What’s the Point of Advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn if You are Just Posting Random Pictures?

What's the point of ads on social media blog post.jpgWe saw an upset in this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship game. Alabama was seen as the obvious victor. But, in the end, Clemson won the game. Do you think that win was a random event? Hardly…every move we witnessed was deliberate and intentional. There was nothing random about it.

So why is most branding/marketing so random? Why isn’t it more deliberate and intentional?

Having a targeted strategy for your business branding and marketing is essential if you want to see a return on your investment. Yet, social media has given us a way to market without much thought and planning. Building a strategy for the various social media platforms is critical. Different people use different platforms. If you are selling toys, place your ad primarily where kids go, not their parents. If you are offering professional services to other professionals, go where they congregate online, such as LinkedIn groups.

Your company’s strategy affects all aspects of your business. If the company has no strategy, it will be difficult to see a return on investment of your advertising dollars and time.

What’s Your Strategy?

What's Your Strategy Gladiator Image.jpgBusiness is no different than two gladiators fighting.

Business is not polite.

Like any sport or competition, there is a winner and a loser.

What separates the winners from the losers, is strategy and an edge.

Do you have an edge?

Do you have business strategy?

Donald Trump has our attention.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump has our attention!

I recently spoke to a retired CPA friend of mine. I told him I was writing some blog posts pertaining to CPAs and expanding their practices. I wanted to know from him what some of the challenges he and other CPAs run into. His immediate first response was growing the business.

He then told me that the majority of his colleagues were floating in a safety boat in the abyss. I looked at him puzzled. “What the hell does that mean???, I asked. He explained by asking me, “When I say politics, who do you think of today?”  I said, “Trump…Donald Trump”. He went on to discuss why he thought that Trump’s variant, outlandish personality was the reason he is the front runner for the GOP.

Ever seen a black swan? They are rare. But when you see them, you don’t forget about them. To stand out in a sea of CPA’s, you have to be a black swan…a Donald Trump. (but with better hair)

5Three things that will get you noticed:

  1.   Be LOUD!!! Tell the world that you exist and what you do.
  2. Have a position and stand by it. Being everything to everyone achieves mediocrity. Have a purpose and be proud of it.
  3. Be yourself. Build your image on who you are, not who your industry is. You do not have to be clone of the others.

Define your purpose and be you!

-Trent

The Difference Between What You Say and What Your Client or Customer Hears

The Difference Between What You Say and What Your Client or Customer Hears

languageHow many times a month does your spouse misinterpret what you said? How many situations have you been in when somebody says something and you know good and well that they meant something else entirely?

The power of words has become so overlooked that what we are saying or meaning to say is being translated in completely different ways. I will give you an example:

Which of the following do you think is the more effective way of stating these ideas?

Long-term strategy or Recovery strategy?

Knowledgeable or Experienced

Straightforward fees or Transparent fees ?

Here’s what my research has shown to be more appealing to the customer/client.

Long-term strategy or Recovery strategy ?

– Long-term strategy

Knowledgeable or Experienced

– Experienced

Straightforward fees or Transparent fees ?

– Straightforward fees

In the end, choosing our words wisely can influence a client/customer to buy or to leave empty-handed….Choose your words wisely, young Jedis.

Best regards,

Trent

Do We Ask Our Employees to Collect Dots or to Connect Dots?

dots.jpg

Do we ask our employees to collect dots or to connect dots?

Recently I heard Seth Godin speak to an education conference about how education is taught and what it is for. He said something that I thought was pretty significant, “Do we teach them to collect dots or to connect dots?”.

As an employer I asked myself the same question. Is what I’m asking my employees to do collecting or connecting? The ideal is connecting the dots whereas collecting the dots causes us to become stagnant and not grow as a company.

Of course, connecting the dots is what I want our company to be. But how does it apply specifically to my company and my employees? What kind of environment does it take to encourage people to be dot connectors? And for you guys, what does connecting dots mean to your company? What does that even look like? Each company is different. Each company has to dig deep to see how we can encourage employees to be connectors instead of collectors. So I came up with the following exercise to encourage people to connect those dots:

1) Designate 30 minutes each day on areas of interest pertaining to the business. It may be on efficiencies in production/management or product placement in the marketplace. Whatever it is, set aside time to better understand something that doesn’t presently exists in the business. Work on an issue that could take the business to the next level and could be beneficial to the growth of the company.

2) Create an award system for new, innovative ideas that are implemented in the business.

3) Restructure your business processes to encourage a better outcome. Seth Godin suggests this is how we teach kids in school. For example, instead of having kids hearing a lecture all through the day and going home and doing homework; instead have the kids listen to lectures after school and then during the day doing discussions, practice problems, and hands-on learning activities about those lectures.

Encouraging business innovation in your company will separate you from the competition. Accepting the idea of “but that’s how it’s always been done” and continuing to grow mediocrity within your company will eventually end your business. Keep that from happening and innovate a way to connect dots.

Best regards,

Trent

10 Productivity Tips for CPA and Accounting Firms {Anatomy of a Happy Office}

Building a business is tough.  Building a business without focus, processes and the right audience makes it even tougher.

The following are some ideas that are meant to help you fill your pipeline with prospects and eventually clients. If you need assistance with any of these items, reach out to me at trent@grinkmeyerleonard.com.

  1. Start by having a well-defined image of the ideal client you are seeking.  Sit down and think who you LIKE to work with.  Think about what types of clients are most profitable but mostly think about what types of clients you have been the most benefit to in the past.
  2. Be strategic with networking activities so that you invest your time in groups where you are likely to meet quality prospects who fit your ideal client profile.
  3. Commit to being present at targeted events in the business community with enough consistency to develop a strong reputation and gain traction with prospects.  Just joining the organization is not enough.  You have to show up and be involved.
  4. Be precise with centers of influence (COI) as to the type of clients you can serve best and describe the businesses you can work with most effectively.
  5. Get comfortable asking for referrals.  Sometimes the word “referral” just seems off-putting.  If you think this is the case, ask for an “introduction” instead.
  6. When introducing yourself and the firm, make the distinction about what differentiates you. Make it crystal-clear how the firm adds value for clients beyond the services you deliver.  You have one chance to make a first impression.   Make it a good one.   Practice your introduction in the mirror.
  7. When connecting with prospects, do your best to get to know decision makers and influencers in the company.
  8. When you are at a fact-finding meeting with a prospect, always be prepared. Conduct research about the organization; develop a list of important and relevant questions before you walk through the door.  Do not go to any prospect meeting without doing at least 2 hours of homework about the prospect, their business, their history, other companies you have worked with and make a detailed plan.
  9. The first and most important thing you can do in a meeting with a prospect is listen to their needs.   If you prepare a written agenda, schedule time to listen.   Once you have heard what really matters most, read between the lines before you respond.  This will be what sets you apart from the other accountants this prospect will interview.  If you can identify your prospect’s pain points and offer a plan to alleviate that “pain”, you are invaluable.
  10. When you leave the meeting, agree on the next steps; write down everything you are going to research or provide to the prospect at the next meeting – do not leave without scheduling a date (accepted by all) to reconnect.

Focus and Accountability – The two key ingredients for successful business development for any CPA or accounting business.

Infographic of this post.

– Trent A. Grinkmeyer, AIF®, CRPC® / Financial Consultant


All through November, all of the advisors at our office are doing a series of articles, tips and tools and geared toward the “Anatomy of a Happy Office”.  Follow all of our blogs to read it all.
Northside of Average by Valerie Leonard
TAG-Living Loud by Trent Grinkmeyer
Motivated Monday by Caleb Bagwell
401kBizResource by Jamie Kertis

5 Tips for Building a Great Business Team {Anatomy of a Happy Office}

Team LI

We have all seen teams in college sports and professional sports that were unbeatable. They have an incredible synergy that makes them seem invincible. And then typically 12 months later they are the worst teams in the world. Building a high-performance business team is not the easiest thing to do. But when you get it right, you become unbeatable.

The following are five keys to an unbelievable team:

5) SPECIALIZE No one person is great at everything. When a team is exceptional, each individual team member typically has a specialty. One person’s weakness can then balanced by someone who is a specialist in that lacking area. You see this in college and professional sports. Peyton Manning doesn’t play running back nor does he play defense. He’s a specialist. He plays quarterback for a highly-tuned team. When he is put in a position to run, you can tell he’s really not good at. So rarely does he run.  Determine the positions on the team and then fill them with specialists. Everyone doesn’t have to be good at everything. But everything needs a person who is good at it.shutterstock_290401040

4) SELFLESSNESS All for one and one for all. We’ve all seen it in a sports game when somebody gets a big head and the team quits winning. Recently, a friend was telling me about a band he was in. They gained great success and even had Top 40 Hits. But as often happens, the lead singer got a huge ego and the band semi-dismantled. You haven’t really heard a hit from them since. If everybody on the team isn’t focused on the company’s end goal, then it just won’t happen.   Success for the stake of the team, not for the individual. Egos needs to be tossed aside. That goes for everyone. When everyone feels vested in the business’ success, people will rise to the occasion to ensure that success.

3) TRUST It is essential that each team member trusts one another. The need to believe that their teammates will put in 110% and can deliver on what is expected of them. I’ve often seen it on teams where they don’t trust their teammates and things just don’t happen. Knowing what can be delivered and trusting that that individual can perform and will give that effort can motivate others to do much more than they would have on their own.

2) COMMUNICATION Like any good marriage, if the spouses do not communicate their goals, aspirations, frustrations and other miscellaneous feelings, the relationship will not work. I’ve seen this within our team years ago when communication between team members broke down. It festered and turned into a 10,000 pound weight. Luckily, leadership stepped in to open the door for communication and set policy on how to communicate frustrations, desires and goals. In the end, we grew from it. Setting a standard for communication is key.

1) LEADERSHIP This is always the number one factor in whether a team will succeed. You see it in professional sports, collegiate sports, corporations, marriages. If there is no leader, there is no one to set the standard and to follow. The team will fail in the absence of a strong leader. . It is also imperative that the leader develops additional leaders within management. You would be surprised how leadership training can inspire the shy to become great leaders within the team. Often times, people just don’t know how to be a leader. Just like riding a bicycle, a few kids may hop on and ride without ever being taught but the wide majority need to be taught how to ride. And also like riding a bicycle, you never forget how to do it once you learn. You may get “rusty” at it but once you learn, you know. Training is necessary in lots of areas of management and leadership. It is not a 90 minute seminar and you know it all. If you find you are the leader at your company and there are weak areas in your leadership abilities, seek out training.   Learn so your team can do more.   You owe it to them and yourself.   Great companies typically have strong leaders.

I would like to hear your additions to my list of what creates a great team. Send me an email at trent@grinkmeyerleonard.com . Share what you think to make a great team.


anatomy smallAll through November, all of the advisors at our office are doing a series of articles, tips and tools and geared toward the “Anatomy of a Happy Office”.  Follow all of our blogs to read it all.
Northside of Average by Valerie Leonard
Motivated Monday by Caleb Bagwell
401kBizResource by Jamie Kertis

Be A Guerrilla Markerter in 2016

shutterstock_250715179As we come to the end of 2015, companies are planning marketing efforts for 2016. A number of things have changed since your last annual planning period moving from 2014 into 2015. As you go into 2016, ask yourself, “How has the marketing landscape changed in the last 12 months?”, “How has my business changed?”, and “What gives me the most return on my investment?”

I believe the marketing landscape has greatly changed in the last 36 months. Reason being is social media has become such a dominant part of our world society. For the amount of money it takes to build a marketing campaign in print media, TV advertising or a seminar series, you can take a fraction of that money and focus on social media marketing and get a bigger ROI on your investment.  This doesn’t mean you ditch all the others… at least not for now. But you should lessen your efforts on the old school marketing and refocus your efforts on the biggest bang for your buck – digital marketing via social media.

Three areas to consider when building your 2016 marketing plan:

#1 – Are you focused enough with your marketing or are you all over the map?  In the past, I have been guilty of changing direction every month, every week and some would say every second. With a good shutterstock_315033812strong team and a dedicated man or woman, you can focus your marketing and keep on track toward your all ultimate objective. 2016 can be your best year ever. Having a person to keep you accountable will change your marketing life! We did it in our firm in the last three months. Jennifer took over being the point person in our marketing efforts. She is now full-time marketing and business awareness developer in our firm. Being able to focus means you know who your audience is and that is who you “talk to” via your marketing. Knowing your audience gives you a leg up on your competition. Knowing what they like, what they don’t like, what they need and what they value will give you the information you need to grow your client base and add business to your book. Your daily goal has to be to get to know your audience and then build a marketing strategy that lands in front of their eyeballs.

#2 – Create a budget and stick to it.  Building a budget based on the average three-year-past production level will give you a good guideline to allocate your dollars in marketing. It is important that you stay on budget. It is also important to know where those dollars will go each month.   Building a marketing calendar will allow you to price and budget the correct amount of dollars to each campaign efforts. Not doing this will eventually kill your marketing efforts. So do the research, price your campaigns, allocate dollars needed to achieve your goals. Remember the payoff will not be immediate but will be more than worth it when you are planning for 2017 next year this time.

#3 – Be able to ZIG when your competition ZAGs. Understanding who your competition is and who they are marketing themselves to can give priceless insight. Understanding who their market is compared to yours, can give you a leg up. It is really important that you spend the time understanding how your competition is growing their business. Once you know this and you know your audience, you can apply the correct marketing strategies to win business.

So to recap as you work on your 2016 marketing plan, you need to #1, Have a focus. #2, Stay on budget. and #3, Know your competition.

Trent A. Grinkmeyer, AIF®, CRPC® / Financial Consultant

Creating a Calendar and Workflow For Your Social Media Marketing Campaign, Part 2

Creating a Calendar and Workflow For Your Social Media Marketing Campaign, Part 2

Deciding how often you tell the world!!!
As I detailed in yesterday’s post, consistency is the key to marketing. You can see that dedicated consistency with companies like Nike, Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss, Toyota. They are marketed on every venue but they stay focused on their target market. To succeed at social media marketing, you will need to do the shutterstock_234077779same. Depending on who you are marketing to, your audience will be heavily on some social media outlets but not on others. Knowing who your audience is and where they spend their time on the internet is pivotal in your marketing success. For more info on this, be sure to read: “Who Is Your Audience? Targeting Your Prospect with Sniper-like Precision”. Email Jennifer at jennifer@grinkmeyerleonard.com for a copy of our white paper on targeting the right audience.

Once you have decided who your target audience is, you need to find where “they live on the internet” or what social media sites they frequent the most. To find that out, you will need to research. Any time you spend on this research will definitely payoff in results. #Google is your best place to start researching. Are you wondering what to look for on Google?… Look at my wife’s company as an example. Ginger creates #ChristianArt. She sells all over the world but her art has a specific audience – Christian females ages 25 to 55-years-old. Where do they “live”? Social media demographic research shows that most Christian women in the target age group use Pinterest and Facebook. That same audience is starting now to populate Instagram. Bingo. That is the information needed. Ginger knows that she has three media platforms to focus her marketing toward. Next to figure out is how often to post.

  • Facebook: 3-10 times per week
  • Twitter: at least 5 times a day
  • LinkedIn: 2-5 times per week
  • Google+: 3-10 times per week
  • Pinterest: 5-10 times per day
  • Instagram: 2-3 times per day

If you read the above list and wondered to yourself how you could possibly keep up with all of that content and posting, know that this is where staying simple and focused comes into play. Start with your audience and where most of them “live”. For Ginger, Facebook is actually where most of her potential clients spend their social media time. Pinterest is next and then Instagram. Ginger focuses 80% of her attention on Facebook until she can develop enough content to support Pinterest’s 5 to 10 times per day posting effectiveness schedule. Remember, this a long road. Stay consistent and focus. The results will not be immediate but if you do your homework, get organized and start posting smart, you will see results.

Checkout tomorrow’s post, “From Idea to Post. Building a Process For Your Calendar”.

Rock on!!
Trent
TAGLivingLoud.grinkmeyerleonard.com

Creating a Calendar and Workflow For Your Social Media Marketing Campaign, Part 1

Creating a Calendar and Workflow For Your Social Media Marketing Campaign, Part 1

shutterstock_193510067You are most likely reading this on one of many social media outlets on the internet. Social media marketing has become the most effective way to target your prospective audience. As an added benefit, it’s the most cost-effective, second only to referral marketing. If you are operating a business and not using social media to market, you are missing a huge opportunity.

To take advantage of this great marketing method, you need a strategic plan to get the maximum results. The two keys to a successful social media campaign are  #content and #consistency. In this three-part series, we will address both of those topics.

Calendar   If you’re like me, you live by your calendar. It tell us where to be and what’s most important and when it needs to be done. The calendar can aid you to build a strong #socialmedia campaign.

Workflow, Motion of the Ocean

To build an effective calendar, you need to create a process for:

    1. Who develops #content: My business partner Valerie (northsideofaverage.grinkmeyerleonard.com ) and I have developed a system that works for our company. Like us, you may have multiple people creating content. Having a calendar is essential to our content flow. Each one of us has a different focus so our development of content happens at different times. The calendar keeps us on track for consistency and timing. It also makes each of accountable for what we are supposed to create and when.
    2. Who edits content: If you read this post before Jennifer got her hands on it, you would be upside down trying to figure out what I was trying to say. Any great writer, blogger or business person has an editor. Jennifer has that role in our company. She reads, edits and organizes each post. Without her reading and tweaking our posts, we wouldn’t portray ourselves the way we want to be seen to the world.
    3. Who is Captain of the #Calendar: Jennifer is our “Calendar Captain”. Jennifer edits, organizes and posts our content. She keeps us on track for consistency and continuity. A Calendar Captain will keep your flow of content consistent. There are apps available for organizing and scheduling your posts, as well. Since we all have a main calendar through Outlook and to avoid confusion of using two calendars, we use one calendar for everything. Consider if you would benefit from adding another calendar or just operating from the one you use already.
    4. Who decides what content goes to which social media outlet and when: This is an editor / creator decision. Not all content belongs on all platforms. For example, if you are creating content for a young audience like my daughter does (www.heyrosa.com), LinkedIn is not going to be the best audience. Instead, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat would be more appropriate targets. For more info on this topic, be sure to read: “Who Is Your Audience? Targeting Your Prospect with Sniper-like Precision”. Email Jennifer at jennifer@grinkmeyerleonard.com for a copy of our white paper on targeting the right audience.
    5. Finding or creating awesome images. A picture is worth a thousand words: Include an image with each post. Make it something relevant to your topic. Make sure it’s clear and well-done. Be careful about copyrighted images.   Using a stock photo website can be very beneficial.   Websites like Shutterstock.com have thousands of high-quality images you can use for a small fee. When posting photos of yourself or your company, quality does matter.   Having your grandmother shoot your business photos, unless she is a pro, isn’t a good idea. Remember images and photos on the internet represent you to the world.
    6. Posting: Schedule and post to the world. I recommend developing a month’s worth of content before posting the first time. By doing this, you get ahead of the game. Creating content for a month also keeps you consistent. When writing for the month, try to keep the same theme. Randomness sets you back and makes you look like scattered and unfocused.

Above are the first steps to creating a calendar and getting your workflow organized. Check back tomorrow for the second post of this three-part series.

Rock on!!!
-Trent
TAGLivingLoud.grinkmeyerleonard.com