Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How To Win Friends and Influence People

How To Win Friends and Influence People
... through social media, the internet, and common sense.

Since I started my blog in January of 2011, a lot of thing have happened.  I’ve improved my personal reputation and public profile, and that of my company.  I have gained some clients, requests to publish my writing on national news sites, been invited to be a guest speaker at business events, and along the way met all sorts of interesting people.  However, I’ve made some mistakes and missteps, and observed some brilliant and ludicrous behaviour along the way.

Every time I get spammed on a Linkedin group, or clean out my junk email folder, or have to wade through pages and pages of junk on the internet to find the useful  information I know is out there, I get incredibly frustrated by all the nonsense, noise, and litter on the internet.

So, it’s time to break the fourth wall to the audience, and share what I know *doesn’t* work.

Assume Some Intelligence On Your Part

In the morning each and every day, I get a daily email to my personal gmail account, offering to sell me LED shoelaces.  Really?  It’s not that I wouldn’t think they were snazzy for my shoes, it’s that I get these emails every darn day.  Do they think they can wear me down, and one day I’ll simply snap and order twelve cases?  Even if I wanted LED shoelaces, I wouldn’t go looking for this email, just out of sheer contrariness.  Is that any way to gain business?

If you are putting something out there on the internet, or sending an email newsletter, you need to remember that the people whom you are writing to have limited time, limited resources, and limited trust for whatever you are saying (even if it’s free – maybe even especially then).  If you want someone to do business with you, or reach out to you, you need to build a little bit of trust.  Assume you are going to be the recipient of whatever you are pushing out there – is it useful?  Is it timely?  Is your tone professional, or do you come across as a schlock-driven sales guy?  Would you respond to what you are sending?  Have you asked anyone to look it over?  The lesson here is get someone to proofread it, whether it’s a co-worker, a potential client, or your mom.

The next thing to consider is what is your end goal?  Are you hoping to write the golden email that lands a giant client that brings in millions of dollars?  Because if you are thinking this, you’re likely wrong.  If you set a reasonable goal, like having your message reach 2,000 recipients, with 200 people actually reading your article or email, and have 4-6 people inquire or respond, that’s a fair end product.  And that’s if you are targeting the right audience.

Assume Some Intelligence In Your Readership

LED shoelace newsletter guy, I’m talking to you right now – pay attention.  Daily emails aren’t going to win me over.  Assume I’m a discerning consumer, and if I wanted LED shoelaces, I’d remember an email from a month ago.  Or better yet, put together a useful website where you sell your shoelaces, and once a month send me an email and tell me about a sale.

Here’s an example of success – Vistaprint ( sells imprinted products for businesses and individuals in Canada, and I’ve purchased pens and other company-marked products in the past here.  After I purchase something, they send me a daily sale email for about a week ... and then stop.  And some of those daily sale emails include free GoogleAd coupons, free shipping, or free samples of other products.  Really useful emails.  But they stop if I’m not buying.  After a week of daily emails, I get one about once a month.  That’s smart.

The next thing – write something *useful* and original.  Receiving the same poorly written email each day.  My first article I wrote here ( didn’t have any real content or permanent use ... in fact, 23 people read it.  That’s it.  By the time I wrote my fifth article ( I had put out some content that’s still useful to this day ... it’s had over a thousand people read it, and it still gets hits and emails almost two years later.

I’m sad to say I started with Blogspot as my blog platform ... if I knew then what I knew now I would have gone with Wordpress ... but Blogger has some excellent analytics (thanks Google!).  I can see what articles are being read on a live basis, and what Google keywords got them there.  From that, I know what people are looking for, what searches are associated with my articles, and what works (or doesn’t).

Target the right audience ... who are your articles going to?  How is your message going to magically reach them?  When I write to credit managers or business owners, I get a great deal of traffic from Linkedin.  When I write for consumers, I get my traffic from Facebook or Google searches.

So, don’t recycle news articles and assume it will make people think of you ... write something original and enduring, potentially even useful, and put it out where people can find it.

What I’ve Learned So Far

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this subject ... it’s something I’m still exploring and learning about, and I’m fascinated by what others try to do (successfully or not).  I have it fairly easy in the credit and collections market, where no one else is really writing, so I can be easily visible where others fear to tread.  But still, I’m learning from the knowledge and experience of others, and I wanted to share what I’ve seen.  I’m setting up a separate library section on the blog for my social media articles, and there are certainly more to come.

If you have any questions about social media, blogging, writing, or just want to talk, I’m not selling anything and I’d be happy to chat via phone or email.  I’ve learned a lot by the kindness and time of other people, and I believe in paying it forward.

Thanks kindly,
Blair Wettlaufer
Kingston Data and Credit

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