5 Pointers for Out-of-Work Direct Marketers (or ones who just want to hedge their bets)

Note from Jim: Originally published in All About ROI Magazine (formerly Catalog Success) Filling my virtual shoes this week while I’m on vacation is Jerry Bernhart, president of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, and author of the Direct Marketing Employment Outlook Survey.

For those of you actively looking for employment, let me offer a few things you can do to help you get that extra edge. This may not all be new to you, but these key points are worth repeating.

1. Make sure your resume screams, “I can add value!” I still see way too many resumes that are long on titles and descriptions, but short on specific accomplishments and achievements. That always amazes me. Metrics are an integral part of the direct marketing process, yet many marketers’ resumes often neglect to include what really matters most — quantifiable results. If you don’t brag on your resume, no one else is going to do it for you.

Be very specific, quantify where possible and use some choice action verbs to describe what you achieved. Companies have already taken steps to slash costs, so think more about what you’ve done to contribute to revenue growth, such as acquiring and keeping new customers; new products; new market segments; how you’ve helped improve recency, frequency and monetary value; and so on. Don’t forget to make your resume keyword-friendly. Use terms that are specific to your job or career objectives, and use them often. Continue reading

We’re on a mission to create the best direct marketing education forum on Linkedin

3 weeks, 540 members strong. Join us: http://www.linkedin.com/e/vgh/2080726/ We have members from all area’s of direct marketing ready to share their expertise with you.  We also have international members.

Want to know more about search, blogs, direct mail, telemarketing, lists, social media, and all direct marketing disciplines, then join us.

If you are an expert in direct marketing, please join us too.  And our members are using this group as a great networking tool!

Thanks, we look forward to seeing you there. http://www.linkedin.com/e/vgh/2080726/

Jim Gilbert

Blogging, it’s a give to get thing

Blogging has been a super powerful tool for me as part of my overall networking strategy. I do plenty of in person networking (as a board member of FDMA). But I much prefer the new fangled way. So here, take these steps. And Shhh, don’t tell anybody about this, ok?

1. Link your blog to your Linkedin (LI) profile page (very easy to do with WordPress)

2. Join as many Linkedin groups as you can (50 is max). Try to join groups that compliment your skills. For instance: I am a direct marketing consultant. I belong to many direct marketing groups. But, graphic designers can also recommend my services, so i belong to a graphic design group. Get the picture?

3. Use the LI “news” feature in groups to add your blog posts as news.

4. Use the discussions to add value to groups you belong to and always add your blog’s url.

5. When I started my blog, I used the Q&A function of (LI) to ask people to check out my blog and tell me what they thing.

6. Also in LI Q&A, answer questions that you have a good feel for (and always add your blog URL.

7. Back to your LI profile page. you have 3 links you can add. I have my blog, my Twitter feed and my Magazine column with links. 8. Regarding blog content, I write and post articles that add value to my intended audience. (people who could use my direct marketing agency/consulting services). Don’t post garbage or fluff.

8A. Make sure your blog has RSS and it is in a prominent position on all pages. People will subscribe your your blog.

9. Tweet your articles when you post them. use the Status feature of LI to update people on your articles.

9A. Send your posts out to your facebook connections. And join facebook groups and push out there too.

10. I also am a member of Plaxo (good for pushing articles to your connections), Biznik (can post articles there too, but without links back to your blog which pisses me off to no end)

11. Lastly, and someone else can address this. Use feeds to get your blog out there like Technorati, Delicious, etc.

Wow, I gave away the farm here. Final thought. Blogging and promoting your blog is a “give-to-get” thing. The more you give away your expertise, the more you get back.

How to Build a Personal and Business Following on Twitter

If you’re not already familiar with it, Twitter is an interesting microblogging application that allows you to send small messages — called “tweets” — to people’s cell phones and Twitter homepages. These messages are limited to 140 characters, the maximum length of an SMS text message. 


I’ve been using Twitter for a short time now and have built up more than 100 followers. Many followers subscribe to my Twitter feed unsolicited. 

Here are some basic Twitter tips for either building a personal following or marketing your business: 

Build a personal following:

1. Speak in your own voice. Add in your own personality and flavor. Offer insights, but keep them relevant and topical. 

2. Tweet articles of interest. I do a lot of writing, so I’m always tweeting links to my articles. If you or your company has a blog, by all means post links to it. 

3. If you see an article that you think will be useful to your followers, post that, too. Many people post random thoughts. I’m not a fan of this. Keep it on topic and true to your mission. 

4. Forward other peoples’ tweets — also known as retweeting. If you receive a tweet that warrants forwarding, do it. Add “RT” (for retweet) before the text. 

5. Add your Twitter URL (mine is http://www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect) to your e-mail signature. This will remind people to look there for updates from you. 

6. If you use LinkedIn, use its Blog Link application. This enables you to connect your LinkedIn account with your Twitter feed. Another social networking site, Plaxo, also enables you to connect with your Twitter feed. 

Market your business:

1. Call out and provide specials to your customers. Make sure these are real-time specials or offers. However, try to not be too pushy. Fit the offers and specials into the context of your customer conversation, and don’t overpromote. 

2. Link to your blog. Same concept as personal tweeting above. Stay on topic. 

3. Tweet news and information about your company and products. New products, company news, press releases, corporate milestones, testimonials and “meet-the-employee” articles are great examples of things to tweet. Anything you think will get people both familiar and, more importantly,emotionally involved with your brand. 

4. Ask questions. Twitter, like any social network, is all about conversation. Make sure you have someone who can spend time working with your followers to answer their questions. Engage your followers to provide information about how to make your company even better. And, harnessed correctly, Twitter can be an exceptional customer service tool as well. 

5. Encourage your employees to create Twitter accounts as well. This will create more than one voice for your company. Have them add their Twitter addresses to their e-mail signatures. 

6. Add Twitter badges to your Web site. This enables customers and prospects to easily follow in on the fun.

5 Tips for Using LinkedIn as a Business Tool

In addition to being an exceptional tool for personal business networking, LinkedIn is also a great place to market your business. Here are five tips to help your business network grow through LinkedIn: 

1. Use the Q&A function. The Q&A function of LinkedIn is a powerful revenue-generating tool. Try using the advanced answers search to find questions specific to your company’s expertise. Don’t pitch your company’s products or services here, just give the best — or most altruistic — answer you can. The Q&A is definitely a give-to-get medium: Give freely and you’ll get back in spades. 

2. Become an expert. When a question is asked on LinkedIn, it remains open for answers for seven days. After the question closes, the asker can rate the best answer to that question. The best answerers for a given question are awarded expert status on LinkedIn. From that point on, whenever an expert answers a question, that expert gets an expert badge. People’s expert status follows them around wherever they go on the site. Since you’re representing your company, this creates expertise for it as well. 

3. Join groups. You can join as many as 50 LinkedIn groups. When you join, introduce yourself and your services. Much like Q&A, this is a give-to-get medium. 

4. Start a group. Starting a group is super easy — just a couple of clicks and you’re done. Start a group around your company’s core competencies. For example, if you’re a printer, set up a group for people to ask questions about printing. If you’re a search engine marketing company, set up a SEM for beginners group. 

5. Promote your blog. Many of you already have corporate blogs and have produced whitepapers and corporate presentations. Promote your blog in the news section of the groups you belong to. Promote whitepapers and presentations in the groups as well via the discussion function. This adds value and enhances your image. 

People always tell me they see me all over LinkedIn. I try to gain as much notoriety as possible within the LinkedIn Q&A and group functions. As a consultant, this has brought me new customers. It takes some attention and time, but when done right, it can be a wonderful source of leads and business

Jim Gilbert and the Florida Direct Marketing Association are pleased to announce…


January 15th FDMA Meeting Info

From: The Florida Direct Marketing Association | December 31, 2008

The FDMA is pleased to announce its January 15th event:

Business Networking in the 21st Century

Come join us for lunch January 15th for an informative session on how to build your personal brand using web 2.0 online techniques with Jim Gilbert, CEO of Gilbert Direct Marketing. In a world where the average  tenure in a position is just over 2 years, it’s been said that building your personal rolodex is just as important to your career as excelling at your job. During this must-attend luncheon, you will learn how to use Linkedin and other networking sites to your fullest advantage.
Location: Westin Hotel Fort Lauderdale (I-95 & Cypress Creek exit)

Time: 11:30am – 1:30pm (Networking and Registration from 11:30am – 12:00 pm)

Members $37, Non-Members $47. Admission includes plated lunch.

For additional details clink on “Register” below to read what specific take-away strategies you will learn. 

Click here to register

Read more at The Florida Direct Marketing Association http://www.fdma.org

Why you must always be networking – and Linkedin is the key (part 3)

So you want to be a power networker? In this economy, you need to cultivate as many positive connections as you can. 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve discussed the networking site LinkedIn and how it can be an enormous benefit in helping you expand your sphere of influence. 

This week, in the last of this series (for part 1, click here, and for part 2, click here), I detail how you can use your LinkedIn homepage to its fullest advantage; think of it as a résumé on steroids. 

First, let me start by saying that your homepage is infinitely searchable, both by LinkedIn’s internal search engine (which has recently been upgraded to “super” strength) and the major search engines. Make sure all of your relevant previous positions, titles and duties/job descriptions are visible on your homepage if searched. Your “summary” also should contain searchable keywords. Same goes for your “interests” and education. 

Next, add some Web site links to your homepage. You can link up to three outside Web sites. My homepage has links to my Web site and my personal blog. Don’t just accept the default titles for the headings, either. You can add specifics. For example, instead of using the default title, “my blog,” I’ve listed, “Gilbert Direct Marketing Blog,” an easy tweak from the “edit my profile” tab.

While on the subject of blogs, LinkedIn has added some great new features in the past few months. One gives you the ability to have a WordPress blog link directly to your homepage. Other new applications include:

  • the ability to add and share files within your network;
  • a tool to upload presentations to further promote your work (portfolio, whitepapers, etc.);
  • Amazon.com reading lists to recommend books to your network; and
  • the opportunity to let your network know your travel plans and meet up with people in the area at the same time via TripIt.com.

I’m having a great deal of fun and success using the WordPress blog application. In less than a month, I’ve had 2,000 hits on my blog thanks to LinkedIn. The blog took me minutes to set up and about 30 seconds to add to my LinkedIn homepage. Of course, you need some content; mine is specific to direct marketing. 

From there, I started using the “questions” feature to ask for help promoting the blog. Many people visited the blog, left comments and offered great suggestions. I did the same thing in the groups I belong to. Now every time I add a new article, it automatically appears on LinkedIn. Also, when I publish a new article (about twice a week), I post a link to the “news” section for my groups. (FYI, my blog address is https://gilbertdirectmarketing.wordpress.com/; don’t forget to leave a comment.)

Lastly, underneath the search bar on the top right of each page is a “search for references” link. This is a great tool to use to get background info on people you work with. Want to know the real scoop about someone you’re about to hire or the new boss that just hired you? Use that tool, and make some discreet inquiries.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at jimdirect@aol.com.

Make sure you check out my column next week, when I’ll provide coverage for Catalog Success of this week’s NCDM conference in Orlando, Fla.

Why you must always be networking – and Linkedin is the key (part 2)

If you aren’t in full networking mode in this economy, let this week’s column be a call to action for you.

(For more about why, see last week’s column.)

These days, I’m always networking. I’m on MySpace and Facebook, and have just started to play around with Twitter and other less known networking sites.  Even Plaxo has gotten into the social and business networking game.

But I find LinkedIn to be the best networking tool to use by far. Most LinkedIn users already know how to link to other people in and out of their networks. I wrote about the beginner stuff about a year ago.

That said, there are LinkedIn users and then there are LinkedIn players.

Let’s talk more about how to go from being merely listed on LinkedIn to being a networking “player,” which has helped me get job inquiries, plus writing and consulting gigs.

Follow these steps to help grow your career:

1. Update your profile often. Every time you update your profile, that info gets sent to your connections. Also, update your “status” often, as this gets transmitted as well. You always want to be visible to other people in your network. Updates keep you in front of them.

2. Ask questions. Use the question function of LinkedIn, because it’s a great tool to get your name in front of other LinkedIn users. Some quick tips: Always try to ask thoughtful and relevant questions. Ask questions that’ll generate a lot of response, and give plenty of background info for why you’re asking the questions. When people respond to your questions, always send thank-you e-mails to them.

And, if appropriate, you may want to send them connection requests. When your questions close, go back and use the site’s rating system to pick the best answers. When you “best” people, they earn expertise. That shows up on their profiles and adds credibility, too.

3. Answer questions. Same as above. You can earn expert status, and your answers help other LinkedIn users solve their problems. And don’t forget to add a URL to your answer to help support your position.

4. Join groups. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. Once you join a group, announce to it who you are; what you do; and provide a link to your profile, blog or Web site. You also can post and answer discussions within groups. Get involved, and watch your network and sphere of influence grow.

Stay tuned for part 3 next week, where I’ll provide some cool power-user tips. I’ll also reveal how to build a “super-profile.”

Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can post a comment here or e-mail him at jimdirect@aol.com.