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Leah Halbina

Part 2 of a Web Strategist’s 2017 ‘Must Reads’

2017 Must Reads Part 2

This is the list that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends. Just kidding – sort of.

If you missed Part 1 of my book list for 2017, take a peek here before skipping to Part 2. Kidding again – you can read them in any order you so desire. 

Here we go…

Grit
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

At 27, Angela Duckworth quit her management consulting job to teach seventh grade math in a New York public school. That’s where she realized IQ was not the only difference between her best and her worst students. Her seventh graders gave her a much better understanding of students and learning from a motivation perspective.

What if doing well in school and life depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily? Who is successful here and why?

Through research beyond the classroom, she formed her theory on a significant predictor of success:

grit \grit\ noun
1. passion and perseverance for very long term goals
2. sticking with your future day in and day out
3. working really hard to make that future a reality

In Grit, Angela Duckworth shares her research and findings into why merely talent or IQ doesn’t make you successful and next steps on how to build grit from an early age. 

Her talk at a TED Talks Education conference also explains more of her work and theory.

Note to self for 2017 and beyond – It’s not just talent that makes you successful, it’s the grit in you to make that success a reality.

AskGaryVee
#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk

I recently watched a video of a father asking Gary Vaynerchuk to speak to his daughter (he was videotaping) about how she should consider her college career, how she should maximize that experience to prepare her for the world she will be entering. I knew I needed to hear more from him after one specific part of his response: “There is not a school, university or college on Earth that exists that is even remotely equipped to educate you properly on communications and marketing in the world we live in today.”

In his book, he gives surprising, often outrageous, and imminently useful and honest answers to everything you’ve ever wanted to know about navigating the new world.

Practical, timeless, even untraditional advice? Sign me up.

Patient HM
Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich

Between this and When Breath Becomes Air, you might think I grew up wanting to be a neurosurgeon. Well, the secret is out.

I think most people who have a Communications background also have a natural interest in psychology and how the brain works.

Patient H.M. is the most studied human research subject in the history of neuroscience after he received a radical new version of the then-common lobotomy in 1953 in an effort to eliminate his seizures. The procedure failed to cure him of epilepsy and it left him with amnesia, unable to create long-term memories.

On top of an already interesting story – the author, Luke Dittrich, is the grandson of the surgeon who operated on Patient H.M. Before the release of his book, Dittrich talked to The New York Times about this significant era for American medicine and his deeply personal connection to it all. Read A Brain Surgeon’s Legacy Through a Grandson’s Eyes here

Patient H.M. combines the best of biography, memoir, and science journalism to create a haunting, endlessly fascinating story, one that reveals the wondrous and devastating things that can happen when hubris, ambition, and human imperfection collide.” – Sheri Fink, M.D., Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Five Days at Memorial

I’ll take two, please! 

That’s all for now, but I’m always adding new books and looking for suggestions so comment below with your favorites.  

A Web Strategist’s 2017 ‘Must Reads’

2017 Book List

Anyone who knows me knows I can get dangerously lost in a good book. I can also get lost in a Barnes & Noble looking for my next book to get lost in. Hope I didn’t lose you there. To fuel my reading addiction, here’s Part 1 of my 2017 book list: 

Thank You For Being Late
Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

An extremely relevant book for the digital age we live in. It will continue to throw shifts and changes our way that we’ll need to constantly navigate in every aspect of our lives.

Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces ― Moore’s law (technology), the Market (globalization), and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss) ― are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community.

It’s also an argument for “being late”― for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we’re passing through and to reflect on its possibilities and dangers.

If I’m late to my next meeting, send help to pry this one out of my hands. 

When Breath Becomes Air
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

After a decade studying the brain as a medical student and working in the brain as a neurosurgeon at Stanford, Dr. Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at 36-years old. His memoir is a reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

When I first heard about this book it instantly sparked my interest. At the same time though, I thought it might be too sad for my liking. Then, I read reviews like this one from The Washington Post: “Paul Kalanithi’s memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, written as he faced a terminal cancer diagnosis, is inherently sad. But it’s an emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.”

Then I read Fast Company’s Life Lessons After Death: A Doctor Explains Her Own Healing on how his wife, Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, spoke at TEDMED 2016 in Palm Springs on her own healing after her husband’s passing including how she teaches their daughter about love and loss and described what the experience taught her about living.

Hooked and I haven’t even read the foreword.

Shoe Dog Creator of Nike
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike 

I have always worked in advertising, marketing or communications where Nike was – and continues to be – the inspiration and gold standard. The man behind the swoosh has been a mystery up until now when Nike founder and board chairman, Phil Knight, shares the story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing and profitable brand.

A chance to hear Knight’s story of how Nike started, the challenges and setbacks along the way and the foundational relationship that formed the heart and soul of Nike is a rare opportunity, so excuse me while I dig in.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll share the second half of my list. And in the meantime, comment below with books on your list. I might need to add them to mine!

 

A Perspective on DTC Perspectives Hospital Marketing National 2016: Trends & Themes Transcending the Industry

 

hospital marketing national

Summer has been busy for the emagine Healthcare team and it’s clear that 2016 will continue to be a busy (and very exciting) year for Hospital Marketers. Heading into the second half is a perfect time to share a few themes that transcended the 2016 DTC Perspectives Hospital Marketing National in Atlanta and San Diego. Great strides have already been made and there’s much more to look forward to for the rest of 2016 and into 2017.

Seeing everyone engaged, sharing success stories, giving recommendations on what has worked (or not) for them, and asking the right questions was so inspiring. We all have the same goal: Improving the lives and health of patients and caregivers. So, the willingness to find a solution together and give insight left me feeling optimistic for what’s ahead.

Here are some recurring themes that I noticed a major focus on throughout the talks, discussions and panels:

Patient Journey, Experience and Engagement 

It will be critical for Hospitals to understand the patient journey, how it affects the patient experience and how that relationship encourages (or discourages) patient engagement.

For years, everyone has preached the importance of patient engagement. But, very few were actually doing it. True patient engagement will weigh heavily on Healthcare Marketers. Gone are the days of patients as a commodity that have to come to you. Stephen Zubrod, VP of Marketing at Methodist Health System and Eric Talbot, Founder of Epiphany Insights both urged us to shift our thinking to view patients as consumers. Patients have the option to choose, are more informed than ever and want to be an active participant in their health. Now, the differentiator will be who is delivering and executing on the patient experience as Lonnie Hirsch of Hirsch Healthcare Consulting stressed in San Diego. 

What does that mean for your website & online presence?

Think of your site’s user experience as the patient experience. Site architecture, navigation and page flow should align with the patient journey. Every element of your website should address what patients need, want and expect to feel comfortable choosing your Hospital over a competitor. Expectations have shifted and continue to rise. Your website needs to rise to the challenge to truly drive patient engagement.

Powerful, Engaging Video

Everybody’s doing it. How do you rise above in an overly saturated medium? Simply having video won’t suffice. It should be high-quality and strive for a connection – all in an effort to humanize Healthcare again. Our health decisions are serious, intimate and personal and video content should reflect that. Connecting with your audience on a deeper level with an empathic tone will be the differentiator here. After all, choosing a Hospital comes with more risk than buying a new TV. Smith & Jones successfully leveraged video to connect with a community 2-hours North of New York City. There’s excellent care from Physicians who have studied at top-tier med schools right in their back yard, but there’s always the option to travel to Hospitals like New York-Presbyterian and NYU Langone Medical Center. Dave Vener, President and Marketing Director of Smith & Jones shared examples during his talk, 2016 Healthcare Marketing Trends, our first morning in Atlanta. 

What does that mean for your website & online presence?

Video drives the highest engagement rates out of the many types of content we have the option of sharing with our target audience segments. An estimated 79% of internet traffic will be video content by 2018. Video on your website (and social platforms!) evokes the emotional connection and empathy patients are expecting.

Here are a few topic ideas:

  • Patient Testimonial to establish credibility and humanize Healthcare again
  • Physician Profile to share their approach and insights and to connect with prospective patients
  • Treatment/Procedure Overview to educate and ease anxiety in preparation for their visit (An emagine trusted partner, Nucleus Medical Media, creates stunning 3D, custom videos)

If you haven’t already started aligning your web experience and online presence with expectations of patients and caregivers, now is the time!

5 Elements of a Winning Healthcare Marketing Strategy

healthcare marketing

Every healthcare brand knows the importance of a marketing strategy. But not every brand has the necessary time or resources to plan for and develop a structured strategy that will help them meet their organizational goals.

So what’s the secret to building a winning healthcare marketing strategy?

Here are five important elements to craft a winning digital marketing strategy:

1. The Right Goals:

Set realistic, specific, and quantifiable goals. Make sure your goals represent your organization’s overarching objectives and individual departmental objectives (as needed). Your outlined goals will dictate which outcomes to measure so you can determine if your strategic approach is working and adjust accordingly.

2. The Right Detail:

You’ll know exactly what your challenge is and will have an idea of what your goals and objectives should be, but it’s all wasted without paying close attention to every detail. Take the time to align your tactics with your strategic objectives. Clearly define your KPIs and what success looks like for your organization.

3. The Right Team:

Have the right people at the table. There is a multitude of tactics to choose from in digital marketing and your healthcare marketing team should be comprised of more than your internal team. With new technology, platforms and opportunities arising so frequently, an extension of your internal team will bring a fresh, outside perspective to challenge “We’ve always done it this way.” Break down silos in your organization and involve all critical internal stakeholders to create an integrated, cohesive strategy.

Start by holding a meeting with leadership from each department. Discuss their needs and how digital marketing can provide a solution to their challenges. Let the marketing experts take the lead, but use everyone’s input as a guide.

4. The Right Platforms:

Implementing the appropriate platforms is critical to achieving your desired outcomes. You’ll need a Content Management System (CMS) – such as WordPress – that will empower you to enhance your digital presence, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to keep your contacts organized in one place, and a robust marketing automation platform to streamline additional components of your healthcare marketing strategy like social media and email marketing campaigns.

Do your research or engage an outside, trusted consultant to guide you in choosing the platforms that align with your organization’s goals and objectives to, ultimately, attain your desired outcomes.  

5. The Right Execution

Organizations that are serious about digital marketing for brand building, lead generation, and target audience engagement are partnering with designers, developers and digital strategists who have the expertise to create beautiful, relevant web experiences that resonate with site visitors and the knowledge of the healthcare marketing landscape to drive the right people to your beautiful site.

If this is you, right on!

If this isn’t you, you’re not alone. You might be shocked to hear this (because we sure are!), but most organizations don’t have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy and are missing opportunities that could yield great results.

And the question of the day: Does your healthcare organization have a digital marketing strategy? A plan for execution? Let us know in the comments below or reach out if you want to talk about how we can work together to set you on the path to success in the wonderful world of digital marketing!

5 Ways Your Hospital Website Can Support Patient Engagement

 

hospital website marketing

Creating a website for your company is no easy feat. Every business has different goals, objectives, KPIs and definitions of success. If you sell a tangible product, success might mean contacting a sales rep for more information or requesting a demo.

But digital marketing for healthcare, especially hospitals, is a different game.

First, let’s chat about patient engagement. Twitter is flooded with #patientengagement and we’re relentlessly hearing “healthcare influencers” preach about the importance of it. (Remember what we warned you about with “influencers?”)

So, is patient engagement important? Of course!

Has it become a buzzword, lacking substance? An empty promise to patients? Absolutely!

Patients are increasingly becoming active participants in their health care plan. These “engaged patients” view healthcare as collaboration with their doctor, not a one-sided interaction. Think about it. Have you ever caught nasty flu-like symptoms from your co-worker and turned to them to ask, “did your cold start with a scratchy sore throat and runny nose”? When you’re dealing with something like the common cold, you’re more likely to do everything in your power to determine the right treatment plan yourself. Whether that includes finding the right OTC medicine or the right doctor to advice you on what to do beyond OTC options. Long story short: with all of the online tools at your disposal, you’re empowered to find out the answers yourself.

Eighteen percent of Internet users have gone online to find others who might have health concerns similar to theirs. People living with chronic and rare conditions are significantly more likely to do this. The surge of online searches for health information is true for any type of condition. With the abundance of health information online, patients are searching for information related to symptoms and conditions, asking more questions, and suggesting treatments to their doctor. In the US alone, 6 million Internet users search the web for health-related information – on a daily basis.

Secondly, patient engagement isn’t about encouraging patients to make positive decisions regarding their health, giving yourself a pat on the back, and calling it a day. As healthcare marketers, we should be continuously supplying patients the right tools to aid in making positive health decisions. One of the greatest tools at your disposal is your website.

Today, simply having a website is not enough. It’s important to be present for all stages of the patient journey. Researching a doctor and entrusting them with your health care holds more of an emotional weight than researching which Smart TV to buy.

Your website might be the very first impression a potential patient has of your hospital, healthcare practice, or healthcare system. So, it’s critical that your website is indicative of the quality care they will receive if they choose to make an appointment. You only have 10 seconds to leave an impression and tell your visitors what they’ll get out of your website and company. After this time (and oftentimes before), they’ll leave.

Here are some ways your hospital website can support the patient journey, make a positive first impression and leave a lasting impression:

 

  • Avoid medical jargon. Patients usually don’t speak about conditions with the same clinical terms a physician would use. Remember this, and make it simple for patients to understand your specialties and service lines.
  • Find A Doctor – Create, manage, and update a database of physicians so patients can search for the right one directly on your website. The ‘Find A Doctor’ feature lets site visitors research doctors’ specialties, areas of focus and choose the one that is right for them.
  • Online Appointments – Not everyone is able to call during the day to make an appointment, so having the option to either request an appointment or schedule an appointment online is extremely helpful. Without online appointment features, a potential patient might never get around to calling. Online appointment options help patients move one step closer to better managing their health.
  • Contact Information – Connect patients with the information they’re looking for. If site visitors would prefer calling to make an appointment, the contact information should be readily accessible for them to do so. They might have specific questions that aren’t addressed on your website. Answers to these questions are an important factor in making a decision and if a patient can’t get those answers, they might move on.
  • Appeal to the on-the-go, constantly connected patient. Your mobile experience has to be quick because, chances are, mobile users are looking at your site while waiting for the pasta to cook or during a timeout at their daughter’s soccer game. Hey! We’ve become a society of professional multi-taskers and marketers need to adapt to patient behavior online. Make content relevant and useful, but remember it needs to be quickly consumed.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “These are no-brainers.” But think about how (or even if) any of these are actually being practiced. With the oversight of emagine’s Technical Director, Christian Nolen, our development team has customized several WordPress plugins to make it easier for our healthcare clients’ websites to support patient engagement.

As always, I love hearing from our readers so please comment below if you have anything to add or if you think I left anything out!

5 Vital Signs Your Website Needs To Be Revived

It’s time for your yearly check up and we all know what’s coming next: avoidance. We get it! A trip to the doctor’s office takes time, effort, and pulls you away from your job and other responsibilities. But is it all worth it in the end? Yes. And a website redesign or digital marketing kickoff will be too. With our talented team of designers, digital marketing specialists, and technical pros, you don’t have to dread the project like you dread a visit to the doctor’s office.

Patients aren’t solely patients. They’re consumers too, and are engaging with other brands every day through digital experiences. Now, patients are expecting the same from healthcare providers. Pew Research Center’s national survey found that 72% of adult Internet users say they search online for healthcare information. However, 51% say healthcare providers’ websites could be more helpful. That means your website’s health is no longer something you can avoid putting off.

Here are 5 vital signs your website needs to be revived, before it’s too late!

  • Outdated design/architecture. Take a look at your website. Is it mostly lines of texts and boxes of content? If so, it’s time for a change. Reading online text isn’t like reading a book. Users scan headlines, click, and go. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they will click and go… somewhere else. Seventy-six percent of patients leverage hospital websites in their research process, according to Google’s study, The Digital Journey to Wellness: Hospital Selection.
  • Contact information is buried. Dig it up! Your website’s content should be user-focused. Understanding what site visitors are looking for and making it quick and easy for them to find will go a long way. For starters, ensure you have contact information on your site with several contact methods. Then, put it in a place where visitors can find it. (Hint: not hidden in the “About Us” section). You can add contact information to your social profiles/pages too!
  • Blog? Who’s that? Patients want to know you’re a leader in your space. Blog about overall health tips, how to stay healthy during flu season, or quick exercises for the working mom. They’re looking to you for direction, so take the time to show you care, want to help, and are an active partner. Start small and gain momentum!
  • Slow page load times. Tick tock, tick tock. Homepage, where are you? We’re all culprits of this one. If a website doesn’t load within a certain time limit, you better believe that person is moving on to the next. According to Kissmetrics, 47% of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40% of visitors will leave the site if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds. Try using the Google Chrome extension, Page Speed Test to track your load time.
  • Mobile STILL matters. Mobile accessibility is just as important for healthcare organizations as it is for consumer brands. Upwards of 50 percent of health related searches are performed via mobile as patients increasingly rely on their mobile device. Without being mobile-friendly, your site won’t be listed on mobile search engine results pages and served up to potential patients. According to the Google study, 44% of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device scheduled an appointment.

It’s 2015, and your website shouldn’t be stuck in 2010.

Just for reference, here’s what happened in 2010:

  • Prince William & Kate Middleton announced their engagement
  • Simon Cowell left American Idol
  • BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Apple launched its first iPad

We’ve come a long way since 2010, don’t you think your website should have too?

Digital Awesomeness Series: Sales & Marketing Collaboration. For Real.

marketing and sales teamsUp until now, it seems as though most companies (agencies included) separate the roles of sales and marketing. For the past few years, industry experts have been talking & writing about how the alignment of these two teams can drive growth and success. The discussion was largely theory and we didn’t see the realization of it. According to this study by Aberdeen on the collaboration between sales and marketing teams, “highly aligned organizations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth, while less well-aligned companies reported an average 7% decline in revenue.” Still, Forrester states, “just 8% of companies say they have tight alignment between sales and marketing.”

Why is this, you ask? Here are a few reasons:

  • It takes time to change one person’s mind, let alone an entire industry. Let’s face it: A lot of people still think the sales teams only make the calls and close deals while marketing teams only work to establish and sustain a position within the market. The reality is both teams do much more while contributing to growth & success.
  • Executives & decision makers want solid evidence that it’s going to work. Without it, they’re hesitant (and rightfully so) to implement this collaboration model and rid the organization of siloed marketing and sales departments.
  • There might not be a clear differentiation between sales and marketing responsibilities. Lines get blurred and they go back to operating in parallel.

How can B2B’s adapt to this change?

Well first take an example from us at emagine…the antiquated, siloed model has subsided and these two departments are truly collaborating to propel success for the company. We’ve seen an increased overlap in responsibilities. Each role, however, still has a function independent of the other. Here’s how we’ve worked to align the marketing and sales teams at emagine:

  1. Everyone get social. It’s no longer solely the responsibility of marketing to get emagine’s name out in the Twitterverse, learn more about industry trends & news, and share emagine’s extensive experience and knowledge with its follower base. Our sales team members are becoming increasingly entrenched in social media efforts for business purposes.
  2. Sales is reaching out to prospective clients on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean those contacts can’t hear from marketing too. From the first interaction, marketing can support the sales cycle with insightful, personalized, and relevant content such as webinars, white papers, and infographics.
  3. Deep understanding. Sales understands marketing and marketing understands sales. This is key. Without each team having the knowledge of how the other works, we would never be able to successfully work together. Taking it a step further, both teams understand that the expectation of consumers today demand them to work together.
  4. In addition to each team understanding how the other one works, marketing trusts the ability of sales and vice versa. There is constructive criticism and valid questions, but an overall respect and trust factor.
  5. Constant communication. Sales and marketing should be meeting weekly (at least) and communicating non-stop in the meantime. With the high possibility of overlap, it’s important to be aware of what the other is doing to avoid redundancy.

As technology changes and new opportunities arise, we’ll remain nimble enough to adjust. Now, I’d love to hear from you. Do you see alignment between the sales and marketing teams at your organization? How do you sustain it?

Digital Awesomeness Series: A Day In The The Life

a day in the lifeSo, I know you’re all wondering what I do all day. Just kidding, you’re busy enough with your own stuff. But here it comes anyway.

In all honesty, this post is really important. I think so, and you should too. As I mentioned in my last post, there are A LOT of misconceptions when it comes to salespeople. You most likely think I sit at my desk dialing phone number after phone number after phone number. I have a spreadsheet open, and I’m just hammering through those contacts, one after the other. I probably say the same thing to each person too.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but you’re wrong. Not one day is like the other. So, what does my day look like, you ask? I’ll try to give you my best description:

7:15-7:30am – Wake up, get prepped for the day. Check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and email for anything I missed while I was sleeping.

8:30am – Get to work. Research, research, research. This is arguably the most important part of the process. I’m looking at the top hospitals across the United States and finding the right person to reach out to. A smart man once told me, you could be calling 100 people but if one of those 100 isn’t the right person, it’s all for nothing.

9:30am – Get to it. Yes, I work through the list I’ve created. #ButFirst, let me take a look at the website. Have an idea of some top-level improvement/enhancements for the website. Pick up the damn phone and have a conversation.

No script. Yep, you heard me. I have a few notes jotted down and thoughts I want to be sure to get across.  The majority of the time, I’m getting a voicemail and it will sound something like: “Hey it’s Leah Crusan calling from emagine. We’re a leading digital marketing agency in the healthcare sector.  So I’ve taken a quick look at the website and I have some thoughts. I think we can make this a truly patient friendly experience. I’d love to share some of these thoughts with you so give me a quick call back when you get a chance.” I leave my contact information of course, remind them I’m Leah from emagine.  I might let them know I’ll follow up with an email, including some design concepts. I might specifically say what we can do on the homepage to avoid confusion and clutter. It all depends on the flow. There is no algorithm.  

9:45am – I’ve gotten my 5th voicemail. Like I said, the majority of the time I’m going to get voicemail. Leave a message! Immediately follow it up with an email. Heck, some people would rather respond to email and we can respect that J

9:46am – Repeat. Keep calling. Keep emailing.

12:30pm – Brain food. Research more contacts. You can never have enough.

1:15pm – Repeat. Keep calling. Keep emailing.

2:30pm – Connect with new contacts on LinkedIn.  Follow companies on LinkedIn. Follow companies and contacts on Twitter.

3:00pm – Follow up. Take this time to build relationships with my prospects. Make follow up calls. Send “Hey, just checking in” emails.

5:00pm – Continue building my list of contacts. This research and relationship building is crucial for success.

5:30pm – Finalize and fine tune proposals, website and online marketing analyses. Stay in touch with prospective clients.

I need to be following up with the people contacted but it’s equally important to to be reaching new contacts and breaking new ground. Sometimes I will get someone on the phone and I have a chance to say what we do, talk a little bit about their website and SEO needs they might have. Other days, I’m hitting voicemail after voicemail.  The best thing to remember is that tomorrow is a new day and new opportunities come with it, and today is just another day in the life! After all, the harder I work the luckier I get.

[New Series] Digital Awesomeness: How To Be The Anti-Salesperson Salesperson

Digital Awesomeness

Welcome to another new blog series! This series titled Digital Awesomeness will showcase one of our newest additions to the Business Development team, Leah Crusan, as she paves the way to becoming a successful salesperson in the digital world. Once a month Leah will stop by our blog to share any and all digital awesomeness she encounters along the way. With that said, here is today’s Digital Awesomeness…

4 weeks in. Zero sales experience. I’ll share the boring part first. I majored in advertising and public relations then went on to get my Master’s in public relations and corporate communications. Moving along…

I worked for 3 years in NYC as a digital strategist and not once did I ever, ever see myself as a salesperson. Let me re-emphasize ever. I viewed (as a lot of people do) salespeople as slimy, manipulative guys trying to get you to buy something you don’t necessarily need or want.  Now I know that this is a common misconception, although there’s always a few bad apples who ruin it for the rest of us.

4 weeks in and I am the anti-salesperson salesperson. I sell stuff but I do not consider myself a salesperson. I was hired because I’m not an experience salesperson. And gosh, have I learned a ton in such a short amount of time.

  1. Sales doesn’t have to be slimy. You can read article after article about how to be a better salesperson, and sure most of them have great recommendations, but I don’t think there is this big secret behind it. And if you’re convinced there is then fine, I will fill you in on the secret. There is no secret. There. You just have to care. I was hired because I can be REAL, have REAL conversations, and throw in some humor while I’m at it.
  2. Just believe. Easier said than done, right? I lucked out. I really love this stuff and actually believe in and care about what I’m selling. I know these prospects need: a better website, SEO research and an execution plan with ongoing optimization, social media consulting. That makes my job and the “sell” a lot easier.  They can hear in my voice that I really care about this stuff and makes them realize that hey, they should too!
  3. Pick up the damn phone. With all of the technological advances, it’s easy to hide behind a screen. There are multiple other ways I can reach a prospect. Email, Twitter, LinkedIn to name a few. These are all great supplemental channels to connect with prospects, but just pick up the damn phone. So rarely do we ever pick up the phone to hear a REAL person on the other end. This can be a refreshing break from the hundreds of emails clogging up your outlook.  A real conversation with a real person. Who would have thought? I’ve learned quickly that forcing myself to pick up the phone, although it can be a little bit of a mind game I play with myself, lets my personality show through which is something that can get lost in plain text.
  4. Have a conversation. When I was little, my grandmother would always tell me to “sit at the table and have a conversation.” Well thanks grandma, because now I tell myself “sit at your desk, twirl in you chair, and have a conversation.” I do not read off a script. I have a few notes jotted down and most of my calls cover the same points, sounding similar but I am not reading off of a script. I just go with it, let it flow.

So there you have it. My sales pitch for how to be the anti-salesperson salesperson.

Stay tuned for the next digital awesomeness I find!

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