Imagine this. You’re on the ground floor of a 10 storey building waiting for the elevator to come and pick you up. The doors open, you walk in and so does the ideal client/ perfect boss/partner of your dreams. You have 30 seconds between now and the 10th floor, where coincidentally you’re both heading, to sell yourself. Why does this person need you in their lives? Why are your goods or services something they can’t live without? Why are you the best candidate for the job they have going? Why are you [insert whatever it is you’re trying to convince someone of]?
Usually, it’s in these sought after moments we find ourselves freezing. We scramble for words, blurt out something standard and cliche and generally fail to put our best foot forward.
Here’s where an elevator pitch comes in. An elevator pitch is a clear, concise and convincing introduction to yourself and your business which can you deliver in 30 seconds or less.
Spoiler alert: It’s not just for elevators. It works for social functions, job interviews, networking opportunities, and yes, even a quick and convincing answer to your potential father-in-law’s probing questions too.
Here are some key pointers to consider when crafting your own elevator pitch:
1. Prepare more than one.
Trying to condense everything you want to say about yourself and your business into just a few sentences is near on impossible. You’re best to have a couple of variations up your sleeve, which you can target to different audiences. Your potential leads, clients and influencers will have different needs, so prepare a few targeted pitches that highlight relevant key messages.
2. Mix up the lengths.
Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of 30 seconds. Prepare yourself 5 second and 15-second versions to use when you need to act super fast.
3. Cut the jargon.
Jargon is a sure-fire way to elicit eye-rolls and lose your audience. Use language that helps you connect to the person you’re talking to. Keep it simple, friendly and inclusive.
4. Grab attention.
Show your value by highlighting what makes you and/or your business unique. You need to be different to be memorable.
5. Solve your listener’s problem.
Your elevator pitch must be relatable to the person you’re pitching to. Use your pitch to describe the problem your customer/dream boss/perfect match has, and then explain how you can solve it simply.
6. Engage your audience.
Delivering your pitch is one thing. Engage the listener is another. Consider ending your pitch with a question to keep the conversation going.
7. Prepare to answer questions.
Make sure you are prepared for the questions you could get after delivering your pitch. If you are successful in getting the engagement you seek, you need to be able to back up your claim.
8. Practice your delivery.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so practice, practice, practice your pitch. This way, when your chance to deliver it comes, it’ll roll off the tongue and you’ll come across as natural and polished.
Want to learn more?
Download our course “The Perfect Elevator Pitch Formula” below to help you craft your own elevator pitch and grab the opportunity when it knocks.
Are you using Google My Business correctly? We have come across quite a few New Zealand businesses that are not even sure what it is. In this video & article, we give you some tips on getting found.
There’s no such thing as being ‘too busy’ when you run your own business. Even when it feels like we have too much work to handle, we all naturally want more.
If you are a local business selling products or services the one tool you can’t afford to be without is Google Places.
Why Google Places?
Google Places is essentially a free localised listing in the biggest online directory in the world. And the people who search for the terms it comes up for are 9/10 buying customers.
So it makes sense to get listed.
Is it really FREE?
To clarify what I meant above Google listings are free to set up and create. But like all things it does require an investment of time to manage your listing, chase clients for reviews and posting new content – YES you can now post offers & links on your Google Maps listings.
On top of this, if you’re in a competitive industry, you’ll need to build backlinks to your listing, like you would with a website. This helps Google see that you are the best and should be placed first.
7 Tips To Get Going On Google Places
Tip 1: Be Accurate
This seems a touch obvious but it would surprise you how many people have mistakes on their listings. A client of ours came to us with an incorrect phone number added to the listing.
It is vital to check addresses, phone numbers and everything else possible. Make sure you use your own business name as well. Don’t stuff in keywords for the sake of it, this will only jeopardise your listing in the long run.
Tip 2: Use all the options available to you
You will get the chance to select categories when you sign up. Make sure you use all 5 spaces. These are key for how Google places you. The first 2 categories will be set by Google. Even if they are not perfect for what you do – make sure you select them. In the free form categories type in things you think people search for. E.g. if you are a website copywriter – put that in.
Tip 3: Business Description
This is all about what you do and what’s in it for the reader. It’s your chance to convince the person who has found you through a general search that you’re the business they need.
Your description should contain reasons to believe you are the best, such as examples of awards, accreditation, or unique points of difference. It also needs to explain benefits of working with you as well as the types of services or products you sell.
Tip 4: Services
In this section you get to tell people more about what you do. List everything and in detail.
Here is an example:
Good: Gardening – Lawn Mowing, Weed Removal, Water Blasting, Tree Trimming, Landscaping
Tip 5: Photos & Videos
You want to fill your listing with images and videos. Google likes to show listings that have been well crafted and are helpful, so the more information you have, the more it likes you. We have a few videos on our listing, as well as crafted images about what we do.
You can also pop some case study videos or images if you have them for more social proof on why you are great.
Tip 6: Posts & Offers
One of the latest features of Google My Business is being able to create posts. These show beautifully when your business is searched for and will also help with general rankings.
See the image below as an example. I try and do 1 of these a month, more is even better. Show you are still in business. I like to place a blog post, a video or an offer up. Remember this is free to do and only takes 5 minutes.
Tip 7: Customer Reviews
In my honest opinion I prefer Google Reviews than Facebook. The reason being is they are front and centre on a search. They increase your search ranking and are just such a smart way to beat those competitors off who haven’t bothered to get up reviews.
We personally get all our testimonials in this format and then use them on our website.
I suggest creating an email to happy customers at the end of a project asking review. Aim to get 10+ as quickly as possible as it really shows you are an established business and is enough in many industry categories.
Don’t sit on your thumbs. Get on Google. If you need any help or want some support in moving your listing up the rankings. Just let us know. We have a guy we can refer you who we call the ‘Google Whisperer’. He knows where it’s at.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with marketing? You are not alone.
There is a lot you could do with content marketing, but people usually don’t take any action, just because they don’t know where to start or how to do it properly. This leads to a lack of consistency and to poor quality and inefficient product.
Content planning for business
In this article, I am going to talk about content planning for business, a plan that will help you create and publish effective content for your blog, social media platforms and emails.
When it comes to create and share quality content, many people struggle with planning the next step and how to do it. There are many questions, and usually, the task of planning gets put in the basket of things that are too hard to do.
To start easily, you can do a few things:
Hire a company to help you (this usually works for many people)
Buy premade content (we have a brand that provides premade content, ShareThis.Video, that works really well.
However, if you prefer to create your own content, you absolutely need to have a content strategy. If you don’t have a structure, you will never get round to create your content. Or, you might create it and do nothing with it, or you might get stuck and fail to complete it. It’s easy to get stuck in content creation, it happened to myself and to many other business owners.
I want to share with you some valuable and straightforward tips about content planning.
Tips for content planning
The two most important things I recommend considering when planning your content are:
It does not have much use to post one video today, one in three and a half weeks, and another one in four months. It is very inconsistent. We personally do three videos a week to post out on Facebook and LinkedIn. We also send our network the video links via newsletters, and we publish one blog post every two weeks. This way, we know what we are doing. We have consistency built into our plan.
Create content in a format that fits you
When you create content for your market, I recommend using a format that best fits you. For example, I am not a great writer. Writing a long article does not really work for me. I do love video content and podcasting because I am verbal and visual, so these two are my mediums of choice to get my content out to the world.
There is no one size fits all. Other people might prefer writing articles or use pictures. Whatever your thing is, do it! Don’t get stuck on what people are telling you to do, because you just won’t do it.
There are always ways around things. If you want to write a long article, you can hire a company to turn it into an explainer video. If you like doing videos, just face the camera or get a selfie stick and go for gold. Don’t worry about it being perfect. There are so many companies out there telling you not to release stuff unless it’s picture-perfect or it will hurt your brand. I don’t agree with that. Unless your brand is so big that it has remarkably strict brand guidelines and remarkable levels of complexity, it doesn’t matter.
Being seen and getting out of obscurity is more important! I borrowed that line from a friend in Facebook advertising, Scott Wilson, who uses it a lot because it is true. You’d better be seen in the front of mind then keep holding off on releasing content because you’re worried.
1)Pick your format
What medium are you comfortable with? Is it audio and video? Is it just screen capture video that you can turn off so you can’t be seen? Is it audio through a podcast? My podcast just hit 31,000 downloads, you know they work. Podcasting is huge and it keeps growing. Do you want to write an article that Google loves? Pick your format, own it, and learn it.
What do you want to set as a structure? For me, a podcast is usually about ten minutes. I’m not going to pick myself up if it’s eight minutes or if it’s twelve minutes but it’s about ten minutes, personally. Videos are approximately three minutes, but if they are a bit longer, it’s ok because they provide value. If you are writing an article, what is your word limit? What are you aiming for? Give yourself some sort of feedback metric. For example, when you get to one thousand words, review it and see what you can cut out or improve on.
3)When will you create it?
Consistency happens when you set timeframes. I do my podcasting Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 9:00 and 11:00 that’s it. It took a while to come into my brain and to stay there. Now it’s just a habit. Set a timeframe, if not you will not get it done.
4)How will you distribute it?
If I do a video, I will share it on LinkedIn and Facebook. I will share certain videos through a newsletter. Our team is excellent at helping businesses, as well as our own, to create video newsletters. With other videos, we will create a blog post. W will design a nice graphic, we’ll get it transcribed and we’ll publish it as a blog post. Some companies can help you do that if you want to create the raw content.
5)What do you need help with?
This is the big question. Think about what you need help with. If you have selected video, do you need help getting it transcribed? Do you need help designing a blog post graphic or getting someone to load it into WordPress? Do you need someone to help you distribute it through social media? Do you want to take it to another level with Facebook Ads? What are your needs?
The best businesses have teams to help them. They don’t have to be in your company. If you have someone there, that’s brilliant. If not, look for outside help. If you have any questions about this, our team can help you, or anybody else. Just to get it done. Don’t sit there in obscurity because if you think about it, no one else sees it.
Those are just a few tips on content planning. I hope that’s added some value into your life and your business and, as I said, if Virtual Innovation team can be of help, just shout!
As web developers, we’ve seen, built and improved our fair share of websites. Among the lessons we have learned along the way, is the crucial importance of polished, targeted and properly formatted copy for making your website do what it’s meant to do; attract custom. No amount of flash graphic design can undo the damage sloppy messaging can cause to your brand.
We asked our go-to copywriter, Michelle Reiber from Prose and Comms, for some of her ‘Top tips of writing for the web’.
Check them out below and visit her website for more on how she can help you with your business. www.proseandcomms.com.
The seductive art of writing for the web
So you’ve got yourself a website. An online platform through which to display your wares and convince potential customers and clients that your goods and/or services are exactly what they need.
Only, what should you write?
Writing for websites is bit like online dating. Often it’s the first interaction a potential customer will have with you and your business. So you need to make a good first impression.
Whether you sell mortgage advice, a body wash that’s gentle on the environment, or the ultimate non-stick fry pan, your website needs to grab your customers’ attention and answer some key questions they, consciously or not, have ticking over in their minds.
Here are a few handy hints to get your website visitors ‘swiping right’.
1. Get to know me first
It’ll do you no favours attempting to appeal to every man and his dog. Find out what makes your target audience tick and speak to them like they are the only one in the room. The language, style and tone of voice used on a kindergarten’s website should be significantly different to that of an engineering consultant’s.
2. Tell me why I need you in my life
Don’t be backward in coming forward about why your customer needs you. Your website is a golden opportunity to inform people about what your business or product does and how they can get in on the action. Tell them what you can do for them, or sell them, that no one else can. They want to be convinced. That’s why they looked you up in the first place.
By this I mean simple and brief. You’ve heard the saying ‘I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead’; punchy, articulate copy will communicate your key messages best and says a lot about how you present yourself. Complicated acronyms, big words and unnecessary jargon are as attractive as that piece of spinach stuck in your teeth that I’m too polite to tell you about.
4. Don’t play hard to get
So you’ve hooked your reader in with your targeted content, succinct language and amazing sell job, now what? If you want them to book a consultation with you, tell them how. If you want them to buy your amazing natural, vegan deodorant, tell them how. If you want them to book their dog in for a groom at your place, tell them how. And just so everyone’s clear, tell them a few times. Having strategically placed calls to action throughout your site makes it much more likely you’ll get to second base. We’re all too old for games now.
Photo Credit: freepik.com
* I’ve dropped the metaphor here to make the point as clear as possible *
For the love of all that is holy, please spellcheck. Even if it means you have to copy and paste the text from your web development page into Word and run it through the Microsoft language filter, DO IT, because spelling errors on a website are the number one turnoff for many a prospective customer.
This is our new video blog series that is all about helping you engage better in your business. We are going to be looking at a variety of topics, from engaging staff all way to engaging prospects and engaging current clients to retain them to get better results.
So, in this series, we are going to have a look at everything; things that have popped up in my life, things that I see that are awesome and you could get value from, and I’m going to share them with you.
There is so much information out there! There is a way of me collating it and giving you a different perspective that will help you.
In this first episode, we are going to look at business cards. I’m in the process of getting some new ones designed and I am doing my research on how I can create a business card that is truly engaging. You know, I am sure you have got a pile of business cards you have had over the years. You have probably thrown a hundred times that out.
You know you go to a networking event just to hand them out like candies on Halloween and 9 times out of 10 they just sit there and go to waste. It’s a roll! Why would you print something that is just not engaging? It is just a mental thing we have got and we have done for so long. So, how can you do that a little bit different? How can you create an experience with your business card that makes people remember you?
Because that is what it ’s about! You want to be remembered. That is what a business card should do. In my belief, you would be better invest a little more in your business cards so you can get a better result. So, I’ve been hunting around and looking for some great blogs with some good examples. I’m going to start off and look at some of these examples. This one is brilliant.
This is basically a cosmetic surgeon business card. They are trying to get wether to remember them. Now if you get this business card, you know beyond the initial shock of getting it and going ‘wow that’s a bit crazy”! How awesome is that!
Now this guy, this cosmetic surgeon, he is making a track out of mind so he can invest on his business card to integrate. This would not be cheap to print, design and create, but he knows in every
few dollars he makes, every few cards he gives out he might get work. You definitely would remember this, you pass it on and his card is listed in here so it’s more exposure. Isn’t that awesome?
You think of some cool stuff, like this yoga trainer business cards. You know, how cool is that? How simple is that? It’s not an expensive card to create.
What we are trying to look at is a business card that is successful, it is one that engages the person who gets it. It’s not just your information, to be honest, 9 times out of 10 if I want your information I just go on LinkedIn.
You know business cards are not what they used to be. If you invest in some, make sure you do something different.
I am just going to run through some of these quickly. You’ve got the Cheese Grater, isn’t that brilliant? You can actually grate cheese with a business card! It’s brilliant.
And this is my favourite, the divorce lawyer. It basically splits down in middle. How funny is that? And you’ll definitely remember that. You know, it’s not a fancy business card – except for that – but it does make a difference, doesn’t it? So, basically, you split it down and hand one side to one person one filler. Isn’t that great? I absolutely love it.
The Yoga mat looks like a miniature yoga mat as a business card, how cool is that.
This one, the fitness trainer one. The tear able business card where you can actually tear off the fat, oh stunning!
You have the seedlings, there’s a few of this out there, different ones with packs of seeds in the card for gardeners; the landscapers, we’re going to run through a few of these, some of them are great, some are 50-50; the stretchable cards; new industry opening up in America, maybe at the moment; the straw, isn’t that crazy? It’s something different; this lego one is also great!
This one wouldn’t work for everyone, it’s basically a little lego piece of the person. You’ll remember this person, you’ll keep that. Would you not have a lego piece sitting on your desk for at least a period of time?
That’s brilliant, the one with a face; great ones in here. This is probably the last one, I’ll finish on this. The multi-tool, something functional is really a good idea. If you can get some functionality of the business card that you could use, they’ll keep it. You have to try to think ‘why would they keep it?’ Why would they keep it in front of mind? A lot of what we do with engagement is how you stay in front of mind.
You know, people think sending a newsletter is all about content and that’s a key part of it, a very key part. Another key part is your name and your details in front of the person. This is the same with business cards. How can you stay in front of that person’s mind? They look on their wallet to get their coffee club cut out and they see your innovative business card there because they kept it. You know, you’re a friend of mine, next time an opportunity comes up, they might refer you on or when they need something, they’ll be like ‘uh that guy, that girl, or that lady, that man’.
So, I want to share up with you guys, this is the first engage to win. So if you are thinking of buying new business cards this year, start getting creative, use google, have a look and apply something that is absolutely awesome.