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Creating an Impression – Very Impressive

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Good News!

The bad thing about a business card is that generally it goes in the pocket with the stack of 50 other cards you’ve been handed, but a great thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Pictured above is the business card of @jonray (on Twitter) that he handed me at the Austin Mashable party this past week (which was a blast, by the way). I must confess that I was blown away. Why was I blown away? Because I wanted to take the time to deconstruct it carefully so that I would be able to reconstruct it. I wanted to examine this “note” he passed me at the party in place of a card.What was even more impressive is that when he handed it to @khartline of Mashable, guess where it went? I won’t say where she tucked it, but if you think back to high school, it’s where you hope a pretty girl will keep your love note…

It Made Me Wonder…

So the point of this clever little conversation starter is that @jonray took the time to create an impression, and it made me wonder- do we look for opportunities to create an impression in everything we do, even as small as a business card? If it still looks like a business card, maybe not.


Do You Have to be Cutesy?

Should agents make cute folded notes for potential clients? Maybe not, but I imagine that with inspiration like this, one of you is already cooking up a way to “create an impression” right now.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Jay Thompson

    August 4, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    I think it’s brilliant.

  2. Ken Brand

    August 4, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    It’s remarkable, thanks for sharing.

    Think about those indelible first impressions, the first mental image, the opening riff. Great writers open with it. Great films open with it. The Symphony Conductor lifts her baton. Listen to the opening riff of great Rock n Roll songs, you recognize the first two seconds instantly forever.

    Want to move people? Open BIG = First mental image/emotion/impact Close BIG = Last mental image/emotion/impact.

    For example, your image posts does that in red spades.

    Rock ON – kb

  3. Candy Lynn

    August 4, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I’s say Hugh -@gapingvoid may just have some competition!

  4. Holli Boyd

    August 4, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    reaction in one word – awesome

  5. Jamie Geiger

    August 4, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    It’s the little, unique things that people remember, and it doesn’t have to cost a thing- great idea!

  6. Jayson

    August 5, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Everyone always says to make an impression, or to be creative, but it’s 1000 times better to see a great example first hand.

  7. first time home buyers loan

    August 5, 2008 at 2:31 am

    its really mind blowing man !

  8. Jennifer in Louisville

    August 5, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Interesting spin on an old concept. Definitely made an impression. (Though I wonder how truly effective it will be long term. At the end of the day, you are left with a very large, and easily damaged record of his information. In 6 months, will you still have his contact info – or will the most you remember be “the cool dude, don’t recall his name, that gave me the note on paper”.

    I think inserting his “real” card INSIDE the note would have been even better. It would have still gotten his point across – and given you something more durable/convenient for actual use in the long run.

  9. Eric Blackwell

    August 5, 2008 at 6:13 am

    I think it was a great way to get the attention of the recipient. Like Jennifer, I think that there may be some real value in having the professional business card there as well. Shows them that you can do both. Make a great impression AND be professional.

    Eric

  10. Glenn fm Naples

    August 5, 2008 at 7:30 am

    A very good technique to be different. In addition, to being different – you can read the printing. No matter how a kewl an idea – someone has to be able read it.

    Benn – you should have added a disclaimer – this technique can only be used by those individuals whose printing is legible. 🙂

  11. Benn Rosales

    August 5, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Interesting that another card be used, and maybe he had one, but in this one instance, his approach was compelling, if you read his blog, he even had a plan before attending the conference and wrote about it. He had a goal, he set it, and he executed and he made connections- myself being one of them.

    I’m not easially impressed by people, but in this case, it was a total package. I agree that not everyone will be this deliberate and as polished, but that’s why I said this isn’t for everyone, but how about looking harder at the details.

  12. Jon Ray

    August 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for the write-up! A lot of great advice here in the comments section. Just wanted to say to #8 & #9 that I agree and I already have had a graphic artist draw up the cards that will be inserted into the folded pieces, but at this particular conference, they were not printed yet.

    I also think that it is important to always follow up with people on a regular basis. It’s true that a person might lose or damage the paper contact I was giving out, but I make sure to follow up with all of my contacts multiple times a year, so that they will always remember who I am. The point is that by making a knock-out first impression, they will welcome any other correspondence that I send in the future.

    Thanks, again to everyone who commented. I’d encourage you to continue the discussion over at my blog, if you like. At The Papertank we are constantly creating unique marketing ideas for our clients and I would love to get into a discussion about other things that have stood out to you and made a lasting impression.

    -jonray

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Business Marketing

Hiring managers keep you on your toes – make them take the 1st step

(MARKETING) If you want to stand out from other job applicants, weird outfits, stunts, and baked goods will only get you so far – or it could backfire.

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hiring managers interview

According to research by employment search website Simply Hired, hiring managers get an average of 34 applications per job listing, but they spend time genuinely considering an average of only 12.6% of them – that’s less than 1/3. Some applicants may feel the need to go above and beyond the average application and do something unusual or unexpected to grab the hiring manager’s attention.

Simply Hired conducted a survey to find out whether or not “nontraditional” strategies to stand out are worth the risk, or whether it makes sense to stick to a traditional resume and cover letter. They surveyed over 500 hiring managers and over 500 job applicants to find out what sort of outside-of-the-box approaches applicants are willing to take, and which ones do and don’t pay off.

Most notably, the survey found that over 63% of hiring managers find attention-grabbing gimmicks totally unacceptable, with only 20.2% saying they were acceptable. Hiring managers were also given a list of unusual strategies to rank from most to least acceptable. Unsurprisingly, the least acceptable strategy was offering to sleep with the hiring manager – which should really go without saying.

Interestingly, hiring managers also really disliked when applicants persistently emailed their resumes over and over until they got a response. One or two follow-up emails after your initial application aren’t such a bad idea – but if you don’t get a response after that, continuing to pester the hiring manager isn’t going to help.

While sending baked goods to the office was considered a somewhat acceptable strategy, sending those same cookies to the manager’s home address was a big no-no. Desserts might sweeten your application, but not if you cross a professional boundary by bringing them to someone’s home – that’s just creepy.

Another tactic that hiring managers received fairly positively was “enduring extreme weather to hand-deliver a resume” – but waiting around for inclement weather to apply for a job doesn’t seem very efficient. However, hiring managers did respond well to applicants who went out of their way to demonstrate a skill, for example, by creating a mock product or presentation or completing their interview in a second language. A librarian who was surveyed said she landed her job by making her resume into a book and creating QR codes with links to her portfolio, while a woman applying to work at the hotel hopped behind the counter and started checking customers in.

It’s worth noting that while most hiring managers aren’t into your gimmicks and games, of the 12.9% of applicants who said they have risked an unusual strategy, 67.7% of those actually landed the job.

Still, it’s probably a safer bet to stick to the protocol and not try any theatrics. So then, what can you actually do to improve your chances of landing the job?

Applicants surveyed tended to focus most of their time on their resumes, but according to hiring managers, the interview and cover letter are “the top ways to stand out among the rest.” Sure, brush up your resume, but make sure to give equal time to writing a strong cover letter and practicing potential interview questions.

In the survey, applicants also tended to overestimate the importance of knowing people within the company and having a “unique” cover letter and interview question answers; meanwhile, they underestimated the importance of asking smart questions at the interview and personality. In fact, hiring managers reported that personality was the most impactful factor in their hiring decisions.

It appears that the best way to stand out in a job interview is to wow them with your personality and nail the interview. Weird outfits, stunts, and baked goods will only get you so far – and in fact, may backfire.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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nostalgia

Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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