Going Back To A Paper Business Planner, Sorta | Erin Condren Life Planner

I am going back to a paper business planner…sorta!! I had to do it even though it doesn’t make any sense to my digital husband who can put everything into his computer and have it be an actual thing.

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Getting Personal

Going Back To A Paper Business Planner - Erin CondrenFor me the computer does work, up to a point. I can put in all my interviews and coaching clients so my assistant doesn’t double book me. I can put when I am traveling in, when the kids are off school and note when people are coming into town. I can add the fact that I had a mastermind meeting with my buddy Kir, but then what?

How do I make a little smiley face to show that getting an email from someone I want to work with made my day? If I note that we are doing Christmas decorating for Family Fun Night, will I REALLY flip back through my digital calendar to see that in a couple of months or next year? I can tell you in all the time I have had my digital calendar (probably about two and half years now) I have NEVER gone back to see what happened when. It is too cold and sterile.

More of A Journal and Atta Girl Working Book

Because I am so visual, I struggle a little bit with the computer. I did make it pretty colored to help break up the monotony, but still not glorious…sigh.

With a paper journal I can add stickers and highlighters and color code things. I can make little notes to the side and remember when cool things happened. As you can see in the video, this is not so much a “what to do” calendar but more a “what I did”, “who I met with” and “great things that happened” record of what went on.

The other thing that this accomplishes is that I can see the fruits of my labor. When I make a video I can note how many views it gets if it a runaway hit. I can see if this blog post strikes a note and do more like this or if a social media post gets a lot of likes. Yesterday a pretty big podcaster liked me on Instagram and Twitter. I totally want to make sure to share some of his stuff today…not a digital planner event, more a strategic nice thing to put in my planner and mark with orange!

Keeping It All Together

Another way that having a digital calendar failed me was that there was no way to keep paper things together. I really did have sticky notes all over the place and my “working” documents shoved under my monitor and beside my desk. Now I have my client work bits all snug in the front of my planner and can whip them out whenever I need them (and ignore them when I am working on my “stuff”!)

Having A Personal Life

If you are an entrepreneur like I am, you probably understand why I have to schedule a personal life. Given a chance, I would be working everyday on my business, nose down and ignoring my family. Just this year this stopped working for me. Up until then I had been half of a DINK (Dual Income No Kids). My husband knew that I was going to work 60-80 hours a week and that made me happy and kept me out of his hair.

Then we adopted 3 kids. They do not find watching me work fun (imagine that!) So now I have to make sure that I have more of a balance in my life and that I am rewarding them and myself by doing things together.

It seems weird to think that spending time with my kids should be scheduled, don’t most parents do that naturally? Maybe so, but I don’t. I want to make sure that I am spending time with each of them in the way that they like (some like games, some like watching crime shows, some like Starbucks, heck they all like Starbucks!)

With that in mind I got special stickers that I can use every time I do something fun with one or the other of them. It gives me an added incentive to put work down and play because they are really cute stickers!

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The link in this post is a “refer a friend” link…I will not receive monetary compensation but will get a $10 credit just like you!. All opinions are my own.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

Twitter Marketing – How To Do Competitive Analysis (Spy On Your Competition)

Twitter Marketing - How To Do Competitive Marketing Analysis

I had an epiphany last week that I truly don’t know who my competition is. Then I started to think about why that is and overall I came to the conclusion that it is because it varies depending on the marketing platform. In years past your competition was the guy down the street who does the same thing that you do. Today, competition comes from across the globe and on multiple marketing channels.

With that in mind I am trying to figure out who my competition is across the interwebs and I am dragging you along for the ride!!!

See last week’s post about finding your competition on Facebook

Competitive Analysis For Twitter Marketing

Let’s start with why you would want to know who is your competition on Twitter. Some really basic reasons come to mind including:

1. So you can target their followers with paid marketing
2. So you can see what they are posting and try to emulate that
3. To make sure you are keeping abreast of what is going in social media for your industry

Notes about Twitter…

Figuring out my competition on Facebook was much easier than on Twitter. For Facebook I primarily have my profile (person) and my business page (marketing artfully). On Twitter I have found that having one “main” account (taradactyl) is fine, but having little niche accounts actually makes more sense for growing a targeted, rabid following. For example, my EbookNerds and TweetingHomes grow much faster because they have a targeted focus (self publishing and real estate).

So for the purposes of this post, I am going to try and figure out who my competition is for Real Estate Marketing (tweetinghomes) on Twitter.

Twitter Advanced Search

The easiest way to start is to do a simple search in the Twitter search bar for your industry. After you do that you can check out the competition and find out more even more by following the hashtags (like #realestate #marketing).

The Twitter advanced search tool allows you to search a number of different criteria including keywords, hashtags and even within a defined geographic criteria.

The Devils You Know

So in real estate marketing, there are some big players who have been around for a very long time. Brian Buffini, Hobbs Herder and Tom Ferry are three who come to mind. I am sure you have some of the “usual suspects” in your industry.

You will want to check out their profiles to see if they are actively working their accounts and if they have any best practices you can copy.

Google Searches

Many times you can do a Twitter search for a specific type of Twitter account and people will have made a blog post about it. For example you could search Google for “best marketing people on twitter” and get a number of different posts recommending people to follow.

You can also find the top listings for “real” search and then check their Twitter accounts to see if they are actually using Twitter as a marketing tool.


A great tool to use is Tweepz.com. This site lists Twitter accounts according to various criteria like how many followers and the date the account was created. A REALLY good resource for finding people to follow or scoping out your competition.

Well hopefully that helps! There isn’t as much agony over figuring out your Twitter competition as there is on other sites. It is pretty straight forward and easy to check out!

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

4 Things To Focus On When You Are Updating Your WordPress Website | Website Design

4 Things To Focus On When You Are Updating Your WordPress Website | Website Design

Website design is one of the things that I accidentally know how to do. Back in 2001 when I officially started my marketing company (it was called 4D Marketing back then) I needed to get work and making websites seemed like it would be a great idea. I had a working knowledge of how to make them and a little bit of creativity and so BAM…I made HTML websites. Fast forward to 2008 and I started making blogs until today…the pinnacle of my website design happiness, I revised the look and feel of my website for the last time!

The Back Story

Okay, I am an entrepreneur and so I like to mess with my “stuff”. That said, I had made the last change to my website in haste, listening to a bunch of different people who said I had to be more “corporate” and “business-like” in my presentation. Because I was going through colossal sized changes at the time and didn’t have an idea for myself what I wanted, I went with the boilerplate, stuffy, stock photo extravaganza you see on the left. I sorta hated it…not just because it wasn’t pretty or fun, but because all that corporate-ness made it hard for my peeps to find anything they needed to use.

The rest of this post is about how I made the site of my dreams come true…:)

Updating Your WordPress Website

#1 Thing – Figure out the looks and feel

Big Stock Photo ExampleOne of the reasons that I can say that I am done changing my site, at least for a while, is that I took a fair amount of time to figure out exactly what I wanted my site to look like. I decided on the fun colors of pink, blue, yellow and green used in a “Garanimals” way. For those of you too young to remember, Garanimals were clothes that all matched if you put the blue bears together or the yellow lions.

The way that I did that was to pick a color palette already done by an artist onBig Stock Photo. I did not have to design the color scheme or banners that I used, I could just pull them down and pop them in. If you are working with a web designer, they will probably be happy if you can be specific about things like this that give them clues to what you like.

Photography. I also know for a fact that more women come to my site, watch my webinars and read my books than men. With that in mind I really just wanted to make sure that the majority of the pictures would appeal to women.

WordPress. I picked a Genesis theme that was close enough to what I wanted and then spent ALL my time developing graphics that would make the theme pop. The slider at the top has just 4 pictures but it is beautiful and eye catching. The sidebar has LOTS of color and I use the 8 little dots in a row to divide things all over the site.

#2 Thing – Stop Worrying About Looks And Start Worrying About Functionality

Having worked with lots of clients in the the past on their websites, I can tell you that they spend WAY too much time worrying about what goes where and how the search bar looks. Stop worrying about looks and figure out what you want your website to do!

While I was focused on making the site pretty, mostly I wanted to make sure that people could find what they were looking for. With that in mind I started the navigation buttons with the 4 types of people I work with, Entrepreneurs, Realtors, Startups and Authors, Speakers and Coaches. Niching down always feels funny and it did to me too! I like working with Manufacturers (a group that does need the “corporate” looking website to feel okay about working with me), but at the end of the day something has to go and they got axed.

Next comes quick links to my products. I had to cut some things there too so I axed all my services. No more setting up websites or doing social media, I am moving to a coaching, my products and affiliate based model (this was necessitated by adopting 3 kids so it was a happy change, but a change none-the-less).

There is also a link to my blog posts with categories. Now, I am pretty well represented in Google, but it doesn’t hurt to let people know how they can read your “stuff”.

Another thing I did was to take a page out of Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income’s website and make a “Start Here” page. With all the blog posts and content I have on the site, it has to be crazy hard to understand without some sort of roadmap. Hopefully adding this page will reduce my bounce rate and keep people on my website longer!

#3 Set Up Consistency

I have built consistency right into my site. I have the little dots that separate the sections and am using just three different fonts predominantly (Times New Roman, Impact and Kabel).

Having this kind of locked down “style guide” structure means that I don’t have to worry that all the bits will start to look cluttered.

Additionally I did the “Garanimals” color scheme meaning that Pink is for Entrepreneurs, Blue is for Realtors, Yellow is for Startups and Green is for Authors, Speakers and Coaches (you can see this in the top banner). The nice thing about this is that I can use this in the handouts I give and the digital products I develop.

#4 Sell Something

Jennifer McGuire WebsiteOne of the BIG reasons I wanted to change the look and feel was that I need to be able to sell more effectively on my website. With the corporate look there wasn’t a way to elegantly add sales banners or calls to action at the bottom of the posts. With this in mind, I added two types of sales functionality that I “borrowed” from the world of scrapbooking ladies (I KNOW, weird right? But these gals are nothing if not dedicated to making their hobbies a money making machine!)

I used a gal named Jennifer McGuire’s site as a template for how I was going to structure my sales pieces. There would be a a bunch of sales items on the right sidebar (which sometimes people don’t see because of “banner blindness”) and also links at the bottom listing the resources that I used in each post.

Now, from a BUSINESS standpoint, I am sure some of you think that this is excessive. It really is just not done that blatantly usually. But that said, I don’t think of the scrapbooking girls “selling” so much as showing me how to do something cool and then giving me a handy-dandy way to order the products right from that post.

I feel that same way about the links I share. I NEVER talk about something that I haven’t used or bought and I just have to tell you when I find something cool, so why not make it easier for you to find it right away?

Conclusion and Question

So there you have it, the redo what’s and why’s. So I have a question for you! What do you think about providing resources this way? Tacky or helpful? Please let me know in the comments below!

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

Thanks and Gratitude Quotes For Business

Thanks And Gratitude Quotes

I LOVE quotes and ones about thanks and gratitude quotes are some of my favorites! If none of these thanks and gratitude picture quotes work for you, please check out our past Thanksgiving quotes from last year. I give away these quotes freely and would love if you share them, just please make sure to leave my link at the bottom as an attribution!

Thanks Tara

Gratitude Is When Memory Is Stored In The Heart and Not In The Mind - Lionel Hampton

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.
Lionel Hampton

Never lose the childlike wonder. Show gratitude… Don’t complain; just work harder… Never give up. Randy Pausch

Never lose the childlike wonder. Show gratitude… Don’t complain; just work harder… Never give up.
Randy Pausch

Never lose the childlike wonder. Show gratitude… Don’t complain; just work harder… Never give up. Randy Pausch

It’s a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.
Roberto Benigni

When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in. Kristin Armstrong

When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.
Kristin Armstrong

I am grateful that I didn’t let fear get the best of me. It only holds you back from possibilities and greatness. Mariska Hargitay

I am grateful that I didn’t let fear get the best of me. It only holds you back from possibilities and greatness.
Mariska Hargitay

Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life. Joel Osteen

Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.
Joel Osteen

One can never pay in gratitude: one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life. Anne Morrow Lindbergh

One can never pay in gratitude: one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The trick is to be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low. Richard Carlson #quotes

The trick is to be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low. Richard Carlson

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. Henry Ward Beecher

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.
Henry Ward Beecher

Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life: Each year has grown better than the last. Lawrence Welk

Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life: Each year has grown better than the last.
Lawrence Welk

Additional Thanks and Gratitude Quotes

To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do.
Victor Hugo

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
Henry Van Dyke

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
Oprah Winfrey

Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song.
Konrad von Gesner

Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside.
Willard Scott

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
John F. Kennedy

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Melody Beattie

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
William Arthur Ward

No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.
Alfred North Whitehead

Facebook Marketing – How To Do Competitive Analysis (Spy On Your Competition)

Facebook Marketing - How To Do Competitive Analysis (Spy On Your Competition)Just yesterday it happened again, someone said that they wanted to know who my competition was and I froze like a popsicle.

Who IS my competition?

Today we are going to take a look at ways that we can find out who our actual competition is on Facebook using competitive analysis.

Finding Your Competitors On Facebook

Okay, I admit, I really don’t love Facebook. It is a necessary evil in my life, but I don’t put the time into it that I should do for my business pages (which is what we are going to use as our Facebook competitors).

Step 1 – Search Bar

Pages like by people who like - competitive analysis

You are going to start by finding out which pages are liked by people who like your page. This will take into account geographic preferences, content preferences and really show you who is your Facebook competition.

At the top (while you are in your “person” account) you will want to type in the following search:

pages liked by people who like Marketing Artfully (YOUR PAGE NAME WOULD GO THERE)

In my case this resulted in the following top 10 pages:

Small Business Chamber – This is a local business owner who does live networking. The interesting thing about this page is that they are focused on startups and I getting more interest from startups because of my marketing workbook.

The Colorado Connector – It totally makes sense that this is a “competitor” page. Rebekah, my marketing besty, owns this. Now, she has gone in a different direction so it is not as active as it was, but still makes sense!

Heinlein Group – Heinlein Publishing Services – Hmmm interesting. I am targeting authors with things like the Ebook Nerds Facebook and Twitter accounts but have not launched an official products for them yet. I have to think that this bodes well for the direction that I am heading!

Mike O’Neil – Mike lived here in Denver for years and still has a really strong following. That said, he only posts about 1X per month so I don’t see him as current competition.

A-Dre Productions – Interesting. Not sure why they would like this event planning company and mine. They are Denver local but are 25-34 age which is not my demographic at all.

DTC / Greenwood Village Chamber of Commerce – LOVE that a reputable organization like DTC Chamber is my “competition”. We share the same age demographic and location so this one makes a lot of sense. That said, they don’t have any more interactions on Facebook than I do.

Andrea Constantine – Andrea is a local woman who speaks and coaches. It does appear that she has abandoned her page as there has been nothing posted in 3 months.

Erin Ashlee Rose – The ties are getting even weaker. She is Denver/California but appears to be a young up and coming actress. Not hitting my demographic at all.

Kudo Community – Abandoned in 2013

National Association of Realtors – Well now it gets funny. Some of my “peeps” are definitely Realtors so this does make sense. That said, they get as many new likes per week as I have total so how does that help except to find things that they post which are popular that I can share too.

Pro Tip >> See The video for how to put your competition to work for finding great content to post.

Facebook Recommended Competition

Recommended Competition Facebook

Success Magazine – Now we are getting into stupid big numbers compared to my little page. They have 2 MILLION likes and get as high as 38K likes on a post. But wait, there is something weird here! Their biggest city is in the Philippines which probably means that they are buying likes and that they are paying to sponsor posts to get those numbers. That said, we can still check out what gets the most engagement at those levels and emulate some of what they do.

Jim Rohn – Mr. Rohn is deceased and it seems that the page is nothing but 5 text based quotes and then a pitch for an official product. I have to think that this was grown organically as the main city is Los Angeles. It seems that the love, admiration and good will that Mr. Rohn built in his lifetime continues today.

Get 10,000 Fans – Not sure what is going on here. They have over 300,000 likes and haven’t posted in over two weeks. Maybe because Facebook changed the newsfeed algorithm they are shutting down? Oh well.

Mari Smith – Okey doke, just want to say from the outset that I LOVE Mari Smith, she is a class act. That said, she is a pure social media marketer and I am not. She is also a “Facebook Queen” so I would hope that she would have high numbers. With all of that, her success on Facebook does seem attainable if you were to put in the time and energy. She is a speaker and drives everyone to Facebook instead of her website. She is charming and polite and answers people. Definitely someone to watch and emulate. (She doesn’t seem to be paying for her likes, her main city is Los Angeles!)

Jeffrey Gitomer – Last but not least is Gitomer. He is a speaker and has spent decades building a following by speaking all of the country. He has embraced social media and is really involved in his social channels. I am pleased to see that he is not buying as his best city is Chicago.

Observations About My Competition

First off, it seems that quotes are far and away the best producing content on any of the pages. Quotes with pictures seem to be #1 and then quotes without pictures are #2. It is really worthwhile to spend some time figuring out what your competition is posting so that you can see what is best to share for maximum effect. This is different for each industry…for example, one of our hospitality clients has pictures of their hotels and awards that they have won as the top successful competitive posts.

I made a little spreadsheet to do this which tracked:

  • Page Name
  • Page Owner
  • #Likes
  • Talking Abouts
  • New Likes
  • Location
  • Age
  • Best Post #1
  • #Likes and Shares
  • Best Post #2
  • #Likes and Shares
  • Link to the page

Facebook Marketing  Competitive Analysis Spreadsheetetitive Analysis Spreadsheet

Seeing all the data in one place really let some of the obvious points jump out at me!

Keep your peepers open next week for the next part of this series, Twitter Marketing – How To Do Competitive Analysis (Spy On Your Competition)