Are women selling themselves short?

Are-women-selling-themselves-short

It’s the day after International Women’s Day.

I’m sure by now you’ve read statistics about the pay and promotion disparity between women and men in the workforce.

It’s 2017 and men are still getting paid more for the same role.

Realistically, we’re dealing with the legacy of a culture where only 100 short years ago women were granted the right to vote. Systems, be they private or public, tend to be slow to evolve and catch up with changing times. They tend to favour the status-quo.

I think we can all agree this sucks.

What I’m more interested in, however, is what we can do about it the other 364 days of the year.

I wonder, are the women inside these systems selling themselves short?

One thing I notice in my role as an online marketing consultant is that consistently more women then men devalue their professional worth.

My work for my clients essentially boils down to helping them sell themselves online.

I’ve met a few men with blustering egos, low value and huge price tags and a huge amount of women with staggering levels of talent and apologetic attitudes about asking for what they deserve as pay.

I suspect the cultural training for women to be nice or the media’s messages we are not good enough have roles to play in this self-sabotage phenomenon.

So what can we do about this?

I just finished reading Hidden Figures, about the hidden role female African American mathematicians played at NASA during the race to the moon.

These women were at a double disadvantage – race and gender. However, one of the main characters became the first female African American engineer at NASA by showing her value, stating her case and asking repeatedly for what she wanted.

I believe a consistent implementation of this very tactic would go a long way toward equalizing pay and promotion inequality.

As anyone with a background in sales will tell you, the way to get what you want is showing the value and asking for it, over and over again – despite how many times you’re told “no”.

Without these two critical steps, I am betting there is a slim chance anyone in a flawed system will be simply handed the promotion or raise.

If women aren’t consistently showing value and asking for more within these faulty systems, I believe we’ll continue to see the same dismal improvement percentages.

A great book on the topic is called What It Takes: Step up, Speak up, Move up, by Amy Henry (with a forward by Donald Trump, no less). Using the techniques in her book I asked for and doubled my salary, back when I still worked for someone else.

Starting with small asks is also a great way to build the confidence to ask for the raise or promotion.

Start with asking for one thing a day that makes you feel uncomfortable.

You will eventually become immune to the word no and you’ll be surprised at what people will say yes to!

I have been given many really nice pens because I ask the banker for his, I’ve received a free box donuts, 3 for the price of 2 zip line admission and discounts on clothes at big department stores…to name a few… and just because I stated my case and asked for what I wanted.

Audacious, yes and silly examples to be sure, but they illustrate my point.

You can’t get a YES if you don’t ask.

Developing the skill of showing value and asking is an invaluable one, whether you’re man or woman.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your comments below.

Case Study: Behind The Scenes of A Multilingual E-Commerce Website Launch

laurel-blog-tilos-americas

Friday January 6th 2017 at 12pm I clicked the refresh button on my browser and was overcome with excitement – my latest project was live and ready for public consumption.

www.tilosamericas.com is one of the larger projects I’ve worked on. Here I am sharing behind the scenes of what went into creating this multi-lingual ecommerce website.

Snapshot: the e-commerce website by the numbers:

Serves 23 countries, in 2 languages, over 72 pages with approx. 20,000 words, selling 22 products, completed in 7 weeks.

E-commerce website – client overview:

 

TILOS is a very specialized software tool that makes planning, executing and controlling linear infrastructure projects easier and more profitable.  

Petroglyph Project Analytics recently became the Authorized Dealer of TILOS across the Americas – North, Central and South America – and needed increased exposure online to get in front of their customers.

Objective:

Create a new website that would:

  • Be found on search engines.
  • Communicate the unique benefits of TILOS in a way that would generate leads and sales, across multiple cultures and languages.

E-commerce website- process:

Strategy First:

 

First, we worked to understand the target audience: what problems they were having, what questions they asked through different phases of their buying process, what they’d already tried and how TILOS could positively impact their daily work.  

Then, we got really clear on the benefits TILOS offers, specifically how it solves the target’s pain points in a way that is unique within the marketplace, who else was using the product and what they were saying about it.

Lastly, we conducted comprehensive keyword research to determine what the target customers were typing into search engines when they were looking for a solution to the problem TILOS solved. We also looked at the amount of demand for each keyword or phrase as well as the amount of competition for each phrase to create a nice balance of high traffic and very niche terms to target.

Creating The Brand:

It was really interesting to develop the key benefit statements and create the brand and identify the imagery to associate with each benefit statement.

We needed a message that could be instantly understood across multiple cultures and languages and decided to deliver the message with the use of vivid and stunning images of animals. This was a bold move in the conservative area of civil engineering, but one that dramatically conveys the message in a way that makes this website a memorable stand out from the sea of boring software websites.

Creating and Translating the Text.

Based on the target keywords and best practices for search optimization, a total of 72 pages were written and then translated into Spanish.

Finalizing the Design:

Now that we had the text and images, we crafted each page of the website around one purpose: asking the website visitor to take action.

The entire website is crafted around the call to action, which is for the visitor to request a free trial version of the software.

The call to action buttons and links are prominent and frequent – it’s obvious what the next logical step should be.

Additionally, we had to find a way to present a huge volume of content in a visually appealing way that wouldn’t intimidate website visitors. Some pages are close to 3,000 words! The use of visuals in the form of icons instantly transmit the message in a way that facilitates the scanning-instead-of-reading behaviour of online users today.

Building the Site:

Creating a multi-currency, multi-country, multi-lingual ecommerce website is not a simple task!

We built the website in WordPress and painstakingly developed the functionality that would identify the user’s location and language, displaying the correct text, product info and pricing as well as relevant taxes for each location.

The site also offers, administrator on-page search engine optimization support, social media sharing, blogging and lead-capture email newsletter integration capabilities as well as the integration with Salesforce and Desk.

Launching the site:

Once the website went live (on January 7th), we submitted the sitemap to Google and verified the website with Google search console. The target search keywords and terms were added to a tracking software to report on where the site is ranking for key terms within the first 30 days of launch.

What the client says:

wow

What it took:

From my perspective, as the lead web marketing strategist, copywriter and project manager on this project, I’ve slept, ate, and dreamed TILOS americas.com over these past 7 weeks.

It’s been an incredible journey, from a pile of dense technical white papers to a world-class online presence.

The team I worked with included: one extremely talented website developer, one lovely translator, two brilliant SEO and content experts and a very much appreciated Office Ninja.

Where we’re going from here:

We’ll be monitoring the initial search ranking performance of the just-launched site very closely and augmenting where needed with off-site search ranking tactics.

Work with me:

 

Do you want better results from your online marketing? Let’s chat! Visit me at

http://www.laurelastark.com/web-marketing-consultant-services/

What To Do When You’ve Outgrown Your Business

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You know how to make money.

You’ve been running your business for awhile, and by all appearances, you’re a success.

The thing is, there’s this feeling. The feeling that you’re heart just isn’t in this anymore.

You’ve tried to ignore it and  rationalize it, but it just gets stronger.

The way you’re spending your days just feels “ugh”. Whether it’s because you seem to be constantly on the verge of burnout (lame). Or you have a gnawing sensation you have something else you should be doing.

It’s called the golden handcuffs.

When you’re business is working, on paper, the profits are there and demand is constant, it can be really really difficult to admit your business is not working for you personally.

And what a disheartening feeling.

You started your business so you could do things your way; have the freedom and enjoyment of directing your own destiny.

Yet, little by little, without you even noticing, your business has turned into a monster you created that doesn’t accurately reflect the life you want to live.

You’re doing things that provoke seething resentment and you’ve been running on caffeine and adrenaline for too long. You find yourself saying yes to things you don’t want to do. Your vision and clarity of focus are waning. You feel a bit lost.

You’ve worked your butt off to get here, and you should be grateful, you think. Especially given that it’s better than it was…the money is better, you’re not working quite so much as you used to. The fear around making the bills has disappeared somewhat.

But, in your bones, you know It’s not really working.

You want more.

But here lies the problem. Exactly how do you make the changes to renovate your business so it serves you?

Does it mean walking away from what you’ve built. Turning away hard won revenue?

Feeling trapped in your own business is a really awful feeling.

The good news is, this is exactly where you’re supposed to be.

These feelings are the sign you’re ready for bigger things. To step into the life and business you deserve.

Maybe what you long for is more time off, feeling like you’re making a bigger difference in people’s lives or having more flexibility.

Or maybe you simply want to get paid what you’re worth.

To get to where you want to go, first you have to know where you’re going- what’s missing, what you want- and what’s working about your business and life now.

Often, when I’m working with my clients to create an online sales funnel, these topics come up.

Many times, it’s about optimizing the sales funnel, business operations and the finances around what’s already working.

Recreating your business doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning it – but renovating it- to better suit what you’re passionate about, the people you want to work with and what you’re really good at

What’s amazing about this formula is that most of the time, it points the way to not only more enjoyment, but more profits.

Life is too short to settle. Especially in the business you built.

If this post resonated with you, why not take a few minutes and write down what’s working and what isn’t in your business.

It’s the first step to a more fulfilling and profitable working life.

If you would like to talk to me about optimizing your business by leveraging my 13+ years of sales, online marketing and entrepreneurship experience, please get in touch with me via my website at www.laurelannestark.com

 

3 Non-Negotiable Prerequisites to Selling on Social Media

3 Non-Negotiable Prerequisites to Selling on Social Media

If you want to get sales from your social media efforts, then you are certainly not alone!

The time and money you’re investing in your social media efforts can and should be profitable.

If you’re not quite there yet, I am going to share with you 3 of the non-negotiable pre-requisites for successfully selling on social media.

These may just be the missing pieces to your social selling strategy.

(This material was taken from the talk I gave May 7th 2016 at Social Media Camp, entitled Socializing Your Sales Funnel: Converting Fans and Followers to Paying Customers. Get your copy of the entire presentation here. )

Build Trust: People buy from those that they know, like and trust.

You need to build trust online in order for people to even consider purchasing from you.

How do you do that?

  • Be consistent in how often you’re posting, what you’re posting and what all your social profiles and website look and feel like. You’ve got to create a consistent feel to alleviate the subconscious niggle consumers get when things just don’t feel right.
  • You also need to have what’s called social proof, which are things like positive reviews and testimonials, media mentions, and any designations you’ve earned. For more details on Social Proof, check out my interview on CNN on Social Proof
  • If you’re part of any associations add those logos to your website as well. They will act as an implicit endorsement of your services.

Building social proof using the above mentioned tactics are one of the most powerful ways to help build trust, and can often be the factor that tips a prospect over into a customer.

Build Community: Get exposure, generate credibility, trust.

Every single time someone likes, shares or comments on your posts on social media, they’re implicitly endorsing you.

In plain language, this means they’re telling their network “this guy isn’t so bad”.

What’s also happening with each share, retweet, plus one or comment is that interaction becomes part of the news feed. And now your name is now getting additional exposure to the network of the person who interacted with your share.

For these reasons, it’s a great idea to build community by “giving to get”. Sharing other’s posts, commenting on other’s posts and actively promoting other people with invoke the law of reciprocity and incentivize the people you’re interacting with to interact with you back.
Once you have an engaged community, you can then promote yourself.

Ask People To Act: With A Call To Action

You need to have a call to action in order to get people to, you know, act.

Whether you want people to sign up for a free trial, contact you for a consult, sign up for your newsletter, go to your website or watch more videos – whatever it is you need to ask people to take that action.

It’s an old saying in sales – you can’t get a yes if you don’t ask.

What’s important to remember though, is you will likely need to ask people to take a few actions before they’re ready to buy, so start small.

Ask for the action and as long as you’ve built trust and community, you will get it.

Thanks so much for watching.

If you like this video please like it and consider sharing with your network.

How Pro Social Media Marketers Create Posts That Get Shared

How Pro Social Media Marketers Create Posts That Get SharedThe sound of crickets may be peaceful, but it’s not the response you want from your social media posts.

Getting your social media posts shared can provide a huge credibility & exposure boost for your business.

If you’re taking the time to create content, you want it to be as effective as possible.

3 ways shared posts help your business:

If your objective is to get more exposure build credibility and generate leads for your business, creating shareable social media posts is a super effective way to meet those objectives.

Three benefits you get every single time someone in your network shares your post:

  1. You have just been implicitly endorsed by that person.

    This means that regardless of what else is being said users who see that your post has been shared believe the person sharing it knows likes and trusts you.

  2. You get more exposure to a network that you cannot access on your own.

    The person who does the sharing is getting you exposure to their network.

  3. Increases the views for each post.

    Each time your post is shared, it provides an indicator to that social site that social network that your content is popular.

    Popular content will stay on the timeline for longer and take up more real estate.  This gets you a lot more mileage out of each post.

What makes a post “shareable”

There are two factors to take into consideration regarding getting people to share your posts.

First is the people themselves and how they feel about you and the second is the post itself and how they feel about the post.

Remember: what you post is far less important than the quality of your networking on social platforms.

By engaging with people on social media you make them feel seen, acknowledged and important.

Each notification appeals to our ego & triggers our dopamine receptors to receive a notification of engagement.

So by engaging regularly with others on social media they begin to like you!

In the seven habits of highly effective people Stephen Covey states one of the habits is making deposits in other’s emotional bank accounts.

“The more you engage with people on social media by commenting and sharing on their posts, the more likely they are to reciprocate.”

 

The 3 ingredients to a sharable post:

Assuming you are actively nurturing your community by engaging on social media, there are 3 ingredients that influence whether or not your post is “shareable”.

  1. Ability to catch their attention and the ability to keep their attention
  2. It’s relevance to the person seeing it
  3. It’s value to the person.

Ways to catch attention on social media:

As you may have noticed multimedia does really well on social media sites.

Videos and images take up more space on the timeline and they also stay for longer on the news feed.

If you’re not posting multimedia or photos with each text update, start now.

5 Tools I use to create videos and images for my social media posts.

To create the ever popular Inspirational quotes, you can use tools like:

  • canva
  • com
  • The Insta quote app.

Any content you produce that shows behind the scenes at your company will also be well received:

  • Take photos using your smart phone
  • Use your iPhone to take videos on your device and direction we upload to YouTube

Other tips for creating video for use on social media:

  • You can do product demos, interviews and summarize your blog posts.
  • You can use Google hangouts and interview people or have a group conference. These interviews will automatically be saved and uploaded to your YouTube account.
  • You can also do quick teaser videos on Instagram

You are only limited by your creativity!

Ask yourself – Is your post relevant?

Remember the context of social media.

People are there to be social and to be entertained.

There are three rules of thumb for the types of content to post.

  1. Entertaining
  2. Informative
  3. Inspiring

Ask yourself – Does your post provide value?

To answer this question, you want to refer back to your customer profile or your avatar and reflect on what their pain points are, what matters to them and what they struggle with.
Content created around these things will always be more effective and content that isn’t.
If you don’t know what your customers struggle with then survey them.

You can also do analysis of what people are typing into Google, or check out what your competitors are doing.

What has your experience been with creating social media posts? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

If you found this post valuable, please like it & consider sharing with your network!

The Marketing Lesson I Learned From Being A Grinch This Christmas

Grinch

Am I alone at feeling irritated when Christmas merchandise pops up the day after Hallowe’en?

The reason I feel irritated is it just feels like too much, too soon.

In short, too pushy!

In applying this to how we market our businesses, there’s a great lesson here.

 

Pushing for sales online can push our prospects away!

 

 

Sell, Sell, Sell doesn’t work online – it’s about getting people to know, like and trust you.

Building visibility, likeability and credibility are pre requesites for successful social selling.

Are you pushing too hard on social media or other online spaces?

What could you be doing differently?

Tell me!

 

 

 

Our Newest Website Design – Launched!

Fresh off the press, complete with all the bells and whistles, we’re so excited to present Dunlop Western Star’s new website!

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Dunlop Western Star is the second largest Western Star Dealer in Canada. They have over 50 employees in 2 locations and are absolutely dedicated to supporting professionals in the transportation industry.

And – they needed a website design that was an accurate reflection of the quality and professionalism their customers can expect from them.

Their old website, worked ok and looked ok,  but it wasn’t keeping up with their competitors or for that matter, their customers.

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So – what’s different with Dunlop Western Star’s new website?

Their new site had to be mobile responsive in order to stay competitive. So we built this new website design to be size responsive, so no matter the device – iphone or samsung tablet – this site looks good on all modern internet connected devices.

Click to call / click to email . Another way we made this website design easy for their customers to use is to ensure the phone numbers and email addresses were “clickable” – or responsive on mobile devices.

Their new site features a wicked video – a drone video to be exact – of their impressive facilities. Sites that contain video tend to offer better conversion rates.

A simpler, less text heavy layout. Adapting to the short attention span of today’s internet user – this site focuses on multimedia rather than text – making it easy for the user to find what they’re looking for.

Never search for the menu again – this website design has a menu which follows the user down the page – so they never have to search for a phone number, or make an effort to navigate between pages.

Subtle animations – this website responds to user interaction by ushering in the design elements, using understated animation throughout. This only serves to reinforce the commitment to cutting edge service Dunlop Western Star is known for.

Building trust is the key to successful relationships, and this site gets a jump on relationship building by providing photos of each and every team member in each department. You’ll see the same faces in store as online.

What’s the same about Dunlop Western Star’s new website design?

  1. We kept the internally updatable inventory – the wordpress back end of this website was working for the client – so we simply updated it to offer more flexibility to help them keep their online inventory current.
  2. We kept our coding streamlined making sure this site loads fast for success with both their customers and Google.
  3. Coded using best practices, this website is search optimized, to maximize the chances of this web design showing up high on the search engines.

We hope you like this new website as much as we do! Remember – sharing is caring!

Why not share Dunlop Western Star’s successful new website with your network?