Are You An Ageist?

When was the last time you wondered if you are an ageist, that is prejudice against age?

Even if you are approximately the same chronological age as your ideal clients and your peers, you may not be immune from ageism. This insidious prejudice could still be a strong negative influence.

Ageism or prejudice related to age which labels others as either “too young” or “too old” for certain things, is usually automatic and unconscious.

Most people, consciously and unconsciously, adopt different sets of stereotypes as their personal norm. For instance, individuals often apply their own standards to others whom they consider their equal in age. Since individuals usually see themselves as younger by a decade or more than others perceive them, effective communication can become complicated.

Even prospects or clients who are the same age as you, can believe themselves “too young” for some things and “too old” for others. This means they’ll decide this for you, too, whether you share their ageist standards or not.

Do not use age-related comments unless you know exactly why age is relevant to the discussion. It usually is not.

For instance, to build rapport, professional advisors, who perceive new prospects to be older than they are, may use foot-in-mouth comments like “that’s just like my grandparents” or still bad “that’s just like my parents” to break the ice with these “older” people.

  • If prospects see the professionals as being of a similar age, the prospects may feel they have just been insulted.
  • If the prospects are older, the professionals may have lost credibility by pointing out the probably-irrelevant age difference.

How’s that rapport building coming along?

If you want to bring your thinking and communicating into the 21st Century, tackle ageist anchors which may hold you back, personally and professionally. When there is a difference in chronological age between you and your clients—in one direction or the other—you have opportunities to end ageist stereotypes and help clients appreciate themselves as individuals. Which ageist barriers stand in the way of your delivery of extreme service excellence?

Stereotypes represent bias and weakness in our knowledge and understanding. These mental shortcomings emerge as ageism, racism, sexism, and on the -isms go.

This disconnect is compounded by the fact that many of these perceived limitations and restrictions can be traced back to the 19th and 20th Centuries, if not before. Particularly shocking news if the 21st Century is the only one you’re worked or even lived in.

Consider ageism in yourself, your peers, your staff, and those who you answer to, including prospects and clients. Who believes the “too old” and “too young” labels? Remember, ageism is automatic and unconscious. Ramp up your powers of observation before you shrug this analysis off as unnecessary or start calling other people out before taking a long look at yourself.

Which effective communication strategies will achieve the greatest results with the maximum enrichment of relationships and workplace productivity? The key to improvement lies in appreciating individual uniqueness instead of repeating clichés and perpetuating prejudice in its most insidious form—humor. For instance, stop memory-lapse “jokes” like “I’m having a senior’s moment.” Become part of the solution.

How have you deliberately shed out-dated reactions and aligned your communication with 21st-Century realities about chronological age?

Inspiration Is Your Choice

How do you become inspired?

Do you associate inspiration with classic external influences like heroic deeds and nature with its spectacular sunsets and much more?

In reality, whatever your setting, environment, or context, inspiration starts within each of us.

Inspiration is a conscious awakening of creativity, problem-solving, or your special interest or thinking style to reveal otherwise overlooked or untapped potential.

Inspiration involves stimulation of mind and emotions in response to something or someone when we pay attention. Observe something, someone, or some event and react to it by opening your mind to wonder: “How can this experience be interpreted or applied in a different context or to solve a different problem?” Now you’re inspired!

Inspiration is always all around us and within us. An endless and often surprising array of things, activities, problems, or creativity abounds to act as stimulus for a wide range of inspiration.

Summits and conventions are a significant source of fast-forward inspiration for me and my clients. An invitation to attend the recent 109th Rotary International Convention held the added attraction of its theme: “Inspiration around every corner.” I joined 24,000 Rotary members from 175 countries—a mini-United Nations.

  • International big-name speakers and special projects like peacebuilding and end polio inspired many. The showcase of projects presented tradeshow-style as the House of Friendship was inspiration central for me and thousands more.
  • Large-scale events charged up many attendees, but there was inspiration all around us. A chance happening really touched me. A few hundred Nigerian Rotarians, most in native dress, spontaneously burst into their national anthem as the picture-only broadcast of a World Cup Soccer match featuring Nigeria began. Their obvious joy at singing together was only second to my amazement that they all knew all the words and sang them with gusto. Maybe helping people learn to sing their national anthem with obvious enthusiasm is a worthwhile project?
  • I learned a lot from the many Rotary members from around the world that I met. When I asked, “What inspires you about this Convention?,” they all exuberantly told me. The most common response revolved around meeting and re-meeting friends and colleagues they had worked with and stayed with around the world. The many other inspirations gave me food for thought and helped me see fresh opportunity around me and for my clients.

What I am reminded of time and again is that self-inspiration or training yourself to remain curious and to wonder about everything is a powerful and under-utilized skill.

Instead, of keeping your eyes on a screen where things—largely marketing—are fed to you, maintain curiosity and wonder as you move through the real world. Consciously, take this constructive stance at least part of each day and you may get hooked.

About Rotary: Rotary ( rotary.org ) brings together a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. The 2019 the “Capture the Moment” Rotary International Convention will transform for Hamburg, Germany, from June 1 to 5.

Raised Your Service Standards Lately?

Professionalism materializes in client service, client satisfaction, and client results.

How would you characterize the standards by which you work and that define your brand?

Are they average? Above average? High? Very high? Exemplary? Top of the field?

How do you know which category your standards fall into?

Did you design services to fit your standards or did services evolve by chance? How do you monitor them? Are you sure you are measuring the right things?

How will you know when your standards and, therefore, your brand need improvement?

  • Ask most professionals and business owners about their business standards and they’ll tell you their standards are high or very high. I know because I’ve interviewed hundreds and hundreds of professionals, entrepreneurs, executives, business owners, and advisors. No one identified their standards as less than “high.”
  • Ask clients who observe these professionals up close how service could be improved and the clients have a lot of suggestions. They always insist they’d share these ideas with the professionals if they were asked. I’ve interviewed hundreds and hundreds of these clients, and asked them what could be done to improve service and returns—and they willingly told me.

Raising your standards essentially means competing with yourself because you know you can always do more, be better.

When you already feel successful, this is a greater challenge as complacency may override constructive curiosity, particularly when you perceive the competition as already “left in the dust.”

When it comes to service, what may be a small thing to you can be a symptom of an attitude which communicates to clients a lack of service:

  • If you don’t listen to a client, why should they listen to you? If you don’t respect a client’s opinion, why should they respect your’s? Even if they stay with you, will they follow your suggestions? Will you receive all their business? Will they refer you?
  • Clients who don’t believe that the professionals they hire respect them, may not be as open about their concerns and extenuating circumstances. They may also hold back on disclosing how well-off they are for fear of being charged more. What they don’t tell the professional could compromise results. They may make only token referrals unless they receive benefits they value, which may be genuine respect.
  • If you are not from the same generation as your clients, ageism may be a factor as well. The “too young to know” and “too old to know” cross-generation reactions associated with ageism can accentuate differences of opinion and value systems. These reactions may be compounded by cultural differences and language challenges:
  1. Not listening to an idea may be an ageist brush-off or may be perceived as such even if it is not.
  2. Offering suggestions may be ageist criticism or may be perceived as such.

Recognizing exactly what you are doing and not doing, and all the implications of both, is often difficult.

That’s the invisibility of the box. Unless you hire a professional to critique you regularly, this is a task you have, consciously or unconsciously, decided to take care of yourself. How good at it are you? Mediocrity can creep in through sloppiness, poor time management skills, bad habits, insecurity, sensitivity to criticism, inflated ego, stress, and weak powers of observation.

Extreme Excellence: The New Service Model
Experience confirms that excellence in client service is simple, but that simple is not always easy.

  • You simply need to raise client expectations and, thereby, differentiate your business and services from industry stereotypes and from the competition.
  • Then, simply, unfailingly, deliver on more than clients expect, in ways that clients value, whatever happens—no excuses.

Your knowledge and experience enable you to fully envision what “excellence in client service” involves from the target clients’ point of view, online and off.

You’ve observed first-hand why constructive persistence is essential to consistently achieve high levels of excellence in a continually changing world. How do you put this awareness into action for clients?

Working to make yourself and services indispensable—making it all about you—so clients remain dependent on you for problem solving, leaves clients considering these services as an ongoing cost and the problems they address an ongoing worry. Clients don’t feel freed from the problem. They’ve just added the necessity of dealing with you. This fairly typical business approach could lead them to search out less expensive alternatives or worry-free service providers.

In contrast, the ultimate goal in 21st-Century Extreme Service Excellence should be to solve the problem so completely that you and your services are no longer necessary. Concentrate on doing such a thorough job for clients that you theoretically put yourself out of work, and you’ve hit excellence. That’s what your brand should consistently embody.

Aim to create independence for clients and you’ll make yourself invaluable to them. Your introduction of empowering choice for clients will make them committed to you and your services by choice:

  • Their comfort with you and your services will be greater than the clients’ determination to adopt do-it-myself solutions.
  • Clients feel no need to take on new responsibility and manage the situation or the problem because they have confidence in you.
  • They don’t want the job of training to anticipate the problem and stopping it before it takes hold—they’ve got you.
  • Clients take on some responsibility and work to reduce the problem, but they’re comfortable relying on you to fully resolve the situation and bring them peace of mind.

[Excerpt from “What’s Your Point? Cut The Crap, Hit The Mark & Stick!” — Chapter 10 Constructive Persistence & Branding]

WBECS: Learning from & with Coaches

To be excellent at what professional communicators—from advisors, architects, and digital developers to lawyers, brokers, and physicians—do best, we must never stop learning.

We not only strive to continuously learn about changes in our profession and related technology, but also about relevant changes in the lives, work, and businesses of our prospects, clients, and target markets.

That’s a lot of effort and investment to expend while also, each work day, engaging prospects, serving clients, running a practice or business, and having a life:

 

  • When opportunities arrive to improve communication prowess, raise professional standards, and allow professionals to learn from and with their peers and potentially within a target niche, that’s amazing.
  • When that opportunity is live and online—with interaction possible and no travel or inconvenience—that’s perfect.

For professional coaches around the world, the 8th Annual World Business & Executive Coach Summit or WBECS (“webecs” as it fondly referred to) is both amazing and perfect.

WBECS organizers hope many of the 23,000 attending the complimentary WBECS Pre-Summit go on to participate in the Full Summit. This begins September 6 and reportedly provides weekly learning opportunities in flexible, interactive formats over the coming year.

Each year, I am enthused by Pre-Summit’s intense burst of fresh, practical perspectives and hard-earned insight. A valuable addition to my ongoing professional communication research.

Over 3 weeks, the Pre-Summit offers two or three 45-minute webinars a day, each designed to challenge, fascinate, and stimulate. I enjoy the range of professional speakers and the diversity of topics.

Unexpected “aha moments” pop up regularly as speakers reveal surprising aspects or dimensions of a seemingly-familiar topic or introduce new elements to the client-service dynamic.

As a professional communicator who lists coaches within my target niche, WBECS provides a high-standard insider look at coaches, coaching, and related challenges and opportunities. Bonus topics include business development and leadership.

Please let me share a few tidbits aimed at coaches, but valuable in many contexts. Each of these WBECS speakers made the comment I’ve highlighted within high-content, thought-provoking webinars:

  • Opportunity Abounds: David Clutterbuck revealed the broad opportunity his latest research uncovered: Politicians may be the new big target. Politicians do not use coaches in spite of the fact that CEOs have come to reply on these professional sounding boards and productivity stimulators. Business opportunities are right in front of us. Don’t you mentally kick yourself when someone in your field steps forward with a brilliant idea that had been staring you in the face? [ https://www.davidclutterbuckpartnership.com/ ]
  • Intentional Learning: Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever, repeated the opening remarks he has become well-appreciated for: “How focused do you plan to be during this webinar?” Do you begin things you believe will be of value to you with this personal fresh-start? I’ve found declaring my intention to myself at the start of anything stimulates retention and assimilation. Thanks again, Michael. [ https://boxofcrayons.com/michael-bungay-stanier/ ]
  • Personal Branding: William Arruda explained his perspective on brand as consistent demonstration of your “unique promise of value.” Arruda reminded us that now the first meeting and first impression usually happen online, not face-to-face or voice-to-voice. As soon as your name is mentioned, you’re Googled. What is your answer to his compelling question: “What do you want to be known for?” [ http://williamarruda.com/ ]
  • Niche Development: Dorie Clark , who’s latest book is Entrepreneurial You, stressed that when you select a target niche suppress the tendency to attempt to envelope the entire community, profession, or sector you’ve identified. Instead, “go DEEP not wide.” [ https://dorieclark.com/ ]
  • Practice Expansion: Alisa Cohn emphasized the importance of a high closing rate (she’s surprised if she’s not 85% effective) to build your practice. An effective closing process, coupled with persistence and practice, which make delivery natural, ensures you attract the clients your practice is designed to serve. Cohn’s creatively-practical session sold the audience of coaches on the value of closing to clients and on the do-ability of this effective communication skill which is too often dodged by well-meaning professionals. [ http://www.alisacohn.com/ ]

Where do you get your inspiration and your insight into your prospects’ and clients’ needs?

Social Purpose: Falotico & Inner Balance

Social Purpose Drives Startups

Part 1. What’s Your Point? PODCAST

Launch Day Perspectives PODCAST

Entrepreneurs Lino Falotico and Alicia Zadravec of InnerBalanceWear.com candidly share thoughts on inner balance and on integrating social purpose into their business venture. Are you searching for social purpose to enrich your work, contribute to obvious local need, and reach out to new target groups? Listen in…

PODCAST Highlights: 18:53 minutes
00:48 Lino Falotico’s social purpose & inner balance
04:16 Epiphany…from caterer to designer
05:56 Lino: “I believe my product will…” invisible awareness
08:20 Lino: “20 seconds” next step after epiphany
09:49 Evolution of the business concept of Inner Balance
11:26 Alicia: “Why underwear…”
13:34 The practical side…manufacturing
16:39 7% of net proceeds to Mental Health Awareness…

Part 2. Article: “5 Tips for Successfully Pursuing Social Purpose

Before you plunge into a new social venture, consider our social-purpose example and these 5 Tips for Successful Pursuit which reveal the driving force of social purpose. This article adopts the perspective of real estate and related financial professionals to explore integration of social purpose into a practice. Simple extrapolation into other professions and business ventures requires only a pinch of imagination. Plus more on Startup InnerBalanceWear.com

Part 3. Where Does Humor Fit into Social Purpose?

Increasing numbers of professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners want to integrate social purpose into their business venture. Their reasons for doing so, range from personal involvement to client-based concern. In all cases, if social purpose is poorly or sloppily handled, it can setback the cause and undermine business relationships.

When social purpose is your intent, you’ll probably have to address sensitive topics and discuss subjects that can cause offense or upset. Language has evolved over this century to include more and more topics previously rarely spoken of. Have we improved our communication skills or vocabulary to be sure the point can be made clearly and sensitively?

Before you plunge into marketing and sales content and campaigns to spread the word about your social purpose, make sure you won’t get tripped by ignorance or blind-sided by overlooked perspectives. For instance, when considering your social purpose, invest time analyzing where humor comes in and where it definitely doesn’t fit:

  • Don’t assume your taste, experience, or education dictates what others think or react to. Consider the long list of social media “foot in mouth” incidents from the well-meaning.
  • Research the history of your social subject to clarify persistent misconceptions. Talk to those who really know about a subject and you’ll discover an amazing list of things the public misunderstand. Communicating your perspective will involve clarifying this confusion and make you a recognized expert.
  • Expand your understanding of related issues rather than investigating your social issue as if it exists in isolation. If you are already involved in the social issue, you may be too close to see the big picture. If you’ve only recently come across this issue, there may be a lot to learn.
  • Do you know enough about those who are directly and indirectly affected by this social issue? Assumptions are dangerous and often counter-productive.
  • Avoid impromptu responses, discussions, or interviews until professional communicators have helped you. They will clarify your social message, the match between this message and your business issues, and what you want to change about the current social situation. Start with clear simple messages and that will attract experts as well as those directly involved. These people will help build momentum for the cause that they also believe in.

Humor can add another element of complexity

If the social purpose involves changing views that included laughing at people or their behavior, then misunderstandings can complicate the situation. Remember that humor is an attitude. You’ll understand that changing the perspectives on your chosen subject will involve permanently shifting attitudes. How does that align with the client education that helps clients achieve the best results when they use your products or services?

Humor is not always about the punchline or a belly laugh. Often it revolves around every-day occurrences and involvements. When humor is properly applied, attention spans increase and learning increases:

  • Humor can bring people together quickly or widen the divide between them. What are the tensions associated with the social purpose you’re considering? Will humor reduce those tensions or could it inadvertently increase stress?
  • Humor can reveal common ground, common misconceptions, and the silly side of misunderstandings and miscommunication. Jokes and stories that make fun of others can build barriers and entrench resentment. What language, stereotypes, or misconception could build barriers?
  • If you want to use humor to raise morale, build teams, and enhance rapport to build awareness of the issues associated with your selected social purpose, you must understand the issues from all perspectives.
  • Humor may provide strong ways to offer coping mechanisms for those involved during the transition or in the new solutions you propose. People like working and volunteering in positive, optimistic workplaces, so humor will become an asset when intelligently and appropriately applied.

Just because you can get a laugh or tell jokes well, does not mean you understand how to professionally communicate with humor.

The unpracticed speaker often repeats catchphrases and cliché which perpetuate ageism, sexism, and other prejudices. Some people will tell you directly that you have made a serious misstatement, but social media is driven by those who’ll tell others, with much embellishment, about your misstep.

How helpful can you be to your social cause if you cannot communicate the point of your social purpose clearly in every medium, on all platforms your targets frequent?

For more on Forward Thinking, visit these posts:



For more on PJ’s work as The Catalyst, visit www.TheCatalyst.com

Marketing Involves Distraction, Good & Bad

Businesses and professionals, with good or bad intentions, create distraction.

Marketing, advertising, and promotion intentionally distract targets—consumers or business-to-business decision makers, depending on the business.

These self-serving communication approaches refocus prospect and client attention on the company (its products or services) which pays for the marketing and promoting.

In this highly-distracting world, do your target prospects and clients see genuine value in the additional distractions you subject them to?

  • Your marketing and promotion distract target prospects and clients in an attempt to shift their focus toward your service or products. You consider this interference “good distraction.” Would your target prospects and clients agree?
  • Competitors’ marketing and promotion distracts your target prospects and clients away from your company and toward competitors’ products or services. Would you consider this interference “bad distraction”? Would your prospects and clients agree with you?

I am someone’s target prospect. So are you.

This means we are regularly distracted and interfered with in the name of marketing, advertising, and promotion, whether we want to be or not.

Are you always caught by a marketing or promotion message at the best possible time to make a buying decision for that product or service?

Even if you’re interested, don’t these messages often catch you in the middle of something that is as, or more important, to you than spending your money in response to someone else’s distracting marketing or promotion message? How do you feel about the value of these marketing, advertising, promotional, and other self-serving messages in view of the time they cost you?

Emails and online advertising are honed and data-manipulated to attract select prospects and clients, but these intrusive sales pitches can miss their mark when timing is off—distraction plus.

When the sender—that’s the marketer or promoter—decides what’s the “best” timing for them, not targets. When targets find the messages unnecessary or untimely, the resulting distraction can be a nuisance, an annoyance, an interruption, or a major turn-off.

How are you sure that your marketing and promotion messages carry value in their own right? Is the timing ideal for targets or is the message just a waste of time? Do your selected prospects and clients respond to your marketing, advertising, and promotion? Would your targets label your messages “good distractions”?

From The Target’s Perspective

Targets can be distracted by the cloud of marketing, promotion, and advertising you, your competition, and your industry surround them with, online and off. These distractions can keep target prospects and clients from making clear, confident buying or selling decisions which are in their own best interest.

What is your full intent when marketing?

Most of us are consumers of real estate and its related services in our personal or business lives. This means you may relate to the following example of how one aspect of distraction affects real estate buyers. Prospects and buyers can be diverted from clear thinking and decision making by real estate marketing, promotion, and other deliberate marketing distractions.

Take a look at “Seven Essentials for Buying a Safe Home:”

“In dazzling summer sunshine, everything in a home looks great. But…and it’s a big but! Buyers can be distracted by strategic staging, clever decor, and time pressures.
They benefit from stepping back to determine whether the home they’re considering will require expensive additions or overhauls to keep everyone safe—not just this summer, but every day of the year. As well as any safety concerns specific to your family, there are seven main safety issues that should be top of mind for buyers of houses, townhomes, or condominiums. How long is your safety list when home shopping?Continue reading…

Are you aware how your marketing, advertising, and other communication distractions could intentionally or unintentionally undermine targets’ decision making?

Is distraction an intended or an unintended consequence of your determined outreach to prospects and clients?

For more on effective client communication and for client retention insight:

Coaching Skill & Recognizing Good Advice

The under-valued, but essential 21st-Century skill is recognizing good advice—relevant, forward-thinking, practical insight—and knowing what to do with it.

This crucial skill expands opportunity as it overcomes or counterbalances deficiencies, increases advantages, and diminishes problems.

The results include lowering stress, reducing anxiety, and enhancing outcomes.

Change and uncertainty are now standards.

The pervasive influence of both means that to successfully navigate the future, you can no longer rely entirely on your own experience and knowledge to forge ahead.

Continue reading

Roots of Resistance to Change

Roots of Resistance to change—yours and clients’—can cause problems and distractions.

Reactions to change, whatever they are based on, are most disruptive when they arise between professionals and their prospects and clients, especially when a transaction is involved. Resistance to change is usually grounded in frustration, vulnerability, past experience, or miscommunication, not in change itself:

  • Resistance can arise when the interests of one individual or group seem to be, or are, ignored, misinterpreted, or disadvantaged by others.
  • Entrenched roots of stereotypes and prejudice in one group may lead to other individuals or groups being labeled “resistant to new ideas or procedures” before they actually reveal their true reactions.

Roots: Resistance to change is not always the wrong reaction, nor is it always negative.
Continue reading

Mobile-Friendly: Are You Responsive?

With more and more people relying on smartphones to search the net, the mobile-friendly quality of your net presence makes a vital statement.

What message do professionals deliver when their website or blog is not mobile-friendly?

Google-recommended Responsive Web Design is the most common method of achieving mobile-friendly web pages configured to look great on small smartphone screens and on those of other mobile devices. Responsive uses computer code that responds differently to different screen sizes, but ensures page displays remain similar and readable on any mobile device.

Sticking with a non mobile-friendly site undermines your message, value, and connection to your target users.

Can you expect target users to trust that you are net-savvy enough to successfully tap the power of the internet for targets when your own net presence is stuck in the unresponsive “desktop dark ages?”

Smartphone internet use and mobile computing continue to dominate, so mobile-friendly design is essential. In April 2015, Google announced search changes that favor mobile devices. With this and subsequent edicts, responsive shifted from a target-driven alternative to a business essential.

The internet is increasingly defined by the rising mass of mobile computing devices. Mobile phones have replaced desktop and laptop computers on many levels. Websites and blogs that are not mobile-friendly are increasingly ignored unless they have unique, highly-valued content.

Websites designed and coded for larger screens do not automatically make a graceful transition to small screens.

Your beautiful desktop-designed non-responsive website can look hideous on a smartphone. Potential viewers must do so much pinching, scrolling, zooming, and squinting, they may give up and click on a competitor’s mobile-friendly website.

If you’re not sure if your website or blog (or the competition’s) is responsive, visit it on your smartphone or use Google’s handy Mobile-Friendly Test.

If the design is not responsive, a jumbled mess will appear on a phone screen. The responsive website page will remain readable on the full range of screen sizes.

The transition to responsive involves more that recoding.

Multi-column websites and blogs, originally designed for big desktop screens, will require an overhaul. For instance, a signup form prominently positioned at the top of the right-hand column may end up at the very end of the first column so few may see it and sign up.

  • Changes in content, layout, and overall design may be necessary for the best internet presence.
  • Simplification and content re-positioning may be required to maintain desired objectives.

The time, expertise, and expense involved in transition to responsive may be daunting for some site owners.

Here are strategies to consider:

  • Prioritize: Traffic, lead generation, and e-commerce are among the key reasons for investing time and money to go responsive. For example, suppose you have a blog and a website, and your blog draws significantly more target traffic. Start with the blog and overhaul the website later. Expanding the blog and phasing out the website may be another alternative.
  • Allocation of time and resources: Create an efficient sequence for continuous updating and modernizing. Responsive design may be the latest overhaul, but it will not be the last that technology and Google dictate.
  • Analyze Don’t Just Assume: Switching to mobile-friendly may not instantly create dramatic shifts in traffic or usage statistics since so many factors are involved. Reduced bounce rates may indicate phone users find it easier to stay and read, but relevant marketing and promotion are necessary to generate a flood of new business. Determine what your selected target markets expect from your online presence before you plunge into expensive, time-consuming redesign.
  • Relevant Content Rules: If content is not top-notch and video excellent, mobile-friendly design alone will not be enough to increase traffic and usage.

If you present yourself as a tech-savvy professional or a social-media natural intent on engaging target prospects and clients on their terms, transforming your website and blog into mobile-friendly territory is essential.

Take time to decide which redesign strategy is compatible with your short- and long-term goals:

  • Nowhere Fast: Those who find little or no business comes to them over the internet may decide there is no need to redesign. (There may be a very good business case for going responsive and optimizing the site to gain traffic, leads, and referrals, but that’s another article, for another time.)
  • Halfway There: Blogs are not automatically responsive. For instance, popular WordPress(WP) accounts for almost 25% of internet activity and powers many blogs. Earlier WP blog templates or themes were not responsive. Even now, new bloggers do not have to choose responsive themes. Transforming non-responsive WordPress blogs and websites may involve switching to a responsive theme.
  • All the Way: The process of transforming a website to responsive is not as simple as switching templates. Coding changes are just the beginning. Design—including layout, fonts, images, and site navigation—will need modification to optimize smaller reading “windows.” Although going responsive may be an opportune time for a full-site overhaul of content, navigation, SEO, and all related marketing elements, a phased-in re-do or scaled-down site are other alternatives. In some cases, recreating the site as a responsive WP site may be faster and less expensive. Google suggests other ways to optimize for mobile search.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Responsive design is one element in SEO which concentrates on continuous improvement of the site’s online presence. What is your SEO strategy?

If the website or blog drives your business, delaying the move to mobile-friendly may be expensive.

In this blog, we’ve been talking about communicating your value and intentions using technology. “Responsive” means much more. In both the technical and relationship sense of the word, how you manage interfaces like websites—between what you offer and what target prospects and clients value and need—is a measure of your relevance and responsiveness to them.

Target Test: Ask mobile-addicted prospects and clients what they think of your website or blog. If you hear complaints about what a pain it is, the site is non-responsive or very badly designed.

“No complaints” may be worse since it may mean users have bounced off to visit competitors.

Revised from article “Are You Responsive?” first published May 2016 on RealtyTimes.com

Back to HOME… TheCatalyst.com

Stand Out: Get The Jump On Spring!

How can you make this spring different for your targets?

How can you help them take advantage of unexpected changes and rise above seemingly undermining influences?

Most industries have seasonal patterns that are followed and addressed in annual marketing campaigns:

  • Your goal should be to remain a step ahead of the predictable. Can you see opportunities for setting new standards or revealing new goals?
  • Can you attract increased market share by redefining client goals and expectations for this season and following seasons?
  • Redefine the negatives of this season with new products or niches that address shifts in target lifestyles, workplaces, or family structures. Can you see new opportunity and benefits for your prospects and clients?

Or, look ahead and get the jump on the following seasons or the whole year. There are new opportunities out there to discover before you’re in the middle of others jumping on them.

For instance, if Facebook has been a fav of your targets, explore the changes in this platform to uncover opportunities to communicate your value to targets.

Last spring, Facebook reported:

  • Daily active users (DAUs) numbered 1.09 billion on average for March 2016, an increase of 16% year-over-year. By year end, DAUs amounted to 1.23 billion on average for December 2016, an increase of 18% year-over-year.
  • Mobile DAUs averaged 989 million for March 2016, an increase of 24% year-over-year. By year end, Mobile DAUs increased to 1.15 billion.
  • Monthly active users (MAUs) counted 1.65 billion as of March 31, 2016, an increase of 15% year-over-year. By December, MAUs climbed to 1.86 billion, an increase of 17% year-over-year.
  • Mobile MAUs were 1.51 billion as of March 31, 2016, an increase of 21% year-over-year. Mobile MAUs increased to 1.74 billion by year end.

That’s just the change over one year! What’s next here or in any platform your target loves?

How was that reflected in your targets’ use of your Facebook contributions? What’s you’re involvement going to generate this year?

What could you help make happen this year for your targets?

If you don’t think ahead for prospects and clients who will? Wouldn’t you rather it were you?

For example, spring is traditionally accepted as the “big market” for real estate. In a blog I write for a client, my question was: “Are real estate buyers making a mistake when they wait for the ‘hot’ spring market with its price increases and multiple offers?”

This question and content has a double purpose:

  1. This query and the related content start the client’s clients—real estate and financial professionals—thinking differently about what they take for granted about this season and what they can do differently this year.
  2. AND

  3. The question and content trigger fresh thinking and enhanced reception to new ideas in the professionals’ clients who could gain from thinking differently about their reactions to spring.
  4. The ideas shared do not have to be “big” or outrageous. Sometimes, a gentle nudge is all that is needed to shift thinking into innovation mode.

    FYI: The blog I write for this client deliberately builds on my work as a futurist, business strategist, and committed communicator to help real estate and related professionals and their prospects and clients think differently both about “Decisions & Communities.” This combined topic-title focuses on the real issues involved in real estate for professionals and their clients, not on rehashing the traditional.

    Do spring and other seasons offer overlooked opportunities to cast new light on buying, selling, and user patterns for your industry, product, or services?

    Can you see how to take a different perspective—drawn from a different profession, industry, or communication technique—to provide new insight, products, or services for helping target prospects and clients get the jump on spring and everything else?

    FYI: If you’d like to be a buyer or seller, or a professional with a jump on the spring real estate market, visit “Decisions & Communities.”

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