May, 2013

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Are You Trying to Keep Up with the Marketing Joneses?

Are You Trying to Keep Up with the Marketing Joneses?

Focus Your Marketing Activities so they Don’t Overwhelm You

I see it all the time when I talk to small business owners. When I ask them about how they are marketing their businesses, their eyes roll and they act as if I blasphemed or something. Marketing seems to be the last things want to talk, think or do when it comes to their business.

Many prefer to hope that business will come, that each customer will tell a thousand other people about their great business and they will be able to live happily ever after.

Well good luck with that.

The reality is that if you want to stay in business or grow your business you are going to market your business.

The thing that most people don’t understand is that marketing does not have to be hard or unpleasant. You can successful market your business focusing on the marketing activities that you enjoy doing.

You don’t have to do everything.

If you enjoy writing then concentrate on writing that your audience will enjoy. You can:

  • Create articles for you blog
  • Create articles for other people’s blog
  • Create articles for consumer or trade magazines and their websites
  • Post your articles on LinkedIn
  • Create articles for article directories for others to share with their readers
  • Tweet your articles to your Twitter account
  • Create white papers or special reports
  • Create eBooks and Books

If you enjoy speaking then concentrate on speaking engagements. You can:

  • Offer speaking engagement to local community centers and churches
  • Create podcasts
  • Create video’s, post them to YouTube and your website or blog
  • Create webinars that people just watch or participate
  • Become a guest lecturer at your local community college
  • Create seminars or workshops for local community centers, community colleges, churches, and other educational learning centers

If you enjoy creating presentation and/or graphic then concentrate on presentation and/or graphics. You can:

  • Create Slideshare presentations
  • Create webinars whether live or on demand
  • Create infographics
  • Create interactive comic books, games and apps
  • Give workshops on how to create great presentations
  • Give classes on developing basic graphic design skills

Whatever marketing activities you choose, choose those that you enjoy and will not feel overwhelmed by forcing yourself to use what is hot. There is a variety of ways to create marketing opportunities utilizing a limited amount of tactics.

If you do not have time to spend on social media or do not enjoy social media then do not utilize those tactics, and if you do, then limit the amount of time that you spend doing those activities.

Take some time to think about what you truly enjoy doing, than choose the marketing activities that you will look forward to working on, on a daily basis. Find a few activities that you enjoy and put your full energy into those activities. Monitor their effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.

Your Turn:

What Marketing Activities do You Most and Least Enjoy?

 

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Marketing and PR for the Professional Services Firms

Blogging for Business Growth

 

The Secret to Turning out Massive Amounts of Content

The Secret to Turning out Massive Amounts of Content

Have you ever wondered how one blogger is able to turn out massive amount of content without hiring others to write for them or accepting guest posts?

I did.

Wondering how they did it, lead me to this secret…

Repurposed Content

What Is Repurposed Content?

Repurposing content eliminates creating content from scratch  Repurposed content is taking existing content or research, creating new content and extending the life of your existing content.

What do I mean by extending the life of your content?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say that you are a Insurance Agent that insures small businesses and have just given a presentation on “How to Sure You are Adequately Covered for any Business Disaster” to your local chamber of commerce.  

Here are 21 Ways to repurpose your presentation:

  1. Article: Rewrite the presentation by adding expert interviews and comments and submitting the article for publication into trade magazines and blogs.
  2. Podcast: Record the presentation as an podcast and add to podcast directories and upload to your site.
  3. Presentation: Turn your presentation into a Slideshare presentation and add to your site, Linkedin account, Facebook page and Slideshare.
  4. On-Demand Webinar: Record your presentation and turn it into an on-demand presentation for people to watch at their convenience. Turn the article into a webinar that your readers can view or a live webinar where members and participate and ask questions.
  5. Live Webinar: Turn the presentation into a live webinar, invite attendees and hold a Q&A afterwards.
  6. Transcripts: Have your podcasts and webinars transcribed and offer the transcriptions to your readers, attendees and newsletter subscribers.
  7. Buzz Piece: You can rewrite some of the content and turn the piece into a freebie for people who sign up for your newsletter.
  8. Series: Create a series of posts expanding on the ideas covered in your presentation.
  9. eBook: Group related blog posts and turn the posts into a free or paid eBook. If you choose a paid eBook, add some articles that you are new to the eBook.
  10. Kit: Combine eBook, podcasts, presentation, transcription, workbook, video and create a downloadable kit
  11. Workbook: Turn the information of the presentation into a workbook with actions tasks for your readers to complete.
  12. Press Release: create a press release letting the media know about your available presentation whether on demand or live, submit it to press release distribution sites, targeted media sites and add the press release to your blog/website media page.
  13. Infographic: Infographics are very popular right now. Create a great looking informative infographic with key information from your presentation and add it to your blog.
  14. PDF: Turn your presentation slides into a PDF for readers to download.
  15. Video: Turn your presentation into short video tutorials with screencast where viewers can watch and listen to you present the information.
  16. FAQ: Create a frequently asked question list and link to your presentation for the answers or created short videos answering questions obtained during your presentation.
  17. Contest: Run a contest offering a reward for the commenter who provides the best comment on the presentation.
  18. Case Studies: Turn examples from your presentation into case studies
  19. White Papers: Turn the presentation into a thought leadership white paper
  20. Comic Books: Create a comic book using the information in the presentation to create a hero villain and damsel in distress. Create a character for your business and make your business the hero of the comic book.
  21. Teach: Offer to teach a short course to non-profit groups, community colleges associations, trade groups and businesses

When working in a defined niche it can become difficult coming up with new information to provide to readers. When creating material try thinking of three ways that you can repurpose the material from the very beginning. This way you are always thinking about and planning for extending the life of your content. 

Your Turn:

What do you think of these ideas? Have you tried any of these ideas? Do you know of any other ways to repurpose content?

I would love to hear from you.

 

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Marketing and PR for the Professional Services Firms

Blogging for Business Growth 

 

9 Tips to Help You Increase Your Repeat Business

9 Tips to Help You Increase Your Repeat Business

Its Cheaper to Keep em…Tips on Getting Repeat Business

It takes a lot of time to find new prospects and turn them into customers. It is much more cost-effective to turn existing customers into repeat customers.

Your current customers are already familiar with your work, how you work and the rates that you charge. You have already built a relationship with them and there is a level of trust between you.

9 Tips for Increasing your Repeat Business:

  1. Ask: Many times all you have to do is asked for more business. You should be talking to your customers about their business, learning to understand their business. Through conversations, you can learn of areas that you make be able to help you current clients.
  2. Do Your Best: Do the best work possible for your clients. Let your work and customer service speak for itself. Make sure that you return calls and emails quickly as possible. Address all concerns and complaints. Give them a reason to keep coming back to your business and turn to your competitors.
  3. Keep in Touch: Remain in contact with your customers even when you are not working on a project for them. Send keeping in touch cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, small gifts, surveys and just general conversation with you clients. Call them and ask how things are going and you make find ways that you can help them.
  4. Make them Aware: Make them aware of all the services that you offer. Sometimes customers are just unaware that you can help them with their other problems. They turned to you for a specific need and are unaware of all that you offer. Tell them in your newsletters, emails, telephone conversations and send out post cards. If you have a monthly newsletter, every month you can spotlight a service that you offer your clients.
  5. Offer Incentives: Offer special incentives only to current customers, maybe a discount on their next project. Try promoting other services to current customers by offering a discount or package deal. Think of ways that you can bundle services together or offer ongoing consultation services as part of a package or as a stand-alone service.
  6. Create a membership site or loyalty club: Create a membership site or loyalty club that is available to current customers for a limited time where they can receive special offers, coupons, reports, white papers, ask one another questions, ask your business questions, free podcasts, webinars and more. Once the limited membership has ended you can offer them the opportunity to remain members for a low monthly fee. If the membership benefits are worthwhile, many will sign up to remain members.
  7. Contact past clients: Create a list of past clients and contact them with a special offer to gain additional business with them. Call them to find out why they stopped using your services, to find out what is going on with their  them and how you can help. Then offer them a service that can help solve their current problem.
  8. Offer exclusive services: Offer exclusive services to only your best customers. Customers that have been doing business with you a long time or who often refer business to you.  Maybe there is a service that you are thinking about offering but want to test the waters before adding it to your list of services. Try offering the service as an exclusive offer to your best customers at a great rate and let them know that you are only offering it to your best customers.
  9. Create Promotions: Create promotions for your businesses anniversary, holidays or anything worth celebrating and offer your clients a special offer. Maybe a discount on a service, a free e-book that will go on sale when the promotion ends, a contest to when something of value and help spread the word about your business.

If you want clients to give you repeat business you have to make them feel special. Let them know that you are happy to have them as clients and value their business.

Your Turn:

What methods do you use to keep customers coming back for more?

 

Creating Brand Awareness for Your Small Business

25 Ways to Create Brand Awareness for Your Small Business

25 Ways to Create Brand Awareness for Your Business

How do you want prospects and clients to remember your company? Do you want them to think of your company as a leader in your industry? Innovative? Cheap? or Customer Focused?

Branding is how you present your company’s image to prospects and clients, every time they encounter your business and how you gain their trust by proving that you are exactly what you say that you are. Branding is the proof that turns prospects and customers into believers, it is creating the message that you want them to remember about your business.

What core values do you want prospects to take away with them when they first encounter your business? What do you want customers to tell their friends when they talk about your business? This is where branding comes into play. It is more than your logo or business card; it is how prospects and customers perceive your business.

I work with clients to create marketing plans that focusing on using blogging as the foundation of their internet marketing to grow their business.  When I work with my clients to create a marketing plan, my goal is the help them create a plan that they easily implement, create processes that allow them to efficiently execute the program at a cost that is affordable for them and with ways that they can use their time efficiently. It is not about delving into the latest marketing activity, but choosing activities that work well with their business, personality and time commitment.

Before you can generate leads or close sales you have to let the world know that your company exists and what services or products you have to offer. When you begin the branding process, you want to decide what you want your company core values. Is your company the fastest, easiest, cheapest, innovative, thought leader? For instance, my branding mantra is helping clients use blogging as the foundation for their internet marketing activities to help grow their business.

Once you have decided what your will company stand for, your core competencies, you can then embark on the adventure of letting the world know that you exist. Making sure that you are consistent with your message and your message is clear.

Here are 25 ways that you can use to spread the word about your business and build brand awareness.

  • Press Releases
  • Blogging
  • Articles
  • Publicity Stunts
  • Direct Marketing
  • Internet Marketing
  • Customer Referrals
  • Word of Mouth Marketing
  • Contests
  • Free reports 
  • Tips sheets
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • eNewsletters
  • White Papers
  • Case Studies
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Email Signatures
  • Promotions
  • Tagline
  • Facebook Fan Pages
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • EBooks
  • Slideshare

This is just a tip of the iceberg when coming up with ways to get the word out about your business. The goal is to be creative, yet choose marketing activities that work well for your business and not because other people are doing it. Just because twitter is popular, if you don’t have time to constantly send twitter updates, then don’t get involved with twitter. Choose the activities that you enjoy doing and are willing to do for the long-term. Have a goal, create a plan, work the plan and measure your outcome.

Creating brand awareness is about spreading the word about your business in as many ways possible to people in your target market. Yes it takes time and work, but it is well worth the effort.

Your Turn:

How are you creating brand awareness for your business?

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Marketing and PR for the Professional Services Firms

Blogging for Business Growth