Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Advanced Linkedin Tutorial - How to Prospect Using Linkedin

Use Linkedin Advanced Search to Add High Quality Prospects to Your Connections

In the "olden" days, prospecting was a painful experience.  When you decided to start doing business in a new industry, community, or level of trade, you didn't have any idea who the players were.  You could buy lists, but that didn't give you much additional information about the prospects.  It certainly didn't provide you with any better way to connect.  You could use the list to call or send a mailing.  But that meant 2% responses on mailings or cold calling prospects and listening to endless answering machines.

All that has changed with Linkedin.  Say that I decide to expand my marketing consulting business to include a new vertical.  I have been very successful with my one and only mortgage broker, so I decide to get more mortgage broker clients.  I could still call Info USA and get a national or regional list.  I could go online and search for mortgage brokers and start looking at websites.  I could look for mortgage broker lists online.  Or I could go to the advanced search option on Linkedin.

With the search engine on Linkedin, I am tangentially connected to over 200,000,000 professionals who have at least some kind of listing and profile.  The more sophisticated the individual, the more likely that their profile will provide you with all kinds of useful information.  It can help you determine if they are a prospect, and whether they are the right person to call in the company.  But with the free service you can also read the details of profiles of all 2nd level connections, including their biography, schools attended, previous work history, recommendations of others, and get an idea of how successful they are.  

But what if you don't have many connections, so have only limited 2nd level connections?  Increase your connections.  Adding more 1st level connections results in an exponential growth in 2nd level connections.  I would advise trying to immediately move towards 500+ connections if you aren't already there.  Other posts explain how to get to that number over a month or so.  You can elect to pay the nominal fee and see all profiles.

Using Inmail to Make an Initial Contact with a Prospect

You can send anyone an inmail to start the conversation rolling.  You are limited to 10 per month on the first level paid service.  Inmail is a Linkedin mail service that doesn't disclose your prospects email.  The open rate for these kinds of emails is a staggering 40%. I bet cold calling doesn't get you that kind of result.  Of course, the prospect can still ignore your email, but the response rate is also amazingly high on Inmail.

Keep your first email very casual like a first meeting at a party.  Save the selling for later.  Keep in mind that almost all of the prospects that receive this inmail are likely to check out your profile.  Therefore you need to make sure that the profile is a "selling machine."  See our earlier posts on how to create a great LinkedIn profile

To use the advanced search I merely insert any keywords that I like, such as mortgage broker.  Then I can modify the search by many potential criteria such as their Title (Owner, President, CEO, Manager).  If I really want to drill down on criteria, I will have to pay Linkedin a modest monthly fee.  But for free, I can look at a defined geographic area, limit the search to various levels of connections, and call out the industry they are in (e.g. Financial Services).

Keep in mind that the keyword does NOT have to identify a profession, but can be anything that might show up in the profile.  So if you are a wedding photographer and you are hoping to connect with other wedding professionals in your area, you can just type in the keyword wedding.   Up will pop wedding planners, wedding cake decorators, wedding ring retailers, etc.

Setting Up a Continuing Alert for Prospects on Linkedin's Automatic Search Alert

Once you find a good set of criteria that is delivering relevant prospects, you can warehouse these by saving them.  You can have 3 saved searches for free.  Now, by paying the upgrade monthly fee you can not only save more groups of prospects, but you can also set up the Automatic Search Alert.  With this system, Linkedin will send you a notice if anyone is added to Linkedin that meets your requirements.  In my case, any time a new mortgage broker listed himself with that keyword on Linkedin I would get a notice.

Another way to use the Search capability is to surround the wagons.  I have a client who wants to do business with several large customers.  They have many buyers, sales managers, vice presidents, and field reps who might have a say in the decision to carry his products.  By adding one member of that organization, I will now have 2nd degree connections to many of the others.  By adding a few of those, I'll probably have most of the sales staff and also purchasing.  As I add each one, others who I invite to connect will see that we have many connections in common, making their decision to connect easier.

Once I have a large number on board, I can start to inmail them to build up my case from the bottom up.  I might do this through polling them on subjects related or even unrelated to my product line.  Or I might just chat them up about people we know in common.  By looking at profiles I will also know a lot about them.  When appropriate I can start to make the case of my product.

Help us help others.  How are you using the Linkedin Search to prospect for clients?

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Monday, May 20, 2013

My Los Angeles Mortgage Broker Thinks I'm a Genius - That's One!

Bill Rayman does mortgages in Los Angles

But the Same Client Wishes I Was a Genius on Mortgage Los Angeles, Too!

I am just a little guy.  Small time Randy.  Usually 20 - 25 clients at any given time.  And the largest is only $10m in sales.  Most are under $1m.  The goal of my tiny enterprise is to help each of them get their sales and profits increased to their hearts content, and I think I've done that for Bill Rayman. 

Bill is another little guy.  He does mortgages in Los Angeles.  He is an independent, but puts most of the loans through Mortgage Capital Partners.  He has one or two assistants, depending on the market at any given time.  But he is one of the busiest mortgage brokers in the Los Angeles office of Mortgage Capital Partners. 

Other than the fact that he is a brilliant guy, (degrees from Yale and Wharton Business), he would be the first to tell you that a bunch of his current success is due to his position on Google Places (aka Google Maps, Google+ Local).  He is number 2 on the general search for Mortgage Broker Los Angeles.  He sent me an email the other day to tell me that I was a genius.  Something about a major loan application that he picked up that day which came directly from that ranking on Google Places.

But try as I might, I haven't been such an amazing magician when it comes to the even more valuable mortgage Los Angeles.  Bill is currently ranked around 16 for that keyword and that has been the case for a long time.  So I thought I would do a little thinking out loud while I make a list for you of next steps to get this other keyword.

1.  Website - How is his website doing?  Not nearly as well as Places.  That is not unusual.  Google doesn't like to give prized positions to both your website and Places.  But I think the first thing I'm going to do is try and up the game on the website.  Better Title Tag.  More keywords on home page.  Maybe be sure that the primary keywords are linked to solid inside pages or blog posts. 

2.  Backlinks - Bill has been in the news a lot lately.  He was on a local radio show and Yahoo home interviewed him.  Maybe I can leverage those appearance into some guest blogging to create backlinks on high ranking and relevant blogs.  Keep in mind, they need to be relevant, not merely high ranking.  Zillow or Trulia would be good.

3.  Citations - I generally add about 10 citations a month.  Maybe the citations could be very pointedly relating to mortgages, as opposed to mortgage broker for the next couple of months. 

4.  Reviews - No question he needs more reviews on Google+.  I also think I will see if those reviewers could specifically say something like, "In Los Angeles, Mortgages were hard to get, but . . ."
5.  Don't - I want to make sure that nothing I do hurts that other ranking.  So only add to, don't subtract from any references to Mortgage Broker Los Angeles. 

There is my Todo list.  Would you have any thoughts to add to that?  I'm totally open for anything that might move this effort forward. 

Bill's website is http://mortgagehelplosangeles, and you can reach him at:

Bill Rayman
phone: 310-295-6213
fax: 310-481-2087

12400 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90025
License #01780076

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

8 Basic Rules for Local SEO - Keywords and Backlinks for Miami Criminal Lawyer

Eric A. Kay, Criminal Attorney in Miami

Miami Criminal Lawyer Ranking Gives Local SEO Consultant Heart Burn

Do you just love a challenge?  I sometimes think that ranking Miami Criminal Lawyer for both the website and the Google Places listing might be the ultimate test of SEO smarts.  I recently built a website for one of my clients at http://attorneysMiami-Fl.com .  It isn't as old or as big or have as many backlinks as dozens of other Miami Criminal Attorneys, so I'm holding my breath waiting to see if I can move up in the ranks. 

Here are the basic rules I live by for writing online content in order to generated views and back links in 2013 that haven't changed:

Rule #1 - Headlines and content should be written for the viewer, not Google.
Rule #2 - Rewrite for back links without compromising the quality of the writing.

Both of these rules will please the Google Beast.  You must first feed it strong, healthy food, then you can add in the Extreme Moose Tracks.  For a while in 2010 - 2012, this was not necessarily the case.  You could write, "spell article by criminal lawyer in Miami attorney for criminal law around special patterns," and hyperlink Criminal Lawyer in Miami to their home page.  Then you would merely place this sentence in an article, press release, forum,  and/or "guest blog," and Google was giving the links credit.

But algorithm changes Panda, Penguin, and assorted others changed everything in early 2012, and today this same practice might actually cause the beast to eat you.  There are some new rules in 2013.

Rule #3 - Don't overuse the same exact keyword from the same source.   We used to believe that you just needed to keep the total use of a keywords under 5% of the total on the page (or some other percent depending on which guru you were reading).  Now you can lose the value of keywords or even get negative attention if the keyword is overused even in the same website or blog.

Rule #4 - Solve the overuse problem by using synonyms.  Google wants you to write naturally, and knows that good writers don't use the same words over and over.  A good writer will say that, "The Miami criminal lawyer was noted for having one the hat trick award while working for the Broward County Public Defender's office.  The Miami based Criminal Law Attorney now provides a website that gives South Florida residents a place where they can understand if and when the need an attorney for a traffic ticket, DUI, possession, or felony murder case.

Rule #5 - You will note in the above rule #4, that each link is to a different URL that the dealer hopes to help to rank.  In this case, one is to the website and the other is to the blog.  It would be easy to also point out that,"The Law Offices of Eric A. Kay, P.A.  has an active presence on Linkedin and provides updates to those who are connected on a regular basis.

Rule #6 - Google also knows that good writers will commonly provide a "natural" url instead of a hyperlink.  So they like to see variations in this theme as well.  "Another way that Miami criminal attorney, Eric Kay helps clients and potential clients is through an extensive blog designed to help consumers understand legal issues.  The blog is available at http://blog.attorneysmiami-fl.com

Rule #7 - I also changed the URL for this blog to have /Miami-criminal-lawyer appear first in the internal page portion of the URL.  Google looks at URL's, and believes that what you put in the URL is what is most important to you.

Rule #8 - I created a "Search Description" which is the equivalent in Blogger for the description tag.  This tag should be written as a teaser and have 140 characters or less.  

The blog post above provided my client with 5 back links to 4 different URL's with 3 different keywords.  And you'll also note that one of the links was in the H1 headline.  The article sounds perfectly normal, not jammed with inappropriate or weird sentences designed to merely spam.

What would you add to this analysis?  Are there other techniques that you are currently using to provide great content, but that also benefit your sites with links?
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Monday, May 13, 2013

40 Marketing Fundamentals That Will Make You Successful

40 Free Chapters in New Marketing Book Available Now!

Following is the introduction to a book that I am writing online.  The first 40 chapters out of 101 are linked below.  By the time you've read those 40, I should have at least another 10 ready for you.  Subscribe so you are kept up to date.


The Top Ten Marketing Fundamentals According to the Serial Marketer


The Project

Several months ago I set out to create my seminal book up to this time.  In 1998 I updated When Friday Isn't Payday, a book that attempted to take a business owner or even a potential business owner through every phase of a start up or take over from the conception of the idea to the eventual sale or passing off to family or employees.

The book is available dirt cheap on Amazon used, or you can buy a brand spanking new copy for a little bit more money.  Heads up:  the internet portions are a bit outdated.  However, that means the other almost 300 pages are evergreen.  Warner Books believed in those 300 pages in 1993 and gave them new life in 2008.  Inc Magazine said it was one of the top three small business books published in 1993.  The new title is Running a 21st Century Small Business.  There are tons of reviews if you care to check it out.

In late 2011, I completed my 4th in a series of books for the bicycle industry, called Principles of Bicycle Retailing for the Internet Age.  There are only a few copies left at $50 each.  The content works for virtually any retailer.  You can buy that here.

Now I wanted to kick it up a notch.  I've started and owned or co-owned 33 businesses in a variety of industries.  But I don't want to bore you with all that.  If you're interested, check out my bio.  In the last five years I have worked with another 250 businesses for anywhere from a few months to the entire five years as a marketing consultant.  The die had been cast.

The seminal book is to be called something like 101 Marketing Fundamentals According to the Serial Entrepreneur.  The title is a work in progress, and if you are great at titles, give me your best idea in the comments.  I'll reward you with something if I use it.  No promises. It will be any more than a signed copy of the book.

Or books.  There is a chance I will release this as 5 books or 10 books.  Short eBooks covering various aspects of the marketing equations.  I have written 35 of the chapters and they are interspersed here in this blog.  I might take them down when I finish.  I might not.  Not sure.

I am in the process of rewriting the first ten chapters.  They are linked below.  Depending on what day you follow the links, you may get the first draft or the latest update.  But know this, it is all free, and no obligation.  I've been blessed in my life with great mentors and I'm happy to pass along any wisdom that I might have gained.  You may not think it is great wisdom.  Happy to have you express your opinion in the comments of any of these chapters.  I'm not nearly too old to learn.

So have at it.  Here are the first ten chapters.   And these are in order of importance.  After the first 10 chapters, the tend to fall in groups.

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The Top 10 Marketing Fundamentals According to the Serial Entrepreneur and Biz Book Author Randy Kirk

1.  Setting Goals Is The Number 1 Marketing Fundamental  by a Landslide  

2.  Strategies Are What Make Goals Come Alive
3.  Tactics Are the Third Leg in an effective Business Plan  

4.  What is Profit - How Do I Make More of That?

5.  Cost of Goods and Overhead Can Make or Break You  

6.  Nothing Happens Until Something Is Sold 

7.  Customer Service and the Ultimate Question  

8.  Business Reputation Online and Off  

9.  Hire, Train, and Motivate the Best People 

10.  The Quality Decision  


10 Marketing Secrets: How Do You Establish An Image For Your Small Business? Chapters 11-20

Let's all be honest.  We did not sit down when we started our small business and plan all the details of our image.  I have started 33 businesses, and I have not followed my own advice on this subject more than a few times.  You may have become very successful without paying attention to any, some, or all of the items on this list.  But I daresay that if you even scan over this list, you will agree that analyzing these items and proactively making decisions about the image issues listed will have a positive effect on your potential.

It is never too late.  You can start tomorrow.  Each of these items is linked to a blog post that gives the details for the headline. 

 11.   The Niche Your Company Occupies
 12.   The Branding of Your Company
 13.   The Territory Your Company Seeks to Sell Into
 14.   The Demographic of Your Client Base
 15.   The Expression of Your Personality as Projected onto Your Company
 16.   Your Logo, Colors, and Slogan and the Impression They Make
 17.   The Street View of Your Business
 18.   The Brands you Carry Effect Your Company Brand
 19.   Online Personality Commonly Doesn't Reflect Your Business
 20.   The Way You Answer the Phone Is Part of Marketing


Marketing Secrets Tutorials - Logistics Review - Key Stuff You Need to Properly Market Your Company in 2012.  Chapters 21 - 30

Marketing Secrets: The Fundamentals of Great Marketing

Take a quick test of your business leadership skills.  How do you come out on these four?

Thus far in our series of 101 Marketing Secrets from a Serial Entrepreneur, we have built the case for goals, strategies, tactics and seven of our top ten recommended logistical considerations. 

The seven logistical items we have covered thus far are linked below.  Are these elements controlling you or are you controlling them.  Are you proactively evaluating and planning for adequate provisions for the battle, or are you marching into war hoping you'll find ample supplies of critical materials, equipment, and other resources along the way?

21.  Having enough money matters!  A lot.
22.  Suppliers are more important than customers
23.  Lost our lease is more common that you think.  Facilities
24.  Employees are a necessary evil OR your key to long term success
25.  Time is relentless, unyielding, precious. Count it
26.  You and your employees have limited time and energy.  Plan accordingly
27.  Your family is a logistical consideration.  Unhappy families kill businesses
28.  If You Ain't Got No Axe, You Cain't Cut No Wood
29.  Empty Wagon or Museum? - Inventory Control
30.  Small Business Visibilty Has a Cost and a Benefit That Can be Measured


Referrals Beat Every Other Method as a Source for New Clients, and Excellent Quality Clients at That.  Chapters 31 -40

Chapter #31   I make my living helping small businesses figure out the best way to increase sales.   My services are much more necessary for helping with print, trade shows, packaging, new product development, blog, websites, videos, social media, and email than they are for the most effective tool in marketing for generating new business.  WOM - Word of Mouth.

However, I spend huge amounts of time convincing my clients to do the very things that will increase referrals.  You can read about them throughout this post and throughout this blog.

With #31 in the series we now move to building on that foundation with specific approaches to delivering phone calls, foot traffic, and online activity.  The goal will be to go from the most effective for the most businesses to the least effective.  Effectiveness would be defined as those things which provide the highest return on investment of time, energy, and cold, hard cash. 

There are certainly times when you will want to undertake marketing methods that have a low ROI, but still create absolutely certain results at appropriate times.  Sometimes the ROI is not easily identified, but can only be seen over a very long term.  For our purposes, we will look only at high, immediate, ROI as the criteria.

With that introduction, we return to the number one source of new business for almost any new business.  All the statistics show that at or above 50% of new customers are showing up at small businesses because of this factor.  My own conversations with 1000's of companies would show the same results.  Anywhere from 50% to almost 100% of new customers are derived from word of mouth (WOM).

The interesting thing about WOM is that most of the cost of traditional WOM is free.  WOM is most commonly driven by things like quality, customer service, and overall experience.  Achieving those three elements in a business may require the hiring of better people, training investment, use of better materials, and spending on fixtures and systems.  Almost anyone who has studied these kinds of business costs has come to the conclusion that the savings from scrap, obsolescence, rework, and lost customers alone pay for these expenses and more.  That they are also responsible for increasing sales and profits through WOM is basically icing on the cake.

    32.    Creating Effective Word of Mouth (WOM) About Your Customer Service Edge
    33.    Experiential Marketing
    34.    Amazing Products and Services?  Grade Yours!    
    35.    Amazing Follow Up.  Are Your Customers Out of Sight, Out of Mind?
    36.    Stay in Touch to Create Maximum Word of Mouth
    37.    Equipping Your Clients to Recommend You Can Increase Word of Mouth
    38.    Find the Influencers in Your Community to Spread Word of Mouth
    39.    7 Ways to Thank Those Who Send You Business to Build WOM
    40.    Do you Cultivate Customers, Clients, or Fans?

Virtually every company I have ever discussed marketing with will tell me one minute that WOM is the number one source of new clients, but then assume that the future will depend on the internet or some other factor.  My first thought is always, "how do we capitalize on what is already working."

Obviously, Word of Mouth is no longer only the traditional case of one person telling another in a face-to-face or telephone conversation.  There is now an entire industry based on internet reviews and social media that has pushed WOM into something quite different.  I will go out on a limb however, and even offer you the chance to tell me I'm all wet.  Traditional WOM can provide all the potential that it always has.  And if the company is doing what it should to create traditional WOM, the online version will do quite well, thank you very much.  Online WOM or WOMM will be discussed in future chapters.

*****If you are finding this information valuable, please tell your friends and associates who own small businesses.  Tweet about it, Facebook it, Linkedin it, Google+ it, and Put it up on Pinterest.

Chapters 41 - 50 should be coming to you by the end of June.  Maybe sooner.  The basic idea of the next 10 chapter is "Going Big."  Sometimes we get caught up in small time thinking.  These are larger, more aggressive, and more visible types of marketing effort.  The rough chapter titles for this section are:

41  Call a Huge Amount of Attention to Your Company (event, contest, scavenger hunt)

42  Go Where Your Customers Go 

43   Join Something.  Anything.  Ok.  Almost Anything

44   Do Something Wild and Crazy  (price, delivery, hours)

45   Give Away Gold Bars  (or something else valuable)

46  Make Your Mom Proud.  Become a Local Celebrity  (top execs or employees, too)

47  Make Your Dad Proud.   Become a Noted Expert    (top execs or employees, too)

48.  Make Everybody Proud.  Write a Book

49  Start A New Community Event

50  New Products, New Services, New Displays, New Ideas, New Categories

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Linkedin In the News - Facebook for Professionals and Businesses

Linkedin Contacts and iPhone Contacts App Are Game Changers

I am a huge fan of Linkedin.  And I have reported here and elsewhere that it is the most critical social media channel for business owners, managers, and professionals.  I said that when they had 80,000,000 users, and again when they went public with 150,000,000 users (last year), and again when the hit 200,000,000 users, and who knows where they go from here.  They now have about 225,000,000 on board and with the news today about Contacts and Contacts iPhone App, the sky isn't the limit.  To infinity and beyond!

So what is the big deal about contacts.  We all have various kinds of address books, contact lists, etc., all over the place.  Well, this contact app goes a bit beyond any other.  Name, address, phone, company, email, website, picture.  All good.  Add resume, previous work history, notes, associations, summary of current company services, their connections, and so much more.

You can organize these connections by anything you care to.  "Linkedin!  Are you listening to me?  Please allow us to update to the news stream by groups like we can on Facebook and Google+.  This is a critical missing piece.  Correct it and you'll own the space for a decade."

Do you think I'm hyperventilating over nothing.  Check out these articles from today.

Nine Out of Ten Execs Use LinkedIn

Roughly nine out of ten (88%) business executives use LinkedIn “often” or “very often,” according to a survey of 139 suits by DHR International, a corporate headhunting and management consultancy, as reported by BusinessNewsDaily. What’s more, 73% said that LinkedIn is their favorite social network, leaving Facebook and Twitter in the dust.

In terms of frequency of use, 65% of suits surveyed said they use social media daily, while 27% said they use it on a weekly basis (and no more frequently). On average they spend between 30 minutes and an hour per week on social media, with a quarter saying they use it for between one to two hours and one in five using it more than two hours a week.
From my nearly 700 LinkedIn connections, I tapped a slew of entrepreneurs with more than 500 connections each about how they use the platform. The consensus: Time using LinkedIn is well-spent. Here’s what they said. 

"I use LinkedIn as my online Rolodex to keep track of my contacts and reconnect with old colleagues. Using the advanced search functionality I can find people with specific experience in a particular geographic area. This has helped me find vendors, strategic alliances, as well as suggest candidates for job openings… I like the recent ability to customize my profile layout, embedding the slideshare widget under appropriate positions."
Felena Hanson, founder of the San Diego co-working space HeraHub
"LinkedIn is essential to my business. We use the information to determine how to target our business development efforts which increases our efficiency and reduces interruptions to contacts we might have contacted who weren't the right role. Because of LinkedIn we reach out and make the right offer to the right contact most of the time. This increases our sales and, we think, our reputation with our business partners."
David Eads, founder of the Atlanta-based strategy consultancy Mobile Strategy Partners

You probably got an email from Linkedin today.  Follow the instructions.  Try it out.  If you didn't, maybe you don't have an account.  Get one.  Check out the articles elsewhere on this blog about Linkedin, and get a bunch of connections.   

If you need help getting set up and maximizing the opportunities on Linkedin, I'd be happy to help you through that process.  I have one opening for a client as of this date.  Call me.  Randy Kirk 310-910-1848 

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

5 Quick, but Fantastic Tips to Linkedin Success

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

How to Optimize Your Linkedin Profile and Generate Business Leads

We have done detailed tutorials on Linkedin over the past few months.  You can find those tutorials as follows:

Take Your Linked in Account to Stratospheric Levels of Profitability 

How to Set Up Your Profile on Linked in To Create Marketing Benefits for SMB

How to Get Recommendations on Linked In to Bolster Your Cred

How to Get 500+ Connections on Linkedin

How to get 100+ Relevant Connections on LinkedIn

Since then a number of tricks of the trade have come to my attention that were not included in the above:
  1. You can add multiple videos, images, or reports to your profile and experience sections.  Go to your edit profile tab, and click on edit profile.  Scroll down to your summary and you will see the following look on your screen.  Next to the little blue pencil, you'll see an icon that defies an easy description.  However, if you click on it, you will get a request for a URL.  You can now add a URL for a YouTube video or other online image content
  2.  You can add Links within your content on the summary or experience areas to your website, internal pages of your website, blogs, blog posts, more videos, online press releases, etc.  This makes a ton of sense. These Links can even be part of a call to action, such as directing the reader to a white paper or a sales funnel.
  3. Add a call to action at the end of your summary and your most recent experience.  
  4. Make sure you are showing your Twitter account.  When you create an update to the stream (which you should do daily or at least a few times a week) you can share with your Linkedin connections and automatically share with Twitter, too.
  5. Include snippets of testimonials in your summary and experience.  Not everyone is going to read your glowing testimonials.  Use a strategic sentence from a review to prove your point.
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