May 302010
 

I walked into a bank for the first time in years yesterday…

You see, I tend to look at banking as a line item on my checklist and all I want to do is check it off in the most efficient way possible. Walking in and waiting in line to complete a financial transaction is not efficient in my eyes. So, I’ve spent years becoming really good at online banking, frequenting ATMs and calling 800 numbers to answer any questions I may have. And I’ve been very happy. But yesterday, I had to set up an account that I was unsure how to structure and because my boyfriend goes to the same bank, I figured I’d tag along and do everything I needed to while I was there. (Side note: my boyfriend is the exact opposite of me when it comes to banking. When we walked into the bank, he was greeted by a symphony of hellos from the employees who obviously knew him well. And when he pulled out checks he wanted to deposit, my mouth dropped out of shock as I asked, “you don’t deposit those at the ATM?” He laughed when I later commented, Wow…you’re so old school!”)

We sat down at a desk across from one of the Account Managers (who my boyfriend was talking to about movies, just as they did every time he came in) and I immediately began asking the questions I needed answered in order to open the account appropriately. Though the gentleman answered kindly and knowledgeably, you could tell I had caught him a little off guard in my forwardness. My boyfriend sensed the discomfort and jumped into the conversation with more movie talk. I sat back and surrendered to the situation: I was in a “belly to belly” situation here…I needed to play the game of relationship building in order to get my needs met.

This situation got me thinking…as we’re deep into the age of the Internet, just how important are those “belly to belly” situations?

The Internet has changed the game for all of us business owners and here’s why:

1) You now have access to a Global market.
2) The playing field has leveled (you have the same resources at your fingertips as giant corporations).
3) The point of entry is a comparatively cheap (you don’t have to have a $1 million marketing budget to get the word out about your company).

This boils down to the fact that you and your business have great potential to hit it big. The trick to the Internet game, however, is learning to use this “global” tool to make your audience feel intimate and local. With the advent of Web 2.0 and Social Media (interactive and user-centered experiences), out of touch, non-interactive and static websites are quickly losing business to their connected, interactive counterparts. All this being said, it is still about being in touch with what your customers want so you can offer it to them when they need it.

One of the biggest complaints about the Internet is that it’s allowing us to become way too disconnected and out of touch with one another. Even though Web 2.0 answers that issue with its interactivity (c’mon…how cool is it that I can know exactly what my college roommate is up to on a daily basis when I get onto Facebook?), it’s vital that as a business owner, you never lose touch with the foundation of those “belly to belly” interactions that may feed your business.

There are two kinds of business people out there: those who love to network and those who loathe it. A few of us fall smack dab in the middle…we know it’s vital to business so we do it, and we enjoy it just enough to continue with it at our own pace. No matter where you are on the networking spectrum, it’s imperative for you to accept the fact that those in-person interactions are the best places to not only build relationships with clients, but also build relationships with business allies who can elevate your own game.

The bottom line is that in order to thrive in business today (let’s be honest, none of us want to “survive”…we want to thrive!), you must utilize the tools around you – from the “old school” ways of belly to belly relationships to the new ways of the interactive online world.

Even though I was frustrated sitting in the bank for an entire hour, I was thrilled when I downloaded the iPhone app that keeps me digitally connected to the accounts I had just set up. I recognized in that moment that this bank had done an amazing job marketing. They knew they had a world of customers just like me, who wanted to be “left alone” to do my banking business (just give me the tools and I’ll do it fast!). And they also knew they needed to service people like my boyfriend, who wanted to know everyone’s name and make every transaction in an actual banking facility. All they did was make sure to have their services and products available in ways that appealed to us both.

So, what do your clients want? How do they want to have access to it? How are you integrating your “belly to belly” interactions with those of your online presence?

Katie Krienitz is the Chief Operations Officer for The Wealth Building Annex (http://TheWealthBuildingAnnex.com), a mastermind and resource community for Entrepreneurs. She’s also a Relationship Author who sells her book online. You can find out more about Katie at http://KatieKrienitz.com or http://MyTrueLoveTV.com.

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May 222010
 

I come to you, my BNL family, to hopefully shed some light on something that I recently feel forced to address. My objective with this post is to help you evaluate the people you pay to “design” your website. I am going to be super blunt because I am so passionate about empowering my followers and I am getting tired of seeing people get taken advantage of by those who have no idea what they are doing.

After hosting internet marketing trainings and consultations for the last few years I have come across numerous “web designers” and I feel this is the only quote to express my feelings adequately…

I knew it. I’m surrounded by A$$#*!&$. Keep firing, A$$#*!&$!” –Dark Helmet, Spaceballs

I am by no means a website designer or a development expert nor do I want or claim to be, but, after I read the reviews for Webcreationuk I realized that not every company is created equal and that there just seems to be too many companies out there toting their elements of good web design and have no business doing so. I want to give you a few things to look for when choosing someone, and more importantly paying someone to develop an online marketing campaign, particularly your website.

These are 5 of the most important things you must evaluate when hiring someone to put together a website for you:

  1. What platform are you going to set up my site on? (Content Management Systems (CMS) is a MUST, WordPress or Joomla are the best and the only competent options. If they don’t mention these, RUN!)
  2. How are you going to design my site? If they say anything about “writing it,” “coding,” “custom style sheets” or anything other than creating a custom theme for you they are more than likely not operating efficiently and are going to set up something that will cost you more in the long run.
  3. Look at other sites they have created and try to highlight the text in a few areas. If the text doesn’t highlight and you are able to drag it like an image, RUN! That site is TOTAL CRAP and they have no idea what internet marketing or SEO is.
  4. How are we going to capture information? You must, must, must have a call to action on your site. Your list is your businesses equity. If you are not growing that list your business isn’t growing as fast as it could be and you have a stagnant, useless site with the hopes to sell to random people that may stumble upon it. Auto-responders like Aweber, Constant Contact, and iContact are the some of the best.
  5. Your costs should be between $400-$10,000, depending on the desired functions of your site. I know that is a pretty big gap, but there many degrees of the complexity when designing a custom web presence. If you just need a simple site with a few pages, some custom images, a contact area, and the training to update it yourself $400-$1,200 is a fair price.

Again, I am not a website designer, but it costs significantly more to duplicate a site that was done by people who really have no business promoting themselves as a website developers. Sorry for the touch of negativity today, but 3 students of mine in the last week have been swindled out of a quality site that they deserved and paid for.

This post is a little bit of an over simplification, but if you get anything from it please just evaluate the people you pay to do web design for you. Just because a site “looks good” does not mean so!

I value and appreciate all of you. Have a spectacular day and I look forward to seeing you at the top!

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May 082010
 

Leverage is the key to building an income while you sleep. Whether it is leveraging money with investments or other peoples efforts by outsourcing the income opportunities are endless.

What inspired me to create this video is my desire to learn from others misfortunes. You always hear of the people who made it to the TOP and after reaching success going right back to where they started.

Please check this video out and let me know your thoughts and strategies.

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