Automated marketing means auto-delivery, not autopilot

The term “marketing automation” is a bit misleading, because the only thing that’s actually automated is the delivery of content. Automation systems can send messages at a scheduled time, respond to customer requests, or trigger an e-mail in response to certain conditions (such as a prospect signing up for an event, subscribing to an email list, downloading a report, or making a purchase).

But all of this doesn’t happen as magically as “automation” might suggest. Implementing marketing automation requires you to develop buyer personas, know where to find the right prospects, and create lots and lots of content that’s tailored to each persona and what they want from you at various points in their customer journey. Continue reading

Get more bang from your conference buck with social media

As I make final preparations for my annual spring conferences, I’m thinking about how social media has changed the entire conference-going experience—and how what’s happening online at the event can be as valuable as what’s happening face-to-face.

Case in point: a single LinkedIn connection after a five-minute face-to-face conversation at an industry conference led to a new client who spends five figures annually with me. Had I not taken those few minutes to connect, I likely would have ended up as just another business card at the bottom of his computer bag.

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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


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?


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?


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.

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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