All posts in December 2007

  • 10 Things You Can Do to Rock Your Business in 2008

    By: Shama Hyder   1. Kill the resolutions, and stick to one word– Christine Kane wrote a great post on Resolution Revolution about this very thing. Every year we create long lists of resolutions for ourselves, our families, and our businesses. But somehow, most of us give up along the way or beat ourselves up for not accomplishing what we thought we should. This year, stick to ONE word (two at the most) that sums up what you want. For example, "more clients" or "focus" or "patience." You can then frame all your activities around this one word. If you choose "more clients", every marketing activity you do should revolve around getting you more clients. You won’t be working on mundane tasks that you can outsource. You will simply ask yourself- "Is this activity getting me more clients?" This is a simple but powerful technique. My personal word for 2007 was patience. It was a long year! = ) My combo word for 2008 is service/integrity. What will yours be? (This is also a really neat technique to teach your kids. It’s so simple, they may get better at it then you!) 2. Hire a coach- It’s true. Coaching is…

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  • Tackle Your People Issues in 2008-Guest Post

    By: Jay Hargis People Problems? January is always a time of reflection and resolve.  Every year we pause and we plan and we always make resolutions—some spoken and some silent.  What will 2008 hold for you and for your business?  If you are like most people, you’re hoping that 2008 will bring you increased revenue, entrée into new markets, and the “deal of a lifetime”.  As you put together your marketing plan I’d also encourage you to put together a solid people plan. People plan? What are you doing about people planning in 2008?  If you are going to meet your goals and objectives, do you have the right people on the proverbial bus?  In today’s hypercompetitive business world, having the right people in place is the key to achieving your sales goals and the right people include everyone in your company.  If you are struggling with sales I’ll bet that you are also struggling in other areas.  No two parts of the organization work in a vacuum—everything is interrelated.  So, you must have the right people in all of your positions. How do I find/hire/coach the right people? Let’s start by asking three fundamental questions: 1.       Who is doing…

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  • A Social Media Marketing Playbook

    By: Shama Hyder Not sure how to start your social media marketing campaign for 2008? Ever wondered how to approach bloggers to pitch your product? Want to know how to launch a successful viral video? Then, check out this book- Getting to First Base-A Social Media Marketing Playbook. After The Launch is in no way affiliated with this book or its authors. They just sent me a copy to review, and I absolutely LOVED it. It is not quite the playbook. You won’t find 1-2-3 steps, but you will find lots of great examples and tons of information. If you are a beginner or have dabbled in social media marketing, this book will open lots of doors for you. If you live and breathe social media marketing, you will still walk away with one or two insights that have you thinking it was well worth the price-$29. I love how Darren and Julie (the authors) have laid our their own plans, mistakes, and triumphs for all to read. In an industry where people often like to hide their strategies, these guys are really walking their talk. I also enjoyed their witty and humorous style of writing. Let’s just say at…

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  • A Very Merry Christmas…and a Heartfelt Thanks

      We at After The Launch want to wish you and your family a most joyful holiday season and a prosperous new year. Thank you for all the support and love you have shown us this year. We hope you will allow us to continue to serve you and your business in 2008.

  • A Holiday Gift – Give Up Your Limiting Thoughts

    By: Shama Hyder The new year is right around the corner, and this is your chance to give yourself the greatest gift. Give up the limiting thoughts that are holding you back. Leave them in 2007, and embrace 2008 with open arms and an open mind. Here are some limiting marketing thoughts that I keep hearing, and how to tackle them: Marketing isn’t my thing Truth be told, marketing isn’t anyone’s thing. Marketing is a skill you can develop over time. The best marketers I know are those who continued to try new things and had patience with the results. It’s a trial and error process. You take what works and keep at it. And that’s not so bad right? It’s complicated to explain what we do It’s not. If it is complicated, the chances are you are communicating the features rather than the benefits. When someone asks me what we do at After The Launch, I rarely mention the word marketing. I simply say "we help professional service providers attract more clients." Marketing is the how. The final result is more clients. Technology is too overwhelming. I don’t even know where to start One, you probably know more than…

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  • Dear Shama…I Just Don’t Get Marketing!

    Dear Shama, I am an event planner and love helping people create memorable events. I started my business with a lot of love for what I do, but now my passion is getting eroded. And it’s not because I don’t like to market! I do. I am enthusiastic about what I do and have no problems tooting my own horn. However, I just don’t get marketing. I should be a marketing pro by now, because I have read almost every book out there on the subject! Yet…I am not seeing any results in my business. What gives? -Creative Planner in UK Dear Creative Planner in UK, I have a friend who watches every legal TV show known to man, but it doesn’t make her a lawyer. In order to be a good marketer, you have to do more than read books. You have to develop skills! Buying books or taking classes won’t make you an expert marketer. Implementing those ideas you find in the books will put you on that path. There are a couple of key steps you need to follow here- Start with the basics-and get REAL good at it. You may be trying too many things to…

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  • Top 3 Marketing Predictions for 2008

    By: Shama Hyder 2008 is almost here, and we at After The Launch are fully prepared for it. Here are our marketing predictions for 2008. These marketing predictions are relevant across the board, but hold especially true for Professional Service Firms. 1) More businesses will realize that marketing needs to be offline and online based. More businesses will begin to see the benefits of online marketing and devote a greater percent of their budget to developing their online presence. While retail companies have already started harnessing the power of the web, most service firms are still lagging behind. 2) Social Media Marketing will become more measurable and strategic. Currently a few companies are toying with the idea of leveraging social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to promote their services. Most companies have never even heard of this concept. 2008 will be the year that more companies allow themselves to experiment with this method. It will also be the year that social media marketing becomes more quantifiable in terms of ROI. 3) Business blogging will continue to grow. Some people continue to feel that blogging will not last, but the truth is that more businesses will begin to see…

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  • Marketing Blooper: Rigid Rules Lead to Lost Revenues

    By: Shama Hyder We are starting a new tradition here at After The Launch. We always tend to focus on marketing done well, but we have decided to occasionally throw the limelight on marketing bloopers. It’s a great way to learn what NOT to do. So here is our first marketing blooper..committed by a public library. As many of the regular readers know, I am a book-worm. I read a couple of books a week, and the information I gain is fantastic. The downside? My house is filled with more books than I know what to do with. So, I decided to call our local library today and offered to donate some of my brand new books. I figured they would be ecstatic to have more new books to add to their collection. Instead, I was told to wait until July, because that is when they begin collecting books. YIKES! I have done consulting work with public libraries before, and I have to say that they are some of the hardest organizations to work with due to their rigid systems. Greatest Takeaway- Don’t let rigid rules lead to lost revenue and dissatisfied customers. Remember that rules in business are meant…

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  • A Recent Conversation…

    By: Shama Hyder   Joe, The CEO: Our marketing needs a boost, but there isn’t a budget to hire a full-time marketing director. Me: A rock and a hard place? Joe, The CEO: Yeah. We need a marketing director to help increase profits, but until we make more, we can’t hire one. We definitely need more clients though to make 2008 a better year. Me: Why not outsource your marketing efforts? It costs a fraction of what hiring a marketing director would cost. And you can get pretty solid results if you find the right firm. Joe, The CEO: We can do that? Me: If you like, yes. Many companies choose to outsource their marketing functions. Joe, The CEO: Awesome! I never considered that as an option. Do you know any companies that do that? Me: Yes…Us. = )

  • Why Invest in Search Engine Optimization?

    By: Shama Hyder You and your firm do a great job for your current clients, and your offline marketing techniques have been delivering decent results. So, why do you need to invest in online marketing? Why care where you rank in the search engines? The same reason you care about anything else…because your prospects and clients care. According to research done by WebVisible and Nielson, 74% of the 2000 respondents they polled said they used search engines to find information on local businesses. Where do you fall in the search engines? What keywords do your prospects use to find your services? And how many of those prospects are you losing to competitors because they rank higher than you on the search engines? The best part about search engines is that they level the playing field. Smaller firms can compete with bigger firms-without paying more. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is also a lot more cost effective and efficient in the long run compared to advertising. Bottom Line: What’s stopping you from leveraging the internet to market your business and your services?

  • Marketing Plan for 2008- Questions To Ponder

    By: Shama Hyder If you haven’t already started planning your marketing for next year, I suggest you do so now. Service firms really need a strategic plan in place for 2008 if they want to develop or keep their competitive edge. Here are the questions I have been hearing from various business leaders- Where is most of our profit coming from? How can we maximize this value? We get a lot of leads, but they aren’t qualified. How to we attract more qualified leads in 2008? Social Media Strategy is all the buzz these days, but where do we start? How much do we budget for this? There have been so many suggestions about internet marketing that we are baffled. Is SEO for us? How can we leverage the internet fully to attract qualified leads? How do we convert more traffic into buyers? Is Google ad-words the way to go? As a professional services firm, how can we use Web 2.0 marketing to specifically target our potential buyers? We are thinking of outsourcing our marketing entirely. What do we need to know? The people in charge of marketing our business could really use some training. How do we go about…

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  • What a Massage Therapist Taught Me About Marketing

    By: Shama Hyder A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a massage therapist in Austin. My back had been killing me, and my physical therapist insisted I find a massage therapist immediately. I know very few people in Austin, so I just did a local search on Google. It lead me to this page. Gilmore Massage Therapy in Austin had 20 five star reviews. None of the other places had anything even close to this. I immediately called the place, and was greeted by a very warm voice mail. I left a message stating my urgent need, and Alexa Gilmore (massage therapist) called me back within the hour. She didn’t have an opening until Friday (I called on Wednesday), but after reading the rave reviews, I didn’t care about the wait. On Friday evening, I eagerly left the office for my appointment. Her practice was situated in a building with plenty of parking, and her clear directions made it easy for me to find. When I arrived, I was greeted by a cozy room with plenty of coffee table books. Alexa gave me the standard form to fill out, and then escorted me into the massage room. She…

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