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Let’s Do eLunch

eLunchAs more and more people work virtually, acquire clients globally and scramble to get it all done in a day, the concept of “a meeting” has changed. Of course much of this change is due to technology that enables us to interact in somewhat human ways while around the world or, for that matter, around the community.

Phone meetings, webinars, and now eLunches are a common and terribly efficient way to meet (maybe save a little piece of the planet too). I think the idea of doing lunch virtually adds a little more creative differentiation to your pitch.

The idea behind an eLunch is much like a lunch meeting you might do at the local deli, but both parties meet while sitting at their desk. In order to pull this off in a way that gives it some authenticity is to use a web video meeting technology (yes, you’ve got to get out of your pajamas and smile for the camera) such as Skype Video Chat, DimDim or iLinc Video Conferencing and food.

Because your guest might be anywhere in the world a safe bet is to set-up an account with a national chain such as Pizza Hut and send a pizza to your guest to enjoy during your eLunch. This might be a good way to get the meeting and stand out a bit.

Now I understand a chain pizza might not be your idea of way to impress a potential client so if you want to take this up a notch you can go for a more upscale chain that delivers, or if you want to really score points, see if your meeting prospect has a twitter account, blog or other social profile your can access and scan for mentions of local favorites or vegetarian leanings. Imagine how impressed your prospect will be when that shitake mushroom sandwich from their local vegan hangout shows up for your lunch.

Everyone needs an angle to get to the table and an eLunch just might be yours.

Photo credit: Joshua Rappeneker

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10 Small Business Lead Nurturing Tools

lead nurturingLead nurturing is the act of following up with leads in a consistent and, hopefully, logical way moving them gently along the path of becoming a customer.

In some high end, long decision process selling environments it’s the only way a sale is made. “Hi, glad to meet you, call me when you’re ready to buy,” isn’t a very nurturing approach.

In today’s marketing world smart companies are tapping powerful nurturing tools and technology to help their prospects get to know, like, and trust them, make sales when competitors can’t get past the front lobby, and charge a premium for their products and services.

In some cases it’s a matter of automatically dripping more and more information, in others it’s case of knowing exactly when your prospect is showing interest and in still others it can come down to gaining greater knowledge about your prospect by simply using technology to understand their behavior. (Don’t worry, none of this need be done in a creepy way, it’s all a matter of using technology and the information your prospects willing share.)

The secret is to stay top of mind and continue to educate, but do it ways that have impact.

The following ten tools are ones that I would suggest to most any small business owner to use in tandem with a cadre of education based marketing content in the form of ebooks, audio, video, newsletters, surveys and seminars.

1. BatchBlue – a lightweight CRM tool with a twist. BatchBlue makes it very simple to add your prospect’s social media profiles thereby having access to their blog and twitter feeds right at the point of interaction. Really great for your journalist target market too!

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Twitter for Business Essentials Archive

I conducted a live webinar billed as Twitter for Business Essentials.

twit1You can listen to the recorded audio by clicking on the this link – Listen to Twitter for Business (or right click and Save As to download to your desktop – warning: 53 mgs and about an hour long)

In addition, you may want to pick up this handy guide that has all the links and resources we discussed. Click here to download the 20 page guide – Twitter for Business Guide

Here’s the agenda for the call so you get an idea of the content – we started very basic but escalated to some more intermediate topics and tools.

  • What is twitter?
  • Some basic stuff
  • Why use it
  • Who do I follow?
  • What do I say?
  • Search is the thing
  • Managing twitter
  • Misc tools

And, as if that weren’t enough . . .

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How to Be More Interesting

Stick Yourself Out ThereFor a recent episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I had the chance to chat with The Nametag Guy, Scott Ginsberg.

Scott has a great story to tell and is one of the most creative folks you will ever come across. This interview was sparked by a post Scott wrote a while back called – 30 Ways to become the Most Interesting Person You Know

The problem is boring just doesn’t work for many industries and I’ve talked about this many times right here on this blog. In fact, I’ve often stated the three primary rules of business are – don’t be rude, don’t be boring, and give to get.

Marketing celebrity and frequent Duct Tape guest Seth Godin had this to say about boring when we last chatted: “If the marketplace isn’t talking about you, there’s a reason,” Seth says. “If people aren’t discussing your products, your services, your cause, your movement or your career, there’s a reason. The reason is that you’re boring.”

Scott is anything but boring and this interview will give you some practical tips on ways you can stand out and get your business noticed by becoming more interesting in every aspect of your business.

So, can you do to make your business, your products, your services, you – more interesting?

iLinc Web and Video ConferencingThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by iLinc – Web and Video Conferencing that’s easy to use, affordable and powerful enough to make your online meetings really come alive.

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The Referral A Team Heads Up Make a Referral Week

Ivan MisnerBob BurgBill Cates

Join me Tuesday, March 10th at Noon CST for a live web panel discussion featuring Bob Burg, author of the Go-Giver, Ivan Misner, founder of BNI and Bill Cates, author of Get More Referrals Now. In my opinion this group makes up what may be the worlds greatest single collection of thought leaders on the subject of referrals. This is the A-Team when it comes to teaching the strategies of referral! Register here for this event.

The conference is the headline event of the educational component of Make a Referral Week. More info on the entire week can be found here.

iLinc Web and Video ConferencingThis session is brought to you by iLinc – Web and Video Conferencing that’s easy to use, affordable and powerful enough to make your online meetings really come alive.

7 Virtual Collaboration Tools I Use Daily

Drop BoxCollaboration, outsourcing and virtual workforces and offices are trends that are here to stay and getting even hotter as companies look for ways to work more efficiently and cut overhead costs.

Low overhead is one of the competitive advantages of small businesses and each new online technology that supports getting work done without employees makes this even more so.

Today I would like to share 7 of these tools that I use every day without fail. Some you may have used some may be new to you. Most are free, some I pay for. (Hint: I would pay for the free ones but they don’t ask me to)

Dropbox – online file storage and sharing. This is simply a high powered FTP site, but the interface and workflow is so great. I use a desktop application from dropbox and simply drag files there and they are stored online automatically. I can share folders with anyone and when they upload files they show up on my desktop. I can even set-up public folders so anyone can send large files without clogging email.

Basecamp – this is an online project management tool that allows you to set-up projects with collaborators and customers and manage all manner of communication, file and document sharing, and chat. I use this with the Duct Tape Marketing Coach network as a form of Intranet.

iLinc – virtual collaboration is great, but sometimes you need to work in real time, face to face (sort of) iLinc is web and video conferencing tool that really shines when it comes to online collaboration. You can work on documents together via the web, video chat, access files and programs off each others desktops and visit web sites together with a live browser – so you can take someone to a page and walk them through a real demo or sign-up process. Disclosure: iLinc sponsors my podcast.

SimpleEvent – this is a free conference call service, but it has a ridiculous amount of features. I love to put together meetings on the fly and have multiple folks join. I also use it to host my large web meetings for the audio portion. I can have up to 96 full talk to talk and 1000 talk to listen on at once. There’s no scheduling, it’s always on and always live.

GMail – this is just big, fat, free, email service, but I love the way it works and takes advantage of being fully online. You can run your own domain through GMail (I use it to send as I don’t have to worry about my local ISP quirks when I travel) and create multiple profiles for all your various rolls in life. I use Google Talk for IM and it’s built right into GMail.

Jott – Jott allows you to record voice memos that get turned into email text. You can set-up boxes for anyone you collaborate with and send notes as you wiz down the freeway. You can create groups for distribution, post appointments to Google Calendar, and even update your twitter feed all with voice messages.

Google Calendar – Another Google tool, I know, but I like setting up calendars and sharing them with collaborators and also tapping the fact that these calendars produce RSS feeds so I can publish them in cool ways to websites and have anyone I give access produce content for those sites. Also sync with desktop and phone calendars over the air.

I know there are lots of great tools out there to do everything I’ve mentioned above. So, what tools do you use for virtual collaboration.

Raising Your Visibility Online

Increasing your visibility and raising your expert status via social networks is the subject of a recent episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. My guest is Nancy Marmolejo, CEO of Sizzibility, who I fittingly ran across on several social networking sites.

Online branding, reputation management, content publishing, networking and other social media strategies are quickly becoming required elements in marketing. The ability to find one’s way around a Twitter like tool will become course work in corporate and education classrooms in the near future (one can only hope.)

Nancy shares a very direct, step-by-step approach for anyone wanting to raise their visibility using today’s rich set of Web 2.0 tools. Check out her list of online pr resources too.

We ended this chat with some thoughts on Latino marketing strategies and agreed that the topic would make a great “panel of experts” kind of discussion – more on that later!

iLinc Web and Video ConferencingThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by iLinc – Web and Video Conferencing that’s easy to use, affordable and powerful enough to make your online meetings really come alive.

Twitter for Business Live Webinar

I get a lot of requests for more information about how businesses are using the hot social media Twitter for business.

Chris BroganSo, I’m teaming up with social media rockstar, Chris Brogan, to present a live webinar called aptly – Twitter for Business. We will cover basics, strategies, tips, tools and tactics for business folks wanting to explore and enhance the use of this powerful networking and publishing tool.

The session is Thursday, Dec 11th, Noon CST and you can register here at the Duct Tape Webinar Center

I have also recently partnered with iLinc Web and Video Conference for all my webinars (thus the commercial message below) – while at my webinar center you might want to click on the system test tab to make sure you won’t have any issues logging in on the day of webinar. iLinc is very light weight from a user standpoint and both mac and PC friendly. As part of the iLinc sponsorship they have offered to host a totally optional demo at the end of this session for anyone who would like to take a test drive of the system – again, totally optional.

iLinc Web and Video ConferencingThis episode of the Duct Tape Coaching Excellence Series is brought to you by iLinc – Web and Video Conferencing that’s easy to use, affordable and powerful enough to make your online meetings come to life.