We are fortunate to live in Austin, Texas for many reasons, but recently RISE week topped our list. RISE is a non-profit program dedicated to inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs. The cornerstone of RISE is an annual week-long “un-conference” in which seasoned entrepreneurs and experts volunteer host small-group sessions on any topic of their choice, at any location of their choice, throughout the city. Lucky Austinites and visitors choose the topics they would like to learn about and the people they would like to meet — and simply attend!
We learned far too much to post all at once, so look forward to more details in the future (email us if you just can’t wait!). For now, here are some key takeaways that you can use to grow and improve your business.
Session One: “All You Ever Wanted to Know About Networking- But Were Afraid to Ask”
Kim Brushaber of Bridge ATX and Nicole Torres Cook of Schmooze Networking gave a fantastic, rapid-fire, no-fear-allowed session on how to network. According to these ladies (who know their stuff!), it is best to do some strategic thinking before you get out there. Once you know yourself and your goals, your confidence and your business will soar.
1- Craft your 30-second pitch. How do you add value?
a. What information you’d like to find out from others
b. Target companies, people, or partners
3- Research networking groups that are in your target market and will have connections to the people that you want to meet
4- Go prepared and confident- business cards, pen to take notes about your contacts, and so on.
5- Don’t forget to follow up and keep your promises!
Session Two: Ranking Well With Google: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Host Thomas Umstattd got down into the grit of Google, but overall he emphasized simplicity. When writing for your website, have content that people want to read, make it easy to find, and be consistent.
1-Know who you are, how you want to be known, and who you want to know it
2-Be remarkable! Have an opinion, show your expertise, get creative. Our favorite quote from Thomas: “fear makes us boring.”
3-Help Google help people find you:
a. Blog blog blog!
b. Optimize content by being clear in everything from headings to hyperlinks
4-Measure your efforts with:
a.Google Webmaster tools, Analytics, and Adwords
More on SEO in the future. For now, a little public relations!
Session Three: PR Secrets, What’s in your press kit?
Anne Lasseigne Tiedt and Laura Bond Williams of Momentum PR were kind enough to host two sessions on public relations. Bottom line- make the journalist’s job easier! Tell them why your information is news (hint: “change is news”).
Public relations and talking to the media can seem like a daunting task. It is just the fear of the unknown! Here are a few steps you can take to start learning and have the right approach:
1-Know who you want to reach
2-Build relationships with reporters and bloggers
3-Look at editorial calendars to see where your information will fit with their schedule
4-Be straightforward: simply ask for what you want
5-Use Help a Reporter Out, www.compete.com, and Pitch Engine to help you find leads and construct pitches
Session Four: Pink is NOT a Strategy! Marketing to Women
Fact: Women make 85% of consumer purchases and are in charge of 83% of the purchases made with overall household income.
Given this purchasing power, it is wise to consider women in your marketing strategy! Lisa Copeland from the Fiat of Austin at the Domain gave a few ideas for business owners to communicate more effectively with women.
2- Give women experiences, rather than just transactions. Can your business provide an event she would love to attend or bring her friends to?
3- Women often need more time to process information. Don’t push the sale on them, it will likely backfire! Give them time and help them make the decision by showing understanding.
If you missed the RISE Conference this year, check out www.riseglobal.org/austin and mark your calendars NOW for next year! In the meantime, be on the lookout for more tips and tricks from Upbeat Marketing over the coming weeks.