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Laura Lake



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Public Speaking – Preparation and Presentation Tips

Sunday April 20, 2014

Do you enjoy public speaking?  What about giving a presentation?  Do you find yourself fighting anxiety when you've been asked to present in front of a room full of people?

If you answered yes, I hear you.

Public speaking is either something someone loves or hates - there is no in-between.

The secret in being comfortable in front of a crowded room is being prepared and confident about what you are presenting. Preparation and confidence will allow you to interject more of your personality enabling you to be entertaining and relaxed.

Learn how to prepare, create and practice your presentation in a way that you'll find the jitters disappear.  You may just find that you love public speaking after all - I did.   Public Speaking - Preparation and Presentation Tips

Your Turn: Do you have a presentation and preparation tip for public speaking?  If so, please share it in the comment section below.

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Is Email Marketing Dead?

Sunday April 13, 2014

It seems that many marketing departments have fallen out of love with the once loved digital marketing tool - email marketing.   What once used to be our go-to has seems to have walked the path of long-gone.

I'm here to tell you that's not true.  While we must think differently about the way that we use email and the old school method of "batch and blast" has fallen into the abyss, targeted email marketing that provides consumers with timely and valuable information is still very much alive.

Think about it, 91% of us use our email on a daily basis.   Recent studies have shown that sales from email marketing have quadrupled since 2009.

The key is to engage your subscribers, provide them with information they deem as valuable and use email marketing as a tool to encourage dialogue.

Learn how to re-engage your email list, build trust with your users and in return begin to see it become a viable marketing tool for you and your business.  Is Email Marketing Dead?

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Marketing, Advertising, Sales - Who Does What?

Sunday April 6, 2014

It's so easy for the confusion to begin when you start talking about advertising, marketing and sales. Truth is most individuals don't understand the difference. The good news is there is a difference and each of these components have a part to play in the success of a company. Today, I want to clear up the confusion.

I started to see the misunderstanding of these roles when I was spending time browsing and sorting through job listings. It is not uncommon for sales jobs to be listed in the marketing jobs classifications and the same was true when it came to jobs that pertained to advertising.

I'm going to say it one more time, before getting into the details - they are not the same.

Let's take a look at the defining differences:

Marketing: The systematic planning, implementation and control of a mix of business activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers for the mutually advantageous exchange or transfer of products.

Advertising: The paid, public, non-personal announcement of a persuasive message by an identified sponsor; the non-personal presentation or promotion by a firm of its products to its existing and potential customers.

Sales: The sales process is everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract. The sales process consists of interpersonal interaction. It is often done by a one-on-one meeting, cold calls, and networking. It's anything that engages you with the prospect or customer on a personal level rather than at a distance. Advertising and marketing lay the ground work to warm up the lead and prepare them for the close of the sale.

When you are looking to place job listings, be sure to list them in the right category and you will more than likely detour the chances of getting applicants that don't fit the requirements for the positions you are listing.

When it comes to the world of corporations and business structure look at the different roles and use them to help define how departments can work together with the other departments and the role that each department plays when supporting the others.

All three of these components are necessary when it comes to the success of a business, but having a deeper understanding of their purpose can help in organization and planning for that success.

For a greater understanding of the differences use the following resources:

Marketing vs. Advertising: What's the Difference?

Marketing vs. Sales: What's the Difference?

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4 Surefire Ways to Build Your Brand on Social Media

Thursday March 27, 2014

Social media can seem overwhelming to businesses.  Where do you start? What do you say? How do you remain relevant?

All very valid questions.  Social media is not a quick fix, it takes effort and an investment of time.  The main thing to understand is that if you are only going to do it half-way, don't do it at all. It's better to not be present than it is to be half in and half out.

We know that social media is changing the way consumers purchase, the way they seek customer service and they way they just generally engage with others.

Just consider the following statistics from 2014:

  • Pinterest is now more popular than Twitter among internet users.
  • Facebook is aging and shifting. 45% of internet users age 65+ use Facebook.
  • 71% of users access social media from a mobile device.
  • There are now over 1 billion  with Google+ enabled accounts

So, now that you understand the value of social media you may be wondering how you should get started. This week I've asked guest author Ashley Welter to share with you the best ways to build your brand on social media.

Learn what she had to say in 4 Surefire Ways to Build Your Brand on Social Media.

Oh and while you are at it, be sure to follow me on social media for real-time updates.

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Avoid a PR Nightmare by Managing and Responding to Glassdoor Reviews

Sunday March 23, 2014

Could the website that was voted Best Employment Site in 2013 be tainting the reputation of your company?

This past week I received an inquiry asking me what a company should do when it comes to negative reviews on that social website that's known as Glassdoor.

Glassdoor enables employees and former employees the opportunity to rank and review the companies they've worked for anonymously.  This has caused a great deal of heartache for some companies and often leaves them puzzled on what to do to protect their reputation.

We know that social sites carry consequences when it comes to customer ratings and complaints and now companies need to be concerned with what their employees are saying about them.  This is your wake-up call. The worst thing you could do is stick your head in the sand and pretend it's not happening.

Glassdoor doesn't only detour candidates from applying at positions that are open at your company, but it could also detour potential prospects and customers from signing that partnership deal.

Learn what you should do to manage and respond to reviews and use the information on Glassdoor to strengthen your internal culture and communication.   Avoid a PR Nightmare by Managing and Responding to Glassdoor Reviews

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Five Ways to Protect Yourself from Non-Paying Losers

Tuesday March 18, 2014

It's a sad truth, but there are companies out there that hire service providers with the full intention of not paying them. I call these people losers.  (And, if this is you - shame on you!)

If you are a business, agency, consultant or contractor that has been in business for over five years you've probably experienced this type of loser and hopefully learned from it.  It's important to make sure that you have policies and documentation in your process in order to decrease your chances of being stiffed for payment.

I bring this up because it's recently happened to me.  Fortunately I followed all of the protective policies and now the battle is transpiring in the court room.  There is nothing more disheartening than to not receive a payment that you deserve for the time and effort that you've put into your work and delivered to the client without compensation.

If you don't have these policies in place it's the perfect time to re-evaluate how you are protecting yourself and your business.

We are on the verge of a new year and it may just be a great resolution for your business to implement them. Don't wait until it's too late start protecting yourself now from loser clients that have the intent of stiffing you of money that you have earned.  Five Steps to Protecting Yourself from Non-Paying Clients Otherwise Known as Losers

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Manage and Grow Your Customer Relationships with these Web Based CRM Solutions

Sunday March 16, 2014

It's a new year and many companies are evaluating their customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Customer relationships are key to any marketing strategy and having tools that can help you manage and grow those relationships is a must. Implementing a CRM is not difficult and there are many solutions that are cost effective and won't break the bank. A CRM enables you to be more strategic when it comes to your customer relationships and then helps when it comes to serving and developing those business growing relationships.

If there was ever a time that you stayed in touch with your customers it should be today. Relationships are key when it comes to successful and effective marketing.

There is no excuse not to use a CRM tool that helps you to stay in touch with not only your current customers, but also leads that are in your sales pipeline. I recently spent time looking for a customer management solution for a client and I was amazed at the options that are available; not only to large companies but to small and medium sized businesses as well. You can implement a CRM solution for less than $12 per user a month and there are even solutions that are free if you have less than 3 users.

Are you running a CRM to manage and grow your relationships? If not, why? Can you really risk to lose a customer or even a potential customer because you didn't stay in touch? I'm going to assume that the majority of you answer that question with a resounding no.

If you are not using a CRM right now and checking it everyday let me encourage you. I have shared with you the information that I found when searching for a solution and I'm going to share with you my top five CRM solutions that I recommend to businesses. You will see that each solution offers different features and perks, pick the one that fits your needs and begin to implement today. I promise that you will be glad you did.

Your turn: If I did not list your favorite CRM feel free to add it to the comments and tell us why it's your favorite.

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How to Conduct Your Own Keyword Research in Five Steps

Wednesday March 12, 2014

You've started marketing online, but for some reason you are not seeing much traction. You've implemented a content strategy and have done the basics of search marketing. You are starting to feel discouraged and are on the verge of giving up. Well, don't!

Are you sure that you are writing content surrounding the keywords that your target market are searching for? You might be surprised that what you think they are searching for what they are really searching for are different.

Just hear me out!

Every business owner and marketer wants to be found in the search engines by their target market. It doesn't matter whether a business is selling a product or a service you want to be found when people search for what you have to offer.

The first thing that you have to do to be successful in gaining traction from search engines is be sure that you are targeting the right keywords and those keywords are what prospects, customers and clients are searching for. It's not as daunting as you might think, and it's not voodoo. I promise!

Take a deep breath, all is not lost I'm going to show you how to conduct your own keyword research in five steps. Go ahead, roll up those sleeves and let's get started. Shall we?

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Marketing Jobs - Where to Find and Post Them

Sunday March 9, 2014

Recently a company contacted me wanting  to know where to post two high profile marketing jobs that they were seeking candidates for.  This got me thinking, I often provide information and insight to those seeking jobs, but not enough to companies trying to find great employees to fill open marketing positions.

I decided that if they had this question, others might as well, so I created a listing of my top four favorite marketing job websites.  These sites either cater specifically to marketing or allow you to really drill down into your own marketing specialties.  If you are looking for a position or seeking places to find great candidates you won't be disappointed - I promise.

Your Turn: Now, with that being said perhaps you are reading this and you have a favorite marketing job site that you'd like to share.  Feel free to do so in the comment section below  - you may just help someone else by doing so.

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8 Conversion Optimization Tips That Will Help You Get Results

Wednesday March 5, 2014

Each week I receive multiple inquires surrounding one question  - "Laura, how do I increase the conversion rate of my website?"  Today I'm going to address that question.

It doesn't matter if they are referring to more sales or more leads they want their website to convert more of their visitors into customers.

Conversion optimization is a science, think of it like you would if you were merchandising a shopping aisle in a brick and mortar store. A consumer visits your website, knocks on your virtual door and enters your online store to shop. It doesn't matter if they are shopping for products or services there thinking is similar and you can use my tips to increase your website conversion rate. Before I share with you my 8 tips on conversion optimization, go ahead and grade your own conversion rate using the benchmark conversion numbers provided by MarketingSherpa in 2012.

  • Professional and Financial Services - 10%
  • Media or Publishing - 10%
  • Other - 8%
  • Education or Healthcare - 8%
  • Software / SAAS - 7%
  • Technology Equipment/Hardware - 5%
  • Manufacturing or Packaged Goods - 4%
  • Travel or Hospitality - 4%
  • Retail or Ecommerce - 3%
  • Non-Profit - 2%

How did you do? Are you seeing similar conversion rates?

If not, don't get discouraged take time to review my conversion optimization tips. Not only will they help, I think you will be surprised at how simple some of them really are to implement. 8 Conversion Optimization Tips That Will Help You Get Results

If you are seeing numbers higher than the ones above, perhaps you'll want to share a few of your own conversion tips in the comments below.

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