Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Adobe Slate features Muttville as its Nonprofit Cause Spotlight

April 19th, 2015

Gracie

Adobe has been really good to me through the years as their Photoshop User Group Manager, but I was pleasantly surprised when Adobe chose to spotlight Switchblade’s Marketing work for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.

Watch the video commercial for Slate starring Muttville!

 

A truly easy tool for social media marketers who need to share great content on the go, Adobe Slate was launched early this month. In preparation for this launch, Adobe produced several videos showcasing the tool in action. They thought Muttville was a perfect example! And I couldn’t agree more (of course!) We shared how we could use Adobe Slate to create a professional, visually appealing webpage as an invitation to our weekly adoption events.

The Adobe team and video crew were true animal lovers. Before the day of filming was wrapped, they knew every dog who spent the day with them and even picked up on a few dogs’ quirky characters. They even got used to cleaning up a few pee puddles here and there!

Marie Macaspac, Marketing Director, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

“How to Think Up a Year’s Worth of Blog Post Topics in an Hour” by Hubspot

February 19th, 2014

Ocean bloggingI admit, I REALLY NEEDED THIS ADVICE! Thanks Ginny Soskey for this very helpful article.

If you have not faced this dilemma, I applaud you! The rest of us can enjoy this very helpful advice. Thanks Hubspot!

Originally published at http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/blog-post-topic-brainstorm-ht

Last November, I got my team in a room and asked them to do something that sounded nearly impossible: brainstorm a year’s worth of blog topics in under an hour. That’s an aggressive target — I know — but we needed enough titles to support the Blog Topic Generator‘s algorithm.

So we all sat around the conference room table, writing blog ideas in a Google spreadsheet. The first five minutes, we were stumped. The eight of us tentatively put in a few ideas … and then all of a sudden ideas were flowing. One idea would suddenly morph into 10, and before we knew it, we had almost 300 titles … and we still had 15 minutes to spare.

Sounds like a fairytale, right? Who has their next year of blog post ideas at their fingertips, never mind thought of them all within an hour?

Well, it’s certainly not a myth. It’s not even a luxury reserved for only well-established companies that are rolling in dough. All you need is a Google spreadsheet/Word doc/Evernote note/pen and paper, and the right blog topic brainstorming process.

You’ve already got the first part covered, so keep on reading to get the process we used to come up with those few hundred titles in under an hour. Remember: The key to this whole process is to not start from scratch each time you need a topic — just iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics. So let’s get to it!

1) Come up with your first topic.

This step is probably the hardest of the bunch: coming up with your very first topic. If you’re struggling to get down even one idea, there are a few go-to places you can always turn.

First are your customers. What kinds of questions do they have, and how could you answer them in a blog post? If you don’t know what their struggles are, send them (or someone internally who deals closely with them) an email. You could also try sitting in on a few sales calls to see what your company’s prospects are asking — not only will you suddenly have way more to blog about, but you can also help your sales reps close more deals.

There are lots of ways you can get blog ideas, but these are two of the most efficient and effective ways to get them.

2) Change the topic scope.

Okay, so now you have one idea. Great! Now it’s time to iterate.

The first way you iterate is by changing the topic from something broad to something narrow. Let’s say your first idea is “15 Social Media Tips and Tricks for Beginners” — you can change that topic to more niche ones like “15 Pinterest Tips and Tricks for Beginners” or “15 Facebook Tips and Tricks for Beginners”. You can also go from narrow to broad in the same manner (“15 Marketing Tips and Tricks for Beginners”), or go from one narrow topic to another (“15 Twitter Tips and Tricks for Beginners”), or even go from narrow to narrower (“15 Facebook Company Page Tips and Tricks for Beginners”).

Then boom: you have a bunch of ideas from one, all because you changed the scope of the topic.

3) Change up the timeframe.

Even though these post ideas are evergreen, you can use specific timeframes to iterate on a blog topic.

Let’s take a very broad topic like “The History of SEO.” This is a field that has been around for years, so if you were to write about the entire history, it’d be a long, comprehensive post … but if you wanted to squeeze more juice out of that topic, you could restrict the topic to a certain timeframe like the past month. The new tittle would then be “What You Missed This Month in the SEO Industry”. Or you could restrict it to a year: “The Biggest Changes in SEO in 2013”.

4) Choose a new audience.

Often, you’ll have multiple audiences you’re writing for — and they probably aren’t interested in reading the same exact post, even if they’re interested in similar topics. For example, a post for a CMO and a post for an entry-level person might both be about Facebook, but one will be more strategic and one will be more tactical.

It’s easier than you’d think to frame the post for that person — one way to do it is to just add their name in the title. For example, “What Every Entry-Level Marketer Should Know About Facebook” could also be “What Every CMO Should Know About Facebook”.

Obviously those will be two very different posts when you get down to it, but the initial concept is one and the same: Facebook tips.

5) Go negative or positive. 

When most people think of blog post ideas, they think in the positive mindset: “20 Social Media Rules You Should Always Follow.” It makes sense — we’re trying to be helpful with our content, so it’s natural to try to be upbeat and positive. But you can actually come up with way more topic ideas if you embrace your negative side.

So let’s take that initial post idea and turn it negative: “20 Social Media Rules You Should Never Follow”. Simple, right? This little trick can help you think of more creative and attention-grabbing blog topics — that are often more fun to write, too.

6) Introduce new formats. 

When all else fails, try plugging recurring themes into new formats. So a title like “The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing” could easily become “The Ultimate Email Marketing Checklist” or “The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing [Infographic]”.

The angle of your post will likely have to change to correspond with the format (not everything should be an infographic, or a video, or a cartoon), but thinking through new format types alongside your regular topics will help you identify new ways of thinking about something you’ve blogged about over and over.

7) Remove titles that don’t solve for your customers or audience. 

At the very end of all this, you’re going to have a huge list, but not every topic is going to be a great choice for your blog. Some may not align with your brand’s positioning or some may feel played out and stale. Be ruthless and cut out any topics that don’t fit the bill. You’ll be left with some great ideas that you can use as you like through the rest of the year.

But remember, the goal of this brainstorming process is to set a good foundation for your content backlog — not dictate what you must blog about over the next year. It’s likely that your editorial or marketing strategy will change, or you hear about some breaking news that you need to blog about ASAP. So use this brainstorming session as the foundation of your editorial calendar, not the entirety of it.

On Pinterest, if a photo says it all, make yours say it well

June 27th, 2013

For this article, I am keeping the words to a minimum to prove this point. On Pinterest, its all  pictures – And you need to stand out. Check out this  infographic we got from Hubspot. If you want to get shared (i.e. re-pinned) try these tips. Article originally published on Hubspot 6/27/2013

Get These Phrases Out of Your LinkedIn Headline!!

April 10th, 2013

We got a great laugh with this article, originally published on Executive Resume Expert. We hope you get a good laugh – plus lots of great tips – from this article.
Originally published here: http://executiveresumeexpert.com/2013/03/06/worthless-phrases-in-linkedin-headline/

The 5 Most Worthless Phrases in Your LinkedIn Headline

LinkedIn HeadlineYour LinkedIn Headline is arguably the most important piece of real estate within your Profile.

Yet, most users remain confused about its true function, and what to use (in place of the default, which is your current job title).

Within LinkedIn’s search algorithm, your Headline ranks #1, meaning that out of all the other information you’ll add to your Profile, the words here are weighted more heavily as search terms.

In addition, your Headline is the first (and possibly the ONLY) piece of information other users will see. It’s displayed in a search list, under your name in an Invitation, and in numerous other prominent places on the site.

Here’s my list of the most meaningless words you can use in your Headline (all found in actual Profiles!) – plus some suggestions for stronger alternatives:

1 – “Top 1% (5%, etc.) Viewed Profile.”

Sure, this is an accomplishment… but not of any magnitude worth touting to employers.

Here’s why: if you’re an Operations Director, and put only these 2 words in  your Headline, plus the same title for your past 4 jobs and NO other information anywhere in your Profile, you’ll probably rank in the Top 1% for “Operations Director.”

In other words, reaching 1% this way would require hardly any effort.

However, if you’ve inserted 2,000 to 3,000 other words that describe your career level, achievements, and scope of authority, your Profile View ranking will take a dive due to reduced keyword density.

Still, you’ll be more findable on skills and other keywords (because recruiters often specify a mix of search terms when sourcing candidates)… and you’ll make a better impression on employers.

Therefore, an impressive Top Viewed ranking is just that – impressive, but not helpful in your search and not worth using precious, keyword-heavy real estate (even if you want a job writing LinkedIn Profiles!).

Disclaimer: I’m ranked among the Top 1% as well (but you won’t find it in my Headline).

2 – “Results-Driven.”

Just like on your resume, it’s important to use terms that distinguish you from the competition. This phrase and others like it (“dynamic” or “visionary,” anyone?) have become so embedded in boilerplate resume-speak, they’re essentially meaningless.

Plus, can you picture a recruiter using “Results-driven” as a search term? I didn’t think so.

Instead, consider adding a short phrase to your Headline that actually describes results, slipping in a keyword or two (“Marketing VP Improving Social Media Engagement”).

Even a short, powerful note on the ROI from your skills (“Sales Manager | #1 Revenue Record Across Americas”) can make a better impression.

3 – “Experienced.”

Unless you’re a student, this word doesn’t count for much in describing your career. Most professionals, by way of their job titles and career history, ARE “experienced” in their chosen fields, so you’re not laying claim to a unique skill.

Make your Headline more search-friendly by using a mixture of current and target job titles (“Senior Director, VP Sales”) to show your career goals, or a short description of your achievements (“12%+ Annual Sales Growth”).

Either way, showing your career aspirations or accomplishments will actually prove that you’re experienced and worthy of employer attention.

4 – “Father,” “Husband,” “Wife,” etc.

I’ll say it again – LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, and it certainly isn’t Twitter (where these types of mini-bios are common).

On LinkedIn, other users are most interested in your career level and ability to produce results in a professional environment. Leave the family references for a more personal venue.

5 – “Unemployed.”

If you’re not using your Headline to strengthen your brand message with keywords and job titles, you’re missing out on potential traffic and employer interest. “Unemployed” is hardly a search term, and it certainly doesn’t speak to your expertise.

(It might, however, convey desperation.)

Instead of wasting Headline space with it, try sending the same message while specifying what you offer employers (“IT Director Seeking Infrastructure, Operations, & Development Leadership Role”), while injecting strong keyword content.

As you can see, there’s many ways to capture and express value to an employer with your Headline.

Take a few minutes to add some creative phrasing and keyword content for better ROI from your Profile.

“Marketing Automation: Why You’re Doing it Wrong” by HubSpot

November 21st, 2012

An article written by Jeffrey Russo

(original article can be found at  http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33863/Marketing-Automation-Why-You-re-Doing-it-Wrong.aspx#ixzz2CsTZjExq)

Ralphies soap

Marketing automation sometimes sounds like a dirty word, and for good reason. When done incorrectly, it has the potential to undervalue a marketer’s database, irritate those on the receiving end of the campaign, and generate poor results. If that’s not enough to make marketers want to wash out their mouths with soap, I’m not sure what is. I guess you could ask Ralphie.

But the truth is, marketing automation holds a lot of promise for marketers, because it is a powerful tool that can help them overcome some of the core problems they face. For example, we all know that devoting personal attention to our leads tends to generate the best results. Marketing automation can actually help you scale that personal attention. And we could all use some more time in our day to focus on more high-level concerns than just manually nurturing leads. Marketing automation can help with that, too! And these are only a couple of examples.

Let’s take a look at some common mistakes made with marketing automation, and some of their better alternatives.

Mistake #1: You’re Marketing to Actions, Not People

marketing automationIn most marketing automation systems, setting up a campaign means selecting a starting list, and drawing out a tree of actions. In that tree, there are often conditions in the middle that change the path a lead takes based on things they do or don’t do (e.g. opening emails, clicking on links, visiting landing pages, etc.).

Depending on how you do this and what your conditions are, it’s very possible that you’re setting yourself up for failure. Here are a few reasons why.

1) Single actions rarely tell the whole story.

When you send a lead down a different path in your campaign based on one or two things they did or didn’t do, you’re making a lot of assumptions that the action they took was intentional and meaningful. But maybe I actually am an interested prospect, but I had a full inbox the morning you sent me an email, and I skipped past your message. Or maybe I clicked through on an email you sent me out of curiosity, but am actually a better fit for an entirely different product you sell. One action a lead does or doesn’t take rarely tells us enough to market to them more effectively.

2) Some actions are tough to track accurately.

Take email opens for example. While open rate is a helpful metric to look at in aggregate over time, using an opened status to change the makeup of a campaign for one person is risky, because no email tool can track it with a perfect rate of accuracy. Some email clients falsely report opens, while others don’t report opens when an email was actually read. Do you want an arbitrary metric changing the makeup of your campaign?

3) Leads aren’t moving through your campaigns in a vacuum.

Let’s be honest — a branching campaign looks great on paper, but it usually doesn’t take into consideration any of the other ways a lead might be interacting with your brand. If your marketing is working the way it should be, those leads are probably coming back to many different parts of your website through many different channels. If I do an organic search to get back to your website on my own volition, then visit your pricing page and download a whitepaper that isn’t a part of the campaign you are sending me, are the conditions controlling the next step of the campaign I happen to be in still important? Probably not.

Solution: Use smaller, more specific segments from the very start of your campaign.

Rather than dump a big list of leads into a nurturing campaign that looks like a game of Mouse Trap and hope they get relevant messages along the way, put them into a better targeted campaign from the start.

If your campaign is tailored to a very specific segment that takes everything you know about your leads into context, you’ll be delivering marketing people love right from the very first email, not spamming your database with messages that have a low probability of being relevant.

At HubSpot, we use our tools to build a rich profile for each lead in our system that combines everything we know about them from dozens of different places. What keyword did they initially search for to find us? What content are they consuming through social media? What pages are they visiting on our website? What can we glean from our sales teams’ data in Salesforce about this lead? These are just a few of the many details we look at to segment our prospects.

marketing segment

 

Looking at those details, our system then automatically puts leads into specific nurturing campaigns we’ve created that we know are well targeted and will speak to those leads in a personal way about things they care about. And because they are better targeted from the start, our nurturing campaigns don’t need to be a complex set of branches — they are simpler, easier to analyze and improve, and they perform well from the very start. We don’t send a six-email campaign hoping that one of those messages will resonate. Instead, we know they all will, and that they are all in context of one another.

 

personalized email

 

Taking things a step further, personalizing your email communications with details from your database (using a lead’s name, sending an email from the sales rep who owns the lead, even mentioning other details about the lead’s business) makes for a well targeted email that reads more like a one-to-one exchange than a marketing email.

Mistake #2: Your Campaign Relies Solely on Email to Get a Targeted Message Out

There’s no doubt that doing stellar email marketing is important. When done properly, email and marketing automation can generate great results and pull interested prospects back to your website.

That being said, relying too heavily on email (or relying entirely on email, as most marketers tend to do) is fraught with problems, particularly the following two.

1) It’s getting harder and harder to effectively reach your leads through email.

Yes, email is easy for us marketers to send, but take a look in your own inbox and think about how you manage the barrage of messages you get. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your prospects aren’t using the same tactics you might be — filters in Gmail, priority inbox, and bulk deleting marketing emails without batting an eyelash.

2) Ignoring other channels means your prospects see different, fragmented messages depending on where they find your brand.

As we mentioned before, your leads (hopefully) aren’t sitting by their inbox waiting for your marketing emails in order to find your content and learn more about your business. Instead, they’re searching for you on Google and coming back to your website through social media, among other things. When they make their way to those deep pages on your website, what do they see? If you are focused solely on email, they probably aren’t seeing the same targeted message they got from you in their inbox on your website. Instead, they are seeing many different, fragmented marketing messages and value propositions depending on where they go. At best, this kind of fragmentation is ineffective. At worst, it’s a liability if you are putting special messaging or offers in front of specific audiences.

Solution: Customize the content and offers everyone sees on your website.

This really is the Holy Grail of marketing automation, and it’s surprising how few companies do it. You know this kind of marketing from companies like Amazon and Netflix — when you arrive on Amazon.com, you are shown products and calls-to-action that feel like they were suggested by someone who knows you and what you like on a personal level. And yes, you can do the same thing.

 

personalized content

 

If you use HubSpot’s tools, those same segments and lists that automatically allocate leads to specific lead nurturing campaigns can be used to automatically change the content leads see on our website — even on the deepest content pages that don’t get updated all that often. For HubSpot’s own website, this means that a lead who is interested in social media will see content and offers related to social media. A lead who is interested in email marketing will see content and offers related to email marketing. And they don’t just see these messages in one place — leads interested in social media can see a mix of interesting social media offers everywhere they go on our website. It’s a better experience for our leads, and more effective marketing for us.

To learn more about how to leverage dynamic content on your own website, download our free ebook, An Introduction to Using Dynamic Content in Your Marketing.

Mistake #3: You Hammer the Same List and Ignore the Fact That It’s Slowly Dying

Think about your own email inbox. How long do you put up with marketing emails from companies who you don’t intend to buy something from? Have you ever switched jobs, or switched email addresses? These are just a few of the many different reasons why the average email database expires at the rate of ~25% per year. And the harder you market to your list, the less effective it will be over time.

Pause to really think about that for a minute. Let it soak in. Or, let’s just put it into perspective: A database of 50,000 email addresses will have shrunk to 21,000 in just three short years. Fighting attrition is tough enough; *growing* your database on top of that requires some serious coordination. It’s something that affects you today — not the next generation of marketers at your company.

Solution: Marketing automation must be complemented by inbound marketing to be a sustainable strategy over time.

Let’s be blunt for a minute. If you aren’t at least replacing leads at the rate you are burning through them, your marketing database is dying.

If leads are coming out of your database at a constant rate, you will need a way to consistently feed your database with brand new leads. There is no better way to do that than inbound marketing — creating content that naturally attracts real people who need what you provide, building a relationship with them over time, and being there at the right time and place when they are ready to buy.

LinkedIn’s New “Endorse Me” & Meetup’s New “Good To See You” Features

October 16th, 2012

I hadn’t read anything about these new features coming soon on LinkedIn or Meetup, so when I started to see the subject line “So and So has endorsed you” and “Good to See You” pop up in my email inbox by the dozens, I was pleasantly surprised and also wondering, “How did I suddenly become so popular?”

LinkedIn’s Endorse Me: This seems to be a way for LinkedIn to become more “social”. Unlike the Recommendations tool, where an Account user is making a request to individuals of his or her choice, LinkedIn is popping windows up on your profile with your Contacts, posing the question, “Would you endorse ‘so-and-so’ in..” with a specific job skill. At first, it appears like LinkedIn is just asking you a question, but in fact, you are about to communicate with someone that perhaps you haven’t communicated to in months or years! What do we think of this new feature? For us, we’d like a few months to see how it works into people’s everyday habits.

Meetup’s “Good To See you”: At first I thought it was a genuine effort by one of the members of my Photoshop Users Group! We had just concluded our monthly meeting, and it seemed like a thoughtful gesture. I was tricked! I started to get a handful at once with the same subject line!

Again, Meetup feels a need to get their usets to be more “social”. Is this one working? I thought it was pretty cool. Without really making any effort, I just said thanks to 20 attendees for joining us for the last users group meeting. Impersonal with a personal touch. What do you think of this new feature? Will it last beyond 2012? Or get old before Christmas?

Let us know what you think of these 2 new features. How can it help you as an employee, business owner, group leader, or member? Any ideas for making them work better? Or should we all just stick to Facebook?

How To Show Off Your Best Yelp Reviews

August 16th, 2012

Are you one of the hundreds of business owners with a Yelp business listing who is frustrated with Yelp’s so-called fair selection of featured reviews? Yelp states on their website: “The filter establishes an objective standard against which every review can be measured. Even though it inevitably affects legitimate reviews from time to time and misses some fake ones, too, it helps protect the integrity of the site both for consumers (who will be less likely to be led astray by bogus reviews) and business owners (who will spend less time worrying about whether their competitors are writing negative reviews about them).”

In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, business owner James Lee voices a sentiment that resonates with many business owners on Yelp. The article stated that “Lee contends that Yelp doesn’t play fair with small businesses, frequently filtering out positive reviews but leaving negative ones.”

“Yelp picks and chooses how they want to apply things for their own best interests,” Lee said. “They say it’s an unbiased, fair system for reviews, but they manipulate it as well.”

Rather than spend – or waste – time dealing with Yelp, where it is clear that a business owner can not have full control over their own listing that is on Yelp’s website, we’ve got better ways for you to use your valuable time – and showcase  your best testimonials.

1. Where are all your best reviews? Probably you have a few on Yelp, a few on LinkedIn, and maybe other profiles like Google Places, Yahoo Local, and industry-based directory sites. Take all your best reviews and gather them into a single document, and include a link to each review’s original source.

2. If you don’t already have one, add a Testimonials page to your website. (See this example on Family Law Attorney Lucy McAllister’s website.) You can also add a widget or plugin to your website’s sidebar if you have one, and post a different review on each page. (See this example on Intuitive Counselor Jessica Lanyadoo’s website.) You can also get fancy and use a slideshow tool like Slidedeck that rotates to show a different review every few seconds. (See an example on Switchblade’s website.). Keep the testimonials text-based so that search engine robots can scan your reviews too.

4. Adding a Testimonials page to your website gives you the control of which reviews you want showcased, and it also gives you a place to consolidate all reviews from various sources. If a review quotes a business or client, you have an opportunity to link back to their online presence, which can be a subtle “thank you” for their testimonial.

5. Don’t forget to SEO this page! Make sure to include a sentence on this page that says something to the effect of: “Thank you to our clients for these great reviews we’ve collected from Yelp, LinkedIn, and Google Places (list all sources of the testimonials you’ve included on the page.) When you SEO the back end, be sure to include in your keywords for this page, “Yelp review, LinkedIn recommendations” and terms that include the source names as well as your business’s name, services or products. With good, strong SEO, you just might rank higher than your Yelp listing.

6. If you also have a Facebook business page, you can create a Testimonials page as a custom tab. Some apps like Woobox let you take an existing web page and drop it into a custom Facebook tab. You can simply designate the URL of your Testimonials page as the custom tab source. Otherwise, simply copy the text and paste it in. (See this example on small club’s FB page.)

7. How about a blog category called “Customer Review of the Month”? Thank clients and customers for taking the time to put in a good word for you. Showcase their business and review in a blog article, where you can also link back to their business’ website, and share background information on their product or service and also the service you provided to them, if this is applicable. (See this example on Ebisu Sushi’s website.)

Do you have other suggestions? Let us know! Please share with us in the comments section of this article. Or let us know what you think of these suggestions.

“8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses” by Geoffrey James

April 23rd, 2012

We are re-posting this excellent article from Geoffrey Jamesoriginally published in Inc. Magazine. We all aspire to be an extraordinary boss, and if we aren’t there yet, this article is a great inspiration for guidance.

sherri franklin muttville

Sherri Franklin, Founder and Executive Director of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, is one of my examples of an extraordinary boss

 

The best managers have a fundamentally different understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics. See what they get right.

 

A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the “best of the best” tend to share the following eight core beliefs.

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered.

Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors.

2. A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and “steering the ship.”

Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large.

3. Management is service, not control.

Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says” mentality.

Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

Average bosses see fear–of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege–as a crucial way to motivate people.  As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it.  As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards.

6. Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change … until it’s too late.

Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.

Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable–and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.

Muttville’s Holiday Adoption Center – from Empty Space to Room of Hope for the Holidays!

December 5th, 2011

Here is how Muttville redefined a “Popup store” for dog rescue……..

The last Saturday of November, Muttville was scheduled for an outreach event at the former “Leftovers” Consignment Shop at 1259 Polk St in San Francisco. I didn’t realize we would be in a completely vacant 2000 square foot space. The owner of Leftovers had the lease until January 1, and she already moved her store to a new location on Van Ness Ave. She nonchalantly said, “Sure you can use the space.” My imagination went reeling of all the possibilities. I was reminded of some of the good ol’ days when I worked on window displays and pop up stores for Sony. I was excited to make this empty space into a showstopping attraction for Muttville.

I immediately called Patty Stanton, Muttville’s publicist, and told her my vision. We came back on Sunday and decided to launch on December 3. That would be 6 days from now. Could it be done? And with what budget?

Learning to be very resourceful in these last years as a business owner, we scoured the Muttville garage, where Sherri had amazingly fitting vintage furniture and basically everything we needed to dress up the interior. We took what we found, filled up the Muttvan and delivered it to the space Sunday night. It was really coming together in less than 24 hours!

Now that was taken care of, we had to design eye-catching window displays with as minimal a budget as possible. I designed for 3 windows facing Polk St and Bush St with existing collateral, thanks to a beautiful set of photos taken by Nuena Photography. If we wanted window displays in 6 days, I had to order big, bold banners by Monday! I worked til 3am Sunday night / Monday morning, got Sherri and Patty’s blessing, and they were ordered.

I immediately emailed our pet-related clients and colleagues who all would rally for Muttville in a heartbeat: Pets Love Deals, Small Club, Paw Patch Pastries, Nuena Photography, Waghearted, Sharingpet, and Happy Hounds Massage. They filled the space with warmth and gifts, offering their services, products and hot cider!

Opening Day of the Muttville Holiday Adoption Center came on December 3. Even our vendors couldn’t believe what we pulled together in less than a week. Thanks to our dedicated Muttville volunteers, Patty, Anne, Ellen, and Russell, plus our friends from Sharingpet, Angel and Luis, we spent a lovely Friday night putting it all together. Even that night, we were getting traffic! The neighborhood had never seen anything like it before! We were welcomed with open arms by the neighboring businesses and passers-by who were nearby for a movie or a show at  Great American Music Hall.

Back to Opening Day…beautiful and sunny! People were waiting for the doors to open! Doggies in the window! Traffic was high in the afternoon and we decided to stay open an extra 2 hours. A blind little Papillon named Jennie got adopted, and dozens of people discovered Muttville and the joys of senior dogs. We can’t wait to see how things unfold through the month with every weekend. We’re expecting news coverage, thanks to Patty, from local news and NPR’s California Report.

If you live in the California Bay Area, please check it out. 1259 Polk Street, corner of Bush. Give a little love to some senior dogs!

 

UPDATE 12/9: Muttville’s Holiday Adoption Center made it to the local Channel 7 ABC News! And they also wrote a short feature too. Read ABC local news article about Muttville here.

Social Media Marketing or Traditional Marketing…or a Little of Both? What Works for You?

August 12th, 2011

I get alot of potential clients who find me because they are fans or followers of my existing clients, and they commonly say things like “I need to get my business on Twitter!!” or “How in the world do you do all those things on Facebook?”

My first response to the majority of these inquiries is, “Why?”
Why do you want to get your business started on Twitter?

If your answer is “Because everyone else is using it”, you may be surprised by my advice. Here are a few tips I’d like to share to help you decide what are the best marketing strategies for you and your business.

Choose a Marketing activity because you know you will enjoy doing it. If you were never interested in tweeting for fun, then you most likely won’t be effectively tweeting for your business. There are dozens of other marketing strategies that you are likely not doing, why not choose one that is appealing to you. Do you like to read magazines, newspapers, or blogs? Try starting a Digg or Delicious account where you can share articles you’ve read, as well as find articles and learn of new sources. Unless you are enlisting the services of a consultant like Switchblade Creative Studios, if you plan on managing your own social networks, it is best to select the ones that won’t feel like a “chore”.

Social networking doesn’t have to be online. Before there was the Internet, the term social networking already existed! Don’t forget that everyone can be a potential client. If you are a parent, get to know other parents through your child’s activities, participate in school volunteer activities, or join PTA type groups. We also strongly recommend volunteering with local non-profit organizations. Not only are you donating your time and services to a worthy cause, but it is also a great opportunity to meet new people who may become or recommend potential clients. The online resource Meetup.com has also helped revive “offline” social networking. Find interests groups that meet in person for regular meetings, outings, and social activities. And lastly, professional network groups, like BNI, are still proven to be a very effective way to grow your business’ clientele. Remember, everyone can be a potential client.

Social networking goes both ways. Whether you are socializing with online or offline networks, remember to give as well as receive. Imagine if everyone was only broadcasting: writing blogs, sending tweets, writing Facebook posts, passing out business cards….then nobody would be reading, commenting, responding, or sharing. If you want others to be a fan of your Facebook page, then be sure to Like other Facebook pages, share their wall posts, comment! If you want someone to recommend your business, it should be just as important to you to recommend clients to your network colleagues.

Don’t Try To Do Everything Yourself. Regardless of which marketing activities you choose to engage in, trying to do too many can end up being a waste of time. Thinly spreading your time ineffectively means that every effort appears half-a$$. Choose a few marketing activities and do them well. Or better yet, leave the marketing to experts. A complete marketing strategy that incorporates both offline and online strategies can be a key factor in the growth of your company.