I Faced My Fears 1 Mile High on a Swinging Bridge!

Jul 28
2010

I’ve always had a fear of Heights. I don’t even like to get up on a chair to change a bulb.

I’ve tried not to let my fears control my life. I take a rational approach and think it through. Think of the dangers involved. Think about all the things I’ve heard about someone getting hurt or killed doing what ever it is. And lastly I use the Google test. When my son was young he was afraid that a Shark would come out of the Toilet and bite him. Well I said “lets go look it up on Google and see if a Shark has indeed swam up the pipes of someones house and bitten there bum”. Well, we found no such luck and proceed back to the bathroom where I just happened to have on hand. One shot down the toilet and we were good.

It proves that most of our fears are unfounded, we get wrapped up in the “What Ifs”. I’m not saying your fears aren’t real, they are very real, but the odds of most of them happening are slim and none.

Walking on the bridge showed me that. Luckily I was calm enough to film my self on the way back across. The way over was a little more shaky and my stomach was lifted up into my chest as if to get as far away from the ground as possible.

So, if you haven’t gotten into Social Media because you are afraid of Computers, Technology, just don’t understand it or whatever reason, we’ll walk you through it. Millions have gone before you so it can’t be that hard– right! Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your iPhone 4 Making You Fat?

Jun 30
2010
Holding your iPhone 4 higher in FaceTime makes you look skinnyer!

iPhone 4 is better than Chocolate!

Ok, I could stand to loose a few pounds. But Steve Jobs, you did it again! You made another great phone. But with the antenna reception issues and the answer being “You’re holding it wrong!” There is another issue. Holding your iPhone 4 while on “FaceTime” application can make you fat!

While using the “FaceTime” app for the second time my friend Craig , who I’ve known for many years, said “Wow! Did you gain weight?”  I was like “Well maybe a little” but I am 6ft & 220lbs.  As I looked at him He looked great and my little picture looked terrible.

That’s when I realized that I was holding the iPhone well under my chin and looking down at it.  Naturally having a turtle neck my self it made me look like “Jabba the Hutt”.  So I lifted the phone up and looked directly into it and … much better.  Holding it above my face and looking up at arms length made me look even better (a trick used by people to make them look thin while taking their own profile shot).

As you can see by my Illustration the Camera on the iPhone 4 has a different field of view and will distort your face.  In my case making me look like Jabba.

So thank you Craig for alerting me to that (can’t wait to call you fat), and I’ll hold my iPhone higher from now on.  If you would like to have a FaceTime conversation on your new iPhone 4, then Call me! Curt @ (704) 962-5770 I’ll be happy to chat. Just make sure that you are on a WiFi connection, or it won’t work.

At&T has a 3G network, though fast, not fast enough.  Sprint has a 4G network and similar applications on the Android HTC do work on 4G.  The 4G wireless network is almost comparable to DSL & Cable (depending on many factors).   At&t are you Listening?

Another trick to make your double chin go away in photos is to press your tongue against the roof of your mouth.  Check it out in the mirror it really works.

Facebook for FaceLifts & Other Vanity Services!

Jun 17
2010
People aren't afraid to strut their work!

Photoshop your Face...Sort of!

During a vigorous day connecting on social media a few months ago I met Elaine Greenberg owner of Ageless Remedies. She asked me what I thought about a Facebook FanPage  for her Medical Spa Business.  Her concerns arose from people not wanting to admit they had “Work Done”.

Most businesses have a two groups of clients.  It’s the 80/20 Rule: 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your clients, the other 20% of revenue will come from the remaining 80%.  The trick is to convert customers to loyal repeat customers.  There are many ways to do this with loyalty programs, punch cards, referral programs, weekly specials, and on and on.

As most of you have learned by now, true social mediates are very loyal and very talkative.  So it’s a natural for them to promote your product or service and this is where it matters to Elaine and her company.   Ageless Remedies caters primarily to women who have procedures performed they generally don’t want anyone to know about. I rarely see a posting about the wonderful chemical peel or the removal of facial veins in any-one’s daily update.

However,  women do share places that they’ve “heard of” that are good.  This is where a Facebook FanPage is an ideal platform for any company that has plenty of positive content to post. Many personal services can benefit; Spas, Plastic Surgery, Hair Restoration, Weight Loss, Smoking Cessation or any number of companies that help people improve their self image. Association with these type FanPages used to be thought of as a negative, however if your page is rich with content, then it is just a trusted information source.  And sure, some people will say “I thought she had some work done” but don’t we all notice that and just secretly wish we could change a few things about our selves?  My position on this is that it does more to promote your business than hurt it.  And for those who are hesitant – they will simply not friend (or like or share or what ever FB is calling it this week) your page — no harm done.

And the proofAgeless Remedies Facebook Fanpage has 236 fans and rising.  They provide excellent content, get lots of followers posts, are able to show store hours, specials, and Facebook Only FanPage specials to encourage and track new customers.  The content is informative, exciting and trendy.  I recommend checking it out not only for it’s style and promotion, but they are a very good Spa and Elaine has posted her before and after pictures which truly show there miraculous capabilities.  ( Err…..Elaine, not sure if I owe you an apology or not) but she looks marvelous.

The word of mouth advertising that is generated through Social Media especially for products/services is so much more compelling than any paid advertising medium.  She has done a very fine job promoting her business and in these hard times is having one of her best years ever!

A little about Elaine:
I took to Elaine instantly because witty and charming New Yorker personality and her entrepreneurial spirit –  that binds all entrepreneurs together.   Charlotte is funny that way,  it attracts some of the best and brightest people from all over, but the New Yorkers stand out because of how they embrace the southern hospitality.  They seem to acclimate instantly.  She had great ideas and wasn’t afraid to try them.  Some failed and some worked, but it was her tenacity and resilience that shown so brightly.

We talked about all sorts of promotion ideas and  eventually settled on social media.  This is  my  “Shameless Plug” portion, but she commended me on my broad background in traditional media and quality of national accounts that I had worked on and saw the natural progression into social media.  Many professionals in social Media today have a very limited background.  What they see as powerful and important is simply advertising 101 to those with almost 30 years experience in the field.  And I’d have to agree with her, because communications meant to persuade are basically the same in any media.

So don’t be afraid to open up your business to Social Media and s FanPage is a great way to generate a loyal following even if you feel that it may be a touchy subject.  Face book even has 313 Fans on the Erectile Dysfunction page.  I guess things are looking up!

Create Fancy Facebook Pages That Sell!

Jun 10
2010

Facebook is the big player and creating awesome fan pages is going to be big. Here’s a glimpse of what you can do.

[slideshare id=2608372&doc=fancyfacebookfanpages-astepbystepguide-091129135837-phpapp02]

Video- Are We All Camera Shy?

Jun 10
2010
No! - No Video!

Nope! - No Video!

Every phone has a video camera, almost every computer has one as well, but why are we so camera-shy. Yes there is YouTube, and blogs and Video posts and Webinars and on and on, but why is the average person so hesitant to get on their web cam.

And as you may guess I’ve several ideas about why people shy away from the spotlight. it’s one thing to post a stupid video on YouTube, just to be intentionally funny. But Remember back to when you were a kid and someone handed you a microphone. Either one on a PA system, or on a tape recorder and told you “It’s on!” What was your first reaction. Remarkably most people make an intentional stupid noise or voice or whatever. The point being that they take the opportunity to look stupid intentionally. Thereby having an out if anyone might rate them as being “goofy”! The answer is that “I was trying to!” And that’s your alibi.

If you intended to be “weird” then you succeeded. However, who ever says anything intelligent or of worth? No one. Because we have a fear of failure.

That is one major reason that people do not use video chat casually, because they don’t want to be seen as trying their best to be “professional”, “normal” call it what you will. But they are afraid of looking bad to others.

That’s why it’s easier to act in character than to try to act in a normal role. because your character is just that, a character that you have made up, a “Caricature” of the character you portray.

So to bring it back around, most people just don’t like to video chat. Associates, friends, family, anyone. Oh, well there is the porn industry, but again, they are playing a role so they have a scapegoat. And they are ,in their minds, providing a service.

And the new pastime of “Chat Roulette” , which could actually be fun, but I would imagine it’s for the uninhibited. But to us normal folk who have always been told that the camera adds 20 lbs we are terrified.

We all wanted a Video phone 20 years ago, and now that we have them, do the Grand kids talk to the grand parents….mine don’t and both have the capability. But neither have the time or find some way to avoid it. You can pick up the phone looking anyway you want and with a slight grimace you can put on a happy face (in your voice) even if you have strep and 102 temp. But some calls on a video phone and immediately your chat goes to “away” like that isn’t just a total diss!

I’ve a few friends that will chat any time, they are guys and I’ve known them for years. One hit me on Ichat and was leaning into his camera real close. (Unusual for this VP of almost every Large internet company I could name) And Giddy! Turns out he was on Ichat on an Airbus flight from LA that had inflight WiFi. He was smiling and whispering, I said “speak up” and he Shooshed me — then held his laptop up so I could see the 50 rows of people behind him on a Wide body plane with isles R&L. I saw a few people look up, one waved and then he brought it back down and we talked about the speed and clarity.

But for the most part I think most of us would rather not be on stage at the whim of anyone with a mouse who clicks on us. I my self don’t mind. If you want to video chat then add me to your iChat or AIM using curtrbuthman@me.com. Although you might have to email me and let me know you want to chat because I don’t keep it open as often as I should, unless I want to reach out or am working on a project and collaborating with someone.

And speaking of that, why is that so difficult and or expensive. In Ichat you can talk, text and share your screen, even let the other person drive from their desk on your screen. It’s great for working on projects or showing someone how to do something on-screen and the voice works the entire time. But being able to go cross-platform requires an advanced IEEE degree. Yes I can do it, but I won’t go into what that takes here.

I’d like to hear why you don’t (or why you do) embrace video chat/interactivity.

“Twitter – I’m just not getting it!”

Jun 10
2010

Birds Poop every 15 minutesI’ve had three people in the last week tell me that they just don’t “get twitter”.

And honestly, I didn’t either for about the first year. I was following my friends, and watched their antics, but somehow felt empty. Like why do I hear all sorts of buzzing about this?

Well it wasn’t until someone showed me a few use full tools and strategies that I “Got it”! Now I use Twitter for many things.

First lets define what it is. Twitter is micro blogging. Just 140 characters at a time, which has cause me to compress ideas very carefully so that I get the complete message in there with out someone just reading that one post and having no idea what I’m saying.

First off, I never go to my twitter page. Since I set it up and created a background, I’ve hardly been there. That’s because it just shows the last 15 or so people I’ve followed and not much else. it’s a snapshot of the last-minute.

So I found TweetDeck. with this nifty app that works on both PC & mac (&iPhone) you can sort out exactly what you are looking for. You have your Favorites, Direct Messages, Mentions and as many search terms as you want.

Now you say, “Gee Curt that is some really cool stuff — but I’m still not getting it.” Well suppose you are in the Direct Marketing business. You’re a consultant and you help companies put together their advertising campaigns. Here is another useful online tool called search.twitter.com.

You start by doing a little prospecting. Enter some key words until you start to find something that looks interesting. I searched Direct Marketing and found several pages of people around the world with a mention of Direct Marketing.

So I got to the advanced feature and look up the same words “Direct Marketing” but this time I give it a location (Charlotte, NC) and a 50 mile radius. I also add in a time frame to include the last week.. In addition I’m able to choose an attitude, Positive, negative or asking a question. I chose the later 2.

I find “TaraMonique” who is a Business Mentor, cellphone junkie and avid internet marketer. I notice she has 1,934 followers and she is following 1,509. So I decide to follow her, and then I can see the folks who are following her.

Now you have a platform to go on. Personally I look for faces, not logos, I then read their short profile and dismiss those who do not fit my target. But I do within 30 minutes find 8 people who look notable. and I add them to a “Watch” list in tweet deck, just to make sure that they are active and have relevant things to say.

After you find someone of interest, then Google them, see if they show up in other places. Yes if feels like stalking, but you are trying to find out as much as you can. And if they have a linked in account, then you have hit pay-dirt, because running down the side of their profile is a list of people who viewed not only his profile, but others. and that is where you can expand that search.

There are many ways to use twitter and that is only one. I’ll be writing more about some of the useful tools. and there are plenty.

21 Marketing/Advertising Tips for Small Business!

Jun 10
2010

All Dresed Up and No Place to Go!

I’ve heard from small & large clients for the past year, “I can’t afford to advertise” or

“I don’t need to advertise” or even worse, “my customers aren’t swayed by advertising”.

Here’s how it works plain and simple. You go to the Dentist when your Teeth hurt. You call a plumber when you got a leak. And you contact a marketing professional when you need to get your products moving. I have to tell my clients all the time, I won’t write your magazine if you don’t write my ads – Deal?

Because each of us are somewhat good at everything, but when it comes down to counting pennies, it pays to hire a professional. I did my own Taxes for years, and got money back. Then I went to a Tax account and he charged me $1,300. He also increased my Refund over 10,000 from the year before and nothing dramatic had changed. He was able to take deductions that I had never thought of. And to make it better, if there was ever an audit I don’t even have to go. He does. He sits in front of the auditor and explains everything in accounting language so I don’t make a costly mistake.

It’s the same with marketing/advertising and I was once a newspaper Adv. Sales Rep at Gannett. We had almost a year of sales training learing how to overcome almost every objection (from a newspaper point of view). I would guarantee you that the TV, Radio and Magazine reps had the same tools in their arsenal.

Point is, listening to the Sales rep will generally give you a one-sided opinion. And there is sanity in Dominating a media, or was when the media was Radio, TV, NP,Mag and Billboard. But now, there are hundreds of ways to spread your $$’s and targeting your customers is the only way to do that.

So how to you target a customer.

1. A Customer is Someone who comes back for the 3rd time
2. Treat Everyone that walks through the door or calls Like a Customer.
3. That includes Suppliers, Reps, Vendors & Competition.
4. Divide your Customers into Categories and define the Heavy Users
5. These are the ones who make up “Most” of your Sales.
6. Find out everything you can about this group, Make a list!
7. Look for patterns, Income, Geographic, Age, Psychographic, Attitude,
Religious, Political, Kids or not, Pets. (what ever makes them unique)
8. Now you may have an idea of how to reach them, and it’s ALWAYS with a Mix of efforts
9. And Remember, Loyal Customers are rare, so treat them special, and ask them to recommend you.
10. Reward them when they do! They are your best advertising!
11. If your Customers are Local do things for the Community when you get a chance.
12. If not then Join Professional organizations and become an active member.\
13. Make sure you and your Employees Always carry enough Business Cards with you .
14. No Advertising or Marketing plan will help if your Product/Service is flawed
15. Call in a professional to help you, and tell him everything, Profit, Loss, Debt, Everything.
16. Follow their plan (if it is sound) without making changes. Cakes are made, they don’t just appear!
17. Find one that is “Right Size” You do not need a Huge Agency to do a small task. Many small even
one person shops can handle a great deal of work because they spend less time in meetings and
work very efficiently.
18. Ask for Explanations of the Rational and Strategy. If they use “Industry Speak” tell them to “Dumb it down”.
19. Pay them on time. As with any Vendor, they do it for a living – It’s Their Job.
20. Tell them the True Results. Then Everyone Learns. Adv/Mkt are Learning processes. Like fishing
you have to test lures. That’s why they sell Tackle Boxes!
21. Be Nice! You never get GREAT WORK from someone you aggravate!

And that just defines your audience and gives you the idea that there is someone whose job it is to spread your word. And you are probably not it. But you can do your part, by trying to be objective about your business and never see things in Black & White. Nothing is black & white, there is always an exception and one small creative break through is all it takes to make you a success.

For instance, while working as a newspaper ad salesman in Portchester, NY for the Westchester/Rockland Gannett Newspaper Group, I was selling a Joint promotion page for Portchester’s Fashion Retailers. A Full page ad with a Big Banner on top and 9 Square ads on the page. Imagine a Tic-Tac-Toe board. Well conveniently there were just 8 Fashion Retailers in Portchester, from Athletic Shoes to Fine Lingerie. And having a good relationship with them I was able to get all 8 on the page. Which left a hole dead center. A 2 column by 5 inch Hole., which my Ad Manager suggested we do a House ad for our newspaper. Not wanting to look out done and fearing the comments I’d get from my advertisers who would obviously know what the situation was, I chose to fill that hole some how some way.

At 4:30pm on Thursday, I was sitting in Portchester on a bench with my mockup of the page in my lap and was trying to calculate how much $4 I would lose if I simply bought it my self and thanked the community for their support. Just when I had figured it would put me about $20 in the hole I stood up to go back to the office. I was thinking about the $20 and wondering how I would explain that o my wife because she had made plans for us to go out on Friday night and I’d have to let her know that it wasn’t going to be a real exciting evening.

And then it hit me — Straight in front of me was a Travel Agency. I took one long deep breath and walked in and asked for the Manager. He was available, but hadn’t done much advertising with our paper. I told him that I had an idea, and I was grinning ear to ear. He’d never been that welcoming and wasn’t this time, but I guess my timing must have been right. He sat behind his desk, and I couldn’t sit down. I Held the sample page away from him and said, “I’ve a Portchester Fashion promotion Page coming out this Sunday..” and he cut me off,”I’m not in the Fashion Business, I’m in the Travel Business!” and stood up to walk us both out. As he Came around his desk, I was so excited I couldn’t wait to unleash my idea. He stopped and looked at me. As I turned the Page around to show him that I’d signed up all 8 of the Advertisers in town and that I had one hole in the middle, he still was shaking his head. And then I looked him straight in the eye and let it out nice and slowly with a wave of my hand like I was presenting an Oscar to the man. “Imagine This Headline!” I said. “All Dressed Up And No Place to Go?” in a questioning but promotional voice.

He began to grin and it seemed to get just bigger and bigger. He turned around Opened his top drawer and pulled out a Leather Ledger. Sat down, opened it towards the middle and Said with the same grin, “How Much” as he was writing out “Gannett Westc….” on the top of the check. — SOLD

He then said that no sales rep of any kind had ever taken the time to give him something of value. And when the ad ran, he booked almost 3 times the volume of what he did last year. And the best thing, Not only did he become a loyal Advertiser, but he was the talk of the town because of his brilliance. And I never said a word to any of the other advertisers. I let him live in his glory.

Join a Discussion – Make Friends!

Jun 10
2010

Get Talking!

Late last week I joined a discussion on LinkedIn in theLeadingLoyalty- Marketing Professionals Group. Ramesh Kumar,Chairman, New Marketing SIG at TiE-Boston. The topic isn’t important, In two days there were 46 Comments and a Healthy dialogue between like-minded professionals.

I got to see both sides of the argument, matter of fact Lots of sides and my comments were valid and substantiated by other members of the group. I was also able to see who in that group (at that time) was active, intelligent, and posting valid current information.

I made 4 new contacts on LinkedIn just be entering into a discussion that took all of 20 minutes from my entire day. Will they be of value, who knows? Will I be able to view their contacts? Absolutely! Will others in that Group see my comments and read them? You Betcha! Has it helped me in any way? Yes!

It’s building your online personal reputation. it takes time, but it’s also learning things, opening new doors, finding new leads. It was engaging, stimulating and to those who think it a waste of time I disagree!

In the beginning of this Social Media craze, I joined Facebook, LinkedIn, And then Twitter. Twitter I didn’t get. I had a friend who had recently become divorced. Reading about his antics in NY and his cigar smoking trips to Vegas was just..(Can’t go there – cus it’s supposed to stay there- right?)

It took me over a year until I found http://search.twitter.com/. This made sense to me. I now could use twitter to see what folks were talking about. This led to tweetdeck http://www.tweetdeck.com/ a downloadable app that makes even more sense of twitter. you have columns that update and you create the content by keyword searches and other parameters.

Point being, you have to engage and the tool of engagement are there. Using twitter I found interesting people, took literally 30 seconds to check them on LI and BAM, you get a hit — that is your target.

There was no time wasted in any of it. Nothing like Oldschool “Dialing for Dollars”. Here you can find the real meat! Getting set up is the key, that’s what takes the most time. I started doing that for me, and now I’ve done it for others with great results, you just have to put the time into it, but after 3 months about an hour a day and THATS been my marketing plan and it’s working for me.

Oh it takes a little time and some weekend work, but what doesn’t these days. Everyone is trying harder to get your business.

Think of all the time you waste during the day. Get organized and utilize your time wisely. It’s the only asset we can control, and yet, it’s our rarest commodity. I enjoyed using mine in that way. I’ve moved from reading so many Gadget blogs and Apple product updates to more interesting and engaging things…and I can still won’t know “exactly” what an iPad will have on it till the day it’s delivered!

Visit Our Friends!

A few highly recommended friends...

Pages List

General info about this blog...