Sunday, April 25, 2010

Social Media and Relationships

Making Friends - Marketing CartoonImage by HubSpot via Flickr

Are you tapping into the Social Media market?  Are you having success?  Or are you still wondering how to make social media work for you.

Building relationships online is not to much different from building an in person, face to face relationship.  Here are a few tips that I think will go along way to foster and build good long lasting mutual benefiting online relationship.

-  Think about meeting someone in person.  You are either introduced or you introduce yourself.  Meeting someone online should not be any different.  So why do people not add a message on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,etc. to introduce themselves when requesting to connect and/or be your friend?  Unless it is totally obvious* a brief message only takes a few seconds and gets the relationship off on the right foot.  (*Just because you and someone else have 42 mutual friends does not mean a person wants to add you to their network.)

-  So someone accepts your friend request, what do you do?  Do you say thank you?  It would be a nice gesture and it starts to engage your new acquaintance.   By doing this, you are extending your hand in friendship.  To me this is equal to the in person handshake.  

- Ever heard the term, 'to have a friend, you have to be a friend.'  Friends help each other.  Offer your new acquaintance something of value.  Do a little research to find out their interests.  Share some information, link, article, etc. that relates to their interest. This furthers engages your new acquaintance.

-  Show you care.  Make positive comments regarding their posts.  Visit their website (if they have one) and/or their blog.  Sign their guest book.  Comment on their latest blog.  This shows that you really care and are interested in them.

-  Keep in touch.  One of the features that I like on Facebook is the one that shows me a  friend's page that hasn't posted in a while.  It's a good opportunity to  drop by their page to say hello, check in, make sure that everything is OK in their world.

These are just a few things that can be done to build online relationships.  I believe using old fashion manners, i.e. 'nice to meet you, please, and thank you,' etc. will go a long way in building long lasting mutual benefiting online relationships.

Please share with us what other things you have found that have helped you to build relationships online?

Here are my links:

LinkedIn -


Twitter -

Send me a note, please, when you send your request. ;)

In appreciation,
Painted Lady Enterprises
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good'



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Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Daffodil Principle

My good friend, Linda Miller, shared this story with me recently.  I had never read it before.  I thought it was so profound that I wanted to share it.


The Daffodil Principle
~ by: Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come and see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. Going and coming took most of a day--and I honestly did not have a free day until the following week.

"I will come next Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove the length of Route 91, continued on I-215, and finally turned onto Route 18 and began to drive up the mountain highway. The tops of the mountains were sheathed in clouds, and I had gone only a few miles when the road was completely covered with a wet, gray blanket of fog. I slowed to a crawl, my heart pounding. The road becomes narrow and winding toward the top of the mountain. As I executed the hazardous turns at a snail's pace, I was praying to reach the turnoff at Blue Jay that would signify I had arrived. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these darling children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly," We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears--and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car. The mechanic just called, and they've finished repairing the engine," she answered.

"How far will we have to drive?" I asked cautiously.

"Just a few blocks," Carolyn said cheerfully.

So we buckled up the children and went out to my car. "I'll drive," Carolyn offered. "I'm used to this." We got into the car, and she began driving.

In a few minutes I was aware that we were back on the Rim-of-the-World Road heading over the top of the mountain. "Where are we going?" I exclaimed, distressed to be back on the mountain road in the fog. "This isn't the way to the garage!"

"We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, trying to sound as if I was still the mother and in charge of the situation, "please turn around. There is nothing in the world that I want to see enough to drive on this road in this weather."

"It's all right, Mother," She replied with a knowing grin. "I know what I'm doing. I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

And so my sweet, darling daughter who had never given me a minute of difficulty in her whole life was suddenly in charge -- and she was kidnapping me! I couldn't believe it. Like it or not, I was on the way to see some ridiculous daffodils -- driving through the thick, gray silence of the mist-wrapped mountaintop at what I thought was risk to life and limb.

I muttered all the way. After about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road that branched down into an oak-filled hollow on the side of the mountain. The Fog had lifted a little, but the sky was lowering, gray and heavy with clouds.

We parked in a small parking lot adjoining a little stone church. From our vantage point at the top of the mountain we could see beyond us, in the mist, the crests of the San Bernardino range like the dark, humped backs of a herd of elephants. Far below us the fog-shrouded valleys, hills, and flatlands stretched away to the desert.

On the far side of the church I saw a pine-needle-covered path, with towering evergreens and manzanita bushes and an inconspicuous, lettered sign "Daffodil Garden."

We each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path as it wound through the trees. The mountain sloped away from the side of the path in irregular dips, folds, and valleys, like a deeply creased skirt.

Live oaks, mountain laurel, shrubs, and bushes clustered in the folds, and in the gray, drizzling air, the green foliage looked dark and monochromatic. I shivered.

Then we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight, unexpectedly and completely splendid. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes where it had run into every crevice and over every rise. Even in the mist-filled air, the mountainside was radiant, clothed in massive drifts and waterfalls of daffodils. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow.

Each different-colored variety (I learned later that there were more than thirty-five varieties of daffodils in the vast display) was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

In the center of this incredible and dazzling display of gold, a great cascade of purple grape hyacinth flowed down like a waterfall of blossoms framed in its own rock-lined basin, weaving through the brilliant daffodils.

A charming path wound throughout the garden. There were several resting stations, paved with stone and furnished with Victorian wooden benches and great tubs of coral and carmine tulips. As though this were not magnificence enough, Mother Nature had to add her own grace note -- above the daffodils, a bevy of western bluebirds flitted and darted, flashing their brilliance. These charming little birds are the color of sapphires with breasts of magenta red. As they dance in the air, their colors are truly like jewels above the blowing, glowing daffodils. The effect was spectacular.

It did not matter that the sun was not shining. The brilliance of the daffodils was like the glow of the brightest sunlit day. Words, wonderful as they are, simply cannot describe the incredible beauty of that flower-bedecked mountain top.

Five acres of flowers! (This too I discovered later when some of my questions were answered.) "But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn. I was overflowing with gratitude that she brought me -- even against my will. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"Who?" I asked again, almost speechless with wonder, "And how, and why, and when?"

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house, my mind buzzing with questions. On the patio we saw a poster. " Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman, two hands, two feet, and very little brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

There it was. The Daffodil Principle.

For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun -- one bulb at a time -- to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. One bulb at a time.

There was no other way to do it. One bulb at a time. No shortcuts -- simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded.

Loving an achievement that grew so slowly and that bloomed for only three weeks of each year. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world.

This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principle of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time -- often just one baby-step at a time -- learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"Carolyn," I said that morning on the top of the mountain as we left the haven of daffodils, our minds and hearts still bathed and bemused by the splendors we had seen, "it's as though that remarkable woman has needle-pointed the earth! Decorated it. Just think of it, she planted every single bulb for more than thirty years. One bulb at a time! And that's the only way this garden could be created. Every individual bulb had to be planted. There was no way of short-circuiting that process. Five acres of blooms. That magnificent cascade of hyacinth!

All, all, just one bulb at a time."

The thought of it filled my mind. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the implications of what I had seen. "It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!" My wise daughter put the car into gear and summed up the message of the day in her direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said with the same knowing smile she had worn for most of the morning. Oh, profound wisdom!

It is pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use tomorrow?"

In appreciation,
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Customer Loyalty

April is International Customer Loyalty Month – What better time to send customers a Thank You card for their continued business?

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. It is five times harder to get a new client and it cost six to seven times more money, than it does to keep an existing client. Statistics say that if a business retains only 5% of their customer base, it can increase their business by 50%.

68% of all customers are lost due to perceived indifference! A customer who feels appreciated will not go elsewhere when the competition comes calling.  Repeat customers spend 67 percent more. They are your referral engine After 10 purchases, a customer has already referred up to 7 people.

Customer service = Good
Customer Loyalty = Great!

Only 3% of the postal mail is personal. Imagine going to your mailbox and there amongst the bills and junk mail is an unexpected greeting card and you open it and it’s from someone you know and the person is saying thanks, or congratulations, or you made a difference to me. Someone thought about you and followed through and sent a card.  It feels good.

Electronic mail comes and goes but hardcopy thank you notes last.  66 % of consumers surveyed indicated that business greeting cards sent to show appreciation for a purchase or a referral makes them more likely to do future business with that company.

"Even though business thank you cards offer a tangible way for companies to demonstrate customer appreciation, only 44 % of the consumers surveyed received a thank you greeting card from companies with which they do business," said Marc Wagenheim, product marketing director for Hallmark Business Expressions.

Greeting Card campaigns can be used for customer retention which will increase loyalty and referrals.
A campaign is a simple, easy way to set up a series of cards to go out to a client at different pre-set intervals. Just set it up once and forget it. If the campaign is only 4 to 5 cards, the cost per customer would be about $5 per year. So it is a very inexpensive way to keep a company’s name in the fore front of their customers mind.

Example Card Campaign for Insurance Agent –

Card #1 – Thank You card sent to a New Customer
Card #2 – Follow up card mentioning other services – (if you sold them car insurance, then ask about Home Owners. Or vice versus. Or Life Insurance
Card #3 - Who do you know?  Ask for referrals
Card #4 – Birthday Card
Card #5 – Yearly Anniversary - Reminder to call for review of current Policy

Example Card Campaign for Travel Agent –

Card #1 – Thank you for booking your trip
Card #2 – Bon Voyage - Sent to be received right before the client leaves on Vacation
Card #3 – Welcome Home - To be received when the client returns from Vacation. Asking for feedback.
Card #4 – 6 months later. Time to plan for next your next Vacation
Card #5 - Birthday and Anniversary cards

Example Card Campaign for Veterinarian -

Card #1 - New Client - Congratulations on your new pet and/or Thank You for your business
Card #2 - Reminder of Follow up wellness visit
Card #3 - Birthday Card
Card #4 - Send card for National Pet Month which is April
Card #5 - Follow up card mentioning other services, i.e. grooming, dental, etc. and/or ask for referrals

Tip – When sending a card, make the card about the customer and not just getting business. Send to give not to get.

Other possibilities for sending cards throughout the year are Non-Traditional Holidays.  By sending a card other than or in addition to the end of the year holidays, sets a company apart.  People tend to get so many cards that time of year, they all become a blur.

Examples of other holidays and Non-traditional Holidays -

o Ground Hog Day
o Procrastination Day
o St. Patrick’s Day
o April fool’s Day
o Easter
o 4th of July
o Labor Day
o Halloween – (Finances and taxes can be scary) (Credit Cards can be scary)  (The 'Scary' aspect can be used for almost any business).

In my previous blog was a list of websites for major holidays and non-traditional holidays:

And of course sending cards for the following is always a good idea:

- Birthday cards
- Anniversary cards –
       - On the anniversary the client made a purchase, i.e. purchase of home
       - On their traditional anniversary
       - The anniversary of a company being in business. Send a TY for their continued business/loyalty

- Congratulations – Send a card for the new job, promotion, accomplishment, marriage, new baby

With April being International Customer Loyalty Month, what better time to send customers a Thank You card for their continued business?

To keep relationships strong, companies need to regularly remind clients that they are important to them. They also need to remind them who they are, what they do, what services they offer, and why they are their best choice for their product or service. Busy people tend to choose the fastest solution to a problem. By keeping in touch with greeting cards, a company makes themselves stand apart from the rest of the crowd and their clients are more apt to call them the next time they need their product or service.

Tradition says greeting cards are personal. Greeting cards have a traditional feeling of warmth and sincerity; our culture maintains that greeting cards are personal and are sent from someone with whom there is a relationship. In a world of impersonal form letters and mass email, memorable greeting cards are a refreshing marketing tool that will add a personal and memorable touch to the interaction with clients. By incorporating greeting cards into a retention strategy, the message is being sent to the client that an important relationship exists.

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”
                                                                                 - Marian Wright-Edelman

I invite you to check out a simple and easy way to send greeting cards directly from your computer with just a few mouse clicks.  Pick a card, personalize it and our company will print, stuff, stamp, and mail your cards for you.  You can set up campaigns with several cards, as mentioned above, to go out at pre-set intervals. Act now and be entered in a drawing for the book 'Appreciation Marketing.'  Log onto and register for a gift account today.  Be sure and state that you read about this offer on my blog and I will send you the link to send two complimentary greeting cards and register you for the drawing for 'Appreciation Marketing.'

In appreciation,
Painted Lady Enterprises
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"
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Friday, April 2, 2010

Refresh, Renew, Refocus, and Re-evaluate

It’s Spring time!  Finally!  Green is sprouting from the earth, bushes, and trees.  Beautiful blooms are popping forth.  Time to Refresh, Renew, Refocus, and Re-evaluate.  I saw a post on one of the social media sites that asked the question, ‘It’s the end of the first quarter, what have you accomplished?’   Hmmm….how many of your New Year’s resolutions have already gone by the wayside?  What about those goals you set at the first of the year?  

No worries.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Take a deep breath and get out your list.  Do some accessing and refocus.   Sometimes we get over zealous when making our goals for the New Year.  Sometimes life happens and throws us a curve ball.  Instead of just throwing the list away, now is a good time to take another look and re-evaluate our priorities.

Here are some tips to get back on track.

·         Self Renew - Self-renewing people seem to get a lot done, and still not act harried or talk irrationally.
·         Pace yourself - There are only so many hours in a day to accomplish things, so focus on the main thing.  Don’t burn the candle at both ends.  Don't sweat the small stuff.
·         Keeping the first things first – Be value-driven, and determine what is important.   
·         Single Task – Give your undivided attention to the priorities first.  Trying to multi-task takes the focus off what is truly important.
·         Get support – Focus on what you do best and delegate or hire someone else to do the rest.  Re-evaluate and cull out those tasks that are no longer helping you reach your goals.  Remember the definition of insanity, ‘Doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.’
·         Seek advice – Find the expertise from those who are successful in your field and find out what works for them.  Good networking opportunity.
·         Pause – Take some time away from it all.  The time could be to think about what are your priorities, to reflect on all for which you have to be grateful.   Sometimes we are so busy that we get side tracked from what our real priorities are/were.  Pausing is important, and if you need a weekly reminder, sign up at for Pat Katz’s pause e-zine. We are all just one heart attack away from a disaster, so let’s learn to refresh and renew .
·         Find time to be playful and creative – We all know the saying, ‘All work and no play…..’   Stepping away from it all can often times provide that renewal we need to get back on track with our goals again.  Often times it can also bring forth new fresh ideas.
·         Keep in touch – Take time to spend quality time with family and friends.  This time can also provide a new and perhaps a different perspective on our priorities.  We certainly don’t want to get a call one day and then beat ourselves up because we didn’t take the time to go have lunch with an old acquaintance. 

"Common sense is uncommon practice.” Many of these tips are not new.  We all need a reminder.  Sometimes when we stop to reflect we realize that we are not as off track as we thought we were.  Refocusing can get us excited again so we can make those small steps towards those big goals that initially looked so huge.  How do you eat an elephant? – One small bite at a time!

For April’s Holidays and Celebrations, check out these websites.  

Holiday Insights

Brownie Locks
Web Holidays
Earth Calendar
Wellcat - Quirky Holidays

Celebrate the lives of those you love Everyday! Show them you care. Send them a
H.U. G. - A Heartfelt Greeting.

Also check out the Fan Page on Facebook ‘We Have a Card for That.’

In gratitude,
“Helping You and Your Business Look Good”

*The inspiration for this blog came from who is a catalyst for courageous conversations and intentional life design.

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