Campaign Reports Are a Critical Part of E-Mail Marketing Success

Posted November 8th, 2011 by Avarra Solutions with No Comments

If Only Jesus Was Looking for a Job

Posted November 4th, 2011 by LPecunia with No Comments

“Jesus” is the least connected word on LinkedIn.  How did Dan Zarella, author of “Zarella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness,” arrive at this interesting but seemingly apropos of nothing conclusion?  As usual, he studied the data.  (The method is less important than the result.  I trust Mr. Zarella’s methodology only to a certain point.  I believe his pseudo-scientific approach allows him to identify correlations, from which he makes logical conclusions.  But that’s as far as it goes.)

The blog post where he published his findings (which I’ll divulge shortly) is not completely clear about the meaning of “connected words.”  What I think he means is this: Words that appear in the titles and summaries of LinkedIn profiles and how they correlate to the number of people that person is connected to.

At any rate the conclusion about the word “Jesus” is no surprise, given the purpose of LinkedIn.  What’s more surprising is the most connected word, which is “recruiters.”

Besides the fact that it’s plural (go ahead, imagine using it in a sentence) I find it interesting that LinkedIn holds fast to its original roots of being a place to network for job opportunities.  When I joined in 2004 I did so because I was considering looking for a full-time job.  I ended up changing my mind about job hunting and didn’t use my account for several years.

Somewhere around 2007 or so it started to get more press as a professional networking site I started using it again.  In 2009 when I was promoting my business, Avarra Solutions, I started using it heavily and seeing it’s real value to small businesses as a professional social networking tool.

Go ahead and look at the infographic Dan posted.  Look at the top nine words on the Most Connected Words list.  Four of them have something to do with job hunting.  Three are related to networking.  So still after all this time, the most heavily connected people on LinkedIn have something to do with looking for employment.

So if you’re looking for work, or if you’re thinking of hiring someone in your business, LinkedIn is definitely still the place to be.

October Snowstorm in New England Teaches Lesson

Posted November 1st, 2011 by LPecunia with No Comments

Most of my immediate family lives in Connecticut, including my husband’s family.  This past weekend they got slammed with almost 2 feet of snow.

2 feet of snow in OCTOBER?  It was wholly unexpected.  It broke records.  My family, along with many others, were completely unprepared.  Two people in their 70′s, two in their 40′s, and two kids 8 and 13, all packed into hotel rooms with nothing to do and nowhere to go.  Neither of their homes have power, and some of the roads remain unplowed.

It makes me wonder… what would I do if something happened to my business?  What if my two biggest clients pulled out?  What if this big consulting project I’m hoping to get doesn’t come through?  Worse yet… what if my husband lost his job?  What would I do?

WHAT WOULD I DO?

This morning I carved out two hours and took a good look at my business.  I did a mind map in order to get the big picture.  I looked all all my products and services — how I’m selling them, how I’m delivering them, how I’m marketing them.  I looked at what’s working, what’s not, and what items have gotten lost in the shuffle.

I realized I’m a little bit scattered, and spread too thin.  I have too many things going on and they’re going in too many different directions.  I’m not properly leveraging the systems I’ve already put in place and focusing on selling things that are finished products.  Instead I’m chasing rainbows by coming up with new product ideas and doing scattershot marketing to try to sell consulting services.

Time to regroup, refocus, and home in on what’s important and viable.

Not only will I have a better business, I’ll be ready if a big disaster strikes.

Writing Procedures Sucks, But It’s Worth It

Posted October 28th, 2011 by LPecunia with No Comments

For my new E-Connect Local program, I am outsourcing some of the more mundane, tedious work to virtual assistants.  This is one of those times I don’t want to leave anything to chance.  So instead of quickly shooting off an email, like I usually do, I decided to write a P&P, or Policies and Procedures document, to make sure I covered all my bases.

Having a background in business analysis I’ve written tons of project documentation in my day, some hundreds of pages long.  But writing software requirements is fun (to me at least).  Writing policies is anything but fun.

I sat in front of my computer with a blank Word document open, and thought “If I had my VA right here with me and I was going to train her what to do, where would I start?”  Clearly she knows nothing about what I am about to say to her.  She knows nothing about the program, or the clients, or the purpose of it all.

So the biggest question at that moment was “How much do I need to tell her about the overall program and it’s goals?”  The answer that came to me was “As much as she needs to know. Just get writing and it will come.”

So I did.  I just started documenting the activities that I had been doing myself, which I now wanted her to take over.  I explained each step in as much detail as I could think of.  I covered every file she needed to access, how to access it and what to do with it.  I wrote down each decision she needed to make and how to make it and what to do if she got stuck.  Every step of the way, I considered as many of the “what if X happens?” scenarios.  For the most part, if something was not clear, or did not work the way it was documented, the course of action is to simply email me and tell me about it.

One of the great side effects of documenting these steps is that it forces you to consider every action carefully.  It makes you think of things you may not have thought of.  It creates a mechanism for identifying gaps in the flow, and gives you an opportunity to fill them in now, rather than having the VA identify them, or worse yet, miss them.

I imagine this will be a living document for a while.   There will be bugs and adjustments, and some back and forth, but what I did in 90 minutes this morning will save me mountains of headaches, questions, and potential lost productivity in the future.

It’s clear that I need to create a Policies and Procedures document for the activities that I am NOT giving away!  I’m sure I will be a lot more efficient in running these programs if I have a system to follow.  Not only that, but I can expect more consistent results across the board if every client gets the exact same treatment.

So yes, it’s a pain and it’s not fun, but it’s clearly worth carving out an hour or two of your week to do.  It may mean saving days of your time later.

Facebook Logins – Is This Going Too Far?

Posted October 25th, 2011 by LPecunia with No Comments

I recently heard about a site called Klout, which apparently is a scoring mechanism that gauges your social reach.  I have no idea how it works, and I’m not sure I care all that much, especially after I visited the site.

It sounded like a neat idea at first.  So I went to the site’s home page and it gave me some marketing scoop about how I needed to know my Klout score.  In order to get any further information I had to sign up.  But here’s the thing… I can’t just sign up.  I have to sign up with either Twitter or Facebook.

I’m very  protective of my Facebook account.  Although I use it for business, I don’t let “just anybody” gain access to it.  I don’t use any apps (except HootSuite) and I don’t play games.  If I do let a site use my Facebook account, it’s with very limited access.

Klout on the other hand wanted access to all my friends, all my posts, and my pages.  Um, no, I don’t think so.

So I signed up with Twitter, which to me posed no threat.  After this, Klout took me to another screen asking me to add my Facebook account.  Skip!  On the next screen I was told I have score of -23.  Just kidding, it was higher than that, but not much.  So the bottom line is that Klout wants me to connect my Facebook page, Like it’s Facebook page, and tell all my friends about it.  Then it will up my score.

I’m sorry, what benefit am I getting out of this again?

My rant is getting off track.  What I really wanted to point out is that this seems to be the beginning of a bad trend.  Many sites I sign up for want me to use my Facebook account to sign up.  I know why they want me to do this, because they get huge benefits.  But how does this help me?  How does it make my life better, easier, funner, or more valuable?

I really think this is getting out of hand.  The world wide web has become one big churning roiling marketing mechanism.  The marketers clearly win by getting access to our information (which most people, unbelievably, freely give).  But hat do we, the consumers, get?  A better score.  Seriously?

Am I just jaded because of the business I’m in?  Let me know what you think.

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