Super Bowl Plans? Don’t Forget the Most Popular Appetizer!

Work Hard.

Play Harder.

…but not too hard, don’t want to end up like this guy –>

We all deserve a break. Sometimes I think I get so busy that I forget to allow myself to stop for a minute. Super Bowl Sunday is upon us and it’s always a great time to kick back, enjoy company and forget about life’s issues for a minute.

In fact, this blog even deserves a break from business – I am going to talk about an app you can’t live with out. An app for your mouth not your phone.

You know I am all about simple –

So here is my 3 step solution using 3 common ingredients…

Melissa’s Heart Attack App

(Recipe will yield 16 servings)

Ingredients:

  1. 1 pound sliced bacon, cut into thirds
  2. 1 (14 ounce) package beef cocktail wieners
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar, or to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Refrigerate 2/3 of the bacon until needed. It is easier to wrap the wieners with cold bacon. Wrap each cocktail wiener with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle brown sugar generously over all.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until the sugar is bubbly. To serve, place the wieners in a slow cooker and keep on the low setting.
Let me know what ya’ think.

What are some of your favorite Super Bowl snacks?

3 Facts You Need to Know for Your Next Website Makeover

And you will be doing one—

As a growing number of customers find you on mobile devices, you will need to update the look, feel, and NAVIGATION of your site, (like yesterday in fact).

Since I just spent a YEAR riding herd on the makeover of an innovative website that gets millions of hits a month, I can say the following 3 things with great certainty:

  1. A website makeover will take more time than you think or plan. Websites are always more complex than they look. They require outside vendors, intra-department cooperation, and a great deal of digging just to get a true handle on the scope. Wrangling all these factors is the hardest job. Make sure your project manager knows what he/she is doing. Then build in extra time.
  2. There will be blowback (both internal and external) so grow a thick skin. Think of your misplaced keys and how frantic you get when you’re trying to leave the house. Now transpose those feelings to your customers. After our launch we averaged a thousand plus comments for the first few days—60 to 70% negative. And I can tell you first hand, some of those negative comments were very, very negative. But I’m happy to say that a week into the makeover we began to hear a new story. The tide turned, and many of the angry people reconnected to let us know they had changed their minds.
  3. You must limit changes, or you’ll never go live. There will always be sacred cows, forgotten seasonal pages, ruffled feathers, and more, but you’ve got to GO. Then plan to keep on GOING. Websites are living documents. You can fix and keep fixing. The important thing is to get the makeover out there and working for your customers. Analytics on our site reported 40-50% were finding us on smartphones and tablets. That number is only growing.

Like I said, it’s makeover time. Hope this helps!

Anything to add to the list?

Leadership 2.0 – 3 More Leadership Tips: #ThrowbackThursday Inspiration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last thursday I tweeted a leadership article I posted back in 2011.

A lot has changed since then.  Ester Mae Marketing has taken off to unbelievable places, I have become a global Startup Weekend Facilitator, and recently have become the President for the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association.  And while I still live by my old manager’s words of wisdom ” if you are a leader and you get too far ahead of the crowd, there is no one following you–by definition you aren’t a leader at all,”  I have added a few more words of wisdom to my leadership arsenal.

Here are 3 More Tips to Successful Leading:

  • Never be the smartest person in the room.  Leading doesn’t mean you know EVERYTHING, it means you help people to do their best work. Find complimentary strengths in others and always be learning.  Oh, and leave your ego at the door!
  • Process and infrastructure aren’t sexy, but they are necessary.  Being the leader means it is up to you to set your group up for success and processes get people there.  Processes offer structure, focus and repeatability.
  • Show your sensitive side once in a while.  This one is hard for me. No leader should be too emotional, but allowing people to see what moves you makes you human and allows for a better connection with your team. Vulnerability can inspire.

These are a few things I have learned in my journey. What are some of your leadership tips?

Instead of Cold Calling, Try a Personal Email – 6 Tips to Writing an Intro Email that Works

 I keep saying the cold call is dead.  I am solutions oriented, so here is a transition plan for you.English: Experimental "No cold calling ar...

If you have wanted to give up that nasty cold calling habit but find yourself feeling confused, do not fret 2014 is the year.  I have your solution. According to a recent infograph from Marketo, email is the metric of choice.  Take a look at the statistics here:

Email Wanted Dead or Alive
Brought to you by
 Email Marketing Software from Marketo

Now you have all the facts what to do with them?  Here are my 6 Steps to a Perfect Email “Cold Call” (with an example draft):

Hi Greg,

This is Melissa Kennedy, I decided to shoot you a quick note after (seeing/hearing/speaking to someone) about ___________ . When you get a minute, I would love the opportunity to go over __________(details of my solution) that may solve your issue. Let me know when you may have a quick 20 minutes to discuss. Here is a great resource that may help ______(insert a piece of collateral, e-book, infograph, blog, etc). I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing back from you.

Thanks,

Melissa

K. Melissa Kennedy
President, Ester Mae Marketing
President, Triangle Interactive Marketing Association
@kmelissakennedy

To simply break it down for you:

  1. Use their first name – so familiarity and that you not isn’t canned
  2. Word choice matters — I used “decided” to show that I made a choice to reach out.
  3. Don’t be Vague — use specifics to show you have done your homework and you have something worthy of a conversation
  4. Tease what  you want to discuss — it shows the email is not canned, and shows relevant solutions that may help
  5. Offer them educational content — this gesture reinforces that you intention is to educate and help
  6. List your LinkedIn and Twitter addresses — it conveys that I am an open,  come and learn about me.  Plus, it offers other means to communicate with me

Notice that the message is short a — keep it simple.

What are some ways you use your inbox?

2014 Crystal Ball View: My Commentary on Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Predictions

Simple 2

Social Media Examiner Rocks — I couldn’t dismiss their predictions (their original list: 11 -social media 2014 predictions ), so I thought I would simplify and give some color commentary on 5 of theirs…

#1: The Resurgence of Advertorial

#1: (#2) Employee Advocacy

Employees and their social networks should work for you. In an era where bad news spreads faster than fire, empower and engage your employees often. This trend dove tails into the Social selling revolution, which is outlined in my posts New Selling Strategy Series.

#3: Facebook Forces a Strategic Refocus 

#4: Social Networks Develop A/B Testing Tools for Brands’ Organic Updates

#5: Pay to Play

#6: Fusion Marketing and Fusion Dashboards

#2: (#7) Social Storytelling Will Shift

Here is the thing-

if you want your customers to understand you, buy your service, use your product

then you have to speak THEIR LANGUAGE!

This is how you avoid a price war.

#8: The Age of Advocacy

#9: Paid Social Becomes a Requirement for Social Media Marketers

#3: (#10) Brand-Owned Network List-Building Matures

Ownership of your contacts is crucial as our professional and personal networks expand.  The importance of having your contacts readily available is critical to your success.  What is the point of fostering social relationships if you cannot leverage your investment?

#4: (#11) Interactive Video Becomes Viable

Video has proven its value, but adding interactivity on the transactional level has infinite upside..  As Mark Schaefer  noted, television has not changed since 1950.  I agree that we are at the verge of an innovation explosion and I can’t wait to see all the possibilities.

#5: (#1, 3-6, 8, 9) Energizing a Community Around Your Brand

Big bottom line for the future of business lies in this prediction — Treat your customers like they are your community.  Building community starts with engagement.  As the 2014 Triangle Interactive Marketing Association (TIMA) President, one of my biggest goals is to lead the organization to provide the best value, networking and learning opportunities in the local interactive and digital marketing space through engaging its members to help shape and create their experience.  More details on progress on that front throughout the year.

And while I’m at it,if you are local to the Triangle, NC, please come to the FREE TIMA kick off event, see what I am talking about and let your voice be heard.  It’s a party – more the merrier…you don’t have to be a member to attend our high- energy Marketing in Motion Kick off event – where the community continues to thrive.

Check out the details and register here and bring a friend!

 

Top 3 Lessons Learned in 2013, and Goals of Change for 2014


New Years Eve 2011 London

London NYE (Credit: Sean MacEntee)

Later 2013, Hello 2014!

What a fantastic year! I am truly thankful for all of 2013, but most importantly the lessons and people who have made me think, just a little differently.

Top 3 Lessons Learned from 2013:

  1. Trust is essential for building a solid brand.  Just like I stated in my “blurred lines” post relationships are important to your customers, if there isn’t any substance there you’ll end up in a bidding war with your competitors. Certain neuroeconomic studies have shown that when someone trusts, their brain releases oxytocin.  A chemical that has been linked to reducing social fears and increasing generosity.   Give more, trust more in the new year and watch progress happen.
  2. Social selling is here to stay and so is the new buying process.  In a world of “over-sharing” and lots of noise, quality beats out quantity, you have 2.5 seconds to make an impression, truly a blink of an eye.  Use it wisely.
  3. This is the age of Innovation- here come the entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.  Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, from all corners of the globe and here at home. From dressmakers in Afghanistan to entrepreneurs participating in the SEED program acceleration in Brazil to small and large groups supporting the innovation journey like Up Global and startup summits everywhere, even Iowa.  Excitement and growth abound right here in the Triangle, with the growth of  Triangle Startup Weekend events and participants, healthy turnouts at the ExitEvent socials and even a startup living experiment called the Think House. Embrace and empower is the lesson I leave you.
Wishes

Wishes (Photo credit: Matt Erasmus)

Top 3 Changes for 2014:

  1. Let’s finally kill the cold call. I continue to tout that the cold call is dead!  I will continue to share this wisdom to help make more businesses successful.
  2. Let’s continue to deliver.  As a consultant the importance of saying what you mean and doing what you promised is the only mantra.  Our work is who we are and is the ultimate business development strategy.
  3. Let’s network and learn smarter. I hope to help my local marketing community do just that as I take on the the role of President of the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association in the New Year.  Come out and party and help create the best year of fun and focus at our New Year kick off party on Jan. 8 @ 6:30pm-until @ Natty Greens in Raleigh, NC. Pitches, prizes and fun await.   We will be asking our existing and future members to tell us what THEY want from us.  Check it out here.

It’s time to ring in the New Year!

Cheers to a fun and successful 2014.

Thank you all again for riding shotgun on this journey and helping me and my team be successful.

See Ya Dog

Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts from Ester Mae Marketing in 2013

Giving GiftsIn the spirit of giving enjoy Ester Mae’s top 10 posts of 2013:

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Gandhi

I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday.  Make sure to check back next week as I go through What I Learned From 2013 & What I Would Change.

Top 3 Last Minute Marketing Ideas of 2013

Last Minute Christmas Last year I provided you with 3 BIG ideas to help you close out your year! And in the same tradition, here are 3 more.
3 Big End of Year Ideas 2013:
  1. Reach Out to Abandoned Leads — Holidays are a great time to reach out to those clients that just were not ready for your product or service earlier in the year. Think about a thank you campaign specially customized to those leads.
  2. Source New Ideas and Content — Sending and sharing relevant, valuable content is always key. Take some extra time to pay attention to what people are saying online about your industry or your business. Look for opportunities to engage with your prospects on LinkedIn, respond to a customer’s question on Twitter, or thank someone for a positive online review. New content ideas are a perfect way to use the last bit of your end-of-year marketing budget, consider creating a 2014 outlook e-book, infograph or get ahead of your editorial blog calendar.
  3. Update your Email Lists —Clear out any bounced email addresses, duplicates and otherwise inactive contacts so you can focus on engaging your most interested customers and nurture the leads that will bring you success in 2014.

Cheers to you ALL.  What an incredible year! 

Thank You Word Bubble

And a big THANKS for being a part of my business.

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Holidays

Check back next week for our last minute marketing ideas to help close out 2013.

Top 12 Favorite 2013 Thanksgiving Images and Memes

It’s Thanksgiving week so I thought I would share my favorite T-day images to remind us all to be thankful.  

                               And by the way, I am

…thanks for reading my blog!!    

Top 12 Thanksgiving Images 2013: Enjoy

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