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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Doing Business in Mexico


 
I am thrilled for my client and the launch of their brand new website. The San Felipe Marina Resort & Spa, located in San Felipe, Baja California Norte, resolved to undergo a major overhaul in an effort to make booking from a smart phone more convenient for guests.

This decision came at a good time with the release of the Apple iPhone6. Vacationers increasingly book reservations from their smartphones and it was essential that the hotel moved quickly to make the crucial change. According to eMarketer, mobile phones are predicted to become the top way consumers access the Internet, and businesses need to align their marketing strategies to accommodate this increase in mobile phone usage. 

In addition to ease of use from a mobile phone, the new San Felipe Marina website includes a cleaner, more consistent and intuitive design; a new reservation booking page; ability to book rooms directly from the resort’s Facebook page; content in both English and Spanish, and updated photography.

The hotel is already seeing positive results as  news of the website launch was recently published in Mexipreneur, a website dedicated to Mexico's business world. With various festivals and events on the horizon, the resort looks forward to a busy fall and winter season.

 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Over-Delivering is the Cheapest Form of Marketing.


Nine out of ten marketing professionals will swear that the cheapest form of marketing is content marketing. I disagree. Although this avenue is a great way to engage potential customers (this subject is for an entirely different post) – it isn’t the most inexpensive. The cheapest form of marketing is client retention. Don’t overextend yourself or your team by expending all of your energy selling to potential customers and overlooking the ones who signed a contract. People do business with who they like and trust. Over-delivering will keep your existing clients happy and result in referrals, additional projects, and a lasting relationship.

Here are 3 actions you can do today to over-deliver, thereby simplifying your marketing life:

1.    Call for no reason. Check in on your clients when there isn’t a looming deadline or a project-related question. Call to inquire if he needs assistance with a task unrelated to your contract. Call to ask him out to coffee. Call for any reason other than an existing project.
2.    Share industry news: Set up a Google Alert with your client’s industry key words. Relevant articles will come directly to your inbox. Once you’ve received them - scan, filter and send appropriate leads or tidbits to your client.
3.    Share publicity: Write about your client’s business in your blogs and articles. Use them as case study examples. Mention them in your social media feeds. Quote them if you’re being interviewed by a publication. Everyone appreciates free press and this is a great way to show your client extra value.

 Photo credit: rwconnect.esomar.org

 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

5 Steps to Delivering an Award-Winning Presentation


I’m a firm believer that the way in which you present information is as important, if not more important than the information itself. Audiences are very quick to make snap judgments and if their attention isn’t captured almost immediately you may lose them forever. Here are 4 steps to delivering an attention-grabbing presentation:

Develop a captivating opener: According to a recent story in Inc., Nalini Ambady, a Harvard experimental psychologist who studied nonverbal aspects of teachers, learned that people make decisions based on first impressions. Ambady filmed teachers for 10 seconds. Then, observers rated the teachers on a 15-item list of personality traits. Ambady then filmed the teachers for 5 seconds and again for 2 seconds. The observers’ ratings were the same. Her conclusion was that anything beyond the first impression was useless. A captivating opener could be a personal anecdote, a startling statistic, or quotation.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare: Write out your entire speech and memorize it front to back. Once you have your speech committed to memory, write down bullet points on note cards to help you recall your points while speaking. However; once you have your speech memorized you shouldn’t need your note cards. Think of them as your security blanket - there if you need them.

Practice, Practice, Practice: Practice your speech in front of the mirror, your spouse, your dog, and your best friend. Practice in front of anyone who will listen. Let your audience give you feedback as to how you deliver the information. Your speech might be extraordinary, but if you fidget and sweat throughout; your audience will focus on that instead of your story. Make solid eye contact, stand strong, and speak purposefully.

Videotape Yourself: In college, I took a terrifying advanced public speaking course.  Every speech was videotaped. Every. single. speech. After seeing the first video, I was mortified to watch as I twirled my hair throughout the entire speech. A nervous habit I didn’t catch until I saw it with my own two eyes. Watch yourself on video. You might be surprised at gestures or uneasy movements you make that could affect your credibility as an expert or impact your presentation.

Create a Take-Away: Develop a resourceful handout that outlines your presentation’s major points. Be sure to include your contact information. Do not give your audience the handout at the beginning of the presentation, unless your want them reading it instead of listening. The point of the handout is to remind your audience of the crucial points given during your presentation.  A creative takeaway could be a flash drive with your presentation saved to it. Flash drives have always been a big hit for my presentations and are much less likely to be thrown in the trash on the way out of the conference room.

Powerful presentations can be a great marketing asset to your company if you take the time to deliver the information in an appealing approach. Preparation, confidence and a little ingenuity will go a long way in leaving a lasting impact on your audience. Happy presenting!
Image credit: funny-pictures.feedio.net.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Kill a Creative Rut

 The other day I looked up from my iPhone to see my toddler riding the family dog. You would think that whatever I was reading was so captivating that I would fail to notice my son mounting our black lab. Sadly, I don’t remember what I was reading. In fact, every so often I find myself daydreaming WHILE reading - only to have to go back and reread. For me, this is called a ‘creative rut’. My brain is no longer absorbing; rather it’s on cruise control and no learning is taking place.

It’s all too easy to settle into a routine and become so comfortable that you don’t realize it could be negatively affecting your work. Scanning the same RSS feeds, scrolling through the usual social media suspects, and reading the same dailies can destroy inspiration and ingenuity. So, instead of feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, I closed my laptop, packed up my toddler, and went outside to do something outside of our comfy routine. We headed to the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden in Balboa Park, San Diego. The garden displays almost 1,600 roses of more than 130 varieties on a three-acre site.

Throughout my stroll I stopped to literally “smell the roses”. I noticed the sights and sounds surrounding me. The sky was bright blue, the flowers were amazingly colorful, bees were buzzing, and the weather was hot! Experiencing the garden allowed me to take a break from my phone (except to snap a few pictures) and take notice of the environment around me.  Engaging in just one small gesture, like strolling through a garden, can reset your brain and perhaps produce your next extraordinary idea.  Here are three weapons that help to kill my creative ruts:

1.     Take a walk: Close your laptop and go outside. Even a little exercise helps to clear my mind and recharge the work battery.  

2.     Read a book or magazine that you wouldn’t typically read: Learning one new piece of information could trigger an idea that may help your business, client or friend.

3.     Go to a park and watch kids play: Watching my son smell the flowers, dig his fingernails into the dirt, and run around the garden made me think of how important it is to play with kids. He was using his imagination with no inhibitions. This is how we should approach our marketing efforts.
What do you do to kill or overcome your creative rut?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back to Baja!

In 2006, I was lucky enough to land a freelance job marketing for a resort in San Felipe, Mexico. Located along the Sea of Cortez, San Felipe is a quaint little fishing town with mouth-watering seafood restaurants, cozy beach villas, and friendly locals who ensure expatriates and tourists alike feel welcome. San Felipe is only two hours south of the Mexicali border, which made it easy to head down there for countless long weekends. San Felipe holds a special place in my heart. From its breathtaking views, savory Mexican food, and gracious community, San Felipe is a destination everyone needs to visit.

My client, San Felipe Marina Resort and Spa, has been owned and operated by the Ramos family since 1992. Today, the hotel still boasts a steady flow of visitors looking for an authentic Mexican experience. During my numerous trips, we would swim, read on the beach, stroll downtown along the malecon, frequent Al’s Bar, and otherwise do what you do in Mexico; relax and enjoy…and eat!
San Felipe isn’t Los Cabos or Puerta Vallarta.  During busy season, Cabo and Puerto Vallarta are crowded and teeming with tourists. Even during off-season, San Felipe is relaxed yet encompasses a lively spirit that is hard to deny. Visitors feel less like tourists and more like locals. It also just got easier to get there. Most recently, the Mexican Federal Highway 5 was completed and is now a broad, divided, four-lane highway where a narrow 2-lane highway once was.

I am thrilled to share that I have been retained again to consult for the San Felipe Marina Resort and Spa, and I look forward to more long weekends exploring Baja. Now, I have a husband and 15 month old son who will be joining me on these trips down to Mexico. We all look forward to escaping there often. Adventures await!
 

 

 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

3 Simple Tips to Help Technical Staff Meet Their Sales Goals

Professional service firms are expected to deliver a quality product, provide top-notch customer service, and maintain competitive prices. To stay within tight budgets, technical staff must work fast and efficiently.  Also, it’s not unusual for staff to be held responsible for hitting sales goals. This can be a paralyzing thought to many non-sales employees who are hesitant to ask for the sale. For most, business development efforts are reactive and inconsistent because the technical staff is consumed with daily routines of emails and deadlines; principals are preoccupied with operations, and marketing staff is consumed with proposal deadlines. Unfortunately, these short-term deliverables may be hindering your firm’s sales.

Here are 3 simple tips to help your staff prioritize business development and meet sales goals without jeopardizing billable project work.

1. Build upon existing relationships - Spend 15 minutes each day on client outreach. This can be as easy as calling an existing client to ask how you can help them with a demanding project.

2. Focus on customer service - 80% of businesses think they provide “superior” customer service. In reality, only 8% of customers believe they received superior customer service from those same businesses (Shankman |Honig, 2013). If you think you’re doing enough, do more. An email to a client thanking him for his business would be an easy start.

3. Be a do-gooder - Help someone else without asking for something in return. Provide a project lead to a current client. Offer to host a networking event among select industry professionals.

Source: http://www.shankmanhonig.com/

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

3 steps to developing lasting business relationships

As a marketing and business development professional, I spend a lot of my time connecting with new contacts, seeking business leads, and sharing project information with clients. Through my experience, I’ve learned a few simple ways to build lasting business relationships. Try the following to improve your client relations:
1. Make a connection. Research your contact and his company to find out his likes and interests. Find a common ground and discuss it upon meeting.

2. Establish credibility. Relationships are built on trust. Do what you say you’re going to do, and do it consistently.

3. Sharing is caring.  Provide project leads, compelling news articles, and any relevant information that would benefit his company. Do this many times without asking for anything in return.

photo credit: thinkpanamahttp://www.flickr.com/photos/23065375@N05/2247354856/">thinkpanama
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