Category Archives: Community Relations

Cinnamon Rolls, Breast Cancer and Your Business — How Doing Good Can Grow Your Business

It can make good marketing sense to partner with a nonprofit or cause.

Consider what my marathon friends did when they were raising money to participate in the 3-Day Walk (you walk 60 miles in 3 days to promote breast cancer awareness and raise money for research). They approached a local restaurant called Backburner, which was famous for their cinnamon rolls. For a week, every time someone bought a cinnamon roll, they donated $1 to my friends for their walk.

I personally hadn’t heard of the restaurant, but when I found this out, my husband and I went and had breakfast there (complete with a cinnamon roll of course!).

So this turned into a win-win for everyone. My friends won because they were able to get donations for their walk. Susan G Komen won because they got more money to donate to research. The restaurant won because they got additional promotion and good will, helping out a good cause. And I won because I got to eat a yummy breakfast and discover a new restaurant. (We’re ignoring the calories I consumed there.)

More than ever before, consumers are socially-minded. In many cases, they want to know the businesses they patronize are also socially- minded. Connecting your business to a good cause is about more than just making yourself “feel good”; it can also make good business sense.

So what are some ways to start? (Other than writing a check.) Well, here are a few ideas you can use:

1. Jenn August did a whole telesummit around giving money to various causes. You could do the same.

2. If a summit is too much work, just do one teleclass, charge a low fee, and let people know proceeds will also help support your cause.

3. Have a sale and let people know a percentage of proceeds are going to support a nonprofit.

4. Offer to give a product of yours for free if people donate. Or, put together a special teleclass only for people who donate. (I would put a time frame around this if you do – for instance, allow 48 hours or a few days to donate.)

5. Put links to your favorite nonprofits in your newsletter or on your website. (But don’t make it so prominent you encourage people to click away from your site and not support YOU.)

6. Give away your time. If you’re a service professional and you find your client pipeline has slowed down or dried up, donating your time to a nonprofit can be a good way to jump-start your business. The exposure can help you find new clients, and you can make it known you support their cause. (And don’t forget to get a testimonial.) Now, be careful with this strategy. I’ve used it myself, but make sure you don’t go too crazy donating your time or you could end up getting really stressed- out when you client work picks up again.

But whatever you do, make sure this is coming from the heart. People can sense if you’re not being sincere, so make sure you truly do believe in the cause, if you’re going to publically help support it.

Tweets and Peeps — The Social Networking Vocabulary


A good friend of mine who is also a social networking expert contacted me the other day and told me I had to stop saying “twittering” and say “tweeting.”

Well, she’s right. I was using the wrong term. However, I was actually doing that on purpose.

Before I tell you why, let me give you some background information. Right now, Facebook has 150 million users, Linked In has 34 million and Twitter has 4.4 million. I don’t have the numbers for MySpace, the last I heard it was still the biggest, but at least in terms of business use, a lot of people have moved away from MySpace to the other platforms.

Now, there are thousands of social networking sites out there, but (as expected) a pecking order is starting to emerge. That doesn’t mean things won’t change in a few months, but for now, many business folks are focusing on the big 3 — Facebook, Twitter and Linked In.

Of those 3, Twitter has the least amount of users right now, although it’s growing very quickly. But, the difference between 150 million and 4.4 million, or even 34 million and 4.4 million is substantial. Clearly when you look at all the people at the social networking dance, a lot of them haven’t figured out the Twitter 2-step yet.

Now, that in itself isn’t a problem, but of all the social networking sites, Twitter has the most specialized vocabulary. So, this all adds up to me using the wrong words because I want to make it easier for people new to Twitter to grasp what I’m saying. (Besides, I actually hate some of the Twitter vocabulary — tweets? Peeps? Have we descended to the level of chickens and are now all hanging out in a giant hen house? But I digress.)

However, after considering it, I’ve decided my friend is right and I need to start using the correct terminology. Therefore, I decided to provide a short primer on what you’ll discover when you venture on Twitter.

First, what is Twitter? Officially, Twitter is called micro-blogging. I call it instant messaging on steroids. In a nutshell, you have 140 characters (including spaces) to say what you want to say. Twitter’s prompt on what you should be saying is “What are you doing right now?” While that is still a viable thing to talk about (after all, there’s a reason why reality television is so popular, we’re all extremely interested in other people’s lives) that’s not all you can do with Twitter. You can have conversations with people, provide tips and quotes, promote other people’s products/services/events and promote your own products/services/events.

Every time you type a comment, it’s called a Tweet. When you’re communicating with people on Twitter it’s called Tweeting.

If you see an RT or ReTweet, it means someone is repeating someone else’s Tweet. And, because people on Twitter want to give credit where credit is due, the person they’re ReTweeting has the @ sign with their Twitter name (so, for instance, if they’re ReTweeting me, you’ll see @MichelePW)

You also see that @MichelePW when people are having a conversation with each other. And, it’s not people but Peeps (although this is a little confusing because when people are following your tweets they’re called Followers.)

If you want to have a private message with someone, then you can Direct Message them, or DM them. (Note, I’d still be a little careful with your DMs as there have been times when that feature stops being private and instead turns into being publicly broadcast.)

Lastly, you’ll also notice a great deal of shorthand in those Tweets, for instance “u” for “you” and “r” for “are” because you have only 140 characters.

Hopefully this primer can get you started on the right foot so you don’t embarrass yourself on the Twitter dance floor.

I know – Social networking is all the rage. But can I actually make money at it or is it just a big waste of time?

Great question. And it’s one that keep popping up over and over again.

The short answer is yes – it’s VERY possible to make money using social networking and Web 2.0 tactics. Both MaryPat and myself are doing it and we can show you how.

In fact, there are a number of ways you can make money from social networking and Web 2.0:

  1. Traffic. Most of these ways will lead to more traffic to your site one way or another. Some of that traffic is from direct links to your site, some of it is because you show up more in the search engines and some of it is because people will find you somewhere and decide they want to learn more about you and go to your site.
  2. Prospects or customers. Your prospects will read your articles, profile, comments, or maybe they’ll see your videos or hear your podcast, etc. and they’ll seek you out to become your customer.
  3. Referrals. In this case, someone find you, becomes a friend or fan, and refers other people to you.
  4. Joint venture or strategic partners. Many people are looking for experts to interview for their teleclasses or shows, or speakers for their events or for products to promote, etc. Again, many of these people will find you using social networking means.
  5. Sell products or services. You have to be careful how you do, but it’s also possible to promote yourself using social networking tactics. This truly is an art and if you don’t do it right, you can do quite a bit of damage to your reputation and your business.

That said, it is also possible to spend a lot of time and energy on this and make little to no money. The key is to know what’s the best use of your time, what can be outsourced and what you should never do.

Want to know more? Join MaryPat and I as we host a question and answer teleclass answering all your top questions on Web 2.0, social networking and traffic and then some. It’s called “Everything You Wanted To Know About Using Web 2.0 and Social Networking to Get Thousands of Warm, Hungry Visitors to Your Web Site” and here’s the link to sign up:

Marketing Lessons from the Marathon

pink hatHere’s me with my pink hat walking the San Diego Marathon. I’m proud to say I learned my lesson from last year, which was if I improve my attitude and smile while I’m walking, I’ll have a much better time. And I DID. I had a blast – right on up to between Mile 22 and 23. Then, I hit the wall.

And I hit it hard.

I’m not sure why I’m the only one in our little group to hit the wall but there it is. For the last 4 miles, I wanted to kill someone (or kill myself). All of a sudden the pain in my legs, which was hurting for most of the marathon but it was more of a dull ache, flared up big time. And all of a sudden, that pain became nearly unbearable. I didn’t think I could deal with it for one minute longer.

But I did deal with it. For an hour. One very long, agonizing hour.

More then that, I refused to let myself slow down. (Although I must say, that was a fairly easy decision as I knew if I slowed down I would simply be prolonging the agony.) I kept with my 15-minute mile and finished the race at 6 hours, 26 minutes — 38 minutes faster then last year.

the groupSo that was a win. Other wins to report:

• They changed the flavor of Accelerade (which is like Gatorade). Last year they served the original lemon-lime, which was disgusting. I could barely choke it down. This year they served fruit punch. Much better. (I’ve decided to attribute the change to me, as I complained last year in this very same blog about it – I have no doubt the powers-that-be at Accelerade are of course avid readers of my blog. : ) )

• The wonderful people with the oranges were still there, Continue reading

PW and the Blue Men

In case you don’t know who the Blue Man Group is, they’re a group of three men who are (what else) blue, and together they perform this quirky show with no speaking, a touch of the odd, irrelevant humor and lots of really jamming percussion-based rock music. You might remember them doing Intel commercials a few years back. (Ironically, their show is based on poking fun at modern society, so for them to be in any commercial is pretty funny.)
Ok, so the encounter was a bit more involved than I said...
Anyway, the Blue Man Group is on the road right now and their travels have taken them to the surprising place of Prescott Valley, Arizona. You may have heard of Prescott Valley, but my guess is probably not. Prescott Valley is part of what’s known as the Quad Cities, which includes Prescott, Chino Valley and Dewey/Humboldt, and if you add all the people up together you’ll maybe get a population count of 100,000 if you’re lucky (and if you include Continue reading

Small Business Success — 3 Ways Gratitude Can Grow Your Business

I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. Family, food, friends and football thrown in for good measure. But I digress.

What I REALLY like about Thanksgiving is it’s about giving thanks. And I think gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions out there. Why is it so powerful? Because it has the capacity to change your life.

My business and life are going great right now, better than I had planned, but it hasn’t always been that way. There were plenty of times where things were looking pretty bleak. During one particularly bleak time, a friend told me to just start listing everything I had in my life to be grateful for. Now, when things are looking pretty bad, it can be easy to say “everything sucks, I have nothing to be grateful for.” But, if we’re honest, we know that isn’t true. There’s always something, no matter how small, that is in your life you can be grateful for, and sometimes you just need to take a step back to see it.

What’s so amazing about gratitude is it’s Continue reading

Advertising and Community Relations — Get the Best of Both Worlds

Have you ever noticed that in communities without big universities, high school sports take on an even bigger importance?

That’s what it’s like where I live.

But like everywhere else in the country, our high school sports are always looking for ways to make a few extra bucks. Enter the high school baseball sponsorship program.

For a nominal fee (really nominal) businesses can display a banner around the baseball field for the season.

To me, this is a perfect example of a win-win situation for everyone.

Businesses get to advertise to parents (who are currently purchasing adult products and services) and kids (who soon will be purchasing adult products and services). They are able to control their message because they choose the banner (one of the strengths of advertising). And, because the parents and kids viewing the ads know the proceeds are going to help high school sports, they tend to view those businesses more favorably (one of the strengths of community relations). Continue reading