Posts tagged ‘clients’

July 10, 2012

What’s our Disability?

by Kate W. Hall

20120710-081907.jpg

On a recent water taxi into the city of Boston, our captain’s t-shirt immediately caught my eye.

So simply stated, rudely ironed-on, begging the reader to absorb the message while soaking in the hot morning sun: it’s telling of our success on our blog and with our readers and clients.

Positivity. (Is that a word?!) it’s in the way we approach topics, respond to readers’ questions, coaborate with charities, brainstorm with our clients.

No disability of disposition here.

December 20, 2010

Try, try again. . .

by Kate W. Hall

Reading a great article from the Wall Street Journal digital network today on deciding when it’s time for Plan B reminded me of an important lesson that several entrepreneurial friends have shared with me:

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Try, try again.

The business owners in this article are doing just that–and realizing greater results by changing their business plans.

Likewise, so many of my clients and I work together throughout an entire calendar year for this very reason to work on various ways of marketing their messages; this works well because it’s very difficult to knock a “one-hit-advertising-wonder” out of the park. If everyone could advertise somewhere once and have huge success, that advertising source would likely be so highly-priced as to squeeze some smaller or start-up businesses out of the market.

Although the article itself focuses on the business plan and changing that up if results aren’t seen, the same thing is true with marketing.

For example, if your social media plan isn’t working for you, try something new: we’re working with a client now to tap into the mommy blogger market as she never has before and growing her Twitter presence; both are helping greatly with SEO.

If your web ads aren’t providing the desired results, try surveying customers to find out what publications they read–perhaps their answers will surprise you.

In this economy, many high-end retailers have failed: this is the perfect time to diversify inventory and focus on services if the high-end schwag isn’t moving.

Making changes doesn’t mean that you’re doing something wrong, it just means working hard to try and do the right thing. So we work hard and try, try again.

December 14, 2010

Doors open the harder we work.

by Kate W. Hall

I was talking to a friend recently who also happens to be an entrepreneur about the amazing ways in which doors open to us as business owners.

At first–at least for me–it seemed like forever until clients were approaching me about partnering with me in some way. At a certain point though, after months and months of hard work, experimentation and building our site content the tide began to turn, and suddenly we were accepting instead of just making phone calls.

If we can see it through to that day when we begin to build a name for ourselves, do great things for others by helping them along, and giving back to the community, the doors begin to open in rapid fashion. Just walk through.

December 9, 2010

Create an account, then raise it like a baby.

by Kate W. Hall

I met with a new client today that I’m really excited about working with–she’s a second-generation business owner in a traditionally male-dominated field, and with a fun and feisty personality I know we’ll get along swimmingly as we help build her brand with the mom-set in Richmond.

When the topic of social media came up, shock came over her. “Can we just set up an account and tweet once a week or so?” she asked.

I answered resoundingly “No.”

It’s just not enough to create a Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or other social media account and barely update/build/share. It’s practically not worth having at all. With determination and the fire that most entrepreneurs or marketers have in their bellies, integrating social media into the entire strategy is the only way to achieve success. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean sitting at a screen and reading tweets all day, either. Overall, as I’ve stated in a past blog post engagement in social media is the key.

Creating these accounts is a new outlet into a new world of connectivity, branding, and learning that is much like birthing a baby. You can’t just leave the hospital and expect it to raise itself, right?

November 7, 2010

What do you need to be more successful in 2011?

by Kate W. Hall

When reflecting back at 2010 now that we’re almost mid-way through November, it dawned on me: this year has been a great one for Richmondmom.com & Richmond Rocks.

We’ve grown our readership to over 10,000 unique visitors per month consistently, peaked at 17k hits in our highest month, and have increasingly grown our e-subscriber list. We’ve sold 2,000 Richmond Rocks books and are reprinting, and debuted in Richmond Grid as a print magazine. More importantly, we’ve helped our clients build their brands and reach more Richmond women while donating to non-profits in the Richmond community: thousands of dollars+.

So what’s next?

Being so fortunate to have grown this brand in super-supportive Richmond, VA I’ve had many women come forward and ask how I’ve done it. The answer is multi-faceted, but one that brings me back to this point always: we help each other build our businesses.

To this end we’re considering launching a half-day seminar at a low-cost to help fellow entrepreneurs build their brands. Primarily women, but we’re surely open to men in the audience, too! We’re planning sessions on social media, Twitter, public speaking, and whatever you tell us is most important!

 

Please take a second to answer a few questions & let us know your thoughts on what would help you move your business forward in 2011, and we’ll help you get there.

October 26, 2010

Do what you’re most afraid of until you’re not afraid anymore.

by Kate W. Hall

Last Saturday, I jumped off a building. I recently made light of it in a blog post on Richmondmom.com, but the truth is, it was pretty darn scary.

I had never rappeled from anything before, let alone a 400-ft. building in downtown Richmond (the SunTrust building). But when I saw some of my friends from Twitter doing this challenge for Over the Edge for Special Olympics VA last year I knew I couldn’t let the chance go by without trying it this year.

With thanks to HCA for helping me make the $1,000 in donations needed in order to jump, I saddled up into a bunch of gear and took a looooong elevator ride to a  bunch of stairs to the most amazing view in Richmond, before “sitting into nothing” and rappeling down 400 feet to the ground.

I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Now, I’m not afraid anymore.

I find that it’s the same in business. When I started, I was a bit afraid of cold calling businesses introducing my site: would they have heard of Richmondmom.com? No. Would they be interested in partnering withRichmondmom.com? Sure, why not! Would I call them today? Nah, how about tomorrow. . it’s too easy to stay busy with other work than grow the business.

But the truth is that I didn’t have much business, and I had three kids to feed and Christmas was coming. So cold-call I did. Determination was all I had. And sales came through. I had a ton of work to do, and was thrilled to have paying customers to do it for.

Do what we’re most afraid of, and we won’t be afraid any more.

 

 

October 15, 2010

How Richmondmom.com became a print magazine: Never say Never

by Kate W. Hall

Richmondmom.com Magazine launched this Wednesday, October 13, 2010 inside of Richmond Grid Magazine, an arts/culture/business magazine with a distribution of 60K quarterly.

Just three short months ago the publishers, Palari Publishing, who helped me create and print Richmond Rocks, approached me about partnering with them on their magazine.

I thought we were going to discuss the reprint of Richmond Rocks since we were getting close to the end of our 2,000-copy original print run, so when Ted Randler pulled out his iPad with a mock-up of Richmondmom.com Magazine I held my breath for a moment. It was surreal, almost as much so as when, three months later, I saw the actual print magazine with my photo on the cover at the launch party!

When previously asked if I’d do a magazine I’d always answered that I’d “never want to go print.” Being a web girl and having developed Richmondmom.com from the ground-up (and I mean the ground; the original site was rough at best) to be an online resource I was sure that print was a dinosaur soon to be fossilized. But I have to admit that when I saw that mock-up and thought of the possibilities for the site and my clients, it was too incredible of an opportunity to pass up.

Working with my clients–many of whom were thrilled at the opportunity to have a print magazine to solidify and advertise their brand to the mom market that Richmondmom.com attracts–was a pleasure and reinforced the fact that print is still very much alive. Not only are Dave Smitherman and Ted Randler as well as writer Paul Spicer super-creative, the Grid Team are all incredibly personable and talented.

They also have their finger on the pulse of the Richmond social media community, and have worked to create Richmond Grid as a social media-centric publication with shout-outs to the RVA Twitter crowd and a website to keep the information flowing in-between quarterly print publications.

We work together to create content that is unique, relevant, and interesting for Richmond VA readers–not information that is easily discovered elsewhere. It’s also packaged in a quick-flowing style that makes the reader want to devour the pages.

So far on my entrepreneurial journey, the opportunity to become a print magazine has been the best surprise gift, a nicely-wrapped and decorated box that I’ll cherish and reopen with each quarterly issue.

Oh, and I’ll try to remind myself to never say “never” again :-)

September 30, 2010

I was blown away; this is my aspiration

by Kate W. Hall

I recently attended the VA State Fair with my youngest child, my only daughter, a three-year-old. My timing was not great as we got there a bit late in the morning, she was getting tired already and it was hot as blazes out even in September.

As luck would have it, I took the stroller out of the back of my wagon, and promptly locked the keys in my purse, phone, and money in the car.

We hauled it to the fair gate where a state trooper called the parking lot attendants for us to see if they could help. I assumed we’d call a locksmith but followed their lead and went back to the car as I was instructed. Meanwhile, my daughter had fallen apart, was hungry and tired and apparently dying of thirst.

I snagged a young man on a golf cart when I spied the cooler in the back and asked if we could please have some water. What unfolded after that point was nothing short of a customer service miracle:

-He asked me what was wrong, and after sharing the situation with him was on his radio in 5.2 seconds making sure they were coming quickly to unlock my car.

-He stayed with us until others came with the proper tools to unlock the car, telling me that this happens all the time (not sure if it does, but it made me feel better).

-Not only did he give my daughter a cold bottle of water, he pulled one of his own Hawaiian punch packets out of his pocket and gave it to me with another water to mix-up for her; he talked to her and helped lighten her mood.

-His crew was there and we were back in the car with keys in hand in under forty-five minutes, would not accept any payment, and RMC Events had a new admirer in me. This photo is of my daughter, leaving the fair after a great afternoon with a new little friend.

I aspire to give this type of customer service to my clients; I’m sure I fall short of this on most days. But I’m going to try, because I’ll never forget how good they made me feel.

September 29, 2010

Unplugging is the hardest part

by Kate W. Hall

Since I’ve become a business owner (officially January 2009, when I started living from what I made advertising at Richmondmom.com) the number one challenge I’ve had is: not working.

It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to spend most of their waking hours cranking out ideas and projects and dreaming of how to expand their business, nudge the existing to go one more wrung up the excellence ladder, help one more client. I’d be up until 3 am doing site updates then networking meetings at 7:30 am then straight through all day with no breaks until I couldn’t go on.

But it’s not healthy.

My husband was constantly asking me to slow down last year, but having been used to the corporate world (and a corporate paycheck for that matter) it was difficult for me to slow the pace when I wasn’t making any money. And, by the way, I didn’t really make any money the first year I was in business.

It wasn’t just a paycheck I was seeking, but some reward for the hours and hours of work I was putting into building relationships, making clients happy, building my site readership, giving my audience what they want to see.

What I found is, that for many of us small business owners it’s tough to stop and relish in the big wins because there’s always one. . .up. . .ahead. . .yes I’m sure there is. . .if I just keep pushing.  . . you get the picture. And social media, Twitter, Facebook and other tools are always right within my reach, so it’s even more difficult to put them away.

So after 18 months of SOLID (and I mean solid) back-breaking hours, I do allow myself some breaks from the smart phone, laptop, iPad, rat race. I’ve started to read books again, for pleasure. I take more time playing with my kids. Sometimes I have to literally put my phone out of sight to do so, but I do it.

And I think I’m a better business owner, and person, because of it. At least I hope so.

September 21, 2010

Engagement in Social Media is the Key

by Kate W. Hall

Meeting with some of my clients today our goal was to 1) educate them on social media and how it will help their business and 2) to help them to become engaged.

What’s that really mean?

It means reading/understand others on Twitter, “conversing” with others on Twitter, and developing meaningful relationships.

Some questions we covered:

1) What in the world are we going to talk about? Anything. And Everything. When you have time. This means that squeezing in 30 minutes per day for Twitter can be a great way to engage with others; this doesn’t mean dropping everything to tweet. There are exceptions to this, as warns Seth Godin: Doing any of these things halfway is worse than not at all. “People don’t want a mediocre interaction.” But with a team approach to social media, the interaction need not be mediocre, but robust and as a tool to build a team.

Example: A customer tweets to say they had a frustrating shipment experience. One person in the office tweets back an apology, then sends a DM/Personal email to investigate. That person shares this experience with the office to work on prevention in the future. The entire team is prepared to answer similar tweets, and preferably minimize complaint tweets. This is not only a communication tool, but one that can improve the business process.

2) How much do we talk about business? It depends on the business, but I prefer to use the 80/20 or 70/30 rule, meaning the majority of time I don’t tweet for business.

Advertising, referral programs and in-person networking should be the focus of developing new business, while social media is a means to keep branding front-of-mind and round-out the culture and personality of the organization. Those who continually tweet discounts, sales, and similar pitches, unless super-sexy, won’t fare well.

3) What’s the next step once we develop these relationships? Glad you asked. Start networking in person, and you’ll find that when the topic of social media comes up, you’ve already conversed with some of the folks you meet (if local, of course!) There’s no substitute for shaking an actual hand, but the medium of social media allows us to begin relationships before we have the opportunity, or good fortune, to meet in person.

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