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Infuse Your Marketing with Technology January 2005

It's that time of year again, for planning your marketing and so I share a nutshell version of my planning process. I've got a newly launched web site to show you, and a really great site that you can use in your business. Plus, I'd like to share the results from last months survey. Lastly, if you haven't already found a way to respond to the incredible disaster in Asia, I hope you will take a few moments to click through to one of the agencies I admire, and make a contribution.

Wishing you a very prosperous and successful New Year!

Planning for 2005

One of the smartest things I ever did was writing a marketing plan, using the tons of free information on the web. The most important parts were the goals, calendar and task section. First, I set my financial and marketing goals. Then I worked backwards to set up the tasks needed to meet each goal. I created a year long calendar of when to put each task into motion. Lastly, I put every single task into Outlook with a due date. As the year progressed, tasks would pop up, with details about what I needed to do - whether it was inquiring at the newspaper with an article idea or checking the Chamber web site for networking events I could register for, or scheduling a half day of follow up phone calls to stay in touch with referral sources. Having it scheduled like that meant I never missed a trick or forgot a thing, no matter how busy I was - the only way to make that task go away was to do it!

A year later, I assessed the entire plan, figured out what worked and didn't work, and made a copy to edit for the upcoming year. The result? Each year since, I've met, and in some cases exceeded my goals. Each year, my marketing is more effective, because I've eliminated the 'experiments' that didn't bear fruit. In 2004, I quadrupled my revenue from the year prior (admittedly, not hard to do in the post dot com era!). And so as I sit here working on my 2005 plans, I strongly urge you to consider following the same process - it really works!

Technology Vs Nature

When I heard about the unbelievable disaster in Asia, the first thing I did was send an email to Norman, a guy I taught to code web sites, back in the mid 90's. Located in Jakarta, Indonesia, he has stayed in touch for years and I had to know if he was ok. In less than an hour, I had my answer - Norman was fine, but very upset at what this latest event would do to his already economic and politically wracked country.

The next thing I did was ask myself how it was I could communicate with someone in Indonesia from Albany NY in a minute, but no one could warn those people what was coming at them. I guess it made me realize, how even with all our technology, we're really so small and powerless against Mother Nature. And we should never take for granted the technology we use every day. I immediately went looking for a way to use technology to DO something - and quickly found that in just a few mouse clicks, I could make a contribution to any of dozens of relief agencies that are mobilizing in Asia. Oxfam is one I've been very impressed with over the years - so here is their link if you would take a moment to do the same:

Century 21 Omaha Web Site

It is with great joy that I am showing you my latest web site project, built for Century 21 in Omaha, Nebraska. It features information about the company and Omaha, listings, an MLS connection and built in school and neighborhood reports. The client has their own listing manager they can log into and update listings, using Realtor 20/20, one of the best "canned" ASP applications out there for realtors.

My client said "I dreaded the thought of explaining what I needed for my business to a new webmaster, as well as the time I would have to commit to helping set it up. But that's not what happened. I only had to explain to Eileen one time what I needed for my real estate website, and she took off with it. She emailed me several times a day with questions and didn't expect an answer back right away. The best part was that each section of the website was broken down for me so I wasn't overwhelmed. I like that I was able to go to the website while it was being built and actually see it grow every day. The name "Turtle" does not describe Eileen or her team! I loved how fast everything went and that I can now start advertising my new site!"

Google Magic

Oh, how I love Google! More than just a search engine, this amazing site provides a nearly magical array of tools, calculators and information. Now someone has created the perfect interface for all the best of it - www.soople.com

Bookmark this beauty so you can quickly get definitions of words, search any particular site, find images, translate text to another language, search the news, get package tracking information, get moview reviews, calculate anything, make conversions, look up phone numbers, and much more! You can even create an account that displays only the tools you want to see - even better :)

And the Survey Says...

Big thanks to everyone who responded to my survey last month. In it, I was trying to determine what changes, if any, I could make after two years of producing this newsletter, as well as finding out a bit more about who you were and what you wanted to read about! Here are the results:

I learned that clients make up 20% of my readers, with 15% being competitors in the same industry and the rest, small business owners. 54% of you read to get marketing ideas for your business, while 30% use it to keep in touch with what I'm up to. For the most part, it appears everyone wants me to "keep it like it is" as far as content, with 15% saying they'd unsubscribe without the free articles and web site recommendations. As far as format, 53% want to keep it as "a free article from Turtle," 24% would prefer articles from other experts too, and 22% would like to replace full length articles with "nuggets of information on marketing & technology."

So, where does this leave me? Well - they say " if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and that seems to be the primary message. However, I AM finding it a little stressful to be obligated to writing a brand new article every month, after two years, and I definitely want to make money with my writing. Considering the wonderful remarks many of you made about my writing, that only seems fair! So - for now, I am going to stick to the same format, but occasionally alternate with shorter articles, sometimes introducing other writers I respect. I'm going to be looking at some other ways to generate income from these efforts in 2005, without alienating you or forgetting my prime directive. Thanks again for all this food for thought!

Til Next Time!

That's it for this month. I look forward to hearing from you, whether it is a a story idea, feedback, or better yet, a way that I can help your business market with technology :)

Legal Stuff

2005 All Rights Reserved - This newsletter is intended to be read and passed around by entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations interested in electronic communication, marketing, design and technology. Please don't reproduce this document or its contents without permission and full credit to Eileen Parzek, SOHO It Goes!

   
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