When you don’t have all the answers

I’ve had more than one client come to me in a state of overwhelm about a big project. “I’m not even sure yet what I need you to do for me. I just know I need help,” they said. We could have gone ‘round and ‘round trying to define a very specific scope of work, but the reality is that we couldn’t, because we didn’t know what we didn’t know. 

guess what? you can still take the first step.

Here are two ways you can move your project forward, even when you’re not sure exactly what that final product should look like. They worked for me, and got two new projects (with two new clients) up and running in no time.  Continue reading

3 marketing tasks to trust to pros

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In recent years there’s been an explosion of online marketing tools, virtual assistants, and other low-cost marketing options. They all claim to make marketing easier, either by doing it for you or making it easy to manage yourself.

These “do-it-yourself” or “do it cheap” resources regularly wreak havoc on organizations that don’t have the time or skills to do marketing work internally. It’s bad enough when marketing doesn’t get done as a result, but even worse when it gets done wrong. Either way, it’s expensive and time-consuming to fix. Continue reading

Do you need a check-in-free vacation?

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When’s the last time you took a real vacation? One when you weren’t constantly checking in just to “stay on top of things” while you were away from work?

When’s the last time you felt like you finished everything that you wanted or needed to?

When’s the last time you felt caught up enough to focus on the big-picture aspects of your job instead of the day-to-day trench work? Continue reading

Do you ever wish you had a stunt double?

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I’m doubling right now for a new client. She’s an agency owner who was so busy she couldn’t find time to focus on the tasks only she can do, like landing more of the high level projects she really wants.

So I’m helping with the things she doesn’t need to be doing, like:

  • being a liaison between contractors, my client, and my client’s client;
  • ensuring our team stays on schedule and meets milestone delivery dates; and,
  • keeping copious notes as the project unfolds with multiple twists and turns, making necessary adjustments, and ensuring everyone stays on the same page.

I even stood in for my client so she could take a real vacation for four weeks, more than 4,000 miles from home, and not feel like she needed to constantly check in.

Continue reading

Do you really need SEO?

wbc_seobasicsThere’s a lot of hype about the ability of SEO (search engine optimization) to drive gobs of traffic to your site. But is that really what you need?

The ultimate goal of SEO is to show up at the top of a Google search when a user types the phrase or keywords most important to your business, such as “Portland plumber,” “discount software” or “local wineries.”

Play your cards right and that could happen — at least in theory — but competition is making that increasingly difficult. In short, the game of SEO is different than it was even just a few years ago, so it’s important to have reasonable expectations. Continue reading

You don’t have to do it all yourself

Hand tasks off to someone who can keep things moving for youWhen you constantly find yourself with more demands than you have time to satisfy, the best solution is to delegate some of those projects to a trusted partner. Ideally, you want to hand stuff off to someone who can keep things moving and make the kind of decisions you would make, without coming back to you with questions every fifteen minutes.

But how do you decide what to delegate to a contracted project manager, and what to keep in-house? Here are five signs it’s time to let go and trust someone else to get the project done: Continue reading

measuring your marketing effort

Like any other tool you use to promote your business, online marketing needs to be accountable so that you can calculate the return on your investments of time and money.

The tools you need to do this are readily available, and many of them are free.Unfortunately, they’re also relatively new, and many organizations are still learning how to take advantage of the technology that tracks online results.

common challenges

Many of my clients who use online marketing are concerned that they’re just proceeding blindly. They feel like they’re doing what they “should” be doing, but aren’t really sure why. Almost every day I hear comments like these:

  • “We don’t know how to measure the results of our online marketing.”
  • “We don’t even know what we should be measuring.”
  • “How can we justify the cost of online marketing if we can’t tie it to a measurable outcome?”
  • “We’ve got reams of analytics data, but we have no idea what it means or what to do with it.”

If these sound like questions you’ve been asking, you’re not alone. Many businesses and other organizations are asking them every day, and are losing patience with fans of all things digital who can’t tie activities to outcomes. Continue reading

how a free download generates business

case study of a successful free download

In the last two months we’ve covered strategies for generating new business with free downloads — everything from digital coupons to white papers. If you need to catch up, use these links to check out what makes a great free download and how to maximize their effectiveness by industry. This month we’ll wrap this three-part series with a closer look at a successful promotion.

the LinkedIn solution

Sometime in late 2013, I started noticing that a lot of my clients were talking about LinkedIn, and commenting that they really didn’t know how to use it. They didn’t understand why they needed to be there, what the advantages were, or what to say about themselves. Continue reading

the best prospects for free downloads

who do free downloads work best for?

Last month we covered what makes a great free download, but their effectiveness varies by industry, and every market handles them a bit differently. Look closely at the top performers and you’ll see they’re essentially doing the same thing, but how you present and package your download matters: Continue reading