How to Say YES to Every Request

How-To-Say-Yes

I hate to say no. I really hate it when someone asks me for something and I have to say no to them. I try not to say no, but the reality is that I can’t do everything for everyone. I have limited time. I have to focus on things that pay the bills.

A number of years ago I read some great advice about how to avoid saying no and how to say yes to everything.

When someone asks you for something give them a next step. Simple. Ask them to do something first.

Want me to check out your Facebook Page? Read these 3 articles and let me know how you can use the advice. Then I’ll take a look.

Want to “pick my brain”? Awesome… Review this report on social media and start ups and let me know what you think are your top 3 opportunities.

Want help getting a job? Great! Review my LinkedIn contacts and let me know 5 – 10 that would be helpful for me to introduce you to.

Instead of saying no say YES. Every time.

But give them something to do first.

This allows you to never say no but to filter out requests that will waste your time.

Most people won’t complete the follow-up. If they aren’t willing to invest their time why should you invest yours? 

Do You Hate Monday? Do Something Different.

Do You Hate Mondays blog post

If you hate Mondays you have the wrong job.

When I worked for a big company I dreaded Monday. My coworkers and I would get together Sunday night and watch Grey’s Anatomy and commiserate about the coming week.

I had a pretty good job. It wasn’t awful. I didn’t love it though.

Now I love Mondays.

I look forward to the possibilities and potential of what I can accomplish.

If you hate Mondays, start working on your escape plan.

Most Marketing is Insane.

Most Marketing is Insane blog post

The definition of insanity = doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

I look at a lot of social media plans, and one of the things that constantly surprises me is how long businesses continue to do something that doesn’t get them results.

They know it isn’t working.

Maybe they don’t have the path to success, so they continue to push along… getting no results from something that doesn’t work.

Sure, sometimes it takes time & consistency to get results (especially in social media). But if you post 5 similar status updates that get no engagement, you probably need to find a different kind of status update to post. Posting the same thing will probably produce the same result.

Don’t be insane.

Figure out what works and what doesn’t. Use the information you have to adapt your strategy.

Social Media Not Working? It is Probably Your Fault.

Social Media Not Working blog post

I evaluate tons of social media executions a year… for clients, people in our trainings or just for fun. While I don’t have all of the answers, one thing has become clear: Most businesses that don’t get results from social media don’t to it right.

Blogs are great examples. I heard a stat years ago that most corporate blogs fail. Most of the corporate blogs that I look at suck. Why?

  • The content isn’t strategic.
  • They have no strategy.
  • The headlines are mediocre.
  • They don’t post consistently.
  • The posts don’t have great visuals.
  • The posts aren’t structured well.
  • The content isn’t very interesting.
  • The audience isn’t clearly defined.

These are just a handful of reasons – most blogs suffer from many of these.

It is easy to say “we invested in a blog, wrote on it for months, but blogging just doesn’t work for us”.

No. Mediocre blogging doesn’t work for you.

The bar is higher in social media than ever before. If you don’t write great stuff, people won’t pay attention.

Do it well or don’t waste your time.

In almost every industry there are companies using every social media tool and getting great results. If you aren’t one of them you are probably doing it wrong.

It isn’t that social media doesn’t work. You aren’t doing it right.

Spend the time and effort to build a solid strategy and learn best practices.

Mediocre won’t get results and won’t cut it. You can’t afford to not be great any more.

The Secret to AMAZING Marketing Results

The Secret Amazing Results

If you do the same things the same way as your  competitors, you’ll get the same results as them.

You don’t get ahead by doing the same thing, the same way as everyone else.

How do you get ahead?

How do you get amazing results?

Do things….

  • Better
  • Faster
  • Smarter
  • Bigger
  • Smaller
  • Cheaper
  • Cleverer
  • Interestinger
  • Surprisinger

…than your competition.

If you want to get ahead, out-think, out-smart, out-execute….

For many businesses status quo is good enough. That won’t get you ahead.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About (Aboot) Canadians

Happy Canada Day! As a Canadian living in America, I wanted to clarify some of the things that Americans don’t know about Canadians…. Have something to add? Share in the comments.

1) Our Milk Comes in Bags.

Yes, it sounds weird and yes, it probably is. No, I don’t know why. You get milk in a 3-pack of bags, you put the bag into a jug and cut the corner. The milk isn’t poured into the jug, the bag sits in it and it is dispensed from the bag. Yes it is messier and grosser.

Photo by PMM

2) We Don’t Think We Have Accents

When I moved to America (9 years ago) I was accused of having an accent, which I blamed on mid-westerners having accents. Now I laugh when I hear my Canadian family talk with their accents… which they deny having. Canadians don’t hear their accents, even those that have been “beaten over the head with the Canadian Stick”. Don’t accuse Canadians of having an accent. They will deny it.

3) Canadian Thanksgiving is in Early October.

Yes, we celebrate Thanksgiving in early October. Most other major holidays (Halloween, Christmas, Easter) match up with the US and we follow the same calendar. When I first moved to the US I found it amusing to convince americans that we celebrated Christmas in November.

4) We Don’t Have Black Friday but we do have Boxing Day.

Black Friday doesn’t exist in Canada… Our Canadian Thanksgiving holiday falls on a Monday, and shopping has nothing to do with the holiday. We do however, have boxing day, which is similar to Black Friday, but it is the day after Christmas. People line up at store to get deals, but unlike Black Friday, we don’t trample each other (because we are generally nicer).

5) We’ve Only Really Been in One War, and it Was Against America. And we Won.

In the war of 1812, started by America, Canadians pushed the Americans back…past their ‘White House’. Then we burned it…and most of Washington, under the command of William Lyon McKenzie who was insane and hammered all the time. We got bored because they ran away, so we came home and partied…Go figure..  Also, Canada has the largest French population that never surrendered to Germany and the largest English population that never ever surrendered or withdrew during any war to anyone, anywhere. Although you could argue that it is because we don’t really fight any more (again, because we are nicer).  (Verified by Urban Dictionary – I know, totally credible).

6) Our Money Is Called Looneys and Tooneys. Seriously.

Yes it sounds like a joke, but it is legit. The looney is a one dollar coin with a Loon on it, and I guess Tooney for the two dollar coin just seemed to awesome too pass up. Also, Canada recently eliminated pennies, although I still don’t understand how that works, since prices may still end in a penny. The lowest coin is now 5 cents.

7) When You Search for Canadian Things on Google You Get Awesome Results.

For example apparently searches related to Canadians includes:

,
Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 10.41.52 AM

Also, a search starting with “Why is Canada” may end with “A Country” or “in the “NBA”. Shaking my head.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 10.42.33 AM

8) Canadians Think American Beer Tastes Like Water.

I remember growing up, a commercial for American light beer with the tagline “If I wanted Water, I’d ask for Water!”. This is because American light beer has less alcohol than Canadian light beer. Although in researching this post, I can’t actually confirm this “Canadian Fact”, but know that Canadians believe this to be true.

9) Nobody Uses the Phrase “Take off – Hoser”

I don’t know what TV show that came from, but I’ve never heard anyone say it. Ever. Also, we pronounce Toronto as “Torono”.

10) We aren’t all nice.

Especially me. I’ve been called the meanest Canadian (although at the time I was informed that I was still nicer than most Americans, just not as nice as the stereotype).

10 Things you didn't know about Canadians

 

Creating a Hashtag for Your Event

Many event planners and organizers ask about creating a hashtag for an event.

What is a hashtag?

Check out this video to understand what a hashtag is and why you would use one:

How do I Create a Hashtag for an Event?

To “create” a hashtag you simply choose something and tell people to use it. There isn’t a hashtag registry or anything. Check that the hashtag isn’t already being used. The easiest way to do this is by searching on Twitter. Hashtags are typically used across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Some Tips for Creating a Great Hashtag:

  • Avoid numbers – they confuse people
  • Choose something obvious
  • Shorter is better
  • Avoid words that are difficult to spell
  • If it is an annual event, there is no need to include the year
  • Remember, people only have 140 characters to use — the hashtag shouldn’t be too long or it will use most of your characters

Don’t Forget to Promote the Hashtag

Hashtags only work if people actually use them. Promote the hashtag:

  • Include it on your website
  • Include it in your social media mentions
  • Share it in pre-event emails
  • Mention it at the event
  • Include it in the event program
  • Put it on the nametags
  • Use it in the slide template

What is a hashtag?

How to Use a Hashtag for Your Meeting or Event

I spoke at a lot of events in September (over 12), and one of the top questions that I get is about hashtags – what they are, how to use them and how they work.  So it seemed like a good blog post…..

What is a hashtag or Tag or #

A hashtag is simply a way to denote the theme of a conversation.  For example, when I speak at PubCon, conference attendees use #pubcon to denote a tweet from the event.  This allows conference organizers to follow conversations about the event, or attendees (or those who couldn’t make it) to share their stories.

Essentially a # or hashtag is a way for people to tag the event that they are tweeting about.  While hashtags originated and are most commonly used on Twitter, they may be used on other social media sites, like Instagram.

How do I use a hashtag?

To use a hashtag in a Tweet you simply include it in your tweet.  For example, I may tweet “Avinash from Google just said that social media is 10% about the tools and 90% about the people #SESSF”.

Simple… you just include it in your post.

Why Would I Use a Hashtag for My Event

A hashtag allows you to track conversations from your event, engage with participants and can build awareness for the event overall.  Take the Tweet example I gave you above, if I hadn’t included #SESSF people wouldn’t have known where I was…. If I use a hashtag repeatedly, some of my followers will ask me what it is, and look for other Tweets from the conference.

It can be a great way to build brand awareness for your conference or event and by publicizing and promoting it you may also encourage and remind people to Tweet.

It also allows people to meet others who are at the conference, or follow event updates.

 How do I create a hashtag for my event?

There isn’t a hashtag registry, and permission isn’t required to start using one.  You simply choose a hashtag and publicize it.  The key is to make sure that before and during the conference people know what the hashtag is so that they use it.  Include it in all communications and on the cover of your show-book if you have one.

A good hashtag should be:

  • Short
  • Simple
  • Easy to remember and type
  • Not used by anyone else
  • Refer to how people refer to your event
  • Be the most obvious choice
  • Not include the year (why bother?)

Remember, Tweets are only 140 characters… the shorter and easier your # is to remember, the more likely people will use it.

3 Easy Steps to Achieving Ultimate Email Marketing Success

On Tuesday, Boot Camp Digital hosted the June Lunch & Learn, which was focused on Email Marketing That Gets Results. I was not at all surprised by the big turnout, because when you think about it, people really don’t know how to successfully use email marketing.

A lot of people just resort to sending out useless emails every other day, because the best thing to do is to broadcast as many emails as possible. Right? Wrong. Think about how many times you have logged into your email account at the start of a long work day and wanted to punch whoever keeps sending you irrelevant newsletters about their vitamin store.

What people don’t understand is how much you can increase the success of your business just by handling your email marketing the right way. Krista started out with listing some of the most common questions she is asked about email marketing:

  • How often should I send an email?
  • How long should my email be?
  • Should my subject lines be descriptive or provocative?
  • What time of the day should I send my email?
  • How much content should be in an email?

The answer for every single one of these questions, and probably the 10 other questions you’re thinking in your head, is the exact same: it depends. What works for one company doesn’t always work for another, so don’t just refer to the emails you get from your favorite online shoe store and copy exactly what they do.

Although Krista could not give a specific answer for each of these questions, she did offer some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. For most companies, a newsletter is typically sent out biweekly or bimonthly.
  2. If it comes time to post your newsletter and you have nothing to say, don’t send it out.
  3. Some very effective emails are very, very short, even though standard practice is to try and put in a lot of content.
  4. The best times to send emails are at 9:30 in the morning or between 1:30 and 2 in the afternoon.
  5. For a consumer audience, the best time to send an email is after 4 pm.
  6. Don’t bother on Friday. Think about it: would you rather start your weekend meeting your friends at happy hour or do you want to sit down and read about how a diet pill will help you shed 10 pounds in 6 hours?

So now the ultimate question: what can you do do achieve huge success for your business with email marketing?

Step 1: Get Emails

  • Remember that you always need to be collecting emails, everywhere. Whether it’s offline at a tradeshow, or online via a web form on your website, you need to constantly be asking people for their emails. Think of all your existing touch-points: trade shows, phone calls, networking events, your store, seminars, events, post cards, and a one-time email ask (so that if you were to create a newsletter, send one email telling them when and how often you’ll be sending it, and give them an option to opt-out if they’re not interested).
  • Remember that it’s really important that you don’t have people marking you as spam, because it will impact the overall deliverability of your emails with Gmail, Yahoo, etc.
  • Ask for as little information as possible, and give people a good reason to give you their email. For example, if you sell golf supplies, offer them a free report on how to improve their swing if they sign up for your email list. Then deliver on it.
  • Finally, use social networks like Twitter to get the word out. Send out a few tweets (and spread them out) telling followers where to sign up for your emails if they aren’t getting them. The key is to be active and energetic without being overly aggressive.

Step 2: Get People to Open Your Emails

  • Send the right message to the right person at the right time.
  • What makes a good subject line? It depends on audience, the offer or incentive, how they view you and your brand, and if you usually have something useful or relevant to say.
    • Just because something worked, don’t do it every time. Have variety to keep people interested
    • For businesses offering coupons, the more direct headline the better (ie our 15% back to school savings pass is here!)
  • Be consistent with who you send the email from each time
  • Think about your first 6-10 words in the email, they should be prompting people to continue on with you
  • You should always deliver on what you promised in the subject line.
  • Build trust over time; you don’t always need to sell. Sometimes, you can send out a newsletter with just useful info.
  • Email when you have value, not because of the day of the month.

Step 3: Get Them to Do Something After They Open Your Email

Use a strong Call to Action: a lot of emails miss a clear purpose of what they’re there for. What do you actually want someone to do from your email? If you want them to book you for a catering job, give them a link to your website and a special discount. If you want them to spread the word about your business, provide social media buttons in the email so that they can share your information on Twitter and Facebook. The bottom line is that people are lazy when it comes to this sort of thing, so tell them exactly what to do and make it easy for them to do it.

One last bonus piece of info… Certain words that you use in your email can impact your deliverability rate, because email providers would think they sound spam-like. So be careful and limited with your use of words and phrases including: free, 50% off, earn money, amazing, loans, get paid, act now, call now, cash bonus, order now, time limited, no cost, serious cash, save up to, all new subscribe now.

The Bottom Line? Email marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re not having much success with it now, all it takes is a few simple changes and smart moves to get the results that you want.