All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Real Marketing – A Slow, Steady Process

Two weeks ago I started talking about this process of real marketing. I thought it was a good time to give a quick update as to how things are progressing, if they’re progressing. Actually, I tend to believe that any time one is trying to move forward it’s progress, even if one isn’t quite sure that’s what it is.

Over the past 2 weeks I’ve made a lot of phone calls. Some potential clients I’ve called twice. From my initiating things I haven’t landed anything yet, including anyone who even said “Yes, I’d like to talk more”. I did have a couple that asked me to send more information, and I’m taking that as a positive step. I also had one call that I thought would go better than it did, someone I’ve talked to before, and that one disappointed me so much that I not only didn’t make another call on that day, but was encouraged to write a post on my business blog about the disrespect independent consultants seem to get.

Now, what has happened is that I got a call from a hospital in another state asking me to submit a proposal to provide a couple of the services I do in health care, and that’s a good thing. You might not see these things as related but in my mind, when you start taking positive steps positive things start to come your way. Yes, I do believe in the laws of attraction. 🙂

Next, let’s talk about LinkedIn. I mentioned how I had reached out to some folks over there, and I’d only heard from one person. I can’t say that anymore. I did finally hear from another person who said that she’d been looking for someone who provides my services because she’s been asked in the past to find someone who does what I do, and that I’d be kept in her files the next time the request comes up. Good news once again.

See, the thing about real marketing is that you might not land the contract immediately, or make a sale then and there, but you start processes that, in some fashion, will get tings going and hopefully will work out in your favor later on. You may have to be patient, but eventually things will work out in some fashion.

Facebook? Lost cause for now, but that’s okay; I’ll keep plugging away at it. 🙂 How are your marketing efforts going?
 

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Black Web Friday – 3/23/12

OMG, is it time for this again? Absolutely, and I’m glad to be able to share this week’s group with you on what I lovingly call Black Web Friday. It’s turning out to be a more popular series than I could have hoped for, as 4 weeks have been in the top 50 in the last 30 days, 3 of them in the top 50 since the day I started them, which was January 20th. This means that today is the 10th edition, and I’ve now been doing this for two months; wow. And on this date in 1920 my grandmother was born; seems to be the only black history thing of significance to anyone, in this case me.

Black Web Friday

With that, let’s get started. First out of the gate is a blog by Twanna Hines called Funky Brown Chick. I’ve been connected to Twanna on Facebook for years, though I’m not sure if we’ve talked all that often. She talks about relationships and writes about adult issues; that’s about as far as I’m going with that. I think she’s very entertaining and has a lot to say that should interest a lot of people, and I also think she’s very stylish. Definitely deserves to be checked out, and it’s a standard WordPress.org commenting system so it’s easy to leave comments.

Kharim Tomlinson may look tough in his pictures, but his blog Webmaster Success is a compendium of information about online stuff and social media that it’s worth looking into. He’s Jamaican and in my mind that’s close enough to qualify him as American (he might object but I’m writing this lol) and therefore he fits into being recommended. Many of the posts are guest posts, so you don’t always get the true essence of his thoughts, but he’ll pop one out at least once a month or so, and he is the owner, and the information might be something you’re looking for. Standard WordPress.org commenting system, so go for it.

Chris Fields is the owner of Cost of Work, which is his blog on human resources and employment issues. He will address problems black people have in the workplace, which are numerous, but he’ll also talk about employment and jobs in general, as well as create some interesting articles that remind me of some of the connections I’ve made, like this post on gaming in the office to keep employees entertained enough so that they’ll also be engaged in getting their work done. Very cool stuff, and once again standard commenting process.

That’s it for the week; have a great weekend.
 

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Marketing – Facebook

I wrote a post titled Getting More Eyes On Your Facebook Business Page. That post talked about the kind of time it might take to keep one of those pages going and the commitment overall it takes to have one. I always believe, just like I do with blogging, that if you’re not going to add new content to it don’t even start.

Real feel -23 Don't like it!
Daniel Kulinski via Compfight

Of course the overall question is whether Facebook is a good marketing tool or not. I tend to think “no” overall, and I’m going to tell you why.

First, initially the only people you can invite to your Facebook page are people you know. How many of you have loved ones or close friends that often read your blogs? Very few people do, and it’s the same with a Facebook page, for the most part. I was lucky enough to get 26 people to initially sign up so I could create that little widget over there to the right that I could put up on this blog, a couple other blogs, and one of my websites.

To date, that little widget has driven 3 people to sign up on that page. That’s not all that good when you consider I’ve had that page up over a year, possibly longer; I’m not sure where I created it exactly. I’ve promoted it of course but it’s one of those strange conundrums where you’re asking yourself if you want to drive people to your Facebook page or your blog.

At this point I have 204 people subscribed to the page. Most of the people I’ve invited through Facebook, and I’m happy they’ve signed up. There’s a good number of people who signed up through Empire Avenue, of all things, although I’m not sure if they signed up directly because of that page or because I asked some questions on the Empire Avenue Facebook page. It’s my assumption that anyone else who’s signed up might have seen something in the stream of someone they were following and decided to join, but truthfully I’m not really clear on that one.

What kinds of things do I put there? I post a lot of links from 3 of my blogs, but mainly from my business blog. Occasionally if I find something that pertains to a business issue I’ll post it there as well. I also occasionally ask questions, trying to get a conversation started.

How successful am I? Every once in awhile I’ll get one response; makes me wonder if people even see the content all that often, since Facebook’s timeline moves pretty fast, especially if you’re connected to a lot of people. Frankly, there’s a lot of effort for very little active return.

Is it a good marketing tool for me? I’d have to say no. Can it be a good marketing tool for others? Actually it can, and that’s proven by one of our local TV news stations. They’re pretty big on Facebook. They ask “the question of the day” and will put some of the responses on TV; people love that. They’ve hooked up with their own Groupon-like deals thing that they push through Facebook and people love that. They promote the page often during newscasts, even more than their own website, which has news but isn’t really all that interactive. And one of their top news announcers, a guy named Matt Mulcahy, has fully embraced social media as he’s also on Twitter, writes a blog, and shows up at a lot of local social media events when he doesn’t have to do the news.

For my purposes, it gives me backlinks to my blogs. Other than that there’s no real marketing on my end; nothing I can really do. I’m not sure what others think, but maybe if you have something more to offer you could share it here.
 

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Marketing – LinkedIn

LinkedIn is supposed to be used for business purposes. The very idea of LinkedIn is to be able to network with other business owners or people in certain industries to discuss business, or to network. Therefore, the way I see it, LinkedIn is a very viable place to try to make connections within your industries.

I have around 450 connections there. I know maybe 100 of them well enough so that I wouldn’t have to reach out to them again, which left me with about 350 contacts that I could look at and try to determine if there was some way I could work with them. I set about the task by starting at the beginning of the alphabet and looking at each name and what it is they did. I knew I wasn’t going to contact everyone the first time around; some, based on what they do, I won’t contact at all.

Going through this process was going to serve two things for me. One, it was going to help me determine who I should contact. Two, it was going to help me determine who I should drop. Some people theorize that the more connections you have the better. I’m not that guy, and as I’ve talked about culling the number of people I follow on Twitter based on how they use it and what they have to say, I’ve never really done the same thing with LinkedIn, and I’ve been there longer. So, as I started going through the list, I knew there were some people I was going to eliminate early, and some people I was going to eliminate later. What do I mean? I’ll come back to that.

In this case I didn’t create a list ahead of time. I figured that since I was on the site at the present time, and since you can’t send a group message to just anyone you’re connected to (actually you can but your message should be tailored to each individual so it doesn’t look like spam; LinkedIn hates that), I’d just go ahead and send my message. I created a couple of different scripted messages, but then I never used them. No matter, since the process of scripting helped me decide what I wanted to say anyway.

This was a 2-day process of going through all the names. In the end, I sent messages to close to 35 people, and I deleted around 30 people I was connected to. To date I’ve only heard from one person, someone I actually know who I hadn’t talked to in years and yet is in my field, so that doesn’t really count. The others…not a word. And if I don’t hear from any of those people within 2 weeks I’m going to my sent folder so I can identify them and I’m removing them from my list. I figure that if it takes that kind of effort to respond to a message on a business networking site then they’re either not really interested in that kind of thing, haven’t been to LinkedIn in awhile and thus don’t know what to do with the message, or really aren’t interested and don’t want to bother with me. In any of those cases, why stay connected? Agree or disagree?

And yes, this is marketing, online marketing but in a way more like email marketing. I made each message more of an introduction than a sales pitch because truthfully I figured I really didn’t know these people, no matter what it says on their LinkedIn page. After my first year on the site most people have connected to me first, so I figure it’s well within my right to try to connect with them now, since I added them when it was requested. But culling my list will take place, and I figure that when I go through the next round that I could be closer to 300 connections total. From where I sit, that’s not bad if I know those people.

And so it goes; thoughts?
 

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