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Find Your Niche

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
Consultants with a specialty or "niche" say they are more successful because it helps with them with their marketing message. How does one decide on a niche?

One of the many newsletters I get is from marketing consultant Ian Brodie. His recent article How to Find Your Ideal Niche suggests these steps:
  • Review Your Best Previous and Current Clients.Who did you enjoy working with the most, and the pay was good? Was there any common trend about the, such as similar industry or a common problem or challenge?
  • Is it a an economically viable niche?Can you make money from this niche? Can you find those who need you? Will they pay for your solutions?
  • How do you stand outabove others who do this if it is a crowded niche?
  • Do you have a passionfor what you do? Ian believes this is key if you want clients/prospects to think of you first when they have a need.

TIP:Once you choose a niche, focus your activity on this market. Networking, your website, etc. -- should align to this target niche. Your niche is now the barometer for your actions and the target for your marketing message. Click here to read Ian Brodie's full article.

More Exercise Tips: Paul Halas CMC and Joyce Gioia CMC (USA Today's First Road Warrior of the Year Awardee) commented on my last tip about exercise. Paul stressed it needs to be a priority for taking care of ourselves. Joyce shared she always asks for a room away from the elevator. Not only is it quieter, but it provides extra exercise. Thanks!

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Posted By Administration, Friday, May 17, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
We consultants spend so much time at our desks, on planes, in hotels (and eating out) that regular exercise is more important to us than some other professions. What are some ideas to help stay more fit?

Here are 7 things you should consider:
  • Chair exercises (tons of them) while at your desk, on the phone, in planes, cars, cabs, etc.
  • Jogging in your hotel room any time you want. Jumping jacks are fine too. And pre-shower situps/liftups are a must.
  • Curling or pressing or other weight exercises while on conference calls (keep that mute button on!)
  • Consider merging a home gym and office for "anytime available" exercise.
  • Airport exercises: stretches, deep knee bends, one-foot balancing, etc.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible.
  • When parking, take a spot further from your destination. Not only will you get some exercise, but you may prevent "dings" to your paint.

TIP:Don't make excuses. Make it a priority and you will be amazed how many ways and how many places provide opportunities for exercise. As consultants, our time is for us to manage. Make time to exercise!

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Concurrent Sessions & Speaking

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
I've been asked to present a concurrent session at an upcoming conference. Any ideas on how to get people to attend my session?

Let's start with a simple statement: You will get greater attendance at a plenary session vs. concurrent ... therefore you'll have more attendance by speaking at (in descending order):
  • A Keynote session
  • Any Plenary session
  • A concurrent against fewer concurrents
  • Any concurrent session
  • A concurrent against a big name
Now to answer your question.

You want people to attend your session. But do you want all kinds or a specific target audience? Start by making a GIANT PROMISE about what you will deliver ... and deliver it. Plant mystery in your session description, e.g. "Mary will tell you about the one technique for XXXX that doubled a company's profits" or "Learn 4 ways to reduce costs tomorrow" - you get the idea.

Describe yourself in terms of accomplishments important to your audience vs. for yourself. If you want a specific group of people, identify them, e.g., "Small organizations facing problems with competition will learn...." or "Owners of organizations looking for an exit strategy will discover how to...."

TIP:Write the copy yourself as most conferences (especially smaller or local ones) may not write effective copy that draws. Describe yourself and your presentation FOR the audience you want. Make and promise and deliver.

Finally, think twice about accepting a concurrent unless you know who and what you are up against.

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What is a Good Email Open Rate?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
I send out a monthly newsletter to clients and prospects. I notice my email software gives me open rates. How are these calculated and how do I determine if my numbers are good or bad. What should I be aiming for?

Several things contribute to knowing "what is a good open rate". According to email metrics Marketing Report by MailerMailer:
  • Open rates vary by industry. While some sources suggest 20-35% is about normal, MailerMailer reports the consulting industry open rate was 15.9%.
  • In general, smaller lists continue to perform better than larger lists. The average open rate for 25-499 members was 28%, for 500-999 members was 22.3%, and for 1000+ members was 12.2%.
  • Expect open rates to peak the first hour after delivery. There will then be a decline over the next 47 hours, until open rates essentially drop to zero.
  • 50% of your opens occur within the first 6 hours and 77% within the first 24 hours.

Eric Shanfelt's suggestion in his article, The Truth Behind Email Marketing Metrics, is to take email open rates with a grain of salt. Open rates are typically measured by an embedded invisible graphic in the email message. Email readers are not loading images by default so the tracking image is also not being loaded. Even though people may be reading your email, it might not be counted as an open. This includes people who use Gmail, Outlook (which turns off images by default), and the significantly increasing number of people who read email on handheld devices.

TIP:Bottom line? Actual opens may be more than are being recorded through email delivery systems. If you are seeing declining open rates, before you panic and change a lot of things, it may be due to some email readers that no longer load images and thus do not register as opens.

NOTE:Thanks to those eagle eye readers who pointed out my last idea about partnering with a complementary (mutually making up what is lacking) business. I misspelled it using complimentary (expressing courtesy, respect, admiration or praise). In actuality, while the first word is the correct spelling (and I'm usually good at that - this one got past me), partnering with someone where there's mutual respect is a good idea too. Well, at least I know someone's reading these - THANKS!

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Presenting With Other Consultants

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
I've found another consultant with a complimentary business. We are considering doing joint workshops or speaking. Any suggestions on the best way to work together on this?

Collaborating with another consultant can bring an expertise, talent and style that compliments you and your knowledge. Here are 4 lessons learned by consultant Johanna Rothman when she collaborated with other consultants.

  • Other consultants have a valuable perspective to share with your audience, either when presenting together or as a quoted resource at another time.
  • Presenting with others requires more presentation design, who does what and when, and practice. It will make you both better and the audience benefits from multiple perspectives on the same topic.
  • Presentations are part education and part performer. This is where the blend of styles and skills can benefit all involved.
  • You can reach more people together than you can separately. You probably have different groups to tap into to better fill your audience, especially if you are considering public workshops.

TIP:When presenting with another consultant, choose someone who compliments you - in style, subject and expertise. Know the reputation of the person you plan to partner with and make sure it is one you want to be affiliated with.

It is also a good idea to sit in on a presentation your prospective partner is giving. After seeing the style, skill level and content, you can better determine if partnering with this consultant is a good fit for you and your business.

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