Setting Expectations in Your Communications Strategy

client-expectationsWith all of my marketing I am always looking for the best way to manage frequency of communications and finding a way to manage expectations.  This can be a tough call.  Permission-based marketing is set upon the premise of obtaining the agreement to continue messaging your prospective audience, but one often missed piece of that puzzle is letting them know how you plan to communicate with them.  We get so caught up sometimes in the selling process and the excitement of someone giving us permission that we forget to also learn their preferences.  I believe the key in those initial interactions is to take the time to ask that important question and to outline how you will communicate with them in the future.  So how do you manage this with all the touchpoints?  Here are a few methods that I have used that might help:

  1. Incorporate preferences into signup forms:  Whether you are using a printed or web-based form, you can often include a few simple questions to ask about preferences in frequency or channel.
  2. Offer a link in all digital channels to an online preference center:  A simple landing page form with fields that populate your CRM or customer database can be used to customers/prospects to self select those items.
  3. Simply ask:  In any organization, you likely have staff interacting with those contacts on a daily basis.  While they may be good at asking for the opt-in, be sure they take the time to also understand preferences in that conversation and to let the contact know how you plan to communicate with them.

Simple tips really.  Not difficult to follow.  However, even I can tell you that it’s like anything in life, it’s easy to get into a routine and forget to take those steps.  As I see marketing plans come to fruition in the implementation, even I have to remind myself to not only follow the steps, but to also adjust along the way.

There are so many channels and methods in which we can communicate today, don’t fatigue your audience by not setting expectations early.

The Multiplier Effect

Networking and social media can have a powerful effect on your interactions both business and personal. When you think about it, each interaction multiplies into a web that often spans many areas of your life. I’ve seen this personally and professionally the good, the bad, and the ugly. Although I can assure you that in most instances I have experienced positive results to building a strong network.

Here are 3 easy ways to multiply your network to its fullest:

  1. Be Consistent: With all of the various networks available today, it is often tough to keep track of all of the profiles However, I would recommend that no matter where you have a profile, be consistent. Consistent in how you build your profile. Consistent in the images you use. And most importantly consistent with the material you post and how you interact in each respective network. If you utilize a network personally or professionally, always think about your posts and how they might be perceived by any audience. Once it is out there, it is out of your hands.
  2. Do Reciprocate: We all naturally want to accomplish our objectives, but often people in a network are willing to ask on their behalf, but aren’t willing to give when asked in return. I believe that networking begins with the golden rule in mind and you should always be thinking about how you can help others that reach out to you while also accomplishing what you set out to do. It’s also amazing the reward you can achieve by being on the giving end. Whether it is providing a referral, a recommendation, or simply some advice-you will see the impact of what you are doing right away and rewards often come full circle even if not requested.
  3. Don’t Burn Bridges: Seems as if it should be common sense really, am I right? Well, unfortunately in business and in our personal lives, we often get clouded with our own goals that we don’t see the bridge we are burning in the process. There have been so many times in my life I have wanted to simply cut a connection or a tie. It’s tempting in the heat of frustration, but I can assure you that feelings always change and cool over time. When that happens, you want that bridge to remain. You never know how a connection can become that multiplier for you.

All simple things to do everyday, but each takes intention and time.

Are you taking that extra time to multiply the network for yourself and those around you?

Using ROI in Your Marketing Metrics


shutterstock_96423176Ask anyone about marketing and they will often tell you that it is an expense or a non-revenue generating cost center.  While in some respects this definition may be true, marketers can bring true value to the table if they are able to monitor and track the return on investment (ROI) of marketing activities.  Essentially the formula looks like this:

net profit on investmentSimple enough right?  Absolutely!  The idea behind it is that you are calculating the amount of return or profit that you are making on a particular marketing activity after the cost.  Now, while it may sound simple enough, the most accurate method of calculating ROI is to have a clear picture of net profit.  In a perfect world you will want to know exactly the cost it takes to sell your products or services.  If you are measuring this for a business that tracks net profit well, you are in luck.  But, I can tell you from experience that this number is not always easy to obtain.  It may be because your organization does not track costs down to a net profit.  OR it may be because you are a marketer and may not have access to the information.  The bottom line is that ROI is a metric and a method to benchmark.  If you can get to a true ROI measurement with accurate net profit tracking, you are in a marketer’s dreamworld.  I actually have that ability with my current marketing role, but for a lot of marketers and business owners, that isn’t the case.

I can tell you I have also managed marketing in businesses where I either did not have access or the organization did not track the information.  In this case, this is where I would like to share a real world practical way of making this metric meaningful.  Metrics are a way to monitor, adjust, and plan for your business activities.  Whether you are marketing or managing some other part of the business, it is important to remember that the key is to consistently measure whatever return number that may be.  For some, it may be gross sales.  Others it may be marketing costs solely.  Or in my current example, it is a true net profit incorporating not only the sale, but the profit (meaning all overhead utilized).  Any way you cut it, it is important to measure something and track it consistently over time.  Why?  Mainly because ROI should be a tool to show you what is effective and what needs adjustment.  Many would argue that there is a right or a wrong.  I would beg to differ.  I believe that the activity of monitoring (regardless of which method or which number you use) provides you the ability to see what is working and what is not.  That is, after all, what any business metrics should be used to accomplish.

So measure your marketing activities, watch to see what trends materialize and make adjustments to your plan as you go along.  You do this and you will see marketing efforts that produce real results regardless of how you calculated the metric.  Marketing is an art AND a science, so use it in that way to achieve the growth goals you have for your organization.

What Makes You Different?

what makes you different

As I work with clients and companies, brand often comes into the conversation very early. You see, your brand is the starting basis point of how anyone perceives you. It is when they decide who you are and if they want to work with you. It seems common sense right? Then why do so many neglect their own personal brand?

Think about it, how do you stand out from the crowd? What will make others want to meet you? What exactly makes you different?

When working with others, I often make impressions based off of what I see in a person’s personal brand both online and in person. Clients and businesses are using your brand to make initial judgements. Hiring managers are watching what you do and say. Your peers are viewing how you put yourself out there. I believe that a consistent personal brand can either make you or break you. Manage your brand consistently and you will open doors.

Here are a few quick tips that will help you along the way…

  • Be Professional. Your brand is all YOU and if you want your online presence to represent you professionally, think about ALL the places you might be seen and work to ensure that what you are saying, posting, and doing all reflect how you want to be perceived. And yes, that means party pics, children’s images, couples shots all do not have a place in your online presence. Save that for Facebook and Instagram. LinkedIn should be maintained as a professional portal of you. Twitter can be a blend, when appropriate and when it is not overdone.
  • Be Consistent. Make sure that no matter where you are viewed, online or in person that your brand is consistent with your mannerisms and actual behaviors. You can tailor personal and professional brands across different networks and audiences, just remember to be consistent along the way. Say the same thing, share the same message.
  • Be Secure-Manage Permissions. All online applications now have settings where you can control who sees your content. Ensure that what you have posted online is shared with the right audience by managing your permissions and monitoring them on an ongoing basis. Networks makes updates all the time, with each update, always make sure your permissions still apply.
  • Be Creative. There are so many applications and so many ways to creatively showcase the personal and professional sides of your brand. Use these tools as an outlet to highlight the areas where you can shine. Online portfolios, sharing project work, and sharing hobbies are all great ways to show the reader more about your brand.

Whether you are looking for a job or working with clients, your personal brand could make or break the impressions you share with the audiences you want to interact with. Be sure that you are managing that brand in a way that positively reflects you and your talents.

Last, but certainly not least, be that person you portray in your brand and do so with integrity. By doing so, you will maintain a reputation where others will want to work with you and trust in the work you do.

Make them want to pick you out of the crowd!