Being different

Some time ago I joined a conference held by Magnus Lindkvist. He did a little experiment and put the audience to grade their customers’ satisfaction from 1 to 10. He then took the grades and picked up 2 companies. One had the highest grade for customer satisfaction and the other ha the lowest. All the other were just mediocre and boring. On the long run nobody will remember them.

Recently I stumbled upon an outstanding company. They sent an invitation to a conference abroad with one month in advance. They asked for a confirmation in 3 days and told us that we will get the details later. And I’ve gon no other message for the following 3 weeks. I have arranged to arrive to the conference according with their first announcement on Monday at 2 pm. Last Wednesday I have received an updated agenda. As you can imagine, the event was schedule to start on Monday but at 8 am. I have changed my flight and asked who can help with the change of the accommodation. This way other people became aware of the change in the agenda. Finally I found out thet the Wednesday agenda was not correct (at least was not intended for me) but there is a new agenda of the event and the starting hour is 10.45 am. Guess when I found this?4 pm on Friday.

For me this company won one of the two outstanding places regarding customer satisfaction. You guessed which one. I think that being outstanding is important but it matters also what you choose to be different at.

Have you had similar experiences? Did this make you change that company or you use that company’s services still?

5 reasons why you should never ask for a raise

Several days ago I realized that during my corporate life I have never asked for a raise. When I left my last job I was earning four times more than the moment I was first hired with 6 years before. And I asked myself why I did so good without even asking for it and why you have chances to earn more when you are not asking for a raise:
1. If you focus on what you have to do then you will do it better and with better results. Results are the ones that trigger the raise not you asking for it.
2. If you think you should get a raise you start to become demotivated and this will lead to poor results in your work.
3. If your boss does not realize you should get the raise either you are in the wrong place or you are not doing what you are supposed to do. In both cases you should change something, either the organization or your attitude. Since the last one is very hard to change most of the people I’ve seen in this situation changed the organization.
4. Lets suppose that you are going to ask for a raise and you get what you asked for. What would you think afterward? Shouldn’t I ask more? Have I asked for too little? All these will determine you to overvalue your efforts and in the end you will ask for more and chances are that second time you will not get the raise, become unhappy and leave the company.
5. If you are doing the job just for the money you are in the wrong place. Work should be fun and if this is what you are missing not even all the money in the world will not be able to compensate your efforts so start looking now for your new job or start your own business. It will change your perspective and make your life happier.

Have you tried to get a raise by asking for it? Did it worked in the long run? Tell me your experience bellow.

10 things to promote your blog posts

Now you have started a blog but for different reasons people are not getting to your site. What are the 10 things that will drive traffic to your site?
1.Great Title. Whatever the post is about you should look for catchy titles. Most of the viewers will read your post only if the first thing they read makes them click your post. In most cases we decide what is interesting and what’s not in a matter of seconds (less than 10 seconds) and the only thing we can read in this short time is the title of the post so have a great title and you will increase your chances of having me reading the rest of your post. If you are reading this post means that the title I’ve chosen made you click on it.
2, Great Content. In real estate there is a saying that there are 3 things that are important to make profit and these are: location, location and location. That means that if your property is in a good location then you sure can make money from it.
For your blog if you have good content you will get noticed and your blog will get big numbers of visitors. If you have a good title but the content is not so good you will have traffic but of low quality and with increased bounce rate (the percentage of your visitors that leave your site in less than 10 seconds). What else can you do to drive traffic to your site?
3. Optimize your post for Search Engines. When you write a post be sure to complete all the meta fields such as description, keywords and so on (keywords are not used by Google but the other search engines may use them). Verify if your keywords appear in the body of your post frequently enough and get as many inbound links as possible. These will help the search engines to index your post and to rank better in the search results. You can have plugins that help you optimize your blog. I use All-In-One-SEO plugin for WordPress on this blog.
4. Social bookmarking sites. Submit your post to social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon. One very important thing for getting found is the number and quality of links to your blog and your post from other sites. By submitting your post to social bookmarking sites you can get quickly some links to your post. You can use plugins on you site so that people that liked your post can bookmark your post.
5. Social Media. Promote your post through social media. Write a tweet, update your status in LinkedIn or Facebook. Your followers, friends or connections will be the first to visit your article and comment on it. From my experience, depending on the moment I tweet about more than half of my twitter followers are clicking on the link to my post. If you have huge number of followers this is a great way of driving traffic.
6. Newsletters. This is a classic one, if you have a newsletter you can advertise your post there.
7. Blog comments and Forums. By posting relevant comments on other blogs you benefit of the traffic of the other site and drive traffic to yours. In most of the cases you will not get SEO credit for the links posted in the comments (while the comments may be set not to be followed by search engines) but you may get real visitors. Forums are another grate way of posting links to you article. You can answer to a user question and just ad “by the way, I’ve wrote a post on this topic and here’s the link”.
8. Pitch other bloggers to link to your post. I do this mostly offline when somebody is asking for my support, I give him my advice and then tell: “by the way, I’ve written a post on this subject, If you are interested in more details here is the link”.
9. E-mail signature. You interact daily via e-mail with people. Buy writing a link to your post in your signature will make these people aware of your post. Remember that people that know you, that trust your opinion are more likely to read and comment your post than perfect strangers.
10. Directories. Depending on your post you can submit your article to different sites that let you post news with links to your article. I use the Inbound Marketing site for submitting my stories related with inbound marketing. You can search for similar hubs in your niche.
These are the ways I promote my posts. Do you use the same? Do you have some other? What are your best practices? Share them bellow.

I am in the learning business

When you have a small business you should decide who are your customers, what services or products are you going to offer and in what business you are going to be. You cannot do everything for everybody without failing so you have to make up your mind from the beginning.

So I asked myself in what business am I going to be? This seems a pretty simple question but for most of the companies I’ve seen the answer is not so clear and as expected it took me some time to figure it out. I am in the learning business. Why? I am learning from when I was a kid and continue to learn. I have developed tools and skills for learning. I can learn from books, presentations, articles, people and even design experiments that make me learn new things that are not yet documented (this blog is one of them but not the only one).

When I give you my advice I give you part of what I learned so I am in the learning business. But what about you? In what business are you? What do you do for a living and for a lifetime? Leave me a comment and I will learn from it.

My 5 takeaways from IMU

The second session of IMU trainings has ended. Besides the great program and the famous speakers here are my 5 takeaways from the Inbound Marketing University:
1. New friends. If you enroll in an offline training you sure will get new friends. But what about an online course? The ways of making friends are somehow different. You cannot get out for a drink with them because they may be on the other side of the world but you still chat with them and you can find a lot of people with the same interests. And yes, I got some new great friends from IMU.
2. New community. For this all the kudos go to Hubspot. They created a cross platform way of interaction that is very efficient and keeps the community growing. You can contribute on forums, write new stories, give a hand to other IMU coleagues or ask for help and get the best advice available in the field.
3. New business ideas. The presentations generated some new business ideas. A few of the IMU graduates started their own business while others are making plans for a new launch. And if you plan to start on your own  IMU is a good place to start.
4. Unlimited learning resources. Once you start learning new things you should never stop at least because things are changing quickly in the Inbound Marketing field. IMU and Hubspot are not only offering great learning stuff but they continue to create new webinars, tools andcase studies so you can be on top all the time.
5. A real-life case study. The IMU case study and experiment is not over yet but it already showed a lot of proven ways to market on the web. This is the best lesson one can have.

What were your takeaways from the IMU? Just place a comment below.

How may I help you?

New media is about sharing and helping others. Till now I was doing the sharing part but I find it pretty hard to figure out what are the issues you are trying to solve. This post is for you to share the things for which you need some help and I will try to help or, through my network to find somebody who cen help. So please help me to help you by posting a comment bellow or tweet me @adrianchira.

Time is not money

I am sure you have heard many times people saying that time is money and you have taken this as a fact. In reality time is not money.  If you have a minute, can you sell it to me so i will have 1 minute more today, on top of my 24 hours? I am sure you can’t. Also if I am going to dye (which I will do for sure sometime), whatever amounts of money I will give you I am sure you cannot buy me more time.

So if you have “spare” time you cannot sell it, transfer it to someone who desperately needs it. The reciprocal thing is valid also: if you have lots of money you cannot get more time than you have already.

So what is the link between money and time? There are several links: If you have some free time you can use it and do something productive and earn money. Also if you want some more time for yourself you can delegate your tasks to others for a fee.

timeismoneyWhat if we try to plot a graph based on how much free time we have vs. how much money we have? One should expect, if money is can be converted to free time and vice-versa, that most people should be somewhere in the middle, keeping a balance between their time and their income. In fact we have a lot of people having no money but a lot of free time (in my country the pensioners are in this category), or  people having enough money but no free time while the ones that are able to keep a healthy balance and have enough time for them are the exception not the rule.

What about you? Tell me where are you on my graph and leave a comment bellow.

I support Chris Brogan

New media is not about yourself, it is about the others and what can you do to help the community. Here is what I did today. I pre-ordered the new book from Chris Brogan called Trust Agents. It will be available by the beginning of September and it sounds really cool.  The second thing is that Chris asked all his friends to buy one copy of the book, he needs to sell 768 books by this Saturday night, so if you can and if you think you can learn something from this book, please pre-order it. Also you can read here the original blog post from Chris Brogan.

Thanks,

How can you start a discussion

Today I decided that I can do more for the planet. I took my Segway and I went to work on it. I will not tell you that in my city there are not enough places were you can use it or that it is not so safe to go with it in traffic but I will tell you what I have seen.

I have seen people looking curious after me.

Some people asked me about the Segway and we started a discussion.

In this way I met Mihai Constantinescu who is a famous romanian singer and I had a chat about the Segway.

Out of the blue I became remarcable. Why? In a world of cars and motorbykes I was riding something completely different, something unseen and it was amazing, it was moving easily and quietly and quite fast.

In many cases this is what you need to start a discussion. You need to do something different than everybody else, to stand out from the crowd and people will start talking about you and with you. And you need to engage with them, be alive and show everybody who you are. You do not need a Segway for that. My friend Manuela (and my former boss) was having red hair. This is what made her to stand out of the crowd. She was not another blonde or brunette. She was red haired and everybody noticed her.

Find out how can you stand out from the crowd and start doing it today. You will feel a lot better about yourself and you will get a lot of friends. Tell me bellow  what made you stand out and what your experiences were.

5 reasons to share your knowledge

When you start blogging many people do  not know how much of the information they have to share. The main fear is that people that read that blog, using the information provided can do what the owning company is providing.

In my opinion this is a false problem. There is a lot of information over the internet regarding SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and still a lot of companies have enough market to grow. Also the information regarding the diagnosis of specific diseases and their treatment is available on the web, but still you hardly find patients that are putting their diagnostic and treat themselves based on that information.

Here are my 5 reasons to share all your knowledge:

1. The more you share the more you will be seen as an expert and when I have a problem I will ask an expert to solve it for me

2. By sharing more information you will build a tribe of followers that may refer you as an expert in that particular field resulting in increased sales

3. If more people are following you and training in your subject area of expertise you can extend your business to training those people meaning again more sales

4. Not everyone has the resources and want to invest in learning from the information you share. Sufficient people will not have the time or the will to learn and they are your target clients

5. By opening discussions you open yourself to new points of view that may enable you to innovate the domain in which you have expertise. In this way you will maintain your competitive edge.

Dan Ronken elaborated more on these reasons and got to the following reasons:

1. Unselfishness attracts future customers

2. Building community

3. Helping others succeed. The old adage, “Give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

4. Hence a foundation of capitalism, right? Specialization.

5. Open mindedness

What do you think? Are these reasons enough for you or you want to add some more?

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