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Friday, April 24th, 2009

Why You Should Be LinkedIn: Is $948 Per Connection (Per Year!) Appealing?

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Are you linked in?

If you’re in business, you likely should be!

LinkedIn is a business networking tool that allows you to keep track of your previous and current contacts as well as get linked to new ones.

Why should you care? Because each of your contacts is worth an average of $948 in annual revenue, according to a 2009 article by Business Week Magazine/Harvard Business Review. (note: there used to be a link for this article but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have been archived — at least I can no longer find it). .

I’ve been using LinkedIn since it was founded by Reid Hoffman in December of 2002.

You can see my profile here: LinkedIn (note: You’ll only be able to see my public profile there unless you are already a LinkedIn member).

LinkedIn is similar to social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, only it’s focused purely on business.

There are numerous other professional networking sites out there — with names such as Plaxo, Xing, ZoomInfo, Ecademy, Spoke, OpenBC — but I believe LinkedIn has them all beat.

Here are some of the reasons I recommend this online networking tool:

  • Old Friends & Colleagues Can Find You — LinkedIn has a neat feature that allows you to enter in past emails that you have used (e.g. from old jobs or personal email addresses you don’t use much if at all) so that your contacts don’t have to know your current email address to reach you.
  • You Can Network Into New Partners & Customers — You can go onto LinkedIn and find individuals with their titles at most major businesses and many smaller ones. LinkedIn will indicate how many connections away from you they are (e.g. 2 connections away means that the two of you have someone in common (which LinkedIn will then tell you so that your friend can introduce you to the third-party!).
  • Company Profiles — You can search a company by name and find profiles of many of their current and former employees; as well as see who their newest hires are and the most-viewed profiles. The Companies section even shows you their average age, gender breakdown and top schools that their people attended!
  • You Can Size Up People You Are About to Meet — If you’ve been introduced to a person and are soon going to meet with them for the first time, I recommend linking in to them ahead of time; that way you will be able to see who their connections are (perhaps you even have shared connections) and do some extra homework for the meeting.
  • You Can Have a Permanent Resume/Biography — LinkedIn allows you to put the background of your entire career in one place for you or others (recruiters love LinkedIn) to use.
  • You Can Post/Find Jobs Closer To You — LinkedIn’s Jobs section is a very logical way to match a business with a worker since it shows how many connections away from each other the hiring manager and prospective employee are.

I have a short-cut for you to beef up your number of LinkedIn connections..the following tool helped accelerate the growth of my linked in network.

Use their Import Webmail Contacts feature (It’s an option in the Add Connections section and might also be offered when you first sign up). LinkedIn then will go check out all of the email addresses from your email account and offer you the option to invite any or all of them to link in.

I personally chose to invite only the people who were already LinkedIn members (LinkedIn indicates that) and you can send one email to all of them with a personalized message (which I recommend).

Here’s a great 8-Step Action Plan on Setting Up & Maintaining LinkedIn written by a networking pro for a Webinar he presented to Chubb.

And if you want to expand your network even further, check out The Connector Exercise.

Good luck with your networkin’.

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Friday, April 24th, 2009

Got Googlejuice? 9 Simple Tips for Showing Up in Search Results

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Googlejuice!

If you had to master one concept in online marketing, this would surely be it.


I’ll give some Googlejuice tips below…but first, some of you might be asking: what is Googlejuice?

Googlejuice is a catchall for a handful of things that you and others can do to make your products, business or anything else show up high in Google’s rankings when people search.

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Googlejuice!

If you had to master one concept in online marketing, this would surely be it.


I’ll give some Googlejuice tips below…but first, some of you might be asking: what is Googlejuice?

Googlejuice is a catchall for a handful of things that you and others can do to make your products, business or anything else show up high in Google’s rankings when people search.

By the way, there’s a great book called What Would Google Do? that recently came out — it has a few pages on Googlejuice and in general how to work better with Google.

So why is Googlejuice so important? Because it can send enormous traffic to your Web site — and you don’t have to pay marketing dollars for it!

Question for You:

When you search on the names of your product categories, products, company, executives or industry, does your organization show up first every time?

If the answer is yes, please contact me as I’d like your advice!

If the answer is no, you may find the rest of this article helpful.

What’s the secret? I don’t know.

Google Juice is based on secret algorithms, and we’ll probably get the formula around the time Coke gives out its secret recipe!

GoogleJuice Tips

But, there are some basic Googlejuice tips you can start working on now:

  • Be Open – You should provide as much relevant information about your business as you can. Unless you’re giving up trade secrets (i.e. some secret algorithm or patent you own), you should publish it on the Web. The New York Times saw exponential growth when it freed its newspaper articles on the Web (it had previously charged readers money for accessing its articles online)
  • Be Unique – If you have information that is rare or unique, that can help your Googlejuice! For example, if you sell an unusual product line of “Fabricated Resin Plates (I made that up),” mention that exact phrase on your Web site. Since very few other businesses sell such a product line, your site will come up very high for the people searching any variation of “Fabricated Resin Plates.”
  • Have Many Links to You– The more sites that link to you the better; Google considers these to be endorsements of your reputation.
  • Have Quality Links to You — The higher their Page Rank (a score Google gives your site (named after founder Larry “Page”) the more Google Juice you get.
  • Have .Gov and .Org Links to You – Google sometimes gives links from .Gov and .Org sites more Juice than links from .Com sites (all other things equal) because they are typically linking out for reasons other than making money.
  • Be Transparent – Show the world who you really are. If you messed up on some product or have bad news, you should consider mentioning it on your Web site (perhaps in a blog…Others outside your company are going to be writing/talking about it anyway (wouldn’t you rather have your prospects/customers hear about it from you!?)
  • Be Clear & Specific – If you’re in the business of selling a vetinarian instrument for operating on squirrels, say it…People do search on such specific terms and if when they do they will find you!
  • Be Simple – Google tries to behave like a human so don’t get fancy with graphics and such…just simply describe your services.
  • Have Permalinks – Google rewards you for Web pages that stick around a long time (as long as they have useful information)…so if you have some valuable information, write it on a Web page and keep it there!

Now go enjoy a Googlejuice smoothie!

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Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

How To Improve Your Team By Playing One Of These 4 “D.A.C.I.” Roles

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Know thy role!

My good friend Jane turned me on to a framework that she learned at Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter…it’s called DACI and it stands for: D = Driver, A = Approver, C = Consulted and I = Informed.

The DACI model has helped me execute numerous projects more efficiently!

Here’s how it works:

When you are trying to get something done, ask yourself: “Who can serve in the following roles?”

Driver = This is the most important role. It’s the person who drives a project from start to completion — it’s their neck on the line to get this thing done! This is typically one person but you can be two “co-drivers.”

For larger projects, I highly recommend that you pick a highly organized and detail-oriented person to be the Driver. A less-organized person works fine as the Driver on small projects involving fewer people and items to organize.

The DACI driver’s responsibilities typically include:

  • Calling an initial kick-off meeting to discuss the purpose of the project
  • Collecting ideas & feedback on the project from those inside and outside the company (note: those people are also known as Consultants (see below))
  • Creating a detailed step-by-step plan for the project including tasks that need to get done, deadlines and how the project will be measured
  • Organizing follow-up meetings to hold people accountable for their assigned tasks and measure progress
  • Communicating updates on the project regularly
  • Lead the completion of the project

Note: The driver doesn’t have to be the smartest person and in fact I find that the smartest person on a particular topic often doesn’t make a good Driver (they make a good Consultant)

Approver = The person who will approve the project (aka “The Boss” or a senior manager)

Consulted = These are the experts that the driver will call upon to consult him or her. This can be the largest group and it is up to the Driver to make sure to find and utilize Consultants

Informed = These are the people who need to be informed about the progress of the project. They will include all the people above — the Driver, Approver and Consulted — and possibly others who want to be updated on the project but aren’t actively involved.

So, next time you’re trying to get something done: Try using the DACI approach…and get in touch with knowing thy role!

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Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

How To Get The End Result You Want By Reversing These 5 Simple Steps

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A few of us sat down in the Palm Springs hotel suite of Harv Eker, best-selling author of Secrets of The Millionaire Mind…and he shared a powerful framework on getting results.

His philosophy is to reverse engineer the process of bottom-line results

The gist of what Harv said was:

Ok, so you want results first, right? Well, what leads to results?…that would be Action (as in taking an action).

Next step is to ask:  What leads to Action?…well, that would be having a Feeling about something (i.e. you feel strongly enough to take action).

Now, what leads to Feeling something?…that would be Thinking about something.

Finally, what leads to thinking about something?…well, that would be what Harv calls Programming (what you were taught as a child, the conditions you grew up in, etc.).

I added “Talking” to the second step…so here’s the 5-step framework:

  1. Programming
  2. Thinking & Talking
  3. Feeling
  4. Taking Action (if you need inspiration here, check out my 12 quotes on action)
  5. Results

So, since we’re reverse-engineering this whole thing, the highest leverage you have to impact results is to affect the earlier steps.

For example, if the results you want are to buy an expensive car, yet you were taught (i.e. Programmed) by your Mom or Dad that possessing an expensive car was a bad thing (because it flaunted wealth), then it will be very difficult for you to end up acquiring your new car by simply Taking Action.

Your Feelings about the car may be very mixed because of your parent’s influence…you may not even be able to Talk openly to people about you wanting the new car — but you want it!

So, if you want that new car, work first on the:

  • Progamming — Decide that you disagree with your parents about their thoughts on expensive cars (this may sound easy but deciding that you disagree with a value that a parent has is a BIG deal (that’s why you start here!)
  • Thinking & Talking — Continue to think about the car AND talk openly about it to a close friend; Talking is just thinking out loud; but it makes it more real!
  • Feeling — You will begin to feel more inspired about the car..you will literally, as they say, start to “feel it.”
  • Taking Action — You will be more likely now to “kick the tires” of that car you want
  • Results — You will get that new car!

Harv shares this framework and many others in Secrets of The Millionaire Mind, which I recommend.

Thanks, Harv!

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