All my LinkedIn contacts are 3rd degree – how can I connect?

We got an enquiry from a reader who asked this question “I’m utilizing LinkedIn for meeting clients but currently everyone seems to be a third degree. what are some ice breakers I can use to introduce myself.”

As you know, it’s very difficult to get peoples’ attention as they are busy professionals.

Here are some suggestions for you.

  1. Become the ‘go to’ person for interesting articles online about the topics relevant to your clients’ interests.  Share these using Linked In Groups.  Don’t use these groups to promote jobs you are recruiting for.
  2. EVERY DAY check who looked at your LinkedIn profile.  Send them an invitation to connect saying ‘hey, you looked at my profile, did you notice the articles I’m sharing about XYZ.  If you connect with me you get these sent to you as I publish.  Thanks and best wishes.  Use this article we wrote to find their names for 3rd degree connections 
  3. When they connect with you, you can see their email address; add them to your email list of folks who receive your shared articles, get their permission to mail them, and set up a newsletter outside of LinkedIn (we recommend FeedBlitz.com) to send out these messages, preferably linked to a blog of your own.

If you would like to work with Creative Agency Secrets and let us coach you as you build your skills, organize a skype call with us to give us a fuller brief.

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The Art of Infographics for biz dev

It’s no secret that images help to enhance your blog content. But infographics will take this further, by combining content and images into one neat, shareable package.

An infographic about inforgraphicsNot only are infographics shareable, but they can take complex information and simplify it, as well as attracting the attention of those who don’t have the patience to read a long form blog article to get the same information. They are also more likely to go viral, which is another huge plus.

But the problem is that too many people have seen the power of the infographic. Infact, this article about 9 reasons to include infographics in your marketing strategy shows that searches for infographics on Google increased by 800% between 2010 and 2012. So now everyone is trying to pump them out in the hopes that their content will go viral or their website will see massive traffic growth. This means it’s getting to the point that simply creating an inforgraphic isn’t enough. You need to take a controlled and thought out approach in order to capture interest and maintain it.

If we look at this from a blogging perspective we can highlight some ways to make your infographic stand out amongst the crowd.

When you look at a blog post, you’re drawn in by the headline. Something in those few words has sparked your interest, enough to get you to react, and read what the author has to say. Infographics are no different. I remember a time where I would look at any infographic I found, regardless of subject matter, simply because it was visually appealing, and I often learnt something from it. Now I don’t. Now if I look at an infographic it’s highly likely the headline has caught my attention. This means that considering the title/headline for your infographic is important. Give your audience a reason to want to look at it, and you will see more success.

After the headline, comes the content. When blogging each sentence must keep your reader engaged, so that they move onto the next one, until they eventually consume your entire message. They want to find the value that was promised to them in the headline. Infographics have a similar principle. Yes, the content must be relevant and provide them with the value that was promised. But, it must also be readable. Your layout, your colour scheme and the way you adapt your information must all be considered. Without considering these factors. Your infographic will lose potency, readers will drop off and all the benefits you envisioned when you begun creating it, will be lost.

These are simple principles that can be applied when creating infographics that will help your content to stand out. Because if you don’t, you risk being overlooked, because you simply blend in with the crowd.

Want some more considerations? Here’s an Infographic that outlines considerations for making an infographic.

So, you’ve decided to go ahead and make an infographic

If you’re still here and think that you’ll be able to create an effective infographic, then the next consideration is how you will do it. There are two options here, do it yourself, or pay a designer.

Now doing it yourself may seem a bit daunting, especially for those with limited artistic talents. But there are a range of tools that can be used to create a thing of beauty. Here’s SEOmoz’s list of 10 tools for creating Infographics. Going through this list, you should find something that will suit your skill level and needs.

The alternative is to hire a designer. While this will cost you more, you will get greater flexibility in how it’s designed and looks. You can use sites such as eLance to find freelance designers from all over the world, that can help you to create an awesome infographic for your company.

Brands Seeking Agencies 7th March 2013

How to find new business opportunities by reading brands seeking agencies. A weekly summary of all the visitors we get relevant to marketing agencies. Which of your competitor agencies are learning business development skills here? Which brands are getting inside information on how agencies deliver creative marketing and, the Brands who are looking for agencies to hire.

Remember, many of these businesses visit our site because they are looking for information about new business and about creative marketing agencies. They may be in the market for a new agency – try getting in touch.

Better still, let us help you set up this system for your business.

All the ‘brands seeking agencies’ names which are anonymised below can be purchased by subscription from our sister website BrandsSeekingAgencies.com. You get the full name and URL of the business emailed to you on Thursday each week.

If you’d like to purchase just one or two of these brand names listed below, get in touch. $3 each. No need to subscribe!

Agencies

Brands

Brands Seeking Agencies

RFPs

News

Lightbox or New Window?

I’m sure many of you by this stage have either heard of Lightboxes or have already attempted to implement them on your own website. Lightboxes have replaced “tabbed browsing” as the fresh alternative to opening a new window. This post will give a quick pros and cons list of Lightboxes and discuss both the everyday frustrations and pleasures they bring. In my next post I will advise the best times and places to use Lightboxes based on what I have discussed here, because contrary to what you may read further down, there is a place for them.

A word of warning, if you’re an avid fan of Lightboxes you may want to close your eyes now…

The overwhelming number of reasons to not use Lightboxes surely disheartens even the most passionate fans. By my count, Lightboxes are down 2-10 to opening a new window… Not off to the best start then.

Table

Starting off with the cons (so we can end on a sweet note) Lightboxes are both immovable and modal. This means that if a user wants to open multiple links at once to run a comparison as I often do, this is impossible. What often happens to me though, is I do want to open a Lightbox but it blocks out what I want to compare it to on the regular page. “Open a new window” however does not suffer these issues as they can be moved, minimised and often you can interact with the original page.

Probably the biggest issue any SEO-conscious webmaster would have with Lightboxes is that Lightboxes cannot be bookmarked but more critically, have no search engine crawlability. This means that your users will be unable to find any information you have stored in your Lightbox and worse still, on the off chance they do find it, there is no way of directly bookmarking the Lightbox. From personal experience I can tell you how awkward it is to send a link to a friend and have to add “click the link ⅔ of the way down the page” to my email as it’s near-impossible to link directly to the exact part of information located on a Lightbox.

A major issue faced by novice web-users is that Lightboxes operate in a different way to regular web-browsing. For the novice, it means yet another system to learn and navigate. My grandfather recently acquired an iPad (his first steps online) and while he is making good progress he would never figure out a Lightbox (at this stage I haven’t even told him about tabbed browsing – each time I see him I close his 40-50 open tabs…). My point is that novice users struggle enough with regular web browsing.

So while a major issue for novice web-users is the change in operation, for more experienced users there are equal frustrations – the main one being suddenly the ‘back’ button no longer does as it always has. Rather than simply removing the Lightbox as we expect, it actually takes you back to the page before the page which contains the Lightbox. This is a real concern for anyone hoping to keep potential customers/readers on your site and may account for a low ‘average time on website’ figure in your analytics. Imagine someone Google’s your company and from that search enters your site. If a Lightbox appears and the user accidentally pushes ‘back’, they will be taken back to Google’s search results – which for me personally would be reason enough to not return to that site.

Lightboxes further suffer from often being “too” pretty with their animations etc  that it takes an eternity to actually load. Nothing frustrates me more than a slow fade in for every bit of data or picture that I want to see – It’s right up there with the Powerpoint individual letter fly-in animation. It is largely due to this that Lightbox struggles to encourage long-term usage.

Finally, and perhaps an ever-increasing problem are the compatibility issues Lightboxes have. The main one being on mobile devices. Lightboxes just don’t play nice with many mobile devices, obviously a pressing matter as more and more people browse the web on mobile devices. A more minor aspect is that users who disable javascript won’t be able to view your Lightboxes either (however there is a fix – have the link point to a real page, then use javascript to prevent the link from opening and instead open a lightbox). This may also fix some of the issues with mobile devices as well, however it just means more work for you, the webmaster, having to manage content on two locations as opposed to one.

Well, you’ve survived my rant. Just to help even up the score I’ll give the positive comments a larger font.

There really are only two reasons why you’d consider using a Lightbox over opening a new window, however both are critical. The first is Lightboxes offers a cleaner more professional look than opening a new window. Whilst this is purely based on preference, the general consensus is that Lightboxes look better. The second is perhaps the biggest overlooked benefit: it shows the selected content instantly. With many people opening multiple tabs and windows it can often be a decent amount of time before they actually view the selected link. With Lightboxes however there isn’t this problem as the content opens on the same page.

In my next post I’ll discuss How To Use Lightboxes On Your Website. Be sure to leave your own comments on the value of Lightboxes below!

posters for anniversary campaigns

Anniversary Promotion Campaigns

posters for anniversary campaigns

posters for anniversary campaigns

Celebrating an anniversary whether it be one, ten or a hundred years is certainly something to be proud of. You, as a company should almost be bursting at the seams to tell potential and existing customers the news.

Of course, for customers to get as excited as you, they expect something in return. That’s how the system works. They support you for x amount of years and at each anniversary expect a little appreciation. As Mark Twain astutely noted: “It is better to give than receive- especially advice” and following this I will offer my own – He’s right.

Even the historical dynasties knew of giving to receive, the churches preached it for centuries. “For it is in giving that we receive” (St. Francis of Assisi); is it sacrilegious if it’s true? Yes I am referencing from the 1200’s but the point is timeless. Why do businesses offer sales at anyway? They give a little in order to gain a lot 

The question of course is how to celebrate and promote your anniversary. This can depend on a variety of facets such as the length of time of existence, the size of the company and the type of company.

Types of anniversary campaign

It is for this reason I have come up with 4 simple categories.

  1.  Sales & Giveaways
  2. Promotions & Interaction

  3. Reincarnation (Sticking with the religious theme)

  4. Internal Appreciation

Sales & Giveaways is relatively straightforward. Simply reducing the final bill for the customer will obviously get them interested – more bang for your buck has traditionally been the ‘go-to’ strategy. Giveaways however can work equally effective. The total bill may not reduce however the value perceived would still have increased. Better yet, it means more of your product is being consumed by your customers.

A common tip often acted upon is to link the number of years celebrated to the sale/gift. Whether it be 10% off if you’re celebrating your tenth anniversary or every 5th item is free for your fifth, linking the years to the deal instils that number into your customers brains, meaning they will be more likely to associate your business with success and longevity. As has been hugely publicised, customers who associate success and longevity with your business are more likely to purchase from you.

Remember, you can be clever about it – 40 years 40% off may be too much of a discount for some stores so be clever! 40 = XL in Roman numerals so have an XL sale, whether it be just a larger sale than usual or a sale focused on extra-large items, it will most likely prove cheaper than 40% off but have a similar effect.

Promotions & Interactions. This deals with how your company reaches out to your customers and the general public. Obviously, if no one has heard that it’s your anniversary no one will be excited. This therefore is critical that it is done right. Larger companies may not have to worry about it and let word of mouth do the work. Smaller companies however have their own competitive advantage – personalisation.

Personalised, handwritten notes prove effective time and time again. These interactions will obviously be critical to making your customers aware of your anniversary. Under interaction I have associated cut-cost ways to deliver value to your customer – tours. Customers are always interested in how their favourite good is actually made, so offer it! They aren’t expensive to run as attendees would actually prefer to see the business running as normal as possible and give your business greater exposure to the public..

Reincarnation – an old classic _/\___/\___/\___/\___________ and we’re back. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the reincarnation of old products and methods when companies celebrate birthdays or anniversaries so I won’t go into any detail about it. However, many don’t even consider replacing current prices with the traditional ones. An example would be if Coca-Cola were to sell cans for 5c each – their original price. You may be thinking, this should be under the sale category and you’re probably right, but as it refers to the original price, it could be seen as the rebirth of the price; ok compromise, it’s both.

Finally, internal interaction. They say nothing is more important than the customer; if that’s true then employees can’t be far behind. When celebrating an anniversary, celebrate your employees’ efforts. They are just as much a part of the company as the customers and therefore, deserve similar recognition and perceived benefits. Traditionally a party always goes down well, however ensure that at least the long-time employees receive a memento, something which they can be proud of and something that will portray your eternal appreciation.

Most successful anniversary campaigns utilise more than one of these categories so for greater success, try and aim to hit at least two. And remember, no matter what strategy you choose, conveying your appreciation for the past and enthusiasm for the future never hurts.

Got any other clever little anniversary tricks?

 

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