How Well Do You Know Your Market?

sign-upHow well do you know your market, demographic or audience? It’s all the same after all, simply a question of semantics. Who is buying or benefiting in some way from what you are selling? When I first began presenting workshops to groups, it was with a 90-minute program in an Adult Education/Community setting. The cost was low, but most important was to gain experience and refine the offering for future groups elsewhere. Feedback was excellent and the courses filled, some even with a waiting list. Almost every participant wanted more sessions and strongly suggested that I create a 2-part program. When I pitched it to the director, she was hesitant and expressed some doubts based on her experience with adults but ultimately agreed to try it. Much to my surprise, not only did registration dip dramatically, but those people who did sign-up were not as enthusiastic or participatory as my “One-and-Done” groups had been. I was disappointed and tried to get more feedback. Was it me? The quality of the offering? Cost? Or was it just the profile of the adult-ed student which is unique? While there was no definitive answer, I know that I did not do enough research to understand the history of multi-part workshops or the commitment of the adult learner in a casual setting. Expectations for learning a foreign language or a musical instrument are quite different than for personal development, goal setting and the accompanying homework. I had been flattered by the positive feedback and went full ahead without understanding that getting bodies in the seats requires more than setting the date and creating the content.

A recent newsletter I received underscores the same experience according to Amy Swift Crosby, founder of SMARTY. She understands her audience. When people called for a presentation on “How to Build Your Back Room” which is about accounting, staffing, etc. she knew that it was not sexy enough to get customers out of the house to attend a program like this. However, a webinar was the perfect idea and enrollment exceeded her goal.

She continues at length to describe the local joint/diner that has a great greasy spoon following and is now offering gluten free muffins. If the thinking behind this is that it will draw in a whole other group of customers, it’s probably off target. It’s more likely that those diners are also looking at a different overall dining experience, replete with high concept coffee, cultivated sea salt and more.

So, as entrepreneurs we may have many, many exciting new ideas and vetting them isn’t always the most fun part of the process. Imagining yourself in the customer’s place and thinking like the client is the shift that needs to happen before you place an order for 1000 x or sign a 5-year lease on that very cool storefront.

©MWeisner 2017

Top 10 Ways to Survive a Social Media Nightmare

imagescakc7fr7Social media blunders happen all the time, but there are good and bad ways to deal with them. Josh Morgan, Vice President of Edelman Digital, and Lori Bertelli, Public Relations Manager of Augustine Ideas, shared some of the scarier sides of social media and how a little mistake can snowball into a nightmare.

These are their suggested steps you can take to help minimize the damage if you are faced with a social media nightmare:

1. Before you say anything on social media, take into account everyone who could be in your audience, not just the people you know for sure are in your audience. Remember, not everyone thinks exactly the same way you do.

2. Before you open up any type of social media forum, have a policy in place that lets people know that certain types of speech aren’t going to be tolerated and that the platform is being moderated.

3. If you find yourself getting emotionally involved in something online, take a step back. Don’t let commenters get you riled up as you could end up saying something that you regret.

4. Think about who is doing your social media postings. An intern may be comfortable using Facebook and Twitter, but are they the right person to be representing your brand online? It is easier to teach someone who knows your brand/business about social media than it is to teach someone who only knows social media about your company.

5. Set up multiple administrators on all social media accounts just in case you can’t get in touch with someone when you need to – or they leave the company.

6. Make it easy to do the right thing when you are setting up your policies.

7. Own a mistake and do it quickly. Don’t try to hide from it. It’s not going away.

8. Have a friend or an editor check things out. It might seem funny to you, but it may not be to everyone else.

9. Understand that you can’t control social media. Instead, be ready to react and take ownership when something does happen.

10. Don’t be insulting or come off as defensive. All it takes is one bad post to create a social media nightmare.

Who’s Your Client, Customer, Demographic?

binocularsHow well do you know your market, demographic or audience? It’s all the same after all, simply a question of semantics. Who is buying or benefiting in some way from what you are “selling”? Years ago when I first began presenting workshops to groups, it was with a 90-minute program in an Adult Education/community setting. The cost was low, but it was most important was to gain experience and refine the offering for future groups elsewhere. Feedback was excellent and the courses filled, some even with a waiting list. Almost every participant wanted more sessions and strongly suggested that I create a 2-part program. When I pitched it to the director, she was hesitant and expressed some doubts based on her experience with adults but ultimately agreed to try it. Much to my surprise, not only did registration dip dramatically, but those people who did sign-up were not as enthusiastic or participatory as my “One-and-Done” groups had been. I was disappointed and tried to get more feedback. Was it me? The quality of the offering? Cost? Or was it just the profile of the adult-ed student which is unique? While there was no definitive answer, I know that I did not do enough research to understand the history of multi-part workshops or the commitment of the adult learner in a casual setting. Expectations for learning a foreign language or a musical instrument are quite different than for personal development, goal setting and the accompanying homework. I had been flattered by the positive feedback and went full steam ahead without understanding that getting bodies in the seats requires more than setting the date and creating the content.

A recent newsletter I received underscores the same experience according to Amy Swift Crosby, founder of SMARTY. She understands her audience. When people called for a presentation on “How to Build Your Back Room” which is about accounting, staffing, etc. she knew that it was not “sexy” enough to get customers out of the house to attend a program like this. However, a webinar was the perfect idea and enrollment exceeded her goal.

She continues at length to describe the local joint/diner that has a great “greasy spoon” following and is now offering Gluten Free Muffins. If the thinking behind this is that it will draw in a whole other group of customers, it’s probably off target. It’s more likely that those diners are also looking at a different overall dining experience, replete with high concept coffee, cultivated sea salt and more.

So, as entrepreneurs we may have many, many exciting new ideas and vetting them isn’t always the most fun part of the process. Imagining yourself in the customer’s place and thinking like the client is the shift that needs to happen before you place an order for 1000 x or sign a 5 year lease on that very cool storefront.

©MWeisner 2016

Give a Work Presentation

speaker presentationDoes the thought of public speaking throw you into a state of panic or is it another terrific opportunity to demonstrate your ease in front of an audience? Most of us are called upon at some point to speak to a group and/or present materials to share information. No matter your skill level, with focused persistence, proper preparation and timing during a workday, you can increase the odds of a positive result. In fact, it’s not only what you say in that meeting with your boss, but when you say it.

The best way to avoid having your ideas met with blank stares and stifled yawns is to schedule your presentations on Tuesdays, around 10:30 AM. According to Andrew Bradbury, author of Successful Presentation Skills, “In the midmorning, early birds are still going strong and the night owls are getting into the stride of their day, meaning everyone in the audience should be energized and receptive.” Furthermore, in a recent survey commissioned by the staffing agency Accountemps, Tuesday was found to be the most effective day to show off Powerpoint skills. I can hear the groans already but when strong visual are called for, it does not mean that “death” by Powerpoint will follow. People are in the full swing of their workweek and not yet distracted by the upcoming weekend. And, with a Tuesday presentation, if follow-up is necessary, there is still a cushion of three more workdays. Given that you managed all else, to ensure the most receptive audience, timing really is everything after all. Remember to smile. The audience is on your side, they want you to be successful.

Consider both personal and professional circumstances where timing strategically made a difference.
• Did you notice the receptiveness of your audience?
• How will you factor time and day into future presentations?
• Schedule something ASAP based on these suggestions
• Compare a Tuesday AM meeting to another day and time

© 2016 Maureen Weisner

Give a Work Presentation…Timing Counts!

imagesCAU3C46QDoes the thought of public speaking throw you into a state of panic or is it another terrific opportunity to demonstrate your ease in front of an audience? Most of us are called upon at some point to speak to a group and/or present materials to share information. No matter your skill level, with focused persistence, proper preparation and timing during a workday, you can increase the odds of a positive result. In fact, it’s not only what you say in that meeting with your boss, but when you say it. The best way to avoid having your ideas met with blank stares and stifled yawns is to schedule your presentations on Tuesdays, around 10:30 AM. According to Andrew Bradbury, author of Successful Presentation Skills, “In the mid-morning, early birds are still going strong and the night owls are getting into the stride of their day, meaning everyone in the audience should be energized and receptive.” Furthermore, in a 2008 survey commissioned by the staffing agency Accountemps, Tuesday was found to be the most effective day to show off Powerpoint skills. People are in the full swing of their workweek and not yet distracted by the upcoming weekend. And, with a Tuesday presentation, if follow-up is necessary, there is still a cushion of three more workdays. Given that you managed all else, to ensure the most receptive audience, timing really is everything after all.

Consider both personal and professional circumstances where timing strategically made a difference.
• Did you notice the receptiveness of your audience?
• How will you factor time and day into future presentations?
• Schedule something ASAP based on these suggestions
• Compare a Tuesday AM meeting to another day and time

© 2013 Maureen Weisner