Is the Front Door of Your Business Ready for Buyers?

Is your website ready for buyers? Our friends Scott and Connie sold their house recently. The For Sale sign in their front yard reminded me of all the cleaning and organizational work they did to get ready for prospective buyers. Each room was reviewed, cleaned, and painted, all the closets were organized, and the counters were cleared of clutter.

Arguably, the most important task they did was painting the front door. Scott and Connie knew that a clean and shiny entrance way was sure to  make a good first impression on potential buyers that could lead to a sale.Nice.Door

Change Content Regularly
Getting ready for a presentation recently, I took a look at the front door of my business -  my website. Knowing there would be a new group of viewers coming from the presentation promotions and event, I inventoried each section of my website, starting with the home page, looking for places to change out new content for old, fix links or add new customer information. Finally, I organized the portfolio section to ready the site for increased activity.

Like my friends, I want to make sure the front door of my business, JFields Marketing, is in a condition that appeals to prospective buyers, customers and, yes, web crawlers. Having a WordPress site, with content management makes it easy. If your website doesn’t have CMS,  talk to a marketer or web developer about what it will take to update your site.

Don’t Wait to Update
You don’t have to wait for a special event to get the front door of your business ready for prospective buyers. Some of the changes I made were long overdue.  (Even marketers struggle with discipline and consistency!)

Your website should be updated regularly and ready for web crawlers and real customers all the time.

Then again, if you have a chance to work on a new project, give a presentation, or attend a seminar – use those activities to compel you to take a good look at your website and make some changes sooner than later.

What does the front door of your business  look like?


Selling Naturally: A Paradigm Shift


Selling Naturally: A paradigm shift

Do you avoid selling? I mean, does the idea of going out to talk about your products and services give you pause to…..well….pause?

It seems by now we shouldn’t be hampered by the old stereotype that all sales is about snake oil hucksters and glad handing scheisters. We’re smarter and more sophisticated than that, right?

Fear of Rejection
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to find that many small business owners are still afraid to be chief of sales for their products and services. “I know, I know,” says one solo-preneur. “I should be selling more, it just makes me so uncomfortable.” As a small business marketer in Central New York, I hear that all too often.

Rooted in a fear of rejection, selling is uncomfortable because the potential for a figurative door slam makes you feel vulnerable.  But succumbing to those feelings is a mistake if you own your own business.
It’s time to rewrite the tapes in your head so you’re not constantly telling yourself that selling is annoying or deceptive. That is  just not true when you love what you do.

Sharing is Selling
If you love your business, your products or the service you provide, selling should be the most natural conversation you have every day. Sharing the story of your business, explaining what you love about your work,  and why you’re passionate about it is at the core of all good selling efforts. Start there and the rest will follow. (Of course, there’s more but that’s for another blog post.)
Get intentional about getting in front of people, then position yourself to share your passion naturally. It will take a bit of practice, but I encourage you to take that first step – it’s always the hardest one. You’ll soon be on your way toward changing your paradigm about sales.

For more ideas on how to improve your selling acumen, read Kim DeYoung’s 3Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Selling. And remember, change that sticks is a process.

Tried and True Tools for Managing Content

Reading about blogging best practices, it’s clear the tide is turning toward making sense of all the good (and bad) stuff generated by bazillions of people creating content on the web for mass consumption.

alltopThe reality of time constraints – admittedly different for each one – means most of us are constantly running behind the machine trying to keep up with the pace of information flow. Of course, we can Google, Bing or otherwise search our hearts out. But who’s got time?

What’s needed is a way to receive, organize and re-purpose posts and articles so we can easily share content with our community.  Content curation, written about by Beth Kanter and google-readerothers, is the new buzz word and rapidly developing practice for people who take the time to read, sort, sift and republish information as a means of developing thought leadership on the web.

Recently, I’ve been making good use of three terrific tools available to help with my own content curation efforts.  While  far from cutting edge  (if you want new, go to Pinterest or Gentlemint.  But that’s another blog post), these tools are perfect for funneling content in an organized, filtered way that makes finding and sharing good content more efficient.

Google Alerts is a simple way to list a topic, term or name in a search field to be notified by email whenever that term shows up on line or in traditional media. You choose what type of alerts you want to receive – news, video, books, blogs, discussion or all of the above. And you can choose to be notified as it happens, once a day or once a week. So, the flow of information can be managed according to your schedule needs.

Google Reader has been my go-to topic content provider for some time, with it’s simple search feature and the ability to show blog posts on my iGoogle Home page, via email or in the Google reader interface.  Google Reader allows you to subscribe, organize and consume blog posts on topics of interest in an a la carte menu kind of way.

Perusing posts by topic is so much easier when you have one screen listing blogs of most interest to you.  What’s new. What’s been read.  How many posts have been made. Blog by blog. Topic by topic. Very easy and organized.

Finally, my current curation tool of choice is Alltop, the brainchild of Apple expat and online marketing guru Guy Kawasaki.  Alltop is Google Reader on steroids, offering the benefit of Alltop curators – information sifters -  bringing you the best of the web all day everyday on trending topics of most interest.

I’ve posted and shared from Alltop’s Holy Kaw listings more than from any other online information source I’ve found. It’s just cool stuff.

Even better is My Alltop, which mimics Google Reader in allowing you to choose topics of most interest to you and your readers. So whatever industry you’re in – candle making,  neuroscience, my favorite, marketing,  – My Alltop makes suggestions of the best of the web which you can then subscribe to and read regularly as new content is created.

Google Alerts, Google Reader and Alltop are among the best useful, free resources available to help make the most of your online content creation efforts.   All three go a long way toward decreasing the noise of web. And they’re better than a pair of ear muffs.