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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

 

Understanding Your Picture Perfect Ideal Blog Reader

Understanding Your Picture Perfect Ideal Blog Reader

Do You Know Who Your Ideal Blog Reader Is?

You have created a blog for your business but how much thought have you given to what your ideal blog reader is like? What they want? How they will feel after reading your blog posts? What you want them to do after visiting your blog?

How would you describe your ideal blog reader?

When it comes to attracting your ideal readers to your blog you should be able create a picture in your mind as you describe them. You should be able to tell if they read your blog at work or home. How much time do they spend learning about the topic? What they are looking for when they reach your site and what is their current knowledge level?

Do you know?

When creating a description of your ideal reader here are some questions to answer:

1.) What is your reader’s demographic information?

  • Where do they live?
  • Are they married?
  • What is their annual income?
  • Are they male or female?
  • How old are they?
  • Do they have children?
  • What is their education level?

2.) What is their job and level of seniority?

  • In what industry to they work.
  • Are they the decision maker?
  • If not, do they influence the decisions maker/s?

 3.) What does a day in their life look like?

  • What brings them joy?
  • Do they spend more time at work or home?
  • Who are the people in their life that matter most?
  • What kind of car do they drive?
  • What TV shows do they watch?
  • What radio stations do they listen?
  • What publications do they read?
  • What type of clothing do they wear?
  • What associations and social networks do they belong?
  • Are they involved in their community?
  • What do they do online?
  • Are they involved in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn?
  • What time of day do they read your blog?
  • Are they religious?
  • Are they conservative or liberal?
  • Do they have special hobbies?
  • Do they travel, where, how often?
  • Do they have pets, if so what kind?

4.) What are their pain points?

  • What do they worry about?
  • How do their problems affect their day-to-day life?
  • What challenges do they face?

 5.) What do they value most?

  •  What are their goals?
  •  What are they striving to attain?
  •  What does it mean to be successful?

 6.) Where do they go for information?

  • Do they go online when looking for information?
  • Do they talk to co-workers, friends, family or industry experts?
  • Do they read reviews, testimonials or case studies
  • How do they like to consume information, articles, books, audio, or video?
  • Whom do they trust the most?
  • What blogs do they already read?
  • How much knowledge do they currently have about your topic?

 7.) What experience are they looking for when reading your blog?

  • What do they hope to gain from your blog?
  • Do they expect to be entertained, informed or educated?
  • Do they know what they are expected to do after reading your blog?
  • What topics are compelling to them?
  • What type of articles thrill them?

 8.) What are some common reasons that readers do not return to your blog?

  • Are your blog posts too long or short?
  • Are they having a hard time trusting your authority on the subject?
  • Are there other blogs that are providing better information?
  • Are you not providing the information in the format that they most desire?
  • Does your blog lack uniqueness?
  • Are you speaking their lingo? Are you too casual or technical?

9.) How will I know if I have reached my ideal readers?

  • Look at your blogs analytics. How much time are they spending on your site? How many pages are they reading?
  • How many comments are you receiving on your blog?
  • Are they sharing your content?

How to Find Information about Your Blog Readers:

  • Send out a survey to your email subscribers and offer a free gift to those that respond
  • Read the profiles of people who have liked your Facebook page
  • Read the profiles of the people in your network on LinkedIn
  • Ask them on your blog to tell them about themselves

In order to create profiles of your ideal readers you need to understand as much about your ideal readers as possible. The answers to the types of questions above are not always available, but answering as many of the questions as possible will help you to build a relationship to your ideal reader and understand what they are interested in reading and how to connect with them.

Once you have obtained as much information as possible, add a real photo to represent your ideal reader. You may need to create several reader profiles, but not too many, 2-4 should be a good amount.

When you begin to write your blog post, write with one of your readers in mind. Make sure to reference some of the things that you have learned about them. If you know that this reader loves dogs, include a dog story, reference or picture.

Your Turn:

Do you know who your ideal blog reader is?

Have you created a profile of your ideal blog reader?

 Image via Flick by Seng1011

How to Use Content to Turn Readers into Prospects

How to Use Content to Turn Readers into Prospects

The name of the game these days is information and it is everywhere.

Are you creating enough informative, educational content on your site to attract readers and turn them into prospects?

What do I mean by this?

The internet has changed the way that people search for information when trying to solve a problem. Now we turn to our favorite search engine, type in a few works and wait a minute for the results. We scroll the listing, click on the links and check out the websites listed. In a few minutes, we can evaluate a company, anytime of the day, at our own leisure without ever having to actually contact the company and talk to anyone.

Now the key to search engine marketing is being listing within the top three pages, because research has shown that most people do not look beyond the first three pages.

They are looking for information and looking for the site that provides the information they need. They will look at a number of sites and if the site has lots of content, they will stay around and read what is available.

However, you want to turn readers into prospects, right?

So how do you turn readers into prospects? Well you want readers to do one or more of several things that shows a true interest in what you have to say and offer.

  • Sign up for your rss feed
  • Subscribe to your newsletter
  • Become a fan of your Facebook page
  • Follow you on Twitter
  • Post comments on your blog
  • Invite you into their network on LinkedIn

However, even at this stage they are still readers, but on their way to becoming prospects and hopefully clients.

Now you want to get them fully engaged.

How do you do this?

By providing readers useful information in a variety of formats, such as:

  • Blog posts
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Presentations
  • Videos
  • EBooks
  • White Papers

How do you know what they want and how they want it?

Ask them.

  • Try running polls on your blog, website, Facebook page or LinkedIn profile.
  • Send out a survey to your newsletter subscribers
  • Ask them on your blog, Facebook page or LinkedIn groups

Ask them what they want to know and how they want to receive their information. Although videos and audio is popular, the written word remains the most popular form of information gathering.

Do they want blog posts, eBooks, podcasts, videos, webinars or presentations? Find out and see how many of ways you can present your information.

What other ways can help you turn readers into prospects?

Show readers that you can help them solve their problem. Remember it is all about them, not you.

Offer:

 

  • Case studies

 

  • Online portfolio
  • Testimonials
  • Free consultations
  • Trial offers

Use Google analytics to see how people are accessing your information. Track what they read, download, pages they enter on and exit pages. Analyze what pages they spend the most time reading, where they go once they read that page.

Don’t forget to put a contact form on your website so that readers can contact you. Make it easy for them to contact you. Respond quickly.

No matter what business you are in. Potential customers want to know that you have the answers that they need, content shows that you do.

Your Turn:

Are you providing enough content to turn readers into prospects?

 

 

Have You Set a Goal for Your Business Blog?

Set a Goal for Your Blog

You started a blog for your business. So what? Now what? What were you expecting to have happen after you started your blog? Did you think that readers would just show up? Automatically start buying your products? Call you to schedule appointments? Sing praises and worship you?

Whether you are already blogging or thinking about setting up a blog for your business, you must know what you want to accomplish with your blog.

You must have a goal for your blog.

Blogging is no different from creating and executing a business or marketing plan, you need to have a clear goal and plan for your blog. You need to know what you are working towards.

This doesn’t have to be hard or complicated but it should be a defined goal, something that you can measure and track.

Instead of saying that I want to create traffic for my blog, say that you want to draw in 5000 readers every month to your blog.

Begin with just one goal in mind.

What do you want to achieve with your blog and why?

Let’s say that your goal is to increase traffic to you blog, why do you want to increase traffic?

Are you trying to?

  • Grow your email list
  • Sell your products or services
  • Increase members to your membership site
  • Book more appointments
  • Showcase your expertise
  • Increase speaking engagements
  • Generate more leads
  • Build relationships
  • Create brand awareness

Take the time to think through what your goal is and what you ultimately want to achieve, before you think about your audience, topics or tactics you will use, know why you are blogging.

 

Create a plan to stay on the upswing of blogging

image via flicker by Jeremiah Owyang

Blogging can be everything that you dreamed.

It can:

  • Build awareness for your business
  • Generate tons of leads
  • Build relationships with prospects and current customers
  • Sell your products or services
  • Have hundreds of comments
  • Turn you into an expert
  • Have the media contacting you
  • Win you awards

Research shows that companies that publish new blog posts just 1-2 times per month generate 70% more leads than companies that don’t blog at all.

Blogging can also break your heart if you don’t have a goal and plan to achieve your goal.

Believe me I understand how hard it is sometimes to constantly create new content for your blog. Every time you turn around there’s a new social network to join or technique to try that is supposed to help you gain readers.

You join them and try them, but you are not gaining readers.

Sometimes you just want to give up, but don’t, admittedly, it takes hard work and perseverance to keep blogging when readers are not showing up but hang in there they will come. You first step is to know why you are blogging.

You can do it

image via Flickr by John Sutton

Now is the time to decide what you want from your blog. What do you want to achieve?

Your Task:

Are you thinking about starting a business blog?

Are you already blogging for your business?

Think about what your goal is and why you have chosen that goal. What do you ultimately want from your blog?

Dear Blog and Readers: I know it’s been a long time, sorry to have left you

Blog and Readers: Sorry I left you

I missed my blog, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t write another post. I couldn’t take on another client. I felt dead in the water.

It felt like I was losing my mind. My mind was in a fog, like I was wandering around lost in the wilderness. Bewildered. Stressed.

One of my goals in life is to live as stress free as possible and I was failing.

The stress was getting to me.

I was becoming hard to live with. Hell I didn’t even want to live with me.

I couldn’t sleep, my head hurt, my patience was short. I was feeling completely overwhelmed and  bordering depression.

Oh the long nights of getting no sleep, listening to NPR, dreading the next day.

When the next day arrived, I didn’t want to get out of bed.

What a horrible way to live.

I felt like screaming.

So stressed out I could scream…too much marketing

Why?

Marketing.

Plan and simple, it was marketing. I was giving to much of myself to my clients and couldn’t get marketing off my mind.

I had taken on too much and it was beginning to drive me crazy. The more my clients asked for, the more I did, seemingly unable to say no.

It’s true. I was on the verge of losing my mind.

What was I going to do?

One thing for sure, I had to take a break, before I crashed and burned.

So I said to myself. Self, what do you want to do now.

I have been marketing for the last 15 years as a profession. So, I decided maybe it’s time for me to look for a job doing something else. I began looking around on the Internet for available jobs and I begin applying to jobs that sounded interesting but were not in the marketing field.

What I found out is that corporate America is even more demanding now that it was when I first left. They actually have nerves to want more education more experienced and pay even less money than when I was being paid when I left corporate America many years ago. The demands on employees is ridiculous, companies offer less benefits, less pay while asking employees to work more hours. There were jobs for administrative assistants that wanted a bachelor’s degree. If I have spent all that time and money to get a degree, I do not want to be an administrative assistant; I want to be an administrator. Maybe it’s just employers taking advantage of a tight economy. That’s my guess and it’s a damn shame.

This was out of the question for me.

I decided I needed to rethink my business and the services that I offer to my clients. I needed to keep from getting burned out and spreading myself to thin.

What do I really love?

I love blogging.

I’ve decided that I will focus on working with clients who want to blog and utilize blogging as the foundation for the online marketing.

I must not allow myself to be pulled into areas that I do not enjoy.

I must remain focused on the services that I am offering my clients and not be afraid to say know what they want services that do not offer. While this can be scary, saying no clients it something that I must do to be able to provide excellent services to my clients and not become stressed out by providing services to my clients that I do not enjoy.

I’ve decided to focus on just blogging services and not all blogging services.

I will concentrate on offering only two services to clients who are already blogging.

1. Blog audit: The client will determine what their goal if for their blog and I will provide a blog audit telling them how well they are doing and suggest what changes to make to reach their goals.

2. Blog Audit and Plan: After I have accessed the client’s blog, I will then provide the client with a plan to help them reach their goal.

That’s it!

I will not help you set up a blog or write blog posts for you. I will help you to access your blog, decide on the goal for your blog, determine if your blog is meeting your needs, figure out what changes are needed and offer suggestions  to help you improve your blog.

I will also help you create a plan that will help you reach the goal that you have for your blog. If you want to reach a goal within a specific period, I will help you create a plan to reach that goal. I will also help you to track you progress, that’s it.

I will not be writing blog posts, EBooks, articles, emails, blog set-up or anything else. If the client is in need of these services, I will help them find suitable candidates to provide these services.

While I am capable of providing many of the services that a client needs, I believe that it will best serve me and my clients if I remained focused on one area: blogging.

I have chosen blogging, because I believe in blogging and the benefits that it can bring a business. I also believe that a blog is the hub to successful online and social media marketing program.

According to Hubspot research 57% of businesses who blog, gain new business. I can attest to this, because my business brings in 85-90% of its business from my blog.

So that’s the skinny of it.

My goal is to help my clients become better more efficient bloggers and to utilize their blogs to help them meet their business goals.

My goal is to start at the beginning. I will try to help my readers build a better blog. I will try some new things on my blog and tell you how they go. I will offer from time to time my blog as an experiment and let you know what I am trying and how things work out. I will put to test ideas that others have and let you know how things go and put to test some ideas that you offer.

My approach will be casual, because I am a casual type of person. Through reading my blog, I hope that you will get to know me and I will in turn get to know you.

I hope is that along the way we will all learn a lot and build great business blogs.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Jenn

 

Stop Writing Blog Content and Start Promoting Your Blog

Stop Writing Blog Content and Start Promoting Your Blog

In the past the belief was that you write lots of content to help your blog rank well in search engines. This is becoming harder and harder, especially with the constant changes with Google, the top search engine.

I am going to present a different approach. Instead of spending your time trying to put out content every day or several times a week, scale back your output.

If you are a new blogger, I am suggesting that you only write one good blog post a week. Assuming that you have already taken the steps to determine your topic, niche and audience, now you can concentrate on writing. If you are not a new blogger and currently post more than two blog posts a week, scale back to two posts per week.

Concentrate on writing a blog post that resonates with the audience that you are trying to reach. Information what they will find important and useful, and then write a good in-depth post. I am not talking a short book, but a few thousand words are good.

This is simple, if you are an estate planner targeting the LGBT community, you can write a guide to estate planning for LGBT individuals and couples. You write a beginners guide to estate planning and it covers about 2300 words.

Summarize the guide down to about 500 words of quick tips and advice for your blog post. Turn the full guide into an EBook or PDF Download and include an offer for the guide in your blog post.

After you have written your blog post, spend the next week promoting that blog post and guide. Get your post in front of as many people in your target audience as possible.

Promoting your blog post:

  • Get involved in groups and forums, promote your blog article and guide. Attach a link to all outgoing comments
  • Send a quick tips release to online publications promoting your guide that reaches your target market with a link back to your blog, preferably a landing page if you are going to build an email list.
  • Send a similar tip release to associations and organizations targeting your audience with a link to your post included
  • Write out 20 tips and tweet them out to your network with a link back to your blog post
  • Share your blog post on Facebook, Google, Stumbleupon, Digg, LinkedIn and any other social networking that you are involved
  • Turn your guide into a slideshare presentation
  • Any other way that you can think of to get your post read and guide downloaded

Recap:

Step 1: Write one in-depth article per week of at least 2000 words.

Step 2: Turn your in-depth article into an EBook or PDF for download

Step 3: Write a summary of your in-depth post of approximately 500 words.

Step 4: Promote the hell out of your blog post and in-depth article.

Why am I suggesting that you cut back your writing opposite of what all the blogging gurus and I have told you in the past? It is too damn hard to keep up with the changes that Google constantly makes and hard as hell to rank on the first page of Google these days.

So Stop It. 

SEO is not what is used to be, things have changed.

Social networking and sharing allows you to stop concentrating all your time writing thousands of posts to rank well on Google. It is all about getting what you have written in front of readers, where they hang out most often. It is about becoming involved in their groups and presenting them with information that they need.

Competition is fierce and it comes from all over the globe. Now is the time to focus on the audience you are trying to reach, penetrate and dominate before you expand to additional audiences.

It doesn’t matter how many blog posts your write, how great they are if nobody ever reads them. You can’t afford for Google to find, rank your blog hoping your readers find you. You have to get out there and promote the hell out of your blog posts.

Have Your Say:

What do you think about writing less often? Are you scared it will hurt your traffic? Do you see the benefit of spending more time promoting write and less time writing?

 

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