Tory Holmwood, a Project Manager for Advanced AV and a member of Women in AV, will be traveling to Uganda in March to give back to an amazing cause. This generosity and practice of giving back to the community runs in her family. The family took their cue from her mother, who co-founded a non-profit organization seven years ago, called ECHOES Around the World. ECHOES - which stands for Educating Children & Communities for Health Opportunities, Enlightenment & Survival - is based outside Philadelphia with a mission statement that declares ECHOES works directly with local communities, focusing on education, health and welfare. We seek to support innovative, dynamic and accountable leadership in marginalized areas of the world.
An integral part of ECHOES’ work is their support of the Trinity Children’s Centre, Centenary High School and the Double Cure Medical Centre in Uganda.
Tory will be traveling to Uganda with a new start-up called Deahla (which means ‘to share’ in Swedish), founded by her sister Lindsay. The company’s mission is to take the guesswork out of giving to charity by scouring the globe for the most impactful non-profits, and creating high-quality, professional films about their work. They will present the impact the charity has on the community being served, and try to inspire young donors to give. Deahla’s central goal is to make it straightforward for young people to find and support non-profit causes by inspiring them with entertaining, sharable short films utilizing social media as just one delivery vehicle.
The group, along with two filmmakers, will head to Uganda from March 5th-16th to shoot a film about the great work being done on the ground in the Trinity school and the medical clinic, which are supported by ECHOES. Tory will be employing her professional project management experience to help facilitate and coordinate the filming of this incredible project.
The trip marks the pilot project for Deahla, and is happening at quite serendipitous because there is an immediate call to action. A boy’s dorm located at Trinity Children's Centre burned down on February 20. Until the dorm can be rebuilt, the boys are staying in a stadium hall. Some of the immediate, identifiable and badly lacking essentials for the children are mosquito nets, blankets, mattresses, and wash basins, just to name a few. There are about 150 children that have been affected, and the unsafe nature of the stadium requires the QUICK rebuilding of the dorm.
As part of our Social Outreach we ask our employees “What more can I do?,” and each time they respond with a personal cause and effort in which they are actively involved. Advanced AV is proud to support Tory’s, Deahla’s and ECHOES’ cause. We will be reposting updates and photos on their trip that will be posted on Deahla’s blog at www.deahla.com/blog to keep everyone up to date on her efforts and success.
Want to do more – please reach out directly. ECHOES accepts donations on their site at http://www.echoesfoundation.org/how_to_help/donate_now/. These donations will immediately support the rebuilding of the dorm and give these young boys a home once more.
P.O. Box 772, Devon, PA 19333
I recently attended the NSCA Business & Leadership Conference in Arizona. First off …Kudos to the NSCA staff for finding the most amazing speakers. There were various business seminars on the state of the economy, not being complacent, learning to adapt to change to grow your business, strategic planning and finding the entrepreneur inside of you… Saturday morning John O’Leary took the stage. I have not been able to get him out of my head since.
His seminar was different from the others. It reminded us of our human side. John’s story was personal he told his tale of being a nine year old boy who was burned on 100% of his body and was given less than 1% chance of survival that first night. He discussed the accident, his courage, his road to recovery and the influential people who carried him through. I was fighting tears at one minute and laughing at the next and was completely captivated.
I think I was especially touched since I have lived through a tragic accident as well and could relate so closely to the feelings he expressed of lying in that hospital bed. So here is my story…6 years ago my daughters Madison (2 ½ at the time) and Charlotte (9 months) and myself were in a terrible car accident. A woman was on drugs and crossed the highway hitting us head on at a rate of 90 MPH.
My girls each broke a few bones, my poor Charlotte was in a body cast since she broke her femur. I broke 25 bones, a collapsed lung and was fighting to stay alive. They read me my last rights right in front of my husband. I could relate to John’s story…I also asked my mother “Am I going to die?” The loneliness of being pinned in a bed unable to move and the contemplations that only a person who has been on a similar journey would understand the thoughts going on in your head; the fear, the pain, the fight.
As I sat and listened to John talk about the healing interaction with hall of fame sports announcer Jack Buck and how Jack figured out a way to do more…John told the amazing story how this man inspired his recovery and dedicated a part of his life to watching this little boy live and found ways to make this boy smile and push through the adversity…it was really so touching.
These days you hear about all of the negative in life, all the bad, but here was a reminder of the good in people. I also had such a similar experience. The incredible support of family, friends, church and community is how people can survive all odds. They can’t do it alone… I promise you…so I propose the same question to you that John proposed to me… What more can I do?
I truly don’t take anything for granted…I have learned to step back and remind myself of how far my family has come in six years…it truly is a miracle, it was long fight, 8 surgeries, a body covered in wounds, nursing homes, years of physical therapy and learning to walk again…but together we made it through.
I was really happy to see NSCA incorporate a presentation that touched our emotions. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place and the entire room gave a standing ovation at its completion.
From a business perspective within our own organizations, industry, our clients, we need to remind ourselves not to get completely caught up behind the technology and remind ourselves to connect with people and hear their story. Everyone has one to tell and most people do want to share theirs.
If you ever have a chance to see John presentation - DO IT! He will remind you to appreciate life and the people in it, something we all need to remind ourselves often. Watching his success both personally and professionally will stay with you I promise. He makes me want to do more.
I am glad that I wrote this blog…so many life lessons learned. Thanks for listening to my story and thank you John for the continued inspiration.
I do believe that positive reinforcement has great power in business. Employees will work harder, be innovative and feel empowered. Let’s face it: Everybody likes to hear that they are doing a good job and feel appreciated.
In my opinion, it is management’s responsibility to set the right professional behaviors in motion and encourage a positive corporate atmosphere that should helps employees to exhibit these behaviors as the rule and not as an exception. With all that said, it is still up to you.
Do you support the accomplishments of your co-workers?
My guess is that you don't do it as much as you should be. Let’s not forget that we are all on the same team. Here's an example: You kick the winning field goal to send your team to the Super Bowl and 65,000 people are cheering for you; the place is going crazy, but then you get to the sideline and nobody celebrates your accomplishment. WHAT??? That would never happen in a sporting event but happens all the time in a business atmosphere... WHY?
We all have different roles in an organization that need to work seamlessly together to be successful. We don’t all know exactly what makes up each other’s responsibilities, but at the end of the day we are all working toward the same goal.
I ask you to remember this. If someone is recognized within your organization through an award, received the honor of employee of the quarter, obtained a new certification, landed a new account, handed an awesome customer testimonial or worked endless hours to full-fill a client deadline, take the time to step away from your busy schedule and say Thank You.
Try to remember we are all on the same team and achieving those individual goals is what brings us together as a company and ultimately defines our brand.
What ideas have you found that work? I would love to hear your thoughts on corporate culture.
It is my New Year’s Resolution that I will continue to pay forward even if it is one person at a time.
Related, here's a great article from Inc. that lists 10 things extraordinary people say every day. Add a comment
Let’s have a conversation about technology shows… and I am not talking about InfoComm. I am talking about the smaller manufacturer technology showcases that take place throughout the year. These product showcases are put together for dealers, consultants and hopefully a handful of end-users. These shows are heavily marketed and require a huge amount of coordination and planning amongst other supporting manufacturers to provide an effective setting.
I have recently attended a few of these shows and here are my thoughts. Remember, these are just the thoughts of what is going through my mind as a marketing girl from the integrator’s point of view.
First I arrive and go to the registration desk to sign in. I am now in awe of the stacks of name cards that were being filed through to find the one card with my name on it. It is mid-afternoon of a two-day show that was ending in a few hours. These stacks of cards are all the people who did not show. Now, I get it: I am a marketing director, I plan events and know that you have to expect a 25-30 percent of no-shows. Why didn’t people attend? With the increase of communication through social media, great reps, endless emails of product announcements, trainings, webinars, industry rags, the list can go on and on. The question presents itself: Do people need to go to these small product showcases to obtain information?
Back to the show… it is quiet and I begin to mingle. After all, that is what these shows are all about. I can almost see every face from standing in one single area. It is obvious to me that people are there to network. I hear the same questions: How is business? Are you experiencing highs and lows? At this point I am noticing that nobody is really looking at products or visiting booths, the knowledge they are seeking is solely from networking.
So now my wheels are turning. I know how much work these shows are to coordinate. Are they worth it? From a networking and conversational standpoint they are. Why not just plan a party and invite everyone to attend? Why go through the trouble, the coordination, and the money associated to display products that nobody is exploring. I do hear conversations about products and client needs but I don’t see anybody really hands on checking things out.
Why not just say what it is?
Come join us, have a few cocktails, some hors d'oeuvres and talk to each other. It is the one thing we cannot re-create through technology and the one thing that draws people there. Think about InfoComm and the manufacturer parties that are planned. Everyone looks forward to those events and conversations of those nights continue throughout the year.
If a manufacturer decided to set the mark, plan regional parties rather than product showcases each year, in a really cool space with good food, drinks and friends of the industry, I bet it would be highly attended.
It would accomplish the same goals with less coordination, a bigger draw and less disappointment at the end of the night looking at the large stack of no-show name tags.
So tell me why do you attend or not attend these shows? I bet every manufacturer would want to know.
It is amazing how many people don’t see the value in investing in marketing. It annoys me since I am so passionate about it. With that being said, I am lucky enough to work for a company that believes in our brand and our commitment to position ourselves to our clients as a leader in the industry.
Did you know that marketing your company doesn’t have to be hard or expensive? With a little creativity you can generate some serious interest that can lead to additional traffic, more customers and new opportunities.
I think it is so important right off the bat to determine the company’s vision. It is key that a marketing director understands what the objectives are, plus the vision and goals of the brand. Successful companies must have the confidence in that person to let them spread their wings and fly with it. Nothing is worse than holding back creativity because of the inability to trust and empower employees. Establishing the brand with consistency across the board with everything from proposals, brochures, website, etc. is essential, and if in the right hands, marketing can position your company in a whole new light.
Self-Promote. Everyday there are amazing things that you and your staff do to enhance your brand and image that you probably don’t even realize. Somebody needs to spread the word! Trust me, your current and future clients want to hear your success stories, your community outreach and the personal side of your company. Open the door to your communication. Take advantage of guest opportunities to be interviewed for articles in trade publications or speaking engagements. Make the time. It is a free way to get your name out there and use these articles to help educate your clients after they have been printed.
Leverage your happy customers. Utilize your good relationship -- ask to develop case studies and have professional photography done. Trust me, you need a professional photographer! Amazing photos will open up many doors so make the investment.
As integrators, we have great opportunities to grow beyond our small marketing budgets to team up with our supporting manufacturers and industry publications. Let’s face it, it is a win-win situation. They want to be in front of your clients as much as you do. Manufacturers as well as magazine editors are ready to support your efforts, and I have not run into a situation yet that when presented with a fresh idea they are not willing to support it. Get creative and reach out…what is the worst that can happen? They say no?
Social Media is always a hot topic for me. It is the wave of today. Wake up… it is the way we communicate now. InfoComm was an entirely new experience for me this year. I was able to meet in person with so many people that I have met through social media that I communicate with every day. Without this resource, I would have never met or learned or expanded my network. Use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. These are the platforms people use to get their information. If you are not involved, you should be. Reaching out to the masses and expanding your brand to the public is part of the mix. Every day we are gaining new opportunities that come from social media both within our industry and the outreach to clients -- six degrees of separation.
E-marketing is another tool that is cost effective and gets information out. Monthly newsletters have been effective for us. I have to imagine that others would feel the same. Once a month, clients get a recap of some fresh new products, latest industry news -- they see our personal side of who we are (we are more than just AV, we care about our clients and what they need). All of these things are creating an image, a brand -- the image that I want our clients to relate to when they see our name. We are a resource of information for them, and through this medium they gain knowledge and confidence. Our open rate is pretty high and every month something results, whether a box sale, a bid request, a service call -- it makes all the hard work worth it.
On the same note, I also do one internally every month. I think it is important to find a way to communicate to our staff all the happenings that go on within our company, we are not all under the same roof. We not only highlight big sales, completed jobs and messages from our president, but we again show our personal side. Everything from births of babies, charities and sporting events, company picnics, vacation pictures. It is a connection -- it might be a small connection, but it bonds us as a company, as a family.
Events are a favorite of mine. I guess I am the girl that loves to socialize, so it comes with my personality. I think they are an important part of the mix, and from two perspectives. One is client appreciation and the other is new business development. Both are important in their own ways. Our client appreciation events are not to make money (well, to be honest, everything we do is to make money), but it is more about continuing to build and foster a good working relationship. It shows our clients that we are a sound company and we care about our clients. We might not close a deal one month later, but if an event and networking event goes well, they will remember us; they will spread the word to others that we are a company they want to do business with. As far as I am concerned, that is a win all around.
New business development events are equally as important. It gives us the opportunity to present our offerings to new prospects, to begin the process of growing their confidence in our ability to provide them the right solution or service offerings. We do this on so many levels. We have a new business development woman who attends networking events, luncheons, seminars, trade shows, etc. We recently did a speaking lunch and learn at ILTA, which is the International Legal Technology Association. The event proved to be highly successful and has opened their eyes to new solutions and a company that can provide them. These opportunities are priceless for growing your name throughout the marketplace.
It's also critical to keep your website up-to-date. If you are researching a company or have a need, what is the first thing you do? You look them up online. Everything we do goes back to our website. It is our billboard. What we can offer, photos of recently completed projects, product offerings, blogs, ways to contact us, news and events -- it is all there. Before they even need to reach out, it is all there. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Blogging kind of falls under PR. Blogging opens a lot of doors for conversation. It doesn’t need to be 100 percent technical or a white paper. It just needs to be someone’s opinion of what they think. I love that about blogging. I want to read something light and maybe learn something from someone else’s experience. I take it for what it is. We blog about advanced technical topics, but the Marketing Chick needs to understand it before I push it out.
I can go on and on and on. These are just a few things that we cover in our marketing department. I love my job because it is something new every single day. I am creating a brand that I believe in. There are a ton of topics I didn’t even cover, but this blog would be WAY too long and you probably have already lost interest. Marketing is a key function in presenting your company to the public in the right eye. Make the investment, see the value and respect those who do it well.
Amy Fulton is a member of the rAVe BlogSquad. Find more of her blogs here.
Crowdsourcing: The practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers (provided by Merriam/Webster.com)
The concept of soliciting creativity across a large network of people intrigues me. I am working on a project that my boss suggested would be a perfect fit for crowdsourcing: a new tagline.
Normally in this situation I would talk to one of the copywriters I use regularly and set a budget for the job. I would receive a handful of ideas back, but what if it is not what I am looking for? Will their quotes be more than I’m willing to pay? Is this really the best solution to accomplish my goal?
For this project the answer is no. The current economy has forced all of us to do more with less. There are so many people unable to find traditional work, they're turning to crowdsourcing to get back in the game. It is a dream come true for us marketers; an enormous outpouring of fresh ideas at a minimum price.
So we jumped right in and gave it a try. I have to admit I was very impressed. The process was easy. I posted the project on crowdspring.com. I filled out a quick form with the details of the project which included who we are, our web address and what I wanted to accomplish. I did have to pay ahead of time so the decision on the dollar amount was in question, but they did give me a ballpark number so I went with the average. The entire cost was very reasonable and under budget.
Within minutes my inbox was flooded. I was asked to rate each one with up to five stars or I could click a button saying “thanks anyway but this is not what I am looking for.” This rating process helps others see the types of taglines I prefer allowing the respondent to generate their submissions to my style.
One negative to this process is that it is a bit time consuming. Managing it effectively will be something I need to take into consideration on future projects. To be honest, it didn’t seem to bother me too much. I was able to rate a bunch of them over my lunch break. You also have the ability to respond to each person directly. There were some that I gave feedback to and they came back with more suggestions. The competitive nature of winning the project was evident.
Crowdsourcing makes a lot of sense. There are many opportunities where this could be a good fit: logo designs, advertisements, promotional ideas or contests, graphic design, writing assignments -- the list can go on and on.
Does crowdsourcing represent the beginning of the end of creative organizations? Or is this a fad resulting from a weak economy with such high unemployment rates? Either way, creative agencies will have to wake up and react to a new reality.
I just posted this project yesterday and it will run for seven days. I already have a handful of ideas to consider. In coming weeks we will reveal our new tagline -- and now you know our secret to its creation.
Have you used crowdsourcing for your company?
In my previous blog post: Social Media Does Anyone Really Know the Answer Yet? I discuss social media and my quest to learn the ins and outs to utilize it effectively. NC Nwoko from rAVe wrote a follow-up to the article and one thing she wrote really stuck with me:
Communication is subjective. My advice would be to find out where the people you want to communicate with are, and look at how they communicate while you’re at it. With each new social media tool, think of how it might help you communicate with them successfully. You should want to be where YOUR audience is — and when you’re there, make that communication the next best thing to being there in-person.
I am not sure exactly what social media outlets my clients are using. Are they still trying to figure it all out? I am sure of it!... and just like everyone else they need to learn about it.
Our sister company Advanced Staging Productions had an incredible idea…and of course I do plan on stealing it! On May 24th from 4-7 pm they are inviting clients to their corporate office to attend a FREE LinkedIn for Business Development Training. It is brilliant! This is completely thinking out of the box. Inviting clients in-house and training them on a business tool that you want to communicate to them with. I love it!
I would incorporate the same type of seminar utilizing AV in our facility. It seems like it would be a win/win in so many ways. It is a perfect scenario of combining marketing and sales. Demonstrating our products in a real-time setting, engaging with our clients and asking them directly which social sites they are using, while teaching them to utilize the tools that we want to use to market to them. How can we go wrong?
I plan to attend Advanced Staging’s event but I can’t wait to test this theory myself…a fresh approach to an AV event! Who knows maybe Gary Kayye will teach the class via video conference.
Branding is a big part of my responsibilities. I obsess over corporate colors, logos usage, sales materials, web content and advertisements all to support a unified image. A key part of that branding needs to incorporate a human element; a platform of good will that shapes and rounds our brand’s value. People buy from people and if we want to build better relationships we need to continue to show our human side.
Advanced AV gives back. I have been amazed on how many employee-directed charities we are involved in. I tell friends and family about it all the time. There are so many great ideas that come from within…like the “Wing Bowl” (buffalo wing eating contest for the United Way): this event brought our staff together and raised money for a good cause -- even the local press was involved. The bake sale this month was truly heartwarming to see how many people took time out of their busy lives to bake and volunteer. A box of Girl Scout cookies goes out with every service call thanking them for their business, and our clients are happy in more ways than one.
We were involved in the opening the Ryan Seacrest Foundation’s (RSF) new broadcast center in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. We were brought in just two months prior to the opening. We supplied about half of the gear plus design, programming and commissioning, and also provided the hospital with a service contract. Everything was donated and truly was a miracle that it all came together in such a short time…lots of long hours but our crew was happy to be a part of it.
I could go on and on and on.
If this good will makes me proud to be a part of this company, wouldn’t you want to do business with a company that has a human side? I know I would.
I dedicated a section of our client newsletter to Community Outreach -- this is not limited to Charity -- Advanced AV participated in the Be Well Philly Office Challenge (Philadelphia Magazines version of the Biggest Loser); I included the contest in our newsletter and that section gained the highest click-through rate during the series; higher than any industry news item or product announcement. Clients followed our employee progress month to month and read blogs and updates on their weigh-ins. They found a connection with our staff. They can see we are more than just AV.
We feature an employee spotlight each month as well. I love to link a face with a name and to learn a little bit about that person and what they do both in the office and out. It makes the relationship a little more personal.
Social networking is fostering new relationships and allows us to nurture them as long as there is a real person behind the computer. We need to do more than just push out content. Our President Mike Boettcher recently wrote “We are very close to being spellbound by our electronic life with our phones and other social media platforms. It really is easy to get lost in all that commotion and before you know it you find yourself spinning in the grayness.” Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves to come back down to earth.
Aligning content, messaging, technology, delivering better leads, educating clients is all part of the mix of our branding. But in the end Marketing is about meeting our client’s needs and satisfaction. It’s about our teamwork and the interaction with a human being that achieves our success. It is something that we need to remind ourselves often.
That is a brand I would want to do business with…wouldn’t you?
I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about QR codes…I thought it was very cool that a coffee shop in Canada had advertised with QR codes on trains. Passengers scan the codes and are taken to a mobile menu in which they can order whatever they want. When they got off the train their coffee was waiting for them. This coffee shop doubled its sales. It was brilliant!
So I Googled more articles because now I was intrigued. I love nothing more than reading about creative marketing. Here are a few stories that caught my attention:
Philadelphia commuters spend on average of 30 minutes a day commuting, roughly 2.5 hours a week and can grocery shop through Peapod. Peapod advertised in local business publications and posted a QR code that took them literally to a mobile site that consumers can use to pick from a full grocery list and be finished by the end of their commute. Love this too because I dread nothing more than grocery shopping!
Nissan has incorporated a QR code for every car on their lot…a potential customer would scan the code and it would take them to everything that was included in that particular model vehicle instantaneously. Amazing!
This one actually ticked me off a bit…there is a company that makes dog collars with QR codes on the back of the collar. I spent a pretty penny to have my Boxer puppy micro chipped and I could have just bought this collar. This particular company took it to the next level. Each collar QR code took you to a web page that you would find everything you would need to know about the pup including: pets name, emergency contacts, vet name and phone number, medical needs and vaccinations, training tricks and dietary needs. An owner would not even need to write down care instructions for a pet when leaving on a vacation or business trip anymore.
Forbes Magazine tells me that QR codes have been around for 18 years! Now I really feel dumb. They've mostly been used in manufacturing, but they have since shifted to magazines, billboards and subway stations. In June of 2011, 14 million smart phone users scanned a QR code - sounds impressive right? Well, it is not really as impressive as it sounds if you consider that the number only makes up about 17 percent of smart phone owners.
Is this a fad? If you don’t have an awesome idea is it worth it?
They are definitely an eye-sore, and to slap them on every pretty marketing piece I create definitely turns me off a bit. I don’t think everyone even knows what they are or how to use them. From what I have read, there can be slow load times, and sometimes a smart phone might have issues getting a good read in poor lighting. There is also the security issue: a customer really has no idea what they are scanning until they do it. So there is hesitation there as well.
Search engines, big brand names, mobile phone companies are all on it, so how can I resist?
I have slowly started to implement QR codes onto our promotional materials and on our business cards for Advanced AV. I can’t say I have come up with a blow-your-mind idea yet, but again, the wheels are turning. Can QR codes be as effective for a business to business company? I think so, but in a different light.
I think QR codes can be an effective tool for our service clients directing them to our contact information, help desk, 24 hour service line - so in case there's ever a problem we would be one scan away. Putting a sticker with a QR code after a rack install, for example, would not be that difficult and is a cost effective service that I think our clients would appreciate. Our vans are spotted all over Philadelphia when they're out on service calls. I think it is time to add a QR code to our wrap. Promoting events or contests with QR codes to increase social media and web presence are all possibilities. At the end of the day, it is a pretty cost effective marketing tool.
I can see such an opportunity for our manufacturers, just like Nissan, if AV manufacturers put a QR code on every new piece of equipment that would take you to online product information, accessories and case studies. That exposure might open up all kinds of new business, and it's also green.
QR codes can be yet another way to open a door to a new contact, be a resource for current customers and gain exposure both to our website as well as our social media sites. So I will give it a shot. This might not prove to be successful, but slowly implementing them into my marketing initiatives is not going to break the bank, so what do I have to lose?
Are you using QR codes? Let’s talk about it.
Social Media…Does anyone really know the answer yet?
I have made it one of my New Year’s resolutions to try and figure out the ins and outs of social media. In reality there is too much info to consume and it is changing faster than I can keep up. It is a challenge to say the very least and is really a full time job.
I can go on Twitter and be flooded with tips and techniques used to increase sales, gain followers and build new relationships. The process can be so overwhelming and just when I think my brain is ready to explode… the power of social media shines when I am least expecting it.
I bought a new curling iron (yeah I know girlie stuff). I decided on one Sunday morning to try it out on my 5 year old daughter. I posted a picture of her (with her 15 year old attitude) on Facebook. Suddenly friends are commenting and sending me messages asking me about the curling iron and without realizing it I was now promoting it…just like that. A handful of friends bought the curling iron and about a dozen asked me for the brand, price and where to get it. Because I was pleased with the product I was happy to share.
How can it be that simple?
So now the wheels are turning…How do I get our clients talking about us? It is obvious that referrals are the way to go…but that is nothing new, it is Marketing 101.
But an AV system is a lot more complicated than a curling iron…Asking clients for referrals is awkward and uncomfortable and if we ask the question. “Do you know anyone who would benefit from our services?” it is too broad and most just draw a complete blank as a response. We need a program in place and I am starting to think that Social Media is the answer.
We are continuing to grow with Twitter and it works wonders for conversation, sharing news, PR and getting info out to the masses. We have recently joined Pinterest and are starting to build our boards. But I know that we are not using LinkedIn or Facebook for all the capabilities they have to offer. There could be an entire network of potential business right in front of us if we really look for it. Who are our contacts connecting with? Should we just ask clients for specific introductions? Maybe we even make it easy for them and draft a letter for them to cut and paste right into an email. Do we offer an incentive when a job is complete for a positive recommendation on LinkedIn? I would probably take five minutes out of my day. But would we establish qualified leads this way?
Maybe….maybe not…this plan would take a lot of effort from an already very busy sales staff. I can’t promise anyone that this program would even be successful. The roadmap our VP of Sales has tasked each and every employee with is a simple one. Please have a conversation with your clients. Social Media was built for this request.
So will they jump on-board?
What I do know is that the way we communicate with each other is changing and we need to adapt our marketing plans but the process will need to be as simple as possible. Time for a dashboard and social monitoring…my head is spinning again…Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Netvibes, MarketMeSuite among others and now Nimble the CRM that integrates email, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to see all conversations in one stream. Unified Communications for social media…HUM…I think I have heard this term before somewhere. The possibilities are endless. Is anyone else’s brain ready to explode?
It was the end of February and the Digital Signage Expo was on the horizon, so we decided to do a pain point e-campaign on our Meeting Room Scheduling Solutions. I followed the normal course of events: met with the manager of that department, began the process with my designer, laid out the graphics and content, and before long it was finalized.
I sat pondering what the subject line of the email should be, not realizing how important that decision really was. I came up with “What time is our meeting?” It seemed catchy and appropriate to the content. We were ready to roll. So with a click of a button the email was out there.
Within seconds hundreds of emails were filling my inbox and I started to sweat, every person asking,
“Do we have a meeting?”
“I am so sorry but I can’t remember what our meeting is about."
Our customers were reaching out to their contacts at Advanced asking, “who is Amy Fulton and do I have a meeting with her?”
Worse, many were responding without reading the body of the communication.
What a mess!
Of course, of all days my boss was heading to the NSCA Business and Leadership Conference in Dallas and was up in the friendly skies. I debated on how I should handle this and decided to reply back to each and every person individually. I apologized for the miscommunication and made it clear that my intent was just to inform them of the meeting scheduling solutions that we offer. It took me all day.
What had I done?
Our open rate on this email had skyrocketed - almost 40 percent of our client database had opened the email - all based on this subject line! Suddenly new conversations erupted. Four viable leads in need of this technology came out of this campaign, and many responded that they would check out our website for more information. Some said they would forward the message on to the right person. Whatever the case was, doors were opening and people were talking. I was surprised that we didn’t get a single negative response. Many people thanked me for a good laugh. It was really amazing how it all unfolded.
Although it was not really a mistake, it was actually, in the end, a very successful campaign. I learned my open rate is based highly on the subject line. This campaign is a series. I will keep you posted on how it turns out. A colleague suggested my next subject line should be…"You missed our meeting."Add a comment