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Got A 2018 Networking Plan?

I LOVE when one year ends and a new year starts.  It gives me the opportunity to start fresh and create new goals. 

Networking is the most effective by-word-of-mouth marketing you can participate in.  This is why a Networking plan is the one plan everyone should have in place before 2018 hits.

What goes into a networking plan?

That’s a great question!  Some of the things you will want to layout for your networking plan are: 

GOALS:

Why are you networking in the first place?  What do you want to get out of networking. Once you know why you are getting involved in networking you can fill in the rest of your plan.

GROUP:

What type of group do you want to be involved in.  Do you want to network through philanthropic organizations, interest groups, or a traditional lead generating and referral group.

ONE-TO-ONES:

The best way to meet others is to set up weekly one-to-one meetings.  These meetings will help you to build relationships and help others.  The more relationships you have and nurture, the more referrals you can begin to generate. 

PRESENTATIONS:

When given the opportunity to present to your networking organization, what types of topics will you talk about?  My recommendation is to plan for one presentation per quarter. It’s always good to have a presentation in your back pocket just in case you are invited to speak

30-SECOND COMMERCIALS:

What will your 30-second commercials look like in 2018?  Have several planned out and ready to go.  The key to 30-second commercials is to intrigue your audience so that they want to talk to you after the meeting or schedule a one-to-one.  Remember, the 30-second commercial is not a sales pitch.

FOLLOW-UP PLAN:

This is where most networkers fail.  They fail to follow-up.  What is your plan and how will you follow up with your fellow networkers.  Will it be through an email campaign, social media, one-to-one schedule, etc.  Take some time to map out what that looks like. 

The above are just a few ideas of how you can make the most of your networking efforts during 2018.

Have a profitable week!

~ Local Lora

3 Social Media Trends That Will Take Off During 2018:

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to think about what your social media marketing plan will look like during 2018.  In order to plan appropriately, it’s important to know what the expected trends will be.

3 social trends that will take off during 2018:

  • Ephemeral content – a.k.a. Disappearing content:  Think Snapchat and the “stories” feature on Instagram and Facebook.  This type of content creates a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), driving viewers to consume content before it’s gone.
  • Personalized content:  Consumers will want to see more content that is relevant to their needs and want.  This will increase the usage of “Feature” accounts on social media.  Feature accounts are those accounts that only focus on 1 specific service, product, interest and not your entire offering.  Gone are the days where all of your content lives under one umbrella on social.
  • Video!  This one area of social media has been on fire!  2018 is the year to harness it for your business.  Video gets more engagement than any other type of content on social media and will continue to do so.  Episodic content or a series of videos will be important to viewers in 2018.

How will these trends impact your social media marketing plan for 2018?  Taking advantage of the trends above will make a difference to your social media marketing efforts.  First, you need to determine if you:

  • Have the right tools
  • Know how to use video effectively
  • Need further training or coaching

One of the biggest investments you can do for you and your business is investing in proper training and education.  Identify where you need that help now and search out those who can provide the training you need.

5 Tips for Creating an Effective Cause Marketing Campaign

It’s that time of year again!  In your mailbox, between your favorite shows, at check-out registers and even outside your grocery stores:  “asks” for money.  Good causes doing good things for our neighbors, our community, and our world.  In fact, there are some 1.5 MILLION not-for-profits ($25K or more in revenue) in the US.  So the question begs, if my personal donation can do so much good, I wonder what my business donation could do?

The answer is LOTS – for both your charity AND your business.  It’s called “Cause Marketing” – aligning a for-profit with a not-for-profit (NFP) for a win/win.  Engaging with an NFP is not only good for your heart but good for your top line, too.

A good Cause Marketing campaign can increase your sales by 19%*.  Some 85% of customers will change brands related to a Cause they care about, 66%* will spend MORE for a product and 63%* will TRY a new product.  Just as important, 66% of millennials decide where to work and shop based upon a company’s Cause.  Hint, hint:  these same millennials will also share your Cause (and promote your business) through their own social media channels and 82% will tell friends and family about the Causes and companies they support.

Doing well by doing good also means doing it right, too!   Here are a few best practices for creating an effective Cause Marketing Campaign:

1. Do it for the right reason!  People are smart enough to see if your charity campaign has no passion behind it.  It’s not about you looking good – it’s about the Cause doing great.

2.  To go big, stay home! There are a great many national charities doing great things; however, a donation to a smaller, local charity could be literally a life-saver in serving your local neighbors.

3.  Choose a cause which aligns with your company.  Restaurant? Consider a food pantry.  A store or salon catering to women?  Think domestic violence, female veterans or local cancer support groups.  Ask your team, your customers, and ask yourself – where does their (and your) passion lie?  Most customers actually want to participate in your cause with a separate donation – they want to be part of a solution.

4. Choose wisely.  Reach out to the local charity.  Meet with them to brainstorm ideas for either financial or time donations (many need volunteers throughout their year for their own fundraisers).  See if their board members would be good partners for your business and your campaign.  Your “real estate” (meaning your social media platforms, office, retail shop, salon, employees, and customers) can expand their own brand in the community – giving them even greater access to donors and volunteers.

5.  Donate wisely.  Work within your own business model.  A % of the sales price or a specific amount for each sale? An hour of service for each sale?

Make it easy to sell BOTH your Cause and your Donation.

Cause Marketing can be a game changer for your business:  differentiating you from an increasingly competitive marketplace, building stronger relationships with your customers, helping to recruit new employees and engaging current team members.

As you build your 2018 Sales and Marketing Plan, consider adding a “Cause Component” to your business!

Editor’s note:  Your Keep It Local organization is looking to align with a Cause in 2018.  If you have any recommendations, please send them to Sheila@CatalystGetsResults.com

* All statistics come from various studies conducted by Cone Communications.

Thank you, Sheila Neisler for providing this week’s insightful article!  Sheila is currently working with Keep It Local in the capacity of Cheif Marketing Officer.

To learn more about Sheila Neisler and Catalyst – A Marketing Company, click HERE.

The LOST Art Of Following-Up – 12 Creative Follow-Up Ideas Inside

Could you be missing business and important connections because you fail to follow up?

Yes!  You are! 

It is not enough to show up to a networking meeting or event and shake hands and collect business cards.  It is what you do AFTER shaking hands and collecting business cards that matter.

Lots of times people get stumped about what to do next when they meet people who can really impact their business.  GREAT NEWS!  Below are 12 creative ideas you can use to follow up and re-connect with people after meeting them, shaking their hands and collecting their business cards:

  1. Call and get a one-to-one meeting scheduled on the calendar and start building a relationship!
  2. After your one-to-one meeting send a handwritten note to their office thanking them for taking the time to meet with you.
  3. “Like” their Facebook page and start engaging with their Facebook posts by either sharing valuable posts with your followers or write a positive comment on Facebook posts that provide value.
  4. “I saw this and thought of you!” Send a helpful article or white paper via email.
  5. Send an invitation to a useful workshop, non-sales-y presentation, networking event, party, or mixer.  This is a “no strings attached” invite.  Again, make sure it serves a useful purpose for the person you are inviting.
  6. Drop off doughnuts or bagels to their office along with several copies of your latest newsletter.
  7. Connect on LinkedIn and give an endorsement.
  8. Call to say hi and check in.
  9. Introduce and connect them with someone who is beneficial to their business.
  10. Write a review on Facebook or Google.  Be authentic.
  11. Add them to your holiday greeting card list.
  12. Offer to provide a free audit, sample, etc.

PRO-TIP:  Schedule another one-to-one to continue to build your relationship.  Schedule regular one-to-one meetings to continue to build and nurture your relationship.

The 12 ideas above will help you and your business remain memorable for the right reasons.

6 Steps to Effectively Promoting Your Event On Facebook During the Holiday Season

This time of year it is common for businesses to put on LOTS of events.  The most critical part of planning the event is marketing it effectively.  According to AdEspresso, 41% of Facebook users participate and interact with public events every month.  Let’s get your event noticed!

Here’s how:

  1. Create an event registration page on your website and add Facebook social share buttons to the registration page.  Encourage registrants to share your event out on Facebook and their favorite social channels.
  2. The banner on your business Facebook page is your best piece of real estate! Use it wisely!  Change your banner to an image or a video that highlights your upcoming event.
  3. Use the event feature on Facebook to create an event for your upcoming function.
  4. Spend some money on Facebook and either boost your event or create an ad campaign surrounding your event.  This will help to broadcast your event to the exact group of people you want to attend your event.
  5. Encourage attendees to engage with your event on Facebook.  Ask attendees to like, share, and make comments on the event posts.
  6. Videos are getting LOTS of attention on Facebook these days.  Create short, 2-3 minute Facebook Live video promoting your event on your business page.  Power Tip:  Spend $5-$10 and boost the video to your target audience.

Creativity always is your best strategy when it comes to social media marketing.  The more creative you can be, the more your content will be seen.

Good Luck!

A Good Marketing Plan Starts with a Strong Personal Brand

What is a personal brand and why does it matter to your business?

A strong personal brand is vital to your business because it gives a sneak peek into what people can expect to experience when they deal with you and the business you represent. 

Your personal brand is a statement that says:

“This is the face of my business and this is the level of service I am willing to provide.”

The above statement is made through 3 things that make up your personal brand:

1.  VALUES

Your Values and what you hold important in everyday life.  Knowing what your values are and using them in your messaging is probably one of the most important things about personal branding.  This one portion of your personal brand is the ingredient that determines whether someone will trust you with their business…or not.

Action Step: Make a list of which values are most important to you and then ask yourself if you are authentically practicing these values.  Values can be things like:

Ethics, Fairness, Accountability, Punctuality, Formal or Informal, Community Driven, Innovative, Forward Thinker, Leadership, etc.

2.  ABILITY

Based on what you say, prior work experience, current clients, and, your affiliations all scream volumes about your ability.  In short, all of these things answers the question customers and clients always ask themselves about you:  “Do you have the knowledge and skill it takes to get the job done?”

Action Step:  Do a self-assessment.  What skills and knowledge do you need to increase in order to improve your personal brand? 

Execute:  You can increase your knowledge and skill set easily today through online courses, webinars, podcasts, do-it-yourself videos on YouTube, etc.

PERFORMANCE

Maybe you have the know-how to get the job done.  The real question will be, how well can you get the job done.  Will you pay attention to detail, see the job through and do what it takes to ensure the finished product is something that both you and your customer or client will be proud of?  Take it one step further, how much would you pay to get the same job done for yourself?  Based on your answer, challenge yourself.  Are you really putting a high level/dose of the “performance” ingredient of a personal brand into your work?

Action Step:  If there is room for improvement, take action!  How can you improve your work, making it more valuable to your customers and clients?

Going Forward…

Think about your values, ability, and performance with every conversation, action, and piece of work you do.  Constantly ask yourself three questions:

  1. Is your work, actions, behavior, etc. all in alignment with your personal brand values?
  2. What knowledge, skill, or further education do you need in order to improve your personal brand and your final product?
  3. Are your results and finished products a reflection of how you want people to perceive you?

If your the answer to the above is not “yes” each and every time, challenge yourself to do more and to do better, causing you to tweak and develop your personal brand each and every time!

Remember, personal branding is not an overnight thing.  It is a journey, not a destination.  You have a choice each and every day to make your personal brand better through daily interactions, decisions, follow-through, work quality, etc.

The work you put into your personal brand and the better it becomes will translate into better clients, more customers and a higher income.  Is it easy?  No.  It is tedious, hard work that involves challenging yourself and pushing yourself, even when you don’t want to “go” anymore. 

The choice is up to you!

My Favorite Productivity Apps – 2017 Edition

Every year I write an article about which apps are my favorite and why.  Each year, there are some apps that remain on the list year after year.  There are also some that fall off which are replaced by new, more effective apps.

When used for their intended purposes, apps can be a great way to make your workday more productive, effective and efficient.

Here is my list of favorites for 2017:

HootSuite (Mobile & Desktop)

FREE & Paid

This app is my favorite social media scheduling app.  I love it for its simplicity and for the opportunity for me to bulk schedule social media posts at one sitting.  You have the availability to schedule up to 30 posts on up to 3 social channels for free.  It is also a great tool to use to follow trending topics and hashtags on social sites like Twitter.

MailChimp (Mobile App & Desktop)

FREE & Paid

This tool is great if you send out regular email blasts to your target audience.  The templates are clean, professional looking and easy to navigate.  Added bonus – great analytics!  Learn about your audience and what type of email content they appreciate most, the links they click on, which emails are shared with others, etc.

PodBean

FREE

Listening to podcasts is a great way to deepen your knowledge on any topic.  Again, this is an app I love because of its simplicity.  It is easy to navigate and a great way to stay on top of new and trending topics.

PosterMyWall.com (Website)

FREE & Paid

Need a snazzy way of announcing your next event?  PosterMyWall.com is full of eye-catching poster templates that are easy to edit.

canva.com (Website Desktop & Mobile App) 

FREE & Paid

Canva is a great app to use for graphics.  It is perfect for creating social media posts and banners and it also has template options for things like stationary, posters, business cards and flyers.

Google Calendar (Desktop & Mobile App)

FREE

This is a great way to manage all of your calendars in one place.  Our lives are multi-faceted and so are our calendars.  Google calendars is a great way to stay on top of your schedule across several devices.  No matter where I am or what device I have handy, I am able to have my schedule at my fingertips!

Google Drive (Desktop & Mobile App)

FREE & Paid

Many times I work on the go.  Google Drive has allowed me the freedom of not having to not lug my laptop with me everywhere I go.  As long as I have an internet connection, I can create and edit documents from my phone, iPad or laptop by using Google Drive.  It has made me, my clients and my teammates extremely efficient.

iBooks (Apple product)

If you are like me, you read several books at the same time.  What I love about iBooks is that you have the ability to carry around as many books as you want with you on one device.  Another added benefit is that iBooks is synced to all of your Apple devices.  That means you can start reading a book on your iPad and then pick up where you left off on your iPhone or vice versa.

Amazon Alexa

FREE & Paid (The Alexa device plus the Alexa app is needed)

Alexa device hit the scene hard right around Christmastime of 2016.  If used to its potential, it can do more than play music.  In our household, we use Alexa to manage our grocery lists, to-do lists, take incoming voice messages from other Alexa users, turn lights and other smart-electronics on and off, shop for us on Amazon, provide daily news, set alarms and timers, play games like Jeopardy and so much more.

Many people say that apps, smartphones, and tablets can be time-cows.  Possibly…If you allow them to.  But, I like to think of them and use them as time efficient tools to help me work smarter, not harder!

Try a couple of the apps, sites, and devices listed above and let me know how they have changed your life.

Do you have a few apps that you like which weren’t mentioned here?  Let me know what they are!  I LOVE trying new apps and learning new time-saving tools!

Have a profitable week!

~ Local Lora

4th Quarter Best Practices – #FinishStrong

We are in the last leg of 2017.  Here are some things you may want to look at during 4th quarter to help you finish strong.  Use my 3 step plan to help get you there!

Step 1:  Review Your Goals

At the beginning of 2017, you probably made a list of goals you wanted to achieve during the year and you probably prepared a plan and strategy to follow to make it all happen.  Q4 is the last chance you have to review, pivot and make last minute changes to get your business on track for a strong year-end.  Start the process by asking yourself these 4 questions:

  1. Which goals have you met?
  2. Which goals are you still working on?
  3. Are your goals in alignment with your primary objectives?
  4. Which goals are still important for you and your business and which are not?

Step 2:  Set an Action Plan

Based on how you answered the questions above, determine an action plan to figure out how you will get them completed by December 31, 2017.  Your action plan will need to answer the question of “Who will do what and when?”

Step 3:  Execute

Don’t waste any time!  Get laser focused on the last goals you need to accomplish.  Don’t try to tackle big goals in one day.  Break each goal down into small tasks.  Determine what needs to be done, how long it will take, and, in what order to get your goals accomplished. 

Here’s what works best for me…  

After breaking down my goals into smaller tasks, I set 3 daily priorities that must be completed in order to inch me closer to the completion of my goals.  The daily priorities are non-negotiable and must be met by the end of the day.  This practice really helps me to filter out non-essential distractions and other people’s priorities.  You will be AMAZED at what you can accomplish when you follow this simple, systematic approach.  

The advice given is not edgy, sexy or rocket science.  It is all about pure will, determination, and consistency that will get you to your desired goal. 

Here’s to an amazing Q4!  Good luck and let me know how you do!  #FinishStrong!

Have a profitable week!

Top Benefits of Joining a Seat Specific (Exclusive) Networking Organization

Networking is one of the most effective ways to build your business.  Why?  Because, those who refer you and your business out through networking are not only sending you business but more than likely, they are recommending you.  Your referral source is giving you/your business a personal endorsement.  We have all heard the old adage that people like to do business with those they know, like and trust.  When you and your business are referred out by someone, the person referring you is sending a message of:

“This person I am referring you to is someone who I know will do good work and, they can be trusted.  Not only will they do a good job and you can trust them, I really like working with them and I think you will too!”

To receive an endorsement and recommendation like that is invaluable to you, your business and the growth of your business.  This is why networking has become so popular. 

What Is A Seat Specific Networking Organization?

A seat specific networking organization is an organization that allows just 1 member per business category to join a Chapter.  For example, if you are a residential real estate agent, you would be the only residential real estate agent allowed in the chapter you are joining. 

Why Join a Seat Specific Networking Organization:

There are many reasons why you would want to join a seat specific networking organization.  

Some of the top reasons are:

  • Weekly meetings.  Most seat specific networking Chapters meet weekly in an effort to foster relationships.  Meeting weekly helps people to get to know each other on a deeper level
  • Exclusivity in your business category.  You will not be competing with others in your profession to get a lead or referral
  • Expert positioning.  By meeting regularly each week, you have the opportunity to establish yourself as an industry expert through the conversations and presentations your provide.
  • Trust.  Trust goes a long way in business!  It is critical to establish trust and it can take a long time to do so.  Through seat specific networking, you can establish trust quicker based on things like:
  • Regular attendance 
  • How you get to know other members of your Chapter – It is more difficult to build trust in larger, non-industry exclusive groups, that do not allow for the opportunity to develop deeper business relationships
  • Learning and Advice.  Many times, seat specific networking chapters become very tight team of professionals.  Lots of great conversations, problem-solving and support can occur as a result of the dynamic the Chapter builds.  This can be invaluable to businesses who are members of this type of group.

Keep It Local is a seat specific networking organization that helps business professionals grow and develop through networking, leadership opportunities, education and public speaking.  As a member of Keep It Local, you can experience these benefits:

Guaranteed Seat specific networking chapter

  • Access to the Keep It Local, LLC network, its members, events, and chapters
  • FREE marketing opportunities on Keep It Local, LLC’s social media platforms
  • Access to Keep It Local, LLC Facebook Company Page
  • Access to Keep It Local, LLC Facebook Chapter Page
  • Participation in workshops and seminars (additional fees may apply)
  • Directory Listing On Website

Business is FUN!

Twenty years ago, if you told me I would be writing a blog post with the first line being “Business is FUN!”, I would have rolled my eyes at you and laughed.  Twenty years ago, I was working in the corporate offices of a major retail chain.  My days and weeks were filled with meetings, planning major international events, training store managers and traveling throughout the US and Canada visiting the inside of major airports and malls.  I hustled and worked long hours all for something that would never be my own.

Today, the picture is very different.  Today, I am the founder and owner of 2 of my own businesses and co-founder and co-owner of a third.  My passion is taking something from nothing and watching it grow.  Even more exciting to me is to see how BIG I can make each entity grow.  Each business has its own personality, struggles and victories and each one is its own separate high.  As different as each of them is, there are some constants that must be in place to make them a success.

Below is a list of some best practices I have used while growing and developing businesses that you can use to help grow yours:

  • Get organized – create a business plan and revisit it often
  • Embrace technology
  • Set up systems
  • Identify your brand
  • Know what your core values are and use them in everything you do
  • Identify your target market and get to know them well
  • Listen to your customers
  • Take care of your customers
  • Do what you say you are going to do
  • Answer your phone when it rings
  • Surround yourself with the right people
  • Always be learning
  • Make mistakes – you never know what good can come out of them
  • Find a mentor
  • Mentor others

To me, watching a concept come to life, experiencing its growth, is what makes business fun.  In a way, it is like watching a child grow and develop.  You nurture, care for them, love them and do all that you can so they mature into productive adults.  Isn’t that what we want for our businesses?  For them to grow up to be mature, healthy and productive?

Happy growing!