What are you afraid of? How to turn scary situations into success.

I confess: Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday.  While I do love to be a spectator and admire all of the creative costumes….I’m just ME today!

Today is the 31st and I’m gearing up for the start of a new month.  New goals, new challenges, new opportunities.  In order to GROW we find ourselves facing situations that might be scary for us…mainly because they are NEW to us.  Happy Halloween, right?  Being scared isn’t so bad.  It’s how you deal with it that can change the unknown into success.

What’s got you jittery?  Cold calling?  A big client meeting?  An industry event or conference?

We all get this feeling from time to time.  We see what we should do, what we know is right, what our mentors would do…..and we get that little butterfly in our stomach and our confidence wanes.  We resort to what is comfortable.  Or perhaps we do nothing at all.

Knowing what we should do is half the battle.  Taking the right action is where it gets tough.

If you’re facing fears of the unknown and need confidence, here are some ideas:

  • Commit to taking action.  Identify what is causing your uncertainty.  Better yet? Think about this: what is WORST thing that can happen?  Chances are it’s not that bad (or probable) and you will discover what to avoid and how to prepare.
  • Do research.  Research can eliminate fear.  Whether you’re researching an industry that is new to you, looking for inspiration or gathering strategies from experts. The more you know the more comfortable and confident you will be when you take action.
  • Visualize your success. Playing out scenarios in your mind has been shown to reduce stress and get you mentally prepared.
  • Be prepared.  The more you plan and prepare the more confident you will be when you approach your fears because you’ve already thought about the potential obstacles you may encounter.
  • Relax.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed you won’t perform to your maximum ability.  Take time to relax, focus and go forward with confidence.
Afterwards, evaluate your outcome.  What helped you?  What did you do to prepare that was effective?  What did you learn from the experience?
You can do it.  Believe in yourself, prepare and learn from your experiences.  You will see that it’s not so scary after all.
Happy Halloween!

Daily Inspiration – FEAR

This quote reminds me of a couple of my favorite quotes on fear:

The thing we fear the most is the thing we most need to do. – unknown

Do one thing everyday that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote has been burned into my brain since high school.  My mom encouraged me to challenge myself and have a strong curiosity for the world.

I learned that when we face the unknown, we evolve – we learn more about ourselves, we expand our minds and we discover hidden talents.

That’s not so bad, right?  In the spirit of Halloween let’s all try to conquer a fear we have, the thing we’ve been dreading or putting off.

Pick my blog name!

I love this new blog. I enjoy sharing news, ideas and inspiration because it’s fun to me. But I’ve come to the conclusion… my blog url stinks. I hate it. And I need you.

Will you help me? Pick your favorite & look for a new blog url soon!

Thanks,

Aimee

1 Facebook Fan = 20 Visits to Website?

We all agree: Facebook is an excellent tool to grow an audience of loyal fans.  We see it working and we constantly seek new ways to utilize the power of a Facebook fan page.

If you don’t buy into words like “engagement” and “loyalty” and “branding” and need to see NUMBERS to prove ROI of Facebook, FINALLY….this one is for you.

1 Facebook fan = 20 visits to your website, according to HitWise and Techlightenment.

Have we truly quantified the value of a Facebook fan?  Do we have a new tool to evaluate ROI on Facebook campaigns?

Most importantly: where did this 1 = 20 figure come from?  According to a report from Experian Hitwise Intelligence:

The figure of 1 fan = 20 extra visits to a website uses a unique methodology that combines Hitwise data with data from Techlightenment. We took the top 100 retailers ranked in the Hitwise Shopping and Classifieds category and benchmarked visits to those websites against the number of fans those brands had on their Facebook page. We then also looked at the propensity for people to search for those retail brands after a visit to Facebook using our Search Sequence tool.

My Opinion: I’m a big fan of quantified data and research.  Ultimately I think this new variable can vary depending on a variety of factors and I would love to see more research on this topic.  It’s a start!

Your Take: Based on your experience with Facebook, do you believe it is realistic to assume that 1 Facebook fan = 20 website visits?

Read the full article HERE:

Learn more about the research of Experian Hitwise.

How To Use Internet Video Successfully

by Andy Havard, Web Analytics World

Online marketers across the web have been using Internet video in their marketing strategies to try and boost their SEO, increase their conversion rates and improve traffic to their website. Although, just because they are attempting to use Internet video in this way, doesn’t mean they’re being successful. So, how do you use Internet video successfully? The following article explores the real ins and outs of Internet video, and how you can use it to benefit your marketing goals for your brand, business or blog.

Understand The Nature of Video

In order to create and market Internet video successfully you have to understand what makes Internet video tick. Why is Internet video popular as a medium? Why do online users watch over 2 billion YouTube Internet videos a day? The answer is quite simple, it’s because audiences enjoy video.

Video by nature is an incredibly engaging form of media. It has a fantastic ability to convey complicated messages and communicate information simply and efficiently with its viewing audience. Audiences find video content very easy to relate to, connecting with the on screen activity taking place between real individuals and vibrant animations. It is these qualities that video possesses that makes it such a popular and easily accessible medium to universal online audiences.

Research What Videos Work Well

Internet videos don’t automatically receive a popular and interactive online audience. In fact many Internet videos fall completely flat and become virtually unmarketable. If you want to use Internet video successfully you’re going to need to research what videos actually work well online.

Online users turn to video for two reasons; for entertainment and for education. The Internet is rich with instructional, how-to videos, giving audiences quick access to information they can understand easily. If you can create a video that can cater to the needs of audiences in your niche, and help them to better understand or better use a service/product you’ll be able to ensure your Internet video begins to receive a receptive and appreciative audience.

Viral videos ranging from exciting flash mobs, engaging interactive videos and peculiar dogs on skateboards, all come to receive such widespread viral statuses due to their entertaining content. Internet users love to be entertained, whether it’s amazing them with creativity, making them laugh or baffling them with magic. If your Internet video can entertain a wide audience, or just captivate your niche, then you’ll be rapidly putting your video on the track to online success.

Market Your Video Socially

One of the biggest ways to generate a successful Internet video is to embrace socially active websites. Sharing and promoting your video on social media sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn are great ways of getting your Internet video a high viewership and a large abundance of interaction. The more interaction you can stir up around your content the more shares, Likes and Comments it will receive. If you can ‘wow’ a social media audience you’ll be able to get those users passing on your content to their audiences, where your video could reach an almost limitless social audience.

Don’t forget, social medias aren’t the only social hotspot for Internet video. Video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo are full of users Liking/Disliking, Commenting, Video Responding and Subscribing to all kinds of Internet video content. Engaging with the social video communities on these websites will work wonders for the social marketing of your video, and the interaction it receives can even help it climb up the YouTube and Google search engine rankings.

Track Your Videos Performance

The only way you can achieve success with Internet video is to determine and measure what ‘success’ actually means to your marketing campaign. Are you trying to boost your social media Likes and Followers? Are you trying to increase your search engine ranking? Or are you trying to improve your conversion rates? The only way to know the true success of your Internet video is to track it.

If you’re determining the success of your strategy via video views, geographical brand awareness and directing viewers to your video content, then free video analytics from the likes of YouTube Insight and Tube Mogul are the best tools for the job.

Social media growth can be an essential piece of data to track for brands, businesses and bloggers as it can help to show brand awareness, audience interaction and how many users are talking about what you do to other users. Great ways of tracking this type of data is through Facebook Insight and Hoot Suite. Facebook Insight is a quick, informative free tool, whereas Hoot Suite will cost you a few pennies for its very efficient service.

Perhaps the most important piece of data to track if you’re all about ecommerce and increasing traffic generation, is the analytics of your website. Google Analytics is one of the best free tools for locating this information, although it has just released a very extensive, and very expensive Premium package for larger companies. Google Analytics allows you to track traffic to your site, where users found your website, how long they stay on your page, and how many leads turn into real transactions.

Only by monitoring the performance of your Internet video on a regular basis can you really know if it’s becoming successful. Keep a careful eye on the goals your video has set out to achieve, and allow time to make amendments to your content if your tracking is showing up some marketing red flags.

Summary

By understanding the true nature of Internet video, by learning what videos work well online, and by marketing it on the most prosperous and engaging platforms, you can make your Internet video a real success on the web. However, only by managing a thorough and consistent tracking schedule will you be able to determine if your video strategy is staying on track, and how it’s progressing towards your much sought after goals and marketing targets.

About the Author

Andy Havard is the top Marketing Executive at
Skeleton Productions, a corporate video production company based in the United Kingdom. Andy is a budding young guest author, who has recently been taking the web by storm with his youthful approach to Internet marketing. Specialising in video marketing, Andy knows his way around a whole host of video and online strategies, targeting brands, businesses and blogs of all niches and sizes. His guest posts discuss a wide array of adoptable topical marketing strategies, from how to grow social media influences, video blogging set ups, quick SEO tips, Internet video hosting and everything in between.

How to stand out from the competition RIGHT NOW.

People always want to know: how can I differentiate myself?  How they can leave an impact on a customer?  What if I told you one of the easiest tools to accomplish this has been in use since ancient civilization AND you probably have all of the tools in your desk drawer? Put down your smartphone.  Pick up a pen, card & a stamp.  It’s time to re-visit the handwritten note.

Think about it.  When was the last time you received an unexpected handwritten card?  It’s ok if you don’t remember.  Let’s try this one: how did you feel the last time you received an unexpected handwritten card?  I bet you can answer that one.  Positive?  You bet.

Handwritten notes may have lost their popularity but they haven’t lost their impact.  Actually, I was venture to claim that because they’re not utilized as much anymore with new technology handwritten notes have more influence than ever.  

Email is wonderful.  Smart phones are life changing.  Memorable?  Not so much.  Some days I may get upwards of 50 or more emails….in one day. Guess what?  Your potential clients deal with the same email overload.  And…. your competitors are in their inbox as well.  Your thank you email may be a nice change of pace but might not shine as bright – it’s all about perspective.  Cards always stand out when you pick up the mail.  I’ve never met someone who doesn’t like receiving a card.  The recipient will most likely smile, maybe tell a co-worker, but definitely remember the gesture.  Memorable.  See?  You’re differentiating yourself!

Good business is built on relationships.  Relationships are built by sharing ideas, sharing contacts, giving referrals and helping others.  Showing gratitude by saying “thanks” sends the message that you noticed their effort, you value their time and you appreciate it.  It’s wired within us – everyone, young and old, likes when their efforts are noticed.

I don’t have buying power.  I’m in sales – businesses invest their money with my company for services that can help them grow.  However, I sometimes find myself on the receiving end of a “thank you” from time to time for going above and beyond to help a client.  I work with hundreds of vendors.  I’m in the wedding industry and I’m married so I’m not their target audience to buy, BUT I’ll remember those few companies among the hundreds when someone asks me for a referral.  When they call you can bet their message is one of the first I return.  When our magazine or website needs a quick quote or image or idea, you can bet I think of that vendor first.  It’s not that I don’t value my other clients – it’s human nature to reciprocate to those who acknowledge and appreciate what I do for them, whether we’re consciously aware of it or not.

Timing is important.  Don’t wait until the client has rejected your proposal to write a thank you note for the meeting that was 2 weeks ago.  Don’t wait until after the referral buys from you to say thank you.  Don’t wait until 2 weeks before the contract is up for renewal to reach out and let them know you’re committed to their business.  Write it as soon as you can

Printed notes and the handwritten word are not the same.  Yes, they’re creative.  Yes, it saves you time and maybe a hand cramp here and there.  But even my dog’s veterinarian personalizes appointment reminders with a picture of a dog that looks like mine and my dogs name.  It may be thoughtful but it’s printed – it doesn’t have the same positive and lasting effect.  Write it out.  It only takes a minute or two longer than an email.

I’m not telling you to buy-out the post office and spend every day writing notes until your fingers bleed.  But stock up on professional stationery, make them easily accessible and use them!  Recognize how impressionable a good ‘ole handwritten note can be.  It goes a long way and in this competitive marketplace and economy a couple extra yards can make a BIG difference in your success.

TAKE ACTION: Make a goal of writing 1 thank you note a week.  Feeling ambitious?  Write one a day.

Remember, if you can send an email – you can write and send a card.  Choose to be memorable!


NEW Ceremony & Reception study released from The Wedding Report

The Wedding Report releases results from a new Ceremony & Reception study.  The findings are general, but helpful updates on trends in the industry.  If you’re in the wedding industry, I would recommend subscribing to their website – it’s a great resource of wedding industry info!

Topline results from the Ceremony & Reception Study 2011

  • More couples choosing same location to have their ceremony and reception, up almost 10% over 2010
  • Couples choosing more unique locations, “Other” same location venues take the lead from Event Facilities
  • More couples having their wedding ceremony at a courthouse, private residence, or wedding chapel
  • More couples holding their wedding reception at a private residence or restaurant
  • With more unique locations on the rise, more officiates are performing the ceremony, a 30% increase over 2010
  • Food stations are more in demand than ever before
  • While other dessert options are popping up, wedding cake is still most popular at 83% demand
  • Cash bar on the rise along with outside alcohol and BYOB
  • Photo booth is the only rental that maintained demand, all other rentals down
  • The couple is contributing more to ceremony and reception costs
  • Couples researching closer to wedding date for venue
  • Couples inviting less guests, 144 compared to 152 in the 2010 study
  • Couples holding wedding closer to home