Starr Hall

A Return to My Brand…to You…

A Return to My Brand…to You…

Whew….a site redesign and rebuilding my brand is taking a bit more time than I planned. After touring the globe for 3 years (book tour, training and keynotes) speaking at over 300 events, conferences, corporations, trade shows etc… I took 2 years off to head back to the trenches into research and development mode. I tried a few new adventures and my path led me back to LEAD with and for clients via Agency LEAD. I am excited to announce my return to me, rebuilding my Starr Hall brand and heading out to train, teach, share once again. I am armed with more case studies, resources, tips, tricks, technologies and results focused integrated marketing approaches now more than ever. Super excited to start this journey with you again. My first of many speaking engagements begins again in San Diego at the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association in June, 2014. In the interim, I will be loading my new site, branding, videos, tips, resources, new reputation management book to be released in 2015 and oh so much more. Thank you for staying with me and continuing on this awesome social and marketing learning journey, as a social practitioner and passionate marketer, your support, questions, engagement, sharing and ongoing loyalty is greatly appreciated. I’m here to help! EVENT: http://imcanet.com/events/meetings/annual-conference/2014-annual-meeting-showcase/ To our continued and ongoing success, Starr Hall
Starr Hall

Goodbye 2013, it’s been real! 2014, Holograms and Coding- here I come!

Goodbye 2013, it’s been real! 2014, Holograms and Coding- here I come!

 

Starr Hall

Can you tell what this hologram is?

As this year comes to an end, I look back on lessons learned and reflect on what I accomplished both in my career, with my family and self. Here are a few things I came up with while sitting on the top of a mountain…okay a hill…ummm, actually it was just my desk. (note to self- more time on mountains in 2014) As you may well know, I set out mid year to return to pre-med school and finish what I started over 20 years ago…well…after six weeks in 3 classes, the teachers bored the heck out of me- they had no real kinesthetic teaching methods, and for my hyper self, I was desperate to be inspired so that I could continue my medical mission. However instead, I found myself falling asleep in classes that used to completely energize me. I decided after 6 weeks that finishing pre-med school and going onto medical school was just not going to happen…I was bored by the teaching style and I wanted more. However, this time was not wasted, oh no, through this experience I learned something that completely blew me away (Thank you Suzette!), I learned that my true passion is to teach and inspire. It is what I love, live for and do on a daily basis sometimes without even realizing that is what I am doing…naturally. With that in mind, I took the past 6 months to reshape my focus and I have now landed here… With a focus on teaching (and learning) here are a few things that you will see from me in 2014: StarrHall.com will evolve into an interactive learning site: Just as we evolve, learn and change- so must our websites and marketing. For the past 6 months my poor website has just been sitting, it hasn’t served a real purpose and has not helped anyone (that I know of), like it used to. It has been sitting for a few reasons, 1) It took me a few lessons learned throughout 2013 to realize what I wanted the site to be which is to be of service, 2) I had to do a ton of research to decide on what I wanted it to be and what I did not want it to be and how to make it happen. Now that I have mapped it out and have several designers and programmers working on it, my new site will launch in 2014 and it will unfold as a story and serve as a teaching/learning tool for all that want to utilize it. Here are some things that it will include: -       CODING: An entire section on coding, I am jumping on the “learn to code” wagon and will help serve as a teaching center. Have you seen some of the videos on this? YouTube Preview Image -       JOTS & THOUGHTS- Weekly Jots & Thoughts section where I will share actionable tips and resources in short mini posts. (Who has time to read long blog posts like these anymore! Wait…are you still here?) -       HANGOUT- a hangout video section so that we can jump online, chat about a topic, issue etc…and actually see each other AND as soon as I figure out how to build holograms or hire someone that can, I want this to be a Hologram section. :) -       LEARN- I will be launching an interactive product page and learning center (oh just wait, it’s a comin!). -       CONNECT- this social section will connect you with people that you are looking for. Whether to hire, ask a question, learn from or just make new entrepreneur power friends. As for my family and self-accomplishments in 2013. Life is short…or is it long and we just take forever and a day to actually do the things we want so that we have no regrets? I want and aim to spend more time taking adventurous trips around the world with my husband and my 4 kiddos and last but not least- keep my health as a core focus because in 2013 I, Starr Hall took it for granted. :/ 2014…ready or not, here I come! As always, thank you for reading, - Starr Hall
starr hall

Your Customers Are Just Not That Into You…Assessing Your Audience Behavior Categories

Your Customers Are Just Not That Into You…Assessing Your Audience Behavior Categories

starr hall How do you know if your customers and/or target audience like your brand (product/service). Are they in love with you, do they just like you a little, are they trying to escape you,  will they continue to buy, recommend? So many questions, just one simple answer- assess them ongoing! Let me just get straight to the point in this roll- You are doing your customers, clients and target audience a grave disservice if you are not assessing their behavior categories ongoing to shape your outreach and marketing programs. More specifically- engagement, share, brand sentiment and ultimately- YES…buying behaviors.  And while we are talking about assessing, let’s add in preferred method of contact. First, let me break these categories down for you, then I will give you some approaches/resources to start checking out and hopefully actually start implementing. We all know that I can talk about this, share data, show you how etc.. but if you do not put a plan and/or assign resources on this, you might as well skip over this post to your next read (I would like to thank you for your time, I appreciate your unique visit click as well as the 1 minute time on my site thus far). Before I dig into this I have to add a quick side note. It completely blows me away when I am contacted by a new client or brought in on a project/campaign just how many brands do not assess what their client/customer/audience behavior categories, let alone what their brand sentiment is online….and yes offline as well. How can you even plan properly without this data? Let’s think about this for a moment. How did brands do this prior to social media channels and the Internet? Well, there were many ways- 1) Originally travel across country- door to door selling and assessment, 2) Surveys, census, follow up sales reps and customer service agents, 3) Nielsen ratings, audit bureaus etc… and now voila- social! CATEGORIES- 1) ENGAGEMENT: How often your customer not only engages on your social and domain channels, this also includes email, sales returns, inquiries in person, purchase funnels (Amazon, Ebay, Etsy etc…) Suggested Approach- Set up monthly reporting systems and include online and offline data. Assign resource(s) to consistently deliver these reports to applicable teams. Make sure your behavior reporting includes data/insights as well as gaps, current and future opportunities. Ask these type of questions- how often does my core customer/audience engage, what is their channel preference AND more importantly- how likely are they to advocate for our brand? Resources to Consider- (From pricey to free)- Engagement/advocacy monitoring- Zuberance (pricey buy great program), HeartBeat , Meltwater, Social Bakers to name a few. 2) SHARE: How likely are your customers going to take the extra steps to share content that you are putting out there? If your share ratios are low or non existent then ask yourself (and/or your marketing team) are we entertaining and informing or posting and boring? Would I read this? Would I post this out on my own page? Would I send this to my mentor, an influencer or even a family member? Suggested Approach- Check social mentions share results to see how often your content gets shared. There are many more programs that can assess this, however what you are looking for are your share ratios. If you posted 15 things in 30 days, how many times (on average) did the content get shared? This includes blog posts, links, tweets, Linkedin group discussions, and on domain to name a few. When I set up assessment systems, I analyze every single channel online and off that outputs and inputs information to help me assess this category ongoing. Resources to Consider- Implement Share buttons (Simple Share Buttons, add this etc…) on your domains/micro sites, blogs, utilize programs like Social Mentions or Social Bakers to start checking out select social channel shares. Make sure all links that you publish have trackable assessment either through bitly or custom programming and analytics such as Google. 3) BUYING: What are they buying, where are they buying it from, how many clicks to purchase- what is their purchase path AND after they purchase are they leaving reviews (Are they reading reviews to make their purchase decision?) Suggested Approach- First list all purchase access points (Amazon, Your domain, 3rd party reps etc…) as well as all review sites that you are being talked about on (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Ebay etc…) Once you have that list monitor monthly number of sales, test how many clicks until purchase and whether or not they left a review. To streamline this if your sales are high in volume, implement one of the following automated resources. These resources take some brains to get set up and program/customize but whoa are they worth it. Resources to Consider- There are many excellent customer relationship mastery programs (CRM) available in a variety of investment ranges. From your basic Constant Constant to Infusionsoft, and of course the ferrari of CRM programs- SalesForce (my Fave!) and Exact Target. 4) SENTIMENT: aka what the conversations on or about your product, service, brand, competitors, service, employees overall tone is ex: negative, neutral or positive? Tip- when you monitor competitor’s sentiment (which I know you are, right!) and you see mostly neutral, that is a gap filled with opportunity for you my friends. Suggested Approach- Focus on pushing the needle from neutral to positive first, negative gets attention second and last but not least positive. Make sure you have a social playbook designed for each of these categories- how will you respond and reward positive sentiment, address negative and move the needle in neutral. Resources to Consider- Brandwatch, SalesForce Cloud (my Fave1), Google Analytics, HubSpot. Baute is a great purchase app- check them out! 5) PREFERRED METHOD OF CONTACT: This is simple- just ask! Email, text, mobile phone call, home phone call, video, social channel, snail mail, through a friend or relative, on horseback, singing telegrams?? In closing, if you would like to see a sample of my monitoring reports, systems and/or social play books- you will have to send me $199 (Just kidding), email me. Starr@starrhall.com As always, thank you for stopping by, feel free to add resources, suggestions, comments etc… Off to assess, Starr Hall  
starr hall medical school

What Dreams Are Made Of…

What Dreams Are Made Of…

After months of contemplating as to whether or not I would go public with something that I have been wanting to do for over two decades, I decided ultimately to share. I found myself giving a client advice recently and questioning my own teachings, I was focused on ingraining transparency into their marketing department and brand overall. “Transparency is key with the use of social media, don’t hide behind your brand or a brand, come out in front of it and share respectfully”, if done correctly, this, I truly believe is how brands and consumers connect. And, well…it is proven- just Google or Bing it. Although my outreach today isn’t necessarily “consumer focused”, over the years I have built a readership list into the hundreds of thousands through blogs, columns, articles, email and mobile lists as well as clients. I felt it necessary to communicate openly and stay in touch with my readers, friends and fans. Hence, this blog post. So here I am typing on a Sunday morning, stepping in front of my own brand that I have spent 25+ years building. Before I begin my transparency journey via blog, share my story, it only makes sense to explain what I am moving into on my path. Here goes- I have decided to return to school and finish what I started as a young teenager…pre-med and medical school. Yep, you read that line correctly- I start back up in a week. After 20+ years in marketing/PR and leaving Rosetta last year to move into my own global agency with partners, I have found that I have a calling that just will not let up and the pull is getting stronger every single day, something I cannot and will no longer ignore. Medicine is calling, and I am answering…finally. With that said, I’m not leaving you, so no crying allowed- I will still continue forward with LEAD as a senior marketing consultant as well as with several other global agencies and select clients (when giving clients the choice of referral, most opted to stay with me- yeahhh- I am so grateful). My story in brief- I had my son Austin, now 23 at the age of 16. Single, scared and yet a child still myself I knew that I had to get a higher education if I wanted to avoid a minimum wage world (at the time minimum wage was $2.25/hr in LA) From a very young age, I have always been intrigued with hospitals, medicine and science (If I had any other lives before this- I swear I was a doctor in a village). I decided that I needed to further my education while still in high school, new baby on the way and began evening classes for medical assisting school, then went on to X-ray school, phlebotomy and eventually LVN training. I started with these trainings and licenses and worked in the medical field until I was 23 years old with hopes of moving onto medical school, however I kept having babies instead. Yes, three of them (now 23, 20 and 14 and now a 4 y.o. step daughter). Healthy, beautiful and so grateful to have kids at a young age, I find myself at the age of 39 (40 is calling my name- just months away) with a stronger pull than ever to finish pre-med and continue on to medical school to pursue a career in medicine. I, like most, have a story of tragedy and triumph that has brought me here to this place on this very day, ready to change direction….bravely, at the age of huhmmm…39. After a bout with a domestic violence relationship in my early twenties, loss of my father from suicide and my great grandfather Jackson the love of my life, postpartum depression, and being the sole supporter of my children for all of these years (often working 3 jobs in the beginning), not being able to break away for an academic education, my journey has brought me to a much stronger place to where looking back now, I would not have been ready for medical school years ago. However, my real world experiences with people, tragedy, loss, personal growth and my amazing marketing career has prepared me for the journey that I am now about to embark on. In my medical career I was very fortunate to have worked for two female doctors, one in Manhattan Beach, CA (now retired) Dr. Susan Van Holten and still practicing- Dr. Pamela Kushner in Long Beach, two of the most inspiring females I have ever known. Along my journey, I interned at Long Beach Memorial and South Bay Medical Hospital, these experiences planted a desire in me so deep that little did I know at the time, it was permanently embedded in my life. Even in the medical field, looking back now, marketing has always come natural to me, I found myself also doing the doctor’s marketing, PR and client relations in addition to managing their back offices and patients. Lessons I have learned along my marketing career journey, these to me are what dreams are made of- 1)   Critics have been my highest level of motivation 2)   Passion in your belly is key 3)   No matter how old or young you are pursue your calling 4)   Surround yourself with amazing people, peers, colleagues and mentors 5)   Accept challenges, fear and uncertainty as a part and way of life and do it anyways. (Excellent book by Dr. Susan Jeffers- Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway) In closing, although this is something that I should save for a graduation speech in 6 years or in the acknowledgement section of my next book, I have decided to give thanks to people along the way that have encouraged me, inspired and supported me and continue to do so to this day. My journey started with Dr. Thistlewaite, my son’s pediatrician and his nurse Nancy for encouraging me to go into medicine, so thank you for seeing the spark in me, speaking up, and pushing me out into the world as a teenage mom. Jack Canfield for helping me build my self esteem along this path, helping me deal with and heal from my father’s suicide at the age of 14, an abusive relationship and always reminding me that I am never too old to go back to school, change careers or do anything for that matter, thank you my friend, your voice speaks to me daily (Any of Jack Canfield’s books and I have read them ALL are absolutely inspiring, prompt action and boost self esteem every step of the way). To all of my marketing clients that have been such as pleasure to work with over the years (Entrepreneur Magazine, Verizon, Jafra Cosmetics,UPS, Sprint, Dell, Disney, Samsung and Microsoft to name a few) and all of the thousands of entrepreneurs I have been so fortunate to work with, thank you for your trust, for the relationships I now cherish and of course for hiring me. My family and children that have completely jumped on the support train and are now my biggest cheerleaders- Jackson, Savannah and Austin. And last but not least my amazing husband Matthew Jude Egan for telling me to go finish what I started many years ago, allowing me the support both financially and emotionally to do so, I love you! AND I am so thankful for you igniting the fire in me by giving me the amazing writings and books of Atul Gawande, M.D. Wow! PS- Your PhD and Law degree/education…aka nerdness will certainly be a benefit on my academic journey, I thank you in advance for your tutoring…and patience. I have found it self-inspiring today to share my story via my blog, as this is an important part of my commitment to myself and to my future.  I will continue to share marketing tips, stories and my experiences along the way.  I hope you stay along for the ride- it is going to be interesting, challenging, scary, fun, fear facing and ultimately…rewarding journey. Will I finish medical school? Who knows! However to me, it is about the journey…not the destination. And for those of you that know me, I am not a “wish I would have” kind of gal. Stay tuned. Here’s to fulfilling our dreams, Starr Hall
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Pillowcase Peggy- How to Get Rid of Stale Inventory?

Pillowcase Peggy- How to Get Rid of Stale Inventory?

starr hall
Dear Starr,
My business has been struggling for a couple years.  I have inventory that I need to liquidate in order to be able to create new product.  Catch 22 situation which has left me “stuck”.
Question – How do I get rid of my current inventory without the appearance to customers that I’m not “going out of business”? While I have a facebook page and twitter account, I am not utilizing social media to it’s fullest potential and don’t know how to promote a “sale” that will attract NEW customers.
At this point I just want all of it gone so I can move forward.
I look forward to your advice!
Thank you!
Peggy Schafer Vincent
President/Owner
comfycozy.com - the original “magical” GLOW IN THE DARK Pillowcases
 
Answer:
Dear Pillowcase Peggy, 
 
Having stale inventory can not only affect the bottom line, it can also keep you up at night, no matter how great the pillowcase. Here are a few things to consider to help you blow out inventory to create cash flow or just move the energy out. 
 
1) Offer multiple purchase or bulk purchase discounts, whether it’s a “two for one,” “buy one, get one free,” or steep discounts for bulk purchases, motivate customers to buy more than one product at a time. Have you ever seen the buy one for $19.95 and we will give you a second one for free approach on TV? It still works. 
2) Offer bundles, ”Package” a number of products or services into one with a large overall discount. This gives the buyer a very high perceived value and moves a lot of merchandise at once. For example, we sell all of our linens together at a significant discount.
 
3) Offer extremely steep discounts, these have to be significant (50% or more) but for a limited time only — to motivate customers to buy now.
 
4) Use your products or services as an incentive to get others to become salespeople for you. “Get one free pillowcase with each new customer you refer.”
 
5) Use products or services that you know customers aren’t going to buy as a retention and mechanism for building good will.
 
6) Give your products or services to organizations that can raise your visibility, such as local public radio stations, community events, schools as a marketing approach. For you- kid’s schools, PTA programs. 
Last but not least, speak to other suppliers about purchasing excess inventory. Offer a wholesale price on inventory, yes you can even do this with competitors. Selling excess inventory allows you to earn back your investment and not have to store the items.
Wait, I have another last but not least- socially push these messages across Facebook and twitter. Look up your target audience via keywords on these channels, and reach out to them. Moms, dads, aunts, uncles and YES grandparents (they are becoming more social savvy) talking about buying gifts for kids, baby showers etc… and use Facebook promote post ads for as little as $5.00- those can be very effective. 
 
PS- Your website needs help :) I say send me questions about your website so that I can offer you some help in this area. Iyahhh!
Double PSS- You need to get current media/press coverage and features again. Move that brand forward. 
Sweet marketing, 
Starr Hall 
starr hall

Dear Starr…

Dear Starr…

Welcome to my first “Dear Starr” post. I will begin this as a weekly post from letters/emails that I receive online and off. As this column evolves, I will post several times per week and answer in video format moving forward (I am setting up my studio now and putting the word on the wire that I am looking for questions/problems to answer/help with in regard to growing revenue, business, marketing, social, PR). Please send all questions to Starr@StarrHall.com. Include your biz problem, question, location and business name if you would like (I will include a link from my answer/blog post to your site). I will do my best to get to your question just as soon as possible. :) starr hall Dear Starr, Problem: I feel stuck with my marketing efforts, overwhelmed by all of the social media channels and new technologies surfacing daily. Question: How do I stay focused on marketing that will work and stay informed as well as inspired to market and grow my business? Thank you in advance for your help.  - Mary Brollen, Tampa, FL   Dear Marketing Mary, It sounds like you need to get out and grass squash in the park (referring to the scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere walks barefoot on the grass) to clear your head, renew your creative marketing energy. When you are looking at the same marketing, same approaches, same results it can become uninspiring and can cause MSS- marketing stuck syndrome. First thing is first, after you visit the grass barefoot, determine what results you are getting from each and every marketing effort you do. You need to analyze what is causing customers to take action, what is getting them to talk and what is not. Once you know what is working and what isn’t you can better plan forward. In regard to social and technology overwhelm, we all experience it, you just need to find what works best for you in regard to staying informed. I suggest choosing 2-3 feeds or social/tech channels to browse and read in brief just so you can get the juice out of the updates to stay informed. Be on the lookout for a new app called Summly (invented by a 17 y.o) that will “sum up” news direct to your phone (for now it is iphone focused). Mashable and Techcrunch are great news sites, Social Media Examiner is another great resource to bookmark.  In closing: Once per month (or once per quarter), generate a marketing outcome assessment report and analyze what is working, what is not, your customer behaviors, when and how they are taking action etc… (there are great programs out there to help with this from SproutSocial to ViralHeat). A lot of these programs are monitoring offline, direct mail response now as well.  Stay informed in brief, quick little news feed updates to your phone or email. You need to stay informed as to what your customers want, how they want it and the device(s) they connect on.  I hope this helps you get unstuck and back in action mode, thank you for your letter. Off to find myself a park with lots of grass,  Starr Hall 
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How To Profit From Your Social Media Efforts- Social ROI

How To Profit From Your Social Media Efforts- Social ROI

starr hall

Excerpt from Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars (Chapter contributions on Social Media ROI from Starr Hall) Social media is no longer a fad. Actually, I am not so sure it every really was. What was once dismissed as a possible marketing tool has now shifted into a powerful profit generating business machine. And as  a result, brands that approach and engage this medium passionately will surely profit. It was only a few years ago that sites were crowded with posts and conversations about how social media could not be tracked or measured in terms of actual profit and return. Those posts and conversations are now changing as social media measurement tools are becoming more effective and efficient in tracking brand building efforts that generate customer loyalty and ultimately revenue. It is now apparent in today’s social space that your conversation and engagement tools will determine your profitability online. NOTE: It is estimated that over fifty (50%) percent of new business will come from social media and internet marketing efforts over the next five years, furthermore that number could triple by 2020 according to Microsoft Small Business Summit Why Most Businesses Don’t Profit When Using Social Media- The use of social media is definitely on the rise and it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are jumping on board to become “social” businesses. Social media opens up new ways to engage with customers and prospects. It can also shorten sales cycles and tap new revenue streams. Within this social media space, however, where anyone can participate, most businesses social efforts have resulted in little to no revenues. For example, there are millions of bloggers on the web, yet only a handful have built a strong media presence and following. Fewer still have figured out a way to generate any serious revenue from their blogging. So, why are most businesses completely missing the boat when it comes to driving revenue from their social media efforts? It’s simple really. There are two reasons why businesses can’t seem to pull a profit- 1) They are selling first and not developing relationships- They are using social media for the wrong reasons with the wrong approach, basically using the same traditional outreach that they have always used and they are getting the same result. That is truly the definition of marketing insanity! Just as businesses would place an ad in the paper, they are posting their sales pitch online. You just can’t use these savvy tools with the old used car salesman approach. 2) They do not have correct measurement and tracking systems in place to manage and improve their social media marketing- this is like trying to fly a plane without controls and gauges, you will have no idea where you are going, how you are going to get there or more importantly how to monitor and correct your course as needed. It’s no wonder businesses embarking on the social media trail get lost and have no return to show from their journey; they are stuck in 1982 still using the traditional approach. This approach only allows a brand to talk one way to their customer or potential market and does not allow them to talk back or to engage with the brand, this is called one-way messaging. Consumers are smarter than ever and they want to be seen, heard, and engaged. Traditional sales pitching, hype and sales bitchy techniques are not nearly as effective with the new consumer. The reason why social media is so effective is that it allows for two-way messaging and the opportunity to create brand influencers and advocates. Brands can now talk with and engage their market actively online. Consumers feel heard, in this context, and this results in connections with brands and businesses on a deeper level. When you utilize social media as an engaging brand building tool it will ultimately shorten the sales cycle as well as create new revenue streams. When you put the conversation with the customer first, business growth and financial success will naturally follow. People will buy from brands that listen and engage with them, period. FOR the rest of this chapter including more INFORMATION on the following: - Why most businesses don’t profit from their social media efforts - Why it is important to track and measure your social media results - Formula on how to calculate your return on investment (ROI) with social media - Three key strategies on how to profit using social media and other superstar success secrets…you can pick up a copy of this book at Amazon or wherever books are sold! Success Secrets of Social Media Marketing Superstars by Mitch Meyerson (Mitch- you rock!, thank you for including me/my contributions in your book!) (Blog visitors- as always, I appreciate your contributions, shares, opinions, feedback) - Starr Hall 
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How You Can Blow Away Your Competition in 2013

How You Can Blow Away Your Competition in 2013

starr hall

We are two weeks into 2013, just curious…what are you doing to make sure you gain market share this year, stay ahead of your competition and most importantly obtain and retain happy customers? If you think posting on Facebook or tweeting a few times every day is enough, good luck to you, that is so 2012. Being social is not what it was five years ago let alone last year. Social channels change daily (I told you MySpace would be back and even better!), new technologies continue to surface and customer behaviors are changing faster than Google’s algorithms. I, just like you have been studying fast and furious on the web to not only keep up but to do the different and maintain quality relationships with my high level clients and contacts. I have cleaned house here at StarrHall.com, I deleted a database of over 20,000 emails, cleaned out my Facebook friends and Linkedin contacts that are no longer my target market, I joined a global agency last year to learn another side of the business (all I have to say is- it is great to be back as an entrepreneur- phew) and I cancelled my speaking tour so that I could dive back into R&D for 2013. I had to, my brain needs a reboost, I have another book due out, I am getting ready to launch my next venture and I want to blow away my competition and fast.   After countless hours of R&D online and off, I have landed on top five things that you should focus on in 2013 to blow away your competition. Feel free to add to this list- this is just a starting point. 1) GoMo- (Go Mobile)- Is your website mobile friendly across devices (android and IOS)? Google has an excellent site to analyze your website and they offer step by step actions that you should take to make your site mobile and device friendly with a focus on shortening the path to purchase. Link- http://www.howtogomo.com/en/d/test-your-site/#gomo-meter I am currently making a few of these changes on my gomo site as well. For example, when people visit my mobile site, I only want them to have 2 choices. 1) Learn, 2) Hire/Buy. 2) Socialize Your CRM (Customer Relationship Management…Mastery)- I always thought that referencing relationship building as “managing” your customer relationships was silly. Your customers don’t want to be managed. I refer to this as Customer Relationship Mastery. I want to master communications and build quality relations with my high level list of clients and connections. Which program are you currently using for your communications with your customers and clients? Whatever you use, make sure that you have the option to check your e-lists to see where you can connect with your peoples socially. I am referring to sites and programs that can help you expand your email outreach and determine where your customers are social, talking and sharing. Infusionsoft, Constant Contact, icontact to name a few. 3) Incorporate Smarter E-Commerce- When visitors land on your domain and mosite (mobile site), does your site make the purchasing decision shorter yet personable for your customers? Meaning, how many steps does it take to actually purchase from you AND furthermore, are there reviews and recommendations that they can see for your products/services to help shorten this path to purchase? Reviews are an increasingly important part of the purchase journey for online consumers.  More consumers will be searching for the name of the product plus the word ‘review’, or related words such as ‘ratings’.  If you have reviews on your site, then you stand a better chance of picking up this traffic. Also remember that bad reviews are valuable too, a mix of positive and negative reviews helps to improve consumer trust in the opinions they read. A Reevoo study suggest that the presence of bad reviews actually improves conversions by 67%. A few ecomm sites to check out for your on domain store/carts- www.Shopify.com http://www.bigcommerce.com/features/ http://www.drupalcommerce.org/getting-started  4) Utilize Customer Insights- Monitor and evaluate your customers behaviors and sentiment across channels so that you know how to better engage and move them into taking action. There are some great free and low cost tools available such as www.socialmention.com, www.socialbakers.com and www.twtrland.com.  Of course there are the Ferrari programs like Brandwatch, Omni/Site Catalyst and Radian6 to name a few, some of these will even predict behaviors now- wowza! It is vital that you know what is being said about you and your brand across channels. What is the sentiment? Mostly positive, neutral or negative? No matter what the sentiment is, there is always a huge opportunity to engage the positive and move them into advocates, focus on neutral by engaging and being there and of course responding to the negative in a way that aligns with your brand voice and CRM practices. 5) Co-Brand in Videos- Old Spice did an excellent video campaign on co-branding last year. They partnered with Bounce, a non-competitive brand and created a cobranded video/e-ad.  Think about brands, companies, causes – that you can reach out to and partner with on posts, in videos, domain shares and product/service showcasing. Link to Old Spice Video- YouTube Preview Image As always, thank you for visiting, reading and sharing. Addicted to Social R&D, Starr Hall (Egan)  
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