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5 Simple ideas to generate leads before the conference

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You know you need to participate in industry conferences. You decide which capacity for each one whether your are simply an attendee, an exhibitor, a speaker or a host of a special event at the conference such as a cocktail party or gold event. When that decision is made, the clock of effectiveness is ticking. How will you add this to your already full schedule of tasks?

I’ve done this for several clients with great success. They were shocked at how much of a difference this effort made in their HOT leads and advocates. They never realized how much money they were leaving on the table and how their half or quarter effort was really just going through the motions at these conferences and trade shows. 

We also realize it doesn’t end when you head back to the office. That’s the afterglow of the conference. We aren’t done yet. Before you get back into your routine, we’ll have continued engagement to maximize your new potential clients and advocates.

Do you have conferences coming up? Do you have enough staff to really make a grand entrance – I’m talking trumpets and rose petals. If not, you need our help. Let’s talk and see how this would look so you can plan. Try to give me more than a couple of weeks’ notice – really. Months are better! 

Do you need help determining HOW much to host, promote and how to execute it? Short handed - that's where Lany Sullivan comes in. You need to schedule some consulting time with her to determine HOW to make the most of the event. Head on back to me to help create the materials to execute the plan.

Go under the "events" category or Hosted By Lany to listem to more of her expertise.

Event Marketing Budgets & Digital Marketing

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Create an expense line in your annual budget for events.

Every year businesses determine what their marketing, sales, sponsorship, advertising, social,etc, etc line items will be in the budget.

If you are an entrepreneur and not doing this I would highly recommend you find a money manager and start doing this.

What many businesses forget to think about (or it's an afterthought) is events.

Events are magic.

Alright, maybe that's not the best selling point for me to give to justify adding events into your annual budget. Let's look at every major consumer brand in the US. Every single one of them does events. They spend hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars to get eyeballs on their brand and samples of products in consumer hands.

The #1 reason to do events is visibility and brand awareness.

These brands look for an ROI, but do you know that it's not always a cash/revenue ROI that they want to see?

They want to see impressions. How many people saw our product and within that there are calculations to figure out the reach of what one individual consumer is actually worth in impressions. It's a complicated math game.

So, if these brands think it's important why don't you?

You don't have to spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Let's start small.

You are an entrepreneur and have a service that you offer (coaching, tech, social media, etc). You can invite 5-20 people to an event and charge then $0-300.

This event can be held in your living room, an art gallery, a golf club or resort, a gorgeous meeting space in a local hotel. Heck, even the library. These spaces will cost you anywhere from $0-$1500.

Your invite your guests to come to a local half day or one day event to learn from you on a specific area of your service.

You show up and deliver an abundance of value and they walk away feeling like they just won the lottery. What really happened here?

You just made an impression. Hundreds of them.

If you delivered tons of value:

  1. They are going to see you in a different light. They will see you as the expert.
  2. They will tell their friends and business associates about you.
  3. They will share your info on social media.
  4. They may hire you for your expertise.

An event like this doesn't require:

  1. A lot of planning
  2. An event planner
  3. A large budget

Let's simplify this even more.

Invite 5 of your closest business associates to a 2 hour session for free or for a very low price to give you feedback on a presentation that you have been working on. Ask for feedback and referrals. Let them know up front that you'll be asking for feedback and referrals, so that they come prepared.

Do this. Experiment. Get out of your comfort zone.

The do it again with a larger crowd. Invite your 5 friends back and ask them to bring one person with them the next time.

Each time you do this you begin to get more comfortable and confident in your content and the service that you offer. Talking about what you do will feel less and less salesy.

Create monthly or bi-monthly events. All low cost. All local. Create a routine and become familiar to your local community. Once the word gets out that your are offering high value information in your events you will attract your target audience and before you know it, you will need to create a bigger event at a larger venue.

If you start out small like this you can create a line item for events of $10,000 or less and create something impactful in your first year.

If you want to create larger events, I recommend that you start planning and budgeting 12-18 months out. If you know your event is going to cost $30,000 then every month you start tucking away and saving money that is specifically earmarked for your event.

This process makes it easier to pay deposits when they are due. Rather than stressing about how to come up with the money, you know you already have it in your event budget and can comfortably right that check or put down that credit card for the deposits.

What I see happen all the time is business owners decide they want to create an event, then they realize the cost and they either scramble to find the money causing way more stress than needed or they toss their dreams aside and forget it OR they try to create a Ritz Carlton event on a Motel 6 budge….. ON THEIR OWN….and fail miserably, swearing off events for the unforeseeable future BECAUSE events don't work!

Events work, but just like everything else in your business you need to have a budget and a strategy.

If you run a marketing agency, especially a digital marketing agency and don’t have an event arm in your business strategy you are doing your clients a disservice.

Hold up, don’t be mad. I’m trying to help you out here. There is so much focus on the digital side and you are working SO diligently for your clients. It’s an uphill climb to get visibility, to get their product or service out, to get engaging customers. I know your struggle. We live in a very loud world where everyone is trying to get everyone else’s attention.

How do you stand out in the chaos?

This well known but underutilized tool called events.

If you showed up with an event strategy for your clients that pulled their customers into a face to face, hands on experience you’ve just changed the game. You’ve now opened up another marketing channel that probably was not in use… WOMM. Word of Mouth Marketing. WOMM is a powerful marketing tool. It is not dead. It is alive and well. Look at every movie you’ve watched and who have you told about it? What about that bad customer service or the great sales on shoes? You’ve called your friends, told your co-workers, cousins, bosses, nanny, neighbor, everyone and shared an experience that you had with a brand, company, movie, etc.

This is why events are so dynamic and this is why it’s your responsibility to show your clients that value of creating live events.

If we go back to my post about having an event budget, you will see that I talk about what the major consumer brands are doing. They are actively every year putting their products in the hands of their consumers.

I hear you saying, well I don’t have a product that I can give away. I disagree. You can pull anyone in to play and test your product in your offices. Create a fun tech day and invite potential customers to come in, eat some food, learn about your services and get their hands on your product live and in person. SIMPLE.

You don’t have to pass out millions of samples, you can invite 5 to 10 local businesses in for a day or a couple of hours.

CREATE SOMETHING.

Be innovative. Your clients will appreciate that. They want that. They need that. They are hiring you to help them stand out from the noise. If you are just doing to some old offerings and programs you give to EVERY.OTHER.CLIENT. then you, my friend, are missing an amazing opportunity.

Expand your services, hire an event consultant (ahem...I’m available) and create some interesting and innovative ideas for your clients. Now YOU are standing out from the noise and are helping them do the same.

Let me say, that I see the lack of event ideas in the small, entreprenurial marketing agency space. The big digital agencies have this down to a science. I recommend taking a page from their book and increase the offerings and calibur of your business. Watch it change your world.

 

Why you need an online pressroom.

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In one of our earlier episodes we covered your online media kit where you need to have the bios, photos and logos you want others to use. This is a continuation of that topic. Your online pressroom is about credibility. When you have credibility, it adds to your authority, which adds to your trust which means more people will trust you with their business. This page should be linked from your online press kit and be maintained regularly. It can includes all types of content where you or your company was interviewed, reviewed or mentioned. This includes:

  • Radio interviews
  • Podcast interviews
  • Television interviews
  • Video interviews
  • Magazines - print and online
  • Newspapers - print and online
  • Professional organization posts
  • Complimentary posts by others about you, your product, your company
  • Reviews online
  • Testimonials

Tips to include these on your page:

Create a page with sections for the types of coverage. People that are prone to watching videos, or listening to audio files would want them all grouped.

You may list and link to the original source, but also save a copy for yourself. The reason why is sometimes these sources go away, close down or reorganize their sites. When that happens you have broken links and it can actually undo the credibility you are trying to build.

When you are including audio files, include a way for people to also embed the episode or at minimum share it. Same with video.

If you have an outstanding interview, you may want to include the transcript from it in txt or rtf format.  If you do include that as a download, be sure to BRAND it.

Magazines in print and newspaper, scan the actual article for your records and include the magazine logo, newspaper header, date, etc. Go to the online version and print to PDF for your own records and then you have back up. In your list, link to the online version as a thank you to the publication, have a link to the PDF version of the article from your scan or the version you printed to PDF online

Magazines:

Family Circle Magazine | June 1997 | (author) | “She’s Got ‘Em Covered” | PDF

Podcasts:

SLMA Radio | May 2016 | James Obermayer | Strategic Volunteering | EMBED

 

If you require permission for people to use any of the PDFs, audio or video interviews, be sure to state your policies on this page, too. Usually this statement is only needed on your Online Press Kit page.

Periodically have someone check the links on this page to make sure everything is working. Simple things such as when a site finally gets HTTPS compliant can break a link if they haven’t handled the transition properly.

On this same page include a form for people to fill out to request and interview or speaker.

If you have people on your team that do speak regularly, you’ll want a table with a thumbnail of heir headshot, name, title, and link to their bio from your press kit page.

Set up a watch on your company name, key leadership and your product names through something easy like Google Alerts. I’m always surprised how often my non-profit, Binky Patrol, is mentioned in small community newspapers. I’d never know about more than half of the articles without Google alerts. Even small mentions can make a big impact. I think back to a tiny side column article in Family Circle in 1997 and 45 second mention on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996. We still have credibility because of those two small items in such a huge venue.

If you need help setting this up, please let me know. More tips can be found on my website: https://susanfinch.com/rootedtips/

Additional Ways to Generate Event Revenue

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There are more than 5 ways to make money on your event. We’ve already covered the Top 5. Below we’ve listed the additional sources

  1. Ticket Sales and Add-ons
  2. Virtual Events
  3. Paid Speakers
  4. Coaching Programs
  5. Bonus Events
  6. Live Streaming
  7. Post Event Options

Make sure you download the full Event Revenue cheat sheet to learn more about each revenue stream and begin creating a strategy to maximize your event revenue.  https://eventsbylany.com/rootedtips

Use easy URLs to track your marketing efforts for events, books, products, campaigns.

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How do you know if your marketing dollars are leading to revenue unless you can track it? Even small businesses that have one or two events a year need to be tracking how their efforts pay off. Sometimes we pay for ads in directories, sponsor events, sponsor a local team of kids, put an ad in the church bulletin, boost our listings in the Chamber of Commerce or other business organization listing. Don’t you want to know if it worked? Don’t you want to know if people not only saw the ad but clicked on it? Sometimes these sites and situations have strict guidelines as to what the links can go to. 

Sometimes you need to be able to SAY the link out loud from a stage, podium, on a podcast, over lunch - don’t make it difficult. If you know you’ll be SAYING your domain regularly or one to promote your event, make sure you get a domain that is easy to spell, remember and SAY.

How many of you have ever heard on a podcast, video or show, “How can listeners get in touch with you?” and the guest stumbles out a clumsy answer, “Go to our home page: www.mycomplexdomainspelledweirdly.com and then click in the left on the button that says, “special event”.

Here’s all that’s wrong with that:

  1. www - your domain needs to resolve with and without www.
  2. Your domain needs to automatically resolve to the SSL version of your site - you’ll need to buy an SSL certificate and set it up properly so that no matter what page people go to without https:// it will flip to https://
  3. Your domain needs to be LOGICAL and EASY to say and spell. None of this Eleet E - l - e - e - t Realty type of stuff. If the real way to spell a word is gone, think of a new domain. We can’t all have .com.
  4. Your call to action link cannot require you to then explain where they can FIND the information to click again. That final destination page needs to be the domain.

Let’s talk about resolving #4.

If you have a landing page in the middle of your website for this event or promotion, buy ANOTHER domain for THAT thing and have it redirect to THAT landing page. You will then be able to easily market and track that domain and page. If your event is Health Jamboree 2018 and you are in Portland, and your website is: HealthyChoicesWeMake.com - you want to consider these options:

  1. Create a subdirectory link: healthychoiceswemake.com/jamboree18, or just jamboree to always use the same URL year after year, but update the content.
  2. Create a SUBDOMAIN: jamboree18.healthychoiceswemake.com
  3. OR an entirely clean URL: HealthJamboreePDX2018 .com  that would redirect to either a landing page in your main site, or be a specific site JUST for this event with cross linking from your main site. So many options.

Your plan all depends on your vision for the event, Is it a one time, or the first of many recurring each year or in different regions. You’ll want to plan for this type of repetition or growth when you secure your unique domain so you can follow the pattern.  Keep in mind regional uses of abbreviations. Up in Portland Oregon, PDX is a common way to shorten Portland and surrounding areas. It’s the airport call letters. That won’t work well in Los Angeles - LAX because that’s also an abbreviation for the sport, Lacrosse. A lacrosse jamboree is way different than the topics in our health jamboree, but the search results may confuse and irritate those that click if it’s not completely clear.

Is this for a BOOK? A book always needs its own website with a way to purchase EVERY format: print, ebook, kindle, itunes, etc. AND you need a form that will collect information and add them to a drip campaign regarding the book, the tour schedule, appearances, tips from the book and more. BUILD and sustain buzz.

Let’s briefly talk about squeeze pages. It’s a newish, more recent term that merely describes a VERY simple, uncluttered page to drive people to ONE specific call to action:

Register, subscribe, buy, answer a quiz, watch a video, etc. Some website themes have built in squeeze page templates. Many CRM services offer squeeze pages with unique URLs for sharing and tracking.

These same rules applies to hashtags for your initiatives, products and events. It’s OK to ride the hashtag others have used for related topics, but for your unique application and tracking purposes, be very careful and make sure it’s not already in use by a competitor, something unsavory altogether or something that is viewed with disdain by all or offends your target audience. Acronyms can be a messy place to tread.

  • A good tool is Keyhole: http://keyhole.co/ You can utilize their free trial to make sure your hashtag is safe to use.
  • Hashtracking (https://www.hashtracking.com/pricing/ ) is another service.
  • This list of 6 is somewhat misleading. They are not free, but usually have free trials: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/hashtag-analytics/
  • If you are going to use a hashtag regularly, or it is tied to a trademarked name you own, you might want to register it with Twubs: https://twubs.com/p/register-hashtag

ROOTED TIP: When you sign up for free trials, you usually have to give a credit card. Mark a LOUD reminder on your calendar for the day or two before so you END the trial and remove your card from their system if you don’t want to have it automatically charge your account.

Let’s talk about tracking.

You need to know WHO is going to your landing page, using your hashtag and from where. The easy way is to add this landing page URL, unique URL into your Google analytics. If your squeeze page is contained within your website, you’ll need to add the Google Analytics code into the page code to track it. This will also give you information as to their journey from your main site and what they did after.

Remember to add it to your Search Console, as well - be specific with the domain - https:// - if your landing page is within your main site using a subdomain or subdirectory domain/xxxx  then the existing SSL you have will most likely cover it. Confirm if you are going the subdomain route: myevent.mydomain.com Some cheap SSL certs won’t cover that. Also, if you have a payment gateway associated with the event, book, etc. can you track THAT part of it?

If this is for a unique domain, you’ll need to add tracking code into the header for all pages associated with this.  You can learn more about how to do that in this article as well as tracking hashtags in analytics using tag manager: http://www.trackify.co.nz/blog/tracking-anchor-tag-hashtag-pageviews-in-google-analytics

And:

https://webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/113338/how-does-ga-show-an-url-with-a-hashtag

And here:

https://www.analyticsmania.com/post/single-page-web-app-with-google-tag-manager/

Get more tips on my site: https://susanfinch.com/rootedtips

Your voicemail message - your first hello, or your last.

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Ideally, no call goes to voicemail. But it happens. Ideally you are alert, 100% focused, perky, welcoming and clear to all callers that call you and answer with enthusiasm and respect. That doesn’t happen. Unless you have NO tasks, NO proposals, NO presentations, quotes, marketing timeline items you are working on, you will not be able to answer every call. If you can answer every single call to your landline, mobile and video chat requests, you need more business and someone guiding you to do more than wait by the phone. Chances are at that point, you are broke, hungry and most likely unemployed.

Voicemail, answering services, phone trees have been part of business going back to the 1920s with switchboards in big companies. You see them in old movies - the ladies in a small room with perfect make-up while on a headset plucking one cord, and taking that cord and connecting it somewhere else - the transfer. The switchboard operator was the first greeter many businesses had. From there, the calls might go to the executive assistant who will decide who gets through to the target or will be sluffed off to the “take a message” status.

Fast forward to today - the age of voice over IP - VOIP. Calls from anywhere and any device can be routed with the same flexibility - anywhere on any device, or multiple devices, this includes video calls. This has allowed us to further customize that initial journey of the first time or repeated caller. We even have the ability to block callers from specific numbers so we never know they tried to reach us. We can send them directly to voicemail with a canned text message letting them know you are unavailable at the moment and will call them back right away.

We have become our own switchboard operators and executive assistants. You would have hired a professional in the past for those positions. Back in switchboard days, you hired entry level people. Why would you do that now? There is too much competition for everyone’s business and attention. Make it count if they call you. Make them feel welcomed after they’ve bothered to click on the phone number on your website to “call 800-555-1212?”. After they’ve bothered to go to your contact page, read your overstuffed business card - another topic - and actually put the digits in their device to start a conversation with you.

Now, you popular people, those with high up positions, those well-connected are most likely inundated with “strangers” calling you - sapping your time, interrupting your day. AND? Do you remember when you were hungry? Do you remember how it felt to have to make those cold calls? How it felt to reach out to someone you met briefly at some crowded event - in person or online? That is still a human. A human earning a living for their families. Give them some dignity rather than disdain.

I fully admit to being annoyed when I get an obvious boiler room call. They are spam, junk, unsolicited solicitation without any goal other than gaining access to my computer, scaring me into thinking I need their service to save me from a virus or donate to some unreputable charity. When I’ve had my coffee, and a decent night’s rest, I can stay composed, polite and quickly end the conversation without being rude.

But what about those callers we WANT calling us? We are on the other line, the call goes to voicemail, unless you have a phone tree set up with a live person answering for you as your executive assistant. You want that message to be SHORT, clean, warm, welcoming. The goal is to get them to LEAVE the message so you can call them RIGHT BACK. They don’t need you telling them what day it is, unless you are at a conference and it will affect your response time. At that point, give them another way to reach someone who can help them fast.

When was the last time you called you?

Try it. Do you like the experience? Is the message even current. Don’t you hate it when you call someone you’ve been waiting on to return from a conference, and Tuesday of the following week their message still says, “Hi, this is Heather, it’s Thursday and I’m at DreamForce through Sunday….” At that point you stop listening and most likely hangup since Heather doesn’t have her act together. First impressions, or even second chance first impressions.

Some ideas for the incoming phone call journey:

  1. A HUMAN ALWAYS ANSWERS FIRST rather than a phone tree digital switchboard.
  2. They route the call to your personal number.
  3. You see the call, you answer or…
  4. You are on the phone and it goes to voicemail or
  5. If you don’t answer will it go back to the receptionist with a different moniker so they know it’s a call that came back to them after transferring - this would be handled with more urgency than new calls coming in as they have already spent time calling you, being routed, not reached you and routed back.

Second tree option:

  1. Calls go right to phone tree.
  2. Is your last name easy to spell? How about your first name? Make sure if you have that type of “dial by name” system in place, you are in there by FIRST and LAST name.
  3. If your names are always difficult for people to spell, consider routing by department or a “say the name”. But if people can’t spell your name, they may not be able to SAY your name. Back to call journey 1.

Third tree option:

  1. All calls go directly to you - your direct line from LinkedIn, your bio on the company site.
  2. You answer with the attitude this could be “the one” - smile, welcome them, make sure you are in a place you can hear them, even if they have a heavy accent and are in their cars.

Here are some tips for recording your voicemail message:

  • Sound upbeat in your message.
  • Don’t rush
  • Avoid background noise.
  • Rehearse or write down your message before recording it.

Blitz Sales Software reminds us to:

  1. Share basic information:
  2. If you’re out of the office: - BUT change it when this isn’t true.
  3. Be courteous of your customers’ time:
  4. Give them a realistic expectation:
  5. Catch their attention:
  6. Prove your attentiveness to voicemail:

Top 5 Ways to Monetize Your Event

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When you decide to add events as a revenue stream into your business the normal thought process is to focus on ticket sales to make money.

Ticket sales are extremely important as that is your indicator for 1) How many people are attending your event and 2) Where you need to adjust your marketing efforts to increase “butts in seats”

Here are the Top 5 ways to bring in event revenue that go beyond ticket sales.

  1. Sponsors - Creating partnerships and collaborations with sponsors is one of the most profitable revenue streams for events. Find companies and brands that are in alignment with your message and who have a similar target audience.
  1. VIP/Upgrade Options - Create high end options that will provide more benefits and value to your audience.
  1. Product Sales - Upsell your attendees to your next event, your coaching products, books, masterminds and more.
  1. JV/Affiliates - The best way to sell tickets is to have a solid business partnerships with influencers who will promote your event to their audience and increase the visibility of your event.
  1. Speaker Sales Splits - Allow your speakers to sell from stage and agree to a split of their sales because you are giving them an opportunity to be in front of your audience...a new audience.

Download ALL of your Event Revenue Sources at eventsbylany.com/rootedtips

Revenue Tip: You can have a lot of tools, but it’s up to you to implement them.

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One of the takeaways from this episode is that many of us take courses, attend seminars and more, but it's up to us to implement the take aways. Even if we only get one tip we can apply, WE need to apply it ourselves. 

Nancy talked about creating her companies’ future - their revenue generator - is their new virtual course option. This is an 11 week course to immerse into and then develop the habits for collaborative selling.

Now to our topic and Nancy’s tip: People need to ask for decisions - ask for commitment, in every buyer interaction. People put so much work into getting in front of the right prospect. Then they know they need to explore the possibilities and solutions, but they leave that time together with nothing specific, or worse, the unknown, "OK, I'll send you something and follow up with you later..." WHAT!? ASK the question. Give a close to the "episode" with that prospect. Are you ready for?... Is it the next meeting? Is it bringing someone else into the conversation? Are they agreeing to review a recommendation? Don't agree to put in time if they are not giving you a specific commitment to meet again. There is no commitment on their end if you just send something without a specific next step on their end.It might take you hours for each to put together something to send. Nancy tells this story at about the 4:45 mark in this episode.

ASK FOR SPECIFIC COMMITTMENTS OR DECISIONS BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE MEETING!

Without it, you've let them off the hook with a stall. You have lost control of the meeting or conversation. You have to guide them. They are looking to you to be the expert. They want you to be the expert. Act like one who has confidence. There is more, but you'll just have to listen to this episode.

And at the 15 minute mark, Susan Finch gives a challenge to anyone who has gained success and REVENUE by attending a workshop, signing up for a training series - pay it forward. If you increased revenue by a few thousand dollars last year as a direct result, or closed a big deal after learning from a $1250 seminar series, why not pay it forward and create a scholarship of sorts with that event or series host - 10% to go to help someone else attend and gain insights? YOU can be part of their success. It also shows your appreciation for the knowledge beyond the event tuition. There would be no greater compliment. 

About Nancy Bleeke (pronounced Blay-key), CSO and President of Sales Pro Insider:

Sales is definitely part of Nancy’s genetic make-up. She has spent years in the trenches as a sales professional, sales manager, a sales coach, and wrote the gold medal winning book Conversations That Sell which has been declared a “must-read” for sales teams around the world.

About Nancy Bleeke (pronounced Blay-key), CSO and President of Sales Pro Insider:

Sales is definitely part of Nancy’s genetic make-up. She has spent years in the trenches as a sales professional, sales manager, a sales coach, and wrote the gold medal winning book Conversations That Sell which has been declared a “must-read” for sales teams around the world.

Connect with her on LinkedIn  Twitter and her website.

Get more tips on Susan's site: https://susanfinch.com/rootedtips

Don’t lose revenue by skipping paying a pro for website maintenance.

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Yes, we all know a guy, or a kid or a neighbor who “does” websites and can help us for $12/hour and a case of beer. But is that who you want maintaining your site? You are building a business, a division, launching a product, a book and event - don’t trust the results of your efforts to someone who only has evenings and weekends available to you to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Your website is more than your online brochure, it’s your first impression, the gateway to your sales funnel, and ultimately your revenue.

Recently I took a website over from someone who had very little time to keep things current, make simple updates and never considered teaching the client how to do simple text and content updates. This is typical of “the guy”. Typical of “the lady, the gal, the girl” who is MIA is that they just disappeared, stopped working on sites, took a job, etc. “The guy” is usually a control freak who is so afraid of the impact of imparting knowledge on the client because it will cost him money. This is my favorite type of new client because one of the tasks I love more than anything is TEACHING clients how to be in control, or at least understand their websites, online marketing, profiles and how they all play together to help generate REVENUE! I love smart clients and clients who want to learn how to do things. BUT, I also think that knowledge and energy needs to be weighed against the tasks that need to be done by the client in order to continue generating revenue. Sure, DIY your website and you save that monthly maintenance fee, the periodical overhauls, the check ups, the time to test forms, links, security, SEO. Are you starting to see the issue? YOU are GREAT at meeting your customers, opening doors, developing your product, marketing, so why would you want to add website maintenance to the day? Many of my real estate clients completely accept this. Their business ebbs and flows, so we adjust our budget accordingly. They have me do the basics no matter what to keep their site and marketing efforts worry free. AND during fat months, we add bonus items - preparing drip campaigns, cleaning up social profiles, enhancing the website with new features and more.

I had a frank talk with one that was stressing about having to do it all. I asked, “How about you focus on your job, getting listings, closing deals and make enough that you don’t have to do the online maintenance or skip it because you are being cheap?” They appreciated the frank talk, and question. They laughed and agreed. One deal pays for my services for a year, easily. Money well spent at that point.

Here’s another situation, I made the mistake of assuming a small business understood that a website requirement maintenance. I made the assumption because we ended up in a client/vendor relationship because he had a site, HAD one that lapsed and then disappeared because he hadn’t continued to pay for hosting. It was a do-over. When we rebuilt it through the Wayback Machine version of his site to get the basic content back, we talked about why it happened, and how to prevent it. I thought it was understood that after I was done, SOMEONE still needed to update the site, make sure the theme, plugins, hosting, security, links, feeds were all current. We TALKED about it, I did not have it in writing. When things needed to be updated and I asked if I could do it and told him what it would cost he was furious. We have mended, and he understands now that it will cost money. He hasn’t wanted to pay to do this regularly so now it’s been 7 months on two sites since the admin has had any maintenance. This kills me, but I can’t give it all away just because I care and it bugs me. I’m a professional, so is he. So here’s the takeaway:

First time entrepreneurs - good for you for choosing to pay a pro create your site. That is EXCITING, but, it’s way beyond building the site. You’ve paid the pro, you’ve launched - now what? The part that’s on you is maintaining the website or hiring someone to check in and maintain it monthly, or at minimum quarterly - it’s more than clicking “update” of the plugins. Just because you paid to have your site created, doesn’t mean it’s on that original vendor to maintain it forever as part of that agreement. Things change with online security regularly. Browsers update, plugins update.

Even a very small maintenance agreement will keep your site updated regularly and made less vulnerable with this tune-ups. Spend a small amount each month to check you are not blacklisted, that your theme, plugins, links are current and that your site is being submitted properly to Google Analytics.

Your site is not a one time deal. It’s a living, breathing marketing tool. Get a pro to help you keep it current and keep it useful. It’s super embarrassing to launch a marketing campaign and they go to a link on your site that returns a 404 error, or your site gives the white screen of “scary” because you are not HTTPS:// compliant.

You get one shot when you reach out to people through a campaign, through a business card when you meet them in person, through your profiles on LinkedIn, Google My Business and more. You don’t want them doubting your capability because you didn’t want to spend between $45 and $100 a month to keep it all working smoothly. Do what you do best. Interview and hire a pro to do the parts they do best. Ask your peers:

  1. Who do you use for website maintenance, not content?
  2. How much do they charge?
  3. How often do they work on your site?
  4. What’s the turnaround time for update requests?
  5. Has your site ever been hacked?
  6. Would you recommend them to me?
  7. What do you like BEST about this company/service provider?

And visit their site to see if it’s fast loading, if it’s logical, easy to navigate. Get more tips and free guides at: https://susanfinch.com/rootedtips

Your event timeline - when does it start?

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When planning an event, meeting, retreat, workshop or conference you will want to build out a timeline for your event. Certain elements of your event need to be reserved, contracted, ordered and paid for by a specific time frames prior to the event. If you have a member of your team managing this part of your event, you will want to ensure that they have the proper information and authority to complete tasks and sign contracts on your behalf.

Most large events are planned 12-18 months in advance, but here is a good guideline to follow depending on how often you are running your event.

 

  • Annual Events - Start 12-18 months out
  • Semi Annual Events - Start 9-12 months out
  • Quarterly Events - Start 6 months out
  • Monthly Events - 3 months out

 

If the event is an annual event, you will start planning your next event almost as soon as your current event is completed.

The shorter the lead time on an event, the tighter the deadlines and potentially the higher stress.

Lofty dreams and goals for events don’t work to create a successful event.

I had a client come to me wanting to create a 300 person event in 60 days from scratch.

The event idea was amazing, but they had no idea how they were going to put it all together, pay for it and get butts in seats in that time frame.

Doing a smaller event in a short time frame is definitely doable, but you need to be super realistic when it comes to deadlines, money and attendance goals.

The greater the lead time to plan an event, the higher the success rate.

 

Download your Quick Start Timeline at eventslany.com/rootedtips