Brittney Borowicz

Brittney Borowicz is an integrated marketing professional with a strong communications background specializing in journalism, public relations and social media. Originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Brittney has spent the past few years working with entrepreneurs and small start-ups in the Chicagoland area to enhance their marketing and social media efforts.

Prior to her current role as the marketing manager for a computer networking company, Brittney realized her affinity for all things media and marketing while working in radio and television and as a professional presenter. Later, she began working at a couple of small marketing agencies in Chicago as a Public Relations and Sales Director and Account Manager, which required her to be well-versed in coordinating specialized public and media relations strategies, creative marketing initiatives and cohesive sales process implementations.

As a strong believer in intimate consumer/brand involvement, Brittney helps her clients create content that engages and educates brand audiences while establishing each individual or company as a thought leader in their industry.

With the Internet, the Buyer is in Control

With the influx of information available on the internet, businesses and consumers are spending more time researching the products and services of different companies before they buy. The buyer wants to know they are getting the best prices, the best products and the best services they can and with the internet, they have a choice of many different companies. Because of this abundance of information, the buyer is in truly in control of the buying process.

So when the buyer is in control, how do you make sure they choose you?

The best two sales and marketing techniques I have found to make sure a buyer chooses your company for their end product and service needs are...

  1. Reliably publish valuable and informational content about the product and/or service you are trying to sell and
  2. Utilize your customer reviews and testimonials.

Why Content and Reviews Matter

To make it simple: People want to do business with people and companies that they like and trust.

With the internet taking out the person-to-person aspect of a sale, you must find other ways to build that trust and likability factor.

With the Internet, The Buyer is in Control - Brittney Borowicz

Content

Reliably publishing content does several things for the relationship between your company and potential consumer.

  • Content should be valuable and informational with little to no sales pitch behind it. While consumers are researching your products and services, provide them with insight to your type of product or service that they might not be able to get anywhere else. Being true and authentic with your information will help gain trust from your consumer because they know you can help them solve their problem(s).
  • Publishing content helps build credibility and thought-leadership. Consumers want to know that they are purchasing their products and services from someone who knows what they are doing and talking about. This content should clearly demonstrate your knowledge of the subject, whether it be a specific product or service or even just the industry that you are in. This, again, builds trust with a consumer.
  • Don't be afraid to have fun with your content! Buyers want to do business with people they like and will often consider purchasing a product or service from a company with a higher price because they simply like that company better than another. Appeal to your audience with your valuable information, but also make sure to engage them with questions, personal stories or even just a funny picture so that they remember you.

Reviews and Testimonials

If a buyer is not going to read your content, the least they are going to do is read your reviews. Not every business highlights their reviews and testimonials though which is not ideal for a buyer looking to potentially do business with your company.

  • Word-of-mouth is still a huge thing, even with the internet. Consumers are more likely to believe another buyer of your products and services about your business than they are to trust the marketing person who publishes your content. This makes reviews and testimonials extremely powerful when it comes to building trust with a potential buyer.
  • Bad reviews aren't so bad! Businesses are constantly afraid of a bad review and rightfully so, but they won't ruin your business. No company, product, or service is perfect. Although all perfect reviews on your website may seem... well... perfect... nobody is going to believe it. So what do you do when you get a bad review? Address it and fix the problem! When a potential consumer sees that you were responsive to a problem and took the steps you needed to make another consumer happy, they are going to trust that your loyalty and interest remains with a buyer, even after the sale has happened. This ups your company's likability factor as well.

There are many things that can be done to further make sure a buyer chooses your products or services but these two sales and marketing initiatives are a start. Give the buyer reasons to trust you, like you and ultimately choose YOU.

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What are some other ideas to help build trust and likability in an online setting?
How does your company make sure a potential consumer chooses you?

Comment below!

This is not a personalized subject line.

The other day as I was catching up on some neglected email, I came across this...

Click to enlarge.

... and immediately deleted it. At first glance, this looked like a mass email from a lazy marketer who forgot to include a subject line. (Yes, it does have my name in the inline text, but as marketers know, different email programs will plug individual names into mass emails for you by including a specific code in that email.)

It was to my surprise when I received a follow-up email this morning with the same subject line! It was even more surprising to see that the service this person was trying to sell was for... well... email personalization?

Click to enlarge. Original email shown on bottom as a forwarded message from the sender. Follow-up email from the sender shown on top.

Now I'm just confused. Is this a lazy marketer who forgot their subject line? Or was this subject line intentional?

Maybe I just don't get the humor of the subject line, but I don't understand why someone would send an email about email personalization with the subject line, "This is not a personalized subject line."

As I mentioned above, my first instinct upon seeing this email was to delete it. Nobody wants spam, especially not from somebody who isn't going to bother with including a subject line.

So what makes this subject line so bad? (Assuming this subject line was intentional.)

  1. No sense of urgency. Without a sense of something needing to be done, recipients do not feel compelled to act, especially not immediately. In this case, it didn't even compel me to open the email.
  2. No specificity. When recipients read your subject line, they should know what your message is about and why it's relevant to them. In this case... just... what?
  3. No call-to-action. Although not every email subject line needs a call-to-action, it's sometimes helpful to inform the reader of what their next step should be. In this case, the call-to-action would have made me aware that there was some sort of action required on my part even if it was just responding to the sender.

What is the worst email subject line you've ever seen?

How Location Influences Football Loyalty

In honor of the NFL season starting this past weekend -- and Throwback Thursday (#TBT), of course -- I have decided to share the first story I wrote in my Television Journalism II class at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010.

Be warned. This story is no journalistic masterpiece, in fact, I received a disheartening B- grade on it.

And on that less-than-impressive note... ENJOY!

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How Location Influences Football Loyalty

There are many factors that can increase an NFL team's fan base… certain players, their winning streak, their cheerleaders... but there is one thing that really influences a fan's loyalty to their team… their location.

According to a study by University of Illinois professor Scott Tainsky, NFL fans maintain a loyalty to their hometown team or a family member's team as a way to assert their identity.

Identification is a real strong motivation in sports consumption.

Champaign may not be home to any NFL teams but it located between three others… the Chicago Bears, the Saint Louis Rams and the Indianapolis Colts. In a town like Champaign, Tainsky says loyalties between teams are divided.

Maybe some people identify with the Bears because they are the other Illinois team but other fans have probably seen the recent success of the Indianapolis Colts and choose to follow them because if you're a Colts fan, you get to brag every Monday after they win.

Growing up in Central Illinois and reporting sports for local radio station, WPGU, Jacob Bleyer is familiar with the split allegiances. Matching the results in Tainsky's study, Bleyer bases his football fandom with the Indianapolis Colts on the city he identifies with and not necessarily because the team plays well.

It's easier to like teams that win, as any Cubs fan can probably tell you. It's hard when they lose all the time but... I actually have an uncle that lives in Indianapolis so growing up I went to a lot of Colts games with him, he's a big Colts fan and I just grew up as a Colts fan ever since I was born.

Tainsky says that Bleyer will likely remain a Colts fan throughout his life due to the ties he has with the city... Even if he moves to a different part of the country.

Even though they are not part of the NFL, we can't forget about the one football team that calls Champaign's Memorial Stadium home... the University of Illinois' Fighting Illini. Studies show that NFL fans are fans for life. But what about college football? Once many student leave campus, do they still cheer for their I-L-L-I-N-I?

According to Tainsky, yes. After spending years on campus, a person's alma mater plays a role in their identity as well. Tainsky says that a fan's loyalty to their college team may be even stronger than to their pro team.

They are a team that you will always root for.
How Location Influences Football Loyalty - Brittney Borowicz

What is Your Elevator Pitch? The Dos and Don'ts

When I speak with clients about creating a quick sales pitch, I begin by telling them to answer these four questions:

  1. What is your company?/What do they do?
  2. Who do you do it for?
  3. Why is it valuable to them?
  4. How is your company different from other companies?

Once a person can answer these questions, they can pitch themselves or their business in any situation. However, there are a few dos and don'ts that every person looking to pitch should follow:

Dos:

  • Make your pitch sound natural and conversational while also expressing personality and passion for what you do.
  • Make it short and sweet, but memorable. Eliminate any unnecessary words or information and focus on the important stuff.
  • Make sure your listener knows why they should care.
  • If possible, research who you will be pitching to so that you know what to focus on in your speech.
  • Be prepared to wrap up sooner than you expected.
  • End your speech with a call-to-action such as asking for the person's business card or telling them to check out your website.

Don'ts:

  • Sounding rehearsed is a turn-off to listeners trying to hear about you and your business. Know what points you are going to make without having to say the exact same thing every time you give your pitch.
  • Avoid rambling, or what I like to call, "word-vomit." You must hook your listener in the first several seconds of your speech.
  • Don't forget to tell your listener how you can help solve their problem(s) and why you are the best person to do it!
  • Avoid industry jargon, slang and acronyms that your listener may not understand.
  • Don't forget to update your speech based on the audience or situation your listener may be in.

What are some dos and don'ts that you follow when giving your elevator pitch?

Better yet, what is YOUR elevator pitch? Feel free to comment with it below!

Elevator Pitch

My #1 Tip for Producing a Successful Google+ Hangouts Webinar

Webinars are a great way to connect with current and potential customers for both large and small companies. People are very visual, especially when it comes to consuming content and information from companies in both B2B and B2C relationships.

One of my favorite and cheapest ways to get companies involved in producing webinars is by using Google+ Hangouts.

Google+ Hangouts are free to use and stream live to attendees, not just on the company's Google+ page, but through the company's YouTube account well.

Some successful applications of using Google+ Hangouts that I have produced with clients in the past include "How To" webinars for a company's products and/or services, educational webinars about specific topics, Q&A sessions (for example, "Ask an Engineer!") and even sharing a workshop in real-time with those who could not attend in-person.

So what's my best tip for an effective Google+ Hangouts webinar? Engagement before, during and after the webinar.

My #1 Tip for Producing a Successful Google+ Hangouts Webinar

Before

Engagement should start at least a few days before your Hangout session is scheduled by promoting the event through a company's digital marketing channels, especially through your... you guessed it... Google+ account. These promotions can be strictly informative about the webinar but a more effective strategy is to engage the potential audience with that information. For instance, announce the topic of the Hangout on Facebook and ask your followers what they would most like to learn from the presenter. In addition, share other content that relates to the upcoming webinar to get people interested in the topic that is to be discussed.

During

During the actual Hangout, continue the engagement by addressing questions from the days before the Hangout as well as questions asked during the Hangout. The presenter can also pose their own questions or polls for the audience to answer. A more creative strategy would be creating a hashtag for the Hangout so that people can tweet information they learn or find interesting. This opens the discussion to people who are not viewing the Hangout and generates more visibility for your company and the webinar topic. At the end of the Hangout, the presenter should invite the audience to continue the conversation on their or the company’s social media accounts. 

After

Following the Hangout, a company can further audience engagement by repurposing the information from the webinar into blogs, infographics, etc. for easy sharability. Because Google+ pages can be connected with YouTube, the company can direct their followers to the recording or post it directly to their social media channels. The company can then ask how the audience has used the information they learned during the webinar or they can pose other questions about the topic that may not have been discussed during the Hangout.

The goal of a Google+ Hangout should be to keep the conversation going with fans and consumers long after a webinar is over and into the sales process.

"I Quit!" My Story of How Quitting My Job Led Me to My Goal

A few years ago, when I was just getting started in marketing, I took a job that to be perfect. The position was at this great little, start-up marketing agency right outside of Chicago. This agency promised the world to me -- real hands-on experience with some of the best marketing tools, strategies and leadership available. A few days before I started the job, however, the marketing director who had hired me quit. It was at this point that I should have sensed something wrong.

I spent almost a year at this small agency and in some ways, I did learn a lot. However, a lot of what I learned was the type of employee and person I didn't want to be. Only a few weeks in, my job turned into more of a personal assistant role for the owner of the company than a marketing position. My creativity was squashed, I rarely used the skills that I had come to the company with and eventually stopped learning new, important skills that would help my future career. After not feeling fulfilled for a long time in my role, I made the decision to quit.

When I decided to quit, I had another job lined up that I was SURE I was going to get. It was all but promised to me. Unfortunately, about a week after I quit the first job, the company I had planned on going to called me to say they had decided to restructure their marketing and sales teams and would no longer be hiring anybody to fill the position. I was bummed and unemployed.

It took almost two months, but finally a great opportunity presented itself on LinkedIn. I was quickly hired at a small marketing agency in Chicago where I was able to really hone in on what I was hired to do while developing as a well-rounded and skilled marketing professional. This company understood how unfulfilled I was at my previous job and continuously encouraged me to develop new skills that would accelerate my marketing career to new heights. Thanks to their support and guidance, I am now happy to report that for the past few months, I have been working as the full-time marketing manager for a fantastic company outside of the city of Chicago. Not only has this been a huge opportunity for my career and a tremendously better experience than my first job as a marketing professional, but it is proof that sometimes the bumpiest of roads can lead you to the best opportunities.

I learned a couple of lessons from this experience, including:

  1. You must embrace all of the bumps and bruises that come on your journey in life. Although I was unhappy with that first job, I grasped every opportunity I had to learn... even if it wasn't about marketing. The time management and organizational skills I learned during that time as well as a new sense of confidence I gained in speaking to people one-on-one are essential to my career today and have helped me get to where I am.
  2. Quitters sometimes DO win. You may not always like your job and you may HATE your boss but that doesn't mean you should quit every job you ever have. I have learned though that there are certain aspects of the job that you have to weigh when deciding whether or not to quit. Because I am young, one of the most critical aspects of a job I both need and want are opportunities to grow both in my career and as a person. That first company could not do that for me and that's when I had to say "goodbye." I was very grateful to find after I left that there were plenty of other companies willing to give me the fulfillment I needed and deserved.

Lastly, although I would NEVER recommend quitting one job without another lined up, taking some time off is pretty amazing. I went straight from working in college to working in the real world. The almost two months I was unemployed after quitting that disappointing job allowed me to travel, learn how to cook (kind of) and focus on what really made me happy. These are experiences I may not have had if I never said, "I quit."

"I Quit!" My Story of How Quitting My Job Led Me to Here

How to Write an Effective Blog Post

A comprehensive, high-quality blog post doesn't have to be long. In fact, shorter is often better for your readers who have limited time to devote to reading your content. A well-written blog post should include three sections: an introduction, the body and a conclusion. This following post will provide a simple blog format to follow for those that are stuck with where to start and where to go.

Introduction

The introduction sets the stage for the problem you're about to solve for your clients. You're not providing specific solutions in this section of your post, you're simply explaining why the problem you're about to solve is a problem. This is where you're relatable, you get your readers' heads nodding in agreement and prove why the blog post you're writing is actually worth writing (and reading). In other words, this is where you tell your readers why this topic is important – whether they thought it was before or not. (Note: while your blog will sometimes promote your own product or service, it shouldn't exist solely for that reason. First and foremost, the content on your blog should help your readers solve a common problem or concern through education!)

Structure:

  1. Present the problem. (“I always have clients asking me…” “Many people try to _________ but fail.”)
  2. Set up what the post will be about. (The solution. “Clients have found success when they…” “These are things you should know when…”
  3. Explain the importance in relation to your readers/clients. (“… to ensure…” “Doing this will let you accomplish…”

Body

The body explains the solutions to the problem you set up in the introduction. Now that you've identified a problem for your reader, they're ready to hear the solution to it! The body can be written in paragraphs, with bullets, numbered lists, multiple headings, or a mix of all of these.

Structure:

  1. Educate readers about the solution(s). Education is sometimes the biggest selling tool when a reader does not know much about the topic. This also establishes credibility and thought leadership.
  2. Present examples and case studies even if you can’t use a client’s name or business information. You want to prove to people that you have direct expertise in this area.

Conclusion

The conclusion wraps up your post with a brief statement that's reflective of the problem your post solved. A good way to do this is to identify several takeaways from your blog post and sum them up in bullet points.

You should then provide a “call-to-action” for your readers. This can be as simple as prompting your readers to comment or telling them to call you if they are encountering a similar problem. The conclusion should be kept short to ensure readers don't abandon your blog post before realizing there's an action you’d like them to take!

Structure:

  1. Summarize the problem and solution(s) presented in your blog. Example: Today we talked about (a problem) but by doing these three things, you can solve (that problem).
    1. Solution A
    2. Solution B
    3. Solution C
  2. Prompt your readers to engage with you and your company further with a “call-to-action.”
    Example:
    • Give me your thoughts about (this topic) in the comments below!
    • If you are interested in this topic, join our webinar next week by registering here: (link to webinar)
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Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Suicide has hit the spotlight in the past few days due to the tragic and unexpected death of Robin Williams. Robin Williams was a beloved artist and comic genius.

But what some people fail to recognize is that suicide is a very real problem for many people... not just celebrities.

Today, I got the terrible, extremely upsetting news that one of my brother’s best friends committed suicide. I will not share any names or details out of respect for the family. Nonetheless, it breaks my heart that someone so young and incredibly full of potential felt that this was their only option.

Although the public has been extremely vocal about this in the past several days, I would like to say it again…

If you are suffering from depression, or even if you aren’t, but suicide seems like your only option, please, please talk to someone and get help.

Beyond talking with friends and family, you can find the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.


To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization which aims to present hope for people struggling with addiction, depression, self injury, and thoughts of suicide while also investing directly into treatment and recovery, is another wonderful source for those suffering or for those who just want to help. For more information on how to become involved and to donate, visit http://www.twloha.com.

5 Social Media Platforms to be on that Aren't Facebook or Twitter

SocialMediaStress

Social media has become a huge player in business promotion and engagement over recent years. With so many different platforms to choose from, many businesses don't know where to start and therefore start EVERYWHERE.

The truth is, not every social media platform is right for your business or consumers. Rather than be on every social site, it is important to choose only a few platforms to focus your efforts on so that you can generate the most consumer engagement, and ultimately, sales for your business.

So which social media platform is right for your business? Here is a quick snapshot of five of the top social media platforms to be on that aren't Facebook or Twitter. (Although I happen to love both Facebook and Twitter.)

LinkedIn

Best business uses: Networking to reach potential clients.

How to maximize your reach:

  • Join LinkedIn groups that relate to your business or industry. Once you've established yourself in a group, work to answer questions and foster conversations, which will boost your reputation as an expert and help others get to know your company.

  • Engage with others in your network. This is obviously the best way to network with people both in and outside of your industry and the best way to find new, potential clients.

How not to use it: 

  • Don't spend too much time pitching your products or services. Instead, promote news and information about the industry your business is in.

YouTube

Best business use: Building credibility by showcasing your knowledge and skills.

How to maximize your reach: 

  • Make a list of the 10 most frequently asked questions about your industry and film yourself answering them. Think of the kind of queries that people sit down to Google.
  • Because YouTube videos show up in Google search results, make sure to optimize the videos with as many keywords as possible.

How not to use it: 

  • Don't post long videos -- keep them under a minute and a half. Focus on one question or issue per video to keep your message on track.

Pinterest

Best business use: Promoting your brand to a female-skewed audience, specifically mothers. (Although, men are increasingly beginning to use Pinterest.)

How to maximize your reach: 

  • Use good SEO practices when titling your boards and filling out Pins and descriptions. It's important to name your boards with phrases people will search for.
  • Check Google Trends. If people are searching for something related to your business or industry, create a board or Pins around the topic.

How not to use it: 

  • Keep personal Pins highlighting your favorite books, fashion, and travel photos separate from those linking to your company's URL. It's okay for both business and personal boards to reside in the same profile. For a “personal” board, consider something that may indirectly involve your business or industry.
  • Never use copyrighted pictures to create Pins.

Instagram

Best business use: Promoting your brand via stylized images to a largely twenty-something audience.

How to maximize your reach: 

  • The revenue generated by an Instagram follower is 10 times greater than that generated by a Twitter follower, according to data analytics firm, SumAll. Take pictures of what makes your business unique or helpful to its consumers. Take pictures of both products and especially of people using your products.
  • Instagram allows you to connect to Facebook or Twitter so that you can cross-post your pictures.
  • Use hashtags to help your customers find your products and services across all three platforms.

How not to use it: 

  • Don't let your account go dormant. Update it with new pictures at least every other week to keep people interested.

Google+

Best business use: Promoting your brand with Google integration – which carries significant weight in terms of SEO and organic search visibility.

How to maximize your reach: 

  • Google+ has a larger variety of communities to choose from (similar to LinkedIn).
  • Google+ Hangouts is a great, free alternative to other webinar services. You can only have 10 participants actively on video but you can stream the video to an unlimited number of viewers using YouTube.

How not to use it: 

  • Posting only about your product. Google+ encourages engagement with your customers. Only about 20% of your posts should be about your product/service while the other 80% about your customers and their lifestyles.
  • Ignoring “Circles.” Google+ Circles allow you to segment and target specific messages and posts to specific people (Ex: Customers vs. prospects vs. industry professionals vs. partners.)

The Internet of Things: Connecting the World

Most people think of being connected to the Internet in terms of computers, tablets and smart phones. But these aren’t the only devices that plug in. Today, nearly everything around us -- from household objects to the cars on the street -- has the ability to be brought online and interact with other physical objects. This may seem like the plot from a science fiction movie but it’s becoming more of a reality every day. This phenomenon dubbed the “Internet of Things” dates back to the early 1980s but wasn’t named until 1999. In more recent years, physical technology has finally caught up with the idea. 

The Internet of Things is the idea of the physical world becoming one interconnected system of communicating objects. The concept is closely identified with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and other sensors. By implanting these tags inside a physical object, that “thing” no longer relates just to its user but to the world around it. Objects can be monitored and controlled remotely through the Internet allowing them to work directly with one another and without the need for a human to link them together.

Applications of the Internet of Things

A “thing” in the Internet of Things may be any physical object that can be assigned an IP address and given the ability to transfer data over a network. Currently, most consumers see this technology through home-based smart products such as lights and smoke detectors. Similarly, companies in a variety of industries are using Internet-connected devices to monitor and control their thermostats and security systems. Being able to remotely monitor and control such objects help to save the homeowner and the business professional both time and money. Other examples of businesses utilizing this technology include vending machines that can send a signal to a company’s computers when supply runs low or manufacturing equipment that warns its user of impending, or occurring, malfunction.

As it becomes easier and more cost effective to bring physical objects online, the potential for the Internet of Things continues to grow. As Moore’s Law describes, society is still in the infancy of this great information evolution and technology companies are actively trying to find new ways to link the Internet with physical objects. What is to come for the Internet of Things can only be speculated, but it continues to drive a more interconnected, real-time informational experience.