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So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Case studies from famous public shamings and insight into how the affect the psyche.
Great insights into public relations pickles and strategies; fascinating case studies and learnable warnings to always think before speaking... or tweeting.
An Awesome Mass. Real Estate Agent
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We all know the twitch.
The one you get when you’re doing you, doing life, minding your own business, and someone you’ve never met tries to strike up a conversation, knock on the door, hit you up for a sales pitch. Can you taste it? The taste of annoyance with a hint of defensiveness.
The disdain for the uninvited is probably universal apart from the south (#southernhospitality); but inviting people is a crucial part of maintaining a successful business. So how do we as business owners strike a balance between inviting and intruding?
This is something I personally struggle with. I am an introvert by all definitions, and while I have learned the necessary art of networking, I still hold back nausea and cling to a handkerchief to keep my palms dry, and for the next 3 days I hull up in my sweats with Netflix and chocolate and sweet isolation. When you add in the fear of rejection, it makes my new business hat very uncomfortable to wear. I blame it on my first internship in college where I was tasked with passing out 20% off fliers outside of a retail location that I was managing corporate marketing for. I stood there for four straight hours and watched people literally cross to the other side of the mall so that they wouldn’t have to talk to me. And I couldn’t blame them.
But as a business owner, no one is going to drum up business for me. I have to swallow my fear and market myself. There are a few necessary evils I’ve learned are vital for business growth:
You gotta do it. The key is to find the least offensive networking groups. If you’ve ever networked, you know they come in all shapes and sizes. Search your local area for your options and figure out what makes the most sense. Think about whether the people you are meeting fit within the field you are trying to network with. Is this a group of people you can enjoy spending time with? Is this a group of people that has good intentions, or is it all self-promoters? Is this group business owners or MLMers? Check out BNI, Polka Dot Powerhouse, your Chamber of Commerce, and look for industry specific conferences and mixers.
Bonus tips- keep a drink in hand. It will give you something to hold to save you from those “what do I do with my hands?” moments. Set a goal of how many business cards you have to hand out before the night ends. When other people give you their business card, jot a few notes about them on the back to help you remember (i.e.- met at BNI meeting, brown hair, likes to golf). Connect with any contacts you want to be connected to via LinkedIn within 24 hours and send a personal message that mentions where you met and what you discussed.
By all accounts pop-ups do not make sense. We all hate them. However, they are proven to work, and work well. A quick Google scan will show you that various businesses that have implemented a light box popup have seen success improve from 2% up to 1,000+%. If you do not have a pop up on your website, you need one.
Bonus tips- the pop up secret to staying on the invitation side of the line and avoiding intrusion is to use a light box. Make sure your copy is clean, clear and engaging, and the pop up is easily closed. The annoyance comes when ads follow you all over the page, or start talking to you, or take up the entire page with no visible “x.” Oh, and heads up, if this is your first time here, you should be seeing a pop up from us any minute now. We hope you will be minimally annoyed and maximally pleased with your subscription.
3. Cold Calls
The cold call obviously depends on what industry you are in, but like networking, it’s important to let potential clients know that you exist and why they might care that you exist. Of all invitations, this one haunts me the most. If you read articles about successful entrepreneurs, or if you talk to them, you will find unanimously that they knocked on a million doors to find one that would open. Many people will ignore you, but that’s ok. If someone is looking for the service you provide, you are making it really convenient for them to find you. Sometimes the call comes in years after the card is dropped off. If you know what you do, and know that you do it well, get out there and tell people.
Bonus tips- I find in-person makes for a warmer call. Come with a business card and a fun tchotchke. At Honey MAP, we pass out cootie catchers (aka paper fortune tellers). Fun, light, engaging yet disposable and easy to carry with us. (If you have been a lucky recipient of our cootie catchers, thank you for being nice to us.) Have your elevator pitch rehearsed, and pitch yourself as a service to the client… don’t pitch the client to service you.
#Duh But while most business owners realize the need for marketing, few actually prioritize it. How will people know about you if you don’t tell them? Marketing is hugely important to business success, and while many businesses feel that they can’t justify it in their budget, the truth is that you can’t justify to leave it out of the budget. The good news is that marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, and you can find a method that works for you and your budget.
Bonus tips- Take time to generate a marketing plan. Keep it fluid, but plan roughly for at least a year. Think about whether you are better resourced in time or money, and whether you want to keep your marketing in-house, hire a consultant, or hire an agency. More good news- at Honey MAP, we can help you with all three of those options.