the scheduled time about the migration of relationship management from using online marketing that shouts at unqualified prospects to using our technology to build relationships one prospect at a time. He even shared his killer recipe for pulled beef nachos.

Resources

After an amazing weekend of fundraising, civil rights organization the American Civil Liberties Union enrolled in a Silicon Valley tech startup accelerator Y Combinator. The premier defender of the US Constitution started in November 1919. It hardly qualifies as a startup. With only 200 staff attorneys, thousands of volunteer attorneys and more than 750,000 members, the ACLU definitely functions as a non-profit. The Trump administration's immigration ban hit tech companies by surprise. Key staff members of west coast tech giants were caught outside the US as the ban went into effect. Their fundraising exploded. The ACLU received 24M in just over 48 hours. Trump's actions have spurred action by progressives, but that's not what caught my eye. Why did an established, century-old non-profit make the leap to join a high-tech startup incubator?

Why did an established, century-old non-profit make the leap to join a high-tech startup incubator? TechCrunch wrote about Y Combinator's interest in Democracy tech. The partnership came about after YC partner Kat Manalac reached out to ACLU executive director Anthony Romero for feedback. 

Deja Vue Startup

For leaders of established firms, I believe the answer to survival and growth is not in acquiring more tech, it's in acting more like a startup. It's a question of mindset. Are you an analog company attempting to go digital? Take moment today to consider what your organization would look like if your reset to zero.

I would say it's a definite maybe. The folks at Curalate want us to stop turning our phones to landscape mode to shoot video. Think Snapchat or Instagram. Very edgy, cutting-edge before-its-time concept, I believe, way before it's time. In fact, I can prove it. Notice the image above? It's from the email I received from eMarketer. I visited the landing page displaying a clear vertical shaped cutout within a full-width landscape shaded area. I filled out the form, clicked the Download Now button and received... a pdf. The layout contained multiple columns that were anything but mobile responsive. 

What I learned

Vertical video may be the wave of the future, but for now, engagement will continue to be driven by viewer behavior. An awareness of future trends is important, but bottom-line results accrue from being present. Curalate used conventional landscape standards to engage me. I've included the link to the report, but I recommend taking a close look at how your customers use video content to engage with your brand before taking the vertical leap.

Vertical Video Guide

It wasn't that long ago that customers struggled to keep up with advances in technology. Now the reverse has become the norm. This recent Forrester report highlights 5 steps organizations need to take to build a strategic digital intelligence plan. 

  1. Continuously Evolving the Customer Experience
  2. Delivering Customer Insights and Obsession with Data and Technology Investment
  3. Creating an Insights-Driven Business with Talent, Process, and Organization
  4. Aligning Metrics and KPIs to the Most Relevant Business Goals
  5. Continually Boosting Customer Experience with Testing and Machine Learning

Your Digital Intelligence Strategy Must Match the Speed of your Customers

Over the course of a quarter century, I’ve never produced a PR or Marketing Campaign which included a tattoo. From the moment Deborah Hansen announced her intention, I knew it was the perfect event to launch her Komen North Florida Affiliate Dance for the Cure campaign.

Cute photo right? What if you had one of these Do Over cards in your purse or wallet? Every time you found yourself wishing for a second chance or an opportunity to do a better job or say the right thing, you could simply whip out your card and start over.

This is my 2017 present to you. I hope you understand, you don’t really need the card, you have to power within you to change course, apologize or just get up and start over. I’ve found the card is a great ice breaker, a conversation starter, a way to soothe the pain.

I got it at the cleaners. It’s the tag they use to tell the cleaning factory (?) to indicate that a garment needs a little more work. While I was there Ms. Ruth thanked me profusely for almost single-handedly keeping them in business this year.

So go ahead, click the image, print it out and stuff your very own Do-Over Card in your pocket. Use it like your AAA card to help get you out of a jam. Disclaimer: I don’t think it will help during a traffic Stop!