Category Archives: Marketing 102

Social Media Image Sizes

I got tired of looking up what the optimum sizes are for images for the most popular social media – from headers, to profile photos, to channel art. So I created this handy chart of the image requirements for the various social media sites. I hope you find this chart helpful.

Social Media image sizes

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Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, His 10 Rules for Business Success

Jack Ma is the richest man in China, 18th richest man in the world and worth 29.7 billion dollars. He was rejected for employment many times – he couldn’t even get a job at KFC in China! He applied to Harvard 10 times. Never give up! Jack started with 18 employees Alibaba Jack Maand  now has over 20,000. This 8 minute video provides insights into his business success creating the global trading company, Alibaba,  From a branding perspective, Jack provides insight into the Alibaba name and “genie” logo.

Some of his rules for success are obvious, but Jack makes them seem more important to do: Don’t let rejections defeat you, keep your dreams alive, focus on culture (mission and values), ignore naysayers that your idea is stupid, get inspired, stay focused, and branding – create a name people can easily remember. Also, make customers your number one priority, look for opportunities (he explains what kind), and have passion in what you do.

Sales Presentation: Engage Your Audience

Presentation skills

Seven ways to improve customer presentations:

  1. Provide a “Want” – not an Info Dump!  Be conscious of making sure the audience comes away with information that has value to them and not just pontificate of your knowledge. Give them just enough information that makes them “want”more – your products, services, expertise, a follow-up meeting, etc.
  2. Lead them with numbers. Tell your audience where your presentation is going. For example list 3-5 main points, tell them what you are going to tell them, and number the points! People like numbered lists because they know what to expect, where you are in the presentation, and it also helps them to better remember your presentation points.
  3. Create 3 basic parts to the presentation:  1. Introduction. 2. Content (which should contain 3-5 numbered points). 3. Conclusion: tell them what you told them.
  4. Communicate nuggets of info. Keep it simple. Make sure each point has an intro and conclusion so the audience can take away identifiable nuggets of information. It also makes it easier for people to take notes and retain the main points of your speech.
  5. presentation tipsTake your audience on a journey. After quoting a fact or a statistic to validate a point, engage the audience with a metaphor or tell a personal story. It makes it easier for the audience to understand and remember your points.
  6. Create a great first impressions at the podium. Looking to the back of the room, and slowly side to side lifts your head up higher and gives the impression you are confident and knowledgeable about the topic you are presenting. Avoid darting your eyes back and forth and around the room –it makes it appear that you are looking for a way to escape.
  7. Use vocal variety and pauses. Vocal variety shows passion as a speaker. It’s like a hit song that has a melody and a chorus, soft and loud –and just the opposite of a monotone presentation. Vocal variety creates subliminal dynamics that keeps the listener interested and engaged.

5 Blog Tips that Get Results.

  1. Blog best practiceThe title needs to contain the “keywords” that people use when searching for your blog topic. the closer the keyword is to the front of the title, the better the SEO results.
  2. Repeat the keywords in the text. Once the title is set, the keywords need to be used in the blog at least three times.
  3. SEO for phrases and keywordsSearch engines will show about the first 40 characters of a title, depending on spaces and punctuation. To make sure the audience knows what the blog is about, put the key info in the front 40. (The length of this blog title is 38 characters).
  4. Reader attention span: The blog needs to be more than just interesting to read, it needs to consider the interest level and the state-of-mind of the audience reading your blog. Go easy on the story telling – I recommend getting to the point very quickly because people are busy and most likely want answers – quickly!
  5. blogsHow long is the ideal blog? About 250 word is ideal – this one is 250. Extremely short and long blogs are not SEO ranked as high as blogs around this optimum length. Plus, the average length of time people spend reading a blog is around 90 seconds. A longer blog of around 350 words gives those who want detail to get their fill, shorter blogs around 150-200 words are more “newsy” and people typically will read the entire thing. So it will be best to mix the length up a bit.

Are you old-school or new-age sales?

Technology sales personIf I was evaluating a technology-based sales person with a lengthy resume, I would base it on more recent sales history – no farther back than the last 10-15 years. Back 20+ years ago computer and technology sales people could boast big impressive sales numbers because sales were “easy” compared to selling in today’s  highly competitive marketplace. Why? The world was switching over from paper and fax machines to computers and networks. Plus, connecting to the early stages of the Internet. Every company was buying technology and computer related products.

Back then the sales approach was totally different – you could make an easy sale on computers and networks based on price or superior technology because it was changing so quickly. Companies were buying entire telecommunications and computers systems – they were all basically building from scratch.

computer sales

Now successful new-age sales sells the “value” of a company’s technology – because there isn’t as much difference between the competition as there was in the early technology days. Yes, most companies now think they have something new and different, but typically not different enough for the customer to recognize or understand the difference without a lot of marketing and sales communication.

A new-age sales person articulates value propositions and creates the perception in the customer’s mind that the product and company is unique and offers a better value than the competition. That takes additional time, effort, and patience

best selling tipsAdditionally, it is equally important for the new-age sales person to partner with marketing because a successful sales person is part of the sales process and not the whole process. They are patient and learn how to become an important part of the “social media engagement” process. The new-age sales person understands how social media marketing and a company’s website are now an integral part of the entire sales process, as they are not the lone-wolf sales person glad-handing and selling like the good ole’ days.

Features, Benefits and Advantages: Finally – the differences explained.

Business writing

When writing text for a company’s products, clearly communicate the value and benefits of a product.  Figure out what the benefits and advantages really are, and don’t just creatively describe the features as given to you by the company’s engineers.  Most copywriters and marketers don’t differentiate between features, benefits and advantages because it’s like pulling teeth to figure out why a customer needs a product and why they should buy it. Yes, it takes time to think that out, but think how long it took to design and develop the product – and the marketing of the product is just as important as the product itself, so it needs proper marketing effort for the product to sell.

You should know thisThe difference between the features, benefits and advantages:

A Feature is the function of a product – specifically what it can do.

A Benefit is why a product’s feature is desired, needed or a good thing.

An Advantage is why someone should buy the product and why it is a better choice than the competition.

Here’s a simple example of using the above definitions:

kayakFeature: This kayak is made out of hardened fiberglass
Benefit: So it won’t ever leak or break
Advantage: Meaning you can take on more extreme rapids than ever before

So many times I see the features of a product called a benefit, and or features mixed in with benefits and written under the heading of benefits. Clearly communicate the differences between a Feature, Benefit and an Advantage – and let the follow-up info for responses to inquiries be used to fill in additional information on the features. Give customers a reason the product is needed and is better value than the competition’s product.

Building Relationships is a Valuable Marketing Tool, Here’s Why …

If you do not start somewhere, you will be nowhere. In order to get business, you need to get out and meet people and push your comfort zones. You need to form relationships with people outside of your immediate influence and industry. Join organizations whose members are business owners and senior people in organizations – as they are your potential new clients.

businessman connect to social network

You aren’t going to be building much of a business if the only people you know are those you are meeting through work. You must get out and meet people outside of work. This means going to events where people in your profession are networking for business are likely to be present, but it also means going to events where you are likely to stand out because you are one of the few who do what you do.

Networking-PartyThere are hundreds of potential social situations you can inject yourself into. It’s important that you get involved in as many social situations outside of work as you possibly can. This networking will give you the ability to meet new people and connect. These people may have the ability to refer relationships to you, or they may not. If you do not start to form relationships, however, then you will not be someone who can get business in the first place. Get out and form relationships!