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  • A Cup of Coffee to a Better 2011 To-Do List

    To paraphrase a quote I read on Twitter the other day, “I can’t believe another year has passed and I’m not the better person I was supposed to become.”

    Alas, there will always be more to do than can possibly get done. But instead of adding to your endless list of to-dos, take a moment to revise the ones already there–and even cross some off entirely.

    Here’s a starting point:

    If you didn’t brand your Twitter skin in 2010…don’t worry about it. With the change in Twitter’s format, everyone is viewing home and profile pages differently. Here’s what’s more important to do in 2011: Update your twitter bio with better keywords. Make yourself more findable by the people you want to find and follow you by adding 2-3 relevant words. Be as specific as possible. For example, “marketing automation” is better than simply “marketing”, and “WordPress programmer for health care providers” is better than simply “computer programmer”.

    If you didn’t focus on your LinkedIn profile in 2010…concentrate on 3 main areas in 2011: 1-Updating your summary and descriptions with key words–again–the more relevant and specific the better.  2-increasing the size of your network. 3-increase the number of recommendations.

    If you didn’t build your own blog in 2010…find some great blogs that are relevant to your area of expertise and write to the owners/editors. Ask to contribute a guest post with a short bio at the end that includes links to your Twitter and LinkedIn pages. If you can become a regular contributor, your brand will display in front of your audience on a consistent basis. Tweeting and updating your LinkedIn and Facebook status bars with your content drives people to social proof of your expertise.

    If a demand generation and/or marketing automation program seemed too daunting in 2010…focus on the basics of building your database in 2011. The idea of sending out an email campaign, building a lead gen program an automating your marketing practices sounds great…but if you’re a small shop, building your database can seem like too big a hurdle to jump.

    In January, commit 30 minutes per week to adding contacts to your database. You’ll be surprised at how good it will look by February. In February, March and April, commit just 30-60 minutes per month to adding contacts. And as the year progresses, add new contacts as you meet and connect with people. By the end of the year, you’ll own a high-quality, highly-relevant database that you can use for email campaigns and more.

    If you didn’t “touch” your inactive customers or old prospects in 2010…consider sending out a direct mail piece in 2011. Yes–you read that correctly. Believe it or not, direct mail is not dead. In fact, according to marketing magazine, “Deliver”, 79% of US households either read or scan advertising mail sent to their household. I’m still a big advocate of email campaigns (if properly executed), but consumers’ inboxes are getting crowded, and it’s becoming easier than ever to click the delete key after a quick scan of the subject line. A postcard in the mail is often unexpected, and is a fantastic way to reinforce your brand.

    You can avoid an overwhelming to-do list by examining which tasks are still worth still doing, which ones are worth revising and which ones have become obsolete.

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    Wendy Brache builds and executes personal branding and online marketing strategy for executives and corporations in the high-tech sector. She is the author of Sales Force Branding: Differentiate from the Competition, and co-creator of the Sales Force Branding program. Wendy is a senior consultant specializing in B2B Corporate Social Media, Demand Generation and Marketing Automation, and is also a featured marketing technology speaker and columnist on renowned websites, such as Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference, Chopra’s Intent.com and Denver’s GreatIdeasForKids.com.

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