Blogging Your Professional Service Practice

April 2, 2008

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Blogging is the new national pastime. There are personal blogs, social blogs and professional blogs.  Whatever the topic, someone has probably blogged it.  Creating a blog for your professional practice is an excellent way to differentiate your dental, veterinary, chiropractic, legal or CPA practice from the masses.  As a service professional, a blog makes you seem up to date and relevant.  It makes you seem human and personable and, most important, it is an excellent way to build awareness for your practice, which leads to more patients or clients, which leads to more case acceptance, and … well, I think you get the picture.  Here are a few great tips for building, maintaining and promoting a professional practice blog.

#1: Define your blog
First of all, it’s important to define your purpose in creating a blog for your practice.  Although the obvious answer seems to be “to get more patients or clients,” it’s important to look at the kinds of information that can be published on a professional service blog.  It’s also important to remember that unlike most blogs, your postings are really only important to individuals who live within driving distance of your practice.  For these readers, articles on your health, legal or accounting specialty will be important but postings about your team members, your state-of-the-art equipment, successful cases and even favorite patients and clients are great ways to make a professional service blog fun and worth reading.

#2: Create visual appeal
Good content isn’t the only thing that matters. Your blog should also be visually appealing. Use tasteful colors, modern font styles, and clean graphics. Avoid dark backgrounds, overly fancy typefaces and other elements that will make your blog hard to read.  And remember the power of great photos and images. Clinical illustrations and before and after cases are obvious choices in dentistry or plastic surgery groups.  But don’t forget informal snapshots to lighten the mood and keep your site from feeling like a sterile journal.

#3: Use the proper tools
I highly recommend using one of the popular blog systems like Word Press, Blogger or Typepad. These three systems, as well as others, are extremely easy to use and make you look professional and polished. Building a blog from scratch is for nerds and people with extra time on their hands.  Most dentists, CPAs, veterinarians, attorneys and the like have neither.

Once your blog is up and running, it is easy to link your blog’s web address to your practice website (hopefully you have a practice website) so patients/clients and prospective patients/clients can easily find you online.  Most blogging systems are free to use if you allow ads to show up in your blog, but for about $8 per month you can have the ads turned off-which I highly recommend. Nothing is more annoying than cluttering a great blog with obnoxious ads that have nothing to do with your message.

#4: Engage your readers
Tell your readers who you are behind your mask and something about yourself and your team members.  Be human by posting things about your family and hobbies. Don’t get tacky, but it never hurts to make a blog informal and fun.  Get your team involved in the process.  It’s a great team-building exercise and it will also take the pressure off you as the service professional to do all the writing and content gathering.  Although it seems obvious, don’t forget to keep the humor clean and never use your blog as a political or religious platform.

#5: Keep it concise
Some of the best posts aren’t particularly profound or long.  Don’t think you have to wait until you have something brilliant to say before you write an article or put off posting because you don’t have time to write your complete thoughts on periodontal disease or IRS tax regulation changes.  Most readers have short attention spans and crowded schedules themselves.  They prefer to read a short, catchy post rather than a long, complex one.  Again, mix up the specialty content of your profession with light postings and you’ll give your readers the perfect balance of serious and fun.  Too much about plaque, halitosis, legal advice, or too many cookie recipes from your office manager will kill the site.  Look for a balance and you’ll be more successful.

#6: Promote your blog
For the most part, search engines and blog syndication are overkill for a local dentist or CPA’s blog.  But, make sure your direct mail, website, newsletter, business cards and every marketing tool available promote your blog.  This is another reason that managing a list of patient/client email addresses is so critical.

If you’ve done a poor job in the past of promoting your practice, begin today!  The future of professional practices today is exciting and your patients, clients and members of your community will value access to the easy-to-read information and professional insights you can publish in a great practice blog!

Duct Tape Marketing Expansion News

March 26, 2008

dtmcoachlogolow.jpg  Press Release March 25, 2008

The Duct Tape Marketing small business coaching network expands to include one on one coach mentoring and regional guides.

Kansas City, MO (PRWEB) March 25, 2008 — The Duct Tape Marketing Coach Network announced expansion plans to include the addition of five regional coaching guides. These guides are charged with introducing coaching entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and corporate refugees to the Duct Tape Marketing small business system and opportunity as well as training and mentoring new marketing coaches through a success program known as FastTac.

The FastTac program pairs new coaches with seasoned coaches for an extensive 20 week 1-on-1 mentoring program. This program is in addition to Duct Tape Marketing Coach boot camp and ongoing marketing coaching training received by all coaches.

The vision for the Duct Tape Marketing system is that it become the small business marketing operating system. We are accomplishing this growth in a very practical and smart fashion

The Duct Tape Marketing Coaching Network has experienced steady growth on the heals of strong sales of the book Duct Tape Marketing – The world’s most practical small business marketing system.

Duct Tape Marketing coaches work with small business owners installing the Duct Tape Marketing system through virtual coaching, group coaching and training and personal marketing planning and implementation.

Currently, Duct Tape Marketing coaches practice in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK.

“The vision for the Duct Tape Marketing system is that it become the small business marketing operating system. We are accomplishing this growth in a very practical and smart fashion,” said John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing.

Currently, Duct Tape Marketing coaches practice in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK.

The newly appointed Duct Tape Marketing Regional Guides are:
Cidnee Stephen – Western Canada and Central States
Matthew Scott – West Coast
Liz Walker – Eastern Canada and Midwest States
Joe Costantino – East Coast
Scott Campbell – South

Duct Tape Marketing is a turn-key small business marketing system as well as an award-winning blog, podcast and marketing newsletter by the same name. Find out more about Duct Tape Marketing coaching at www.ducttapemarketingcoach.com

Microsoft Small Business Summit

March 21, 2008

I wanted to remind you that the Microsoft Small Business Summit 2008 starts Monday, March 24th, 12:00 pm EDT/9:00 am PDT. Monday the 24th at 9 am PDT John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, will be live on the MS small business summit. Also, as a benefit of registering for the Small Business Summit, you will be entered in the Response Point Daily Giveaway.* Each day of the Summit Microsoft will be giving away a complete Response Point System. Be sure to watch to find out if you’ve won. If you haven’t marked your schedule yet, take time to do that now!

Got a small-business question? Here’s your chance to have it answered by one of America’s foremost small-business experts, Rieva Lesonsky, live during the Microsoft Small Business Summit. Send your questions to Summit08@microsoft.com and be sure to put “Questions for Rieva” in the Subject Line.

On Monday, log in at www.sbsummit.com to watch the Summit and view schedules for the four-day event. You can also get the latest guest speaker lineup – including Microsoft’s new guest on day 4: Donny Deutsch, Big Idea host and successful businessman.

I know it will be an informative and entertaining way to learn how to better meet your business challenges. Of course, you can visit Microsoft anytime at www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness for some great resources you need to give you the competitive edge. Thanks for registering and I hope you enjoy the Summit.

Sandra

The Edge of Success – 9 Building Blocks to Double Your Sales

March 13, 2008

Look, it’s incredibly challenging to be a small business owner!  There are employees to manage, customers to please, bills to be paid, and a million other things to consider. And, on top of all of that, you’re still trying to build your business.

If you’re feeling frustrated and tired, or simply want to see your business grow, I’ve got great news!  You see, I’ve just come across an e-book: The Edge of Success – 9 Building Blocks to Double Your Sales.  The e-book is being offered as a FREE download.  And, in it small business owners will discover:

  • Simple steps to turning prospects into customers, and customers into raving fans
  • How to systemize and simplify business management
  • Why automation is imperative to small business growth
  • The one “secret” every small business owner must know
  • And so much more!!!
This book is a powerhouse of information!  Information that will grow your company quickly and profitably.  The same techniques and tactics in this book have been used by hundreds of companies to easily double, and even triple their current sales.
The book is free, but could be worth thousands, or even millions to your bottom line!To download the book, simply click here http://crm.infusionsoft.com/go/edge/ConsciousLee and within minutes you could be on your way to skyrocketing your income. This is an opportunity (a FREE opportunity) you can’t afford to miss!
Sincerely,
Sandra
P.S. Download now and start filling your bank account with all that extra income!  And, please share your comments here after this great read!

Outsourcing Life

February 27, 2008

timferriss1.jpg  Tim Ferris – 4 Hour Workweek

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” — Henry David Thoreau, naturalist

After listening in to Tim Ferris on the Duct Tape Marketing Coaching Excellence Series last week, I’m curious as to how many ways small business owners are finding to outsource their daily demands.  Most folks I talk with are more in a constant state of overwhelm by the barrage of daily information and tasks thrown their way.  What about you?  Will you comment on what’s working for you in unloading your demanding work plate?  And, what still, is not?  Resources you’re using … and more can help busy entrepreneurs get closer to that dream of the 4 hour work week.  Thanks, in advance for your posts!

Sandra

Tim Ferris – Duct Tape Marketing Coaching Excellence Series

February 17, 2008

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Featured Session:  February 21, 2008 Noon Central

Tim Ferris is the author of the wildly popular 4-Hour Workweek.  He is the featured speaker on this month’s Duct Tape Marketing Coaching Excellence Series.  Tim is a serial entrepreneur and ultravagabond and has been featured by dozens of media, including the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, NBC and MAXIM. 

Join us by simply going to www.profitwithsandralee.com/contact.htm and use the easy sign up box to be added to this program list.  We’ll send you everything you need to log on for Tim’s programs and other great speakers in the future !

And, bookmark this spot to return with your comments following the program.

Enjoy!

Sandra 

Slideshare.net – Business Presentations Great Resource!

February 8, 2008

Check out www.slideshare.net.  It’s great for business owners making professional Power Point presentations.  This site is dedicated to helping business presenters improve their presentations.  It’s a great resource for ideas, seeing examples of what to do and not do to polish up your talks.  And, best of all, it’s free! 

4 Marketing Ideas to Generate More Profits on Valentine’s Day

February 5, 2008

5236802_thl.jpg 4 MARKETING IDEAS TO GENERATE

MORE BUSINESS PROFITS ON VALENTINE’S DAY

Ideally, you’ve got your marketing strategies already in place for this upcoming holiday.  But if not, or you just want something new to generate some buzz and extra profits, this will give you some fresh ideas. 

Critics say Valentine’s Day is just another scam by American businesses to try and get more money out of consumers.  And, so what if it is?  The holiday benefits businesses.  This is good for our economy.  More important, it reminds us to celebrate the people we love because all too often we forget.

So, in the interest of tapping into extra profits in your business this year, here are some ideas to help you attract more customers and clients on this heartfelt holiday:

1.       Give the Gift of Service

This offering can be given directly from your business, or gifted by strategic partners that already refer business to you, or jointly.  Create a gift certificate for services (or, a loss leader product).  Let this be a “gift” from your client or strategic partner to others they care about.  The gift is “compliments” of the giver, as if they bought this certificate for the person receiving it.  You provide the service (or, combined with a strategic partner’s offer).  The giver receives the “credit” or “thanks” for the gift.  It’s a win-win for all involved.     

2.      Pictures

Hire an inexpensive local photographer (maybe one that’s just getting started so that you help their business and yours) to come to your place of business and offer Valentine’s pictures of couples, kids, or family shots for free or a very small fee.   

Dates for shooting can be as many as you and the photographer agree before Valentine’s Day (or, other future Holidays like Mother’s Day).  Your customer or client receives one photo (size that you decide with the photographer).  Additional reprints are at the photographer’s regular fees.

Have a fun holiday theme background for the pictures and make sure your photographer uses a digital camera. That way, you can email the finished product to the customers.  And, you advertise your business (and the photographer’s) a second time.  The email prints can be “overwritten” with “proof” to require the actual photo be produced by the photographer.

3.      Contests

Advertise a greeting card, love song, poetry or short story contest.  This one is for next year or a later holiday this year, as it’s too late for Valentine’s.  You want to be sure to start things around 30 days before the actual holiday. 

Give a deadline the week before the holiday:  Valentine’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, etc.  Announce the winner on or just before the day of the holiday and provide them with a special prize, such as a gift certificate to your business and dinner for two at a great local restaurant.

Other smaller scale contests could be the couple that has been married the longest, the couple married the shortest, who proposed in the most creative way, etc.   You get the idea because this is for Valentine’s Day.  The same idea applies to other holidays like Mother’s Day.  i.e. Why my mom is the greatest ever!

Again, personal short contests are what you promote.  On Valentine’s you could even have couples registered for a make-shift newlywed game and have them compete for a prize. It depends on your particular business, location and facility layout. The couple that knows each other best wins.  There are lots of creative twists to using the contest idea.

4.      Giveaways

Consider having a drawing for a larger giveaway, sponsored by your business or in conjunction with a strategic partner of yours (one who already refers to you and/or vice versa).  It could be a cruise or 4 day/3 night getaway.  It could be an overnight stay at a 4-star local hotel and restaurant with dinner for two. 

Couples are entered when they spend a certain amount with your business (check your local regulations on this as each municipality differs) to enter.    It may be a $10-$25 fee to enter the drawing.  That way, you don’t have the whole town trying to get in on the fun for free, and you make some money back from your investment for the giveaway offered.

Also, if your business provides products or services that are often used by a specific target group, consider giving away a package that appeal to that group.  And, you can include more than one company, sharing in this offering.  Again, use your strategic alliances versus only making offers alone.  Get creative!

Examples of strategic alliances:  For weddings:  photographer, catering, wedding coordination, etc. for engaged couples.  For cosmetic makeovers:  cosmetic dentist – teeth whitening, Lasik surgeon – designer sun glasses, spa packages, etc. 

These will generate interest in your product/service.  And, though you’ll only be giving it to one couple, or person, it will bring in potential clientele who would be willing to pay if they don’t win because they like what they saw and experienced while visiting your business to register.

Regardless of how you wish to take advantage of the extra revenues and profits Valentine’s Day offers your business, be sure you advertise whatever special event you choose.   

Pick your best local sources.  The local newspaper and optimizing your local web presence are both great options.  Another good venue is local radio stations.  Rates vary.  Check into off hour rates and last minute spot rates (remnant rates) with both radio and TV ads.  Independent Cable TV channels are quite affordable in some markets. 

Invest in some air time to advertise the special contest or giveaway, and your business with strategic partners.  This will likely reach the biggest audience in the shortest period of time, with Valentine’s only days away.  And remember to call your local TV stations to let them know what’s going on.  If it’s exciting enough, they’ll want to be there to see who the big winner is, and you’ll get even more advertising for your business!

I realize this blog posting today is only a few days before Valentine’s Day, so the above ideas may not help you as much this year as next.  February being our shortest business month, planning ahead to insure higher revenues is the best practice.  So starting now will get you well on your way to bringing in the profits and business you desire in the future.  Enjoy Valentine’s, the Day of  Love.  And, let me know how I can help you with more strategic marketing that sticks to your future profits!

Sincerely,

Sandra Lee

Founder & Head Coach – Advance Associates Inc

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www.profitwithsandralee.com     slee@profitwithsandralee.com     Toll Free 1-866-538-8282

Microsoft Small Business Summit

January 30, 2008

The Microsoft Small Business Summit

Mark your calendar. Entering its third year, the Microsoft Small Business Summit, a nationwide, online event that runs for four days is coming. This year it runs from March 24 through March 27.   Summit registrants can participate online from home or office.John Jantsch, owner of Duct Tape Marketing has been asked to kick the summit off with a session on small business marketing so I hope that lots of Duct Tape Marketing fans will be joining him live online on March 24th at 9am PDT!MS Small business summit
The summit offers advice from entrepreneurial peers and small business experts on topics ranging from sales, marketing, productivity, mobility, security, financial management and startups.

Over the four days, a variety of panelists will speak, including Cheryl Broussard, financial advisor and author of Sister CEO; Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch; Louis Barajas, author of Latino Journey to Financial Greatness and Small Business, Big Life.

The summit is free and registration is open now.  Make sure to register even if you can’t make the live events as you will get access to the archived recordings months after the event.

Sandra 

Sticky Marketing Hits Texas!

January 28, 2008

John Jantsch and Sandra Lee

John Jantsch and Sandra Lee – Kansas City  – January 2008

Duct Tape Marketing Coach Intensive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               

Contact:  Sandra Lee – Advance Associates Inc – 1-866-538-8282

slee@profitwithsandralee.com – www.profitwithsandralee.com  

SANDRA LEE SELECTED AS AUTHORIZED AREA COACHFOR DUCT TAPE MARKETING – SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING SYSTEM

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – January 31. 2008 – Sandra Lee, owner of Advance Associates Inc, in Arlington, is one of a growing group of entrepreneurs nationwide selected to participate in the Duct Tape Marketing Authorized Coach program.  

“The selection process was quite involved,” says John Jantsch, award-winning small business expert and creator of the Duct Tape Marketing system. “To ensure the program’s success, I limited the scope of the initial offering to business owners who excel in their particular industries but who want to expand their own marketing efforts and share their newfound expertise with others.”  

“To say that I’m honored to be chosen as a licensee is an understatement,” says Lee. “I realize that the competition for these spots is fierce, so I’m thrilled to be one of the coaches chosen. Now the pressure will be on me to implement the marketing strategies and tactics I learn in taking my business to the next level – as well as my client’s businesses.  Having served as a small business consultant and coach since 1987, I see the Duct Tape Marketing System as a wonderful addition to my coaching and consulting practice.”  

Lee receives exclusive rights to implement the Duct Tape Marketing small business marketing system and distribute the Duct Tape Marketing family of small business marketing products. The Duct Tape Marketing system is available for licensing to select small business marketing coaches.  For an annual fee, licensees will receive training and a complete system to generate clients.  Lee also mentors in other coaches to Duct Tape Marketing, with the right qualifications.

About Advance Associates Inc – Since 1987, Lee, founder of Advance Associates Inc, has helped hundreds of independent business owners to prosper.  An experienced practice management consultant and business marketing coach, she offers proven strategies and marketing systems for reliable growth, profits, and peace of mind.  Coaching and consulting programs are tailored to meet the specific goals of each client.  Visit her Marketing Profits Blog at http://www.profitwithsandralee.com  

About Duct Tape Marketing – Duct Tape Marketing is a unique turnkey small business marketing system created by award-winning small business marketing expert and author John Jantsch. Harvard Business School features the Duct Tape Marketing System and Forbes Business ranks the Duct Tape Marketing System as a top favorite for small business.  Visit the Duct Tape Marketing Blog, also a Forbes favorite for small business, at http://www.ducttapemarketing.com