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Thursday, September 5, 2013

1 Step to Increase Your Business

In our weekly meetings WINN asks members to write an accountability goal, one attainable item that they need to accomplish each week. Many of our members have accountability partners who check in mid week and ask how they are doing on that goal, what steps they have taken towards it... and if nothing has been done, what is preventing them from working on that goal.

Sadly, looking at the notes from all the meetings I notice a trend of the same goal being repeated week after week. Sometimes its a small things like "order business cards", or "talk to 5 new people". Why are these goals not being met? What can I do, to really direct you to focus and accomplish your goals?

The answer, funny enough, came to me while visiting a new Chapter group in Arvada, CO. During a showcase presentation Sherry, with Keller Williams shared her accountability secret. Something each new agent is presented with at Keller Williams... a book titled

THE ONE THING

 Written by the successful Gary Keller, this book breaks down the stumbling blocks of business and the circles we run ourselves in when we are not focused. It talks a lot about how Gary progressed in his own life, and the steps he took to build Keller Williams and train other agents.

The real secret? Ask yourself, "What is the ONE thing I can do, that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"

ONE thing, ONE thing to be accountable for, focused on, and making the rest of your business function easier. 

If it is taking you 2 weeks to order business cards, a vital part of doing business. Let's ask why? What are you so busy doing that you can't find time to order cards? 

Are you spending time doing jobs that you can teach someone else to do?
Are you spending time doing jobs (such as building a website or managing social media, where farming that out would be less stressful, create more of an impact, and less of your time?

Instead of having a "to do" list of 5 things and a "I wish I could do list" of 30 things each day... Pick ONE thing. What is the ONE thing you can do that will have a direct impact on how your business runs, and grows. 

Do  ONE thing, each day.


I am challenging all the groups to refocus the weekly accountability goal, and to list ONE thing they can focus on that week to answer the question "What is the ONE thing I can do, that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"

I personally have been doing this for the past month, and I am much more productive, focused and committed to growing my business then ever. For me, it is a simple question I ask myself each morning - I write down my answer and that is what I focus on despite all the other chaos and distractions that come my way. This one thing gets done as a priority and my business is better for it!

  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

7 Steps to Proactive Customer Service

I have to say the easiest way to solve a customer issue is - to PREVENT them! A little extra time and thought on your part can go a LONG way in client happiness. When I set down to write this post, I started as always going to some of my favorite business news sites, business pages, blogs, and even resorted to straight up google.. looking for additional tips to add to my own knowledge in order to provide you with the most "bang for your minute". I was SHOCKED at how little was available! Sure, there are plenty of tips regarding how to offer "good service" and what to do when someone is already upset, but very little talking about techniques to have in your back pocket in order to handle that middle ground before things get out of control.
I know that there are many of you who do not have a background in sells, or service so I hope that you gain knowledge from this post. Those of you who have delt with situations and learned from them - I hope you add to this in order to share and prevent your mistakes from being repeated!
So to start.. many of you know good service. Greet your client, answer phones politely, return emails quickly, be polite... this post isn't about those.. this is about knowledge, knowing where the pitfalls might be so you can acknowledge them, finding the mine fields in your business so you can guide your clients around them without one going off!

1. Know your product. If you are a MLM, or you are creating your own product, or selling from multiple vendors... know as much as you can about how its made, what it does, problems people have experienced with it, obstacles in using it, even know other names people call it - or if you have 2 items that are similar (or named similar) know the differences to them! Know your competition as well! Know how much things cost, or where to quickly find the information. I once had someone tell me they were upset because they ordered a product, and the consultant didn't verify the order with them. Turns out there were two patterns that were similar, and had similar names... obviously there was confusion and the wrong thing got ordered. It became a customer service issue, because the consultant didn't very clearly, explain that she was verifying the product because they were named so similarly. This goes to show a little extra time on the front side, and a little extra knowlage will really keep your clients happy and confusion and frustration on the backside at a minim!

2. Gather information. This step comes after you greet your client and start the selling process... find out things about them, ask questions... I often asked clients if it was ok if I asked them a few questions so that I could help them better, before selling them something or before setting a photo-shoot. Knowing things like, what they think they are looking for, why they want it, how they plan on using it, lifestyle choices (such as being active outside, having kids, pets.. etc could be very relevant), where they plan on using it (is it for something specific, for a specific event or occasion) WHEN they need it by (good to know if you need to order, or create product or if you need to work with stock on hand) For photography and design I ask about personal style, how they see or describe themselves. This should by far be the longest part of your sells process. If you do this step correctly, you will know a lot of information about your client and be able to point them directly to the one or two things that would match with them the best!

3. Appropriately Share your knowledge. Just because YOU know everything about your product doesn't mean your client needs to! Appropriately sharing, means taking the information that you gathered and saying - here are the products / services that I think would fit you the best and here is why... then sharing 2-3 of those reasons for each product. You might be very excited to share everything you know.. but studies show that when you overwhelm your clients with information they tend to "think about it" more... because they need to process everything you told them... they are more likely to buy when you keep it simple! (Btw, this step has also been called "DON'T PUKE on THEM! As people who are given too much information often have that look on their face... just like you have thrown up your lunch all over them... its just TOO much to process!)

4. Set and manage expectations. From when to expect product, to what the product can do... setting expectations keeps your clients grounded and happy! If you do photography and you limit your images to 100 per shoot... tell your clients that up front. Don't hide information! Offer FAQ pages on your website, and if you know your client is a backpacker with kids... that's looking at a fragile item... address why you think the "waterproof" or other product may fit them better! It is their choice, but they will thank you for bringing the other option to their attention (and maybe buy BOTH)

This is also a very wonderful time to suggest adding time to delivery - if you set the expectation that products are delivered in 1 week.. that's when its expected... 7 calendar days. If you say.. 7 business days... that could be 1- 1 1/2 weeks... you get yourself in trouble if you get sick and the order doesn't go in immediately, or maybe shipping gets delayed do to a snow storm... whatever... instead of giving your clients the quickest possible time it could arrive... give a range and pad it with a few days. If product is usually 1 week - say - 7-10 business days - they will be THRILLED to receive it earlier then expected! Then you have not only managed expectations - but EXCEEDED Expectations!

5. CONFIRMATION: Many orders are placed in person,email or even texts these days... don't be afraid to re-confirm before placing the order.  Place a call or email back to your client and say.. I wanted to confirm your order for XXX and a quantity of XXX your payment of $$$ will be charged on XX date when I place this order - Please contact me immediately if you need to add to this or change any part of it.  Be sure to make sure you include any book pages of where the images are shown, or website links so your client can easily look at them to view. Reconfirm any special order instructions, size, style, color... in addition to the name.. especially if these items are from an MLM where different books may be available and names might be similar. Saying... I have you ordering the blue earrings, but I thought you wanted the emerald which is your birthstone instead... could save you a re-order situation! A simple follow up is all it takes!

6. Addressing concerns. Don't run away from concerns, address them and embrace them before they become more serious. If someone is worried about the cost of a product.. you might try FFF... (FEEL FELT FOUND) I understand how you feel, I have felt that way myself, but what I found is (insert your addressing concerns statement here. Such as... when you spray this on a cotton ball and then apply it to your face, you use very little of it, so one bottle should last you 6 months, that would break down to only $5 a month does that fit your budget better?)
Many concerns stem from lack of knowledge. A client may be intimidated by the technology, or their own perception of how long or how much is needed... by offering your clients information, follow up visits, classes or personal instruction... even facebook groups to join - you create an environment of "were in this together" which addresses those concerns and gives the client the comfort that you will be there to help them! You also set yourself apart from your competition!

7. BE PROACTIVE / BE PREPARED. Do you know something is going to be late, or was damaged in shipping... keep your client updated - CALL them - this is not an email situation! Have a solution ready. "Your canvas print was damaged in shipping when I received it, I have already placed a new order AND put a RUSH on it, because I know you needed it for your daughters wedding in two weeks.  Of course there is no charge to you for the reorder and RUSH, and I expect it to be here on X day." sounds a whole lot better then waiting till your customer calls you, or worse is expecting to pick it up... only to find out you don't have it, or something is wrong with it!  DON'T FEAR making the call - accept it as part of business - and if you have a solution or a couple of options available it will ALWAYS be better then " I have to call to see what we can do... " WOW I'm telling you no one likes to know there is a problem and YOU can't fix it RIGHT then! You should just  set your ear on fire now!

This also is good advice for simply taking the step to share how long orders take, what to bring to an event, or how much something costs... people don't like surprises. If your a photographer, have a PDF available of what to wear, or bring for each type of shoot! Scout the location are there bathrooms available, is it kid friendly, is there an alternative available... be prepared. I know our good friend Mrs. Theresa J brings a "just in case" emergency bag to her events... bobby pins, sewing kits... band-aides... shes got her brides back - because she is PREPARED!

I hope this gives each of you a step up, and a few things to think about, words to use, or processes to change so that you can work towards offering even better service to your clients. Maintaining clients is SO much easier then gaining new ones, plus when you go above and beyond, spend the extra time, and really get to know your clients THEY are sure to refer their friends to you JUST like we do in the groups, because you have CONNECTED with them!

At the end of the day we all have more to learn and share - please feel free to add your comments and suggestions to this list!

Friday, August 9, 2013

5 Apps for Business On the Go!




1. The Mailbox App

I know several people that aren't a fan of this app, and that's okay but it works for me. It makes it easy to get rid of the stuff I don't want or need in my inbox and get to the stuff I do. It also makes it easy to stay organized, as well as, put things back into my inbox when I need it to be there with the "later" feature.  I love that if it's Friday at 6pm and I get details for a client project that I won't be working on until the next Monday I can tell it to put it in my inbox on Monday so it doesn't fall through the cracks.  You delete things, mark things as read, use the later feature or put it in the right folder after it's taken care of.  For example - I have a folder that is for the A-List and another for Paid/Receipts for Bills.  This allows me to find the items that I need quickly and efficiently because they are in the folder. 



2. USPS App. 
Even though I've been quite frustrated with the UPSP lately, I use them to ship all of my orders and  their app is probably one of my most used and favorite apps. 

You can schedule pick ups, track orders, order supplies, and more!
 I'm an obsessive tracker. It's true. If something is going or I have something I know that is on it's way - I track it. Every day. I'm weird like that. I love that I can keep up to date on where things are, if there is a problem and when it's received. I use this app almost daily.





3. PayPal App (And PayPal Here)

I run a lot of things with PayPal. I have some business clients that pay with it, all of my shop orders come in through it and I've exchanged money with friends for items through PayPal.  With the app it makes it even easier - allowing you to check your balance, send money, request money and they now even have a bump feature, just in case you are standing next to your friend you want to send money too or get money from. 
You can also set it up so anytime money comes into your PayPal account or is taken out you get a push notification to your phone! 

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The PayPal here app is perfect for accepting non-PayPal payments (ie. Credit Cards/Debit Cards) on the go.  When you sign up for PayPal Here they send you a card reader that plugs into your earphone jack.  This makes it super easier for business transactions for your small business or any kind.  With the PayPal Here app, you also are able to 

4. Google Drive App

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I run a lot of things on Google Drive. I have all kinds of forms and documents that I check on, on a daily basis. Everything from Spreadsheets to A-List submission forms, and Small Business Saturday forms to joint projects with other business owners. Being able to have this accessible on my iPhone no matter where I am is imperative, especially since Google Drive doesn't send you any type of notification when a document is changed or a form is submitted.

I also love having Google Drive right at my fingertips so if I have ideas or something that I need to get out of my head and onto paper all I have to do is open up the app and type it out and I can access it from anywhere whether it's my tablet, my desktop, my iPhone or my laptop. 

5. Mail Chimp App
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I use MailChimp for email campaigns for the shop, my business solutions company and the A-List.  With the MailChimp app I can add subscribers to the appropriate mailing lists while I'm on the go, as well as, check reports about how has been opening the emails, if any emails bounced and the click-rate of the messages.   This lets me know who is active, who isn't and who just gave me a random e-mail address to make themselves look more interested than they really were.


What are Your Favorite On-The-Go Apps for Business?

This article was submitted by WINN member Kristina Streeter. Kristina is a new mom, blogger,  owner of a successful online shop, as well as part owner of Forward Business Solutions. FBS offers virtual assisting, web and blog design, as well as countless other solutions for business owners. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Importance of Words

Recently it was discussed on a popular site how research has found that employees who used the word "yeah" during a business meeting ended up with more accepted proposals.

I am reminded of a line from a movie "Yes, a Princess always says, Yes and never, yeah." So, why would the word "Yeah" be one of the top "Words to Use"?

Among that list you also find "give", "start", "meeting" and "discuss". It seems to me like all of them are common, and uninteresting. Perhaps even casual. While the article I read goes on to state "The specific words were found to be persuasive for a number of reasons. For example, the word "yeah" is believed to show acceptance and agreement of a point of view." Well.. that isn't news... I really wanted to learn why YEAH over Yes, what makes yeah "persuasive"?

We know that the importance of face to face time has changed dramatically just in the past 5 years. More and more, we are utilizing social media to connect with new and existing clients. Perhaps during this time we have shifted away from "power words" and in-person business meetings, instead becoming more  focused on connection and casual contact? Perhaps the business meeting is changing as well, becoming less formal, and more open to the common and every day? Maybe yeah and yes are viewed as equals?

Since I don't claim to know this answer, I simply want to remind you that there are common words and there are power words. There are inspirational words, and "sales" words. Words themselves can take on many different meanings and intent. It's an old "sales" trick to always find a way to say "yes" even if it is just a way of saying "no, we don't do that". It's all in the presentation... "Yes, that would be awesome if that product had that feature."

As you reach out to your social media groups, sit in meetings, or simply order coffee today. Spend a moment and think about your choice of words. Think about how you are presenting yourself. Connecting with others and how they respond, or don't respond to you!

The most powerful word in sales by the way? According to "4 Words to Increase your Sales".. it's the word "YOU".

Additional stories you might want to check out:

5 Words for every Business Meeting
12 Buzzwords for 2013
Words to Leave OFF your Resume
5 Most Persuasive Words




Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Social Connection - Google+


Welcome to the Weekly Revolving Link-Up - the Social Connection.


This week we are linking up our Google + Accounts.
Google + allows you to share information efficiently with the people you want to share with, create communities and has brought connecting to a newer level with Google Hangouts.

Here's the FAQs for the Link-Up:

Who can link up? 

If you are someone who considers yourself a Small Business (Photography, Networking, Blog Design, etc. in other words if you offer a type of service) or a Shop Owner (either one) we would love for you to link-up.  

When is the link-up?
The link-up will be each week on Thursdays starting Next Thursday April 4th. The link-up for the specific week's "link-up" will be live until the following Wednesday evening.

Are There Rules???
All we ask are these couple of things:

  • Please only link-up the specific week's theme. If the link-up is twitter please only link-up your twitter handle(s).  If you have more than one link (i.e. personal & business) for the specific week, you are welcome to link-up both. 
  • If there are specific HOSTS or CO-HOSTS (these are labeled with *** and are the first few links ) on the list, we ask that you take the time and effort to follow them on their social media outlets - our co-hosts will be working hard to promote the link-up just as we do which ultimately leads to more people linking up and more people for you to meet!
Other Things:
Remember the more you put in, the more you get out, so the more that you follow others and interact with the others linking up the more connections you will get! 
Also - don't hesitate to tell them those you are newly following that you found them via the Social Connection Link-up!

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Social Connection - Facebook


Welcome to The Social Connection!
Thank you for coming back to our link-up if you are visiting again from last week and Welcome! if you are joining us for the very first time!
This week is all about the popular site Facebook.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with more than 900 million users. Facebook accounts for 23 percent of the time people spend on smartphones. Just imagine the connections you can make!
>>Also Facebook just created a new integrative system for Android Devices. You can read Mark's interview here.

Here's the FAQs for the Link-Up:

Who can link up? 

If you are someone who considers yourself a Small Business (Photography, Networking, Blog Design, etc. in other words if you offer a type of service) or a Shop Owner (either one) we would love for you to link-up.  

When is the link-up?
The link-up will be each week on Thursdays starting Next Thursday April 4th. The link-up for the specific week's "link-up" will be live until the following Wednesday evening.

Are there Rules???
All we ask are these couple of things:

  • Please only link-up the specific week's theme. If the link-up is twitter please only link-up your twitter handle(s).  If you have more than one link (i.e. personal & business) for the specific week, you are welcome to link-up both. 
  • If there are specific HOSTS or CO-HOSTS (these are labeled with *** and are the first few links ) on the list, we ask that you take the time and effort to follow them on their social media outlets - our co-hosts will be working hard to promote the link-up just as we do which ultimately leads to more people linking up and more people for you to meet!
Other Things:
Remember the more you put in, the more you get out, so the more that you follow others and interact with the others linking up the more connections you will get! 
Also - don't hesitate to tell them those you are newly following that you found them via the Social Connection Link-up!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Social Connection - Twitter



This week is all about the fabulous Twitter.
Twitter is such a fabulous resource and a great tool to get information spread quickly to thousands of people in a quick fashion. It's also a great resource for news, events and more. 
Here's the FAQs for the Link-Up:

Who can link up? 

If you are someone who considers yourself a Small Business (Photography, Networking, Blog Design, etc. in other words if you offer a type of service) or a Shop Owner (either one) we would love for you to link-up.  

When is the link-up?
The link-up will be each week on Thursdays starting Next Thursday April 4th. The link-up for the specific week's "link-up" will be live until the following Wednesday evening.

Are there Rules???
All we ask are these couple of things:


  • Please only link-up the specific week's theme. If the link-up is twitter please only link-up your twitter handle(s).  If you have more than one link (i.e. personal & business) for the specific week, you are welcome to link-up both. 
  • If there are specific HOSTS or CO-HOSTS (these are labeled with *** and are the first few links ) on the list, we ask that you take the time and effort to follow them on their social media outlets - our co-hosts will be working hard to promote the link-up just as we do which ultimately leads to more people linking up and more people for you to meet!
Other Things:
Remember the more you put in, the more you get out, so the more that you follow others and interact with the others linking up the more connections you will get! 
Also - don't hesitate to tell them those you are newly following that you found them via the Social Connection Link-up!
Please Link-Up you Twitter Social Media Account.
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Social Connection - Pinterest & Wanelo



Happy Last Day of May! We hope you had a wonderful 3-Day Memorial Day Weekend. This week we are doing out first edition of Pinterest/Wanelo! It's the first FIFTH Thursday we've had since we started it! Exciting right?!

Pinterest is a large community of people creating organized boards based on interests, needs, dreams, food, products, DIYs and everything in between. On Pinterest, once you pin something to your board you can click the link when you are ready and it takes you straight to the website.





wanelo - it stands for Want. Need. Love.
This site is similar to Pinterest in the way that you can create boards of products, however, it's not for all the dreams (unless you are dreaming of products to buy!), or of recipes. Instead, Wanelo is a powerhouse for categorizing products and it takes you straight to where you can purchase the item. It was built for consumers and business to connect for products, to make purchases, and build more product awareness. Awesome right? We think so!


Thanks for joining us!! Come back next week for Twitter!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Social Connection


Welcome to the Weekly Revolving Link-Up - the Social Connection. So Sorry about technical difficulties last week! We will be linking BOTH Google + and Blogs to Make Up for it!!!! So here are the basics

Here's the FAQs for the Link-Up:

Who can link up? 

If you are someone who considers yourself a Small Business (Photography, Networking, Blog Design, etc. in other words if you offer a type of service) or a Shop Owner (either one) we would love for you to link-up.  

When is the link-up?
The link-up will be each week on Thursdays starting Next Thursday April 4th. The link-up for the specific week's "link-up" will be live until the following Wednesday evening.

Are There Rules???
All we ask are these couple of things:


  • Please only link-up the specific week's theme. If the link-up is twitter please only link-up your twitter handle(s).  If you have more than one link (i.e. personal & business) for the specific week, you are welcome to link-up both. 
  • If there are specific HOSTS or CO-HOSTS (these are labeled with *** and are the first few links ) on the list, we ask that you take the time and effort to follow them on their social media outlets - our co-hosts will be working hard to promote the link-up just as we do which ultimately leads to more people linking up and more people for you to meet!
Other Things:
Remember the more you put in, the more you get out, so the more that you follow others and interact with the others linking up the more connections you will get! 




Blogs

 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Social Connection - Facebook


Welcome to The Social Connection!
Thank you for coming back to our link-up if you are visiting again from last week and Welcome! if you are joining us for the very first time!
This week is all about the popular site Facebook.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with more than 900 million users. Facebook accounts for 23 percent of the time people spend on smartphones. Just imagine the connections you can make!
>>Also Facebook just created a new integrative system for Android Devices. You can read Mark's interview here.

Here's the FAQs for the Link-Up:

Who can link up? 

If you are someone who considers yourself a Small Business (Photography, Networking, Blog Design, etc. in other words if you offer a type of service) or a Shop Owner (either one) we would love for you to link-up.  

When is the link-up?
The link-up will be each week on Thursdays starting Next Thursday April 4th. The link-up for the specific week's "link-up" will be live until the following Wednesday evening.

Are there Rules???
All we ask are these couple of things:

  • Please only link-up the specific week's theme. If the link-up is twitter please only link-up your twitter handle(s).  If you have more than one link (i.e. personal & business) for the specific week, you are welcome to link-up both. 
  • If there are specific HOSTS or CO-HOSTS (these are labeled with *** and are the first few links ) on the list, we ask that you take the time and effort to follow them on their social media outlets - our co-hosts will be working hard to promote the link-up just as we do which ultimately leads to more people linking up and more people for you to meet!
Other Things:
Remember the more you put in, the more you get out, so the more that you follow others and interact with the others linking up the more connections you will get! 
Also - don't hesitate to tell them those you are newly following that you found them via the Social Connection Link-up!
Please connect your facebook profiles & fan pages. You may link up to two.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Social Connection - Twitter

Welcome to The Social Connection!
This week is all about the fabulous Twitter.
Twitter is such a fabulous resource and a great tool to get information spread quickly to thousands of people in a quick fashion. It's also a great resource for news, events and more. 
Here's the FAQs for the Link-Up:

Who can link up? 

If you are someone who considers yourself a Small Business (Photography, Networking, Blog Design, etc. in other words if you offer a type of service) or a Shop Owner (either one) we would love for you to link-up.  

When is the link-up?
The link-up will be each week on Thursdays starting Next Thursday April 4th. The link-up for the specific week's "link-up" will be live until the following Wednesday evening.

Are there Rules???
All we ask are these couple of things:


  • Please only link-up the specific week's theme. If the link-up is twitter please only link-up your twitter handle(s).  If you have more than one link (i.e. personal & business) for the specific week, you are welcome to link-up both. 
  • If there are specific HOSTS or CO-HOSTS (these are labeled with *** and are the first few links ) on the list, we ask that you take the time and effort to follow them on their social media outlets - our co-hosts will be working hard to promote the link-up just as we do which ultimately leads to more people linking up and more people for you to meet!
Other Things:
Remember the more you put in, the more you get out, so the more that you follow others and interact with the others linking up the more connections you will get! 
Also - don't hesitate to tell them those you are newly following that you found them via the Social Connection Link-up!
Please Link-Up you Twitter Social Media Account.

Monday, April 29, 2013

What I've Learned about Can-Spam

Recently I was setting up my new mail list for Verte Photography in a wonderful software called StudioCloud (It's awesome! But I will tell you all about it once I am a pro at using it!). I cheated on my set up a little and created the template to my emails on a different site, then imported the html. It was super easy, and I thought I was quite the rockstar for importing such a nice looking document that would match up with my branding. Then I saw the required "CAN-SPAM" information at the footer...

uh-oh!

Do I need to have some sort of link so people can unsubscribe? It links to the other sites mailing list... so leaving it there isn't an option, since it wont remove them from the list I am using! Yikes!

My first instinct was to pull the HTML code and see if I could simply redirect the "unsubscribe" link to email back to my business email... I am no HTML genius, but after looking at the code I thought that might be a bit too much to take on. So I thought... what am I using this for? To contact existing clients, and future clients who need more information or quotes for projects. Would I use it for promotions and advertising to people I was hoping to turn into a client?

So, that made me wonder where is the CAN-SPAM line... what falls under that law that makes you have your address and an option for them to "opt out" of your mailing list...

So here it is... direct from the SBA.Gov (small business administration) I hope you find it as informative as I did!


How to Determine if the CAN-SPAM Act Applies to your Business Email
According to the FTC, the deciding factor is the “primary purpose” of the email. The government defines emails as containing three different types of information:
  • Commercial content – Anything that advertises or promotes a commercial product/service.  These messages must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
  • Transactional or relationship content – These are usually receipts of payment, shipping notifications and so on and facilitate or provide updates about an already agreed-upon transaction. These are exempt from most of the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act, although they cannot contain any misleading or inaccurate routing information (i.e. the “To” and “From” fields, plus the email address and domain name must clearly show who the email is from.)
  • Other content – Considered as any other email that is neither commercial nor transactional (such as a response to a customer query) need not comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
Steps You Can Take to Ensure Your Email Marketing Complies
If you’ve determined that you must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act, then there are a few simple steps that you can take to comply with the law. For example:
  • Email headers, domain names, and subject lines must be accurate and not deceptive.
  • You must disclose if your message is an advertisement.
  • You must include a valid postal address in the mail body.
  • Disclose and clearly state how recipients can opt-out or unsubscribe from your message.
  • Honor unsubscribe requests within 10 business days. Any unsubscribe mechanism must be able to process these requests for at least 30 days after the email was sent.
  • If you use a third-party email marketing service, make sure they follow the requirements of the law – for example, are opt-outs being handled correctly? The law doesn’t differentiate from the company that sends the email and the company whose product is being promoted. 
To read more about the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act and get answers to FAQs, check out this brief (and plain English) guide from the FTC: The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business.


Don’t Be a Spammer - Build Your Own In-House Email Marketing List
To ensure your email doesn’t get flagged as SPAM or junk by readers, consider implementing a permission-based approach. Permission marketing is essentially when a recipients have provided explicit consent that they want to receive your email communications – whether by sign-up or other opt-in mechanism.

*******************

So for me...
I can simply remove the footer note for my confirmation emails and "relational" correspondence, however for any promotional, marketing, or newsletter style emails I will either use a mailchimp.com style site which automatically makes my comply with current laws (and its free for up to 2000 subscribers). Or I will wait until Studiocloud  has an easy solution for adding a "unsubscribe" feature that will link to my current list! Which they just listed as a future request because of my question on twitter... now that's responsive and good service!





Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Social Connection - Blogs



Thanks for Joining us this week for The Social Connection!!!!!!





This week we are linking up our BLOG sites.
Some of us blog for straight business, some of us for personal with a bit of business tossed in and either way you go it's a great way to connect to a great audience.

Here's the FAQs for the Link-Up:

Who can link up? 

If you are someone who considers yourself a Small Business (Photography, Networking, Blog Design, etc. in other words if you offer a type of service) or a Shop Owner (either one) we would love for you to link-up.  

When is the link-up?
The link-up will be each week on Thursdays starting Next Thursday April 4th. The link-up for the specific week's "link-up" will be live until the following Wednesday evening.

Are There Rules???
All we ask are these couple of things:
  • Please only link-up the specific week's theme. If the link-up is twitter please only link-up your twitter handle(s).  If you have more than one link (i.e. personal & business) for the specific week, you are welcome to link-up both. 
  • If there are specific HOSTS or CO-HOSTS (these are labeled with *** and are the first few links ) on the list, we ask that you take the time and effort to follow them on their social media outlets - our co-hosts will be working hard to promote the link-up just as we do which ultimately leads to more people linking up and more people for you to meet!
Other Things:
Remember the more you put in, the more you get out, so the more that you follow others and interact with the others linking up the more connections you will get! 
Also - don't hesitate to tell them those you are newly following that you found them via the Social Connection Link-up!

Please connect your blog accounts. You can link your main blog site and one following method (i.e. Bloglovin)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Places to Advertise your Business

                                                                                                                                                                     

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Social Connection - Google +


Welcome to the Weekly Revolving Link-Up - the Social Connection.


This week we are linking up our Google + Accounts.
Google + allows you to share information efficiently with the people you want to share with, create communities and has brought connecting to a newer level with Google Hangouts.

Here's the FAQs for the Link-Up:

Who can link up? 

If you are someone who considers yourself a Small Business (Photography, Networking, Blog Design, etc. in other words if you offer a type of service) or a Shop Owner (either one) we would love for you to link-up.  

When is the link-up?
The link-up will be each week on Thursdays starting Next Thursday April 4th. The link-up for the specific week's "link-up" will be live until the following Wednesday evening.

Are There Rules???
All we ask are these couple of things:

  • Please only link-up the specific week's theme. If the link-up is twitter please only link-up your twitter handle(s).  If you have more than one link (i.e. personal & business) for the specific week, you are welcome to link-up both. 
  • If there are specific HOSTS or CO-HOSTS (these are labeled with *** and are the first few links ) on the list, we ask that you take the time and effort to follow them on their social media outlets - our co-hosts will be working hard to promote the link-up just as we do which ultimately leads to more people linking up and more people for you to meet!
Other Things:
Remember the more you put in, the more you get out, so the more that you follow others and interact with the others linking up the more connections you will get! 
Also - don't hesitate to tell them those you are newly following that you found them via the Social Connection Link-up!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Social Connection - Facebook

Welcome to The Social Connection!
Thank you for coming back to our link-up if you are visiting again from last week and Welcome! if you are joining us for the very first time!
This week is all about the popular site Facebook.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with more than 900 million users. Facebook accounts for 23 percent of the time people spend on smartphones. Just imagine the connections you can make!
>>Also Facebook just created a new integrative system for Android Devices. You can read Mark's interview here.

Here's the FAQs for the Link-Up:

Who can link up? 

If you are someone who considers yourself a Small Business (Photography, Networking, Blog Design, etc. in other words if you offer a type of service) or a Shop Owner (either one) we would love for you to link-up.  

When is the link-up?
The link-up will be each week on Thursdays starting Next Thursday April 4th. The link-up for the specific week's "link-up" will be live until the following Wednesday evening.

Are there Rules???
All we ask are these couple of things:

  • Please only link-up the specific week's theme. If the link-up is twitter please only link-up your twitter handle(s).  If you have more than one link (i.e. personal & business) for the specific week, you are welcome to link-up both. 
  • If there are specific HOSTS or CO-HOSTS (these are labeled with *** and are the first few links ) on the list, we ask that you take the time and effort to follow them on their social media outlets - our co-hosts will be working hard to promote the link-up just as we do which ultimately leads to more people linking up and more people for you to meet!
Other Things:
Remember the more you put in, the more you get out, so the more that you follow others and interact with the others linking up the more connections you will get! 
Also - don't hesitate to tell them those you are newly following that you found them via the Social Connection Link-up!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Feature Event: Poker for a Cure

 Since the debut of WINN our first networking group in Denver, CO has supported WINN Member Chelsey in her fundraising efforts to benefit the American Cancer Society. Each year, Chelsey heads a team that raises money and walks the Northglenn ACS walk for life. The event goes for a full 24 hours and is full of amazing fun! Vendors come out, walkers dress up, there are hot dogs, camping and a beautiful lake to walk around by candlelight. Each year with the support she has found in her WINN chapter, and within our WINN network she sets out to raise a little more then the year before. 

While WINN typically does informational posts, offers networking advice and focuses on connecting women in business, I felt it important to feature Chelsey's passion, and present to you a way to support her in helping to fight cancer. I did this  because I feel that we offer more then just business support and referrals at WINN. We offer support within our community wether it is personal, professional, or simply supporting and drawing attention to a cause like this. 


 The following is a note direct from Chelsey about why she is so passionate, and what you can do to help. If you can help, either by participating in her events, buying raffle tickets (no need to be present to win) or by offering her something from your shop or business for the raffle... please contact us or Chelsey directly!

"I just wanted to make sure you ALL know WHY I am soooo passionate to finding a cure for CANCER!!! 5 years ago I learned about Relay for Life. A walk that goes for a full 24 hours, even over night. They walk over night and do not sleep because Cancer does not sleep. 

One year after becoming involved my sister lost her best friend who was ONLY 26 years old to Colon Cancer. Just in the past 2 weeks alone, I lost 2 friends to cancer. Both from my Arbonne business, 1 on my team who was almost done with treatment, when the treatment caused a blood clot and she died instantly. The other, who was fighting her second bout of cancer within the past 2 years who was a side line sister of mine in Arbonne. In addition, in the past month, my good friend Jennifer who is also a WINN member, lost her precious mother, and we found out my own mother has skin cancer! My Grandpa has been fighting prostate cancer for 2 years now, and my husbands uncle just finished stem cell replacement therapy. 

I could go on and on about how MANY situations I know of or friends and family I have lost or people close to me have lost.. I have learned that Cancer effects EVERYONE. Everyone I know has had a friend, family member, or co-worker who has been effected by Cancer.

 I want to help as MANY people as possible so 5 years ago I decided I would not only walk in the Relay for Life, but I WILL help find a CURE for ALL CANCER! 

Last year we raised over $12,000. This year in 2013 my goal is to raise over $20,000. We have many ways to donate. Below is a link for the facebook invite to our Poker Tournament. This is one of our largest fundraisers of the year. We are looking for products, services, and gift cards for our Ticket drawing that will take place at the poker tournament. 

We are also looking for Corporate sponsorships ranging from $250-$5,000. You can also make an online donation and find out HOW the money is used with ACS to find a cure and help those going through treatments. 

PLEASE Help me make this years Poker tournament and RELAY FOR LIFE event HUGE!!!! Together we can find a cure!!! Please invite your friends, post this link and help us find an END to Cancer taking lives...
Poker Tourney April 21st

Direct link to ACS Relay for life Donations & Joining our team to walk


THANK YOU!
 Chels
Chelsey Whitfield-Crittendon