Quit Today to Thrive Tomorrow

 

Quit today to thrive tomorrow






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I quit!  Just two little words, instantly recognized, and understood around the world as the high sign for ‘That’s it, I’ve had it. I’m done. No kidding’.

‘I quit’ is the exclamation point at the end of a long frustration that begs to be put out of its misery. Most of the time, we associate the phrase with the need to leave a horrible job. We’ve all been there. And in our wildest dreams, we wish we had been able to do it with the same flair as Marina Shifrin, who made us all laugh out lout at the viral video she created to say it.

Marina Shifrin Says I QUIT!!!

Two things are striking about the ‘I QUIT’ video. First, the woman is definitely having a good time. She enjoyed making,  saying and dancing to the beat of ‘I QUIT’. The experience is fun, complete, and POSITIVE.

Secondly, as you watch the look on her face, you KNOW she’s going to land on her feet. The hassle is gone, because she let that go. The angst is gone, because she decided to stop letting it tie her up in knots. Doom and gloom is replaced with satisfaction and optimism. No matter what.

Growing up we’re told that quitting is a bad thing that we should never, ever do. Maybe we’ve been looking at it all wrong. Maybe we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking that ‘never, ever’ always applies, without exception, regardless of the reason. Not even once. But maybe it’s time to rethink ‘I QUIT’, and find the up side.

The Other Side of I QUIT

I quit is not just about throwing in the towel and saying ‘I’m done’. It’s a decision to move forward, to exercise your power of choice, knowing full well there’s (going to be) a better outcome on the other end.

Because you’re the captain of your own ship, and you know that wherever you’re headed you’ll be just fine. Because you’re uniquely you, totally deserving of the good coming your way.

I QUIT says:
  • There is more
  • There is better
  • There is another way
  • There is life
  • There is fun
  • There is faith
  • There is abundance

For ME
For NOW
For ALWAYS

So QUIT
  • Stop the dumb stuff.
  • Let go of things that no longer serve you.
  • Release negative beliefs and negative people
  • See the glass half full instead of half empty.
  • Discontinue living in quiet fear
  • Resist wondering if you’re ever going to get what you want.
  • Acting like life is not short
  • Quit today to thrive tomorrow!

As for me, I’ve had it. I’m done. No kidding. I QUIT. How about you? Comment below and Tweet this if you think there may be something positive about #quitting after all =)

 

Easy Branded Website Email: From Blah, Blah, Blah to Ooh La La

 

Easy Branded Website Email

Tired of boring, Plain Jane Website Email? WiseStamp & GMAIL Have you Covered

Sending website email from ‘you’ at ‘yourdomain.com’ has always been a rather dull but necessary affair. But if you’re promoting your business the right way, there are times when you simply need to use it.

After all, a business email address highlights your brand with potential customers and professional contacts. Nothing says ‘not ready for prime time’ faster than ‘you’ at ‘yahoo.com’ when it comes to business. You need the credibility of ‘you’ at ‘yourdomain.com’ to really walk your talk.

Nowadays, it’s equally important to include your social media links in your website email signature. You want customers and prospects to ‘follow’ you to build on your relationship with them. The idea is to ‘connect’ at every possible turn, because the more familiar people are with you and your brand, the greater the chances they’ll support you.

All that is great, except for one small problem – it looks like crap with a capital “C” to have that much information typed at the end of your website email. It’s like putting 16 advanced degrees after your name, which (even if you have them) looks like you’re trying too hard to impress the reader. You’ve seen it before – the end result goes something like this:

  • Your name
  • Your company name
  • Your phone number, email or tag line
  • Your website URL
  • https://www.facebook.com/YourFacebookPage
  • http://twitter.com/YourTwitterPage
  • http://linkedin.com/in/YourPublicLinkedInProfile
  • http://google.com/YourGoogle+Profile
  • http://pinterest.com/YourPinterestPage

After climbing over the many steps it takes to log into your hosting account just to access your personal website email, you’re left with a Plain Jane signature that has ‘blah, blah, blah’ written all over it. What good is that? Clearly there’s got to be a better, more visually appealing way to do this. And now there is.

Personal Website Email Branding Made Easy

If you have a Gmail account, two small tweaks could forever change your ‘blah, blah, blah’ website email signature into one that says ‘ooh la la’.

First you configure Gmail to send and receive messages from your personal website email account. Then you use WiseStamp for Firefox to create a memorable sign off that speaks well of you and your business.

Configuring Gmail to pick up your personal website email has many steps, but they aren’t hard or time consuming. Here’s what to do:

  • Open Gmail
  • Click on the little gear box in the top right corner underneath your email address
  • Click on ‘Settings’ and then ‘Accounts’
  • Look for ‘Check mail from other accounts (using POP3)’ and click on ‘Add a POP3 mail account you own’
  • Add your name and your website email address (you@yourdomain.com) and click ‘next’
  • Uncheck ‘treat as alias’ and click ‘next’
  • Accept the default ‘send through Gmail’ and click ‘next’
  • Verify your email address. You will get an email confirmation code. Either follow the link or enter the code and click ‘verify’
  • Enter your POP server (contact your hosting company if you aren’t sure what to put here)
  • Accept the default port setting set by Gmail
  • Put checks next to any preferences you have about leaving mail copies on the server, etc.
  • Click on ‘Add account’

On the next screen, you’ll have the option of setting it as a custom From address. Do that. Then you can compose messages in Gmail and have them appear to be sent from your website email account. Click ‘yes’ to set up a custom From address.

When you’re ready to send an email from ‘you’ at your domain, use ‘compose’ the way you normally would and simply select your personal website email address from the drop down menu as the ‘from’ address.

Adding WiseStamp

WiseStamp has an impressive number of email apps, so you should take the tour, check out their gallery and explore their signature samples before you get started.

You can download WiseStamp for Firefox here.  The app is free for up to 5 different signatures that you can use for personal or business email. Setup is simple (just follow their steps) and you can easily add your logo or picture, social media icons, and website URL. You can also share your latest blog posts, Tweet, Facebook status, Pinterest pins and more

That’s it! Once you’ve customized and saved your WiseStamp signature, it will be automatically added to the end of your website email when you select it from the drop down list.

Blah Blah Blah to Ooh La La

How’s this for a better looking, more impressive website email signature:

 

Jazzy new Gmail signature

Thought that might catch your eye 🙂 Now it’s your turn to be memorable #justsaying

PS – WiseStamp also works with Google Mail, AOL email, Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook.com and Thunderbird. If you use one of these email providers, check to see if you can access email from an external Pop 3 account (like one from your website). Follow their instructions to set it up.

What’s your take? Is this something you would try? Share your thought below.

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Beyond Social Media – What ELSE Can You Do to Attract More Customers?

Beyond Social Media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social media works because it boosts you business visibility. It gets you in front of a bigger audience than you’re likely to reach on your own, if you did things the ‘old fashioned way’ by networking one to one.

Of course you have to be ‘active’ on social media to really get the benefit, which means dedicating a lot of time (and I do mean a LOT) sharing the love with other business owners, writing regular blog posts and connecting with prospects on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.

The good news is that social media enables you to create a strong following if you use it well and consistently. The bad news is that social media represents ‘busy work’ of the highest order, and it’s not uncommon to turn around at the end of the day and realize you didn’t get much else done.

Unless you have a virtual assistant or social media manager doing all that posting for you, you could easily be spending significant portions of your day engaged in the equivalent of air kisses with your fans and followers.

The Real Deal about Social Media

As a success coach, I come across many small business owners who are trying to use social media to get ahead. Most of them hit a wall with it after 6 months or so of steady involvement, when they discover that social media is great for brand visibility, but often not so great when it comes to bringing in actual paying customers.

In fact, a surprising number of small business owners say ‘Not really’ or ‘No’ when asked the question ‘Do you get many paying customers as a result of what you’re doing on social media?’

Just about everyone who uses social media for business will tell you they’ve met some really great people along the way, but most of them are not in their target market. It’s a problem.

Back to Shameless Self Promotion

Back in the days before social media, brave small business owners took a stab at what was called ‘shameless self promotion’. The idea was simple:

You have a business to run. Your raison d’être for being in business is to make money. Take the necessary steps to get your name out there to bring in customers. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself – you owe it to yourself and your business.

Small business use of the internet was taking hold, with companies building their first websites, and trying to get visibility for their brand. We eventually shifted away from using some of the more traditional marketing strategies, and started focusing on raising our visibility by participating in social media networks.

With so many business owners wondering if all the effort they’re spending on social media is making a tangible difference in their bottom line, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate that option for shameless self promotion.

Besides Social Media, what ELSE Can You Do to Attract More Customers?

There are many steps you can take to promote yourself and your business. My Top 10 are:

  1. List your business in online directories where customers may look for people or services like yours. Google ‘online directories+your field’ (i.e. ‘online directories+social media)
  2. Find online venues that allow you to feature products you have for sale (like Etsy or Amazon for certain crafts and design pieces)
  3. Attend local meet ups – nothing beats face to face communication when it comes to making sales. Research ‘business+networking+your city’ (as in ‘business+networking+Los Angeles) to find events in your area. Ask people if they know of any networking group or organization you should check as well.
  4. List your business in search engines. Don’t assume your website is listed if you haven’t submitted your URL to any of the major search engines. You should do this periodically anyway, especially if you don’t get a lot of regular traffic to your website or blog.
  5. Get a Local Page for your business on Google, Yahoo and Bing. Local search is growing by leaps and bounds, so you want your business listed in your geographic area.
  6. Get a Universal Business Listing. This insures your business appears in the major search engines and directories across the Internet. The UBL is a paid service for which you are billed annually, but the exposure you get is well worth the money.
  7. Issue a press release. Put it out on the wire that your business is doing something new, noteworthy or different. News sells.
  8. Allow yourself to be interviewed. People are always in the market for success stories, because they’re motivating. Interviews put a human face to your brand, which encourages trust. Your story has value to potential customers.
  9. Use Facebook Promoted Posts – they get your brand and your products to market quickly for a very affordable price.
  10. Article marketing – if you want to establish yourself as an authority in your field, write about what you know. People buy from familiar sources.
Be Prepared

As you consider alternative ways of promoting your business, remember to be prepared – prepared to talk about your business with ease, prepared to briefly explain how you can help, and (while it may be suggesting the obvious), be prepared to know your customer when you see them.

Your customer is never ‘anybody who …’. Your customer is a very specific type of person or group who can most benefit from what you offer, who understands the value of your product or service, and can afford to buy what you’re selling. You should always be listening for cues or asking questions that help you quickly identify who they are.

Most importantly though, have a plan. You won’t find success in business without taking a hard look at the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ parts of your strategy, or a casual approach to putting one in place.

Knowing what the next best steps are for your business doesn’t always come easy. I am a success coach who helps small businesses get customers using social strategies and mobile marketing. If you need to brainstorm, or to get an objective opinion about your next move, take advantage of my free consultation.

I’m curious – are you using any of these methods to reach more customers? How has it worked for you? Weigh in below.

By [googleplusauthor]
 
 

30 Ways to Use QR Codes to Reach More Customers

Facebook Like QR Code
QR codes are important to business because business customers are mobile customers. Just about everybody and their mother has a mobile phone or device with a QR code reader installed. That gives business owners the option of using the same technology to communicate with their growing mobile audience.

Why Use QR Codes

I could give you a long list of reasons why you should use QR codes, but I’ll restrict it to my Top Three:
 

  1. QR codes are easy. Easy to create, easy to save, easy to track (depending on the QR code generator you use) and easy to use.
  2. QR codes are flexible. They can be used on virtually any publishing platform, including websites, social media pages, print advertising, mobile sites, and physical products.
  3. QR codes are inexpensive. Most QR creation services allow you to create QR codes for free. Placing them on your online sites, networks and social media channels is free. The cost of adding them to your mobile site or landing page is usually nominal.

Think of QR codes like a mini-marketing messenger system. The idea is to create a message that triggers a quick response (hence the name), like redeeming a coupon, joining a list, visiting a website, or whatever your purpose in getting your customer’s attention.

Any business that uses QR codes to link to mobile optimized content increases their chances of growing their audience and connecting with potential buyers.

How can you use QR codes?

QR codes have many practical applications. Here are 30 ideas to consider:

  1. Link one to your Facebook Fan Page (Facebook is mobile)
  2. Link one to your Twitter Profile (Twitter is mobile)
  3. Link one to your LinkedIn profile or Company Page
  4. Connect to a Pinterest board (Pinterest is mobile)
  5. Link to your engaging Google+ group (Google+ is mobile)
  6. Add one to your desktop site (leading to a mobile optimized page)
  7. Link to your latest/most popular blog post (mobile version)
  8. Embed a vCard with your contact information
  9. Send people to a newsletter sign up page (most major email management services are now mobile)
  10. Invite people to join your mobile list
  11. Promote your next gig, radio show, local meeting, etc
  12. Create a QR code rubber stamp like one of these
  13. Add it to customer receipts
  14. Advertise a sale (leading to a mobile ready page)
  15. Include in print ads
  16. Put a larger version in your storefront window or strategic ‘no miss’ location
  17. Use in mobile campaigns to attract more customers
  18. Show your location on a map (Google, of course, is mobile)
  19. Announce special offers
  20. Sell products with discount codes
  21. Put on physical products (T-shirts, cups, windows, menus, etc)
  22. Send customers to mobile landing pages
  23. Point to a promotional video
  24. Give away a free ebook or creative piece
  25. Have one imprinted on the back of your business card
  26. Get the word out about a contest or sweepstakes
  27. Send a reminder about your upcoming webinar
  28. Broadcast a coupon offer
  29. Tell customers about your new mobile website (well, yeah)
  30. Print them on flyers and leave behind’s
Using QR codes successfully

QR codes can be a powerful branding tool that quickly gets your advertising message across with little to no cost other than the time you take to create them. To make sure they work to your advantage:

  1. Keep your message simple
  2. While you can include graphics (like a logo or other image) proceed with caution – the more data (including graphical data) you put in your QR code, the greater the chances for distortion.
  3. Always test your QR code on different platforms to make sure it displays properly.
  4. When adding links to your QR codes, make sure you’re sending mobile users to pages that are mobile-friendly
  5. Whenever possible, track your QR codes to see which ones are most effective and which platforms give you the best results. Like any other promotional vehicle, ad copy and placement can have a major impact on the outcome.
  6. Remember that not all QR code makers are the same. Some allow you to create dynamic (read ‘changeable’) codes, while others don’t. Some require a subscription to access premium services. Others use URL shorteners which you may not want to use
Resources for Creating Your Own QR codes

A simple search of Google will show you there are many QR code makers to choose from, depending on your needs and preferences. Here are just a few options:

  • QRlicious –  a paid service for custom QR codes
  • myQR.co –  a free app for creating codes that link to your website, send a promotional message, include your contact details or point to a mapped location
  • Beqrious – create colorful codes of different types (web URL, text, email, phone, vcard, YouTube video, etc) Free and paid
  • Social QR code – an entirely free QR Code Generator Designed for Social Sharing and Social Media
  • uQRme – create and manage multiple dynamic codes per month with this inexpensive subscription based service
  • visualead – a unique fee based service that lets you embed custom QR codes into a larger sales image
  • QR Stuff – one of the most popular QR code generators that creates all kinds of  codes in color or black and white for free or choose the subscription option for advanced features

Are you using QR codes in your business? Have you found them helpful in promoting your brand? Share your thoughts.

By [googleplusauthor], who thanks you for reading this post on QR codes.
 
 

I’m not mobile yet. Sorry about that. But my competition is. Here’s their link.

I'm not mobile yet. Sorry about that. But my competition is. Here's their link.

Mobile is the way of the future, and business owners are starting to catch on. Smartphone sales have been going through the roof, and, as of a few weeks ago, they outnumbered sales of other types of mobile phones for the very 1st time (Computerworld)

If you read my last blog post, you already know that by 2014 (at the outside) the use of mobile devices to access the internet will surpass the number of desktop systems being used to jump online. You also learned that 93% of consumers now use their smartphones at home, and not just when they’re on the go.

What that means for business is very clear – if you don’t establish a mobile presence soon, you might as well put a giant graphic on your homepage that says ‘I’m not mobile yet. Sorry about that. But my competition is. Here’s their link‘. Not exactly what you had in mind? Good. It shouldn’t be.

So then the real question is how will you take your business mobile? You owe it to yourself to do enough research to find out what’s involved and what’s required: Do you just duplicate your current website and put it on a mobile platform? Do you need something entirely new that will take a long time and a lot of money to build? Is it necessary to buy a mobile domain and pay for mobile hosting? What’s your next move exactly? The list goes on.

Getting the Right Perspective on Mobile Websites

Mobile websites are designed for rapid response, because mobile visitors expect immediate access to important information about your business – like who you are, what you do, where you’re located, and how to reach you. The focus is on ‘just the facts, thanks’ as opposed to ‘I want to know everything about you’.

Think about a mobile website in the same way you experience a new book on Amazon, where you ‘click to look inside’ to get enough of a feel for the content, to decide whether you want to buy it or not. Or like watching the trailer for a movie, compared to seeing the whole film in a theater.

Remember that the screen on a mobile device is small, and that your mobile visitors have a different objective from your desktop or tablet users. Content is minimal compared to a standard site or blog, and it’s intentionally different.

The goal of a mobile site is to create easy and instant engagement with mobile customers. Its value is in its ability to market your business in very direct ways, so that people understand what you have to offer as soon as they land on your mobile homepage.

 What can you do with a mobile website?

The simple answer is guarantee that your business gets seen by any potential customer with a mobile device, including those in your local area. You can run text–to-win campaigns, featured promotions, mobile sales, giveaways and push notifications, just to name a few opportunities.

And you can do it all without interfering with your regular desktop site, having to buy a .Mobi domain, paying for additional mobile hosting, or (in most cases) worrying about plugin conflicts affecting your blog. Depending on your level of skill and time availability, you can put a mobile site together yourself, or pay someone to do it for you.

The features you’ll have available will vary, depending on the site creation tool being used , and whether it is a standalone mobile site, or one designed for a specific platform like WordPress.

Minimally, a mobile site will be smartphone/iPad/iPod touch compatible, have a choice of themes, backgrounds and colors, offer multiple menus, pages and social connection options, handle different forms of media (like videos and animations), allow for tap-to-call and tap-to-email, and provide multi-language support.

More robust mobile marketing websites offer additional features like interactive maps and directions, social calls to action (Like us on Facebook), opt-in and lead capture forms, image galleries, discount coupons, support for custom backgrounds, logos and images, slideshows, Google Analytics integration, and SEO optimization.

Dedicated mobile marketing websites also lend themselves to customized apps specifically created for business. These include things like mobile text messaging, food ordering, mobile shopping carts, loyalty programs, mobile reservations, QR codes, advanced social network and mailing list integrations, campaign monitoring and so on.

In other words, you can do a lot to create and engage more customers than you have now.

The most important thing you need to consider when taking your business mobile

This may sound like a contradiction, but when you’ve heard and read enough about why your business should go mobile, hit the PAUSE button, because the next decision you make will have a direct impact on how well and how easily you’ll be able to connect with your mobile audience in the future. When it comes to mobile, you have to think in terms ofdown the road.

Down the road, you’ll want the flexibility to pump up the volume with mobile customers, so they are enticed to buy what you’re selling right away, and eager to become part of your community. To put it another way, you want to build a mobile site that’s scalable to your growing needs, so you’re not paying through the nose later on to add more bells and whistles.

Like many other situations in life, it’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have. Do your homework, be prepared with information you need to make an informed decision, and get started. There’s precious little time to waste, if you plan to get the edge on your competition. And believe me, they’re thinking about mobile right now, just like you are :).

Did you find this post helpful? Please share it on Twitter or any of the other social platforms below. Of course, your comments and feedback are always welcome.

Until next time!
 
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