Archives for July 2011

Reducing Fear and Uncertainty

Let me give you a hypothetical illustration. You have a choice between two mutually exclusive investments. The first offers a guaranteed 3% return. The expected value of the second investment is 6.25%, more than double the first. It has 75% chance of returning 25%. However, it also has a 25% chance of losing 50% of your investment.

Which one do you choose?

If you picked the first one, you are in the majority. Physiologists tell us that the fear of losing what we already have is a powerful motivator. You picked a “sure thing” because the second investment’s higher expected value was not enough to overcome your fear of an uncertain outcome. In other words, you are risk adverse!

The same predisposition toward risk aversion applies to most consumers. Every business must recognize the fear of uncertainty, especially when marketing to new consumers or offering new products or services. Why, for example, would a prospect buy from you when they already have an existing relationship with your competitor?

You are the “uncertain outcome” in our investment example.

Uncertainties instill a level of customer distrust. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz explained the reason for this distrust. “In the 1960s, if you introduced a new product to America, 90% of the people who viewed it for the first time believed in the corporate promise. Forty years later, if you performed the same exercise less than 10% of the public believed it was true. The fracturing of trust is based on the fact that the consumer has been let down.”

Your challenge is to overcome distrust and risk aversion. This week, I will discuss several ways to help you meet that challenge. Here are today’s suggestions.

1. Perhaps the ultimate way of overcoming customer perceptions of risk and uncertainty is simply by building a solid reputation for post-sale customer service. American author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.”

Statistics do indeed support Mr. Ziglar’s comment. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs reports that the average dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience. Approximately 13% will actually tell more than 20 people. Compare those prospects to the results of a survey by Lee Resources. They found that 70% of complaining customers would do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favor. Fully 95% will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint immediately.

2. We have all ventured out of our culinary shell from time to time and took a risk by ordering a new entree or dessert, only to discover we hated it. Ice cream shops have found a cheap yet completely effective way of eliminating this risk. They offer free samples on tiny plastic spoons. The sample (including the spoon) costs less than two cents. Supermarkets hand out free food samples in little plastic cups. Wine tastings accomplish the same objective.

Free samples, or alternatively a free trial period, may be the best way to encourage customers to try new products or services without the fear of having to pay for something that does not meet their needs or tastes.

On Wednesday, I will discuss money-back guarantees. Stay cool until then!

Do You Like Me?

Sally Field’s acceptance of the 1984 Oscar for Places in the Heart is a classic among awards ceremony speeches. It included the emotional proclamation, “You like me, right now, you like me!” In a nutshell, all-grownup Gidget was bemoaning that she “didn’t feel the love” when she won her previous Oscar in 1979. Had Ms. Field given that speech today, at least 750 million of us would immediately assume she was somehow referring to her Facebook Fan page.

A Facebook “like” immediately reflects on that person’s page and exposes your product or service to their contacts. Your Facebook fans are essentially providing free advertising and their personal endorsement.

The  simple act of clicking a button also allows fans to post comments on your site unless blocked by your security settings.

Social media experts pay a lot of attention to Facebook likes and the characteristics of typical Facebook fans. For example, studies show that while the average Facebook user has about 130 friends, “likers” average closer to 300. They are 5 times more likely to click on external links. A study by media consultant Syncapse found that Facebook fans spend $71.84 more per year on brands than non-fans. Additionally, they are 28% more likely to continue using that brand.

The net result of all this is that an entire cottage industry has sprung up around helping small businesses increase their Facebook likes. As an internationally recognized champion of low-cost marketing alternatives (a slight exaggeration, but I sure hate spending money unnecessarily), regular readers know how I feel about that!

Therefore, I thought I would share a simple way of generating likes and page views without spending scarce marketing resources. Here it is:

Using your Facebook business account, like popular national or local Fan pages. Then post supportive comments about their product or service. A little light humor will probably attract additional attention. However, avoid posting a blatant advertisement for your Facebook page.

Let me give you a specific example of this tactic in action. This morning I posted, “We’ll be opening our first Diet Cokes long before Dallas thermometers top 100 for the 26th straight day today!” on Coke-Cola’s Fan page.

For a brief period (until pushed off-screen by newer comments), any of Coke’s 32.9 million fans who visited their site saw my innocuous comment, along with CFO America’s logo. Curious viewers could then click the logo to go to http://www.facebook.com/CFOAmerica, exactly where I want them!

You can find a list of the top Facebook Fan pages at http://statistics.allfacebook.com/pages. There are currently 27 sites with over 25 million fans each. There are almost 2,900 pages with 1 million or more fans. Most will allow you to comment on their posts. Some will allow you to post your own comment. Those Fan pages are marketing gold mines!

Over the past month, I have posted similar comments on Fan pages of local amusement parks, restaurants, hotels and so on. Since I began this tactic, new likes have increased 420% and active users (defined as the number of people who have viewed or interacted with my page) 43%. The following graph shows user activity over a two-week period. Notice the activity on July 19, a day when I was especially active in my posting efforts.

As the 17th century proverb said, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

Have a great weekend, and we’ll meet again on Monday.

When Every Second Counts

Wikipedia defines an elevator speech as “a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition.” Every business needs one. Moreover, unless you only hang out  on the top floors of very tall buildings, you need to be able to delivery your elevator speech in 30 seconds or less.

I have recognized for some time that my elevator speech needed some work. Frankly, it lacked punch and left audiences wondering exactly how I could help them. In the process of “sprucing it up” a little, I came across a blog post by my good friend John Carroll of Tres Coaching (http://www.trescoach.com/) in Keller Texas. John wrote an article on June 20 titled “Are you Speaking to me?” that nailed the issue of elevator speeches so well that I got his permission to share it with you.

John writes:

Three important elements that lead to success in a typical networking setting when positioning yourself, your business and your value proposition to other group members include:

  1. Preparation and planning,
  2. Tailoring the message to your audience, and
  3. Follow-up.

This article will address #2 “Tailoring the message to your audience”, and I will provide you with some ideas and an example that should help you raise your profile, obtain more quality referrals and effectively promote your business through networking.

Far too often, I see people just going through the motions when it comes to their networking activities. You know what I’m talking about. When it’s time for 30-second introductions they start with their name,  business name and offer little additional information to enable them to connect with the audience. What a waste of time!

Your 30-second introduction is the entry point upon which to build those great new business relationships, so take the time to do it right.

A 30-second introduction should answer three important questions, “Why should I do business with you?” and “How can I help you?” and finally, “Are you speaking to me?” It is important to tailor the message to  your audience, so people don’t walk away scratching their heads trying to figure out what you’re all about and to whom you are speaking.

Now, what do I mean by tailoring the message to your audience? Glad you asked.

In a typical networking setting there are four groups represented – potential customers, partners, suppliers and DNAs (Does Not Apply). So, don’t get up and just ‘spray and pray’ when it is time for your introduction. Recognize that how you speak to a potential customer is different than a prospective partner or supplier, and your message should reflect those subtleties and differences. Targeted group members in the audience should be keenly aware that you are speaking directly to them by what you say and how you say it.

Here’s an example of a 30-second introduction that a branding/marketing expert might use to promote their services and target new prospective clients …

“Effective marketing is much more than a slick brochure or a high-tech web site. More importantly, it’s about connecting prospective buyers with your business, and delivering measurable results.

At (Your Company Name), we are experts at helping clients find the right “connections” with their customers, so they buy more and more often.

If you are a small business owner and want to improve your marketing results, please see me after (breakfast, lunch, etc.) to schedule a FREE evaluation to determine how we can help.

(Your Name) with (Your Company Name) – from great ideas to your bottom-line.”

The above example answers the three important questions, and it is clear you are speaking to those small business owners in the audience who want to improve their marketing results.

Similarly, if your target audience is potential new partners or new suppliers, your message should reflect what is important to those particular groups and not be generic. Tailoring the message to your target audience should enable you to build positive new business relationships through networking and obtain more quality referrals.

I hope the information contained in this article has been helpful. Please share any additional thoughts and comments here that you think would be valuable.

Enjoy the journey!

John

COPYRIGHT © 2011 John Carroll

Creating a Winning Story

We are witnessing an amazing explosion of communication options. Countless telecommunication and Internet-based vehicles that did not exist a few years ago are now the norm. Who, save a small group of billionaire visionaries, foresaw the impact of Facebook, eBay and smart phones on today’s business community?

One thing has not changed. Marketing is still about communicating your message. Businesses must explain their value proposition to ever-widening and geographically dispersed audiences. It logically follows that whether you are drafting a newsletter, placing a newspaper ad or writing a short article, the message itself is the primary determinant of your success.

Everyone recognizes that correct spelling and proper grammar are essential. A few obvious mistakes in the opening paragraph will quickly sacrifice your credibility. The need to write at the level of our target reader is not as widely recognized. A successful author of children’s books does not write like someone presenting a research paper to the New England Journal Medicine. Your audience lies somewhere in between.

Microsoft Word Spell Check includes three tools to determine reading level. The first two are related. They are the Flesch Reading Ease score and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score. Both are formulas driven by the average words per sentence and syllables per word. Note that semicolons are treated as breaks between sentences, just like periods. The U.S. Navy began using these tools to test the readability of forms and manuals in 1975. Some states set readability standards for insurance policies and legal documents.

The higher the Flesch Reading Ease score, the easier it is to read. For example, the sentence “See Spot run'” scores 100. Scores of 60 to 70 are at a 13 to 15 year old level. Scores of 30 or less indicate a college graduate level. Time magazine scores around 50. The Harvard Law Review is in the low 30s.

The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level corresponds directly to the appropriate grade level. An 8.2 indicates comfortable reading for an eighth grader. A score above 12 requires college level reading skills. At the other extreme, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss is a negative 1.3. I target scores between 9 and 10 in my writing. This article is a 9.1.

Word’s third tool is the Passive Sentences Readability score. This formula is the ratio of passive to active sentences, expressed as a percentage. Low scores indicate high readability. A score above 15% is difficult to read. This article scored 0.0%, very unusual for my writing style.

I’m taking a long weekend, so I’ll see you again on Wednesday. Have a great weekend!

© 2011 by Dale R. Schmeltzle

What to do When Life Hands You Lemmings

Apple introduced the Macintosh personal computer in a third quarter television commercial during Super Bowl XLIII in January 1984. Playing off a George Orwell 1984 theme, it featured rows of uniformed, colorless drones. They sat mesmerized, watching as Big Brother dribbled propaganda on a large movie screen. Suddenly, a female runner chased by storm troopers entered the room. She hurled a sledgehammer against the screen, which explodes. The commercial ended with the statement, “You’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.”

That commercial has been voted the best Super Bowl commercial of all time. Always stick with what works, right?

The following year, Apple decided to use Super Bowl XIX to introduce Macintosh Office. This commercial featured a long line of blindfolded business people marching across a dusty, forbidding terrain. Their only source of guidance is their hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them. One-by-one, they walk off a cliff. It has been dubbed the “Lemmings commercial” and is widely considered the worse commercial in Super Bowl history. Apple did not advertise during the Super Bowl for the next 14 years.

Have you ever had a Lemmings-like marketing experience, one whose cost was exceeded only by its complete failure to accomplish its intended purpose? Sadly, I have! I spent $10,000 developing a traditional website in the hope it would soon have my phone “ringing off the hook” with eager prospects. The vendor guaranteed a “top 3” ranking for the phrase “fractional CFO.” While it accomplished that goal, I am still waiting for the phone to ring! Very few people search that phrase, largely because they do not know what it means.

I gained three things from my personal Lemmings experience. Allow me to now swallow my pride and share the lessons learned.

1. Cut your losses!

Ego has no place in rational business decisions. Admit your mistakes, save what is left of your limited marketing budget and move on! I compounded my mistake by continuing to pay the vendor $60 a month to host the site. They provided no marketing support, no analytical data or anything to justify an additional fee. I eventually moved the site to JustHost.com, a vendor that for a low annual fee provides unlimited email and website hosting. Since I already had an account, I saved $720 per year.

2. Reevaluate your marketing goals and the tactics to achieve them.

My initial hope (it was far too naive to qualify as a goal) was that if I simply created a website, my target market would flock to it and contact me. I now realize it is unlikely businesses will retain executive management consultants solely from online relationships. That is not to say that the website cannot serve a valuable role in my marketing strategy. However, it cannot serve as the primary strategy for new business production. One of my goals is now to move promising online relationships offline. In other words, to make personal connections over a cup of coffee or phone calls. I also learned the need to help educate the business community on the existence, purpose and value of fractional CFOs. My tactics include extensive networking and event-based marketing.

3. Salvage some value from your missteps.

I grew up playing in my family’s auto recycling business (o.k., junkyard if my brother is reading this). I learned the importance of salvaging maximum value from every opportunity. In the case of my misspent marketing funds, I have uploaded the site’s video (half of its cost) to YouTube, where it may increase my Internet footprint and contribute toward my goal of consumer education. As previously mentioned, I also transferred the website to another hosting service. While this may or may not help increase brand awareness and establish my expertise, it is now essentially free!

Let me close with some simple but very practical advice. To err is human. To learn from your mistakes is good business!

© 2011 by Dale R. Schmeltzle

It Takes a Village to Grow a Company

Balancing the needs of your business with the needs of the communities it serves is always difficult. John Mackey is the CEO and cofounder of Whole Foods Market, and Ernst & Young’s 2003 Entrepreneur of the Year. He addressed this delicate balance: “I think one of the most misunderstood things about business in America is that people are either doing things for altruistic reasons or they are greedy and selfish, just after profit. That type of dichotomy portrays a false image of business. The whole idea is to do both.”

 

In other words, being a good corporate citizen means serving your community as you grow your business, two completely compatible and praise-worthy goals. Here are some thoughts and ideas to help you succeed in this balancing act.

 

  • You can gain access to a broad new market by simply setting up a table at charity and community events. My wife manages a retail store. She sponsors fashion shows and similar affairs for local women’s clubs and senior activity centers. The organizations’ members usually serve as models. Not surprisingly, they often buy the outfits they model. A small donation or commission on sales may convince an organization to become your defacto marketing partner if they have not done so in the past.
  • Consider allocating a portion of your marketing budget to support local charities. Make a promotional flyer (you already have all the tools you need on your PC) and hire a youth group to distribute it in neighborhoods, shopping center parking lots, sporting events and community events. Take out ads in community group bulletins and newsletters. You can also offer special discounts to their members. I once attended a church that received a small contribution from a local grocery store for all cash register receipts collected from church members. The promotion was prominently mentioned in the church bulletin every Sunday.
  • Homeowners associations are not charitable entities. However, I include them in this post because they are non-profit organizations. HOAs have the added advantage of easily observable and homogeneous demographics. Do not overlook them when offering targeted special discounts and similar promotions. They may also welcome your sponsorship of their newsletters and neighborhood events.
  • Because of the close physical proximity of prospects, homeowners associations with whom you have established a marketing relationship are an ideal setting in which to experiment with a door hanger campaign. You can print flyers on your computer, order door hangers from any print shop or online, or order the paper stock and print them yourself. Think about hiring your favorite charity youth group to distribute them for you.

 

I look forward meeting with you again on Wednesday morning. Best wishes until then.

© 2011 by Dale R. Schmeltzle

The Horse Comes Before the Cart, Part 3

This week I have been emphasizing that the successful implementation of any strategy requires it be executed within the framework of a comprehensive marketing plan. Diving into a marketing campaign without first having a plan of where you are going and what you hope to accomplish is putting the cart before the horse, and makes you vulnerable to “tactical soup.”

Today I will conclude this three-part series by discussing the monitoring and evaluation of your plan.

8. Sadly, the critical step of monitoring results is often omitted by small businesses. Don Bradley and Chris Cowdery of the University of Central Arkansas conducted a study titled Small Business: Causes of Bankruptcy. They found that 58% of businesses that filed for bankruptcy admitted to doing “little to no record keeping.” Without an adequate accounting system, a business cannot fully understand its revenue cycle nor have a true picture of its marketing costs. You cannot manage what you cannot monitor, and you cannot monitor what you do not measure.

Measure, monitor and manage, in that order!

Include hard and soft-dollar components when measuring marketing costs. A $3,000 invoice for a newspaper ad is an obvious cost. However, a portion of the salary and benefits of the employee who spent four days writing and editing the copy is also a marketing cost. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that if a tactic has no hard costs (as with many Internet tools) that it is cost-free. The risk of this mindset is skipping the evaluation phase of the planning process. Time is a scarce resource in business. The opportunity cost (measured by what else you could be doing) of your time has value. It must be examined and justified in light of the marginal revenue it generates.

9. Finally, at the risk of over-simplification, the evaluation stage is largely a matter of comparing actual costs and marginal revenue to the expected numbers. However, knowing things like who responded to your promotion and whether they bought only sale items or made additional purchases are also important. This is a time to be objective and cold-blooded! If a marketing tactic exceeded cost expectations or failed to generate the required sales, cross it off your list. Never fall in love with an idea.

As you construct, implement and fine-tune your marketing plan, remember that it is a management tool. It is a not weapon to punish yourself or your employees. No one succeeds all the time; we often fail the first time! If costs exceed the benefits, take a page out of Thomas Edison’s playbook. When challenged about experimenting with over 10,000 different substances before picking a carbon filament for his light bulb, he replied, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Learning that something will not work is valuable information!

Let’s talk more on Monday. Have a great weekend!

© 2011 by Dale R. Schmeltzle

The Horse Comes Before the Cart, Part 2

This week I am discussing the important topic of determining your marketing strategies within the context of a comprehensive plan. Launching a marketing campaign (even if it does not involve any hard costs) without a plan is “putting the cart before the horse.” On Monday, I presented a framework for constructing your marketing plan. It begins with defining your goals. Today I will share additional thoughts on clarifying your goals and the tactics to accomplish them.

3. Consider financial and non-monetary objectives. Examples of non-monetary objectives include things like closing percentages, page hits and customer traffic patterns. Be specific! A goal of increasing sales is neither constructive nor measurable. A goal of increasing sales 5% per month for the next six months through a combination of a 4% increase in customer count and a $17 increase in average dollars per sale is.

4. Business goals are rarely accomplished in a straight linear fashion. For example, a 24% annual sales increase is not going to come in equal increments of 2% every month. Your marketing strategies are going to take time to produce results. They are affected by existing sales patterns and seasonality that every business experiences. Establish a realistic timeframe for each goal, with appropriate interim benchmarks to measure short-term progress toward long-term goals. That allows you to take timely corrective action or adjust goals as needed.

5. As you define goals and timeframes and the strategies and tactics to accomplish them, be aware of conflicting goals. Here is a simple example. What is the first thing most retailers do when they want to increase revenue? They hold a sale. In other words, they cut prices! Obviously, the hope is that increased customer traffic will more than offset the lower prices. However, it is still a conflict. Here is another example. Assume you want to increase the average customer purchase in your shoe store from $58 to $75. You therefore introduce a new line with a higher price point. Most customers are only going to buy one or two pairs of shoes. Therefore, while revenue from the new line will go up, sales of cheaper lines will probably go down. Conflicts are not necessary bad, and are often unavoidable. My only point is you need to look at the whole picture. Recognize and manage conflicting goals in your market plan.

6. Specify the purpose or desired result of every marketing tactic. In other words, what action do you hope clients or prospects will take because of a marketing initiative? Your definition of purpose establishes the basis of measurement and encourages accountability. The desired result may include multiple objectives, including the following:

  • Business production
  • Generate new leads
  • Brand awareness
  • Introduce a new product or service
  • Advertise a specific sale or promotion
  • Establish your expertise
  • Increase customer traffic
  • Consumer education

7. Tactics rarely operate in a vacuum. You can sometimes leverage one against another. For example, relationships developed online can be taken offline. A social media connection is a far better sales prospect if you subsequently call or meet face-to-face. Similarly, you might precede a direct mail campaign with a subject matter media blitz via article marketing, blogging, email newsletters, press releases and so on.

I will conclude this topic on Friday, when I will discuss step 4 of your market planning process, monitoring costs and results.

© 2011 by Dale R. Schmeltzle

The Horse Comes Before the Cart

 

 

 

 

 

 

I advocate a simple twelve-word marketing strategy. Communicate one message, promoting one brand, touching multiple audiences at no cost. It is made possible by an abundance of free and low-cost tools that afford simultaneous experimentation in multiple channels. However, successful implementation presupposes you first established a comprehensive marketing plan.

Your marketing plan will be our subject matter for the entire week. Today I will present a planning framework and discuss the importance of goal setting.

Diving into a marketing campaign without first having a plan is analogous to the old phrase “putting the cart before the horse.” You are vulnerable to what Gordon Andrew of Highlander Consulting calls tactical soup. He defines the phrase as “getting bogged down in a flurry of marketing activity without placing enough emphasis on how it will generate revenue and profitability.”

Describing a complete marking plan is beyond the scope of this document. However, I will discuss some basic elements of your plan. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.

  1. Constructing a marketing plan is not a “once and done” task. It is a continuous process, as illustrated by the 5-step diagram at the top of today’s article.
  2. The first requirement of a plan is to define your goals, preferably in writing. Let me return to my horse analogy for a moment. Can you image a race where the jockeys did not know where the finish line was? The situation would quickly become chaotic. Horses would run into each other as jockeys individually decided which direction was best. It may sound like a ridiculous example, but it is no different than running a business without a clear direction. Just like a race, knowing where the finish line is and staying focused on it is critical to success. Goals provide us with that direction. As Zig Ziglar says, “A goal, properly set is halfway reached.”

The ultimate purpose of marketing is to influence consumer behavior in ways that accomplish your goals. What exactly do you want to accomplish? A logical place to start defining your goals is by answering a series of questions. They include areas like:

  • How many new clients do you need; how many can you currently accommodate?
  • How will increased sales affect your cost structure? For example, will you need to hire more sales associates or increase inventory levels?
  • What is your target revenue per new client?
  • What is the minimum revenue per client that you can profitably accommodate?
  • How would you describe your target customers in terms of key demographics like age, gender, location, education, income level, professional profile and so on?
  • Who is the ultimate decision maker in target organizations?
  • Where are potential customers likely to turn (Internet, newspaper, Yellow Pages, etc.) to learn about your products or services and to find businesses that provide them?

Finally, today’s picture features my wife Shelley and me standing next to a horse in Central Park. Send me your favorite horse pictures and I will select one for Wednesday and Friday’s blog posts. Email your pictures to support@CFOAmerica.net.

On Wednesday, I will continue this topic with some suggestions to help you establish interim goals and the tactics to accomplish them.

© 2011 by Dale R. Schmeltzle

Bull Horns in Cyberspace, Part 2

On Wednesday, I began a discussion of things we can do to attract attention to our blogs, and some of the mistakes I have made over the past six months as a blogger. Today I will conclude this topic with Part 2 of Bull Horns in Cyberspace.

Here are my thoughts and suggestions for today:

Find your style. A little trick I have learned that seems to work well is to study a new marketing tool, process, etc., and then write about what I learned. For example, I recently wrote a three-part article called Twelve Things I Learned about SlideShare. I write from the point of view of reporting what I know at the end of the process that I wish I had known at the start. I offer advice to those considering using the same tool, and discuss how to be more effective in communicating their message to an ever-widening audience.

Use other social media to promote your blog. I always post summaries of blog posts on Facebook, Twitter and occasionally LinkedIn. Facebook allows a 420 character article summary, LinkedIn 700. Always leave room for a hyperlink to your blog. Consider using a URL shortener like https://bitly.com/ if you are pressed for space. This is even more important to accommodate Twitter’s 140-character limit. Abbreviated versions of three or four articles are also featured in my monthly newsletter, which is distributed free through MailChimp to over 700 people. Finally, I am having some encouraging preliminary results by posting entire articles on SlideShare.net.

Do not overlook the value of paper in promoting your blog. Add your web address to business cards, print media ads, Yellow Page listings (you remember those, right?), letterheads, email signatures and so on. If you really want to go high tech, add a Quick Response Code to allow smartphone users to find your blog easily. For more information on QR Codes, see our March 25 blog post “More Thoughts on Business Cards” at http://bit.ly/i5ikHc.

Encourage reader feedback and sharing. When readers post comments (positive or otherwise), thank them for their effort. I only delete spam, an inevitable byproduct of blogging. I have recently become more active in soliciting feedback. I now periodically end posts by asking readers for their comments, suggestions and criticisms. I also invite suggestions for future articles. Finally, make sure your blog has plug-ins or widgets to promote article sharing through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social media vehicle you believe is likely to help capture your target markets. Allow readers to bookmark your URL to their list of favorite sites with the click of a button.

So let me end there, by inviting you to post your thoughts on CFO America’s blog. What do you like? What do you dislike? Keep it clean and I promise to approve it. Most importantly, what can I do to make the information presented more useful to you in growing a prosperous business?

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