The Value of Experts

The Value of Experts

Expert key image

I am continually amazed that the more I learn, in general, the less I seem to know about specifics. I wonder if my brain will hold only so much and then overflow the older stuff. Case in point: creating an important message for social media or email consumption.

Over the weekend, I got a call from someone on the East Coast looking for the “free, quick” consultation I offer on my website. He was having trouble crafting a short message for Facebook describing what his company offered and including a call for action that stressed benefits rather than features. He had a start but wasn’t happy with it. I asked some questions, visited his website and wrote a three-sentence post for him that thrilled him. He wanted more work that day, but I told him he’d exhausted the “free, quick” offer and that help with his follow-on projects would cost him.

I don’t know if he’ll pay anyone for the follow-on work or not. But I do know that if he does decide to pay for it, I’ll be the first person he calls. And I’ll get the work. Because I did a good job for him on a quick freebie, he knows that he’ll get expertise and value on a longer, working consulting job.

That story brings me to the topic of the value of paying for experts. I have an email message that needs to go out in the next couple of weeks to over 1,200 people. I consider that message critical to the launch of an important new activity and I spent a lot of time working on it contents. And then I did something really smart: I hired someone else to make it right. Based on my skills above, which clearly show me to be more than capable of doing things for myself, why would I do such a thing?

Forty-eight hours later, I had my answer. The passive voice that had crept in a couple of places was replaced with the active voice. The right words were converted to anchor text and the links were inserted where they worked the best. The flow of the message was improved, as was the call to action. I have got to say that I just hadn’t, and maybe even couldn’t, have paid as much attention to those details as did my expert copywriter. She punched up the words and grammar, optimized the message for search engines and made it far more appealing, in my view, to my intended audience. I really think the improved version will work much better and I’m happy to pay my expert for her work.

Are there things you aren’t so good at when you try to do them for yourself? Things you don’t use quite as critical an eye when producing for yourself than you would for a client? Then do what I did: hire someone else to do them for you. If you’re a marketer, why are you doing accounting work? If you are an accountant, why are you trying to play marketer? If you’re a designer, why are you trying to manufacture things yourself?

The value of an expert can mean the difference between the success and failure of your venture. Don’t take chances to try to save a few dollars. It may not even be penny-wise, let alone pound foolish. Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your”war stories,” good and bad, and so would my readers I’d guess.

P.S: The copywriter who helped me on this project is Ms. Kristin O’Neill,

Marketing with Face Time Not Facebook

As the online marketing gurus implore us to put more time, effort, and money into marketing via websites, blogs, ad words, and social media, we sometimes lose sight of the value of face-to-face networking for building our businesses.

There are even more opportunities to meet other business people now than before online networking existed, but you have to take the leap from online to offline marketing. Social media can be a valuable tool for establishing initial contacts with people whose talents and interests match your needs or your clients’ needs, but its relationship building value is easily overestimated.

How efficient is social media in establishing real relationships? The core of any marketing effort is a plan to build trust, and the most effective way to build rapport is through a handshake and eye contact. Social media is, ironically, inherently not social. It puts us behind a computer screen, and away from human contact.

Let us get together, away from the screen. It could be breakfast or lunch, an after-hours mixer, an open house, a business leads meeting, or any number of venues. You can learn more about a person in a five-minute conversation than they would ever post on a social media profile. If you have not already made in-person networking a core part of your marketing plan, you will be amazed at how productive and fun these meetings are.

Groups on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Meetup, are facilitating an increasing number of face-to-face meetings in groups as diverse as you could imagine. While there are literally hundreds of them, the good news is that they are searchable, so you can find the right groups for you.

What kinds of groups and meetings do you find most valuable? How do you make time for face time? Where do you find the groups that you attend and people you meet? Please post your comments and share what works for you.

If you would like more information about groups that might be of interest to you, please let me know.  I will point you in the right direction.

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your comments.

Help With Marketing Your Small Business

If your business is like many other small businesses today, particularly in today’s economic climate, money for marketing may be a tight commodity. But marketing is a must if you want your business to grow. Thankfully, there are several things you can do, at little or no cost, to get your message out to prospective and existing customers.

The most basic requirement today, of course, is a website. It should effectively describe the benefits of your product and service and include a “call to action” to motivate browsers and prospects to become customers. And it needs to be easy to find, which means (1) broadcasting  its existence so that search engines like Google (, Bing (, Yahoo ( ) and Ask (, just to name a few, can find it and (2) optimizing it so that those search engines place it at or near the top of the results when prospects search for your products or services.

Website hosting and building has become much less expensive and much simpler to implement with tools available from a wide variety of Internet service providers (ISPs). Registering your own domain name for your website is also a straightforward process. And having your own domain, instead of being a subset of something like “sites/” for example, is critically important if you want to be able to measure the effectiveness of your website’s performance since many analytic tools don’t work for sub-directory sites. Plus you’ll want your own domain-specific email addresses.  While free email accounts are great for personal use, they don’t make a very good impression when used for your business.

You’ll also want to take advantage of social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of business you are in. Are you using all of the tools available to you in marketing your small business? Which ones are working best for you? Can you share any tips that other small businesses can use? I’d love to hear from you.

If you found this blog entry particularly useful, please send me a comment or an email.