How To Make Your Promotional Products Amazing – Sticker Mule

How To Make Amazing Promotional Products

I have been looking at stickers for a while, coveting them and wanting to get some to promote my business, but I really never had that spark of creativity that would make them amazing..until now! Today’s post is about how to make your promotional products so amazing that people would pay for them.

Where I got them

So I checked out A LOT of sticker companies when I was looking for somewhere to do my stickers and Sticker Mule came out on top buy a big margin! Their pricing was great for the die cutting sticker that I wanted. There were a number of other places that would make round stickers or square stickers, but I really wanted to have a more interesting sticker than that.

The thought behind them

In the past I had ordered more self serving stickers that were my logo with a saying that people would take but they were just being nice. I didn’t want that to happen again, I wanted to make something that would make them WANT to get a sticker. Hell, one that they would be willing to pay for!

In his book, YouTility, Jay Baer says that your marketing needs to be so great that someone would be willing to pay money to get it. I wanted my stickers to be that…super cute and pay-worthy.

The design

Cartoon Bear from Deposit PhotosSo next was the design. It needed to be something cute, but what about marketing was cute? I could use a quote or something…then I was cruising DepositPhoto one day and came across a dumpy little bear who just made me smile!

I personally love bears and then when they dress them up like little bees, I am a goner! So I ordered the bear with an extended license and we were off to the races.

Now, I am super lucky that I am a graphic designer so I could add some stripes and wings to the bear, but if you aren’t no fear I have some ideas for you below.

Note on the Extended License: I am not a lawyer so check with yours if you have a question, BUT I wanted to talk just a tiny bit about extended licensing on stock photo sites. For most uses (like blog posts, book covers, even quote pictures) I can just use the regular license from the stock photo sites. But for this one I KNEW I was going to sell it so I wanted to make sure that I paid for the commercial rights. This cost $80 on Deposit, it costs $100 on Big Stock and if you use another site, you might want to check yours out. It is seriously not worth designing something beautiful to sell without paying for the right to use it!

The concept

Bee Brave Bear StickerNow we are getting down to the meat of the matter. If I made a bee bear that had Marketing Artfully all over it, what would I gain? Again, people would take it but they wouldn’t covet it! They wouldn’t sign up for contests to get it or give me their email and mailing address just to get a bee bear.

So I branded it with my name as the designer TaraJacobsen.com but not any commercial website or logo.

It is a HIT! My kids love it, my hubs loves it and my clients are digging on it!!! Wheeeee

Size

Now, I got the 2X2 stickers so I could give them out to everyone I see (the cost was really low because I had some referral money and they did a thing where you got $10 for tweeting about them). Generally it would have been about $70 for 100 which I thought was really affordable.

I also wanted to make sure that they would fit in my Erin Condren planner so tiny worked for me! The next time I order I am moving up to 4X4 so you can see my name and they are a little more substantial. But overall I am over the moon excited about my stickers!

Getting them designed

I have two suggestions for getting your stickers designed if you are not a graphics artist.

1. 99Designs.com – for a project like this I would definitely consider doing a contest for illustrators. It looks like it would cost between $149-249 to get something exactly what you want.

2. Fiverr.com – Fiverr has illustrators that work on spec too, but don’t let the title fool you on this one. A vector file from Fiverr will cost anywhere between $20-100 and that is what you need for a graphics product like stickers.

Selling them!

The last thing is that I AM selling them! Whoo whoo…:) I think they are definitely cute enough that people will want to pick one up from the Sticker Mule Marketplace.

Now, it would be great to think that I could just put my sticker up and make a ton of money off of selling it, but it doesn’t really work that way. I will have to promote my sticker on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. to get exposure and sell them.

Made In America

Last but not least, being from Pennsylvania and a rust belt, go USA kind of gal, I am proud to say that these were Made In America! Whoo whoo

Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for this post, I paid retail for my stickers and if you do click my link and order, I will get a discount on my next order of stickers and you will get a discount…:) Win, win!

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


Keywords For Business – Includes Startup, Entrepreneur, Marketing, Writing and Small Business SEO Terms

Keywords For Business - SEO Search Engine Keywords

I do a lot writing and helping to develop keywords and focuses for my business clients. While I have 15+ years experience of doing SEO work, sometimes it is just nice to have a starting point where you can set off from with your Adwords planning tool search or even just to figure out what to write about in a blog post.

These are broken down by my main business SEO and keyword interests and categories, they are not necessarily in some sort of “official” format.

Business and Entrepreneur SEO Keywords

  • Brick and Mortar Retail
  • Business Administration
  • Business Models
  • Business Networking
  • Business Owner
  • Business Plans
  • Business Relationships
  • Business Strategy
  • Business-To-Business
  • Companies
  • Digital Agencies
  • Ecommerce
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Human Resources
  • Import/Export
  • Industrial Design
  • Leaders
  • Leadership
  • Local Businesses
  • Local Marketing
  • Management
  • Management Consulting
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Organizational Culture
  • Organization Design
  • Project Management
  • Retail
  • Small and Medium Enterprise (SME)
  • Small Business
  • Small Business Advice
  • Small Business Marketing
  • Strategic Management
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Strategy
  • Strategic

 

Marketing and Social Media SEO Keywords

  • Advertising
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • B2B Marketing
  • Blogs
  • Brand Awareness
  • Brand Strategy
  • Brands and Branding
  • Broadcast Media
  • Cinematography
  • Commercial Media
  • Conferences and Conventions
  • Content Marketing
  • Email
  • Email Clients
  • Email Deliverability
  • Email Marketing
  • Event Planning
  • Hashtags
  • Internet Advertising
  • Guest Blogging
  • Making Friends
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Meeting New People
  • Mobile Advertising
  • Mottos
  • Movie Production
  • Names and Naming
  • Networking
  • New Media
  • Newsletters
  • Online Video
  • Personal Branding
  • Personal Networking
  • Press Releases Editing
  • Print Media
  • Printing
  • Product Branding
  • Professional Networking
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Public Speaking
  • Reputation Management
  • Slogans
  • Social Advice
  • Social Branding
  • Social Graph
  • Social Media
  • Social Media Management
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Spam (Email)
  • Taglines
  • Video Editing
  • Video Production
  • Web Marketing

 

Motivation and Goal Setting SEO Keywords

  • Ambition
  • Attention
  • Bad Habits
  • Caledaring
  • Concentration
  • Conversations
  • Distractions
  • Focus
  • Getting Things Done
  • Goal Setting
  • Habits
  • Inspiration
  • Learning
  • Masterminds
  • Motivation
  • Organization
  • Organizing
  • Personal Goals
  • Personal Productivity
  • Procrastination
  • Productivity
  • Productivity Hacks
  • Routines
  • Scheduling
  • Self Improvement
  • Self Motivation
  • Skills
  • Success
  • Systems
  • Task Management
  • Thinking
  • Time Management
  • Tips and Hacks
  • Work-Life Balance

 

Startups SEO Keywords

  • Angel Investing
  • Angel Investors
  • Bootstrapping
  • Business Ideas
  • Co-Founders
  • Copyright Infringement
  • Copyright Law
  • Crowdfunding
  • Equity Compensation
  • Growth Hacking
  • Hiring
  • How Does Company X Make Money
  • Ideas
  • Innovation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Internet Startups
  • Inventions
  • Lean Startups
  • Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)
  • Open Innovation
  • Patents
  • Pre-Launch Startups
  • Recruiting
  • Seed Funding
  • Seed Money
  • Social Innovation
  • Startup Advice and Strategy
  • Startup Acquisitions
  • Startup Business Models
  • Startup Compensation
  • Startup Founders
  • Startup Ideas
  • Startup Incubators
  • Startup Law
  • Startup Names
  • Startup Product Marketing
  • Startup Recruiting
  • Startup Traction
  • Technology Startups
  • Trademark Law
  • Trademarks
  • Valuations
  • Venture Capital
  • Venture Capital Firms
  • Venture Capital Investing
  • Young Entrepreneurs

 

Sales and Customer Service SEO Keywords

  • 10X
  • A/B Testing
  • Business Development
  • Cold Calling
  • Community Management
  • Consumer Products
  • Conversion Optimization
  • Customer Acquisition
  • Customer Demographics
  • Customer Development
  • Customer Experience
  • Customer Service
  • Consumer Services
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Freemium
  • Landing Pages
  • Lead Generation
  • Manufacturing
  • Metrics
  • Monetitization
  • Package Design
  • People Skills
  • Pricing
  • Product Design (Physical Goods)
  • Product Development
  • Product Launches
  • Product Management
  • Product Managers
  • Product Market Fit (PMF)
  • Product Marketing
  • Profitability
  • Prototyping
  • Revenue
  • Sales Commissions
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • User Acquisition

 

Search Engine and SEO Keywords

  • Content Strategy
  • Display Advertising
  • Google
  • Google Search
  • Google Search Rankings
  • Keyword Research
  • Link Building
  • Local Search
  • Pay Per Click
  • On-Page SEO
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Search Engines
  • Searching
  • SEM
  • SEO
  • SEO Tools
  • Social Search
  • Web Analytics
  • Web Search
  • Website Traffic

 

Psychology SEO Keywords

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Anxiety
  • Communication
  • Customer Demographics
  • Emotions
  • Extroverts and Extroversion
  • Human Behavior
  • Introverts and Introversion
  • Life Advice
  • Mental Health
  • Morals and Morality
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
  • Neuroscience
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Personality
  • Personality Traits
  • Personality Type – DISC
  • Personality Type – ENFP
  • Personality Type – ENTP
  • Personality Type – INFJ
  • Personality Type – INTJ
  • Personality Type – INTP
  • Personality Type – Myers Briggs
  • Philosphy
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology of Everyday Life
  • Social and Behavioral Norms
  • Social Anxiety
  • Social Psychology
  • Society
  • Sociology

 

Financial SEO Keywords

  • Accounting
  • Capitalism
  • Currencies
  • Economic History
  • Economics
  • Economics of Daily Life
  • Finance
  • Funding
  • Fundraising
  • Inflation
  • Investing
  • Investors
  • Macro Economics
  • Mathematics
  • Microeconomics
  • Money
  • Personal Finance
  • Private Equity
  • Stock Market
  • Taxes

 

Technology SEO Keywords

  • Cascading Style Sheets
  • Cloud Computing
  • Cloud Services
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Computer Programming
  • Computer Science
  • Current Events In Technology
  • Demand Side Platform (DSP)
  • Digital Advertising
  • Digtial Marketing
  • Digital Media
  • Digital Publishing
  • Digital Strategy
  • Digital Trends
  • Disruptive Technology
  • Enterprise Software
  • Game Theory
  • HTML
  • Information Retrieval
  • Java Script (Programming Language)
  • Mobile Applications
  • Mobile Payments
  • Mobile Phones
  • Online Shopping
  • PHP (Programming Language)
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
  • SaaS Marketing
  • Scalability
  • Silicon Valley
  • Software As A Service (SaaS)
  • Software Engineering
  • Technology Investing
  • Technology Trends
  • Usability
  • User Experience
  • User Interface Design
  • Web Applications
  • Web Design
  • Web Development
  • Websites
  • WordPress
  • Y Combinator

 

Graphic Design and Art SEO Keywords

  • Artists
  • Cameras
  • Computer Graphics
  • Creative
  • Creativity
  • Designers
  • Digital Arts
  • Digital Cameras
  • Digital Photography
  • Drawing
  • Fine Art
  • Freelancing
  • Google Fonts
  • Graphics
  • Iconography
  • Icons
  • Illustration
  • Illustrators
  • Image Manipulation
  • Imagination
  • Infographics
  • Interaction Design
  • Logo Design
  • Logos
  • Painting and Paintings (Art)
  • Photo Editing
  • Photography
  • Sketching
  • Typeface Design
  • Typeface Identification
  • Typefaces & Fonts
  • Vector Graphics
  • Visual Artists
  • Visual Arts
  • Web Design Best Practices
  • Web Fonts
  • Web Typography

 

Writing SEO Keywords

  • Adages
  • Bloggers
  • Blogging Platforms
  • Book Writing
  • Citizen Journalism
  • Copywriting
  • Creative Writing
  • Diction and Word Usage
  • English Grammar
  • English Language
  • Freelance Writers
  • Grammar
  • Helvetica
  • Idioms
  • Journalistic Ethics and Norms
  • Journalists
  • Language
  • Linguistics
  • Literary Agents
  • Magazine Publishing
  • News
  • Newspapers
  • Novelists
  • Online Journalism
  • Phrases
  • Poems
  • Poets
  • Presentations
  • Press Coverage
  • Proverbs
  • Punctuation
  • Reading
  • Sayings
  • Screenwriting
  • Slang
  • Speech
  • Spelling
  • Stories
  • Storytelling
  • Tech News
  • Television Writing
  • Typography
  • Words
  • Writers
  • Writing Fiction

 

Books SEO Keywords

  • American Literarture
  • Authors
  • Book Publishing
  • Book Recommendations
  • Children’s and Young Adult Books
  • eBook Readers
  • eBooks
  • Fantasy (genre)
  • Fiction
  • Fictional Characters
  • Getting Published
  • iBooks
  • Kindle
  • Literary Analysis and Criticism
  • Literary Fiction
  • Literature
  • Non-Fiction
  • Novels
  • Poetry
  • Publishing
  • Self-Publishing
  • Short Stories

 

History SEO Keywords

  • Battle Tactics
  • Government
  • History of the United States
  • Military History and Wars
  • Military Strategy
  • US Politics American Culture
  • US Presidents
  • The United States
  • World War 1

 

Science SEO Keywords

  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Color Schemes
  • Color Vision Deficiency
  • Colors (Vision)
  • Current Events In Science
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Extraterrestrial Life
  • Evolution
  • Eyes
  • Geology
  • Gravity
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Optics
  • Physics
  • Physics of Everyday Life
  • Planetary Science
  • Science Behind Science Fiction
  • Space Exploration
  • Space Travel
  • Stars
  • Thermodynamics
  • Time (Physics)
  • Visible Light
  • Vision (Eyesight)

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


As this is a post about SEO and keyword search terms for business, I would be remiss not to mention that it does have keywords including Startup, Entrepreneur, Marketing, Writing and Small Business!

Christmas Quotes For Business and Clients

Christmas Quotes For Business and Clients

This post is all about Christmas quotes for business (some with pictures) that are appropriate for sharing on your social sites. I am super happy that you found these and please feel free to share the pictures anywhere you like as long as you leave the MarketingArtfully.com branding on there.

Christmas Quotes

Now, the essence, the very spirit of Christmas is that we first make believe a thing is so, and lo, it presently turns out to be so.
– Stephen Leacock

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.
– Mary Ellen Chase

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. – Mary Ellen Chase

Don’t let the past steal your present. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.
– Taylor Caldwell

One thing I love about Christmas music is that it has a tradition of warmth.
– Zooey Deschanel

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
– Benjamin Franklin

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
– Winston Churchill

Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.
– Edna Ferber

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.
– Bob Hope

Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends. - Margaret ThatcherAt Christmas, all roads lead home.
– Marjorie Holmes

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.
– Charles M. Schulz

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
– Charles Dickens

Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.
– Margaret Thatcher

Christmas is the day that holds all time together.
– Alexander Smith

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.
– Eric Sevareid

Christmas Gifts

The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value. - Charles Dudley WarnerMay Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!
– Author Unknown

Every gift which is given, even though is be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.
– Pindar

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.
– Peg Bracken

The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.
– Charles Dudley Warner

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.
– Hubert H. Humphrey

Christmas Love Quotes

Christmas… is not an external event at all, but a piece of one’s home that one carries in one’s heart.
– Freya Stark

Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.
– Author Unknown

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!
– Hamilton Wright Mabie

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.
– W.T. Ellis

Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.
– Janice Maeditere

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?
– Bob Hope

As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is. ~Eric Sevareid

Christian Quotes

When you give up yourself, that’s when you will feel the true spirit of Christmas. And that’s giving that’s serving others and that’s when you feel fulfilled.
– Joel Osteen

Christmas is a time to open our hearts to God and his gifts. Just like the rest of the year.
– Author Unknown

There has been only one Christmas — the rest are anniversaries.
– W.J. Cameron

The Spirit of Christmas

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
– Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. – Norman Vincent Peale

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.
– Harlan Miller

Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles.
– Author Unknown

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things — not the great occasions — give off the greatest glow of happiness.
– Bob Hope

Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.
– Pope John XXIII

Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
– Calvin Coolidge, 1927

Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance — each beautiful, unique and too soon gone.
– Deborah Whipp

Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance — each beautiful, unique and too soon gone. – Deborah Whipp

Keep your Christmas-heart open all the year round.
– Jessica Archmint

Christmas Marketing Quotes

“Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more....”  - Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it.
– Katharine Whitehorn

The Christmas season has come to mean the period when the public plays Santa Claus to the merchants.
– John Andrew Holmes

The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world.
– Author Unknown

“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more….”
– Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Christmas Tree Quotes

The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.
– Andy Rooney

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
– Roy L. Smith

Funny Christmas Quotes

The one thing women don’t want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband.
– Joan Rivers

Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live.
– George Carlin

Santa is jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.
– Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home

The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.
– Johnny Carson

Three phrases that sum up Christmas are: Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not Included.
– Author Unknown

What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.
– Phyllis Diller

Santa Quotes

Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Clause. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?
– Jon Bon Jovi

Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Clause. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don't, who will? - Jon Bon Jovi

There you have it! My best Christmas quotes for business and clients!

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


Marketing For Authors – Grow Your Email List

Marketing For Authors - Grow Your Email ListIf you are a writer who wants to sell more books, this is my #1 marketing tip for authors…grow your email list!

All of us struggle with some aspect of marketing and mostly I hear that authors want to stay behind their computers, tip-tap typing away and not having to worry about marketing their books. If you are that type of writer, this post is for you! Many of the email marketing tips that I am going to give you are “set it and forget it” strategies that you can simply make a part of your business and stop having to keep reinventing the wheel.

#1 Tip – Have a free offer or lead magnet

There are still few people out there on the internet who are willing to sign up with their email address for a “newsletter”, but most of us are not all that interested in getting another newsletter. Instead we are playing the “What’s In It For Me Channel” in our heads and we want something of value in exchange for our email address.

For nonfiction authors this is super easy, you can give a free report away that has the same content or theme as your book.

For fiction authors, this is actually even easier! Remember that your readers are voracious and curious about the characters and worlds you have developed. For example, if you wrote Hunger Games you could give your readers an “official” map of Panem. Anything that makes them feel like they are getting to go behind the scenes is great!

Note: Any of the email providers will allow you to send out a digital file when someone signs up for your list. If you are brand new I recommend Mailchimp.com and if you are serious about doing marketing on the internet I recommend Infusionsoft paired with LeadPages.

#2 Tip – Send a weekly or biweekly broadcast email

So now you have started growing your list and anxiety will set in. How often do you have to come up with something to send these people?

If you are truly a schmoe, you could send them something only when you are launching a book. That really warms the cockles of their hearts to know that the only time you want to talk to them is when you are asking them to support you.

On the other hand, almost no one wants to hear from you on a daily basis. So we are somewhere between every couple of years and every day. I would say definitely at least every other week if not every week. This is enough to keep them interested and they won’t forget you!

#3 Tip – Have an autoresponder or “drip” series after they sign up

Yay! You got someone to sign up for your list…whoo whoo. Now what? If you are trying to build relationships, it probably is a good idea to email them a series of autoresponders or a drip campaign for the next few weeks, every few days. This will help to cement your new relationship.

Just make sure that it is relevant to the initial offer that they signed up for!

#4 Tip – Ask them to sign up on your social media accounts!

It is really easy to make a banner that is clickable on Facebook and Google Plus that provides your free offer. On Twitter and Instagram you can include your free offer in your website link and on LinkedIn, you can include your offer in your description.

Remember, your number one goal is to get people into your database so every time they come to your social, they should be able to sign up!

Clickable Link On Facebook

#5 Tip – Have more than one free offer!

As you are in business longer and have more assets to share, it is really good to offer more than one Free lead magnet. Think about Saturday morning in those huge discount store. As you walk around you get offered a variety of different items to sample and you probably pick and choose amongst your favorites.

Not everyone will like the same kind of free offer so it is worth offering a variety in order to get the most signups possible!

Free offer examples

Well that is a good start on email marketing for authors. You will be surprised how easy it is to grow your list when you really start making it a priority.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


Feels Good Affiliate Marketing Overview and Tools That I Use

Feels Good Affiliate Marketing And Tools I Use

Today’s post is going to out to Kir mostly and a teeny bit for Sean who have questions about affiliate marketing or how to sell their own products on their websites!

Overview

I titled this post “feels good” affiliate marketing because I really believe that you can either have an income or supplement your income with selling products that you believe in and use every day. That said, I have done this multiple times over the years half heartedly and had between AMAZING (promoting Infusionsoft actively) to meh, promoting a whole bunch of different things randomly.

With that in mind, here is my take on Affiliate Marketing and how it can be done with elegance and grace!

What Do You Use Every Day?

The one way I find affiliate products to post easily is to check on every type of product I use day-to-day to see if they have an affiliate program. The easiest way to find them is to go to the bottom of the page and see if they have an “affiliate” link. For an easy way to see this, GoDaddy has a link at the bottom of their page directly to their affiliate program.

Godaddy affiliate program

The other thing you can do is check and see if any of the things you log into have a referral link inside your account. I didn’t even have to ask lead pages to join their program, they give everyone a link in their account info!

Finding Affiliate Products

Complying with the FTC Rules

FTC Disclosure on TwitterOne thing to realize is that you have to disclose that you are selling something when you promote an affiliate offer. Just this week, a ruling came down that said if you are posting a tweet directly to an affiliate link, you need to indicate that is to an advertisement.

As you can see in this Twitter post, it is super easy to include an (ad) or (spon) – for sponsored – designation. Of course I am not a lawyer (so check with one if you have a question), but it does seem that as long as your intention is not to rip people off, and you disclose on your site or in your posts that it is an affiliate link, you will be okay!

Making Affiliate Marketing Videos

My first step when promoting a product is to make a video showing the features and benefits. This doesn’t have to beautiful or perfect, in fact it will be better if it isn’t perfect. Think about it, we all hate to watch commercials (Tivo built a whole company around the fact that you could fast forward through the commercials).

Once you have some videos that you can use to show why YOU love that product, you can put them on a web page that helps to sell the product or service even more, like on our Infusionsoft affiliate marketing recommendation page.

BRILLIANT For Sharing Affiliate Links (or sell your stuff)

The last thing I want to talk about is the little picture links below. Seriously, I have spent A LOT of time searching the internet for a way to make easy tables that I could put affiliate links into. The problem was making them look nice and then you would have to manage all those links and if you had a change you would have to go back and change them all individually.

This solution comes from the world of the craft girls. They are selling machines and they use this InLinkz program to make sharing affiliate links easy peasy!


Multi Channel Marketing – Setting Up Your Content Marketing Strategy

Multi Channel Marketing - Setting Up Your Content Marketing StrategyWhen you are a huge content producer, you have funny problems that other people might not understand. Then if you add on diverse interests of the Renaissance Entrepreneur to the mix and you have a whole big beautiful mess!

Today I going to thinking aloud about a multichannel content marketing strategy for myself and my clients, the Self Publishing Podcast guys (who are PROLIFIC content creators, but not all that good at sharing all the content they develop!)

If you are a huge content creator, this may be understandable and the most frustrating part of your empire. It is great to produce all of this, but if it doesn’t ever go anywhere, what good is having all of it. You will achieve some success just because of the shear volume of data out there, but how much could you multiply that by if you took the time to actually make sure it is on the sites that matter for each type of content?

Multi Channel Marketing

Start with this! Everyone knows that creating A LOT of content is important. But what and how it is managed AFTER it is done is the key to making it work for your business.

Content is fire, social media is gasoline….Jay Baer

Some of the Multi Channel Marketing outlets that we are going to be looking at include the top 15 websites that Jay references:

  • Google (search engine)
  • YouTube (video)
  • Facebook (social media)
  • Yahoo (search engine)
  • Amazon (sales site)
  • Wikipedia (reference)
  • Twitter (social media)
  • Bing (search engine)
  • Ebay (sales site)
  • MSN (reference)
  • Microsoft (sales site)
  • LinkedIn (social media)
  • Pinterest (social media)
  • Ask (reference)
  • WordPress (blogging platform)

So based on this list there are 4 social media sites in the Top 15, 3 search engines, 3 reference sites, 3 sales sites, 1 video site and 1 blogging platform.

Awesome data from ebizmba.com

What’s The Point

So we get that having content on some or all of these channels is key to…well to doing what exactly?

This will depend a lot on what you are trying to accomplish. For me, I want to get eyeballs on my website so I can sell them my Marketing Strategy Workbook and coaching services or recommend affiliate products that they will love. With that in mind, I have little icons with recommended products and services at the bottom of many of my pages (and just came to a realization today that having them at the bottom of each post is the most important thing on my list of to-dos, effective right now). (see them in action at the bottom of the page here)

For the SPP (Self Publishing Podcast guys), we have to figure out what the point is! It could be to sell more fiction books on Amazon (#5 on the top website list, but where there are competitors), get people on their email marketing list (which means getting them to their website) or even to just increase awareness of their podcast.

Whatever your goal is, it is really important to make sure that every bit of your marketing strives to accomplish that goal.

Sales Funnel

So my sales funnel is pretty good, up to a point. I have great content across a wide range of channels. I have most of it directed towards my website and I have a really cool data capture form from Lead Pages that prompts them to give me their email address.

Lead Pages Data Capture Box  - Marketing Artfully

Where it sort of comes off of the rails is my frequency of mailing my list. I am not consistent enough with my list to really make them anticipate my great content…sigh. Even if all I did was recap all the bits that I had produced that week, it would still be better than the lame-email effort I am exerting now.

Note: I added sending a newsletter once a week to my calendar. Seriously if it isn’t even on my calendar how can I ever hope to complete it!

Where To Share

So now let’s take a look at the multiple channels and where the best marketing opportunities are. This is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of all the available channels, just a little flavor of the things that we are considering as we set up each kind of channel.

So as I meandered through my “stuff” and the guys “stuff” which have two totally different target markets, it becomes blatantly clear that no matter what your product is, having a goal for your distribution is vital.

Hopefully this helps…Tara

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


The Top 50 Best Kinds Of Realtor Postcards | Realtor Marketing

The Top 50 Best Kinds Of Realtor Postcards

Today’s post is going to be kinda fun! I have a very popular post on my website about Realtor Postcards – Funny Realtor Postcards that just cracks me up, but today’s post is a little different. Here are 50 of the best kinds of postcards that you can send out to your clients, prospects and past clients to generate leads and make more sales.

Why Realtor Postcards

Tweet: 50 Best Kinds Of #Realtor Postcards http://ctt.ec/Oedgq+Before we get to the list, let’s just talk a little bit about why I am such a proponent of sending postcards. I was an active Realtor in the state of Florida from 2007-2008 during probably the worst time in history to work that market. But I thrived because I did direct mail campaigns right into the neighborhoods I was trying to target AND sent postcards to my sphere. My fellow agents were super jealous about how many “come list me’s” I got from the stupid postcards I sent.

Fast forward to 2013…5 years after I sent my last postcard and the first year I didn’t get a referral commission from them. This is because of two things… 1) people got them and put them in their drawer to remember who to call when they needed a Realtor and 2) because I often sent out beautiful cards that were suitable for framing or hanging on a bulletin board. I do that to this day! Here are two of my most recent designs for followup thank you note postcards!

Cute Thank You Postcards

The one thing to remember is that it doesn’t cost any more to send a great design than it does to send out a plain old boring, run of the mill crappy Realtor postcard.

The Best General Realtor Postcards

  • Notification of type of market (Hurry up and BUY, it is a buyers market, OR Hurry up and sell, it’s a sellers market)
  • #1 Realtor Complaint, Lack of Communication! We are just a phone call away (picture of a phone)
  • Did you know I can help buy or sell anywhere in the country? (sell into the fact that as a referring agent you can help be on their side if anything goes wrong)
  • Wanted…your real estate referrals (with the old west look)

The Best Postcards For Buyers

  • Sellers Now Is Time To Make Your MoveLooking for a new pad? (with a picture of a frog!)
  • Bring your hardhat and get a great deal on a new construction home
  • Do you know how much home can you afford? (first time buyers)
  • It costs twice as much to rent as to own, find out why (first time buyers, mailed into apartments)
  • Stop paying someone else’s mortgage and get your own home
  • On the fence about whether to buy? Now is a great time to get into a new home!
  • Want to own your own home? I can help!
  • Do your kids need their own rooms? Get a bigger house today! (sent into “starter neighborhoods)
  • Stop walking the dog…get Fido a yard! (with a picture of a really cute dog!)
  • Pick your neighbors! Do you know anyone who is looking to buy near you?
  • Stop paying rent (with burning money)
  • Looking for a new home (animal with big eyes)

The Best Postcards For Sellers

  • Neighbor Only Open HouseNeighbor only open house
  • Just Listeds (sent to 100 homes around your listing)
  • Just Listeds (sent to your sphere)
  • “Neighborhood expert” cards
  • % of sides sold in the last year if you are farming
  • Confused about how much your home is worth? Call today to get the real price!
  • Puzzled over why your home hasn’t sold? (puzzle piece)
  • If they can’t find your house on the internet, there is a good chance they will never know it is for sale!
  • Home for sale inventory is low and I have a buyer looking in your neighborhood…thinking of selling?
  • You bring the boxes, we’ll bring the buyers (with a picture moving boxes)

The Best Postcards For Expireds

  • Don't just list your house, get it soldDon’t just list your house again, find out how to get it SOLD!
  • Expired listing specialist (we specialized in working with homes that did not sell the first time)
  • Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result
  • 5 reasons your home might not have sold
  • The #1 reason homes don’t sell (and how you can fix it!)

Holiday Themed Postcards

  • Make Your Resolution To Buy A New HouseRing in the New Year with a new home! (sent at New Years)
  • I would LOVE to help you find your first home (sent at Valentines day)
  • Save some green on your new home! I will negotiate you the best deal possible (sent at St. Patricks Day)
  • Don’t be a fooled, the real estate market is great for (buyers, sellers) right now (sent April Fools Day)
  • Hop on over to see our new listings (sent for easter – picture of bunny and your website)
  • Skip the toaster and get Mom what she really wants this year! A new house! (sent for Mothers Day)
  • Declare independence from your old home! (sent at 4th of July)
  • Let me get to work selling your home for a top price! (sent Labor Day)
  • Don’t be spooked by the real estate market! It is fang-tastic! (sent Halloween)
  • Thanks for thinking of me to sell your home! (prospecting card sent to farm on Thanksgiving)
  • Wish you could find a great Realtor? (turkey wishbone at Thanksgiving)
  • Did you ask Santa for a new home this year? Shhhhh….he told me! (sent Christmas)

Helpful Tips

  • Pool safety tips
  • Fireplace safety tips
  • Days to fly the American flag
  • How to winterize your home
  • Top 10 remodeling projects that will make you the most when you sell
  • 10 Tips for Getting The Most Money On Your Home Sale

Alrighty then, hopefully this list of the best kind of Realtor Postcards to send helps. I have to say that having spent the last couple of hours looking at sites offering realtor marketing for great designs, the pickings are pretty slim out there. Instead of paying good money for sending some kind of crap design, make sure you take a little time and figure out a really cute card to send that might actually get noticed!

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


Where You Sell Matters – Marketing For Startups

Where you sell matters - Marketing For StartupsMy daughter and I are having a contest to see who can “sell the most used stuff on Ebay”. This came about because we have a friend, Tena, who is making $2,000 a month extra income, finding “stuff” and shipping it out to people who want said stuff. Tena hired my daughter to take pictures of her items and now we are hooked. We are trying to figure out what to sell and how to sell it.

This is super fun for me because it definitely is having a “startup” feeling to it. While I work with people starting their businesses from scratch often, it has been a very long time since I have have started my business from the dead stop of being a startup.

This post is less about “what I would do if I was just starting out now” which seems like a cop-out considering I really don’t know what I would do, and more about making smart marketing choices when you are a startup so that you can have the most impact possible fast out of the gate.

Selling Products

If you are a startup selling a product, chances are your website is not a hotbed of activity YET (now this is not to say that it will never be, but building a business plan on getting or paying for web traffic is going to take some time or money to accomplish).

With that in mind, I think it would be great to check out places that you can find to sell your product or service where there are already eyeballs.

Bonus: The cool thing about this is that you can “test out” your ideas and concepts here without building a huge platform or massive content. A little of that “try often and fail fast mentality”. I have to say that I just did this. I worked in manufacturing years ago and know what I am doing, but it is not a first love. That said, I did launch a couple of products and got a couple of RFQs in. Doing it that way allowed me to see that this is not my path WITHOUT building something huge and taking months of effort on something that will eventually peter out anyways.

Of course I can’t give you every example under the sun, but I can try and point you in the right direction or at least get your thinking headed that way!

Udemy (Courses)

If you are thinking about selling a course on your website and you have the same kind of traffic I do (about 15,000-20,000 hits a month or less), I would recommend that you post your course on Udemy instead. This is a site that is dedicated to providing training from a whole host of different people.

According to Alexa, a company that monitors website traffic, Udemy ranks 829 in the world for website traffic (634 in the US). Considering my site is ranked 67,006 in the US, there is a very strong possiblility that any course I would sell would get much more exposure if listed on Udemy than if I just try to sell it from my website!

Ebay or Etsy? (New or Handcrafted Products)

One thing that has become very clear as we have researched what to sell on which site is that Ebay is much better for certain types of products. If you have a lot of new something or others, list it on Ebay. But if you are trying to sell vintage dress patterns, you might be better off to hit the Etsy store.

I am not saying that you should take your products or services and throw them up against the wall to see what will stick. Instead you need to really research the sites that you are considering using and then make sure your product or service is a good match for their users. A little time spent on this step might make a huge difference in your success rate down the line!

Amazon or your website? (Selling Content and Books)

It is weird how little information sells for on Amazon. Many of my clients have $97 Ebooks that are truly a value for the specialized information they are teaching their readers, but that kind of price point freaks Amazon out. Most books are listed on Amazon between $0.99-19.99 with just a smattering over that price point.

When you are considering whether to use Amazon at this point, instead you should be selling a digital ebook that is a much lower price and then have “funnels” set up in place to move them from your $.99 ebook over to your $100 offering.

Part of know where you are selling is whether the price point you have to adhere to will allow you to feed your family. While Amazon is an amazing marketplace for books, you have to sell A LOT of them to make enough money to survive and thrive.

Writing Articles

Last but not least let’s look at where you are posting your content. On your website is great of course, but if you do not have a huge readership yet, you might want to consider posting some of your words as guest posts on other people sites.

Yeah, I know you hear that a lot, just guest post, but what if no one will give you a chance? Then you need to start out by providing your own “guest posting” opporutuiies by publishing on LinkedIn or even Medium.com which both allow you to set up accounts and say whatever you want for free!

Conclusion

My husband is programmer and so we get to see a lot of messed up things. And then sometimes I do them myself. I found the really cool program that makes the little links to resources (like below). I went to Johnny all happy and asked if he could make that for me and BAM..totally shut down. He said it would take several hundred, if not a thousand hours to build that same product that I can buy for $5 a month.

Maybe it is because I have that immediate feedback loop, but I always try and start with something that is off the shelf for my marketing before thinking that I have to reinvent the wheel. I know it is isn’t perfect sometimes, but anytime you can use an established platform that already has momentum, I have to think that is the best place to start and test everything first.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


Renaissance Entrepreneurs – Multi Channel Marketing

Renaissance Entrepreneurs - Multi Channel Marketing

Today we are going to be taking about multi channel marketing, renaissance entrepreneurs. What I mean when I say this is that there is a portion of the business population who are multi-faceted and multi-talented and who don’t want to get smushed down into a box. They want to be able to pursue their passions across multiple channels and learn about all different kinds of things that interest them.

Definition of a Renaissance Man

Miriam Webster defines a “Renaissance Man” as “a cultured man of the Renaissance who was knowledgeable, educated, or proficient in a wide range of fields.”

Definition of a Renaissance Entrepreneur

Since Miriam was sorely lacking in a definition for Renaissance Entrepreneurs, let’s get this out there so we can move on!

Renaissance Entrepreneurs are smart, passionate business people who are knowledgable, educated and proficient in a wide range of fields AND who share that knowledge with the world through building brands and companies that change the world.

I think that last part is super important to me because in this article we are talking about men and women who don’t just have these kinds of interests and passions, but they are compelled to go out, learn about a genre and then turn and around and share it with the world via media properties like YouTube, podcasting, websites, books, movies and the like.

History of Renaissance Entrepreneurs

While there are hundreds of entrepreneurs from history that we could talk about, let’s just look at a couple that fit in super nicely with this theme and who will give you a great overview of what Renaissance Men looked like while it was still socially acceptable to be brilliant at lots of things!

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is one of my all time favorite old time content creators. Leonardo lived from April of 1452 to May of 1519, making him an old man for his time at 67 years when he passed. He was one of the first people who came to mind when I thought about “Big Content” which we will discuss later. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. According to art historian. Helen Gardner, he was “a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”. Hmmm sound like anyone you know?

Leonardo produced great works of art like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but he also delved into anatomy with with the Vitruvian Man, and came up with ideas for flying machines and manufacturing techniques.

facts about Leonardo from Wikipedia

Benjamin Franklin

Renaissance Men In BusinessBenjamin lived from January of 1706 to April of 1790, making him 84 when he passed (authors note: I have found that many of the true entrepreneurs and Renaissance men lived longer than the general population!) Ben was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. How neat is it that he was an actual media publisher, having owned the Pennsylvania Chronicle with two partners where he served as an editor and printer. “He became wealthy publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin was also the printer of books for the Moravians of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1742 on)”

Along with his media activities and political affiliations, Ben played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania.

facts about Benjamin from Wikipedia

Who Are Multi Channel Entrepreneurs

Now that we have seen some of our brethren from the past, let’s talk about who Multi Channel Entrepreneurs are. Specifically they are entrepreneurs who don’t just have a lot of different interests that the float around to and from. Instead these are the rock stars who are not afraid to take risks and make something happen even though it can sometimes feel like they are jumping all over the place.

Here are some of my favorites from the current world of Renaissance Entrepreneurs:

Umbrella or Theme

I am feeling like there are are definitely two different kinds of Renaissance Entrepreneurs, those that have overlapping interests on a venn diagram and those that have all kinds of different interests that don’t necessarily make sense to anyone but them.

Venn Diagram of Entrepreneurs

While the overlapping circles are my recommendation, people like Marie Forleo definitely show that having totally diverse interests is possible.

That said, there is a one thing that IS an umbrella for all Marie’s diverse bits, Marie herself. So even in the most extreme case I can find, there is still some kind of umbrella that covers all of her interests.

The Internet and Big Content

As you can see from the video above, Renaissance Entrepreneurs not only have diverse interests but, to be successful, they have to also show an outward manifestation of their work by producing BIG Content. This is where the Multi Channel marketing piece comes in. It is not just enough to have interests, but the turning point comes when they start producing content across a wide variety of channels. These can include:

  • Blogging
  • Books
  • Podcasting
  • Videos
  • Social media
  • Graphics
  • Quotes
  • Tshirts
  • Stickers

Entrepreneurs and like snowflakesFunctionally any sort of media that teaches, provides beauty or even just adds to the common good of humanity. It has been so interesting to me over the years, having spoken to almost 1,000 entrepreneurs that no two were going about their business in the same manner and that none shared exactly the same traits.

Renaissance Entrepreneurs are like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same!

Pitfalls To Being A Multi Channel Entrepreneur

The thing about being multi-faceted that is nice is all the rabbit holes you can chase down during a day, finding new things to learn about and being curious. The un-nice thing about being a Renaissance Entrepreneur is you can totally be so scattered and disorganized that nothing ever comes to fruition and you spend years working in circles with nothing to show for it.

There is a reason that the “squirrel” thing is so funny (that entrepreneurs see new shiney objects and yell squirrel, heading off in a new direction), it is because it is based in truth.

Have To Have Focus (Three Things)

While you can have multiple interests and goals, humans really cannot multi-task (Forbes says so, Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work).

With that in mind, I (and all my coaching clients) focus on three things for three months. This makes us more structured and helps achieve more that we could if were all over the place doing a million things all at once.

After doing this for years, I have found that doing one or two things only bores entrepreneurs and that doing more than three becomes a juggling act that can’t be sustained effectively. Three is the perfect number! Additionally, putting a three month timeline on it make it much more likely that the entrepreneur will stick with it. Having to commit for a year is sometimes too long to sustain and committing for only a few weeks or a month doesn’t give anything time to work. Definitely three months is the magic number.

Old Dead Stuff Lying Around

If you are a true entrepreneur you probably have a bunch of “stuff” lying around. One time I had to delete over 10 websites that no longer served my purposes, totally built out, I paid for them for years, websites. There are two things to consider as a Renaissance Entrepreneur:

1. You might well be able to recycle something. One of my old sites was just hanging around and I considered letting her go, but instead I re-branded her with a realtor focus theme. While there was not a great benefit to having that site used, there were backlinks and other bits that made using it worthwhile.

2. Letting go of old bits feels SO good. If you have old ideas, plans and concepts lying around it can feel like you failed at a bunch of stuff. That you have tried and not completed many different things. Of course that is not true (as we will talk about in the next section) but stumbling upon some old videos or a blog that you abandoned can feel like unearthing a true dinosaur (and not the fun Barney type, the Jurassic Park, eat you type). If there really is a section of your business that is not serving you now, let it go! Take it down, delete the files, and truly let it go so that you won’t keep “tripping” over it in the future.

NOT Failure

I belong to Chris Brogan’s daily-ish email group and one day he sent out a message that really hit a nerve with me about blowing everything up and starting over. I emailed back revealing that I had just had to shut down part of my business and take a step back and that it felt like a failure. This is what he said that helped so much…

“Failure’s just an outcome you didn’t expect. Remove some of the emotion from it and you’ll see that it’s all about learning and growing. If I were still sad that Grasshopper New Media wasn’t what I wanted it to be back in 2006, you and I wouldn’t be here.” Chris Brogan

I can’t say it any better than that. Having to shift or reverse to get going again or any other “setback” can feel like failure, but thinking that it was just an outcome you didn’t expect feels SO much better!

Changing the World

When I doing a video or writing a post or making a picture, I just hope it will help one person. Now some of my posts, books or pictures have achieved some level of success, but at the core all my goal is to make sure that I am doing my best to produce great content that will help someone be a better entrepreneur, business owner or person.

I love the Startfish Story that talks about a young boy throwing starfish back into the sea and the idea that while he can’t save them all, the ones that he saves are helped immeasurably by his actions. Your content going out into the world is like that. It is helping people and making them better at something. Keep doing it…you are changing the world.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


The Starfish Story

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

Awesome Branding For Your Social Media Properties

Awesome Branding For Your Social Media PropertiesToday we are going talk about the look and feel for the branding of your social media graphics.

This might be sorta long, but I think if you are redoing your site or having a designer working on it, it is worth taking the time to understand all the bits and thoughts that go into redoing your look and feel to make it branded and cohesive across platforms.

Rebranding My Website

So part of this has been a long time coming. I have spent over 8 years tinkering around and trying to figure out a look and feel I would like for my “stuff”. I have had the site be predominantly acid green which I use for my logo and promotional items, I have gone “corporate” like the last iteration and everything in between.

What I did differently this time that I think was extremely effective was to start with the colors and pictures that I like in mind and work backward from there. I picked the palette of the really bright pink, blue, yellow and green and then selected photos that we still colorful and lively but didn’t compete with the colored dots and other things going on on the page.

Marketing Artfully Website Redesign

If you would like to read more about the website redesign check out my post 4 Things To Focus On When You Are Updating Your WordPress Website

Additionally I made sure to “brand” each area of my website. Because I publish for a variety of different channels (like Realtors, Authors, Entrepreneurs, and Speakers) I had to make sure that each of these genres was easily identifiable when checking out its section of the website.

Marketing Artfully Multicasting Banners

Branding For Social Media

So now we are moving over to social media. I do want there to be a clear correlation between my website and the graphics they see on the social so that when they come over it is very plain that they have reached the right place. Now, this can be much harder when you are managing multiple brands or websites in your company and we will be talking about this in a future post. For now, lets just consider that I have different areas for each of my target markets.

The key to making this work is to have some consistent elements so that people know they are in the right place, but not make it so vanilla that I get bored and want to change everything again in two months (which is always a possibility). Instead I would rather get something set in stone for at least the first six months of the coming year so that I can put a pin in this part of my marketing and do other, funner stuff!

Twitter Social Media Branding

So I am starting with Twitter because it is a little kerfuffly. The banner is really short and wide and cuts off on phones so I need to make sure I know the right dimensions to use.

an amazing post and description of the dynamic properties of the twitter header – click here

Here is my Twitter banner and the overlay from the referenced post to show how it will cut off. Now, I think it does a good job, but short of a plain gray box, there is nothing that will show up perfectly on every device and you will make yourself insane trying to get it to work. This is definitely a case of “good enough is good enough”.

Marketing Artfully Twitter Banner With Overlay

Here are my old banner and my new one.

Marketing Artfully - New banner in place

Facebook Social Media Branding

Okay, Facebook is a little different. They have maintained about the same size for a while but they go back and forth on whether you can use calls to actions to get people to do things (and you definitely can’t say anything about “liking” your page)

With that in mind you need to make sure that you have a strong call to action offer that they can receive when they “click through” your banner. Here is my new banner and below it the template that I used to make sure there was no overlap on the areas where the avatar and buttons were…

Facebook Banner With Clickable Link

here are some fun post examples about how to make “clickable banners”

Google Plus

Google Plus is a behemoth banner and you can also do the “click here” link on it. One thing to remember is that there is A LOT of real estate to cover and if you try to do too much it can get cluttered.

Google Plus Page Banners

Peg Fitzpatrick is my absolute favorite Google Plus guru…read her take on Google Plus profiles here

LinkedIn Banner

Not as sexy but still important to hit is the LinkedIn Banner. While LinkedIn may never be your favorite network, having all the “bits” filled out will assure that you get more response on your connection requests.

Marketing Artfully LinkedIn Banner

Special Bonus

All of this is well and good because I already have my creative done, but what if you are trying to figure out what to have for your look and feel. Here is a video that I did showing the process of developing creative for a client.

Well hopefully all that helped to see how to have Awesome Branding For Your Social Media Properties! Following are some of my favorite tools for accomplishing all this creative lovelyness.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


Nerdy Copywriting – How To Find Topics To Write About For Your Blog

Nerdy Copywriting  How To Title Your Blog PostsSo today’s nerdy copywriting post is about how to use back end analytics data to find out what to write about on your blog posts. Today I am going to lift my skirt and show behind the scenes of my Google Analytics and Webmaster tools to see how I figure out hot blog topics.

Disclaimer – This will not work if you are just starting out. I would think that you need to have at least 100 blog posts under your belt to be able to reverse engineer trends and what is working for your website. Startup friends, I do enough sites for other people that I promise I will do something that will work for you soon!

Why You Should Do Research

It is easy to get going on your blog and just think that everything is hunky-dory. You are writing your blog posts religiously and getting some traction in the search engines. But what if you could increase your traffic even more. What if you could double or even triple it by making sure your site is organized correctly and that your upcoming posts are relevant and will rank well in the search engines.

I do this research semi-frequently. It is interesting to see seasonal changes (like the mega-shit-ton of hits that I got for last year’s Thanksgiving quotes) as well as what is actually ranking well in the search engines and sending traffic my way.

Additionally, I sometimes struggle with what to write like everyone else. BUT if I have a list of topics that I can count on to do well in the search engines for me, then I am way more likely to do well if I am mindful of the copywriting topics I use when writing blog posts.

Where To Get Your Data

The best place to get data about where your traffic is coming from is Google Analytics. If you are not using analytics on your website, stop now and get you over and set it up immediately. It is so interesting to see the progression of pages and what people are actually interested in reading about.

Now that being said, it is a self fulfilling prophecy in some cases. I started out writing posts about Realtor Marketing in 2008 when I left the real estate industry, just because that was what I really knew a lot about at the time. Since then I have branched out into other areas like entrepreneur marketing and working with authors, speakers and coaches. But still the biggest segment of my traffic does tend to be to Realtor Marketing posts.

But you can change that by writing a variety of posts and slowly turning the Google search ship in any direction you like.

Happy Accidents

One of the happy accidents in my life is that I rank really highly for “Customer Demographics”. This started happening years ago when I wrote a single post and there must not have been much competition. Since then I have filled out my Customer Demographics posts and made sure there was easy navigation to them from my search bar and drop down menus.

I also share these posts frequently on social media which increases traffic which tells Google that they are still relevant and interesting posts.

Finding Themes

One of the things that became clear by looking at my data and trying to get it into some sort of grouping is that I talk about copywriting a lot, even though I don’t call it that. I think that it would be totally worthwhile to swing back around to those posts, change the titles a bit and include more copywriting content.

As for today, I changed the title of this post from “nerdy numbers” to “nerdy copywriting” so I could add to my cluster of copywriting posts.

Writing About What You Like

Now that I have given you empirical data to show that you need to be writing to very strict guidelines, please disregard all of that at least some of the time.

I have posts like that one customer demographics post that are BRILLIANT, but which get no traffic. Then I have other posts that I thought we okay which become bestsellers! I think that the most important thing you can do is be passionate about your topic, only write about what you know about and then be prolific.

If you are writing a post a week it will take two years to get to 100 posts. If you can manage it, I would recommend writing a lot more post than that, enabling you to get a good jump start on ranking and beating yoru competition!

Goal Setting, Marketing Strategy and When To Quit

Goal Setting, Strategy and When To  QuitToday starts the holiday season for most people, a time of joy and love when they spend time with family and friends. My December is a little different…still friends, family and holidays, but honestly, this is bust my ass month. The month where everyone else kinda peters out and I can make huge strides in my business. With that in mind, I am starting out on my first goal, writing a blog post a day for a month.

A Blog Post A Day For A Month

For the last three or four years I have written a blog post a day for the month of December and it has REALLY helped my business and my website traffic. Some of them have become huge players on my site (one of my customer demographics posts gets over 1,000 hits a month and it is now 2 years old). Others just add a couple of hits a month but lots of posts with a few hits really start to add up. Let’s say that they only get 5 hits each…3 years X 30 posts X 5 hits = 450 hits on the lowest common denominator.

But it isn’t just the hits I get, it is the completion of a mass of work, one post at a time. The rest of the year I do about 2 posts a week which is still great, but not going to rake in those kinds of numbers.

Setting Goals

So now let’s look at you and your goals. There is a definite way to make sure that your goals are going to work.

1. Make sure your goals are finite

If I said I was going to write a blog post a day for the rest of my life the pressure would get to me. I would crack and the first time I failed I would be off the wagon and ready with an excuse right away the next time. Having done this for a while now, I KNOW I can write a post a day for a month. I have written the most awful garbage at 10pm at night in the past, but it was a published post.

So one, make your timeline a month or three months, not the rest of your life. Do like the AA people and get through this one day at a time, doing your one goal until it is finished.

2. F-O-C-U-S

The next tip is to focus. John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire says this all the time and it is attributed to Robert Kiyosaki, FOCUS means “Follow One Course Until Successful”. I don’t try to do much else in December besides being out there and writing posts. I don’t start a huge project to run concurrently with my writing. Basically, I am the little turtle, plodding along and writing posts.

But something weird happens when I do this. Because all my focus is on writing and sharing my blog posts, I get more connections. I also have to do more research and learn more about other people. My reticular activator turns on and I start noticing things about writing that I never did before and come up with some amazing topics and posts that wouldn’t happen if I was just plodding along like I do the rest of the year.

3. Strategy

Doing something like this seems to be random, but in my world it is very specific. I am good at writing, enjoy it and almost push it to the back of the line because “getting” to write seems like a bonus instead of a real job. I was working with a coaching client the other day and we decided that her one goal would be to network 5 times a week for the month. This could mean real networking groups or parties or even having coffee with a friend. The point is for her to be really open to every opportunity that comes along this month and then go seek out other ones that will help “fill in” to get her to 5 a week.

Think about that. If she goes to that many events she will meet a ton of new people who she can put into her database. She will find out about even more events that might be more appropriate for lead generating, or even make some new business friends. It is not a stupid idea, just a deliberate play to make this month a standout networking month.

4. Quitting

This year I had a plan to write a book a week for a year with my writing partner. Unfortunately, we only go half way before circumstances dictated that I had to jump back into my real business and couldn’t keep using up that much time a week to publish those books. Quitting that was devastating to me, but not quitting it would have really hurt me and my family financially in a way that would have been hard to recover from.

It is rare that you will have to quit a month long goal, but doing something like this may expose other pieces of your business that you do without thinking and which might not serve you as well as they did in the past. Maybe you belong to a service club and all your best buds have left, but you still do it because it is expected. Or you so trade shows every year to sell for Christmas, even though you could reach more buyers by having an online strategy next year. Whatever it is, make sure you are mindful of what you do this month so that you can make sure you are using your time wisely.

5. Being Realistic

Back in the day when I started doing this I did 7 days a week for a month. But last year we adopted 3 kids and now I can’t do that. What I can do is weekdays because I have a job even though I “just” work for myself. That means that I will be writing 23 posts instead of 31. Now, I am sad that I can’t do the 31 posts, but at the end of the day, I also want to be there for my kids and husband at least on the weekends so weekday posts it is.

There is no shame in creating a tiny bit of balance in your life. If you are like most entrepreneurs, your balance is probably way over on the work side anyways so squeaking out a bit of realistic family or friend time is probably a good thing.

Well there you have it, a rah-rah, “get off your butt and make a plan” post to get the month started right. Wonder what tomorrow’s post will bring?

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


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.

Get $10 off your first order of an Erin Condren calendar…click here (makes sure to “register” to get your discount!)

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!

Get $10 off your first order of an Erin Condren calendar…click here

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.

Tweepz

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)

OMG, You Are Totally Not Like Your Customer – Shut Your Mouth Small Business Marketing

[Blog Post] You Are Not Your Customer - Shut Your Mouth MarketingThere is a phrase in small business marketing that we forget all..the..time..YOU ARE NOT YOUR CUSTOMER!

When I was growing up we said “like” A LOT. Like, almost every other word. It was severely annoying to my Daddy who thought that was the dumbest sounding thing he had ever heard. More recently the kids have said things like “OMG” for Oh, My God and “No, I’m Good” to mean almost any negative response…you want to go to the mall, “No, I’m Good”. One of the mommies at the bus stop is ready to pull her hair out over her daughters almost universal negative answers…You want to take out the trash? No, I am good!

I know, you are thinking how dumb kids are, but wait, there is more. When I was in the corporate world we had a fun little game we played on conference calls, buzzword B-I-N-G-O. In this super fun game we would vaguely listen to what the person on the other end of the line was saying, except to try and note when they used industry buzzwords (mostly in the wrong way!) There were “stakeholders” and “metrics”, “blowback” and “buy in”. Much like the OMGs and Likes of the kids, having these sort of touchstone words made our clients and prospects feel more secure in their world.

So we have found out that people do things in “packs” because that makes them feel like part of a club.

Rarely Is Our World Our Exactly Our Customer’s World

Sometimes in business we are exactly match our customers, or we think we do. Funny story… a client who loves super healthy living and takes women out in the wilderness and has them cook their own food on campfires for a week took her gang to the store where mayhem ruled.

The premise of the camping trip was sort of back to nature, healthy living, etc. but no one told one lady who felt that her “cooking” should be ice cream for dinner. My client was astounded, who would eat ice cream for dinner? There was a complete mis-match between Chris’ world and her client’s perception.

So we have confirmed that we are probably NOT exactly like every one of our customers.

Facebook Marketing Won’t Work Because I Say So

Lately I have been trying to figure out Facebook paid marketing. With the death of posts showing up in the feeds, to keep this as more than a placeholder channel I am probably going to have to spend a bit of money…sigh. That makes me sad because I really hate Facebook, shocking for a marketing person I know! The problem is I am an introvert so all that liking, sharing, talking, poking, Happy Birthdays and the rest wears me out. It makes me a little more tired and doesn’t provide any kind of “juice” to my day. Additionally I would NEVER buy anything from a Facebook ad so it is hard to understand this as a marketing channel.

Facebook Marketing PostsEXCEPT that companies have been showing me “ads” like the one on the top…a kinda cool story about true crimes. Now, I have indicated I like Shemar Moore and Criminal Minds, I like the show Bones and mystery books…hmmm wonder how they knew I would like a post like that. I don’t know how this company generates revenue, it could be by hits to their website and so me reading that, maybe liking it and then sharing it with my network would pay off for them.

That said, the next ad down would NOT appeal to me at all…I don’t wear those kinds of fancy clothes, but wait…I do have a 16 year old daughter who loves cute clothes.

They have shown me a bunch of different kinds of clothing but ultimately I clicked on one that I thought would appeal to Britty. Imagine that, do you think that company selling cute clothes knows about my daughter and her cuteness? I am sure they do!

So now we have figured out there are ways to make any kind of marketing work if you know what you are doing.

Marketing “Tricks” Don’t Work On Me

Lead Pages - Ends At Midnight SaleBesides those rascally Facebook marketers, I just want you to know that absolutely no other marketing “tricks” work on me (I know them all!) Um…except that I did buy LeadPages on a certain day because they told me a feature that I liked was going to end at midnight.

I have been meaning to get LeadPages for a while now, but I have been busy. I launched a marketing workbook that I have aggressive goals for selling and LeadPages would help with that, but did I really have time to learn a new system and get everything set up? Then one day they said that if you bought today you could still get a free extra account but tomorrow that offer would be off the table. I had attended webinars with them and they were giving away TONS of bonuses for all different kinds of things, but I never bit. But that one email made me get my credit card out and sign up that day.

This matters because there are other products out there competing with LeadPages that I have been looking at. They are cheaper and I might have been vulnerable to have had LeadPages sell me on the concept and then one of those other companies close me. It was vital that they get my buy-in so that I became a customer and they finally found something that would tip me over to the point of purchasing.

So now we know that marketing “tricks” work when someone really does want to buy what you are selling.

SHUT YOUR MOUTH – Small Business Marketing

So if you are like me and thinking about a new marketing channel or trying a new marketing tactic, you need to shut your mouth and ignore that little voice in your head that says, “no one buys from infomercials” – they do!, “no one buys from Facebook” – they do, “no one every makes a sale at networking” – they do!

It is your (and my) limiting beliefs that make sure it won’t work.

If you are sure Facebook marketing will not work, there is a good chance you will not put in the time to understand the best messages for your audience. You will probably not monitor and track your results as much as you should to get the best sale-through rates. You won’t think that your team’s time spent learning about Facebook is valuable.

I recommend that you make a list of every marketing channel you have ever heard of and then start researching them. Find out if your competition is on there. Find out if anyone has a course telling you how to do it. Find out if your marketing budget matches what you are trying to accomplish on that channel. Once you have picked a course of action, go all in. Take the time to learn, monitor and tweak that marketing until it is getting you the best possible results!

PS – I have an affiliate link in here for LeadPages because one of my sales channels is to promote great products that I use myself. If you are thinking about some kind of marketing and want to know which course I recommend, shoot me an email today! Tara (at) MarketingArtfully.com (I get at least two messages a day from people with questions!)

One Last Thing To Think About

 

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[BLOG POST] You Are Not Your Customer - Shut Your Mouth Marketing

Customer Demographics For Realtor Marketing

How To Use Customer Demographics With your Realtor MarketingOne of the things that I love about Realtor marketing is the lack of creative uses of data in the marketplace today. Most Realtors have no idea about how to use customer demographics in the most effective ways to get listings, lead generate or close more sales.

Today I will take some of the available data and put it into context that you can use in your listing presentations, pre listing packets and even your marketing materials to grow your business.

Seller Prospecting

According to the 2013 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, “The typical home seller in 2013 was 53 years of age, had a median household income of $97,500, and lived in their home for 9 years….this number jumped to 10 years for 2014″

So what does that tell us about prospecting for sellers? You will want to be very clear about which sellers to mail to (ones that have owned their homes 8-9 years). Additionally, you will want to use graphics that depict families who have parents who are more mature and kids who are high school aged or college aged. OR you could depict a mature couple who are standing alone without kids at all.

Think about it, why are so many homes sold by 53 year olds? Is it perhaps because they are selling the family home and moving somewhere more appropriate now that they don’t have a passel of kids at home?

Think about what to mail them. You will want to talk about second homes, down sizing and what to do now that the kids have moved out. Talk about freedom and passion and getting back in the groove and having fun!

want more about this topic? check out How To Get More Listings | Creative Realtor Marketing

First Time Buyer Prospecting

According to the 2014 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, “The typical first time home buyer accounts for 33% of purchases, their median age is 31 years and their income is $68,300.”

Oh is this good data! It will show us what kinds of people and properties to use in our marketing. You should use pretty and popular pictures of 30-somethings. They might have some young kids and should be looking at properties that are in the $200K range.

(As a general guideline, your monthly mortgage payment, including principal, interest, real estate taxes and homeowners insurance, should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income Bankrate)

Because all markets are different, you will have to see what kinds of properties would be realistic for your first time homebuyers!

For Sellers and FBSOs – Where Do Buyers Come From?

Where do home buyers come from?

According to the 2013 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, this is where buyers come from:

  • Real estate agent: 89%
  • Yard sign: 51%
  • Mobile of tablet website or application: 45%
  • Open house: 45%
  • Mobile or tablet search engine: 42%
  • Print newspaper advertisement: 23%

Things that you could use this data for:

  1. FSBOs - If you are prospecting FSBOs, the 89% of buyers who use Real Estate Agents in some manner is a powerful piece of information. Don’t beat them up about it, but the fact that you are only able to reach 11% of buyers is not great for selling your home.
  2. Sellers – Knowing that yard signs account for 51% of the buyers, you could definitely talk up having a yard sign, brochure box or other marketing opportunities!
  3. Sellers – If you like doing open houses, you can mention that 45% of buyers find that to be a great research channel. If you hate doing open houses, you can mention that only 45% of buyers even know about open houses.
  4. Both – The most impactful number is the fact that 89% of buyers have some contact with a real estate agent or Realtor. You will want to talk up the fact that you have great Realtor relationships and that even though you will be trying to sell their home, generally it will be another agent who will be representing the buyers. Make sure you talk about doing Brokers Opens, that you have a local Realtor Database or even if you are teaching locally.
  5. Both – If you rank highly for keywords related to their local market, city or even subdivision, make sure you put screenshots of that in your listing presentation.

Sources:

Realtor Marketing And Customer Demographics

Having worked with Realtors for years, I know that most agents are not using customer demographic data effectively in their marketing efforts. Here are a couple of ways that you can really be different from the other agents:

Using Prospecting Data – One of the main things I would like this data for is to figure out how to target customers who might be ready to move in the next year or so. I would take the Tax Records for a subdivision that I like and drill down to find the homeowners who have lived there 8.5+ years and start pounding them with amazingly helpful information about what to do remodeling-wise to sell their home and what the 5 biggest seller mistakes are and how they can get 10% more for their home sale with this one little trick. I would make them want to call me and and have me come by to do a CMA and then sell that home fast and for the most money!

Using Commission Magic - I always had the pie chart in my listing presentation so that they could see that most times it would be another agent selling their home. This helped me get at least a half a percentage point extra for the buyers agent and gave me a great thing to talk about when doing brokers opens or agent get-togethers! I told my sellers how I talked about marketing at all the local real estate offices and the board, I let them know I had a database of agents I had done deals with or hosted open houses with and that I would email their listing to all those Realtors too! Sellers don’t care about you except in the way that your business and marketing can help them sell for more money so let them know all the cool things about working with you!

Working Those Buyers – I am not great at talking about buyers (I only ever worked with 4 the two years I was a Realtor!) That said, I would definitely look at the numbers and find out what that means for them buying a house. I would get together with a lender and have a really cool chart that showed if you make $50K a year you can buy a $150K house, if you make $60K a year you can buy a $200k house, etc. I am here to tell you that data is not available readily on the internet and it would definitely be something first time homebuyers would be interested in!

Okey-doke, there are a few ways you can use Customer Demographics to make your Realtor Marketing more effective. Leave me a comment below if any of these idea sparked a great idea for you and your marketplace!

Case Study – Event Marketing (Donna Thornton)

Marketing Case Study - Event MarketingFiguring out how to go about marketing your business and making more money is not always easy. Business owners know what they know, but often have no idea of how to craft a marketing plan that will be effective and not horrifically hard to implement.

Today we are going to be looking at an Event Marketing case study, where a small business owner melds her goals and dreams with cold hard marketing tactics that will work to make her more money!

Donna Thornton – Psychic Medium Channel

I have been working with Donna for quite some time now and she is like lots of entrepreneurs, moving forward, sideways and back as she is figuring out what her fabulous life and business look like. Today we were looking at what she is currently doing and what she would like to do going forward to determine the best marketing plan for her business.

What Donna Likes To Do

Product Development Worksheet1. The first step is to figure out what you like to do! Donna likes helping people, giving readings (tarot), clearing houses, teaching tarot classes and working at parties.

How To :: One way to figure what you like to do is to ask yourself, if you could only do one thing, all day, every day, for the rest of your life, what would it be? No matter what your industry is, in each there are parts that you are going to find that you like more than others. For example I like speaking, but I can’t travel as much as I used to because we adopted 3 kids. This opens the door for speaking locally as well as doing webinars or a podcast for marketing.

2. The next step is to figure out a practical amount of each of product that she will be selling (time-wise and income-wise) to achieve her level of income required. We used the Product Development Sheet from the Marketing Strategy Workbook to figure out that Donna would like this to be 1/4 of her income so she would have to sell 1.5 per week or 9 month. Selling 1.5 a week is not so hard to accomplish!

Who Would Buy What She Is Selling

The next thing we looked at for Donna’s marketing plan was to figure out the perfect customer for her 6 week in person training course. By knowing that the person who would be attending was a woman, 35-45, named Miranda, we could start putting things together about her that will help us figure out how to sell the course.

Miranda:

  • She has school aged kids, but they are not babies
  • She drives a station wagon and lives in suburbia
  • She works because she needs money for her family (she is an admin assistant)
  • She gardens and likes to decorate her house
  • Her worldview is that this class will “let her do something for herself” and she can “get together with like-minded people”
  • She wants to be part of the “club” that knows about Tarot
  • She loves the TV show Supernatural, her kids, her husband, the NY Medium and buying crystals
  • She hopes that this class will be fun, she will learn something and that it will help answer some of her questions
  • She worries that everyone will think she is flaky for taking it

find out more about doing a Perfect Customer Profile or creating your perfect avatar

Marketing Plan

Now that we “know” so much about our perfect customer, we can start crafting a marketing plan that will allow us to target women like Miranda.

Website. We did some competitive SEO research and found that, while there are 491,000 competing sites for tarot classes denver, there are only 8 listings for the exact search “tarot classes denver” and only one lone meetup from years ago for “tarot classes westminster”. This gives Donna a really great chance to rank on Google for some really good keywords that would bring in students.

Locations. She is going to check with a friend who has a conference room in a metaphysical center to see if she can use her location. Because there is already an established group of people who go there, she might be able to pick up some new students via flyers or referrals.

Local sites. Donna has a number of different local events sites to list the classes:

  • Meetup
  • Local event sites
  • Yelp
  • Regional paper (sending a press release)

Videos. Donna is going to make at least 3 videos inviting people to her event. This way she can rotate them and also get the value of the keywords on YouTube. Don’t forget, upload videos directly when posting them to Facebook.

Graphics. Donna will be using Canva.com to make graphics for the event. She will be sharing these to:

  • Facebook using a posting schedule on Hootsuite (she will also be posting pictures of happy people from her last classes)
  • Twitter, remembering to use her Twitter #denver and #westminster hashtags
  • Google+ using targeted keywords like “Tarot Classes Denver” and “Tarot Classes Westminster”
  • Pinterest – posting pictures with link on a “Tarot Classes Denver” board

She will not be using LinkedIn for this campaign as it is not a great fit!

Want More? Get The Workbook!

Marketing Strategy Workbook - Marketing ArtfullyEvery month the members of the Marketing Strategy Guide club get a great Case Study like this, a newsletter and even a marketing plan! The best part? You buy it once and get everything else for free forever!

>> Check out the Marketing Strategy Guide today!

How To Brand Your Social Media For The Holidays

 

How to brand your social media for the holidaysIt is time to plan your social media branding for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Seeing as how the holidays are creeping up on us, you need to make sure that you have a rock solid plan for what to do to get your sales on over the coming months.

Branding Your Social Media For The Holidays

The first thing that you want to start with is doing a custom header for your social media properties. These pictures are a great opportunity if you are actually selling something that is appropriate for Christmas buying!

In this one we just added fun Christmas lights to the regular banner we use for our EbookNerds Twitter account.

Tips:

If you are just having Christmas lights added to to your normal design, head over to Fiverr.com and pay just $5 to get them added!

Cute Christmas Lights For Twitter

Marketing Branding Christmas Social Media

Tips:

Make sure to click the photos and make a call to action with a link

See some in action: Cleans Green Facebook Page & Tara Jacobsen Google Plus (click the pictures to see the links)

Take Advantage Of Native Social Media Properties

Some of the sites like Twitter and Facebook allow you to “Pin” a picture to the top. Make sure that you are taking advantage of this opportunity by keeping one of your Christmas sales messages at the top!

Social media for christmas - pin it where you can

Formatting Your Ads

Make sure you have both versions of each picture to share on sites that like horizontal pictures and also vertical pictures.

You need to have both horizontal and vertical versions of pictures

Get LOTS of Ads

It is nice to have a good mix of different ads that you can share over the course of November and December.

Have a nice mix of all kinds of different marketing banners

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How to brand your social media for the holidays

The Best Christmas Gifts For Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

The Best Christmas Gifts For Entrepreneurs and Small Business OwnersBuying the best Christmas Gifts for entrepreneurs and small business owners can be hard! Should you get them something to help their business or should you stick to something personal? This list includes things that can help support them at a business level, a personal level and as a marketing genius who will be able to grow her business exponentially over the next year!

Why Not Get Her A Toaster Again This Year?

As a business owner myself, I can tell you the top reasons that I appreciate getting these types of business related Christmas Gifts are:

  • By getting me something for my small business my spouse is telling me that he cares and supports me and my business (it doesn’t always feel that way during the year!)
  • Because I am still building my business, I wouldn’t necessarily be willing to buy these things for myself right now
  • I am not always okay with spending money on myself and so having him pay will make a REALLY great Christmas present…:)

For the purposes of this post I am going to try and break down where your spouse, boyfriend, finance, business partner or other significant other might be in the process of their business right now. I am also going to try and explain why the recommended product might be such a great training or business opportunity for them! Some of the links go to affiliate links where I might get a couple of bucks for the recommendations, but many just go to things I really do think will be a benefit to small business owners and entrepreneurs and make you look great this Christmas!!!

Christmas Gifts If They Are Just Getting Started In Business

 

The Last Marketing Strategy Guide

The Last Marketing Strategy Guide - Xmas EditionThis is my product and I am super dedicated to helping you make this an amazing Christmas Present!! If you order before December 15th and want the printed out copy I will send it to you wrapped up all beautiful with an awesome letter about how to get started! This one is available via phone only (727) 415-9165 for $250. Want the regular version that you can print out yourself, just click this link or the graphic above!

$200-250

Super Cool Stocking Stuffer

Best Christmas Gifts For Entrepreneurs - Business Card Stocking StuffersWhat about a fun stocking stuffer of business cards from Vistaprint to get her/him off on the right track! Some things to consider… 1) a lot of people like to have super glossy fronts and then just a plain white back so that people can make notes when putting them in the database. 2) If you don’t like any of the “regular” designs from Vistaprint, use Fiverr.com to get someone to do quick custom design for you to make it special! (BONUS…you get $10 off your first order with Vistaprint!)

$25-50

Christmas Gifts For The Author In Your Life

 

Fiction Unboxed – Self Publishing Podcast Guys

Best Christmas Presents For AuthorsIf your significant other is thinking about writing a book, getting to see behind the scenes to know what goes into the process of being a successful author. I bought the original fiction unboxed and seeing how the guys work was really valuable to me (even though I only write non-fiction!) Find out about Fiction Unboxed

$39

Author Marketing Club

Author Marketing Club - Best Christmas Presents AuthorsJim Kukral started the Author Marketing Club and is a pretty techy kind of guy. His site allows authors to hear about the latest marketing techniques but best of all, he has the coolest “description generator” that works to make your Amazon descriptions look snazzy and stand out from the pack!

Check out the Author Marketing Club

$105

Christmas Presents For Speakers, Coaches, Authors and Trainers

Best Christmas Presents for Speakers, Authors, Coaches and Trainers - Podcasters ParadiseJohn Lee Dumas is the most popular business podcaster in the world! His show is listened to by thousands of people a day and his annual income from podcasting is in the millions. If your Author, Speaker, Coach or Trainer has been talking about having a podcast, get on this webinar and sign up for a special discount! Podcasters Paradise

$1,200

Technology Gifts For Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

Best Technology Presents for EntrepreneursGorillaPod Stand for Mobile Phones – If she is going to be doing videos of herself, having to have a person there to hold the camera may become a huge boundary. The GorillaPod will let her position her phone practically anywhere! $29.95 – great stocking stuffer!

GoPro Hero Camera – The GoPro is the neatest camera since sliced white bread. I know that this will look good under the tree because many of the giveaways that are at networking events feature this camera and there are fights over who will win it! $499.99

The Yeti Blue Microphone – Whether she is doing a podcast, webinars or just meeting with clients online, having a rock star microphone will make her sound great! $119 – If you want to shop local Best Buy will match online pricing from Walmart and other major retailers

Handmade Laptop Bag – You might not know about Etsy.com where artists make customized products to sell online. I have gotten a couple custom laptop bags and really enjoy the craftsmanship as well as not being a “me too” the same as everyone else. $20-200

Well there you have it, my list of the best Christmas Gifts to give Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners this year! If I missed something you think would be a great idea, please let me know in the comments. Manufacturers and publishers, if you can give my peeps a deal and have a great product, please let me know!

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The Best Christmas Presents For Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Halloween Quotes | Scary and Spooky Quotes With Pictures

Halloween Quotes - Spooky and Scary with Pictures!! BOO!!Here are some of my favorite spooky and scary Halloween quotes with pictures!!! Boo!!

Each year Halloween rolls around and I think, I have enough quotes with pictures for Halloween, but then my inner spooky kicks in and I get all excited about getting some new Halloween pics to make spooky.

When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, ‘tis near Halloween.
~ Author Unknown

At first cock-crow the ghosts must go Back to their quiet graves below.
~ Theodosia Garrison

There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear.
~ George S. Patton

Hold on, man. We don’t go anywhere with “scary,” “spooky,” “haunted,” or “forbidden” in the title.
~ From Scooby-Doo

If a man harbors any sort of fear, it makes him landlord to a ghost.
~ Lloyd Douglas

From ghoulies & ghosties & long-leggedy beasties & things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us! ~Scottish Saying

From ghoulies & ghosties & long-leggedy beasties & things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!
~Scottish Saying

Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.  ~ Brendan FrancisMany of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. ~ Brendan Francis

This inhuman place makes human monsters.
~ Stephen King, The Shining

So what, ghosts can’t hurt you. That’s what I thought then.
~ Stephen King, Bag of Bones

It’s as much fun to scare as to be scared.
~ Vincent Price

I love finding things that scare me and doing them. That’s how you grow.
~ Vanessa Hudgens

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, May luck be yours on Halloween. ~ Author UnknownWhen black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, May luck be yours on Halloween.
~ Author Unknown

Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them… they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.
~ Orison Swett Marden

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.
~ Samuel Butler

I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters. ~ George A. Romero

I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.
~ George A. Romero

He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.  ~ George CarlinThere are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.
~ George Carlin

I like to write in a shroud of secrecy because I have to keep finding ways to scare myself.
~ M. Night Shyamalan

Behind every tree there’s a new monster.
~ Todd Rundgren

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.
~ German Proverb

Ghostly things don’t really scare me, but they really intrigue me.
~ Sophie Turner

The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination. ~ Richard Wright

The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.
~ Richard Wright

When someone asks, ‘Does success make you into a monster?’ I always say, ‘No, it enables you to be a monster.’
~ Simon Cowell

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.
~ Rosa Parks

There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice. ~ Mark Twain

There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.
~ Mark Twain

Scare answers to scare, and force begets force, until at length it comes to be seen that we are racing one against another after a phantom security which continually vanishes as we approach.
~ Henry Campbell-Bannerman

Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile… initially scared me to death.
~ Betty Bender

I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.
~ Corazon Aquino

An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself. ~ Charles Dickens

An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.
~ Charles Dickens

Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.   ~ Usman B. Asif

Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop. ~ Usman B. Asif

There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.   ~ Andre Gide

There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them. ~ Andre Gide

There you have it, my favorite Halloween Quotes with pictures for this year!!! Want more? Check out last year’s Halloween Quotes or my first years Cheesy Halloween Email Subject Lines.

Halloween Quotes With Pictures

Becoming An Expert – How To Pick A Niche Market

Becoming An Expert - How To Pick A Niche MarketBecoming an expert is easy. Simply know more than the people who you are talking to. The big question is how to pick a niche market to become an expert in…that is the rub!

I follow a gal who is simply amazing. She has been a hip-hop singer, waitress, coach, author, speaker, and many other things in her life and has somehow found a way to bring them all together in one magic bottle. Good on her! The problem for me is that she is telling other people that they can do the same.

Having worked with hundreds of small business owners over the years, I can tell you that most small business owners are not super clear about having products or services for one niche market, let alone trying to encompass two or even three markets. Entrepreneurs (like me) love the idea that we can do anything, be anything and accomplish it all at the same time, so this idea of multi-channel efforts sounds great.

Unfortunately for most of us, unless we keep our eye on the prize for one specific goal, for a fixed period of time, we veer off in all kinds of interesting and exciting shiney new directions, waking in a couple of months with a joy hangover but having not moved our business forward in any kind of cohesive manner.

Hopefully this post will help you to figure out a topic that you can become an expert in, and then give you some clear, concise steps to take to get you there.

Choosing A Niche Market – Go Broad

There is one school of though that say you should pick a giant niche that you can slice into chunks. I am up in the air about this one because I follow this model (somewhat). I want to be know for “marketing”. I want right of first refusal anytime you have a question about marketing, whether it is for coaching, which training program you should buy or whether I want to write a blog post about it.

That said, there are hundreds of kinds of marketing that I don’t know about/provide support for like Facebook paid ads, mobile marketing, local SEO, viral videos, enterprise level marketing, the list goes on and on.

There is no one I know who is an expert in every kind of marketing, or sports or food or any other topic. That said, what does it hurt to go that high level? Well…

For me to try to rank for the search term “marketing” on Google, I would have to beat out 441,000,000 competing sites like Wikipedia, the American Marketing Association, Entrepreneur.com and host of other huge names. While that term gets 60,000 searches a month, how many of those are for something that is a kind of marketing that I don’t do?

Niche Market – Go Narrow

So what if I go narrow for a niche marketing term like “Customer Demographics”. It only gets 70 searches a month according to Google, but I get almost 2,000 web hits per month to the two main pages that I rank for this term.

That is some powerful Google mojo, but I am not a demographics or numbers kind of gal except as it relates to SEO and searches (then I can geek out with the best of them!) That said, it is a great place to promote my Marketing Strategy Workbook and a Perfect Customer Profile Ebook I wrote with a marketing partner.

Writing about “thin slices” of marketing like “customer demographics” and “choosing a niche” allow me to rank highly for smaller pages on my website which in turn leads to ranking more highly for my top term of small business marketing. Although I may never get to page one for that term, I will have a site that overall ranks highly for many key marketing terms.

Same Expert, Different Target Market

All that said, does that mean you can’t combine passions? Absolutely not! Just recently I met with a gal who was having trouble getting her nutrition business off the ground. She was battling all the other people out there pitching cleanses and eating healthy and getting no where.

We spent some time figuring out what her passions were in addition to nutrition and found out that she is a complete geek about doing nutrition (making her own meade and trying to understand the chemistry behind how a sourdough starter begins). She is a also a HUGE outdoor gal who would spend all her days cooking over a campfire if she could….BINGO!

We rebranded her with “Nerdy Nutrition” and her target market for many of her custom products is going to be for people who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle while camping and hiking.

The neat thing about this is that if all Chris got to do was spend all her time outdoors, cooking and talking food with other wilderness people, she would be in heaven. When you can find a realistic junction point between your passions, you can really make some magic!

Marketing Your Niche

Okay, here is where the rubber meets the road. Marketing online and offline are much different animals. My offline “Marketing” persona is rock solid. My business card reflects that I am a marketing speaker, author and consultant.

Tara Jacobsen - Marketing Speaker

I speak locally and nationally about all kinds of marketing topics and am super happy with how well branded I am as a “marketing expert”.

Becoming An Expert Online

Online marketing is where you have to be super sure that you are presenting your best “face” forward. Your website and social profiles all need to line up and show that you are something specific.

Website

You need to know what you want to be an expert for so that you can make your website reflect that. There are a number of different ways this comes across, overtly and more subtly.

  • About Us Page – Make sure your about us page states clearly what you are an expert in. I am huge fan of searching for experts in other fields and then modeling their about us page for your industry.
  • Speaker or Other Page – The cool thing is you don’t have to limit yourself to just one page. I have an about us page and a marketing speaker page. It targets marketing speaking and LOCAL Denver marketing speaking. The cool thing is that I get invited to speak at national events that are held here in Denver since they don’t want to have to fly everyone in and put them up! I have my TaraJacobsen.com domain name pointed to this sub page.

Social Media

One thing that I think people get wrong is thinking that someone is going to be looking for an expert using Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook (they might using LinkedIn). Instead there is a slow insidious process behind the scenes where they notice you talk a lot about your topic, then start to realize you are pretty smart, THEN they look to you as an expert.

Another thing that happens is that you get put on lists that other people use. For example I have a list on Twitter of Marketing People I like that is public. Other people have subscribed to that list and now they can follow the cool marketing people I like too!

It is vital that you take the time to figure out on each platform what constitutes being an expert. For example:

  • Twitter – You need to make sure that you have your industry hashtags in your description. Most people sifting through the sea of Twitter handles will look for a #marketing speaker, well before they will try to find a speaker in that mis-mash of humanity. Here is my Twitter description :: Taradactyl on Twitter.
  • Pinterest – You need to have your expert keyword terms at all levels from individual pins, to boards and onto your profile description.
  • Facebook – Facebook’s search capabilities are very limited so you will want to have a page with your expert status listed in the actual title if FB will one of your key marketing channels.
  • Google Plus - There is amazing search capabilities in Google+ so just make sure you have your expert keywords in your profile or page description.
  • LinkedIn - There are whole books written about how to have a great LinkedIn description. Here is a walkthrough of how I optimized my LinkedIn description “perfectly”.
  • Instagram – You may be surprised to see Instagram on the list, but this is hot up and coming network that is owned by Facebook. The key to Instagram search is hashtags so make sure to research those so you can rank well!

It is definitely worth taking the time to optimize your site and your social profiles when you are becoming an expert in a market niche! Each and every little thing you do adds up to help define you as your ideal profession so take the time to review all your profiles and make sure they are up to snuff!

Start Your Own Business – Marketing and Business Plans

Start Your Own Business - Marketing and Business PlansIf you are ready to start your own business or are already started but need hand getting going, this post is for you!

Most people who start a new business spend way too much time focusing on the wrong things. They dink around for months wondering what their logo should look like or what color their website should be. They might even order business cards before they know exactly what they are selling or how to position their business.

(these are the guys and gals at networking who have a fan deck of cards depending on what they are trying to sell today!)

If all this flailing around sounds at all like you, STOP!

Turn off your cell phone, shut down your email and read this entire post before you go any further. Yes, there is a pitch at the end for my workbook, but in between is all the knowledge and information that I have gotten over the years from talking with almost a 1,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs

Where To Start

When you start your own business, you have all the options in the world. The purpose of running your own company is to do what you like, instead of having to work for “the man” and do what someone else dictates all day long. Problem is, we all tend to go about it the wrong way. We try and figure out what people want to buy and then squish ourselves into that, selling more and more and getting sadder and sadder over the years.

Instead you should look at your strengths and skills, building a company around what your core competencies are.

Exercise

  • Write down your sales strategy (how you like to sell)
  • Your strengths as a person and as a leader
  • Your business objectives for the next three months

Lastly, write down your ONE main objective for the next three month marketing cycle. Really, you can only have one main goal to work towards for 3 months (it can have parts, but overall just one main goal!)

Niche-ing Down

When you start your business, it seems like it would be a great idea to “go broad” and see what people are interested in buying. Heck, you might even ask them what they need and try to fulfill that right? WRONG!

Today more than ever it is important that you know EXACTLY what you are selling and EXACTLY which target market is going to buy it. Think about it, there are BILLIONS of internet sites, MILLIONS of business around the world and probably THOUSANDS of people who are trying to sell something similar to what you are. The only way to cut through all that clutter is to be super clear about your product offerings and know exactly who you are selling them to.

For example, the workbook that goes along with this post is made for small business owners and entrepreneurs. It is not intended to be a reference for big business or multinational corporations (that is not my expertise).

Exercise

  • What is your industry?
  • What parts of your industry do you like the best?
  • Who do you like to work with the most?
  • If you could only work with one kind of person for the rest of your life, who would it be?
  • What could you sell them specifically?

Niche marketing statement. Once you have completed this exercise, you will be able to write a niche marketing statement. It should be a declaration of your products, who you are selling to and what they like. The niche marketing statement for my workbook is, “I sell marketing planning seminars, workbooks and consulting to small business owners, entrepreneurs, manufacturers and realtors who love marketing.”

Who You Are Selling To

There is an old saw in the advertising business, “selling to everyone is selling to no one”. When you start your own business it can seem like a great idea to work with anyone who comes along. What could it hurt and there is money coming in the door, right? Well doing the wrong work can lead you down a path that will not be the best fit for your ongoing business AND at the same time takes your eye off the prize of your “real” goals.

One of the people in our networking group has a super funny saying…she sells cosmetics and her perfect customer is “anyone with skin”, which of course is everyone on the planet! While hers is a bit tongue-in-cheek, unfortunately most people starting out really will work with anyone. They are desperate to make some sales and get things going and are not looking for an ideal customer, more-so they are looking for anyone who will fog a mirror.

Perfect Customer ProfileTM

When you are working on who to sell to, you need to think about things like their age and marital status (normal demographic data), but you also need to know about their lives. What they do when they are working and when they are off. Who their family is and what they like to do on Friday night.

It is impossible to write great sales copy when all you want to do is sell your own “stuff”. Instead you need to turn it around and figure out what your ideal customer actually needs, develop a product to meet that need and position it in the marketplace so she recognizes herself when she sees it!

For example the demographics for who will probably buy my workbook are: College educated woman in her late thirties to early 50’s, who has just started a business. There is a good chance she is married. But that barely scratches the surface! Here are two different types of women that I have worked with in the past. As you will see, they are very different and I would need to use entirely different marketing messages to reach each one:

Potential Customer #1

Start Your Own Business BannerThis first gal, let’s call her Chris is 46 and married. I know that she has had a job-job in the past that she was good at and is feeling like a fish out of water right now, although as soon as she is up and running she will be right back in her element. Her heroes are women like Mary Kay and Oprah who have dominated the business world without becoming “bitches” but who are super strong and powerful women.

Her husband is probably a little confused right now as he doesn’t recognize this new entrepreneur in the woman he married. The kids are a little resentful that Mom has to work more at home and she is feeling pulled in a million directions and like she is not being effective at anything anymore.

The marketing message I will use with this gal is to “stop pulling out your hair” or “running in a million directions at once”. The workbook will solve a problem of how to get all her thoughts together in one place and get her on the road to a successful business fast.

Potential Customer #2

Our second gal, let’s call her Lyndsy is 39 and single. She has been in a committed relationship for 5 years now but is not actually sure where it is going. She has saved up a bunch of money (some of it was earmarked for her wedding but that doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon) so she is ready to start a new business. She got her real estate license, signed up with a broker, but now is not even sure what she should be doing next. Some of the people in her office have fancy brochures, some are doing open houses, but she is not sure how to proceed. She needs a plan!

The marketing message I will use with this gal is to “make a plan and work it!” She just needs to set herself some goals and tasks and get started. It is funny, years ago when I went into real estate I knew I wanted to work with buyers because I could prospect them easily on the internet. After working with a couple though, I found out I like the seller side much better! Sometimes when you are starting out, it is best to know what you like to like to do and then craft your business around your strengths instead of trying to squish yourself into someone else’s idea of a perfect business.

As you can see, they both are in the same general demographic, but the way that I have to market to each is very different. Taking the time to figure out who you would like to work with the most is vital to making sure that your business launches well right from the start!

What To Sell – Product Development

The next thing to consider is what you are selling. If you are doing something like financial services it can seem easy, you are “selling” life insurance policies. But are you really? How many people do you think are just going to walk up and want to buy a policy, or car, or house. Instead you need to find out what your product does that is of value to a customer! Key things to consider are:

  • Key features of your product
  • Key problems that it solves
  • The one product you are going to sell
  • Your income goals
  • How many of the product you will have to sell to meet those goals
  • Competitive pricing in the marketplace

Knowing these key metrics will help you position your product in the marketplace and sell more faster!

Creating Business Plans

I have found that most guides for creating business plans (or marketing plans) focus on money. They are totally about projections and estimates, profits and loses. Having worked in the real world for a very long time, I can tell you that EVERY projection that you will make about your business will be wrong. You will “guess” that you will sell X number of Y and then have to revise it all over again.

Business planning is great. Goal setting and affirmations are are a big part of my workbook and I truly feel that help get us where we are going. But business planning, setting a profit and loss report, and doing detailed projected future earnings is a waste of time if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur just starting out.

When you are starting out you need to make sure you have a clear plan for 1) what you are selling and 2) how you are going to be marketing it. Those are the key ingredients for making money. You can have all the business plans, charts and graphs in the world, but truly, nothing happens until somebody sells something.

I have worked with almost 1,000 entrepreneurs over the years and I will tell you that rarely is the problem a lack of effort or that they didn’t have the right spreadsheet. Instead, problems came from a lack of focus, of not knowing what they should be doing RIGHT NOW to sell more and what they needed to invest in marketing-wise to make more money so they could market more, so they could make more money.

Over 15 Years and 1,000 Conversations

I have spent the last 15 years working with entrepreneurs and small business owners, talking with them about what is going right in their business and what is going wrong. I have heard about their stunning achievements and their dismal failures. We have planned, strategized, re-planned and re-strategized right to six figure businesses that they are proud to own today!

If you are looking for a “How To Be Successful In Business Manual”, this is the one. There are worksheets covering everything we talked about in this post as well as tips, tricks and tactics that will get you up and running fast (and in the right direction!)

The Last Business Planning Guide You Will Ever Need

What Works On Social Media? 38 Super Amazing and Popular Listicle Titles

Answering some major marketing questions today like…do listicles work equally well across the social media marketing platforms? Is it worth my time to make listicles?  A will I be able to look myself in the mirror after listical-ing?

What Works On Social Media? 38 Super Amazing and Popular Listicle TitlesSo I heard a question about “Listicles” the other day and wasn’t absolutely sure that I knew that term. Well over the few days I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about what listicles are. Functionally a listlicle is a blog post that has a number associated it with it. So my (ironic) title, 38 Super Amazing Listicle Titles is actually a listicle itself (very meta I know!)

When I started this journey I was very ANTI LISTICLE. I find those types of posts to be hyperbolic and rarely are something that I would be interested in reading about anyways (think, “36 of Usher’s Sweetest and Sexiest Moments“). Now, you might be loving on the Usher and hating on me for bashing this, but really, I am a business person with little interest in celebrity gossip.

Social Media Listicles

Since most of my readers are business people like me, let’s step back a minute and figure out what purpose a listicle serves for marketing. It is supposed to be sharable and create viral-ity so that people are compelled to come to your blog to read about your interesting list.

I find that my listicles work the other way. I get great traffic from the Google search engine to 3 of my top 5 posts that are listicles, 100 Great Email Subject Lines, Real Estate Marketing | 100 Great SEO Keywords for Realtors, and 100 Great Twitter Tweet Examples.

These three posts count for over 4,500 hits a month to my website!

But today I wanted to take a look and see how social media could boost listicles by looking at what the most popular types are according to each social media network.

Here are my findings based on the purely unscientific results of either clicking the “popular” tab on the social sites or doing an internet search of historic data. I made this post because I was fearful that only by turning teeny-bopper and hooking all my lovely marketing posts to celebrity gossip could I survive.

My results may shock you!

Popular on Twitter

Let’s start with my biggest fail. I spent hours searching on “best Twitter Tweets” or “popular Twitter Tweets” and came up with two ho-hum ones in that whole time. On the popular lists for Tweets NONE of them were about listicles. They were funny and clever, biting and caustic, but none where “link bait” listicle articles.

Not a good start but nice to know my lovely Twitter feels like I do about these types of posts!

Popular On Google Plus

Next I headed over to Google Plus to see what was trending using their Explore tool. Now, Google’s idea of popular (4 likes and a couple of shares) is a little different than mine. None of the posts listed here had even a hundred likes, but that is what Google+ is saying is popular so who am I to argue.

This site seemed the most interested in listicles with about a 1 in 20 ratio of “normal” posts to listicles. While not out of hand, at least the Google+ algorithm seemed to think that listicles were okay to show.

(note: I think that it depends who you are following. Based on the fact that most of the ones shown on my account were marketing related, I used a couple of client accounts to check for popular posts that were not marketing related!)

Current listicle titles that Google+ is showing as popular:

Overall I have to say that photography posts and less hyperbolic business posts were considered popular more often than celebrity or “shocking” posts were.

Popular On Pinterest

The next site I checked out restored my faith in humanity! Using the “popular tool” in Pinterest I was able to find a great array of kinder, gentler listicles without the major come-ons or puffery.

While listicles were present, about 1 in 30 popular posts, “Pinterest Popular” is much more about the pictures and less about shocking headlines.

While it is just an observation (after looking at about a gagillion Pinterest posts), the ladies of Pinterest are looking for “cute, easy and fast” more than any other kind of listicle!

Popular On YouTube

There is a “Popular on YouTube” channel. Now, I am not sure if this is an official channel, but after having checked out a bunch of other sources, this one seemed the most on target.

I was super surprised at the video listicles that were popular on YouTube (only about 1 in 50 videos). Because so much of YouTube is dominated by celebrity news and gossip, I expected that the listicles that would shine would be of the “Usher” variety. But NO! Many of the most popular were actually useful and not over-the-top screaming “read me”.

Popular On Facebook

So where are all those over-the-top, crazy sounding, hyperbolic blog posts being shared if not on social media sites like Pinterest, Google Plus and YouTube. Well, you guessed it! On the Facebook!

While I cannot share the links to these posts as Facebook is a closed system, here are the top listicles:

  • 30 of the Most Powerful Images Ever
  • 40 Must-See Photos From The Past
  • 40 Maps They Didn’t Teach You In School
  • 22 Unbelievable Places that are Hard to Believe Really Exist
  • 33 Amazing Ideas That Will Make Your House Awesome
  • 31 Haunting Images of Abandonded Places That Will Give You Goosebumps
  • Top 10 ways to ensure your best people will quit
  • The better than Ultimate Guide To Landing Page Optimization

(Note: Some of the listicle posts from Bored Panda list and some others from the internet randomly.) 

Overall really pretty tame based on some of the titles that I have seen out there (think, 23 Frightening Tinder Messages That Prove Romance Is Dead.) It seems that even the people cruising Facebook for entertainment are not wiling to go that far off the reservation when posting listicles.

Additional Listicle Research

What Works On Social Media? 38 Super Amazing and Popular Listicle Titles

Wrapup

Well I have to say that overall the listicle seemed at the end of the day more meaningful than I originally thought, but ultimately less important than it gets credit for. None of the sites popular lists were crawling with listicles in any true way, although there did seem to be a place for them in the marketing mix. I am not sorry that I wrote my 38 Super Amazing and Popular Listicle Titles that work on social media post, although I do feel like the outcome was a little bit ambiguous.

Where I actually see the most opportunity, based on my admittedly flawed research data is YouTube and Pinterest. Both seem to have a spot for listicles that is not quite so skeevy feeling as they are on Facebook!

How To Get More Listings | Creative Realtor Marketing

How To Get More Listings | Creative Realtor Marketing If you are a Realtor and believe in common wisdom, learning how to get more listings is a vital piece of the puzzle as each listing will result in two buyer side sales. While there are some tried and true ways to get listings (like door knocking and prospecting FSBOs, these ideas are intended to be more a part of a well thought out marketing campaign than a tactic of making phone calls or knocking on doors.

Open Houses / Nosy Neighbors

When I was a Realtor, lo these many years ago now, I got 42% of my listings from open houses. Those nosy neighbors who come by are actually potential sellers and often are looking for a Realtor at open houses (only finding buyers agents manning the table who are not picking up on their cues).

With a determined plan you can convert these potential sellers into listing appointments relatively easily. Simply ask or have materials out that appeal to sellers and then really work the ones that “bite”.

1. Would you like me to pop by and price your house for you? As Realtors we often want to hedge our bets and say the market sets the pricing and finagle around saying that we need to look at the market statistics, blah, blah, blah. Potential sellers don’t care about all that, they just want to know what their home is worth. Having split tested lots of questions like “Would you like to find out your home’s value”, “Do you want to know your house value”, etc. the question, do you want me to price your house for you won hands down both online and in real life.

I think it is because it is non-threatening (I am not asking to come list them) and shows authority (less dancing around about the market and a more definite phrasing.

2. Top 10 Mistakes Home Sellers Make Guide. If you have a stack of these guides sitting on the table, potential sellers will sort themselves out and take one. Even better, just have one and if someone asks if they can have one, ask them for their address and let them know you will pop by with their very own copy in the next couple of days AND will take a peek and have the price of their house there at the same time!

3. Drip on them. It goes without saying that you should have a sign in sheet and ask for name, address, phone and email address. Because email and the phone were so easy, I found that mailing information about once every three weeks to these potential buyers actually resulted in more listings. I would send a hand written thank you note, mail them a couple of marketing pieces and then “popby” with something a little more special to leave at their door. The fuzzy flower in a bag with birdseed resulted in two listings! But it was the consistent contact beforehand that made that happen!

Expired Listings 1 Month Out

Every sales trainer for real estate will say that you have to pull the expired listings each day and dial for dollars, hoping that you can turn them into a quick listing. This makes sense as it is easier to convince someone to list with an agent who has already listed before. That said, I hate to have to spend all my time making up for the sins of others. YES, you may be able to jump in there and save the day, repricing the house and getting it sold fast, but there is probably a reason it didn’t sell before and that reason will not just disappear overnight.

That said, there are a fair amount of these listings that don’t have phone numbers included or who don’t go right back under contract and these are a gold mine for marketing.

1. Only pick ones that you would like to list. If you are going to prospect expired listings this way, don’t just pull down every one that comes along. You are going to have to do some research and put in some effort so having a smaller, better curated list makes more sense. Look for the price range you are farming or would like to start farming. Pick neighborhoods that would help your business grow.

2. Once a month check through your expired listings list and see if they have listed with another agent yet. The ones who have, toss, the ones who haven’t and which are listings you would like to get, either popby with something fun or send them a note with a piece of material that will help them (maybe a CMA-like overview of their current neighborhood but decrypted for humans).

Don’t Leave Orphan Buyers Lying Around

This is pretty shocking, 25% of home sellers used the agent that they previously worked with to buy or sell a home but 65% said they would definitely use the same agent again. (report) That leaves a delta of 40% who say they would use the same agent but who ultimately don’t.

1. Set up a database of past buyers and start loving on them. Those past buyers are now potential sellers! Send them twice-yearly reports of what their home would be worth (you can rotate these reports so they don’t all have to be done the same month). If you haven’t done this before you can simply search your MLS number and start working from the oldest sales you have had back to the newest. Stop reading this and start today. Do one or two a day, sending a personal note until you have all of them in order. DO NOT apologize for not having contacted them sooner. No one is sitting around thinking about how often you have mailed them. They will just think it is nice now!

2. Have client appreciation days. There is nothing more important to humans than feeling appreciated and a thank you party once or twice a year is a great way to make them feel loved. Now, these do not have to be extravagant affairs, but could be a 4th of July picnic in your back yard or an open bar for drinks at your club.

Neighborhood Mailings

Deb Ward - Realtor BrandingMuch like “pick a niche”, you should pick a neighborhood and pound on it with mailings, open houses and even door knocking if you roll that way. There is a service from the post office called “Every door direct” which allows you send postcards, flyers, etc. to every mailbox or home on a mail carriers route.

1. Pick a neighborhood you love. There are many different ways to pick a farming area in real estate, but my absolute favorite is because you love it. If you are spending time growing a true farm, you better be sure that you are going to enjoy the locations and types of people who live there. For example, if you pick a high end waterfront community, you better enjoy talking about sailing and maybe even join the local marina.

2. Mail 3 times a year. Sending a neighborhood mailing out 3 times a year is affordable ($.17 piece mailing + print costs on a flyer is about $200)

3. Be distinctive. My friend. the Irish Realtor, Deb Ward, mails to fewer people but does so in a distinctive green envelope and prominent shamrocks.

Prospecting Likely Sellers

Home Sellers - 9 years in homeOkay, this is the big one to watch out for. Every MLS or Tax Records has the ability to do database searches that can find people who have lived in their homes for a given period of time. Common wisdom said that people would be staying in their homes for 7 years so you would be best to start prospecting them specifically in 6.5 years. But wait! Those numbers have changed over the years due to economic circumstances and the timelines for moving have stretched out!

Now you should be looking in 9 year range, meaning you should contact them when they have owned their homes for 8.5 years! According to the National Association for Realtors, statistics for sellers were that the typical home seller in 2013 was 53 years of age, had a median household income of $97,500, and lived in their home for 9 years. (source)

1. Prospect wisely. Say a subdivision has 150 homes and you want to farm it. You can send your 3X a year mailings out as normal, but there are homeowners in there that who are better prospects for hiring you as a sellers agent and you need to target them more aggressively. In the opposite months of when you are sending your mailings to everyone, you should be sending them something very specific, showing your knowledge of the area and your real estate expertise. This could be a guide to home selling, a CMA report for their subdivision or even a direct “Want me to come price your home for you” postcard.

2. Be consistent. With this gang the key is consistency and your efforts will pay off. If they have been in their homes for 8.5 years or more, the percentage that will be moving are much higher than the average homeowners so it is worth your time to be there for them right around the time they decide that they have to move!

How To Get More Listings

Well there you have it! Creative ways to get more listings that are hard work (I didn’t say creative ways to get more listings the easy way!) That said, all of these ideas involve getting systems in place and then just “working the system.” You won’t have to guess and grovel anymore about what to do, instead you will be able to pick and choose the listings that you want to take in the areas that are most friendly to you!

If you would like to learn more about how to work with Tara on your realtor marketing, check out our Realtor Marketing Strategy page!

Customer Demographics – Age Ranges, Generational Names and Numbers

Today’s post is a reader question: What are the age ranges for the different customer demographics including ages, how many are there and what are they called. Thanks to Don Zale for asking!

Currently there are about 319,000,000 people in the United States (Population Clock)

There are basically 6 generations alive today:

The Greatest Generation

Born between 1901-1926
Age 88-113 (in 2014)
1.09% of population
3,434,625

The Silent Generation

Born between 1927 and 1945
Age 69-87 (in 2014)
9.21% of population
29,102,074

The Baby Boomers

Born between 1946 and 1964
Age 50-68 (in 2014)
23.40% of population
73,975,685

Gen X

Born between 1965 and 1980
Age 34-49 (in 2014)
20.79% of population
65,736,155

Gen Y or the Millennials

Born between 1981 and 2000
Age 14-33 (in 2014)
27.48% of population
86,871,269

Gen Z

Born between 2001 and 2014
age 0-13 (in 2014)
18.01% of population
56,941,684

Generational Chart based on Ages and Percentages Of Population

Population number come from Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Single Year of Age and Sex: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013. The numbers and charts provided are for marketing purposes only and should not be taken as gospel!

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


“Homemade” YouTube Video Commercials You Can Copy | Viral Video Marketing

Homemade YouTube Videos That You Can Copy | Viral Video MarketingI am thinking of making more YouTube video commercials and you know what that means, I am out there researching what is working now!

To start, a word about commercials (video or otherwise)…no one wants to watch a blatant commercial for 2 minutes about your product. They want to know what you do and how it relates to their lives and how it can help them. Or they want to be entertained. Or they want to learn something. Whatever their motivation, it is not to hear you pontificate about your product.

Here is one from the “bad old days” of commercials:

These watches were being used to time some of the most amazing sporting events. There were probably athletes that were easily recognizable from that time, and yet we got the talking head guy who told us all about the features of Longines watches. I tell you this only so you don’t make a commercial that bores us to death!

How To Make Videos

Today we have an unlimited supply of ways to make video that we can include in our commercials! We can use:

  • Programs from the internet to do screen captures of us talking at our desks (like Screencast-O-Matic)
  • Video making programs like Animoto
  • Programs like iMovie if you have a Mac or Movie Maker if you have a PC
  • Most of us are carrying around a production quality video camera on our phone
  • AND YouTube is available for free to distribute our videos

There are bunch of other resources that we can tap and I will include them when I break down each video. It is truly amazing how far video recording has come, how small companies can really start to harness the power of video in their marketing without having to spend thousands of dollars on equipment or production!

The Plan

So I am going to be really be “messing around” with video to see what I can do with it during this last quarter of the year, BUT I am not the kind of gal that can just have a burst of inspiration and make a fabulous, successful video. I am the kind of gal who has to research other people, how they are doing it and THEN I get creative inspiration that I can copy!

The videos that I am including in this post are all ones that I feel like I can emulate (I am not a professional video gal, but I do have some computer and graphic skills). That said, they are all pretty “normal” with no CGI crazy-ness or big name stars to muddy the waters. In each I will break down my thoughts so that you can see why they were picked with a theme for why I like them.

Dear Diary

So for this one we have to go back in time and see that there was man (zefrank1) who had a cool voice, a bunch of videos of cats and a great idea.

Functionally his first 100+ videos were him talking into a camera. They are semi interesting, but not anything that would set the world on fire. He did this for 4 years. Around video 100-ish he made a really funny video about Baby Echidnas that was a mashup of videos and screen captures. It is irreverent and has dirty words in it and I like it very much!

It looks like he did the ones of himself and these funny ones concurrently for a bit until he made the sad cat diary video and I noticed him (I like sad cats!) This one “went viral” and has over 17 million views. I have shared it personally with 1) my husband, 2) my children, 3) my friends and random strangers on social media because it cracks me up!

So now this is a proven winner and Friskies figures out that people 1) like the funny way Frank talks, 2) like kitten diaries and 3) will share the shit out of cat videos. They make a “real” commercial using Frank and his video model. There have been over 16,000,000 views to this commercial!

Now, I have seen Frank’s videos from way back and some of them are downright horrendous (the one where he was on painkillers comes to mind), but the thing is he was out there busting his ass, making videos, being vulnerable and checking to see what would stick. Good on you Frank!

That said, any of us could make a video like Frank’s cat video just by buying stock pictures, videos or even shooting videos of our cats ourselves. Nothing “big budget” here, just a really creative and fun idea!

Another “Doable” Cat Commercial

This one is cute too, although more blatantly branded and “commercially”.

What is neat about this one is that it is totally “homemade” videos stitched together with words on top. ANY of use could make this one!

Last but not least, Friskies is really good at picking “memes” to copy…you can too!

Interview Style Videos

Two recent videos have shown that utilizing very low budget sets and technology like Skype can be put together to make an interesting video.

This first one is a commercial for Cardstore.com where you can make a card for your Mom after watching this tearjerking video. There is nothing on there that we couldn’t do with a screen capture program and a laptop! This one has 21 million views!

I actually adore this commercial by Always. It makes me proud to be a “girl” and that I have strong smart daughters who play like girls. The neat thing about it is there are no cool sets, just a black background and good lighting. If this is something that looks good to you, I am sure you can figure it out!

Motherhood Rap and Christmas Jingle

These two feature “normal” people moving around their homes. They are just cut together videos that anyone could do with their phones!

Now the rap isn’t for me, but how targeted a demographic are they reaching?!?! New-ish moms who still want to feel like a person instead of just a blob who had kids!

This was originally a family Christmas card video

and this is the full blown “commercial” that the Cardstore made using that same concept

Talking Heads

This one is funny because of the parody that Macs can’t download videos well. I also think that the music adds greatly to the commercial (I have found AudioJungle.com to have the best selection at a great price!) Just doing one like this would be a breeze without any heavy lifting at all!

Merged Videos

Okay BIG disclaimer on this one! I have to think that Chromebook bought the rights to use these video clips from movies in their video. You can’t just steal video clips and include them in your commercial videos!

That said, there were elements in here that I liked very much including the font, the flashing computers at the beginning and the music. These are super simple to do and for a commercial that I am sure cost millions to make, I feel like I could pull out some parts and do just as good a job!

Insane Unboxing and Demonstrations

I often suggest that you make videos of you unboxing new stock or even do demonstration “how tos” that show your product and how to use it. Well a lack of understanding of how popular this could be has forced me to bring out “Bunny”. Bunny has hundreds of millions of views on her videos describing “As Seen On TV” products.

As you can see you don’t need to have a big professional set or a polished professional demeanor to be popular! Bunny has grown a following of millions of people who want to hear what she has to say, just by being an interesting personality and being willing to put herself out there!

Stop Trying To Be Perfect, Amazing, Professional

There is a huge following for the “Will It Blend” guy. He puts things in his Blendtec blender that he is selling and destroys them. Now, there is a huge following in the marketing world about this guy, almost a cult following of people saying how great he is and how brilliant his marketing plan was. But let’s take a step back into the past…say back to 2006!

As you can see, he was much less polished and more, well, geeky back then. There were no whiz bang graphics or snazzy animations when he started, just him, a little intro and a blender. And don’t let anyone fool you, it took some time to get views! It looks to be about two years until he had 1,000,000 views on his video!

Will It Blend Video Stats

Today Tom’s show is much fancier, but please remember that all this took time to grow and he didn’t start out with all the bells and whistles.

Cool Cutting

Now, all videos don’t have to be vanilla and boring. They can be cut-in-and-outy interesting. The first video is by Gary Vaynerchuk who has a staff of production people who are there for him.

This second one was doing using iMovie and one of the templates that come with the program. Not bad for teen guy who was trying to help his Mom sell more real estate is it?

A Real One

Last but not least, I want to show you a “real” video done by a normal person with no experience doing this kind of video. She put her head down, got all the “stuff” together and figured it out within a week. There really is not anything you can’t figure out if you put your mind to it!

PS – A big tip here is that Donna didn’t try to make the snazzy intro herself, she went to Fiverr.com and got one premade that worked with her look.

She has sold one client from this already…:)

Wrapup

I guess the last thing that I want to say is that figuring all of this out is probably going to take a little bit and you might have some god-awful videos in the meantime, but that it is worth the time to get it figured out! Using homemade videos as a template for your commercials rather than trying to emulate marketing agencies with million dollar budgets is a great way to get ideas for how to make your own videos.

Honorable Mentions I Just Like

The Chase Jarvis Intro

The Dog In The Airport

13 Misconceptions About Global Warming

Crash Course In Psychology

14 Money Saving Life Hacks

Best Messages To Send In A Followup Personal Note | Things To Say Samples

If you are looking for the best messages to send in a followup personal note, here are some samples of things that you can say!

Best Messages To Send In  A Personal Note - Followup SamplesI am on a mission to wind up this year with a rockstar marketing campaign and a followup system that is bulletproof. With that in mind, I will be writing personal notes as often as appropriate.

Now, some people are proponents of sending one a day or even 5 a day and that is awesome. The reason I am doing it the other way around is that I am going to be generating sales for my product, webinar interviews and speaking events which will lead to opportunities to send a personal thank you note.

Because I am requiring that I have something to be grateful for BEFORE mailing a beautiful card, that will spur me to make sure that I am doing the daily tasks that will make those cards necessary!

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction (loosely stated) says that what you focus on you can manifest. In our day-to-day lives it is very easy to let things slip like that great testimonial someone sent you about your speaking event. Wouldn’t it be nice to manifest more speaking events where people send you awesome messages? OF COURSE!

By being grateful and focusing on the things in life that enrich your world, you are bringing more and more of them in and driving out time for doubt and fear.

Thank You Notes

  • Thanks for being so thoughtful, your … meant so much to me
  • Thank you for the …, it was perfect
  • I loved the …, I will think of you every time I see it
  • Thank you! I was blown away that you thought of me
  • Thank you so much, I appreciate the thought that you put into …
  • Thank you! You have no idea how much it means to me
  • I can never thank you enough for…
  • I am forever in your debt, if there is ever anything I can do for you
  • Thank you for all you have done
  • I don’t know what I would have done without you
  • Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to …
  • A BIG thank you for …
  • Thank you for letting me be a part of …

Thank you words: awesome, perfect, generous, fabulous, thrilled, appreciate, happy, grateful

Heartfelt Notes

  • I am deeply touched that you would think of me for …
  • I am so touched that you thought of me
  • Knowing you has been such a blessing
  • My heartfelt thanks to you for …
  • It was so kind of you to…

Heartfelt words: special, touching, thoughtful

Nice To Talk With You Notes

  • I can’t wait to put your ideas into action
  • I am already working on what we talked about
  • I have jumped right in and am working on …
  • You will be such a big help to …
  • I couldn’t have done without you!
  • I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today
  • Talking to you always brightens my day
  • Talking with you made today a great day
  • Having you in my life is such a blessing
  • You will never know how much … means to me

Nice words: fantastic, shiny, brilliant, unforgettable, incredible, excellent, sensational

Expressions

  • I am speechless
  • You made my day
  • You are the best
  • You touched my heart
  • Words fail me, but…
  • I love the way you
  • I loved hearing about..
  • I can’t believe you…
  • I can’t wait to…

Expressions words: impressive, stunning, amazing, unique, glorious

Thank you and Inspirational quote notes

I have to say that I am not always the most eloquent person or that I always have a heartfelt feeling about the person that I am sending the note to, beyond gratitude and a thankfulness that they are somehow in my life. One of the ways that I take pressure off of myself is to include a one of my favorite quotes that would be appropriate in a personal note – here are a few that I use, make sure to check out some of your own!

Thank You Quote Notes

Best Messages To Send In A Followup Personal Note

  • John Wesley – Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can…
  • Felix Frankfurter – Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.
  • Jean Baptiste Massieu – Gratitude is the memory of the heart.
  • Epictetus – The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.
  • Dalai Lama – Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
  • Oprah Winfrey – 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.

Inspiration Quote Notes

  • Alphonse Karr – Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.
  • Thomas A. Edison – Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
  • Og Mandino – Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.
  • Theodore Roosevelt – Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.
  • Walt Disney – If you can dream it, you can do it.
  • Mark Twain – The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
  • C. S. Lewis – You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
  • Nikos Kazantzakis – In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.
  • Victor Kiam – Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.
  • Gordon B. Hinckley – Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.
  • Tony Robbins – Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
  • John F. Kennedy – Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.
  • Winston Churchill – Never, never, never give up.
  • Benjamin Franklin – Well done is better than well said.
  • William Butler Yeats – Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
  • W. Clement Stone – Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe – Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
  • Julie Andrews – Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.
  • H. G. Wells – If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.
  • Babe Ruth – You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.
  • Paul Brandt – Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.

Get The Plan

Marketing Strategy Workbook - Marketing ArtfullyDoing personal notes is part of the comprehensive marketing plan that I laid out in my workbook, The Last Marketing Strategy Workbook You Will Ever Need! If you are looking to stop running around like a chicken without its head and start truly having a plan for your marketing and sales growth, check it out today here

Marketing Like It Is 1999! | Entrepreneur Marketing

Entrepreneur Marketing Like It Is 1999I have fallen off the internet marketing wagon and I am doing my entrepreneur marketing like it is 1999!

What was so special about 1999? That was the first year I actually started working on the computer every day and sent my first email message to a group that included a Gigabite sized picture (that would be big today, then it was HUGE and email guy politely told me he liked my marketing very much but if I sent 100 gigs over the email system again he would kill me!)

It also sounds like a Prince Song that I like (unfortunately Prince isn’t an internet guy so I can’t share a video with you – ironic!)

Offline Marketing Tips and Tricks for Entrepreneurs

Somedays I really don’t want to spend all my time banging away on a computer. Somedays I want old-school marketing to be back in style and to not have to friend, like or post anything. Well recently I took this show on the road and started making a 1999 product that is going to be the cornerstone of my business!

Marketing Strategy Workbook

The Last Marketing Strategy Workbook - Marketing ArtfullyWith all the online, ereader and ebook options, why did I make a 100+ page workbook that you have to print out to use? A couple of reasons. I am a writer. I like notebooks and workbooks and to put pen to paper to get my thoughts down. I KNOW, there are ways that I can do this with a stylus and my iPad, but that is just not the same. I don’t take as much consideration, stopping everything and really thinking about what I am doing.

Additionally I like to have a record of where I started and where I am now. Keeping files on the computer is nice, but really who ever goes back and “flips” through old files? With pieces of paper I can take a peek back and see if I have accomplished what I set out to do.

Lastly I think there are other people like me who want to have more than just a PDF that they put on their reader and ignore. My workbook will be available for sale in hard copy wherever I am. My newsletter will be going out in hard copy to my members on hole punched paper so they can just add it right in.

I know that having a real workbook is a quaint idea in this day and age, but I am so happy I did it this way!

>> find out more about my amazingly brilliant marketing strategy workbook!

Speaking

Tara Jacobsen Speaking HappyHaving just done a “launch” of my product online, I can tell you in all sincerity that at least 3/4 of the people who bought have seen me speak in person. There is nothing that can compete with getting the chance to stand up in front of a group and show how helpful and knowledgable you are.

One of the reasons this might have been so successful was that I had never really had a tangible asset to sell them. I had had courses (online), offers of of coaching (ephemeral) and upcoming events, but never something that they could print out whole and hold in their hands.

Postcards

Marketing Artfully PostcardsRemember when entrepreneur marketing WAS postcards and direct mail. When the only way to get your message out was to send it out on 5.5X8.5″ cardstock. Well those days are done. Today I use Vistaprint and spend about $20 to get 50 postcards. Each of those postcards gives me a chance of selling something. Of getting a new client and making another sale.

Because so few people send postcards, the impact that you can make selling them is really high!

Personal Notes

The last thing I am implementing throughout the rest of this year and beyond is to send personal notes when someone does something nice (like buys my product or asks me to speak!) Figuring this one out took a little bit of thought on my part (had to get back in the habit of asking for a physical address instead of just collecting an email address – oh the horror!)

Truthfully, the power of the personal note is that it just is nice to get something in the mail from someone when you never expected it…:)

The Real Truth – How Internet Marketing Supports Offline Marketing

So now that I am all sanctimonious about my 1999 marketing, let’s talk for real about why this is all possible in this day and age!

Resources On My Website

Making a workbook is nice, but how was I going to put all of the supporting material into a workbook. Explaining how to do some of the things is so much easier by doing a video and posting it to YouTube. Back in 1999 it would have been a multi-month process to build my own video platform, then I would have had to had a videographer to record it. Today I just use Screencast-O-Matic, record them and upload to YouTube in a matter of minutes.

Creative Cloud

Back in the day there was only Microsoft Word or Publisher to make a big document like my workbook. Today I use Adobe Creative Cloud and InDesign to make it. I have a digital subscription that gives me access to every kind of Adobe product available for about $50 a month (back in 1999 that one piece of software would cost almost $1,000!)

Stock Photography and Small Print Runs

Another brilliant thing about today is that I can buy stock photography for pennies. Using a site like DepositPhotos.com I pay about $20 a month for as many pictures as I want. Considering stock photos used to be hundreds of dollars each, score! Remember my little postcard campaign, before print on demand I would have had to order thousands of cards and spend hundreds of dollars instead of about $20!

Email List

To advertise my workbook launch I used my email list. Instead of having to send something out after reviewing my Rolodex, I was able to send a message to thousands of people all at once for free (minus the cost of Infusionsoft!) I put everyone from my speaking events into that database and grow it online with an opt-in form.

Social Media Circles

In addition to my email database I sent out messages on social media reminding people that my launch was ending soon and the price would be going up. Broadcasting like that to thousands of people would have only been possible with a TV commercial before. Today we are each a media company in and of ourselves!

Website

Last but not least I have a website that gets great traffic for my chosen category (entrepreneur marketing). Each day hundreds of people come by to see my “stuff” and I get a chance to sell them my workbook by writing posts (like this one) and banner ads. Not only that but they might join my email list and buy my workbook later.

For less than about $200 a year I have all my website software, hosting and tools to use to have an online presence. In 1999 it cost between $10,000 and $40,000 to have a site like mine! (I know because I was in the business of selling websites then!)

Wrapup

So which is better? Online or offline marketing? I think that is the wrong question!

The right question is, what are your skillsets and interests. I like sending mail (going to the Post Office is fun, my dad likes it too!) I like speaking and making workbooks and worksheets. I like designing postcards. I like writing blog posts.

Stop right now and think about what you like to do! Do you like meeting new people face-to-face (then start doing old school networking with an online backup of “friending” them on Facebook and adding them to your email database. Like making phone calls? Follow them up with a Video email a couple of days later to see if they are ready to buy.

There is no sense of not using all the entrepreneur marketing tools we have at our disposal, old-fashioned and new-fangled alike!

Buffer Versus Hootsuite – Which One Wins?

There is a big social media marketing tools controversy in my world, Buffer versus Hootsuite. My marketing besty swears by Hootsuite and is a true power user who has been a fan for years. I on the other hand love the Buffer and have a few other friends who swear by it. But who is right?

Here is a video showing the “back ends of each and why I like/hate them!”

So for the skinny, here is my take on each of these social media marketing tools!

Buffer Versus Hootsuite | Social Media Posting Tools ReviewedBoth are very affordable (about $10 a month-ish for the paid versions). Both are very stable platforms that have been around a long time and are rarely down or mess up posting. That said, there are some real differences in how easy they are to use day-to-day for my work.

For the purposes of this post I am going to break down 4 areas, Scheduling, Reporting, RSS Feeds and Interactions.

Bufferapp.com

Bufferapp is the one that I use for my own personal posting. I have used it off and on for about 2 years and am super happy with it!

Scheduling

  • Pro: I can schedule easily using my browser. The photo interface is not the greatest and sometimes it is hard to get the pictures to pull in, but in that case I just upload the photo directly from my desktop.
  • Pro: I can “shuffle” the posts after I have loaded them so I don’t look like a giant spammer when I have 20 of my past blog articles going out all at once.
  • Pro: I can “scoot” each post around, up or down on a post by post level (I LOVE THIS ONE!)
  • Pro: I can set each different social network to post a different amount (so I can have Twitter post 3X a day and LinkedIn post 2X a day).

Overall, this is where Buffer cleans Hootsuite’s clock!

Reporting

  • Pro: I don’t have to set anything up, there is a tab for each of my social networks built right in.
  • Pro: It is pretty easy to scroll down and see what has been going on.
  • Con: They have a really lame-ish way of showing me what has been doing well, not a way to sort the posts from the most popular to the least popular.

RSS Feeds

  • Pro: SO easy to get feeds into the system, just post the website and they pull it in.
  • Pro: I love that I can pull in feeds for each different account (this matches Gary Vaynerchuk’s thoughts that each platform has a different type of need! Fun stuff for Facebook, serious for LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Pro: It is easy to post and modify them with my special characters, hashtags, etc.

Interactions

  • Con: Buffer is the huge loser here, they don’t have any way to see who has commented on the posts. You will have to log into each social network to check and see if anyone is talking to you.

Hootsuite.com

Scheduling

  • Pro: Super nice photo review and change feature.
  • Con: Cannot “shuffle” posts at all (a huge downer for me).
  • Con: Cannot pick each network for how many times to post a day. The choice is global so I went with 2.

Reporting

  • Pro: Have a great sorting function so that you can see the most popular posts that you have shared.
  • Con: You have to request every single report that you want to track and would have to keep going back and forth to see each.

RSS Feeds

  • Con: You have to have a different tab for each feed/kind of feed instead of being able to associate them with the various social media networks.
  • Con: It is really kerfuffly to get the feeds in, you have to load them from the websites and frequently I am not able to accomplish it (like in the video)
  • Con: To have all the feeds I use in Buffer I would have a HUGE tab that would be really hard to review and manage.

Interactions

  • Pro: Well Hootsuite wins this one by default, Buffer doesn’t have this functionality.
  • Pro: It works really well! It is easy to see who is talking to you and follow along with the conversations.

Overview

Based on all of this, you may wonder why I don’t just use Bufferapp.com for all my work. Well, they have a very strange pricing structure. To accomplish what I need for my clients would cost almost $100 a month instead of the $10 that I pay for Hootsuite. One of the reasons I did not include this in my comparisons is that for most of you the 12 social networks you can add to Buffer will be more than enough. For me, the 12 is leaving out a bunch that I would like to add to my personal account but which are actually in my overflow for Hootsuite.

For most of you, I would recommend that you try Buffer and if you are super sad that you can’t do it all in one place then move over to Hootsuite.

– – – –

Disclaimer, I have a paid account with both Bufferapp.com and Hootsuite.com. I use the Buffer account for my personal internet empire and the Hootsuite for my client work. The Hootsuite link is an affiliate link and I will get paid a little bit if decide to buy. Buffer does not have an affiliate program but I love them anyways.

– – – –

Marketing Strategy Workbook

The Last Marketing Strategy Workbook - Marketing ArtfullyIf you like this kind of thing and are looking for a comprehensive marketing solution written for smart business people, check out the Last Marketing Strategy Guide You Will Ever Need!

In it I break down all the aspects of having a fabulous business and an amazing marketing plan…but wait, that is not all, it doesn’t end there! I will update you about the latest marketing tools and strategies you need to make more sales! find out more

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Small Business Marketing – When Are You Giving Too Much Away Free?

Small Business Marketing - When Are You Giving Too Much Away Free?Oh what a great day for small business! Today’s reader question is about how to figure out when you are giving too much away free.

Question: So as I’m creating my own business, a lot of things are new to me including, where is the line drawn where you are a resource and when it’s a potential client if that makes sense? Like…how much do you tell for free? – Theresa (name changed to protect the innocent)

I actually love this one because I do think that this is a fuzzy line for some people but it is super clear to me!

How Long Does It Take?

Reader QuestionsFirst off, I think it depends on how long it takes you to accomplish the task. I will pretty much do anything for free that takes me less than a minute.

Here I am particularly thinking about reader questions that are sort of the lifeblood of my business. I get questions emailed and Facebook messaged me every day that tell me what the marketplace needs and gives me an idea of what I should talk about (hence this blog post from a reader question! – you can click the picture to get to me on Facebook…friend or follow me) Answering most of those questions with resources or a quick response is easy so I fire them off all day long.

So what takes you no time that you can do quickly? Yours may be answering phone calls or text messages. It might be popping over to their blog post and leaving a comment.

I was so proud when one of the people on the stream said, “Love that we can always count on you!” It is building that kind of open door for tiny things which leads to giant doors opening for everything else!

Note: I model this after Seth Godin and Chris Brogan who are best selling authors and who take the time to answer all their reader question emails. I have gotten some amazing one word answers from Seth over the years and Chris is always there to answer my quick questions.

How Long Does It Take YOU? And do you like it?

That said, I do sometimes do things for free for my friends or people who refer me out frequently. I have made logos and websites, written sales copy and set up Facebook pages.

But I like doing those things (for my friends) and it keeps me at the top of my game. I am getting ready to make one of my friends an amazing website because I want to test something. Yes it will benefit her, but it is also to help me.

I often give talks for free and this blog is full of great free stuff. I do those things because I like doing them and have found ways to provide free that make me happy and serve everyone, not just one person at a time.

Note: Once you are a client I tend to do anything reasonable you ask without charging more! This is because I only work with a handful of people who have actually become friends as we have worked together over time.

Overselling On A Sales Call

One place I notice that I fall apart with my free model was back when I did face-to-face selling of our social media services product.

I would hit the door, start to tell them everything that we could do and answer every question they had about their social media. They would act all excited, tell me they would call me with a credit card and fade away. Well for heaven’s sake, I sat there and gave them the roadmap for them to follow. I should have told them WHAT to do instead of HOW we are going to do it!

Shut Up And Listen

In the previous section I forgot the first rule of selling, “Shut up and listen!”

I was so busy talking that I didn’t have a chance to hear what they really wanted so that I could set out to provide the answers to their real questions. Rarely does someone want just a Facebook page. They want to sell more products or services. They want to connect with their tribe. They want to be big shots. What they don’t need is someone sitting in front of them telling them all about how to set up a Facebook page!

Note: I rarely do in-person selling anymore as that is not my best thing. I also am re-arranging my offerings to include less one-on-one services and more “in it for everyone” stuff because that is what I like and am good at!

Should You Go To Coffee? Or Let Someone “Pick Your Brain”?

I cannot possibly say this better than Marie does!

Note: I don’t go out to coffee very often. It takes too much time to drive there, spend the time and then drive home. I always give away the farm and then they don’t need to pay me so that really doesn’t work for me!

Should You “Pay It Forward”?

There is a school of thought that says you should do something for free to show a prospect how great your product or service will be. This could be a free sample, making them something or just doing a little work before they hire you.

For a prospect I rarely will do anything free. I think it devalues your paid work and you have to give so many samples or free items away before one of your prospects will pull out a credit card that you could be hurting your paid clients or buyers by using your time for sales.

Wrapup

I totally loved this question! It is a problem that lots of us struggle with and few know how to handle with grace (I still flail around when talking to a humans about why I won’t “grab a cup of coffee” with them!)

That said, one of the most important things I have heard lately is from Suzanne Evans… the thing that you are best as the thing that you value the least and which is your greatest asset (or something like that!)

Knowing that, it is super important to remember that your products, time, your knowledge and your experience are not things to be given away, they are meant to be packaged up and sold to amazing clients or customers who NEED you!

The Last Marketing Strategy Workbook You Will Need EVER!

Keyword Marketing and SEO Update – How To Track Your Keyword Rankings

Today’s post is about how to obsessively track your keyword marketing and SEO rankings. We are going to focus on three main tools including Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and Pro Rank Tracker (a third party site).

Google Webmaster Tools

Now that the keyword data is missing from Google Analytics, the Google Webmaster Tools are my new best friend. There I can find data showing:

  • How many times my site appeared in search (impressions)
  • The number of clicks that my received (clicks)
  • How many times my site was view compared to how many clicks I received (CTR – Click Through Rate)
  • Average position (shows all the keywords that I rank for and which position I am in)

Back when I had easy peasy results in Google Analytics I didn’t pay this site much mind but now I am a whole hearted supper and pretty much stalking my results in the Google Webmaster Tools.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en

Google Analytics

Keyword Marketing and SEO Update - How To Track Your Keyword RankingsAhh my old friend Google Analytics. You fickle bastard you, no more keyword data but some really good information about which pages are ranking and the sources of traffic that are working the best.

https://www.google.com/analytics/web

Pro Rank Tracker

Probably my favorite site right now on the internet. First off, they give you 50 free keywords to track and their prices really aren’t that horrendous if you get a jones for more. They send a daily email showing whether you have gone up or down which is super cool for figuring what to write about to keep your rankings up. LOVE THEM!

https://proranktracker.com

However you choose to track your keyword marketing efforts and SEO rankings, make sure you know what you are trying to rank for and the best practices for increasing your rankings without being a spammer (no sense in hosing up your life by doing bad SEO practices now that Google has declared war on spamming!)

How To Create A Kick Ass, Take No Prisoners Marketing Plan

There are marketing plans and then there is a MARKETING PLAN. Today we are going to talk about all the steps that you need to take to create a kick ass, take no prisoners marketing plan that will get you more customers and make you more money than you ever dreamed possible!

Warning: Just a word of caution, this post will make you very successful at whatever you choose to promote. Please don’t just skim over the first parts. This is totally the, “I got to the top of the ladder and found out it was against the wrong wall” if you are not completely sure about what you are trying to accomplish.

How To Create A Kick Ass, Take No Prisoners Marketing PlanHaving cruised the internet to find out what the “marketing plan template” competition is offering I was pleasantly surprised to find that they stink. While their process and format might work in business school or be the bomb in corporate America with 12 levels of management, this type of marketing plan is for business owners who will be implementing it themselves or perhaps working with someone on staff or outsourced to get it done. It is also for someone who is less concerned with “process” and more concerned with making money, getting leads and making sales.

How To Do Your Marketing Plan

Okay, we are ready to get going! First off, if you are really going to do this, please put down your phone, stop checking emails and get out a tablet of paper to write on. OF COURSE you will not wind up with a complete marketing plan in 30 minutes like some people promise, but you should be able to get a good start and a plan or path for which way to go.

What Are You Selling

The very first thing you need to do is is to know EXACTLY what you are selling. I have talked with almost a thousand small business owners and very few knew exactly what they were selling. There are two ways to think about this:

  • Selling an exact product or service that people are looking for like jewelry, business coaching, homes for sale or any other number of things that people are actively buying.
  • Selling the answer to a problem like “how to get the man of your dreams” or “becoming a better salesman”.

Sometimes you are better off to sell the factually correct product or service and sometimes you are better off to sell the solution to problem. The one thing never to do is to sell a concept like “security” if you are selling insurance or “beauty” if you are selling makeup. That is too cute and obscure to be a good marketing goal.

So the first thing you need to figure out is 3 Things You Are Selling. Write them down in pencil for now.

Selling online.

If you are reading my blog on the internet or a phone then you are aware that much of marketing is done via the internet these days. You probably did not just type in the whole long url to get here, you might have come from a Google search, seeing a social media post or even being subscribed to my blog feed. All of these ways of finding someone require words, more specifically keywords.

The reason I said to pencil in your three things you are selling is that you need to figure three relevant keywords that will show up in searches on the internet when someone is looking for your product or service. There are two ways to think about picking your keywords:

  • Tiny niche, big fish. If you want to have very fast results, pick a “long tail keyword” that is very specific and has little competition. This will allow you to rank highly for a term quickly and get eyeballs on your marketing fast.
  • Big niche, lots of opportunity. The other way to do this is to pick a big hairy audacious keyword and then work for a while to rank highly for that on Google and share it frequently on social media to get backlinks and gain authority about that term.

Whichever way you pick, you want to take your three products or services you are selling and make sure to research each to know what keywords you should actually target for those terms.

Who Are You Selling To

This is the most important thing to consider when doing your marketing plan. If you don’t know who you are selling to you cannot effectively plan how to market to them. Gone are the days when you could head out to social media, make friends and sell “stuff”. Today you need to be laser focused on who you are trying to reach and where they are going to be spending their time, online or off. Because of all the competing marketing messages (think email, online, texting, billboards, postcards, networking), you have to make sure that all of your efforts are concentrated on reaching your exact customer, exactly where they are.

We have written whole books on how to figure out who your perfect customer might be, but to get you started check out, Customer Demographics Versus The Perfect Customer Profile. This will help you find your current customer demographics as well as the “perfect customer” who will buy and buy.

What Is Your Budget

The next thing to consider is how much do you have to spend. I have a goal to spend about $1,000 a month in marketing across all of the channels, your budget may be higher or lower than that. In this number I include the cost of buying training programs or getting coaching on how to do some specific kind of marketing.

Here are a few top level ideas for different budgets:

$0-$500 A Month Marketing Budget

If you are working with a very small (or non-existent) budget, you are going to have to put in some sweat time. Most of the marketing that is done on the internet can be done for very limited resources so that is going to be our go-to marketing spot for you! Some things that you can do with a limited budget include:

  • Blogging
  • Social media
  • Guest article writing
  • Networking
  • Making videos
  • Attending local industry events
  • Learning SEO
  • Writing Ebooks

for a comprehensive list of free marketing ideas check out our 100FreeMarketingIdeas.com

$500-$1,000 A Month Marketing Budget

If you have a little more money and want to outsource some of your marketing tasks, you can definitely find help. A decent amount of online exposure can be had for around $500/month. Conversely if you like doing marketing, you could take those funds and buy marketing training, using your money to increase your knowledge and expertise. Some things that you can do with this budget include:

  • Paid ads on Google or Facebook (LinkedIn has a minimum of $500 so we wouldn’t recommend putting all your eggs in one basket)
  • Sending postcards or direct mail
  • Start a podcast
  • Buying marketing training
  • Traveling to industry events
  • Paid ads in local papers or magazines
  • Flyers or brochures
  • Having videos professionally done

for a comprehensive overview of free and paid options, check out our ebook, 100 Marketing Ideas: Our Top Marketing Tips For The Web, Social, Video and More

$1,000+

Now you are in the “get a professional or in house person to do your marketing” range. If you are spending more than a few hundred dollars a month on paid advertising it is well worth your money to pay for someone who is knowledgable in that area to manage it for you. Additionally, you should be outsourcing your social media or blogging (you can still write the content but have them post and SEO them professionally).

What Are Your Assets

While budget is definitely a consideration when figuring out your marketing plan, more-so is taking a look at what your assets are. I like to write which includes books, blog posts, and articles for local magazines. I also don’t mind making videos if I can do screen captures instead of them being with me in them. When you are getting your marketing plan together, it is vital that you play to your (or your team’s) strengths and weaknesses. If you set a goal to make 7 videos a week and hate doing them, it will not work out as planned!

Here are some character traits and what you could do with those talents!

  • Great at building relationships – focus on Facebook, in person networking and your email newsletter (you can love up on your people!)
  • A total ham and show-off – become a speaker, make videos with you in them, start a podcast, attend industry events where you can make key connections
  • Methodical and precise – LinkedIn would be a great place to make industry connections, do how-to videos without you in them, schedule your social media precisely

The key to an effective marketing campaign is playing to your strengths, even if you are outsourcing parts of it. For example, we do social media marketing for clients, but it works most effectively for the people who are willing to make videos which we then turn into blog posts, sharing on social media and spreading across the internet. Several of our clients have said they would like to make videos but that is just not in their wheelhouse so they never got done.

Setting Targets

You need to know what your goal is for all this marketing. A mistake that I see frequently is that a business owner will say that they want “a sale” from their marketing. Now this is great if they have an ecommerce site and are direct selling on the internet. But even for those people, sales often come after a number of different exposures to the product or service.

For example, I wrote this blog post which will have a data collection link so that people can sign up to learn more about my marketing plan template product once it is developed (right now I am just trying to rank for my main keyword, “marketing plan” in anticipation of completing that product). I will probably start with something free and then work my way up to a higher priced item.

Marketing Plan Sales FunnelThis process is called a sales funnel and you should have one too! To the right is what I am doing with mine.

As you can see, I don’t just jump into selling a several thousand dollar consulting program. There are steps along the way that work someone from the top (this blog post) to the bottom, charging progressively higher prices along the way. Rarely will someone do a search, find you on the internet or social and call to say sign me up (although it does happen from time to time). Instead they will do a search, see you have great information and then be looking for the next step in the process. Some next steps could be:

  • Make an inquiry phone call
  • Send in an internet lead or quote request
  • Signup for your email newsletter
  • Request a one-on-one meeting
  • Sign up for a lower priced course or offering

All of these results are part of the sales process. Of the people who sign up for my newsletter, a percentage will buy a marketing plan template. Some of the people who buy a marketing plan template will want to learn more in an online class. Some of them will figure out that they would rather have some help-help and call me for a consultation.

Activities based

Now, marketing is a sexy past time when done at high levels. Getting all dolled up for a photo shoot or buying the latest video camera are fun and festive. Going to networking or speaking at an event is a rush. But now comes the hard part.

None of those marketing efforts work without having a plan for each. For networking your plan could be to add them to your database, send a video email to say high, follow that up with a phone call and then send a personal note. Each an every person that you meet should be run through that process.

You should have a plan for every bit of your marketing process. Doing social? You should know how often you posting to each site each day, when you are going to check your messages, how many people you are going to follow and more. For bloggers you should have an editorial calendar and a rock solid plan for what content you are going to be writing and then what you are going to do to share that content socially, numerous times over the following weeks and months.

To do: Make a plan for each day of the week listing the marketing tasks you have to do each day!

Marketing Plan Accountability and Ridiculous Goals

So, now you know what to do. You have an idea of what you are selling, some thoughts about what your marketing plans are going to be and an activities based plan for what you are going to do every day.

Failure is not an option. First off, don’t give yourself permission to fail. Laid out the way we do, it is easy to see that taking 20-60 minutes a day to do your marketing efforts is extremely possible and profitable. But that old saying is true, what is easy to do is also easy not to do. It is easy to think, “I am busy so I will just skip following today” or “so I missed a blog post this week, that is not the end of the world”. That kind of “slipping” will lead to your marketing being a lackluster, half assed effort that is just annoying, not effective. Don’t do that.

Ridiculous Goals. Right now I am on a quest to do a video (or two) every day of the week until the end of the year. That will mean that I have well over 100 additional videos (some of which are included in blog posts and some that are shared on social). The thought of making 100 videos is overwhelming, but if you just think of making one video a day, that effort seems easy and do-able. Set huge goals for yourself but break them down into daily tasks that are doable.

Thank you so much for reading about how to create a kick ass, take no prisoners marketing plan! If you would like to find out more about our products or services give me a call today (727) 415-9165

How To Create A Kick Ass Marketing Plan

Niche Marketing – Real Estate Farming

Niche Marketing - Real Estate FarmingHow to do real estate farming in a niche marketing way. Learn the internet marketing way to increase your farming leads and dominate your area.

In a previous post, Real Estate Marketing To A Farm Area, I talked about how to pick a real estate farm area, some marketing tips and what not to do. Today we are going to get more in depth and less “realtory” about it all focusing on the internet marketing aspect of real estate farming!

Too often we treat realtor marketing like it is in a class all to itself. That is just not true. Real estate marketing is just like every other marketing on the planet and is in some ways much easier than other types of marketing.

Local Marketing

Let’s start with what real estate farming is. It is picking a geographic location that you are going to market to. This includes an area like a city or town, a neighborhood or even a subdivision.

The smaller the area that you pick, the easier it is to dominate it in the search engines and the more “real” leads you will get. Think about it, someone who is searching for “Denver real estate” is casting a pretty wide net, someone looking for the “Cherry Creek real estate area” is getting more refined and if they are searching for a subdivision in that area they are probably pretty close to buying or selling sometime soon!

Picking A Real Estate Niche

Niche marketing in the internet world is about choosing a small-ish target and then focusing all of your energies on that target. One of mine is “realtor marketing” so I write posts like this that will rank well in the search engines AND be helpful to Realtors. That distinction is super important. If you are just picking a niche and then not producing great content that people doing those searches will want to actually consume, you are wasting their time.

So how should you pick your niche? There are a couple of ways that work well:

  1. Pick an area that you like. This one seems random but might be the most brilliant way. Niche marketing means that you will be spending a lot of time making videos, doing open houses and focusing on an area and if you LOVE being there it will feel like play instead of working.
  2. Pick a high turnover area. The highest turnover areas tend to be the ones that are in the median price ranges that are attractive to move up or first time buyers. Only you will know these “hot” areas where the homes sell often and you can generate a lot of sales and buyers.
  3. Pick a high cost area. Farming for luxury homes is a fun and profitable prospect. You don’t have to sell hundreds of these homes to make a high income and once you have dominated these kinds of keywords and social sites, you are in the drivers seat for generating high cost, high quality leads.
  4. Other. There are a million ways to choose your niche. You could pick working with only sellers in a geographic area, only first time homebuyers, just veterans, commercial or a million other criteria. Whatever you choose, you have to make sure you do enough local marketing to dominate that market.

Keyword Selection

In our post 100 Great SEO Keywords for Realtors, we break down the keywords that people use for searching real estate terms, but that is just half of the equation. The other half is knowing what the local terms are that people are using for searching.

For example, here in Denver a lot of the agents are using “Front Range” in their marketing which is a term that describes all of the cities along the Eastern side of the Rocky Mountains. It is a local term and seems like it would be great for covering a wide area. Unfortunately there are only 30 searches per month for “front range real estate” which is definitely not enough to target as a niche. “Denver Real Estate” has over 8,000 and “Cherry Creek Real Estate” has 320 (still not great but 10 times more than front range real estate!)

Dominating A Real Estate Keyword Or Ten

I am a firm believer in picking three keywords to target at the start. You should definitely have a big one would be a stretch to reach (like Denver Real Estate), then a couple like “Cherry Creek Realtors” or “Wash Park Homes For Sale”. But real estate is super cool in that you can target tens or even hundreds of keywords easily just by taking videos and pictures as you drive around on your listing appointments or buyer showings.

This video about “Stratford Lakes” Real Estate has had over 400 views. While it is a pretty basic attempt, it has resulted in closed buyer business and has established Tena as a keyword holder for that subdivision.

This video has given Deb a foothold in the St. Petersburg, FL area and has resulted in at least two closed deals that we know about.

As you can see, these are just 41 and 33 seconds each. I think anyone has to agree that taking 33 seconds to make something that could earn thousands of dollars of commissions is a high quality use of time!

Keyword Tracking

Once you pick a keyword or three, you will want to start tracking your rankings for that keyword and see how you are are fairing in the search engines. We recommend a couple of different ways to do this:

Google Webmaster Tools – This is a great way to find out what you already rank for and can target how to rank even better for key terms.

Proranktracker.com
– A really neat site for seeing your current rankings for targeted keywords. They will send a daily email about how your keywords are ranking.

Social Media Marketing

So we have hit on keywords for your website (which you can use for your videos also). Now let’s take a quick peek at social media and the similar and different ways that you can target your keywords to maximize your efforts.

Google+ – Some of the results that appear in the “real” Google Search Engine come from posts on Google+. You can use your same keywords in those posts that you are using in your website.

Hashtags – Start checking out Google+, Twitter and Pinterest to see which keywords match your real estate marketing niche. To give you an idea, there is a #denver #realestate and #cherrycreek hashtag. Now, this will probably work less effectively for subdivisions but is still well worth figuring out. I love using hashtagify.me for finding new and relevant hashtags.

Top Realtors – If you would like a customized real estate farming strategy for your team to implement, give me a call today to find out more! 727-415-9165

We Wrote The Book On Marketing To A Farm!

Real Estate Marketing To A Farm EbookHow To Find, Grow & Reap The Benefits of a Geographic Farm…Find out tips and strategies to cultivate a successful real estate farm area. While researching for this title, we were surprised to discover how little real information there is out there about how to farm a neighborhood.

Included Topics:

  • What Is A Farm, Choosing a Farm & Farming For Sellers
  • Newsletters, Postcards, & Brochure Boxes
  • Website, Video, Email, & Social Media
  • Open Houses & Door Knocking
  • Creative Farming Ideas

Looking to take your real estate marketing to the next level? Start here

Manufacturing Marketing: How To Give Your Company A Personality

Manufacturing Marketing: How To Give Your Company A PersonalityToday we are going to talk about manufacturing marketing and how you can give your company a personality!

For most manufacturing companies marketing is a pretty dry thing. They produce products, make sure to get collateral and flyers to their distributors, maybe throw up a website page and hope that they can be found by someone who wants to buy whatever they are selling.

It is a very passive process that is not exactly sexy or sales generating.

Now we do know some more aggressive companies that attend trade shows and get belly-to-belly with their customers and tell how their product or service will help them either work smarter or make more money.

These companies tend to do a great job person-to-person selling, but maybe not so much on the online world.

Ranger Ink and Innovative Craft Products

One company that we see doing an amazing job at bringing their products to market is Ranger Ink and Innovative Craft Products. Ranger has taken a consumer goods product (scrapbooking ink) that they sell through craft stores and are promoting it directly to their customers using brand spokesmen.

Tim Holtz

I first found out about Ranger because there was a really neat guy (Tim Holtz) who was great at demo-ing his new products at the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) Shows. Functionally, as a consumer, I had started doing journalling and wanted to see some how-to demos.

Well Tim was cool and seeing some of the products displayed, I did trot out to buy them when they hit the stores!

Dyan Reaveley

So the next thing that happened was this really amazing chick named Dyan Reaveley showed up and started selling for Ranger. She was not model skinny and wore glasses (I am not model skinny and I wear glasses…we are soul sisters!)

Dyan Reaveley Promoting Tim HoltzThe cool thing about Dyan is that she owns a craft store too in England. I am actually signed up for her email mailing list and get her updates where she is cross promoting…wait for it…Tim Holtz’s products.

So this goes on for a couple of years. As a consumer I wait anxiously for the Summer and Winter CHA shows so I can get a dose of “how tos” from my “friends” and then go buy the new “stuff” they are selling.

Dina Wakley

So I was just getting to know Tim and Dyan and what happened, they invited a new gal, Dina Wakley, to join them. Now, it looks like they are all friends and having fun so I was happy to “meet” Dina and add her to my list of “must watch” videos when the CHA show happens.

Selling To End Users

As a manufacturer I am sure you are thinking, yeah but….yeah but scrapbooking is cool. Yeah but no one in our space is as charismatic. Yeah but…

There are a million reasons to say you can’t do it, but there are amazingly dull topics who have passionate supporters and we are sure you can find someone who would be a good fit for your company to be the “face” that is out there for the public to know and love.

Some of the huge benefits that Ranger is gaining from using this style of marketing include:

  • Drive from their end users for craft shops and retailers to stock the products that the spokespeople talk about
  • Increased exposure through the spokespeople doing projects with products
  • Endorsements from people already respected in their field
  • Free content creation and sharing as fans of these three artists share their projects and suggestions
  • Product development of different creative product lines based on the expertise of each artist

No matter your industry, it is worth seeing if you can find some way to humanize or put a face on your products.

If you would like to learn more about our Manufacturing Marketing services, please click here.

We are not in any way related to Ranger Ink, just fans of their manufacturing marketing methods and all the cool designers they are using!

The Benefits Of Writing A Book For Marketing and Sales

The Benefits of Writing A Book For Sales and MarketingWriting a book for marketing and sales purposes is one of the most impactful things that you can do for your business. I have written a number of marketing books that are currently generating money and opportunity for my business on a weekly if not daily basis.

An Instant Expert

Years ago to be an expert you had to have some kind of credentials. You had to attend a college or get a certification or be “knighted” an expert by someone in a position of authority or power. These days you just have to do the work to be an expert. You need to know and love your topic with a passion (and hopefully 10,000 hours of work towards mastery).

But just being knowledgable does nothing without sharing that knowledge with other people. When you write a book and put your name and reputation on the line. You are putting a stake in the ground and claiming your expert right.

The cool thing about this is that even writing is now about doing the work. You don’t have to wait for someone to give you permission, you can just start writing and then “voila” you will be a published author.

Easy Peasy Publishing

Getting published is no longer the un-overcomable challenge it once was. Back in the day you would have to write your book, print out a gagillion proofs, send it off to the big publishers and then wait for the rejection letters to start rolling in, possibly crushing your dreams of being a “real” author forever.

Today’s publishing landscape looks tremendously different.

Digital Books

First off you can publish in your own right using Amazon, iBooks or Kobo. Within 12 hours of hitting submit, you can have a digital version of your book online ready to start selling. This is how we have published all of our books and we have been super pleased with every one of them!

The ease of getting your words into the hands of readers using self publishing is an amazing gift that was never available before.

Small Publishing Houses

But what if you want a “book-book” to use as a business card or sales piece. I don’t know if there were always such helpful publishing houses in the past or if the competition from self publishing spurred the movement, but there are some really nice, helpful small publishing houses like Black Card Books who works with authors to help them publish and promote their books.

These smaller publishing houses are not going to be buying pages for their authors in the New York Times, but we do find that they are much more aggressive about actively promoting all their authors (not just the top 2 or 3 who make the bestseller list).

Authority

Writing books gives you authority and opportuntiies that are not available any other way. Just a few of the cool things that have happened because of our books include:

  • International exposure on webinars and hangouts from interviewers who found our books on Amazon
  • New clients who don’t have to ask if we know what we are talking about, we just send them the book and they understand that immediately
  • Speaking events because the organizer found our book online
  • An offer from a major publisher for a complimentary title to one of our books
  • So many more!

It is incredible what book writing can do for your sales and marketing efforts. If you are thinking about writing a book, stop thinking and just start it right now!

Denver Book Publishing & Marketing Seminar

Gerry Roberts Book Publishing and Marketing SeminarGerry Roberts, Best Selling Author and amazing speaker is coming to Denver, August 26th!

He will be here to talk about how to use a book as a marketing tool and income accelerator. Now, you know we are super strong believers in books and the ability of using a book to market different parts of our business.

Find out more >> http://mandmmonsters.com/bookmarketing2014

B2B Business Development Using Social Media

B2B Business Development Using Social MediaMarketing for B2B Business Development became confused in 2008-2009 when social media took off. Before that marketing was relatively easy to do, just put your ad in the yellow pages and maybe a couple of trade publications, clap your hands and call it done for the year. Maybe if you were really hard-core you had a drive-to-web campaign using direct mail, but basically, it was pretty contained and involved just paying and then waiting for leads to roll in.

This style of marketing is called direct response and it is really the straightest line from paying for a marketing item (like having an email blast go out to a targeted list), to generating leads directly because of that action, following up on them and then making a sale. The really nice thing about this is you can say you spent X amount of dollars to have the piece produced, sent it using your database which costs X amount per month, got X amount of leads and converted X number of those leads into closed business.

The old days were great!

Excessive Clutter

Now, you might be asking if I am saying that you shouldn’t do direct selling…well no! There are still numerous ways to direct response that are effective. But we are talking about Social Media and Business Development today and that is a totally different animal.

When the social sites exploded onto the scene (and by these we are saying sites like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest) they stretched out marketing an almost unbearable amount. Add to that blogs, TV and movies on demand, email, texting and all the other ways that we are bombarded with marketing messages each day and it is no wonder that doing marketing started to feel like a three ring circus instead of a business play.

Getting your marketing message to the right people is more important now than ever.

Pure Business Development

Let’s look again at what marketing is and has always been. A way to put a message about your company in front of people who might be interested in what you are selling and then having them call for a quotation, learn more by visiting your site or do some other action that puts them into your “pipeline” where you can followup and convert them into a buyer.

That is business development. Somehow social media as a marketing channel got put on a different level from other marketing. It was held to a standard that no marketing could attain…every post you make, every video you shoot, everything should lead directly to a sale. A fun thing to banter around is “what is the ROI of social media”.

I think this is because of the effort that has to be expended to succeed at social media. It is not enough to just throw up a Twitter page, you have to get followers, find content, post frequently and then respond when someone actually talks to you. You have to track on the back-end and see how many website hits your Twitter efforts are generating, follow that through to confirmed leads and then closed business.

Oh and that person who “found” you on Twitter might have visited your website first, checked out your YouTube videos and finally looked at your Twitter account before deciding to actually contact you. Jay Baer, author of Youtility states, “customers will contact a sales rep only after independently completing 60 percent of the purchasing decision process”.

The marketing process has turned around, now your customer is researching you and your offerings BEFORE ever reaching out to talk with you.

Targeting The Right Customers

The very first thing that you need to do when starting your business development efforts on social media is to figure out who your customers are. Are they large multinational corporations where you have to get to a decision maker who is closely guarded, or are they a young startup where the founder is on the social circuit and you can reach her directly? Are they small companies who use social media themselves or are they larger and you really need provide content that the person who is looking for your products or services will be searching for.

Some of types of customers we target for our social media clients include:

Parent Companies – There are often some really big opportunities behind the closed doors of multinational companies. Viewing their social media, you have to know that it is being handled by minions and that the marketing department is sanitizing all the messages you may be sending to reach out to their executives or purchasing departments. For this type of mission, you may have to work hard, doing targeted paid advertising to reach these decision makers. You can also check LinkedIn and Twitter to see if your decision maker is using either of those.

Distributors – One of the most fun B2B targets is when you want to find companies who would think that your product would be a good fit for their product line. The conversation about representing you is much nicer when they have seen all your great social media and come to you asking about your product or service. This is easily accomplished by following and liking their content, targeting industry resources and joining industry groups. Once you have established your authority in those places, being considered becomes a no brainer.

Complimentary Companies – Another way to increase your social engagement is to find companies that provide similar but not competing products or services. Sharing their information, industry accolades and posts is a great way to start a conversation about how you can work together.

End Users – Sometimes is can seem like all you should do is target your actual business-to-business contacts, but that is truly missing an opportunity. As a manufacturer, corporation or company, you need to present your product or service in the marketplace so that end users can see it in action and be enthused about. Think of a company like CSX which does freight shipping. They do a lot of video and commercial advertising on political and business programs, trying to be top of mind when busy executives are making decisions about how to move their freight around the country. Due to the size of the contracts, they can get their “ROI” easily if those spots secure just one multi-year contract. All the rest would be gravy.

Your Sales Channels – Promoting businesses that are representing your product is a great way to cement the relationship and increase sales up the supply chain. Oftentimes as the producer of a product or service, you need to the one that is promoting the companies that represent you and providing them with social content that they can share with their networks. Nothing that you do to help a dealer or distributor will hurt sales and could actually increase your ROI as their orders increase.

Going Where Your B2B Customers Are

Common wisdom says if you are doing B2B Social Media marketing you should use LinkedIn and nothing else…sigh. Nothing could be further from the truth than that! For every business we have ever worked with, there have been multiple social media platforms that they could use with a targeted plan and message. Just because you are doing business-to-business marketing, don’t rule out Pinterest or Facebook, depending on which level of customer you are trying to reach.

Sometimes your “business” customers can look more like consumers and sometimes your ideal prospect will be in love with Instagram and not use anything else socially. Ruling out all other social platforms to focus exclusively on any one channel is a recipe for disaster and may be why there are so many questions about the ROI of social. If you have spent thousands of hours “working” LinkedIn and not gotten anything out of it, maybe there are other social sites that could be more effective for your business.

If you would like to find out more about our manufacturer marketing, click here, all others check out our marketing services page!

Fairy Tale Quotes For Business

Fairy Tale Quotes For BusinessI love using Fairy Tale quotes for business. There is just something so powerful about bringing the viewer back to a time when they were young and hopeful. There is a great mix of past fairy tales and new classics so you take your pick!

These are all business quotes, that is appropriate to post on your social media if you are in business. For the pictures, please share freely but leave the attribution on the photos.

If I missed one of your favorites, please let me know in the comments and I will add it in!

Peter Pan Quotes

“I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us.”
― Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)

“All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.”
― Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”
― Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”  ― Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)

“It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret of happiness.”
― Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)

Alice In Wonderland Quotes

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”
― Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
― Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

“I don’t think…” then you shouldn’t talk, said the Hatter.”
― Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

“If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”
― Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

“If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”  Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

“If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there”
― Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

“No wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise.”
― Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

“You’re thinking about something, and it makes you forget to talk.”
― Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

Winnie The Pooh Quotes

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
― Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne)

“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
― Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne)

“Think, think, think.”
― Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne)

“So perhaps the best thing to do is to stop writing Introductions and get on with the book.”
― Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne)

Dr. Seuss Quotes

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― (Dr. Seuss)

Only you can control your future.
― (Dr. Seuss)

Harry Potter Quotes

“I’m going to keep going until I succeed — or die. Don’t think I don’t know how this might end. I’ve known it for years.”
― Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling)

“I'm going to keep going until I succeed — or die. Don't think I don't know how this might end. I've known it for years.”  ― Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling)

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
― Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
― Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)

“Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.”
― (J.K. Rowling)

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.”
― (J.K. Rowling)

“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
― Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)

“The only way out is through.”
― (J.K. Rowling)

“We teachers are rather good at magic, you know.”
― Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling)

“We teachers are rather good at magic, you know.”  ― Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling)

“When in doubt, go to the library.”
― Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling)

Tom Sawyer Quotes

“In order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.”
― The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain)

Hunger Game Quotes

“May the odds be ever in your favor!”
― The Hunger Games, (Suzanne Collins)

“If you appeal to the crowd, either by being humorous or brutal or eccentric, you gain favor.”
― The Hunger Games, (Suzanne Collins)

“Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”
― The Hunger Games, (Suzanne Collins)

“Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”  ― The Hunger Games, (Suzanne Collins)

Marketing Tips For Real Estate Teams

Marketing Tips For Real Estate Teams | Realtor MarketingMarketing your real estate team is a bit different than just advertising for a single agent. There are a number of different considerations that you should make sure to take a look at and have a rock star plan in place for how to accomplish your team goals.

Being A Real Estate Rainmaker

When you own a real estate team, oftentimes you are the sole person actively generating leads for your agents. You need to be directing marketing activities that will provide leads for them to follow up on.

You can also provide materials that they can use to talk to their sphere like “send me your referrals letters” and even real estate related stats that they can send to their friends and family via email.

Whatever you do, it is your (or your admins) responsibility to track each lead, asking for accountability from your agents. Some will say that “internet leads suck” or some will not want to do floor time. We have found that the teams that take these things into consideration and dole out the leads their agents believe in most will have the best results.

Should You Merge Your Clients

Some of the agents that join your team will have a database of their own. With all the tools in place now to sort and sift contacts, you should ask or require that they add their contacts to your database, assuring that you will release them if they leave and that no one else on the team will get those leads without their permission.

One reason for this is consistency. Realtors have every intention of marketing consistently, but then they get a couple of buyers and a few deals under contract and the marketing goes out the window until that cycle ends and they need someone to work with again.

If your admin or in-house marketing person is consistently doing mailings, reaching out on social and emailing great information, why not include your agents’ sphere contacts. As long as this is part of the interview process for joining your team and you have a rock solid plan in place for respecting their contacts, it should not be a problem.

Make sure to ask them to report any leads that via phone calls or in person meetings they have so you can track incoming leads and the sources.

Client Database Versus Marketing Database

While we are talking about databases, lets look at how you handle your marketing database versus your “in contract” database. Today’s top agents are using their databases to track the entire transaction, most of them have some sort of client portal and basically your closing coordinator is a whiz at keeping tasks and closings on track.

A super strong marketing database will be a little different. It has to have a way to collect email addresses off of the internet in exchange for something great (like a free report on which remodeling projects make the most money back – prospecting for sellers!)

It also should be where all your Zillow, Realtor.com and Craigs List leads go. These are really internet leads and you may have to nurture them for weeks or even months before they are ready to talk to an agent. Sign call leads that are not ready to work with an agent should be here too!

Functionally what you want to do is have a plan for contacting all of these people every week forever. Your leads, your agents’ leads and every other contact that you can find should be included. We recommend two different databases for this. mailchimp.com if you are just getting started or Infusionsoft if you are going to be doing a lot of internet marketing.

Team Photography

You might have thought that this is the old, “picture of your team” but no! This is the new, “make sure your team is taking pictures ALL THE TIME!”

Most teams are set up so that the Rainmaker is the listing agent or owner and the agents on the team work with buyers. As such, they are spending time driving around and getting the chance to snap photos of interesting houses, local attractions and even “selfies” of themselves working with happy customers.

You should have a dropbox folder where your agents can upload all these fun pictures for you to use in your marketing! These types of photos are great for sharing on Pinterest, your Website and Facebook. Just have them name the pictures what they are like this: clearwater-beach-at-sunset.jpg.

Should You Market Your Agents?

One last thing to consider is really important and can have a huge impact on your business. When you have a real estate team, you can handle your marketing in two ways:

1. Only market the team leader. This is a great way to keep consistency and to know that all your marketing efforts are headed in the same direction. The problem with this method is that many people will only want to work with you and there could be an awkward changeover point where they find out they will be seeing houses with a different agent. Not un-overcomable, but something to consider.

2. Market your agents. Here is another potential problem. If you are marketing and supporting your agents, sharing them on your social media, blasting them in your email newsletter and featuring a separate page for each one on your site, you can find that they are receiving leads that you are not aware of.

Now, we aren’t saying that the agents are being sneaky, just that they consider that phone call a one time event and your marketing person or admin considers that marketing time well spent and will put them in the database and drip on them forever!

If you can get your agents to report every lead they receive and ask for phone, name and email address, then YES! Market them.

We believe that all the little ships rise up together and that trusting and counting on your whole team (admins, marketing peeps, agents and closing coordinators) is the very best way to get leverage so you can do what you love!

If you would like to talk with us about how to structure your team’s marketing, check out our Realtor Marketing Strategy page to find out more!

SEO and Website Update for Service Based Businesses | What Is Working In 2014

SEO and Website Update for Service Based Businesses | What Is Working In 2014SEO has been on my mind a lot lately after giving an SEO talk to some really great, hardworking service based business people. Now, these are guys who are out there in the trenches every day, making a living and busting their butts through manual labor.

They are a mixed bag when talking about marketing, some are on the side of “I do it all by referral”, which is great and I never argue with!

Some are on the side of “My site ranks #1 for my main keyword and has for years”, which is awesome and I am sure brings in a ton of business (I would still recommend some other kinds of marketing but would not touch that site with a 10 foot pole, if your stuff is working, leave it alone!)

The last group is the majority. They have a website that is not ranking on in the first spot of Google. They might not even be on the first page. One fellow that I was emailing with said that he was sick of the hype from SEO companies when they sold him about getting him on the first page, only to say that it was too competitive and giving up. Having taken a peek at his market and seeing the competition, I would say that trying to do it with just SEO (getting backlinks and SEO’ing a static site) would not cut it in 2014.

There really is just too much competition out there for a pure SEO play to work, in addition to the fact that Google has taken away all the tools to measure which pages are working for which keywords and why.

Now we are having to guess which pages might be ranking well and then try to reverse engineer an idea of what might be going on.

What Is Working With SEO and Websites Now

So if SEO as a pure play is not working now, what is?

It is definitely a mix of good SEO practices combined with social media and videos. Because Google search returns such mish mash of Videos, News, Google+ posts, websites and maps, it is impossible to know which one will tip you over and start producing great traffic results.

It could be a video that you nailed or the Google+ post that gets shown every time someone searches for your keywords.

Whatever winds up working, you can bet it will not be just because you got some backlinks and optimized a couple of pages. Today’s search is so much larger than the “old days” when there were 10 static results that were the same for everyone!

What To Do

There are about a million things you can do but to get started this is a pretty good list:

1. Check Google Webmaster tools. Use Google Webmaster tools to see what you rank for right now, these are the keywords that you are going to focus on short term. These low hanging words are your best bet for moving up fast.

2. Share your best posts on social. Not just once, scheduled out over time and mixed up so that you are not spamming. Make sure you are including a mix of industry posts and your keyword targeted posts.

3. Check out your competitors to see what they are ranking for. You may find new words to target and even if not, you can see what kinds of efforts they are using to get there.

4. Grow your social. While follower counts are not the be-all and end-all, it is silly to ignore the millions of people who are using one or the other of the social sites daily.

5. Make some videos. Google owns YouTube and it is the second biggest search engine in the world. Video results show up on search. There really is no good reason not to be rocking the videos.

6. Produce regular content. Google’s Caffeine algorithm update a few years ago started rewarding sites with new content (like blog posts). If you are not regularly updating your site you will be fighting to keep your search listings.

7. Speaking of updating your site. Make sure you have a blog, either as your website or as a stand-alone supporting your blog. Either way, you need to know the power of blogging!

Who Does This Work For?

This kind of SEO and website focus will work for most local service based business like:

  • Pressure washers
  • Cleaning companies
  • Realtors
  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Accountants
  • CPAs
  • Marketing companies
  • Gym trainers
  • Churches
  • Attractions and tours
  • Veterinarians
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Electricians
  • Appliance repair
  • Pest control

Basically anyone who is performing a “service” that can be fulfilled locally. The reason this works so well is that you are not just targeting a search term or location but the convergence of the two.

Ranking well for Accountant might be nice, but it would be much more beneficial to rank for Denver Accountant if you are serving local people.

Hopefully this helps get your arms around where SEO and websites are for local service providers in 2014. If you would like to find out more about the marketing services we offer, please give us a call today! 727-415-9165

10 Ways Website Design Has Changed and What To Do About It

10 Ways Website Design Has Changed and What To Do About ItWebsite design is different today than it has been in a long time. Changes to how Google tells us about what keywords we should try to rank for have made a radical difference in what we should be doing and how we need to set up or changeover a website. Incorporating social media is a vital part of the equation, as is maintaining a social and blog presence.

This post came about because of two things that recently happened. First we were asked to speak about SEO at a conference which I haven’t done for quite a while (mostly everyone is enthralled with social right now). This meant that I had to get all my thoughts in order about how search is working and why we do what we do. Because I have been actively involved in search engine marketing for over 15 years, sometimes I think everyone knows the history and why we do what we do when building sites for clients. Secondly, I was overwhelmed with questions and concerns from business owners who were using a free website builder or a basic site builder like GoDaddy’s site tonight. I really was not aware that so few small biz owners did not understand the need for a strong website.

This post will cover the top 10 things I saw happening that were distressing and why they are important.

PLEASE NOTE: All of this information is for sites that want to take over additional search terms, are struggling overall in search or for brand new websites. If you have a website that is ranking well for your key search terms, leave it alone or make changes very judiciously!

1. New Content Matters More

One of the biggest changes that I think people have missed is the named update to Google called Caffeine that rolled out in 2010. This update basically changed how Google finds information. Instead of being linear, going from site to site to site “crawling” the internet, the Google search engine could now find information concurrently from all different sources at once. This means that having fresh content that is relevant to the searcher can be a huge boon to getting rankings and keeping relevant in the listings. The way to do this is to have a blog website instead of a static HTML site. Blogs have become beautiful so if you are just starting out and had a bad visceral reaction to the word blog, bear with me a bit, you will get over it when you see the rest of the post.

Caffeine Update From Google http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html

2. You Need To Post At Least Weekly

It used to be that you could build a website, have great SEO and then leave it sit there and it would slowly climb in the rankings as it “aged”. That really doesn’t work anymore. Now-a-days you need to have a structured plan for how to send out content that is search relevant, planning it over time so that you are hitting each of the keywords that you are targeting separately.

3. One Post Needs One Keyword

It used to be that you could write a post or page and cover at least three keywords (heck, years ago it was important to have lots of tags on your posts, now that is a detriment). Today’s posts have to be laser targeted and focused on ranking for just one keyword each, with content to support that one keyword.

4. SEO Content Needs To Be Longer

It is a hard and fast rule from Matt Cutts that posts shorter than 300 words are not generally indexed as well in Google. That said, some recent findings show that the majority of results for highly competitive keywords are averaging at least 1,000 words and some go well over that mark. We have found that to be the case when doing work for our clients. Simply going over the 500 word mark on key content will make a huge difference in the results that they get.

Great post from Forbes about this http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnrampton/2014/04/04/how-long-should-my-blog-post-be/

5. The Loss of Keyword Data Sucks

We had a stunning blow last year when Google totally shut off the data about which keywords were used with which posts. Now, it had been coming for a while with the “not provided” results growing, but when it totally disappeared it was definitely a blow. Now, there are some truly bright spots also. The Google Webmaster Tools has some great data that can help show what terms you rank for site wise and reverse engineering content based on that and some knowledge of what searches are being done can help pick some immediate “low hanging fruit” and get some immediate gains.

Great post about this issue http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2296351/Goodbye-Keyword-Data-Google-Moves-Entirely-to-Secure-Search

6. Talking Search

One of the things that has been a sea change for search and SEO marketing is the switchover to more mobile searching. This happens when someone, phone in hand asks a question rather than typing a search term into Google. Instead of typing “Tampa Bay Realtors” they say, “who are the best realtors in Tampa Bay” or “which is the best Realtor to sell my Tampa Home”. Those are entirely different SEO terms than someone who is just pulling up a search for “Tampa Bay Realtors”. While it is important to try and rank for the regular term, adding content that answers the other questions is also vital to going forward.

7. Mobile Ready Website Design

I feel like this is the first actual website design tip (probably because it is!) While blogs are beautiful now, there are some pieces holding over from the “old days” of websites that are not so great for mobile responsive websites or blogs. One of those is the wide-wide top banner across a site. Today’s best design is actually to have smaller pieces at the top so when it is on a phone it actually large enough to see something of it. We have heard numbers ranging up to 60% of website usage being mobile based now in some industries and we can’t see that number going downward anytime soon.

8. Focusing On The Home Page

Having access to the data for a wide range of websites, I am here to tell you that the majority of any site’s visitors are not coming directly to the home page. They are doing a search for something that is relevant to them and coming in on a page that important to them, then maybe hitting the home button and going to the front of the website. I wish that site owners would spend less time worrying about what their website looks like at the front door and worry more about what is behind that door, SEO and content wise. The most beautiful website in the world does no good if no one is coming to visit it.

9. Using Stolen Pictures

We are very careful to only use pictures that we have purchased the right to use for each individual client from a variety of photo sites. If your website designer does not do this, you as the owner can be liable for between $600 and $10,000 in fines. It is definitely worth it to ask the question before hiring a designer to work on your site or your individual blog posts.

10. Hiring A Cheapo Overseas Company Or Your Cousin Bob To Make Your Site

This last one makes me crazy as someone who has been in the business of websites for over a decade and a half. A company will hear about “outsourcing” and send their website design overseas to be done by people who do not speak English as their first language and who are hard to communicate with because they are multiple timezones away. Or they will use their Cousin Bob, who has just decided that he is “going to build websites”. Bob really is trying, having started researching all the bits that go into it, watching some webinars and checking out a bunch of information on YouTube, not realizing that most of what is out there is outdated and could actually hurt the efforts of his new clients.

If you are looking for some great Website Design Services, I would love to talk to you about what you have, what you need and what you would like to rank for in the search engines! Check out our Website Design Services Page or Give me a call today and I will be happy to take a couple of minutes to find out more!!! Tara 727-415-9165

Social Media Marketing Systems For Success!

Social Media Marketing Systems For SuccessSocial media marketing is supposed to be all loosey goosey, just surfing around the internet, having fun and finding great “stuff” to share. But if you are doing social media marketing for your business, it stops being fun and starts to be work.

Do you have enough posts to go out? Have you gotten the right mix of sales messages to industry posts? For goodness sakes, how much time are you really supposed to be spending each week on this?

Social Media Systems

If you are like most entrepreneurs, systems is not your favorite word. Wasn’t working for yourself supposed to mean that you could be free? That you would be master of your time and that no one (not even you) was going to be looking over your shoulder to see if you getting everything done?

That said, systems are what is going to make your social media marketing bearable! Here are some things to do to make all that effort worthwhile:

1. Write down what your goals are for social media.

Are you trying to get people to your website? Do you want them to fill out your email form? Are you trying to get in conversation with targeted sales prospects? Knowing this will help you plan out your strategy.

2. Set up a weekly posting schedule that includes having those goals met.

For example, if you want to get people on your email list, you need to post your free offers at least a couple of times a week (every week). We see too many business owners posting their free offer one time and thinking that it is going to hang around and generate leads. Unfortunately, you have to post every piece of content multiple time to have a chance of reaching even a fraction of your followers.

If you are trying to connect with key influencers or sales prospects, set up some lists in your accounts so you can be sure to see their postings. Comment, like and share on the stuff that they post. Engage with them by having two or three times a week on your to-do list that you deliberately seek them out.

3. Make content that fulfills your needs.

We are setting up a local Denver business directory website and have some pages that we want to share frequently. This means that we cannot have just one picture on that page to post to Pinterest or share to social sites, we need to have multiple images that we can rotate through, mixing up the graphics so people don’t lose interest. Additionally, someone might respond to the picture of the young businessman and someone else might be attracted by the fun older woman. You have to know your demographic and figure out what the best ways to reach them are!

You also have to have some kind of written content or a HUB where you can send people to. This site has over 300 different articles that I can share on my social media websites. Too often we find that a company will have a static website with 4-5 pages. There is just not enough there to provide a range of different posting opportunities for social. We recommend using a blog website and posting content at least once a week. Done for a year, that would be 52 articles that could be added to the social sharing mix.

4. You have to have an easy way to find and share other people’s stuff.

We recommend having at least two posts a day to most social media websites like LinkedIn, Facebook pages and Google+ Pages. This will show anyone coming to your social properties that you are active PLUS it will allow you to post your marketing content more because it will be less spammy when woven into all those other posts. We use a combination platter to accomplish this.

Finding other people’s content.

First off, we use BlogLovin.com to store all kinds of RSS feeds that are in the same industry or have fun, sharable content. We can fly through those and schedule out a bunch of different types of postings for a whole week relatively easily (I would schedule at least an hour a week for just this part)

Second, we get email newsletters from trusted sources and pop some of that content into the mix to keep things fresh. We also keep our eyes open when we are surfing around and sometimes find bits that would make sense for our feeds.

5. Scheduling your own content.

In amongst all this sharing should be targeted posts about your offers, sales messages and calls to action. You should have an editorial calendar of what you are writing and posting so that you can accurately gauge if your results are working. For example, we are launching that Colorado site and selling social media services. This post is part of our lead generating since many business owners will read all this stuff and say, “but can’t you do all this for us?”

We will be spending the next month crafting graphics, writing posts and generally making sure that all our efforts are focused towards those two ends.

We have recently switched back to Hootsuite.com for most of our social scheduling. For less than $10 a month we can have everything in one place for ourselves and our clients. We had been using Bufferapp.com but the cost for their business accounts was just prohibitive for how much we do.

It is a marathon

After hearing all that, you might want to tear your hairs out. How can you get all that content done, all those pictures made and all those posts scheduled?

One thing that makes us sad is when people come to us and want to have social media success in a month. They say things like, “if I don’t see a return within a couple of weeks, I am going to try something else.” Social media marketing doesn’t work like that. You have to get started and build up your efforts over time, growing your followings and interacting with people and brands.

This is not a quick fix to your sales efforts, it is impossible to make enough content or pictures BEFORE you get going. You have to build these things over time, with focused energy and a social media marketing system in place.

Call me!

If all this seems like too much work, give me a call today! We can help you get a plan and implement it for you so you can do actual work instead of spending all your time on social media. Tara (727) 415-9165

Time Management Tips – How To Manage When You Have Too Much To Do

time-management-tips-too-muchIf there is one thing I am good at it is time management, goal setting and task management, with a huge BUT. But when I get to feeling overwhelmed, and there seem to be too many things to do in a short amount of time, I fall apart like everyone else and start scrabbling.

Well today that ends! I know how to get back on track, I have only been off for two days, for some of you I know this plan may be ending a lifetime of feeling like you are doing everything from behind.

The Promise and Premise of Entrepreneurship

There is a funny thing about being an entrepreneur. You are supposed to be all loosey-goosey with your days wide open and a choice for every task you have. You should be sitting around, picking and choosing the tasks that you like to do. Or your days should be filled with interesting meetings that lead to amazing opportunities. But wait, each of those opportunities probably has some kind of deliverable! Rats!

Being organized time-wise can feel to some people like they are being bound up, but to me it is freedom. Freedom from constantly worrying that I am not doing what is most important, or that I am forgetting something, or that I will miss an opportunity. It also means that when I do have the chance to get out, I know that there is nothing vital being left behind or having to race back to finish something.

For me, the last two days might feel like your everyday. Flailing around from one unfinished project to the next, scribbling to dos on sticky notes, enjoying the fact that a scheduled call canceled so I would have an extra couple of minutes to squeeze in something. If that sounds like you, just know that it can end today. I have lived a scheduled life and will just get right back on the wagon. If you have never felt the joy of scheduling, today may be the day that you change your world.

Here is what I am going to do today to get right (pretty much in order)

Make Money

The first job of an entrepreneur is to make money. Look at everything you are doing now and find the one or two things that are on your to-do list that will be responsible for making you the most money. For me today it is writing two sales pages, one for an upcoming event in October and one for our social media marketing packages.

Now there are probably 5 million other things I COULD do to make money but those are the two that will be directly money making activities so I should do them sooner rather than later.

Note: These have to be finite tasks. We also need a website for the October event, and that is more fun than writing sales copy, BUT it is not the very next thing that I have to do. PLUS it is a group of to-dos (write sales copy, add data to the directory, write 5 blog posts, etc.) It is a sub-task that is vital to the overall success of the October event and is probably my least favorite part so getting it out of the way will make the rest much easier.

Fulfill Promises To Yourself

I have “my” promises and “my company’s” promises and these are the next most important things. I promised myself years ago I would write at least one blog post a week for the Marketing Artfully blog and I am doing it now. I will not throw some crap together and call it a day because this site has actually been one of the main driver of sales. I also have to publish our book today. Now that can be this afternoon because I already have the cover done and publishing is actually only about a half an hour (my biz partner did the final edits yesterday). We made a vow that the biggest thing on either of our lists this year was to publish a book a week and barring death, we will do it!

Some other things I could/should do are 1) send out the newsletters and 2) do to-dos that Rebekah needs to move forward. Probably the to-dos will make the list, maybe the newsletters will get done tomorrow. It would be best if they were done today since tomorrow is a holiday, but no one will die if they go tomorrow so that may be answer…got to keep plodding along and see what else should get done today.

Note: It is easiest to not do these things. There isn’t a boss anywhere who will say “you didn’t write a blog post this week, so you are fired”. But to me, these “steady” things are the backbone of my success. They are the tiny building blocks that make up my whole factory and by letting them slide, I would be starting the decay of the whole building.

Fulfill Promises To Your Clients / Customers

Next are promises to our customers. I need to get article titles to our copywriter for one blog and some pretty graphics up for another one. Both of those together should take less than an hour. I will put an hour time in for those (see more about time later). Also I need to send a logo out, which will take 15 minutes and make a huge difference to our customer, this is a sure thing.

Note: After stuff I “have to do” for our comes the promises that we made to our customers which are sacred to me. That said, doing them crappy just to get them off my plate is not okay and they need to be given the gravity that they deserve. Also, poor planning on their part doesn’t mean I have to jump on my end. I have in my head that I need to save time for one of my customers who wants a pretty big job done, but they haven’t sent over all the pieces yet. I can safely move any time I had planned for that over to next week. Sometimes we are so pro-active about doing right by our customers that we wrap ourselves into knots. They would expect to send it over today and have it done, so why would I make myself crazy trying to do it?

Little Tasks

I have a few little things that need to be done like sending a link to a client (that one took less than a minute, I just popped over and did right now!) That said, most of these “little tasks” will take about 5 minutes or so. With that in mind you really have to give them a block of time on their own. Because I have a few that have backed up over the last couple of days, I am going to schedule half an hour today to clean them up. This will make me feel better, so many less things on my to dos!

Note: Because they are tiny, some experts suggest that you do anything that is two minutes or shorter immediately. That doesn’t really work for me since it means popping open my email or going on social or doing something else that will knock me off my game. I give them their own block of time, knowing that I can’t go down a rabbit hole and get them all done if I don’t stay on track.

Written Down

Ahhhh this is the key for me. I have a to-do laminated sheet that I use to write down what my three top to-dos are and then it has 10 more lines. There is no way that I can get 13 things done in a day generally, so having a longer “to-do” list would be silly and demoralizing. I have things that need to get done on the top three lines and do those immediately. The rest I cross off as I get done.

Note: I also have a Wish List. There are probably a couple of hundred things that I would like to do. Things that would be interesting, could make a difference or even might be way more fun than what I really have to do today. But they are not actually important. It is fine to have a wish list, but if your to-do list is 50 items long, you are just setting yourself up to fail every day.

There Is No Extra Time

This one is the most important to success by far. I have a day planned. I have about an hour this morning before my kids get up and it takes an hour and a half to write a blog post, so they get a pop tart and the TV (not optimal parenting, but great entrepreneurship!). Then the sitter comes and I am FREE to work! So I have from 7-10:30 today, before I go to a mastermind meeting. That is 3 1/2 hours max of steady work time. We have already determined I am going to do an hour of client work, I do have half an hour of tiny todos and I might just be able to carve out 45 minutes to send the newsletter out. One hour can go towards company work and there all my time is allocated.

The biggest mistake I see people make is to act like there is a time stretcher. While I would love to have more time, there is no magic that will make this part of my day grow so I have to be careful that I have a realistic goal of what I can really do. Luckily my mastermind is with one of the world’s best sales people, so I am going to take my “writing sales copy” out of this morning and do it when I meet with her. I have an owl timer that sits next to me so I set it and know when “times up”. Get a timer.

Note: I ALWAYS underestimate how long something I like to do will take and over estimate something that seems hard. If you like to do research online and give yourself an hour, is that a real estimate or will you stretch it out, messing up the timing of the rest of your day. Does that task you dread REALLY take an hour or are you being histrionic because you hate it? Once you get into the groove, you will see how easy it is to get things done and moved off your plate when you aren’t messing around with yourself.

Get Some Help

So I threw in there that I have a copywriter, I also have an assistant and some “elves”, workers who are doing things right now that I would have to have on my list if they weren’t there. You cannot do this all yourself, nor are your skillsets going to match every task you have to do. Before you think you are ready, you need to get some help. My elves are not full time, 40 hour a week, salaried employees. They are amazing women who need to make some extra cash and who work a few hours a week for me. But that is like getting 10 hours because they do things I am not good at.

Note: As a lone wolf, this process would become overwhelming. There is no way to run a business and not have any outside support. You don’t have to have a lot, but somewhere, somehow, there has to be some way to get things off your plate and onto someone else’s.

Ignore Email

I also talked before about not wanting to do “quicky” things that required I see my email. This is because my email is full of other people’s problems. It has people who want to partner, write blog posts and even my clients who have needs. I have done my scheduling for the day so you know I don’t magically have more time to do everything in there (or even to delete them all) so why look. My clients have my cell phone and will text me if there is a marketing emergency (there has only been one if 12 years of doing this) and my staff knows to text too if they have a problem.

Note: I generally try to make email the last thing I do in a day. Today that means after my mastermind. I don’t want to have all those other problems swirling around in my brain while I am trying to be powerful and creative about writing our sales copy. If you really can’t survive without knowing that your email is being monitored, make that your assistants job twice a day. She or he can check it and then send you only the things that really need your attention.

Work Really Hard For 6 Hours

I am a hard worker. I am from Pennsylvania and the work ethic runs deep there. That said, I can only really work hard like a maniac 6 hours a day. The rest of the time I am okay with doing “stuff”. So today my “work hard” time is a little shorter, but still doable. On normal days I put in time from 5:00AM to 11:00AM, knowing that after rocking the hard work, I can add things like scheduling social postings, training, webinars and other fluffy, non essential work.

Well that is it, hopefully you got the gist of my time management system and goal setting tasks and I am so much more settled now that I am back on track. I know exactly what I need to do today and can “win” because it is all possible. Now, if you want to learn more about why you might be off track in the first place, check out our book:

Get The Book!

Marketing ADHD: A Entrepreneur Marketing Self Help Book for…Squirrel! [Kindle Edition]

Marketing ADHD BookAs an Entrepreneur in today’s fast paced marketing world, it can be a challenge to keep your eyes on the goal and not be distracted and tempted by the endless supply of shiny new objects. With everything relatively easy to obtain and access, it’s not difficult to become lost in a sea of great offers, quick fixes, and cutting edge trainings. It doesn’t take long before business comes to screeching halt while the average, over-stimulated entrepreneur tries every “magic pill” to make their presence bigger, better, and faster.

It is time to stop the merry-go-round and regain control! This book will help you identify how “shiny object syndrome” is taking over your business life and help you stop being seduced by magic marketing messages that keep you from focusing on and growing your company in to the success you know it is meant to be.

Get it on Amazon!

Should You Write Your Blog Posts For Google or Social Media?

Content Marketing - Should You Write Blog Posts for Google or Social Media?The question of whether to write for Google or social has been banging around in my head a lot lately when thinking about content marketing. The happy, friendly answer of course is that you can write great content that does BOTH…big smiley face. But I am not really sure it is possible to do Google and social well.

This question came to mind a couple of different ways:

First: I did a really neat search on Similar Web for this blog, Marketingartfully.com. They had some good “stuff” that was presented in a pretty manner but what came glaring out at me was that 75% of all of my visitors come from Google search traffic.

75% Google Search Traffic

Now that amounts to a fair bit of traffic so YAY! But my numbers from Social were deplorable…

6% from social

and that is with me and my business partner sharing these posts on our HUGE social networks. So I started thinking…what the hell is going on here?!?!?!

Second: We set up a fair amount of blogs for our clients and they always want to get to the first page of Google for words like “Tampa Real Estate” or “Best Restaurant Denver”.

In the first case, they would have to build a giant site, garner a ton of real backlinks and take a relatively long time to get there. There are already other sites who have done that work for years and there is no way to jump to the front of the line.

The other kind of client is thinking about ranking well for a search term that doesn’t come up all that often in search. Currently Google is showing NO traffic for the keyword “best restaurant denver”. Now, that doesn’t mean there is no traffic at all, just not consistent traffic. Mostly when I want to find a great restaurant I will check Yelp first (they have a real scoring system, not just who is best at SEO) or ask my friends on Google+ or Facebook.

Lastly: My biz partner and I have talked for years about how we get traffic to our respective websites. She always used PLR (Private Label Rights) or duplicate content which is not Google-cool. She is a much better social media marketer than I am, sharing and building interesting networks of real people (I talk about marketing all the time so my real friends tend to try to be supportive but sometimes roll their eyes a lot!).

Long story short, in today’s world there is no one “right” way to do it and there are things that crossover, but I am a staking a claim – your one little blog post can’t be great for search and social at the same time! You have to pick a side!!!

Let’s start at the top – Headline

Google search results for entrepreneur marketingGoogle likes factually correct headlines with words to match search. As you can see here, all the results for the search “entrepreneur marketing” have those exact words somewhere in the title. Now I have heard like everyone else that Google killed SEO and now it understands words so you can just write about any old thing and it will figure out you mean “entrepreneur marketing”, but a couple of minutes on the search engine will show you these kinds of results for your industry!

Social. That is all well and good but knowing that most people who are going to find and share your post to social media will not take the time to rewrite your headline to make it more interesting does not bode well for our factually correct headline words. I like the fact that Vala added a personal endorsement on his post, but none of those headlines would really jump out at me in a buzzfeed kind of way. You can see that there are many hashtags (#entrepreneur) and @mentions but are those enough to counteract the bland dryness of the good for Google headlines?

Twitter headline listings

Buzzfeed-style sharable headlines are more along the lines of scandal, intrigue or mystery…

Buzzfeed headlines

Now, maybe I could write scandalous marketing headlines that would be intriguing AND search friendly, but would serious business people who are actually looking for marketing help really respond to that? I don’t really think so.

- – – A break for blatant social media link baiting – – –
Click To Tweet >>
SCANDALOUS Blog Post Reveals The Secret Behind The #SocialMedia versus #Google Controversy [JK] http://ctt.ec/sf3dq+

- – – Now back to our regularly scheduled programming – – -

Next comes content

Google generally adds up all the content in the blog post and figures out if what you say you are talking about in your headline is what you are actually talking about in your post. They also check to see if the user “bounces” meaning that they see the search result, click the link to the post and then come right back to check another search out.

While it is true that you could do a super fun headline like “Funny Realtor Postcards that will make you laugh so hard you pee your pants“, at the end of the day it is up to your content to support that title. The funny realtor postcards blog post is actually about how to have cute headlines for your print marketing, but I am not sure they are THAT funny.

I can only assume that someone seeing that title in social would expect pictures of postcards and not be thinking about reading a 1,000 word blog post on how to do direct mail marketing.

Pictures matter

There are at least 5 different sizes of pictures that you need to satisfy social. (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+). Pinterest likes a really tall photo that spans a couple of rows of listings (like the one at the top of this post!) and Google Plus likes a really wide post that they will make huge in the feeds like this.

Google wide photo

If you are primarily considering sharing your picture to social, you want to give enough information in the picture that someone could get the idea of what you are talking about just by looking at it THEN you want to make sure the words on the picture match the content of the blog post.

Plain jane social media pictureIf you are just writing a blog and not sharing it socially, then any old picture will work (or you could even skip the photo entirely). This is good enough to give you an idea that we are talking about social media and that is about all we are trying to accomplish.

Should You Write Blog Posts For Social Media or GoogleThis one though is great for sharing. It is 1200X800 so it will be big enough to show up well if shared on the social sites and anyone seeing it will know that it is about social and that it is a blog post about content marketing.

That is just the tip of the iceburg about pictures for social (it is such a big topic we wrote a whole book about it!)

Can you do both?

I really do try to make my blog posts Google friendly, fore-going social stuff. That said, it is pretty easy to make the graphics “social friendly” too. At the end of the day I am much more concerned with making Google happy than making social happy which shows up in my deplorable social numbers!

Do you try to do social or Google in your content marketing? Please leave a comment below to let me know!!

Buy The Book!

Graphic Design For Social Media Marketing EbookGraphic Design for Social Media Marketing

If you are checking this book out, you have probably figured out that pictures and good design matter to marketing, that your marketing efforts are becoming more and more image based, and that you HAVE to get with the program and start doing better, prettier, more compelling pictures in order to keep up.

The cool thing is that with just a few “tweaks” you can take your graphics from amateur to brilliant and this book will show you exactly how! We talk extensively about how images can capture a mood or evoke a feeling immediately, how to position text on an image to create impact, and generally how to make your marketing marvelous with pictures and graphics.

>> Get it on Amazon!!!

 

How To Sell A $97 Strategy Session – This One Is For Larry!

How to sell a $97 dollar strategy sessionThis post is about how to sell a $97 dollar consulting or strategy session.

You are going to see the length and wonder what the heck is so hard about doing this, but this is actually a piece for one of my all time favorite clients who is EXPLODING in his business recently and ready to take the next steps to make more money (and strangely enough, it will not be $97 at a time!)

Not A Money Maker

If you are doing a $97 consultation, even if it is for just an hour, you cannot do or source enough of them to make big bucks. Think about it…40 hours a week, $97 a hour times 52 weeks in the year IS just over $200,000…but…you are probably not a machine that can spit out great information on demand or keep too many stories in your head all at once. You will also have to do marketing and lead generation, administration and business development.

So why do a $97 session? It is basically to weed out the people who are tire-kicking or just fishing and find the diamonds in the rough.

Why So Much Resistance

In our coaching business, we find that many of our “peeps” are super resistant to doing this, and maybe not for the reason you think. Here are some common reasons they give for not being comfortable:

Realtors/Real Estate Investors – Larry works with real estate investors from the US and around the globe. He has an amazing real estate investing website and has recently started writing for a very highly regarded real estate investing magazine. On his site and in his popular newsletter he says constantly that people can call him with any questions, that he is available anytime. Very few people call, and the ones that do are mostly at the very end of sales cycle and are ready to talk money, but it seems to be taking them a long time to get there. One huge factor holding Larry back is that in the real estate industry, Realtors work for free until a deal is closed and he isn’t sure that someone will be willing to pay him for his time and expertise before being ready to close a transaction.

Direct Sales – We have another client who works in the direct sales industry (MLM). She has been a top recruiter for many years on a national level and her expertise is a highly coveted skill. That said, she feels really funny about charging people for her time. Mostly she works just with the people who are in her downline and puts charity time in working with people who belong to her company but are not in her downline. She has seen other people work with MLMers and charge for it, but it is hard to get her head around why someone would pay her money and how that would help grow her direct sales business.

Who Am I To Talk?

So you are on my site reading this so you probably know that I am pretty good at marketing, but what you may not know is that for years all my lead generating was done on a semi-paid model. I would give free talks around town or where ever I happened to be and offer the people in the room a $97 consult. I never did “coffees” or one-on-ones because I can’t help myself, I tell whoever I am with all about what they should do marketing-wise and if I met with 20 people informally I would get paid $0 and have wasted my time.

I say that I wasted my time because I am in business and the goal of being in business is to make money, not to help random strangers. Helping out people with no thought of payment is a non-profit model and I am a for profit business. Additionally, they got the ideas and concepts for free, so they assigned that exact value to them, $0, and didn’t really do anything with them.

Over the years I have talked to close to 1,000 small business owners and learned the back end workings of their businesses. Their motivations, goals and dreams which means that I can now help even more people do even better work in their business. While I no longer do $97 consults, I am super happy that I got all those chances to talk to people, building up my experience and their businesses.

The Real End Result

Enough about me, back to charging money for your time. So let’s look at Larry and his real estate investors. There are probably a few reasons they are not just calling him:

  • They really feel like they are going to be bothering him so they don’t call
  • They feel like if he is willing to talk to them for free, how good can the info be
  • They are so early in the process they would be “wasting his time” reaching out right now

It is funny that 2/3 of those involve people being considerate of Larry and his time. The people who are his best prospects really are happy that he is giving them great information on his site and in his newsletter, they respect his opinion and are just waiting until they are ready to pull the trigger before reaching out to him.

The problem is that some of them will never have enough information to make an investment, they will spend years and years, gathering information and never buy a property. Some other ones will read Larry’s stuff religiously, but not wanting to bother him, will pay someone else so they can have their questions answered and that guy will get the sale because he will have established rapport and been helpful on a personal level.

Strategy Sessions Instead of Consults

Consulting is experiencing a lack of respect and interest right now. People are sick of consultants who swoop in, talk-talk-talk and run out. We like to position our talks as strategy sessions because they are. We are not just throwing out info but making sure to put it together in a cohesive whole.

Another nice thing is that a strategy session feels like it should lead to another. You might want to offer them another session at a later date or even get them into a coaching program.

How To Set Up A $97 Strategy Session

Because I wrote this post for Larry, I know he was polite enough to read all the way through (aren’t you?!?!?) but what he really wanted was the meat, the step by step guide to how to make a $97 strategy session available!

1. Make A Page On Your Website – Write out what you are offering

I always gave them about 7 examples of things that we could talk about, but basically you don’t to have so much there that they rule themselves out because you don’t have their exact problem listed or so little that they don’t see a reason to give you $97.

2. You don’t need to put too much about you!

Probably you are selling your $97 strategy session at a speaking event, on your website or in your newsletter. All places where they already know how cool you are so keep the “about me” to a couple of key highlights.

3. You need a payment processing thingy (that is the technical term)

To start, we recommend using Paypal.com. Here is a BRILLIANT tutorial about how to put a PayPal button on your site. You just needs parts one and two! This functionally allows people to pay you, you will get notifications and they will get a receipt.

4. Thank you page

You want to have a Thank You page that explains what happens next (PayPal will let you designate this when you set up your button). This page should tell them EXACTLY what is going to happen next so they don’t worry that they just wasted their money.

I tend to tell them:

1. How long it will be before someone contacts them to set up their time (within one business day)
2. Who will call them (my gal Shell)
3. My phone number in case they have

here is my actual thank you page

5. A few graphics

If you are going to do this, do it right. Get with Fiverr.com person and have them make two or three graphics that will be on your page. You want a little bit of a variety so that you can share different things on social media and in your newsletter and people won’t get banner blindness (seeing the same thing over and over).

You should also have a call to action button on the sidebar of your website saying that they can “set up a time to call” or some other fun verbiage.

6. A sales sheet

It is important to have an on-site signup form anytime that you are giving a talk. You want to let them know that they can hire you. This one is a very gentle offer, all we are asking for is their name and email address. Oftentimes we would have a credit card signup sheet.

$97 Marketing consult

Wrapup

That is it! It looks like it has a lot of moving parts but is actually pretty straight forward and easy to do. If you would like help to figure out your business or marketing efforts, check out our Marketing Strategy Sessions!

BONUS THOUGHTS

The last thing I want to leave you with is the actual reason that you are doing these strategy sessions. You should have some real things that you are going to sell AFTER the fact. Now, that does not mean that your hour should be dedicated to selling something else. You should spend the whole time talking to your customer and finding out what they need.

After that you might find out that they need a product that you are an affiliate for, you might find out that they are ready for some ongoing training or they may be ready to start investing in real estate, they just needed some one-on-one time to figure that out.

IF they have additional needs and the money to spend on those, it is your responsibility to help them figure that out. You are not “selling, selling, selling”, you are really “helping, helping, helping”.

 

The Super Advanced, No Bullshit Twitter Marketing Plan For Dave (and You!)

Super Advanced Twitter Marketing Plan for DaveYes that is right, this post is a comprehensive answer about doing Twitter marketing that I wrote for Dave. Luckily for you I like Dave and am willing to tell him all my best Twitter secrets! In it I tell you what I do, why I do it and how it helps my marketing efforts.

– – –

Our client Dave was watching our web show #4, the one where we talk about building big social media networks and he got a little feisty. He said,

I love your podcast but you know when you talk about networks my head hurts. Then you say to grow the network that you like the most…what you do if you don’t like any of them????

Sincerely
Dave Negri

Now, Dave one of the nicest guys we know, but he is also sort of a marketing guy. He runs an awesome podcast about how contractors can increase their business using marketing (ContractorsSecretWeapon.com) and is not afraid to try new things but social media just makes him grumpy. I figure if Dave is disgruntled with social, you might be too!

My Twitter Empire

If you are a Twitter kid, this post is going to make your little heart sing, but you have to remember that you can’t focus exclusively on Twitter. I am fortunate to have “elves” who can do the manual posting for me on the other social networks, but I can’t just ignore big dogs like Pinterest (which I love but do poorly), Google+ (which is a great SEO tool) and Facebook (let’s not talk about Facebook…sigh). That said, Twitter is the only one that I am in every day.

For those of us with multiple interests, Twitter is really cool. They do not object to having multiple accounts for the same person, you just have to have different email addresses for each. I set up forwarding addresses in my hosting to cover this.

Years ago having a generic Twitter account like my @Taradactyl twitter handle was cool. You could talk about a general topic like “marketing” and people would follow your account. That account has over 18,000 followers and is really a huge asset for my company. That said, it is harder now to grow a generic account unless people are actually following you (more about that later).

@tweetinghomes – This one is for realtors. Another old one, it got most of its followers when it was a little easier. In actualality I had set it up years ago and just let it churn, posting cool stuff and ignoring it. I also had set up TwitterFeeds to share other people’s stuff so there was a little boost for that too. Every time realtors I had set up posted on their blogs, twitterfeed would post that link automatically. It has about 5,500 followers at this point and is a nice one to have, but not really on my radar much.

Today it is much easier to grow an account if you have a specific target market. Some of my more recent accounts are:

@Ebooknerds – We are writing a book a week for a year so I am pretty interested in book marketing. This account is where I share all the cool stuff that I am learning and writing about in regards to self publishing. It is the fastest growing of all of our accounts, with about 600 followers at this point.

@Searchynerds – I love figuring out how to do keyword marketing and seo so having this one is really just a great way to share all the research that I do about SEO and search. It has about 750 followers and has been growing slowly.

@smmnerds – I have to read about all of social media for my business and I didn’t want to mess up my other Twitter accounts with stupid Facebook shares so I started this one. No one likes it. There are only a handful of followers (maybe because I don’t love it either!)

@emailnerds – about email marketing, I think you can see the theme here! 574 followers

@mandmmonsters – the account for our Marketing and Media Monsters personal brand. We need to do a little work on this one because it is stuck at 2001 followings and we only have 1,715 followers so we need to either get more followers or stop following as many people so the ratio is better. (Twitter has a 2,000 follow limit until you get this even and then there is a ratio thingy, don’t worry about it, just try to get over 2,000 followers fast). Screwing around with this is a good thing to do on a Sunday afternoon watching the World Cup, unfollowing all the icky people and following key people who are going to help your account grow.

I also just started @PodcastNerds and @VideoMkgNerds because we are doing a podcast show and a web show so I know I will be researching these topics and have fun stuff to share.

>> @TweetyNerds – if you are reading this post you HAVE to follow my Tweetynerds account! I post lots of great info about how to use Twitter. I do so love the Twitter.

Why They Help

So overall I have about 30,000-ish followers over a wide range of marketing channels. This is not an earth shattering number in the Twitter world, but the cool thing is that when I have something I want to talk about people are there to listen. Here are the reasons why I like having them…

Archive of cool stuff to read

One of the reasons that I think my accounts do so well is that I actually read almost all that I post. OR if I haven’t read it, I would be interested in reading it. I sorta-kinda use my Twitter feeds to save stuff I might want to reference later.

Promoting our content

I generate A LOT of content and if I posted all of it on one account, it would seem very spammy. With this in mind I schedule the promotion of our stuff over time over all the accounts, mixing it in with the other relevant posts.

People know the Taradactyl

When you love Twitter and have an active Twitter account, people will remember your Twitter handle. Being the Taradactyl is now part of my soul and it makes me smile. It makes other people smile too.

Getting Twitter Followers

Posting great stuff. Let’s start with the bullshit answer that really does work. Posting great, highly targeted stuff will make people follow your accounts. They will set up auto-tweets that share your bits every time you post because they can feel confident that you will not be a douche bag spammer.

Following other people. People who like Twitter are actually looking for people to follow who are cool. If you follow other people, some of them will follow you back.

Your signature line of your emails. I don’t want people to “Like my Facebook page” or “Connect on LinkedIn”, I want them to follow me on Twitter. People will do the thing they like best first so I don’t give them an option. On my email signature they can connect with me on Pinterest, Twitter and Google+ (things I care about) but NOT Facebook or LinkedIn.

On your website. You should have a link to your social media properties on your website. I have not gotten militant enough to take the Facebook and LinkedIn ones off there yet, but there may come a day.

NOT on your website. One thing I think is dorky is when people put a widget with their Twitter feed on their websites. You have done all that work to get someone to actually visit your site and now you are going to send them off down the Twitter rabbit hole. I don’t think so!

Following YOU This one is for Dave! If you are an author, speaker, podcaster, web show host or other celebrity (no matter how minor), people will want to stay in touch. Make sure you have the link to your Twitter account in all your books and posts and show notes. People will be following YOU not your account.

How To Post

Having all those accounts is great but how the heck do I get cool stuff on them all the time? I use a paid Bufferapp.com account. It is $10 a month to have multiple social media accounts and all I have on mine is my Twitter. (I do have another account for my other social properties, but this one is just Twitter).

What happens is you set up Buffer on your browser with a little button and any time you find something good you hit the button and pick which account to share it to. Because I am already surfing the web for this kind of content, it is easy to fill up the scheduled slots.

Bufferapp

I don’t spend any time thinking about what, when or how to post, I just find things that I find interesting and post them. Interesting things ALWAYS include my content, I just make sure that is not the only thing I am sharing.

I stick to the genre specific accounts (email, twitter, etc.) except for occasional posting of my stuff that gets broadcast across all the channels!

What you post matters

So if you just hit Buffer and post the title of the post, that is better than nothing. BUT I find that having a real call to action makes the retweets and shares more likely. Consider these recent posts, which would you rather retweet? I have to guess the ones with some oomph and personality!

The last one is not very sexy. It doesn’t have my personality in it. There are no special characters to make it stand out from the crowd. If your whole Twitter feed is just a series of shares, you are going to be one sad panda.

>> Get the Twitter Cheat Sheet and make your Twitter marketing better!

No better way to connect with fancy people

Joel Comm is a pretty big deal in the marketing world. I have met him in person and he is a cool cat who I might want to interview on our web show. But there is no reason in hell that Joel Comm will want to be on a show as little as ours is right now…unless…hmmm…maybe he knows me a little as a friend because I do nice things for him!

I share his blog posts on my Twitter, making sure to tag him with his @joelcomm handle

I give him Klout and share that on Twitter

Notice that the favorite on this post is from the man himself!

I also have him on a Twitter list so that I can check and see if there is anything he posted that I can retweet. He will be notified or notice on his posts that I did that.

Now, this does seem a little stalker-ish when put all together like that, but really, I just share his stuff occasionally. He has great content that my people would like anyways, is funny and clever and a genuinely nice person that I am happy to promote.

I am also stalking @seanplatt, @chrisbrogan and other cool people that I follow.

It is really amazing to me the level of access you can get to “real” famous people today.

Hashtags

Hashtags are one of the main ways people find neat stuff on Twitter. You will want to figure out what hashtags other people use that you might be able to include in your posts. My favorite hashtags are #marketing, #socialmedia, #twitter, #amwriting and more.

This is a wicked cool tool to use to find out what hashtags match your industry >> Hashtagify.me

Advertising on Twitter

We have gotten the very best results of any of our paid marketing on the Twitter! The neat thing is that the ads are about the length of Adwords ads without all the management hassles. You just put up two posts, give it a couple of days, see which one is better, take the bad one down, put another one up and keep going. It is SO much easier than any of the other paid social media or search marketing channels.

ads.twitter.com

We target accounts that we find in our Analytics which match our regular followers. So for TARAdactyl, there are 10 other accounts that seem similar when checked by Twitter. We start with those as our target ad reach and then add extra accounts depending on what we are selling. For example, if we are promoting a sales book we might add @Gitomer who is a sales guy and who has a relatively large following.

What we do not do is add anyone with millions of followers like Gary Vaynerchuk or Tony Robbins. People with accounts that large are no longer talking to a particular audience, they are now just broadcast personalities and not good for us to use in our marketing efforts.

What To Do Next

If you are down here you must REALLY like Twitter (or Dave!) Here are some next steps in case you want more:

  1. Check out our ebook about social media marketing on amazon, it has good stuff mainard
  2. Follow the tweetynerds twitter account to stay current on twitter
  3. Get the Twitter cheat sheet

Thanks for reading…

XOXOX

Tara

The Best Marketing Blogs For Social Media Sharing

The BEST Marketing Blogs For Social Media SharingLike most of my amazing blog posts, I wrote this post about the Best Marketing Blogs for Social Media Sharing because I need them myself. I am working on things to post to Twitter and ways to do my own research into marketing, both current and up-to-the-minute AND stable, steady great advice that I can really get behind!

There are some of the usual suspects, but for my purposes I need to find the niches, the little corners where great people were writing about marketing and not so many people were reading. It is okay to have a Social Media Examiner or a Mashable, but so does everyone else (plus they clog up my feeds with all the posting they do). To really succeed at social sharing, you cannot post only things that are popular, you have to post things that no one else has seen!!!

The Criteria For Selection…PURELY subjective beyond the fact that I don’t like “getting started” or basic stuff that is already out there and has been rehashed to death!

If you have a blog and think I missed you, leave a comment below. Just know I monitor all comments and will not approve your gratuitous link in my beautiful post.

Overall Small Business Marketing

Marketing Artfully – Yep! This is my blog and post information about small business, entrepreneur and realtor marketing on a weekly basis. I have a pretty strong following and am super proud of everything I put out there.

Matthew Woodward – Matthew could have gone in affiliate marketing too, but have to say that his newsletter and blog is one that I read religiously. Great stuff!

Comm100 – Some really good articles. Mostly beyond the basics which I like!

Boost Blog Traffic – Jon Marrow has a really great blog that has lots of different strategies to improve your marketing. A good read.

Vertical Response – Has a lot of different types of marketing that is great to share. Very impressed with their actual information (rare for an email company!)

Top Rank Blog – A lot of social, but enough other bits that I put them in general. Actually a really nice mix!

Crazy Egg – Great in-depth articles about a wide range of marketing.

Marketing Genesis – I love Andy Jenkins (Mike Filsame sends too many emails for me to love him..:) Their “Random Acts of Coolness” are super interesting and helpful.

SteamFeed – A pretty high frequency site, but really good content and I haven’t seen them all over the social media.

Marketingland – A wide range of authors talking about many different types of marketing.

Wordstream – A mix of authors and generally really interesting content. May lean towards PPC or SEO, but overall a mixed bag.

Quick Sprout – put out by Neil Patel, I really enjoy his writing style and that it is not basic, basic, basic.

NextDevMedia – Nice meaty content that I would be happy to share!

Nathalie Lussier – Love her practical tips and marketing videos.

Content Markting

Content Marketing Institute – super comprehensive site with lots of contributors. A nice mix.

PR Marketing

PR Secrets – She does a really nice job of presenting PR as an approachable endeavor.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search Engine Land – A really informative site for SEO info!

Top 5 SEO – 100% White hat SEO blog, rare to find such great info that I can actually use!

Search Engine Roundtable – Great mix of SEO topics for sharing.

Unbounce – Really kind of neat format and interesting articles about conversion and techy bits.

Moz – I have to admit, the mustache is a little off-putting, but the information is GLORIOUS. A mix of posts and videos that are great to share.

SEMRush – To be honest, a little (a lot) self promoting, but there is some really good stuff in and amongst all the SEMrush this and that.

Email Marketing

Aweber – One of the few email marketing companies who post actual email marketing information instead of just a big string of sales messages.

Litmus – Great advanced email marketing content.

Benchmark – Really good blog about email marketing! A little different spin, maybe more nerdy.

Marketo – Okay, having to eat some crow here now that I have been sad about email marketing company’s blogs. My impression was that Marketo is all about themselves, but checking the last 10 posts or so it was 9 about marketing and 1 about themselves…:) I can live with that.

Social Media Marketing

Twitter Counter – Great info about how to maximize your Twitter!

Tweet Smarter – It is hard to find great info about Twitter only…this is one of those!

All Twitter – Again, a really nice Twitter only site with some really good content.

Amy Porterfield – Love this gal for Facebook marketing, more on the paid side than organic.

Inside Facebook – A really good, Facebook only website with lots of great posts!

Mari Smith – YES I know she is actually a “big dog” but there is so little usable, real information about social media out there that I had to give her a shout out!

Facebook News – Social is not all about Facebook, but so many people are focused in on that that sharing CORRECT information that comes right from the horse’s mouth can be a big play.

Andrea Vahl – A local Colorado gal, she is funny and has great information beyond social.

Pinfluencer – Great for Twitter, hard to use for the rest because no pictures! BUT SUPER GOOD data about Pinterest.

Marketing Pilgrim – A great mix of all the different social sites.

Video Marketing

ReelSEO – Some interesting info about videos (not sure a whole lot of “marketing” here)

Video Brewery – A little high on the self promotion but in and among are some great video marketing articles.

Lou Bortone – He seems to be a very genuine guy who knows quite a lot about video marketing.

Vidyard – Surprisingly good and more advanced video marketing strategies. note – it is physically impossible to use this site on mobile and very annoying on a desktop because of the popup but the content might be worth soldering through

Reel Genie – Good solid information about videos (not sure there is much marketing but good solid info)

James Wedmore – Great information about video marketing and on top of that he is a super funny guy!

Graphics

LouiseM.com – Really good graphics blog…seems like mostly social media but solid marketing tips with pictures.

Ideabook – Chuck Green – His blog is named PagePlane, but I promise you this is the really cool guy from Ideabook. LOTS of great info and I recommend subscribing to his newsletter.

Affiliate Marketing

Sugarrae – Kick ass, take no prisoners affiliate marketing from a pretty cool chick.

Smart Passive Income – I couldn’t have this list without Pat Flynn! He is a brilliant, funny and super nice guy who posts great content about affiliate marketing.

ShoeMoney – Hmmmm, almost put him in the big dogs, but there are some really great posts and I just like this guy.

FORUMS

ABestWeb Affiliate forum

Pay-Per-Click Marketing

PPC.org – Not the normal sell you PPC crap, this site has real, useful information for paid marketing.

Geeky Marketing

Marketing Professor – Our buddy Travis Campbell is probably the geeky-est guy we know. He is alway trying to “figure out” advertising, email and the like.

Social Triggers – Derek Halpern is pretty damn geeky. He is all about people and how the interact with marketing.

Kissmetrics – Data driven and relevant…get great stuff here!

Visual Website Optimizer – Dang this is geeky…may be even too techy for me, but I was still very intrigued and know what scares me is what I need to learn!

Marketing Experiments – Getting nerdy with it, they test, test, test.

Brian Massey – He is a semi-funny guy who really does focus on technical bits to make your site better.

MarketingOptimization.tv – REALLY good marketing show, I shared a bunch of these interviews…they are great!

Help My Website Sell – A new one to me, seems like there is some good stuff here!

Web Designer Depot – I love almost everything that these guys send out. Lots of good content and enjoyable format.

Corporate Marketing

Convince and Convert – Jay Baer’s blog. It is really great information for huge corporate accounts and industry. That said, there are many ideas that us little guys can grab and redesign for ourselves.

AdAge – Lots of great ideas to use here! This is advertising-advertising more than marketing.

Eloqua – put out by Oracle, it is top level marketing mainly for the big guys. Still great stuff!

General Business

Marie Forleo – LOVE this gal. Her straight talk and great answers have helped me out of more than one jam.

Chris Brogan – Sort of a marketing guy, mostly a business guy…love his stuff!

Sales

Jeffery Gitomer – I like a cranky guy who tells it like it is about sales. Gitomer is the real deal, just wish he would put pictures in his posts so we could share them more!

The Big Guys

HubSpot – These guys do an amazing job of producing great content!

Copyblogger – Great stuff, very popular.

Social Media Examiner – Really good information. The problem is that everyone shares it so not so special.

Duct Tape Marketing – Really high quality blog from John Jantsch.

Marketing Profs – A ton of really great info, that gets shared A LOT!

Gary Vaynerchuk – One of my all time favorites! Straight talk, cussing and really great usable information.

Seth Godin – The 800 pound marketing gorilla! His stuff is great to share, just know that everyone else does too!

Jeff Bullas – A pretty prolific guy on Twitter, he does write interesting articles!

Clickz – GREAT setup for being able to break out individual types of marketing feeds instead of getting every single one of their posts.

Problogger – Good site for internet marketing and blogging.

How I Use These Sites

Social media sharing is a big part of marketing these days. While I do have a metric shit-ton of my own stuff I could share, it would quickly seem very self serving and not all that friendly.

Instead I use Bloglovin.com and Bufferapp.com to schedule stuff that I have read and found interesting. I have multiple Twitter accounts that focus on specific aspects of marketing (Tweetynerds, Ebooknerds, etc.) which means I need a wide range of very specific content.

In addition to having stuff to share, I am learning as I am listening to all these great marketing peeps, moving my knowledge and business ahead.

Only after I have other great stuff do I go in and schedule specific posts that are from my marketing empire, ensuring that I don’t become too “all about me”.

Hopefully this post about the Best Marketing Blogs for Social Media helps you too! If you found it useful and would like to see more like this, please leave a comment below about what you want to learn more about!

Get The Book! Social Media Marketing Strategies

Social Media Marketing Strategies Ebook

There is a lot of information out there about how to set up your social and websites, but very little about how to actually work them to increase your brand reach and sales funnel. This book is an in-depth guide on how to dominate your niche.

Throughout we cover the background for each topic so you know what worked before and what you should avoid now, tips for using the sites including universal best practices and in-depth marketing strategies.

get-it-now-amazon

The Best Business, Sales and Marketing Podcasts

The Best Businesses, Sales and Marketing PodcastsI admit it, I am a bit of a podcast junky! I LOVE listening to the latest and greatest information from people who I would never have had access to “in real life”. Seriously, they say that your income and success will match the 5 people around you that you spend the most time with. I think that spending time with amazing people talking to me in my head counts!

The Best Business, Sales and Marketing Podcasts Overview

Knowing I was going to write this post this week, I decided to look around the interwebs and see what other great lists were out there that listed podcasts that I might be interested in and really was saddened by the quality of the referrals. A whole bunch were just the “usual suspects” that I have some of, but most were about podcasts that had not updated in months or years. With that in mind, I will include the most recent date that I have updated this list and let you know if they stop or just fall out of favor with me (SO feel like the Red Queen…off with their heads!)

updated 5/29/2014

The Picking Criteria

Purely subjective. I have a bunch of time a week to listen to podcasts, but very little patience for misinformation. Not all of these are “professionally” done as that is not my criteria. My criteria is whether I learned something new about business, sales or marketing when listing to the episodes.

A “my life” note. I tend to listen to them all, even if the episode doesn’t seem to apply to me and my business. The reason is two-fold. First, they often go off topic or talk about something that I do like. Second, whenever I think something will be “stupid” it is generally the thing I need most in my business, I am just resisting because I am a putz. Just an observation.

My Criteria

I don’t like tiny little podcasts. I am not all that good at operating my iPhone so having to click and click and click to hear even a half an hour of content doesn’t work for me. That said, I did include one that was such good content I couldn’t resist.

I only have a couple that publish daily. There are very few people I want to hear from daily and mostly podcasters aren’t them. I like to have a great mix of genres and information as that is what sparks my marketing creativity.

Quality. As I said, quality of the sound is not my first priority. Nor is staying on topic if the sidebars are super interesting. Some of these have really structured, concise content and some are off the cuff. I will try to note that when possible.

 

The Best Marketing Podcasts

 

The Marketing and Sales Success Show – Tara Jacobsen and Rebekah Welch

The Marketing and Sales Success Show PodcastA recently launched podcast that talks about “real marketing” including finding your perfect customers, dominating your USP, testing and tracking you efforts and product development. It is a disorganized, rollicking fun time that is full of really practical marketing information. This is one of my favorites!

Website | iTunes | Stitcher | Webcast

disclaimer: this is our podcast…we are super proud of the work that we are doing on our Show!

The Impact Factor – Ken McArthur

The Impact Factor Logo Ken McArthur is a fellow that I met in real life as a speaker at his JV Alert Seminar. The neat thing about Ken is that he is SO nice that amazingly successful people are always around him and he interviews many of them on his podcast. The level of guests is really high and Ken is tremendously knowledgable.

iTunes | Stitcher

For Immediate Release – Chuck Hester

for immediate release podcast While this is a new podcast to me, it seems that they have been around A LONG TIME. The format is very structured and on topic (mostly interview style). There are different focuses of the show (LinkedIn, PR, guests). Chuck gets some really big name interviews and has a super professional style to his shows.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

I Love Marketing – Dean Jackson and Joe Polish

I love marketing logoI know Joe Polish is a big deal and you should listen to him (he knows stuff). That said, I have followed Dean Jackson for about a decade, starting when I was a real estate agent. He is a down-to-earth guy who is a wealth of knowledge about all kinds of marketing. They get some great guests and it is a really great show!

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Additional Marketing Podcasts:

Marketing Over Coffee – John J. Wall and Christopher Penn
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Audience Hacker – Jonny Andrews
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Marketing Smarts – Marketing Professors
Website | iTunes

 

The Best Entrepreneur Podcasts

 

Love Your Leap – John Lee Dumas and Tom Paige

Love Your Leap PodcastJohn Lee Dumas has the awesome Entrepreneur On Fire podcast that we have listed below, but that is actually just him interviewing other interesting people. I actually like this one better because I am getting to hear John and Tom talk about entrepreneurship and other topics relevant to their businesses, shows and selling. This is one of my favorites!

Website | iTunes

The Fizzle Show – Corbett Barr, Chase Reeves and Caleb Wojcik

The Fizzle Show Podcast Funny starts and very much “insider funny”, I love these guys. They are very zippy and have a wealth of knowledge. They are great and unorganized, picking a topic and the talking over each other throughout the show. I love this format because you get some real “a ha’s” out of the show! Great real world information.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Entrepreneur On Fire – John Lee Dumas

Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast logoSeems to me that everyone and their brother has known about this guy for a million years. That said, I just found him last month from my mastermind partner. Everyday he does an interview with someone, on a very structured format, in a super excited style. It takes a little bit to get used to, but once you know what is going on, the consistency is comforting and the absolute wealth of knowledge is astounding.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

The School of Greatness – Lewis Howes

School of greatness logoLewis Howes is a really nice man (and not hard to look at!) His show is a little on the healthy side for me, but his integrity and sincereness overcome the fact that most of the times I feel like a total schlub when I listen to all the athletic people talking. He has mainly entrepreneurs and other notable guests in an interview format.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Additional Entrepreneur Podcasts:

The Human Business Way – Chris Brogan
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Best Self Publishing Podcasts

 

The Self Publishing Podcast – Johnny B Truant, Sean Platt and David Wright

Self Publishing Podcast LogoOH MY GOODNESS, maybe my all time favorite podcast show ever. These guys are very unorganized, the topic is usually never the content and they bicker (my favorite episode is the one where they argue about pricing!) If you are writing books, you need to be following these guys. A lot irreverent, they are a great listen. This is one of my favorites!

Website | iTunes | Stitcher | Webcast

Rocking Self Publishing Podcast – Simon Whistler

Rocking Self Publishing PodcastSimon is a really neat guy who is very “British proper”. No swearing, on topic and a very organized show.

He has great guests and is obviously very genuine on his show. I really enjoy listening to this show and recommend it if you are writing and publishing your own books.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Additional Self Publishing Podcasts:

The Creative Penn – Joanna Penn
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Sell More Books Show – Jim Kukral and Bryan Cohen
(they would have rated a blurb and a picture but Jim said he hated my EbookNerds Twitter…:)
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Self Publishing Roundtable – David Wright
Website | iTunes | Webcast

 

The Best Social Media Podcasts

 

Social Pros – Jay Baer and Eric Boggs

Social Pros PodcastJay Baer is a very serious guy who works primarily with corporate clients (I am not as familiar with Eric). I like this one because I get to “big picture, big budget” ideas that we sometimes are able to emulate for our “little guys”. They often have great guests (not all the usual suspects) who I can “meet” and start stalking on the Twitter.

iTunes | Stitcher

Additional Social Media Podcasts:

Social Media Marketing – Michael Stelzner
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Social Media Pubcast – Jon Loomer
(the only tiny one I listen to…it is that good!)
iTunes | Stitcher

Online Marketing Made Easy – Amy Porterfield
iTunes | Stitcher
 

The Best Podcasting Podcasts

 

School of Podcasting – Dave Jackson

School of Podcasting LogoDave Jackson is sometime snotty and sarcastic…I LOVE THAT! Very plain talk about what you should and shouldn’t be doing to make your podcast successful. Technical information, practical advice and occasional guests. I like that he talks the most, I want to hear from the people who have lived the podcasting life and know all the stuff that will mess me up! Lots of great practical resources.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

The Audacity To Podcast – Daniel J. Lewis

The Audacity To PodcastOHHH this guy tells it like it is. He had a huge argument with himself about whether episode numbers matter or not! The thing is, it really made us think about the structure of our podcast and how we wanted to set things up so we wouldn’t have trouble down the road! Pretty techy and as far as I can tell, all Daniel, he brings up some really amazing practical points.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher | Webcast

Additional Podcasting Podcasts:

Podcasters Round Table
Website | iTunes | Stitcher | Webcast

Podcast Answer Man – Cliff Ravenscraft
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Best Real Estate Marketing Podcasts

 

Curaytor Watercooler – Chris Smith and Jimmy Macklin

Curaytor LogoThis one is a little weird, you need to get on their mailing list, because figuring out how to find them is kerfuffly. They seem to do a webcast weekly (which is AWESOME, Chris cusses and drinks and asks really amazing questions – of COURSE I like the loud one!) That said, their iTunes doesn’t seem to have the same content and hasn’t been updated lately. I just watch the web shows.

Webcast

Additional Real Estate Marketing Podcasts:

Bare Naked Agent – Pat Hiban
iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Best Women Only Podcasts

 

Business Women Rock – Katie Krimitsos

Business Women Rock PodcastI know Katie “in real life” and she is just as nice in person as she seems on the show. She launched onto the podcasting scene, taking the community by storm and I couldn’t be happier for the girl! Her interviews are really good and she is attracting some amazing guests, both “big dogs” and regular business owners who work in the real world.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Biz Chix Podcast – Natalie Eckdahl

Biz Chix Podcast LogoEven if she wasn’t interviewing cool women, I would want to “hang out” with Natalie. She seems to be a really strong force for good, being a mother, wife, entrepreneur, and about a million other things. Her perspectives about the challenges of being a great mom and also a great entrepreneur are priceless for women like me who don’t just want to be a great business owner or a great mom, we want it all!

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Best Internet Marketing Podcasts

 

Internet Business Mastery – Jeremy “Sterling” Frandsen and Jason “Jay” Van Orden

Internet business mastery logoI have listened to these guys A LOT over the years. It is funny, when they started they used pseudonyms and changed to their real names somewhere in the middle.

They have a great style and focus on beginning internet marketing. If you are just starting out and not sure how to get going, you can’t do better than to begin with these guys!

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Smart Passive Income – Pat Flynn

Smart Passive Income LogoPat Flynn is an awesome human being. The neat thing about this podcast is that he talks about how to do affiliate marketing, what works and how he has hosed it up. He calls himself the crash test dummy for how to do marketing and is constantly implementing and innovating new ideas. A genuinely nice person, I am glad he is my “friend” on the podcast.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Did I Miss Any?

Alright friends! I have listed most of the ones that I have on my phone (I told you I am an addict!) That said, I am sure that there are some amazing podcasts out there that I have missed…:)

If you have one or know of one and let me know in the comments, I will check it out and see if I like it. Please keep to the topic of the best business, sales and marketing podcasts. I monitor all the comments so spamming the crap out of this post with your icky spam links will not do any good!

Podcast Marketing For Beginners – What To Do When You Are Starting Out

Podcast Marketing For Beginners -What To Do When You Are Starting OutAs you know I am a total marketing freak and I can speak super intelligently about many different types of marketing (public speaking, networking, graphic design, blogging, social media, SEO and about a gagillion more things). That said, I never had a podcast so I don’t feel like an expert at podcast this point by any stretch of the word.

I don’t know everything (yet) about podcast marketing, but what I do know about is the challenges and frustrations of hearing and reading bits from AMAZING podcasters who started years ago who now give totally different suggestions than than what they actually did to be successful. I think this happens in every business so I WILL have an amazing podcast with thousands of downloads someday in the not so distant future, but this is what I am doing just as we start out.

If you would like to hear more about our “journey” through podcasting startup, I will have that below!

1. Don’t just look at iTunes

I am a Apple fanatic, iPhone, MacBook Air, iPad and all. OF COURSE I was going to put our podcast on iTunes, but what do all those android users do to listen? I looked around to some of the blogs of amazing podcasters I liked and they had their shows on iTunes AND Stitcher. The cool thing is once you have that RSS feed thingy done, adding your podcast to other services is a breeze!

Here is our show on iTunes and on Stitcher.

2. Podcast graphics on your websites

Make sure the iTunes podcast and Stitcher podcast graphics are on all your websites, not just your podcast site (more about that later).

Podcasts are not mainstream yet, even though you may be consuming them like a mad person. BUT people who like podcasts REALLY like podcasts and will see your download on iTunes or available on Stitcher graphics in the top right.

Don’t get cute about them, much like the Twitter logo generally leads to a site’s Twitter account, your podcast buttons should lead directly to where they can find your shows to subscribe.

3. Have a separate website

I totally lucked into this one. We were messing around trying to figure out which of our “real” websites to use to host the show on, thinking that it didn’t matter all that much. Come to find out your show feed IS the thing that makes your iTunes and Stitcher bits work. I would not want the hassles of trying to keep my podcast feed separate from the hundreds of other posts that I have on Marketing Artfully..ack.

Additionally, I couldn’t figure out how to make it a great user experience for our listeners. If it was tucked in this site or the MandM Monsters site, they would have to hunt for it instead of it being right out there, front and center! >> check out our AMAZING Marketing Podcast website

4. Don’t forget what you already know!

Putting a keyword targeted link in there made me realize that oftentimes we discover a new technology or start a new project and want to learn all the “secret tricks” about how to do that one thing better. Instead, you should look in your bag of goodies and see what you are already good at (SEO, social media, networking) and make sure to use those skills when you are marketing your podcast!

5. Don’t listen to what they say, do what they did

So my secret crush, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, has a STUPENDOUS “setting up a podcast” post, that made our initial setup so much easier. But he said something in there that made me realize this post needed to be written. Pat makes thousands of dollars and had a gagillion downloads of his podcast. He has worked for years to build it up to what it is and is a raging success. BUT he says things like, “if I had it to do all over again I would..”

We have gotten most of our best ideas from listening and copying successful podcasters. Our intro is a compilation of a bunch of different starts that we like, the format was figured out by listening to a LOT of podcasts and figuring out what we like listening to. We put certain graphics on because we had stalked other podcasters and seen what we liked.

When you are figuring out your podcast, don’t think you have to make ALL the mistakes others have made, emulate the shows that you like and take the best bits from each!

6. Start right away, don’t wait to have 4-5 “in the can”

I feel like all these people who say, “if I had it all to do it all over again I would work less, have more balance, start it perfectly, do it this or that way” are being genuine but misguided. Pat said he would have waited to start until he had a bunch of podcasts done before launching. But that would have changed everything. Maybe he would have gotten one less opportunity or missed being featured on a site or other podcast that made a huge difference.

DON’T listen to them, start when you have your first one. It will be horrible and you will cringe in a year when you hear it, but it will be out there in the world. It will be an opportunity for someone to find you that will not happen if you are waiting for perfect. It will also force you to get all the pieces of your marketing together all at once instead of waiting weeks or months to get them done. There is nothing like being under the gun to make things happen!

7. You need to have more than a podcast on your posts!

Now we are getting into marketing instead of “podcast marketing”. On our first podcast blog post we forgot everything we know about marketing and made a bunch of mistakes. We are going to leave it that way so you can see our problems!

While we do have a video that people can watch and a player for the show episode, there are MANY things missing! (see the “right” way to do it here, on our “perfect” podcast blog post example)

A graphic that people can share on social media. You should have a separate graphic for each of your shows. It should be branded with your podcast but should also be unique enough that you can tell them apart. For these first few ones where it is just Rebekah and I, I used pictures of us with the M&M Monster branding and the iTunes and Stitcher icons so people know it is a podcast.

Content, words, heck anything for Google to index. On the first post I was so excited (overwhelmed) that I just wanted to get ANYTHING out there. That said, you can’t grow a blog without any words on the page for Google to index and we want the chance at least for that blog to rank well in search engines for topics we talk about on our shows.

Resources. There is nothing worse than listening to a podcast or Google hangout and not being able to figure out what the hosts said and how to find the things they are talking about. I am going to try to get WAY better about writing notes so that I don’t have to listen to every show in its entirety.

8. Any format you have!

Some people like video (hangouts), some people like audio (podcasts) and some people like to read (transcripts of the show). Make sure you are offering every format that will make everyone happy. YES, it takes a little longer but it will serve you well in the end.

9. Google Hangouts

We struggled with wanting to do podcasts until we figured out we could just do a hangout and then whizzy-wig the recording into an audio format. The benefit of doing a hangout and then recording it is that you are letting people see you and get to know you in a way that is not possible when just hearing your voice (more about this later).

Our Podcast Story

If you had some amazing a-ha ideas while reading the podcast marketing bits, I don’t mind if you leave now and get to work, but I did want to at least once tell you about our podcasting journey!

For a few years now (don’t let it take you this long!) I have been hearing about podcasts and just never jumped in the pond. Then a few months ago I figured out how to make iTunes work and started listening like a madwoman. There are some great podcasters out there and I got to “know” lots of them through hearing them talk to “me” each week. Now I know that they aren’t actually talking to me personally, but by listening week after week I got to learn about them and their lives, really feeling like they were a friend who told me neat things.

But I still didn’t want to just do a podcast. It seemed like a lot of work and I didn’t have anyone to do it with. Then my biz partner and I went to conference and heard about using Google hangouts to feed a podcast and the lights went on! I have been wanting to do more real videos where you don’t just hear my voice, but you get to see me too. That said, we have tried the “sit down in front of a video camera” or taping our events and neither one of those was right either. It was just too contrived and not something that I could maintain over a course of months or years.

But doing Google Hangouts is easy. It is using the camera on my laptop and then the Google just puts that recording right on my YouTube channel! I am doing it with a friend so I don’t have to look at myself and cringe every time I see a bump or a wrinkle, I just watch her and she just watches me.

We are not worrying about them being heinous and weird. They are not perfect and that is okay, I am sure they will get better and we will make more money and get a better backdrop…but for now good enough is good enough! We are so out in front of the game that we will win.

We give great content in a niche that is not talked about all that much…finding your perfect customer who will buy and buy. We are VERY knowledgable and already know that people like our “stuff”, we are just able to broadcast it the whole world now.

It is supporting our books. We are writing a business book a week for a year and have creeping up success but this should supercharge those sales.

It is free. The wonderful, weird part of this whole thing is that besides the $15 a month fee for hosting the audio files, this is all free to do. We take our time, use Google, iTunes, Stitcher and a number of other sites and bam we are broadcasters. Think of back in the day what the cost would be to do a “TV show” and record CDs to send out. The expense and time required would have put it out of reach for many of the people who are succeeding today.

The dorky ending. I am not a real emoter except with my friends and family. You are not going to find passionate talk about how I help people or what my dreams are (I do things and have them, just I don’t talk about them here). But if there is one thing that I wish for all my entrepreneur marketing peeps it is this…figure out how to make this work for you! Start an accounting podcast or a direct sales hangout or a funeral home show. Yes it will take time, but the rewards that you will get in the long term are something that you can’t even imagine today.

You WILL be the same person in a year, but where you are and what you have accomplished will be different. Make a difference starting today.

If this helped at all and you would like to help back a little bit, please signup for our podcasts on either iTunes or Stitcher. Bonus points if you leave a review!!! Please let me know about it in the comments and I will do something nice for you too!!!

Entrepreneur Marketing – Keep Moving Forward

Entrepreneur Marketing - Keep Moving ForwardWhoo whoo! This week is an amazing week to be an entrepreneur (she says jumping up and down, clicking her heels and giggling like a school girl)! This week we finally got on track, the gears are all turning and everything is coming together. This is a very good week to be in business.

So how do I know that this is a good week? Because last week was not so great. We were pounding out what to do with some little bits here and little bits there that were not coming together. We hadn’t heard from a client and worried that we were getting dumped, we had opportunities that did not match our vision (we really weren’t sure what our vision was but knew that those were not them!)

If you are an entrepreneur I know that you have had my “last weeks”, but have you ever had a this week? One were you KNEW you were getting somewhere? Cherish that feeling because it is usually followed by a lot of hard work to implement all your gloriousness!!!

Ideas are not strategies

My marketing partner, Rebekah, hates that we call one of our talks 100 Free Marketing Ideas. She loves the talk but hates that we use the term “ideas”. Ideas are for suckers is pretty much her take on it. Entrepreneurs can churn out ideas a dime a dozen. She wishes that we would talk to them about important things like strategies, systems and implementation (all things that I love too by the way). Just having given the talk about a million times so far, I know that free ideas get butts in seats at events and so we stick with ideas.

That said, you SHOULD have ideas, but it is implementing those ideas as strategies that will make your business better. And not half ass implementing of a million things, pick three rock star ideas and then run with them. I say three because entrepreneurs are categorically incapable of having just one idea. That feels too limiting and way less fun than chasing after a bunch of different things all at once, driving yourself nuts, right?!?!

So what are our ideas?

We have a strategy for exposure, for reaching beyond the limits of our current client base, for moving beyond the borders of our state lines and going big, like worldwide sensation big. Okay, that sensation part is not really true, we really want to help way more people, in way less time for a fair price WHILE getting to hang out together in fabulous places like New York, London, Dublin and other cultural and interesting cities.

We have tried many things that are not quite that like:

TINY CHEAP CLASSES. Holding in person classes in the Denver area for a small amount of money and a huge amount of time. We did this mainly so we could get to spend time together talking about marketing and make some money. Problem was that the effort required to put on these classes (securing a room, marketing the heck out of them, attending to teach, splitting the profits) meant that we were making barely above minimum wage for a highly skilled and valuable product. We tried taping them and selling them, but because of the interactive nature, they didn’t come across great on videos.

FREE NETWORKING GROUPS. Rebekah’s background is in promotions and networking so having free networking events is not hard, the mechanics are in place and hey, how much time could they take? Well we are back to the promotions, marketing and wrong clientele of it all.

SPEAKING LOCALLY. We still speak locally to small groups, colleges and the like, but that cannot be our only avenue for exposure. If we want to make it to London, we are going to have to get beyond Centennial CO and be out in the world, spreading the marketing word!

MEMBERSHIP SITE. I made membership site years ago and packed it with tons of great content. It took about 4 months of back breaking labor, but I bought into the whole, “you can get recurring revenue every month”…yeah right. I sold about 20 of them and then was on the hook to keep producing content every month to make them happy…sigh. I do not like things that I have to commit for years for.

COACHING PROGRAMS. So a couple years ago I got caught up in a sales pitch and bought a coaching program from someone who said they could help with speaking. Come to find out it was a coaching program about coaching programs. That was not my passion, but I did think, “well what could it hurt?” Holy buckets am I a bad coach. I am a great accountability person. I am a great masterminder. I am a great ideas gal. I am not great at meeting with someone on a weekly or monthly basis and building them up, holding their hand and telling them everything will be alright. I feel bad about taking someone’s money so they can feel good that they are “doing something” if that something is just hiring me but not changing in any way.

There are lots more, been there, done thats like the “recurring revenue from a newsletter”, affiliate marketing that worked for a while but then they changed our salesperson and we never sold another one, the list goes on and on.

What is your theme?

So why have I told you all the bits of our business that were not working? Hopefully you can write down all of your experience like that in a row, enumerating all your efforts (not failures) to see if there is a theme to them. Here is our theme…

1. We love working with entrepreneurs
2. We love teaching entrepreneurs
3. We love talking about marketing
4. We want to reach more people with less time
5. We want to hang out together
6. We want to make money

Over and over we came up with ideas that accomplished some of those things. We would teach and not make money, or we would make money but not reach as many people or we would….well you get the point. What you should do now is figure out what the main idea of all your great ideas that you implemented poorly was and write them down.

Moving forward

This all sounds horrible. Like we have been flailing around with no direction and have failed over and over. Do not get me wrong, at the time these all made us money but did feel like failures, like we wasted our time and were never going to figure it all out. Then a lightbulb went off this year. We could still do all those things, maybe not in same ways but in some way, so “what to do, what to do?”

As Barbara Corcoran says, “There’s great power in moving forward, whether you’re moving in the right direction or not. At least you’re moving forward.”

So now we have our three things. Three ways we are currently lead generating, helping entrepreneurs and working together. They are all doable, accomplish our goals and will add to the business world in ways that we can be proud of.

Writing a book a week for a year. I didn’t say they were easy! We are writing a business book a week for a whole year. We are about a third of the way there right now and there is nothing that is going to stop us from hitting that goal. We KNOW we are going to make some money on the book sales but that is not the point. The point is that we have already been offered numerous speaking opportunities, a book deal from a real publisher and a great deal of advice from people who say we are stupid and wasting our time. They do not understand that this actually a part of a larger plan. If you have your strategy and know what you are doing ignore the nay-sayers. They are too busy worrying about you to build their business.

Starting an internet show. We put our first internet show in the can this week. It is live on YouTube (we are using Google Hangouts to record it) and will be in the iTunes store as soon as they approve our account. The website is up and running and ready to go. This fulfills our helping entrepreneurs and spending time together. What it also does is allow us to highlight a book a week and sell more book and consulting services.

Selling courses. Remember the giant membership site debacle? Well that soured me for YEARS about making big, giant courses that take eons to make and sell well only if you are devoted to them alone and get hundreds of partners to beat the street in your name. But what about little courses? Based on our books? WHA WHA…the clouds parted and the sun shone through. We are recording the first videos today.

Seriously, this post is just for me. One day that seems to be glorious, where everything is lined up and I can see the future so clearly that I should be wearing sunglasses. My wish for you today is that you stop, look at what you have done, what you are doing now and what could change your life for the better in the future. If you figure it out, please let me know! You can comment, send an email or an owl, whatever it takes, just let me know you have made up here with me!!

100 Quick Marketing Activities You Can Do TODAY!

100 Quick Marketing Activities You Can Do TODAY!Marketing is all about doing something…writing a book, making a sales page, posting to social media. But honestly, our biggest marketing “wins” coming from forward movement, just doing some kind of Marketing Activity instead of waiting until everything is perfect.

This is list of marketing tactics…each is a little nibble of something you can do if you have 5 minutes between doing important things. Our huge marketing empires are made up of all these little moments.

If you like this, you will love our 100 Free Marketing Ideas sheet which is much more structured and could help more with a plan.

Social Media Marketing Activities

  • Check your profile and business banners, are they looking good or should you order new ones?
  • Order new social media banners on Fiverr.com
  • Share different people’s social media profiles once a day for a month “introducing” them to your lists
  • Give someone you just met Klout, share that to your Twitter to give them love
  • Follow 100 people on Twitter who could buy what you are selling
  • Research your hashtags on hashtagify.me
  • Set up a Twitter ad
  • Make a Twitter list of influential people you can follow and share their stuff
  • Download our Twitter Cheat Sheet and start using special characters in your posts
  • Like 5 business pages on Facebook, you have to comment on one of their posts to get credit
  • Upload a movie to your business page, wait 30 minutes and share it to your profile
  • Check the sidebar ads to see what they are doing
  • Accept your friend requests on Facebook, post something nice to their wall that is not self serving
  • Figure out what your biggest prospect likes and share a post which they would like that has nothing to with your business on your wall, tagging them
  • Pin 5 pins on your favorite Pinterest board from the internet helping someone else
  • Repin 10 pins on Pinterest
  • Check and see if your board pictures are the prettiest one you can pick, if not, fix it
  • Make sure your most import boards on Pinterest are at the top or the bottom (the middle is for “stuff”)
  • Follow 50 people on Google+
  • Sort your Google circles so they have no more than 99 people in each
  • Email a post to a Google circle
  • Use hashtags in your Google+ posts
  • Upload a video directly to Google+
  • Like 10 people’s posts
  • Join a community that you are interested in and circle all the member (you have to participate)
  • Accept all your invites on LinkedIn
  • Join 5 groups who have people like your prospects
  • Like 5 peoples posts
  • Write a recommendation a day for a month

Video Activities

  • Shoot a quick video of something interesting from your cell phone and upload it to YouTube (do that every day for a month!)
  • Start a playlist of something interesting and add 5 videos
  • See if your 5 favorite industry leaders have a channel, subscribe
  • Make it your mission to see if you can one of your videos to 1,000 views
  • Learn to use Jing or Screencast-o-matic.com (yes! it takes about 5 minutes to figure out)
  • Make a channel trailer for your YouTube channel, be real and tell people what you do!
  • Try Google Hangouts and see how easy it is

Posting Pictures

  • Take a picture a day and post it to Instagram
  • Tag your Instagram pictures with hashtags
  • Follow 5 Instagram people you want to do business with
  • Like 5 Instagram pictures
  • Make a quick quote with pictures in PicMonkey.com
  • Make a quick quote with pictures using the Word Swag app on your iPhone
  • Make a post with quotes and pictures on your blog

Brainstorming

  • Write down 25 ideas for blog posts
  • Check who your top 5 competitors are on google and see what they are doing that you could copy
  • Start saving quotes you like in Evernote
  • Check Amazon to see which categories books in your industry sit in
  • Check Google to see how many competing websites there are for a phrase you are trying to hit
  • Do a Google search and see how many Google+ posts come up in the results
  • Save all the best sales pages you see in Evernote
  • Check Google Trends to see which of your keywords is hot right now

The Book Biz

  • Leave a review for your favorite author (hint hint) on Amazon
  • Add some of your favorite authors books to your wish list in Amazon to help them
  • Check your favorite book categories and figure out what is missing in the marketplace (later you can write a book!)
  • Visit Goodreads and start a book list

Local Sites

  • Check in everywhere you go on Foursquare.com
  • Take a picture each time you check in (bonus points if they are selfies or who you are dining with)
  • Check in on Yelp and give your favorite local businesses a review
  • Send a press release about your company to the local papers

 Blogging

  • Check the keywords and description on your blog (are your terms out of date)
  • Check your sidebar, is it showing your visitors exactly what you want them to do…we want you to sign up for our free courses!
  • Use Google analytics to find out which of your posts is the most visited and add a call to action that matches the content
  • Make 5 thoughtful comments on competing sites in your niche
  • Subscribe to the Google Webmasters YouTube Channel to learn the latest SEO tips
  • Add a neat video to the sidebar of your blog
  • Share 5 of your best archived posts

Email

  • Look at your outgoing signature line, snazzy it up a bit
  • Send a really amazing message to everyone, include something that they would really want!
  • Make segregated lists of people who like your industry AND then ones who like dogs, babies, etc.
  • Start asking everyone you talk to for their birthday, start sending out cards
  • Make sure your subject lines are awesome

Offline

  • Look at your business card, is it up-to-date and interesting, does it have a call to action?
  • Start a list of local companies that you can recommend
  • Do a hard copy newsletter, hand it out and mail to key prospects
  • Make a comment card to give to your customers for feedback
  • Pick up some thank you notes to send to people you talk to
  • Order some cool pens, we use the javelin pens and everyone loves them!
  • Order some stickers (we are enthralled with the sticker!) click for a $10 credit!

Customers

  • Call your best customer and thank them for being wonderful, ask them if there is anything else you could offer that they would like to buy
  • Send an email with an interesting link to your favorite customer and just say you were thinking of them
  • Make a sales leads sheet or print out your pipeline…what could you do to add just 5% more leads to your pipeline

Mindset

  • Try something on the list that you have never done before or think is stupid
  • Use Fiverr.com to spark an idea, see what is available for $5 and go for it
  • Start a list like this that is relevant to your industry to post on your blog
  • Vow to spend 5 minutes a day working on your favorite social media channel…every day, no distractions
  • Do something nice every day for someone who can’t help you, share a charity’s post, enter a contest and vote for someone, share a kickstarter, just be nice

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Buy The Book

New media marketing ebook

New Media Marketing Strategies: Oh The Tangled Web We Weave

There is a lot of information out there about how to set up your social and websites, but very little about how to actually work them to increase your brand reach and sales funnel. This book is an in-depth guide on how to dominate your niche.

Throughout we cover the background for each topic so you know what worked before and what you should avoid now, tips for using the sites including universal best practices and in-depth marketing strategies.

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Are You Going All Justin Timberlake With Your Marketing?

Justin Timerlake MarketingSmall business marketing is a lonely game. You spend hours and hours crafting a great sales page or doing a ton of graphics or writing a blog post…then you send it out into the world and hope someone, somewhere will like it enough to actually read it and come back to you with wallet in hand.

Now, I don’t believe that Justin spends too much time alone pining for attention, but he does do some amazing things in his acting and singing career that I think we can definitely emulate!

When you see this picture of Mr. Timberlake, what comes to mind? Suave, debonaire, you might even be picturing him in his Suit and Tie video. He is a serious artist with a very high profile…and also willing to do whatever it takes given the situation he finds himself in!

Exposure

So JT (Justin Timberlake as we like to call him around the dinner table) appears on the The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and instead of just having the “normal” sit on the couch and tell us your story show, they do the History of Rap, dancing and singing and generally carrying on. Now this is a full on production with singing and dancing, choreographed to the minute and obviously something that was not just thrown togother.

As far as I can tell, they have done five of these shows, featuring different music each time. Now there is a good chance that JT is a big enough draw on his own to appear a few times, but these shows bring down the house, get shared virally on the internet and generally increase awareness for three things, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and the Tonight Show. No wonder he keeps getting invited back!

Play Full Out

Justin Timberlake all out

Look at these and then revisit the super snazzy guy in the picture post. Since we follow (stalk) JT closely, we know that he has been wine, a gingerbread man and many other goofy characters on the shows that he appears on. In every one, he plays full out which is the key.

If you are a fine looking, stylish grown man dressed in a wine bottle and only kinda sorta going through the motions, you are going to look dumb. But when you are living it, doing the best that you can and going for it, it becomes something really spectacular to behold.

No matter what you are doing in your marketing or business, please make sure that you are playing ALL OUT! Making videos, don’t be wimpy, give them some life, show that you care, show some personality. Doing a webinar, don’t hold back your best stuff, throw it out there and you will be surprised about how great a response you will get!

Don’t Be Afraid

Everyone doing anything is at least a little afraid. The most outgoing extroverted human will still get some butterflies before speaking to a stadium full of people. If you are playing hard you will constantly be running up against things that make you a little nervous. Don’t let them derail your momentum or make you stop!

This is not just about speaking or public appearances, it works the same for learning how to use Google Hangouts, or how to make really cool graphics or any other new skill. As humans we have spent millennia making sure that we DON’T risk life and limb just to check out a new tree or eat an unknown mushroom. Mistakes like that could kill you, but marketing rarely will!

So Bland Your Are Invisible

One last thing before we go! It can seem like a brilliant idea to make your “Stuff” appealing to everyone. To “dumb it down” so that no one finds it even a little bit offensive. That is the WORST strategy you can use. If you have to be bland to feel okay, you are going to struggle all throughout your marketing efforts. Bland is boring and great marketing is the opposite of boring.

Would Justin Timberlake be okay with bland marketing? I don’t think so…he would recklessly run at it, jumping off the cliff fearlessly knowing that great things are on the other side!

Email Marketing For Small Business – What To Do, What To Do

Small Business Email Marketing - What To DoYou have heard for years that “the money is in the list”, that you have to have a list and that you need to send email newsletters or give away free offers…and you ignored (or half-assed) all of that.

Then, thank heavens, you heard that email marketing is dying and you got away from even thinking about, except when that little voice in the back of your head said, “but I read emails still”.

The Dead Email Marketing Myth

Seriously, you can try and get around the fact that you need an email list, you can gnash your teeth and complain about the time and expense, but can you really say that email marketing is dead? How many emails will you get in your inbox today that you requested from someone selling something?

Email marketing is still the most powerful way to connect with people who actually want to hear from you! Stop whining and get your email marketing started today. (Right after you finish reading this post!)

The Dreaded Newsletter

When was the last time you thought to yourself, “damn I hope I get to join five or ten new newsletter lists today?”, said nobody ever! You have to have interesting reasons for someone to join your list. Things that they want to have that you can provide. We give away a number of free marketing courses, marketing tools and other bits that people would actually want to have in exchange for giving us their email address.

You don’t have to a big production either! One of our “best selling” give-ways is the 100 Free Marketing Ideas handout that we use for our speaking events. No additional effort AND we get to add them to our list.

Subject Lines

Today ends your lame subject lines. Stop sending out messages that say Sally’s Newsletter and start using powerful subject lines that will get your emails opened and read.

There are only a couple of rules here. Write them to one person (only one person will be reading them at a time) and make them compelling. Think to yourself, “if I got this message in my email would I stop everything else that I was doing to read it?”

If you need some ideas, check out our post, 100 Great Email Subject Line Examples

Make Sure You Are Selling Something

We are bad at this, producing content at a furious pace without ever getting to the “ask”. Well that all changes this week. We printed out and reviewed every one of our email campaigns and will be including a call to action to buy a book, join another course, check out a blog post or any number of other awesome things that they can do which will result in sales for us.

No one expects something for nothing and few people will offended if you provide great content AND the ability to extend the conversation beyond with a course, book or other item.

What Email Service Should You Use?

If you read this post and just decided to start an email list, we recommend you go with MailChimp. They offer free service up to a thousand or so list members and will do some of what you need to do if you are going to have a strong marketing campaign.

If you are all fired up and know that you are going to fix your current systems or really start rolling, we recommend Infusionsoft (that is what we use). Infusionsoft is a huge database system that will let you do things like email data capture, list fulfillment, ecommerce, events, video marketing and more.

Great Stuff

One day I was all excited telling a client how cool a new marketing strategy was and that I would forward her the article. Well I got a shock when she said she didn’t want to read the article, she just wanted to know what I thought about the article and if it was something she should look into.

Dang. That was so powerful and has driven everything I have produced from there on out. Your list people have signed up because you have some kind of expertise and they are looking to you for direction. Make sure you are giving them great content AND the input from you that they need to be able to use it.

Stop Thinking About Email Marketing and Start DOING Email!

Email marketing strategy sessionIf you took the time to read all the way down here on this post, you are probably aware that you need to do email marketing. You have probably tried a couple of times with various degrees of success and are ready to really DO it this time. Get off your hands and get your email marketing set up right this time  with a small business marketing strategy session TODAY!

Entrepreneur Marketing For Startups – If It Sounds Too Good To Be True

Entrepreneur Marketing - Startup warningEntrepreneur Marketing is one of the most predatory areas of marketing today.

Fleecing “newbies” out of their hard earned money is big business and we are here to tell our entrepreneur friends some hard truths (that might just save them some money and time!)

The 10K A Month Pipe Dream

Internet marketers (the people who are selling the “gold rush” and “get rich quick” systems of success are not stupid. In fact they are some of the smartest people in marketing today. They have spent millions of dollars to find out which exact triggers will cause you to hit buy, hoping that this time they are telling the truth about how much you will make.

One of the best converting triggers is to promise that you will make $10K a month. Studies have shown that this is “the dream”. The six figure income that everyone wants to hit.

While I agree that this is a great goal, the chances that you will make $10,000 a month if you are making very little or nothing right now is slim.

No List, No Site, No Problem

Another biggie in the internet marketing world is to say that you don’t need to have any assets to make money. That you can start with nothing and make millions.

When have you ever heard of this working in real life? When someone sat on the couch, dreaming of owning a franchise and raking in the big bucks. Or an author who has a book in their head and is a best selling author.

If you have no assets, digital or otherwise, it is going to be very hard to build up anyone’s business but the person selling the product. Oftentimes this kind of scheme involves you sharing their content on social or with your few connected friends. This works (for them) because they get hundreds or thousands of people to share their product with a few friends, adding up to a huge campaign for them and little money for you.

People Making The Course

Which brings us to the real reason most internet marketing courses are developed. To make money. That is the only reason. It is not some altruistic need to help “the little guy” or the wanting to “share it”. It is capitalism pure and simple.

They are making something that will make them money.

So are we bashing capitalism, heck no. What we are bashing is the hyperbolic sales messages and the packaging of crap to sell at a profit to people who are desperate and want to believe in miracles.

Circle Jerk

If you belong to any internet marketing lists, you will notice that there is a “launch” every couple of weeks (or days). All of the guys and gals with big lists will send out the latest and greatest amazing course to their list, knowing that their pals will send out their course the next week or next month.

The first thing that annoys me is that they hardly ever even take the time to change the subject line of the emails. This happens for a couple of reasons. Laziness on their part, they just copy and paste to their list and make money. Also, the people launching these products have spent a lot of money to have great copywriters find out what will trigger sales. Oftentimes they leave them intact because they know it will make you open it (and maybe buy).

It Used To Work

One last bit on the downside of many of these programs. Do you really think that someone who is making internet millions is going to “share the secret” with people who will be competing with them and driving up the cost of business?

Say someone knows the secret to getting $.10 clicks on Facebook. If they sell a course to 1,000 people in their niche and those people all start buying ads, the cost per click will go up as competition increases.

Instead they make their money and take all those screen captures of their money making success. Then once that starts to cost more naturally, they package their “system” and sell a course using techniques that used to work, but which are not as effective anymore.

Good Guys

I am sorry to say that being an entrepreneur is hard work. You will have to work hard and the chances of you going from zero to $10K a month in days are non-existant, but building a strong sustainable business is possible.

There are some truly good guys and gals in the marketplace. Here are a few that we know tell the truth and building strong, sustainable businesses helping entrepreneurs succeed.

  • The M&M Monsters are dedicated to working with entrepreneurs to get them started off on the right track. We do marketing strategy sessions that are affordable and effective.
  • good guys
  • Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income is a great guy who has built up an amazing affiliate business and who shares his tips with his podcast listeners.
  • Self Publishing Podcast – Sean and Johnny are an amazing resource if you are thinking of writing and publishing your own book.
  • Perry Marshall – If you are going to be doing Adwords, you need to start with Perry Marshall. He is the master of adwords marketing and has helped us often over the years.
  • Internet Business Mastery is where to start if you are just getting into affiliate marketing. This is a great post that talks about what we did here!
  • Joel Comm is a super successful internet marketer who is a great person to follow as he shares A LOT of great information.

We have spent years working with entrepreneurs and know that you can make it! You can have the life of your dreams and be hugely successful doing work you love. All it takes is time, patience and hard work. We know that you have it in you and all you need is a little push in the right direction!

Get Some Real Entrepreneur Marketing Help!

Entrepreneur Marketing - Start up strategy session bannerWe have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, helping them to get a real startup marketing plan in place and getting their businesses up and running faster than they ever thought possible! There is no secret to being a great entrepreneur, just having solid plan and executing it effectively every day…see how now!

What Does The New Twitter Look Mean For Small Biz Marketing?

What Does The New Twitter Look Mean For Small Biz Marketing?Twitter is changing how your profile and stream looks, whether you like it or not. The first thing that jumps to mind when I see it is that it is totally a Facebook clone now which makes me sad. One of the reasons I like Twitter so much is the ease of use and clean layout. This update seems to make things a little more fancy…sigh.

Here are the new look and the past look so you can see the differences:

New Twitter Look and Feel

New Twitter Look and Feel

In the new version, there is a wide-wide graphic at the top and underneath are your tweet stats including number of tweets, photos and videos, following, followers, favorites and more (the “more tab” holds the lists).

There is no background image, nor is there a way to modify the arrangement or add any additional personal information.

Old Twitter Look and Feel

Old Twitter Look and Feel

I liked the old look and feel much better as it had the information about the person right up front and center where I could see it. I actually use that information a lot when deciding whether or not to follow someone. Those bits have moved to the left under the profile picture.

New Twitter Timeline

New Twitter Timeline

According to Twitter, the new timeline will allow you to “pin” an important post to the top and your highest quality tweets (the ones that people like and retweet the most) will be a larger size than the old ones.

It is easier to select which view to see of the profile, right now I see tweets, tweets and replies, but supposedly you will also be able to choose only tweets with photos or videos.

Old Twitter Timeline

The Old Twitter Timeline

The size of pictures included does not seem to have changed. It appears that 800 height by 1200 width is still the aspect ratio that they display. If photos are larger they display the middle area like Facebook does.

New Twitter Mobile

New Twitter Mobile

I pulled both the new and the old on both the Twitter App and the Google Chrome browser and this looks very similar to the old desktop Twitter. One thing to note is that the only part of the wide-wide picture that shows is the middle. We will have to watch where those pictures “cut off” so as not to have a ridiculous header in mobile.

Old Twitter Mobile

twitter-post-mobile-befores

Not much change here but important to note that on both versions it is important to have some of your posts include photos.

Read the whole Twitter update

out top suggest next step resources

Get Some Help! New Media Marketing Strategy Session

New Media Marketing Strategy SessionWhat does this change mean to your Twitter marketing efforts? How have the recent changes at Facebook hurt your views and what should you do next? Is Pinterest right for your business and if so, what should you be “pinning”?

It is almost impossible to keep up, but with a New Media Strategy Session, you will know that your business is on the cutting edge of what is working today on the social networks!

Find out more TODAY! >> Click here

Dear Facebook Business Pages, We Are Through, It Is Not You It Is Me

Dear Facebook Business Pages - We're ThroughI am both a marketing gal and a small business owner. My time and monetary resources are finite (with time being my most precious commodity) and Facebook, you aren’t there for me on either of these! With that in mind, I am breaking up with you. And it really is not you, it’s just me and the time and money I am willing to spend to make you happy.

Recently a big brand, Eat24, who had 70,000 fans shut their page down because they weren’t able to get their posts seen by anyone. They had a really funny exchange, with Facebook coming back to say that the brand needed to shut up and understand that someone’ friend’s new baby or homemade cupcakes were more important than their pictures of sushi.

Your Friends

One of the things that Facebook said in their reply was that:

There is some serious stuff happening in the world and one of my best friends just had a baby and another one just took the best photo of his homemade cupcakes and what we have come to realize is people care about those things more than sushi porn (but if we are in the mood for it, we know where to find it Eat24!). So we are sorry that we have to part this way because we think we could still be friends – really we do. But we totally respect you if you need some space.

Facebook Word SearchI do agree that maybe a friend’s baby IS more important than seeing a page’s posting, but I am not sure why Facebook feels the need to make that decision for me.

Today on my wall, in order, I have one of those stupid “tell us the first three words you see” word search from a lady I know very peripherally, a post from a young friend, a business friend, my father-in-law, my father-in-law (he is a prolific poster!), my brother, ironically a picture of an old business acquaintance’s baby, an updated profile picture of our friend Fred, a cute business quote from someone in my network and a post from an old friend from Florida.

Had I been given the choice, I could have skipped the baby, the old-old friend’s post, one of my father-in-laws posts and for sure the word search (which Facebook feels I should see every one of!) What is conspicuously absent to me is postings by one of my best friends (whose posts I comment on and who I message several times a day), my father and my husband (from both of whom I have let Facebook know I want to see every post). For some reason, Facebook has decided that stray and random strangers should take precedence over my Daddy and sweat pea.

I GET IT, Facebook was started as college sharing site and college high-jinks are fun to some people. For me, college was a chance to hang out with people who thought farting was the height of hilarity and to share a bathroom with thirty other women, several of whom had PMS at any given time. Good times for sure.

Too many “friends”

Facebook Spammy MessagesSince I am in marketing, I do have A LOT of friends (3,972) at last count. In that number are my friend-friends and family, business people I have met over the years and friended, Realtors around the country because I do Realtor Marketing in addition to small business marketing, authors, marketing experts, and then everyone else.

Now, over the years I have thinned the herd and eliminated people from foreign countries known for scams, have unfriended and blocked anyone who sent me a special message starting with “Hi Dear”, and anyone who posts excessive political commentary for either side. The last one is very subjective on my part! While I do feel like they have the right to post whatever they want, I don’t have time to let negativity from either political party enter my business networking time. Make no mistake, for me Facebook IS business networking.

While I do enjoy seeing the limited amount of posts Facebook shows me from my real friends and family, I can see my husband’s stuff on Google Plus, I talk in person with my Denver besty once a week and exchange frequent emails during the week, I talk to my Tampa besty on the phone as often as we can manage and my Daddy doesn’t post all that much anyways.

Friends With Benefits

My Facebook friends have to be friends with benefits to be a part of what I spend my precious time on. Some ways they benefit me include:

  • Posting interesting business stuff that I can share to other networks
  • Posting their own business info so that I can comment and increase our connections
  • Talking about marketing
  • Talking about what is working in their business
  • Sharing interesting or motivational quotes
  • Sharing interesting or motivational stories about people who are succeeding in life or business
  • Posting pictures of rescued dogs (this last one is just because I like great stories about doggies finding forever homes)

I am not that fun in real life. I don’t want to “poke” anyone, join them in a game of “kill the gangsters”, be on their birthday calendar or wish them birthday wishes unless I know-know them, or any other of the other fun, social things that social people like to do. I am sure part of my perplexity at Facebook is just that I am not that interested in doing what some people like to do, again my fault, not Facebook’s.

Profiles For Business

We have been telling our clients lately that growing their Profile is more important than growing their page. Well, it is time to take my own advice and stop trying to make our pages what they once were, a way to connect with new people interested in marketing….sigh.

So the big “kicker” about why you should use a page instead of your profile is the limit of 5,000 friends. Well, I have been on Facebook for quite a while now and have almost 4,000 friends and and 500 followers. I know that I am reaching my limit, but only laziness is keeping me from clearing up another thousand or so people from my friends list who have no real connection to me at this point. I cannot foresee a time when I will need more than 5,000 friends and they can follow me if I reach that limit anyways.

When you have events, it is friends you invite, not people who like your page. When you recommend your page, it is to friends. I just can’t see where focusing on my friends is going to be a bad thing.

Pages You Like

Let’s get back to Facebook thinking they know what I like. I don’t like babies and think they are funny looking and while I applaud my friend efforts to procreate, I would rather see stuff about marketing from pages, stuff that my clients and business friends post and skip the baby pictures. And I HAVE indicated that to Facebook. I have marked many business pages as things I would like to see in my timeline. No go.

To see page posts I have to go…

How To Get To Facebook Pages

…see, all the way down there, #14 on the left? Those are the business pages I have followed. At this point I have to manually go there and click the tiny little link to see what pages have posted. I never actually do that. One of the reasons I don’t is that I am not able to put them into lists like I can on any other social network. I like having lists like Influencers, Marketing Peeps and Email Marketing so I can sort things out and see what everyone is up to. No go.

Business Page Traffic

One of the reasons that we did use Facebook was to drive traffic to our websites. The old page format (which I still have for a while at least) allowed me to put a link to my website front and center (1.) and to have pretty graphics that would prompt people to sign up for our free offers (2.). Those are going away with the new page layout.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that few people ever came to our pages anyways (they tend to like and see wall posts more in theory), BUT at least there was a glimmer of a chance. As you can see, the new design eliminates even that small chance. The arrow is pointing to the tiny little link that you would have to click to see our offers. I would never actually do that so why would I think that anyone else would.

Facebook Old Layout, New Layout

Not to beat a dead horse, I KNOW that this Facebook’s prerogative. They are aggressively trying to make money by aggressively trying to reduce the marketing opportunities that I can get for free. I get that and while I am sad, I will survive, just not by investing my time in Facebook.

See all the changes

Promoting Posts

Did you know that only about 1-2% of the people who have “liked” your page will actually ever see your posts. Let’s consider my Marketing Artfully page. Recent posts have been seen between 5 and 119 views (once). So let’s set 10 as a reasonable estimate of the number of views I can expect to receive on a post. 1,131 Fans with 10 views per post is right in line with what we have heard, about 1% (.88% for you mathy people).

So what makes the difference between a post that gets 11 views, has 6 likes (over 50%), and one share. This post was originally written by a man who is very well respected in the marketing industry:

Facebook Low Views High Shares

And one that gets 119 views, has only 1 like (almost 1%), and one share. This post was also written by a well respected expert.

High Views Low Shares

Who the hell knows why the one with one like and one share beat the crap out of the one had almost 50% likes? Facebook does not share it’s algorithms with us so there is no way that we would construct a plan to figure out how to make that happen again. We would just have to hope that something caught on.

Pay to promote a facebook postBut wait, there is more! I could promote that post which got 119 views to 5,000 to 15,000 more people for the low-low price of just $30. Since it is not a link to my website, I guess my play here would be to gain more likes for my page, which would lead to more views, which would lead eventually to more hits to my website? Okay, let’s go with that!

If Facebook is only showing my posts to 1% of likers and we estimate that 10% of people who actually see a post might click to my site (I made that up, if someone knows an actual number for this, please let me know!) and think a fair return for $30 is 15 clicks ($.50/click) then I would have to have 15,000 likers to get 150 views (1%) to get 15 clicks (10%). This means that ALMOST EVERYONE I have a potential of reaching with that $30 promotion not only has to engage with it, but then has to take the additional step of liking my page for this to make any sense at all to me money wise.

There is NO WAY that is going to happen.

if my math is messed up on this, please let me know!

Am I Deleting All My Pages?

So the company that we started this story with was so glum that they deleted their page with 70,000 likes. That seems ridiculous to me. I am not going to delete any of my pages, I just will not be spending any more time trying to figure out our Facebook Business Pages.

I will post amazing stuff to my profile and I am lucky to have elves that work for me who can post to each of our pages twice a week so that they don’t go fallow. There is still value to having current Facebook pages as that is where many potential clients check to see if you are in business. They can also check my messages and make sure I am not missing anything important.

If you are an entrepreneur doing this yourself shouldn’t take more than an hour or so a week, just make sure when you turn your focus elsewhere you aren’t completely ignoring Facebook.

I am assuming I will have a little bit of a hard time with this. Checking my Facebook bits has become part of my ritual on my phone. Because I am moving my efforts away from Facebook, I will now need to spend more time on productive social networks like Twitter and Google Plus (right now my Pinterest is more personal and less business-y).

But, like they say everything is a habit. If I consciously try to make sure I am hitting the other networks, I will eventually ween myself off!

Small Business Advice

Much of the controversy surround Facebook’s move to a “Pay To Play” model has centered around Brands. For those of you who are not marketing junkies, a brand is Nestle or Oreo or Nike. These companies have deep pockets and lots of man hours available through employees to be able to weather this changeover.

For little guys like me and my clients, reducing time spent on Facebook seems counter-intuitive. Isn’t that were everyone is hanging out? Could be, but they are truly there to like stupid word searches, see pictures of puppies who need rescued and play games.

I think it is time to admit that Facebook is never going to be the small business marketing Mecca it was in the past. That unless you have a huge presence established already, you are going to have to pay to get more “likes” and that those likes are much less valuable than they have been in the past.

It is time to move marketing time and energy over to social networks that are okay supporting business people (Twitter, Pinterest and Google+). Heck, Pinterest actually encourages commerce by allowing price tags.

I Really Tried, For The Love Of God Will You Please Show My Stuff?

If you have gotten down here, you are obviously as marketing obsessed as I am or maybe you are someone who works at Facebook and who has some pull. I understand that you can’t show everyone everything and that you don’t think my normal effort to create compelling content that actually helps people is enough.

BUT TODAY I tried! While I am breaking up with you, I did spend quite a lot of time getting a cute kitten breakup picture. I searched my stock photography site for just the right combination of “I hate your guts and am dumping you” paired with your favorite, cute kittens.

Throw the girl a bone, show this last post that I will be actually trying on to more than 5 people, I beg of you!

Buy The Book!

New media marketing - social media strategies bookNew Media Marketing Strategies: Oh the tangled web we weave!

Looking for some real strategies to improve your social media marketing efforts? This book is full great tips for how to make a real marketing channel from social.

No “gold rush” ideas, just solid information that will help you to grow your social presence (and make your website better too!)

Includes all the top social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google Plus.

>> Get it on Amazon

The Best SEO and Social Media Tools

The Best SEO and Social Media ToolsWe find all kinds of great social media tools and SEO analysis sites, but I am not sure we have ever shared them with you!

There are literally thousands of tools that can show you all different aspects of what is working and not working with your internet marketing efforts. We have broken them down into different sites with various functions.

If you have one that I missed, please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment below. I am happy to find new tools myself and would definitely consider adding it if it really helps!!

Quick Sprout – SEO and Social Shares

four-stars

Quick Sprout - Social Media and SEO ToolsSprout social is a free SEO and Social Media analysis tool. Functionally, you put in your website and up to three competing websites. They return three kinds of data.

Website Analyzer: Speed, SEO warnings including that my descriptions are too long (they all say that, I am fine with it), backlink counter, social media shares (this seems pretty neat but the numbers for Facebook and LinkedIn seem low and the Pinterest number (0) is factually incorrect), top keywords and SEO recommendations.

Social Media Analysis: This is pretty cool! You can see each of your posts, pages and category pages, seeing where you might want to share more socially or find out which of your content has the best social reach.

Competitor Analysis: A general overview of how your SEO and other bits stack up against your competition. Not that helpful BUT you could do the main search for each of your competitors and then compare to see where they have chinks in their armor that you could exploit.

Neatest Feature: You can download your report in PDF or Excel format.

>> Check out Quick Sprout

Buzzsumo – Social Media Sharing

five-stars

Buzzsumo Social Media Monitoring ToolsBuzzsumo allows you to put a keyword or domain in to find out what has been shared the most in the category you have selected. I started with “Marketing” and that was absolutely too broad a term to produce any sort of actionable results.

“Social Media Marketing” returned more targeted results BUT they were all from the top players in the industry (Social Media Examiner, Entrepreneur, Mashable) but there were 63 pages of results and by going to further down pages I was able to find some new places to get content to share and find out what the social communities where interested in.

It is really interesting to note which are popular on LinkedIn (10 ways to generate media buzz for your startup) and which are Twitter darlings (A social media myth debunked). Depending on your main social site target, you would want to title your posts in very different ways to attract the attention of the various networks.

You can search both by keyword and find the top influencers in that category.

Neatest Feature: There are some really neat filtering tools. Sort by date, type of post and even see “regular people” instead of just the usual suspects.

>> Check out Buzzsumo

Hashtagify.me – Twitter Tool

five-stars

Hashtagify Twitter ToolsThis is one of my all time favorite Twitter tools. It has a similar technology to what google used to have with showing the connections to various keywords, just this time with hashtags.

Functionally you put in a Hashtag and it shows the most related hashtags. For “marketing” we got leadership, branding, advertising, SEO, socialmedia, social, sales, and business. Clicking socialmedia I got SM, SMM, infographic, facebook, seo, twitter. It is a really great way to find out which hashtags are related!

The top influencers section shows the top 6 people ranking for the hashtag and has a great little flyover that shows how many followers each has. This is great for finding out who to follow on Twitter and to have rock solid data for who to use in your targeted Twitter paid marketing efforts.

>> Check out Hashtagify.me

Ritetag – Twitter Tool

Three Stars

Rite Tag - Social Media ToolsTo log in you use the open auth login through Twitter. They then rate each of your posts as to how likely they are to be shared.

X – if you don’t have a hashtag. This is why they got three stars. If you have no hashtags it is always an X, even if you are mentioning someone with authority. I get it, it is important to have hashtags but not helping with any data if there is no hashtag it doesn’t actually mean that “this tweet has no chance of being discovered”.

! – are infrequent or overused tags. The nice thing is they give you a drop down recommendation of other related hashtags that would be better to use next time. I used “podcasting” and they recommended that I use “podcast” instead.

✓ – is the best one! This is a post that is using a good hashtag that is not overused or under represented.

>> Check out Rite Tag

Click To Tweet – Twitter Tool

five-stars

Click to tweet social media toolsAlright, I gave Click To Tweet a five star BEFORE I looked around and found out that they have a wordpress plugin. Now I am sort of wishing that I had a six star graphic.

Functionally what happens is that you pick a phrase that you want people to tweet out and the super snazzy plugin builds the tweet automatically. You can include hashtags and encourage the sharing of your content.

If your content is good and you have a good community that likes to share your stuff you can get some good reach by using Click To Tweet. This is the code that you use to insert your tweet into the “text” tab of your wordpress site.

[Tweet “AWESOME READING :: The Best SEO and Social Media Tools #SEO #SMM”]

BEST “do one thing” plugin or website ever!

>> Check out Click To Tweet

Retweet Lab – Twitter Tool

four-stars

retweet lab - social media and twitter toolsRetweet Lab, provided by Hubspot, has A LOT of data to help analyze your tweets to see what is working and what is not. You can see:

  • Which day of the week is best
  • Which hour of the day is best
  • Tweet length
  • Reading grade level
  • Sentiment
  • Capitalization percentage (how many words have capital letters)
  • Most retweetable words
  • Hashtags
  • Quotations
  • Links
  • Calls to action (asking for “please retweet” “please RT” or “retweet if”)
  • Questions

Neatest Feature: There is a graph that shows which of your words are retweeted the most. Mine are #1, conversions, wrong, #smallbiz, resource, and practices. This is powerful data to find out how to generate even more retweets to your content!

>> Check out Retweet Lab

Trending Sites

There is a value to know what is trending now on search and the social sites. You may be able to jump into something that is happening right now. That said, avoid adding to conversations about disasters, deaths or other bad things. More so, think about when the lights when out for the Superbowl a couple of years ago and Oreo jumped into the conversation.

  • Google Trends – This is great for finding out what is trending across the Google-verse.
  • Trendsmap – Pretty cool tool for seeing what is trending on Twitter geographically.
  • Twitter.com – You can modify your Twitter trends a bit changing your location to get more geographically targeted trends. Simply click “change” on the left hand side box.
  • Google Plus Explore – A really good look into what hashtags are trending on Google+.
  • Popular on Pinterest – See the movers and shakers among the Pinterest pins.

Social Sharing Sites

  • Bufferapp.com – We cannot recommend any site more highly for sharing to your social networks. There is a free version but we do pay the $10 per month to have 12 accounts.
  • Hootsuite – When we have to have date control of our posts we use Hootsuite.
  • Social Oomph – Schedule tweets and other social posts.

MISC Sites We Like For Data Analysis

  • Uber Suggest – Super tool for figuring out related keywords. Could possibly use Google search for this but they do a nice job of grouping them together by category.
  • Google+ Ripples – Great for seeing how content is shared across Google+.
  • Pinterest Web Analytics – We haven’t used this one yet (because we are using Pinterest as personal accounts) but looks like it could have some amazing data.
  • Social Searcher – Kind of a fun search engine that returns results from Facebook, Twitter and Google+ side by side.

New Media Marketing

New media marketing ebook

New Media Marketing Strategies: Oh The Tangled Web We Weave

There is a lot of information out there about how to set up your social and websites, but very little about how to actually work them to increase your brand reach and sales funnel. This book is an in-depth guide on how to dominate your niche.

Throughout we cover the background for each topic so you know what worked before and what you should avoid now, tips for using the sites including universal best practices and in-depth marketing strategies.

get-it-now-amazon

Free Marketing Training Courses and Tools

Fre Marketing Training and ToolsAre you looking for amazing free marketing ideas? We have the goods for you right here! Get help with your social media, newsletters, small business marketing, realtor marketing and more.

These are not just thrown together classes or some kind of come on to buy something else, every one of them is chock full of great content that will help you rock your marketing!

These aren’t just basic, beginner information that you can find on any website or YouTube…it is advanced strategies and tactics that we use in our marketing business today.

Who are these classes for?

  • Small business owners
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Realtors
  • Professional services
  • Speakers, coaches and trainers
  • Marketing pros
  • Social media marketing peeps

Free Social Media Marketing Course

Free Social Media Marketing CourseWe have put together a course that will help you to understand HOW social works, WHY it is so important to your business and WHAT you should do to make the most of your time.

Find out how to use strategy to find and target the right connections socially, how and what to post to the different sites sites and how to get them off of social and onto your email list!

>> Get the Free Social Media Marketing Course

 

Amazing Email Newsletters

Free Course Amazing Email Newsletters That Get ResultsWith all the clutter that hits the average inbox daily, you already KNOW that you’ve got to have something glorious that stands out from the crowd! Cutting through the noise and getting your email newsletters not only seen – but also responded to – is not only important, it’s currently one of the best tools you can use today to turn those warm leads into closed sales. Our AMAZING Email Newsletter Course will ensure that your email newsletters get opened – and GET RESULTS!

>> Get the Free Amazing Email Newsletters Course

 

The Best Darn Free Email Marketing Course EVER!

best email marketing course everIf you are using email marketing to promote your business, you need to be sure that you are maximizing your efforts. This course walks you through all the of the aspects of email markeitng including getting started, developing your content, writing a sales page, setting up your campaign, getting the bugs out, free offers to build your list, and finally our top email marketing tips. This is all of our best email marketing strategies in easy bite sized bites!

>> Get the Best Darn Free Email Marketing Course EVER!

 

100 Free Marketing Ideas

This is the fourth annual 100 Free Marketing Ideas sheet, with a twist. When we took a look at what had changed over the last couple of years we realized that we needed to update the ideas from the ground up!

This amazing resource contains everything from internet marketing to social media to offine marketing ideas. Make sure you pick just a few and get going today!

>> Download the 100 Free Marketing Ideas

 

The Twitter Cheat Sheet

Because we use Twitter so often (and effectively), we took a bunch of time to figure out some things about which tweets catch the eye and how to attract more attention to our tweets. Some of them were obvious (have great info) and some more obscure, like that people tend to respond more when using the word “you” because they are alone when they read tweets. We keep this cheat sheet right beside us on our desk when we are tweeting so that we can post the most powerful messages possible.

>> download the Twitter Cheats Sheet

 

The Twitter Tweet Generator

Up until recently I used the TweetAdder tweet generator tool to make a variety of tweets that I could use to marketing on Twitter. With the recent changes, they deleted that function, but luckily I have a geeky husband who made me this AMAZING Tweet Generator!

Please use it responsibly…:)

>> Use the Twitter Tweet Generator to create a list of every combination of tweets based off of user entered text.

We are pleased to present these free marketing training courses and tools to help you with your small biz marketing efforts…
if you got some great ideas, please let us know!

Goal Setting: Quit Trying To Find A Big Why and Start Working On Your Big What!

Goal Setting: Quit Trying To Find A Big Why and Start Working On Your Big What!I had epiphany this week! I have spent years at different events and trainings hearing people ask me to come up with a Big “Why”. Come to find out what I really needed was a Big WHAT!

A Big Why

Choosing a “Big Why” is supposed to be motivating. In theory, you pick something like a new car or your kids or some other carrot to hang out in front of yourself that will motivate you to do better work.

Well, I am not motivated by increasing my income. I would like to of course, but when distractions come up, just thinking that I could make more money by ignoring them does not give me any special motivation to stay on track.

Additionally, while I love my kids, just thinking of them is not a great predictor that I will be doing what is the highest and best use of my time for my business at any given moment.

There are just way too many interesting things to read about and learn. There are emails and Facebooks and problems that come up during the week that need to be addressed. Having a Big Why never put a real dent in any of this. I just worked longer and harder on the hampster wheel, trying to get everything done.

A Big What

Like most entrepreneurs, I have spent years having lots on my plates, juggling them and trying to keep them in the air all at the same time. I have tried and succeed at a lot, but spent most of my time feeling like whatever I was working on at any given moment was probably not what I should be doing right then.

Until this January when, wah wah, I found my Big What! This January I decided to write an Ebook a week for a year with my Marketing and Media Monsters partner, Rebekah Welch.

The best thing about having a Big What is the clarity it gives your life. Should we keep doing every other week networking sessions? Nope, not helping to write a book a week. Should we move that to bi-monthly because we can sell some books at them…sure!

Just that decision freed up at least 15 hours a month that can be used for writing and publishing books! YAY!

So does that mean that all we are doing is writing books? Heck no! Just all the things that are put on a priority list have to be a benefit to that…here is what my week looks like with that as my top priority:

Monday – write main content of the book of the week and send to Rebekah to proof and add content. This schedule just got finalized, so this week we have a consult on Monday and a talky-talk thing after the kids get home. My assistant now knows that Mondays are for book writing exclusively. SOOO not the end of the world, but it does mean I have to write on Sunday instead of being able to keep on schedule.

Tuesday – social media and blogging, obsessing over book sales from the weekend and some research into paid marketing opportunities. Meet with Rebekah to go over the content and outline for the following week’s book.

Wednesday – work on client work, make graphics for this week’s book and promote last week’s book. There are very few writers who have the luxury of working on their books full time and I am in that category right now. Also, because we write about marketing, it is good to keep working on client work so I stay up on what is going on in the marketing world by helping them.

Thursday – publish last week’s book, more client work, more blogging to keep our numbers strong and think about next week’s content.

Friday – send Non Fiction Marketing Newsletter (new), client work and more blogging. Scheduling the following week and doing some research to see if there are any specific book titles we should be considering writing.

Weekends - should be off but since we are effectively a startup right now, blogging and writing next week’s book.

Pooh Bear and Why This Works

thinking pooh bearMost of how I live my life has been formed by reading Pooh during my childhood. This is a great quote to describe my life before a Big Why….

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

My problem with work has never been a lack of effort. My problem with work centered exclusively on knowing what the highest and best use of my time was at any given moment. By having our big Book Writing Why, I can effectively ignore anything that is not book writing or sales related. I don’t care how cool your WordPress plugin is, I need to get this blog post done so I can keep my stats up and sell books in the sidebar.

Want to have a one-on-one with me? Unless you are a book seller or publisher, hanging out with you is a luxury that I cannot afford at this time. Now, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be doing some really neat consults with coaching clients, but just “getting together for coffee” or “hanging with the girls” is over for a while at least.

Note: if your Big What is to meet 1,000 new people this year then one-on-ones and fun lunches ARE on the table for you…it is all about knowing what matters to you!

Some Other Big Whats

I just spent the other day talking to a gal who is going to be putting 500 people a month into her database. WHOO WHOO..that is a big what. Because she knows that is important, she can safely assume that these activities would be beneficial:

  • Blogging (to get more traffic for her email signup form)
  • Making her newsletter AMAZING
  • Attending events where she can meet more people who might like her newsletter
  • Developing white papers and courses to use as free give-aways
  • Going to industry events where she can meet more people who might like her

Now, all those sound nice, but how does she make money?

  • First off, she does consults so some of the people on that list will want to hire her
  • Secondly, when she has a big list people will want her to promote their products
  • Lastly there is a huge swell of momentum that comes with having a Big Why, there are definitely things that are going to happen which we can’t even conceive of right now!

Having Faith

Picking a Big Why feels like jumping off of a cliff. We don’t know if we will make more than a couple of bucks from our books, but we think we can.

Taking time away from “real work” feels like a luxury we can’t afford right now. But, based on just the things we have been able to eliminate, that time is just being used more specifically now.

Plus we have already gotten some amazing opportunities that would not have come to pass without having published our books!

As entrepreneurs, it can sometimes feel like everything you do is a failure. You have tried a million things half way and nothing has worked. If you are this far down and still reading, PLEASE, you are looking for a goal, a plan or a reason for being. Pick a Big What and start today!

Additional Cool Big Whats We Have Heard About

Dietz Team - 90 Listings In 90 Days90 Listings in 90 Days – Clearwater Realtor, Coach and Speaker, John Dietz

The Dietz Team, headed by leader John Dietz, has set a goal for taking 90 real estate listings in 90 days. In his market agents are grateful for getting a couple of listings a month so that is an AWESOME Big Why. The cool thing is his team knows every second of every day what they should be doing…getting more listings!

Customer Demographics Versus The Perfect Customer Profile

Customer Demographics Versus The Perfect Customer Profile I have been fascinated with customer demographics for years. The idea that there are large groups of people out there who would want to buy what we are selling was very tempting to consider. Just find the sweet spot in the marketplace and advertise to them…what could go wrong.

Well, there isn’t one person on the planet who will match your entire customer demographics profile for one. There is an old saying, “if you are selling to everyone, you are selling to no one”. Especially these days when buyers are exposed to so much media, trying to craft a sales message that will appeal to a single woman in college AND a stay at home mom AND a boomerage kid home again (all could be a 25 year old woman) is impossible. There is not enough sales copy in the world to do that!

Customer Demographics and The Perfect Customer Profile At 40,000 Feet

Customer Demographics are the generalized character traits of the people who you sell to and who you would want to become your customers in the future. They are broad and somewhat interesting to know about for certain kinds of marketing.

The Perfect Customer Profile is almost the exact opposite of that. It is picking (developing a profile) for one single person that you will be selling to and developing a sales funnel and copy that centers around that person.

Customer Demographics

In marketing, Customer Demographics are specific characteristics and shared traits of a group of people that can be used to help target marketing materials. Wikipedia says, “Demographics are the quantifiable statistics of a given population.”

Some useful Customer Demographics include things like:

  • sex
  • age
  • income
  • occupation
  • race
  • marital status
  • kids
  • car
  • country, state, city
  • political party

All of these categories share some common traits that you can use to target marketing campaigns. Baby Boomers have a world view that is formed by the times that they grew up in. Parent have many different buying habits than young hipsters.

How Can You Find Your Customer Demographics?

There are many places that you can reverse engineer your customer demographics (these are the a few I find helpful, almost any site you have a presence on can increase your customer demographics knowledge!)

Facebook

Customer Demographics From Facebook

On your business page, click “insights” and then the people tab. Some customer demographics I can discern from this data are:

  • 58% Women, all Facebook is 46% female so I have a higher than average number of women following me
  • 41% Men, all Facebook is 54% male so I have a significantly fewer number of men on average
  • My highest age group is 45-54, with 35-44 in second and 55-64 in third
  • The United States is my highest country and Denver is my highest city (113), followed by Tampa (52) – this makes sense as I live in Denver now and before that lived in Tampa for 17 years

So how does this help for advertising. For this one, lets just look at geography. Say we were running a Google Adwords ad targeted to a local area. By clicking “see more” I get a longer list of cities that are “Tara friendly”. Using this data, I could set up my “colorado focused” ad to run in Denver, Westminster, Lakewood, Arvada, Boulder, Littleton, Colorado Springs. Centennial, Golden, Longmont, Fort Collins, Aurora, and Broomfield.

Now, I could have probably guessed that, but why guess. Some notable areas missing in this list are Thornton, Lafayette, and the mountain towns. Based on this data, I would be wasting marketing dollars to include them (which I would have because I find them charming!)

Twitter

Customer Demographics Twitter

You find your analytics for Twitter in https://ads.twitter.com > analytics > followers.

So interesting things in Twitter:

  • 78% men and 22% women – that seems a little shocking as it flys in the face of every other customer demographics I chart for me, but it is a fact none the less
  • The United States is my top country, California is my top state and Denver is my top city – whoa, where did California come from…interesting
  • The most unique interests my Twitter peeps have are leadership, alternative care, SEO, real estate, divorce support – I get the SEO and real estate and leadership is hot in business now, but divorce support? that might be our professional services people?

I use this data to market on Twitter (I especially like the areas of “your followers also follow”) to target ads to. But also knowing that my audience on Twitter is so weighted heavily male makes how I present my ads very different than if I was marketing to my usual smart women demographic.

Alexa

Alexa Customer Demographics

Once your website gets some traffic, you can usually find a listing for it in Alexa.com.

Some key insights here include:

  • MarketingArtfully.com is super off-the-charts for women, being well above the average (the green shows a positive number)
  • My peeps are mostly college or graduate school level
  • They visit from work (this is VERY plain as my traffic craters every weekend!)
  • They are from the United States and India, with a dash of England represented (LOVE those Brits!)

The biggest thing I got from this is that even though EVERYONE in the world tells you to talk down to your readers, writing like they have no higher than a fifth grade education, my peeps are SMART! And by the amount of traffic I get to my website, they are not offended that I write as though they have a brain in their heads!

Google Analytics

Customer Demographics - Google Analytics

To get this data, you need to have a website and analytics installed. The age and gender come from Audience, interests are Audience > interests > overview

Some key insights are:

  • 25-34 is my highest age group according to this data, with 35-44 coming in second and 45-54 third
  • 53% of my readers are women and 46% are men
  • They are news junkies, TV and Movie Lovers, and pretty darn techy
  • They like online communities, social networks and news and weather
  • They are interested in real estate, phones and home improvement

This is interesting because of how high the real estate numbers are. Over 29.04% of my readers are interested in real estate in some fashion. That does not mean they are all Realtors, but it does show a huge bias to that kind of thing.

Analyzing The Data

So in general, looking across all of these data, I can safely predict that I should be marketing to:

1. A woman
2. Who is college educated
3. Who works
4. Is mid-thirties or forties
5. Likes marketing

While that is helpful, writing sales copy for this demographic would be terribly hard which is why we recommend doing this AND…

The Perfect Customer Profile

I have known this about my customers for a while, but was frustrated about how to use it to actually sell stuff. We would write sales copy that tried to appeal to a business woman who liked marketing and worked. Come to find out all working ladies do not like marketing, they just know it is a necessary evil. Also, the professional services people like doctors, lawyers and accountants, were not interested when I lumped them into the real estate agents or the marketing people.

So, we have spent four years and hundreds of hours figuring out how to write a perfect customer profile! Wah wah!

perfect-customer-profile-ebook-coverWhat this is a book and worksheet that we use every time we are launching a new product, be it a book, course, website or any other thing that would need marketing.

Functionally what you do is take the customer demographics that you DO know about your perfect customer and make them a real person. So say I was trying to sell a real estate book…I would take the data I know about from all the different sites and say that our Perfect Customer for a real estate book would be:

A woman, so I will name her Mary. Now I am not trying to sell to everyone, I am just trying to figure out how to help “Mary” grow her business and improve her life. Next I will put that Mary is 40, a real estate agent and that her kids are in middle or high school. Old enough that they are not babies anymore and she can focus on her career more.

Also, she drive a Lexus, lives in an upper middle class suburb and likes to have lunch with the girls at least once a week and dinner out with her husband every Friday. She is 40-ish so she likes some new music and mostly hits from the 8o’s and 90’s. She loves her kids and admires Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Palin. She thinks the term “soccer mom” is derogatory and is not ready to just be put out to pasture.

Because we “know” Mary and that she is serious about her career, we wrote in the sales copy for the book…

“who is this for? Top real estate agents who love to hone their craft and who are looking to get a couple nuggets they can use today”.

This speaks directly to Mary. She feels like a top agent and CAN use some additional tips to take herself to the next level!

We also used intriguing “come ons” to make her think a bit about why she would want buy…

“Why all that “about us” and brokerage information is hurting your credibility”

Because we spent so much time fleshing out Mary and her life, writing sales copy that would convert her to book buyer was really easy.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


Social Media Setup Package For Real Estate Marketing and Realtors

While there is no “Realtor Marketing” there are things that Realtors have to be aware of when setting up their real estate social media and websites. Our President is a former Realtor and currently licensed active in the state of Florida. She KNOWS the special ins and outs to watch for when setting up your social sites.

Your buyers or sellers are looking for you! CAN THEY FIND YOU?

Social Media Setup For RealtorsThere’s no question that in today’s competitive Real Estate market, you simply are not in business until your customer can locate you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, or even Google+!

Right now, more than 700 billion minutes are spent on Facebook EVERY MONTH! Every week, over a billion tweets are posted on Twitter. Social media and instant communication are here to stay. GONE are the days of sitting by the phone waiting for potential clients to call. No matter how many signs you post or business cards you give away, you simply cannot compete with the voice of Social Media. And aren’t you excited? The internet has given you a platform to establish credibility, build relationships, and demonstrate your expertise!

We understand! Creating new profiles and business pages on all the relevant platforms can be confusing and time consuming, and may not even reach the people who want what you have. You need someone who not only understands marketing and social media, but also understands the business of Real Estate to lead you out of the chaos and into the streams of your potential clients.

That’s where we can help. Our Social Media Set-up Services for Real Estate are designed to take the stress out of figuring out the where, when and how, giving you a powerful voice and helping you target your perfect customer every time!

The right social media presence can put your products and services exactly where they need to be – in front of the eyes of your perfect customers! Our team of marketing experts helps you choose the right sites for your business. We take care of setting up custom, professional, fully optimized profiles and pages on your selected sites. We create custom graphics to keep your brand message consistent and exciting. We even place industry relevant, optimized content on your pages according to your desired customers user preferences. Then we work with you to develop your launch strategy, guaranteeing your social media success.

Our all-inclusive, professionally designed and implemented Social Media Set-up Services are very competitively priced at just $750 and include:

  • Half hour marketing consultation to make sure the setup goals are YOUR goals
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  • SEO’d (Search Engine Optimized) Short and Long Descriptions and Graphics for each
  • Customized Launch Strategy
  • 2 Weeks of Pre-Scheduled, Industry relevant posts to fortify your presence

we never spam and a real human will call you to find out more about what you need. we don’t sell our list and work one-on-one with all of our clients!

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Social Media Setup Package: Get All Your Social Media Sites Setup or Updated All At Once

Our social media setup package is the best in the business, hands down. We have helped hundreds of small business owners and entrepreneurs get their social media empire up and running and can help you too.

Your customers are looking for you! CAN THEY FIND YOU?

Social Media Setup For Small BusinessThere’s no question that in today’s noisy marketing climate, you simply are not truly in business unless you can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, or even Google+! Creating new profiles and business pages on all the relevant platforms can be confusing and time consuming, and may not even reach the people who want what you have.

That’s where we come in. Our Social Media Set-up Services are designed to take the stress out of figuring out the where, when and how, giving you a powerful voice and helping you target your perfect customer every time!

The right social media presence can put your products and services exactly where they need to be – in front of the eyes of your perfect customers! Our team of marketing experts helps you choose the right sites for your business. We take care of setting up custom, professional, fully optimized profiles and pages on your selected sites. We create custom graphics to keep your brand message consistent and exciting. We even place industry relevant, optimized content on your pages according to your desired customers user preferences. Then we work with you to develop your launch strategy, guaranteeing your social media success.

Our all-inclusive, professionally designed and implemented Social Media Set-up Services are very competitively priced at just $750 and include:

  • Half hour marketing consultation to make sure the setup goals are YOUR goals
  • Custom graphics (profile, background, cover & header images, etc.)
  • Fully Optimized Profiles on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest*
  • Professionally designed Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn** Business Pages
  • SEO’d (Search Engine Optimized) Short and Long Descriptions and Graphics for each
  • Customized Launch Strategy
  • 2 Weeks of Pre-Scheduled, Industry relevant posts to fortify your presence

Order the Social Media setup

BONUS OFFERING (Limited Time Only): Act now and you can choose to have your Social Launch announced to our massive existing network of 500,000 followers globally! Additional fees apply.

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*Pinterest includes setting up your account and creating 5 industry specific boards with 5 posts each.
**You MUST have an email at your company’s domain (yourname@yourcompayswebsite.com) to set up a LinkedIn Business Page. If you need help setting up a professional website – we do that too!

Social Media For Realtors

Looking for Realtor Specific Social Media?

Check out our Realtor Social Media setup package!

Social Media Setup Package For Small Biz

Time Management Tips – Turning Down “Great” Opportunities

Time Management Tips - Turning Down Great OpportuntiesOver at M&M Monsters, the marketing site where I collaborate with my bestie, we have spent the last year defining our business goals and product offerings. We have done a lot of soul searching and have picked three main areas to focus on; writing marketing books, speaking at events and consulting with companies about their marketing strategy.

Much in the manner of “ask and you shall receive”, as soon as we hit publish on our first real book on Amazon (we had done ebooks and giveaways prior to this) we got a really exciting offer. A BOOK DEAL from a genuine publisher! The cool thing was that it was not a book we would write spontaneously ourselves!

It had some seriously big upsides for us. The status of having a real book in bookstores, having book-books to hand out, the opportunity to work with a publisher and see the process behind the scenes and there was pay involved! So we have spent a couple of weeks submitting outlines, negotiating contracts, etc. and (as you can probably guess by the title of this post) turning them down!

For me, it was totally a time management and benefits analysis problem, with a little bit of woo-woo thrown in…as in the universe kept sending me messages that getting derailed off of our primary goals could be a bad thing. Here are my top reasons why a great opportunity should sometimes be turned down!

1. Does it fit with your current business goals?

Our goal this year is to write a non-fiction ebook a week and sell them on Amazon. We may branch out and start selling on other sites AFTER the year is up, but dividing our efforts and energies at this stage of the game seems silly. We are on published book number six this week and have the outline for book seven which will go out next week.

The first book was a nightmare of formatting and figuring out how to produce actual words on a page that Amazon would accept. But we sold some and continue to sell some of that one each week!

We now have a great process for publishing and our books are getting better and better each week. We have found a writing style that combines both of our voices and the review and editing is down pat at this point (want to follow along on our book writing journey?)

So YES! A book deal at this point seemed like a great opportunity! It did fit into our current business goals.

2. Does it fit with your current product offerings?

I have always called things outside the scope of what we do a “one off” from the manufacturing world. A one off is something that is outside the scope of what your usual product line is. For our marketing company, doing a ecommerce site like Amazon would be a one off. We don’t deal with shopping carts, SSL certificates or the like when we build a marketing blog for our clients so we would have to learn all about those technologies to do a good job.

The thing is, you cannot charge anyone else for your inexperience. If we were to take that job and it took us twice as long because we didn’t know what the hell we were doing, we could still only charge the customer the going rate. It is not their fault that this isn’t our expertise. (want more? read all about one-offs here)

So our book deal would definitely be a one-off. They were looking for a technical manual with a short paragraph about what to do and then bullet points about the steps to do it. Hmmmmm. As you can tell 600 words into a simple blog post, I am more writery. I like to explain the strategy and reasons why. We went back and forth a bunch with an outline, us adding juicy bits that would help explain the marketing strategy and them cutting them back out and saying that we needed more screen captures and bullet points.

3. Is it a zebra?

There is a great quote that I heard somewhere, “if you hear hoofbeats don’t think zebra it is probably a horse”. Now I know we have bastardized this a bit, but we are constantly looking for zebras in our business. Things that could cause problems down the line if we take them as opportunities.

Years ago we got a marketing client who was “special”. Early on in the process we found that she was unable to grasp even the simplest concepts about online marketing or email. She did not value them because she didn’t use them herself and so could not understand why anyone else would either. We had a six month contract and after six months of almost nightly emails criticizing every aspect of the work we did, we were finally able to let her go back into the wild. Whew.

Now, we sorta, kinda knew from our initial meetings that she would be a little “special”. The signs were there, we just chose to ignore them as it was a time when we needed to get another client on board.

The one thing this zebra and other “special” clients has shown me is that if they say they have worked with three or more marketing people before us and they have all been worthless A-Holes, the problem is probably not with the marketing people. Early in my career I thought I could fix everything and do everything better than anyone else on the planet. So when someone came to me and said that their previous marketing company was lame, I figured I could do better! Not so much…if the client values those marketing people so little they probably won’t get us copy on time, will balk at every idea we give them and will probably require round after round of graphic concepts. Being a little older and a whole lot wiser now, I tend to run from these “opportunities”.

This book writing opportunity felt a little bit like the Social Media Examiner zebra I had already seen.

If you haven’t had a chance to read that post yet, basically I applied to write for the Social Media Examiner and they accepted me! YAY! Then they proceeded to turn down about 20 titles I suggested that I would be good at writing about…BOO. Then they finally picked one! YAY! Then we commenced a month long back and forth of me submitting my writing and them rejecting it because it had words and strategy…are you seeing what I am seeing? I have seen this zebra before and it turned out that we parted ways with me doing a lot of work and getting no glory from it! This book “opportunity” was feeling like that…like we would submit revision after revision, us adding words and them removing them.

4. Do you have a funny feeling that it just isn’t right?

Lastly, is the “Oprah effect” as we like to call it. Oprah was a big talker about how the universe tries to tell you things like your boyfriend is a homicidal maniac who will spend the next 7 years stalking you if you go ahead and marry him. Oprah says it starts with a whisper in the back of your mind telling you that this is not right…then it goes to a murmuring and eventually the universe hits you upside the head with a brick.

I am enthralled with the process of self publishing and how to market books right now and am listening to podcasts about this voraciously. I listen mostly to the Self Publishing Podcast guys because they cuss and have a great time AND great info. So one of their biggest regrets from the last year of successfully publishing a metric shit-ton of books is that they took a book deal and it derailed their efforts because they didn’t have control and they had to keep to the timelines of their publisher.

Hmmm…that was the most blatant one, but there were other niggling things that said it was hard to go from loosey goosey writing whatever you want to writing what someone else thought that you should write and that many of the indie authors were turning down book deals from traditional New York City publishers because they could make more money in less time by doing it themselves.

Time Management Tips

So if you have gotten all the way down here and are still looking for time management tips, here are my top tips for this kind of thing!

  • Have ROCK SOLID, TAKE NO PRISONER goals for your business and hold every opportunity up against them to see if it will be a good fit
  • Be willing to take the time UP FRONT to find out everything you can and make sure there isn’t something hiding in there that will bite you in the ass later on
  • Know your limitations…we COULD have written the book, but it would have taken up huge amounts of our work cycles weekly that might be better spent elsewhere
  • Walk away if you get the willies…you are never going to be more excited about an opportunity then at the start, if you feel “weird” at the start, it will never get better

Last but not least, know that something better WILL come along! There is a saying that when God closes a door he opens a window. Today, having finally figured out it wasn’t a good fit and sending my amazing opportunity to two buddies who it would be better for it, it feels like there might not be other opportunities like this again. Having spent a few weeks spinning my wheels, I hope not!

But, I KNOW that the next one to come along will be a better fit and that because I am not doing this one I will have the time and open hand to receive it!

Small Business Marketing: The Real Bull Shit About Get Rich Quick Internet Marketing

Small Business Marketing: The Real Bull Shit About Get Rich Quick Internet MarketingTruth is, I am sad about the state of small business and entrepreneur marketing. There are good, hard working people out there in the trenches just trying to figure out what the hell they should be doing online to market their business. It seems like every day a new site pops up or a new marketing “trick” being touted as the “4 Hour Workweek”, “new goldrush” or “get rich quick” scheme.

Having been on the internet for going on two decades and working in the marketing space for about 15 years, I am here to tell you there are some hard truths you need to know if you are going the “GRQ – Get Rich Quick” route.

1) You have to start early. Many of the people who are trying to sell you something got into whatever it was before now! I have great traffic on this site because it is old and I have blogged consistently for 8 years now. Our social media channels are D-List popular (we will NEVER compete with the likes of Ashton Kutcher) but robust enough to do what we want with them…again, started with them early and have worked them consistently for years. The marketers that can show amazing results probably started when no one was doing it and then rode the wave as it became popular and now are reaping more rewards by selling desperate people the “secret” of how to do the same. The problem is, the landscape you will be playing on is not the same! The goldrush days are gone and the hard work days are here.

2) Marketing geniuses are not stupid. Think about it, there are only so many best #1 podcasts on iTunes or first page listings on Google. When a technique or strategy is working well, cranking in the dough in, they are busy working it, not telling schmoes about it. It is only after the peak of the bell curve hits that they package the “fool proof” plan they used when the picking were easy and make money off of that too!

3) Some things do work, until the platform breaks it. Now, there are good people out there selling courses and classes that offer value. The problem sometimes is that the tactic works until the platform break it (I will explain!!!) One tactic on Facebook was to post words with no hyperlinks, this got you more listings in the news feed, which got you more followers which lead to more exposure. We bought a $97 course that told how to do some neat tricks, used them for one week and then Facebook changed the algorithm and BAM, those things didn’t work and we had to figure out other things that do. Sigh.

4) You are probably not cool. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about cool hunting back in 1997. Basically, there are people who inherently can look at things and tell if they are going to be cool. Gary Vaynerchuk is pretty good at spotting cool (Twitter, Medium) but has had some dorky misses (what was up with that Gowalla thing?) I have talked to thousands of small business owners and what they think is “cool” marketing wise, is generally about two years over and being sold by someone who did when it really was cool!

Platforms, Tricks and Strategies…Before we go much further let’s talk about the parts of marketing in the digital age.

Platforms

Platforms are the sites and services that we use. Here are some of the most common platforms and their categories:

  1. Amazon – Ebooks and product sales
  2. iTunes – Podcasts
  3. Blog Talk Radio – Broadcast radio
  4. YouTube – Video
  5. Infusionsoft, Mail Chimp – Email marketing
  6. Google Hangouts, Livestream – Broadcast video (like TV)
  7. Wishlist – Memebership websites
  8. Clickbank – Affiliate sales
  9. Kajabi – Information product sales
  10. WordPress, Blogger – Blogs
  11. Facebook – Social Media
  12. Twitter – Social Media
  13. LinkedIn – Social Media
  14. Google Plus – Social Media
  15. Pinterest – Social Media

This list took me 5 minutes off the top of my head. I had originally intended to break each down, but we are are at 600+ words now and that would have made it a truly EPIC post! Suffice it to say that this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are probably at least as many more that I didn’t list but which are viable marketing channels.

Tricks

Tricks are the “sneaky” tactics that internet marketers try to sell to game the system. These are the things that are probably not working right now but which did before a loophole on a platform closed. If you get an email promising this kind of thing…RUN the other way (pulled directly from my email inbox this morning)…

  • Sneaky bid trick pulls in a $13,073 profit + Local Market Update
  • Get 2109 Done For You Proven Facebook Campaigns (Revive Fanpages FAST)
  • 900 Targeted New Opt-ins EVERY Day – You Could, Too
  • Sneaky bid trick pulls in a $13,073 profit + Local Market Update (you thought I messed up right? nope, it is just a campaign that ALL the internet marketers are copying and sending to their lists right now)
  • Imagine over 1 million targeted views… XXX is LIVE!
  • How to Create Your Video Traffic Machines [3 simple steps]
  • Google’s hidden ranking formula has been uncovered…
  • Make $273 A Day With This…
  • Hurry, only 1 Day left to get this Google spying tool.
  • Easiest Cash online… RIGHT HERE.

When these come into your inbox, it is tempting to hope that this one really will be the one that trips the switch. Just by using this one little trick you can circumvent all the hard work, building an empire and other things that you actually know work. One reason I can find so many so easily is that I have any kind of this thing to into a special folder in my email, skipping the inbox. Now, I love great marketing more than anyone, but my goal for my business does not involve getting knocked off track by a shiney new object. Which leads to…

Strategies

Strategies are plans. They have been well thought out and are set in stone for a period of time. They have definitive goals and measurable results. You know why you are doing them and WILL NOT DEVIATE no matter how many flashy, GRQ emails come into your inbox! Let’s look at some of those platforms again and figure out strategies instead of tricks…

  1. Amazon – Strategy: Publish an ebook a week for a year. Measurable results: Ebook sales, grow email list, consulting opportunities.
  2. iTunes – Strategy: Gain listeners, growing network. Show expertise in the industry, affiliate sales.
  3. Blog Talk Radio – Strategy: Gain listeners, growing network. Show expertise in the industry, sell personal classes and course.
  4. YouTube – Strategy: Gain subscribers, drive to website. Show expertise in the industry, sell consulting.
  5. Infusionsoft, Mail Chimp – Strategy: Grow email list and community who likes to hear from you. Sell something.
  6. Google Hangouts, Livestream – Strategy: Gain watchers, growing network, post on recording on website and grow blog traffic. Show expertise in the industry, affiliate sales.
  7. Wishlist – Strategy: Grow membership, gain residual income, maybe affiliate sales.
  8. Clickbank – Strategy: Make money from sales (requires other channel to collect followers).
  9. Kajabi – Strategy: Build multiple sales funnels, grow email list and sell information products.
  10. WordPress – Strategy: Gain traffic with great information, sell your products or services.
  11. Facebook – Strategy: Drive to website or email list, grow relationships.
  12. Twitter – Strategy: Grow network, post amazing stuff, quick hit links to products or services.
  13. LinkedIn – Strategy: Grow network, connect with industry, drive to email list or website.
  14. Google Plus – Strategy: Grow followers, post keyword targeted information to get indexed in Google.
  15. Pinterest – Strategy: Grow connections, gain traffic by posting amazing photos with links to your website.

Having Patience

Now, I know these suck. Not one promises internet riches overnight and they all look like hard work. All of them also require patience. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, did I say patience? Yep! There is not one of these strategies that will work the first day you try them. You will not do one thing, set up one site or send one email and rake in thousands.

Leveraging What You Have

The cool thing…so there is one really cool thing. Once you have set up a strategy and implemented it, the benefits go on and on. We are writing an Ebook a week for a year (check out this week’s book, Sales and Marketing Success, Targeting Your Perfect Customer Who Will Buy and Buy).

First off, it is REALLY good. It is the 5th book we have written (just 47 more to go) and everything is easier. The cover is nicer, the content is tighter, and we are using our already built social media and website empire to market it. Because we stayed in the groove of marketing, we had a built in audience, sales channels already set up and the experience to know what our customers need. Building on long term success is actually really cool.

Just Starting Out?

That said, what if you are just starting out? We have a client who is doing his own thing with setting up a podcast (I am blown away by his bravery!). While we did make a website for him (he is smart enough to know what he is good and not good at), the rest is all him! I asked him for 5 ah-has from someone just starting out…I am pleased to present Dave Negri of the Contractor’s Secret Weapon Podcast!

  1. When you look at the overall picture of podcasting it can look very daunting. Lucky for me, with my personality I just take an overall look if it looks doable and I just jump in feet first and go for it. There are a lot of great podcasters that give away a lot of free information to get you up and running. Ah-ha… I can do it. Anybody can do it.
  2. It’s not as scary out there as one might think. You don’t have to go it alone. Like I said, there are a lot of great podcasters that will point you in the right direction. I’m going to plug Dave Jackson at School of Podcasting. He is a great resource for newbies as he has been podcasting since 2005.
  3. I was told first thing is to figure out what your show is going to be about. Lucky for me we knew exactly what we wanted it to be about and why. Out of the gate we had 50 weeks’ worth of topics without any guest interviews figured in (ah-ha, listen to the experts they will shorten your time to get up and running)
  4. It’s like any other business, if you create systems as you go it takes the uncomfortable out of the new thing and makes it comfortable. Well, maybe a little easier.
  5. Going into it with the proper mindset has made all the difference in the world. It’s not just another task do to for business. We had to make it as much fun as we could for everyone, ourselves and our listeners. Our goal was to help our business grow, but also add value to our listeners and help their business grow. I truly believe that podcasting is still in its infancy stage and there is no limit to the possibilities for the future podcaster.

I could not be happier for Dave. His strategy is to have a quality podcast for the next year. He has reached out to experts he knows (like me) and we are supporting him by sharing his stuff and appearing on his show. He did not think that having a podcast would be easy or successful 7 minutes after he aired the first one, but he does know that if he can get over the hump, there are great things on the other side!

Here is the podcast that he had me on!

The End

Really? You made it down here despite all the cool distractions. Well this is the most important bit anyways so you are in luck!

The best part about the fact that this shit takes hard work is that most people will start it and never finish. If you want to start a webinar series and have a strategy and the stones to stick in there, you will succeed. If you want to be an affiliate marketer and are willing to bust your ass, you will succeed. There is nothing “secret” about any of this. Have a plan, take time to let that plan grow and hustle. That’s it!

Writing Tips For Blogging, Books and Business Copywriting

Writing Tips For Blogging Books and Business Copywriting

Being a brilliant and creative writer is not about being perfect, it is about writing A LOT (Click to Tweet)

So I have been doing A LOT of writing. Between blogging, emails, writing books and then just business copywriting (sales copy, product descriptions, etc.) I feel like my days are filled with words…in a good way because I like words quite a lot! That said, I wish I had not cheated during typing class in high school (there were no computers then and who knew that typing would be a skill that would drive everything?)

With all this writing I have some observations, tips and resources that I have been collecting for a while now to share and today is the day!

Being A Brilliant And Creative Writer

First off, almost no one feels like a brilliant and creative writer. I have listened to a bunch of podcasts about writing books lately (more about that later) and almost everyone feels like a schmoe when they put words to paper. Blogging is a little less tortuous because of the transitive nature of blogs, but I was just talking with a friend the other day about how the posts I think are BRILLIANT rarely rank well and the ones that are “meh” light up the night which leads to…

Being a brilliant and creative writer is not about being perfect, it is about writing A LOT, training your brain the way that you would train for an athletic event. When you first sit down to write, the blank paper looks like Siberia, big and white. But if you write consistently, you don’t have to “get back in shape”, your brain just kicks in and starts churning out stuff.

Additionally, if you have a lot of books or blog posts or sales pages, some of them will work better than others. In a perfect world we could just have one epic work that everyone flocks to, but in actuality, it is the cumulation of having lots of things that makes someone successful.

What If You Are Stuck

Because I come from the marketing world, we all know about having a “swipe file” and it is not creepy like “plagiarizing” is. A swipe file is used to collect inspiration so that when you are stuck you can just check out what someone else did and get going again.

TIP: It used to be hard to accumulate a swipe file, these days I use Pinterest to get my swipes all in one place. This is my opt in pop up box swipe file that I use for inspiration when I am stuck for words to use in my copy.

The other thing to do when you are stuck is to just write something. It might be the crappiest blog post ever written or the worst-sales-copy-ever, but the act of writing will lead to better writing or at least something that you can edit when you get done. The WORST thing that you can do is wait for the urge to strike you…a big hint, it rarely does and never when it is convenient. Schedule your time to write like you schedule all your other appointments.

Pick The Proper Tools

This is a biggie. Many people write in Word because it is what they are used to but it is not a great option for most writing. Here are the tools that I use and the reasons why…no affiliate links, just my favorites

Writing Books – I have a new love, Scrivener. With one of my business buds I am writing a book a week for a year. That means 52 perfect customer profiles to see who we are writing for, 52 outlines, 52 files to save for Amazon (and maybe someone else down the line). The wicked cool thing about Scrivener is that you can make a book file that has the writing AND your research AND a scan of your scribbles and then split screen them so you can see them at the same time…bliss. PLUS if you are doing Amazon publishing using a Mac, save yourself about 20 hours trying to make it work, just get this and it spits one out automatically. Not sure I would use this just for blog posts and business writing, but I might!

Writing Pretty Books – Prior to this year, I have only made pretty books (fewer words, lots of formatting and pictures). If you are making ebooks that you are NOT going to upload to Amazon but use as a giveaway on your site or to print out, nothing can touch InDesign by Adobe. The nice thing is that you do not have to spend hundreds of dollars to get it anymore, you can rent it month to month through Creative Cloud and they do give BIG discounts if you are any kind of student.

Writing Blog Posts – For the love of God, DO NOT write your blog posts in Word and then copy them over to your blog looking all pretty and formatted. Word has horrific extra formatting that should never get into web pages. Instead, write your text in Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac) and then paste it into the Text pane of your blog post.

Book Writing Tips

Writing books is not as hard as I thought. We have been churning out a book a week for a month or more now and while the first ones were not that great, even in this short time, we have gotten better and the process has become easier.

  1. You probably have some “stuff” laying around that you can use to get started with your first book. We had about 6 books almost ready to go (although looking back, it is almost easier to use them as a brief reference and write the book-book from scratch.
  2. You should make an outline. We spend a little bit of time laying out what we are going to talk about and what order it is in.
  3. Don’t try to write a perfect book. Write a good enough book, have someone else check it for grammar and typos and ship it. Then write another one.

Two last questions I see about writing books are 1) how much should you charge and 2) how long should they be. I can really only answer these in regard to Non-Fiction. We charge $2.99 for between 5,000 and 9,000 words. If the book was going to be longer than that we would split it up into two books so we didn’t have to charge that much and no one had to read that much in one sitting.

The funny thing to me is that it is functionally about 7 blog posts for me (I write AMAZINGLY long blog posts). The difference is that the work is not off the top of my head, has two viewpoints and is more cohesive. We feel really comfortable charging three bucks for the answer to a specific problem that people are having with their business. Now, pricing and length are different for everyone and are MUCH different for fiction.

Writing Blog Posts

Now, this is something I know a lot about! We have two main blogs (marketingartfully.com and mandmmonsters.com) and about three others that are industry or location specific (real estate marketing, coaching and local denver).

I have been blogging since 2006 and have had this blog since 2008. I get about 15,000 hits a month on this one site and post about once a week here except in December when I try to post every weekday for a month.

Writing blog posts is easy now, but when I started they were heinous. My very first post (I had to go back and look it up) was “Seth Says…Gobble Up Market Share” with 300 words, no SEO and no picture. It took time to understand what I was going to talk about and how to make it relevant so other people would want to read it. I think the BEST part about when you start out is that no one is paying attention so you can get better before anyone notices how lame your writing is!!!

Two resources I like for blog post headlines are:

  1. 5 “Five-Minute or Less” Blogging Tips That Yield Big Results. I’m Using Tip #1 in This Title
  2. Your Headlines Suck. Here’s What You Can Do About It

Writing Good Emails

One of the things that I am super proud of is that our email open rates are generally comparable for marketing messages (maybe a little higher) but that we CRUSH the industry standard click throughs. This comes because our emails are well titled to be interesting, well written so people like to read them and lastly, have calls to action in them so people know what to do next.

The top post on Marketing Artfully is 100 Great Email Subject Lines.Written over a year ago, this little gem churns out hits to my site showing that this is something that everyone struggles with.

Here are my top email tips:

  1. Ditch the bland autoresponders. Some years back it was cool to set up a series of 200 autoresponders that would go out to your readers when they signed up for your email list. These were folksy and chatty and tried to get them to fall in love with you. Fast forward to today, the world is inundated with email, Facebook, texts, tweets and all kinds of messages. Today you better have something awesome that they can use or act on or you will be just one more delete.
  2. By sending bad messages you train people to ignore you. We have a dear friend whose emails mostly go into a spam folder on my email because he sent out all kinds of messages with cute headlines that were not actually for me. I got conditioned to ignoring these and so when there was something important I missed it entirely.
  3. Make sure every message has a purpose. If you need them to do something, just talk briefly about that one thing and then link out to what they need to do. If you are trying to build relationships, don’t hit them with a buy, buy, buy message. Get really clear on what the purpose of each message is.

Business Copywriting

First off, stop thinking that business copywriting is hard. It is not hard once you know exactly what it is that you are selling and exactly who you are selling it to! The hard part comes when you are just trying to sell whatever is in front of you with no background or motivation from the buyer.

So pick a person who is your perfect client and think of them when writing your copy. What do you have to say that would make THAT person buy what you are selling? I KNOW, your product or service could appeal to LOTS of people, but who is the perfect person? (we are writing a book about this for next week so keep your peepers open if you struggle with this!!!)

There are just two resources that you have to check out for business copywriting:

  • Brian Clark at Copyblogger has LOTS of GREAT free information about business copywriting
  • Perry Marshall (yes the Adwords guy!) think about it, who has to be a better copywriter than someone who only gets three lines of text to sell you something.

Video Transcripts, Quotes and Other Funny Bits

When you get in the writing groove you start noticing other opportunities for words. One thing that I have noticed is that some people are not writer-y. They don’t like to type and even if they do, they don’t like to sit their butts down in a chair for days at a time.

Gary Vaynerchuk comes to mind here. What Gary does is pull out words from the videos he makes and recordings that he does. He makes graphics of his quotes and has transcribers record what he talks about instead of him having to do the physical act of writing. If you got the bottom of this post and are not a writer, run away and find something productive to do with your time! But beyond that, find ways to leverage the talents you do have and pull the words out of there!

Authority, Branding and Niche Building, What Do They All Mean?

Authority Building, Niche Building and BrandingSo, we talk A LOT about Authority building (we even have a book out about it on Amazon!) That said, I think that there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace about the difference between Authority building, niche building and branding!

Here is my take…

Branding

(the easiest so we will start there)

Branding is just “making your stuff look like your stuff”. The branding for Marketing Artfully tends to revolve around dark and gloomy with a hint of lime green. I have typewriter keys that have a dollar sign which I fell in love with a while ago and I use them in A LOT of my marketing. OH, I also use black and white photos more than color…just a personal preference!

Marketing Artfully AvatarHere is the avatar that I use for Marketing Artfully. It is the typewriter keys AND the logo, which is great for continuing that story!

Note: PLEASE do not make a picture your LOGO. A logo should be something that you could embroider onto a baseball cap. I have seen A BUNCH of people fall in love with something like the typewriter keys and never have a formal LOGO, LOGO for their business. Don’t make that mistake.

Tara AvatarThe next thing to think about is the branding for you! I use the “TARAdactyl” Avatar on sites like Twitter, and have spent almost 10 years branding her and making her a memorable thing.

That said, I think people are moving away from liking a brand and more onto liking people. Unless you are a hideous mountain creature with horns, your picture, taken by a professional is probably more than good enough for marketing work.

The other thing is that YOU have to love it. There is one gal on my news feed who I cringe when I see her picture (it is over processed and strangely cropped) but she is ROCKING IT so I love it too!

MandM AvatarBringing on other projects…so I am not just Marketing Artfully now! I am involved with writing and doing marketing courses with my buddy the Colorado Connector! When we were branding our shared project, I made sure that it was similar enough to what I had that I would not have to reinvent the whole wheel. As you can tell, I DO like that lime green color quite a lot.

Overall, when you are starting a business or a new product, you need a logo, a couple of key photos that you can use across your marketing and a really strong color palette. Think about green and dark blue and you think financial, think pink you head right for the ladies. Some of this is so simple that you will go DOH and be on your way to an amazing branding campaign!

Niche Selection

This is just as much fun as picking out colors and developing a great brand! Niche selection is like picking your favorite thing to eat on a surf and turf smorgasbord.

So going back to my business, I like MARKETING. Not social media, not video marketing or anything else cool and hip, just plain old small business and entrepreneur marketing.

Right now, without thinking about it, write down the first thing that comes to you that you like. Could be the law, could be healthy eating, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as YOU like it!

Note: Some people will tell you to start with a “hot niche” and work backwards from there. I am here to tell you, that is incredibly hard and after about 6 months you are sick to death of it and want to commit suicide rather than hear-one-more-word about your niche.

So you have a 40,000 foot topic that you like. How are you going to sell stuff? Niche it down even further. I like Real Estate Entrepreneurs and also Speakers, Coaches and Trainers, oh and people who run non-profits. So my three top words are “small business marketing”, “entrepreneur marketing” and “realtor marketing”. They have served me well and I am not even close to running out of things to talk about 8 years of this blog later!

Authority Marketing

becoming-an-authority-bannerBecause we just wrote a book about this, building Authority is top of mind right now. To me, building Authority can come after Branding and Niche Selection. When I started my two-year real estate practice years ago, I had ZERO experience, ZERO clients, but what I did have was a great niche, branding and marketing. While I am not a proponent of lying, Authority building will probably start before you are an actual authority in anything.

The other half of this is that no one will crown you an authority. No one made me “queen of marketing”…I just started studying it years ago and have put almost 15 years of constant focus on getting better and better at it! THIS is how you get authority, you reach out and grab it, taking ownership and not waiting for anyone else to give you permission!

Not to be too rah, rah, but if you have read all the way down here, you sure as hell need to figure out what you are going to be an authority in and get started! Building Authority is not hard, it just takes time and the sooner you start the sooner you will get there!

Persistence, The Rah Rah Post

Persistance..the rah rah postPersistence is a funny concept. On one hand, it is a glorious, motivating being who propels you forward into previously unimagined consequences. On the other hand, it sometimes drags you down in the bowels of despair thinking, “is this all that will ever be?”

This is year is a pivotal year for me. I have been plugging along, building bits of my business up and letting some other bits fall by the wayside. I have had brainstorms that amounted to less than a shower and crackpot ideas that blossomed into full downpours. What I can say is that through it all, the main reason I am so excited for the year is that I have never stopped. Losing momentum is the biggest dream killer there is…keep going forward whether you know where you are going or not, at least along the way you will have produced something.

My Top 10 Thoughts About Persistence (in a somewhat top to bottom order)

1. No excuses

Okay, this is not my thought, it is Chris Brogan’s thought. He has dubbed this the year of #noexcuses. Check out his post My Goals Don’t Care

2. Alchemy and getting to do what you love

This next one is probably one of the coolest things I have ever heard. If you are not a writer, substitute your industry for writing. Pressed for time, start at minute 22 (the link for the podcast is at the bottom of the page). The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast

3. BHAGs

Big hairy audacious goals. This one is a tripper-upper. You need to have specific tasks that break down your goals and make sure that you have enough bandwidth to accomplish them. Our BHAG this year is to publish a book a week. I just did my calendar and accomplishing that means that some other things that I have had as pet projects have to go away (for now).

4. Scheduling

You cannot be successful if you are flopping all around, doing what feels right at any given moment. We are planners starting at monthly (what our monthly theme is to accomplish) then moving down to daily. If you have BHAGs but have not put time into your calendar, they will not magically get accomplished. Figure out what you want to accomplish this year or month or even week and set up your calendar making that a priority.

5. What You Like To Do

I KNOW, there are bits of your business you HAVE to do (banking is one of those for me). That said, you need to whittle the things that you hate to do out of your life. I am not talking about “outsourcing everything” as that rarely works (except for Tim Ferris). Get the horrible things contained in one day a month or do 5 minutes of them every day, whichever you work best at. Find a partner or team member that is good at what you are not and share. When you dread doing something it takes on HUGE proportions that are way out of sink with reality.

Then you will free up time to do what you love. If you are a small business owner, you should be spending most of your time loving life!

6. Make A Plan

Now that you have freed up time for your favorite bits, make a rock solid plan for what you are trying to accomplish. Put EVERYTHING you would like to do on a big giant list, brainstorm with your friends and business contacts to get a REALLY BIG LIST. Now, figure out what your major goal is…could be to make money, could be a building year, could be anything, depends on you! Now, figure out which of those things fit into your major goal. Do those things until you are done and don’t do anything else that is not vital in the meantime. Crap will always try to creep in…to succeed you HAVE to put on your crap deflectors.

7. Stop Yelling At Yourself

That voice in your head will be FREAKING out right now. She will tell you that you are dumb for thinking that this can work. She will tell you how you have failed in the past and that you are currently the biggest loser on the planet. She will run through a list of your failures, starting with the fact that you quit band in 10th grade and move forward with a highlight reel of all your shortcomings. The cool thing about having a major plan and LOTS to do is that she doesn’t get to talk all that much because you are busy. When she does pipe up, tell her to shut up and review what you have to do today to accomplish your BHAGs!

8. Stop Reliving Past Failures

This is a big one for me! We are getting ready to launch another pretty big project and it is something that I semi, sorta, kinda, tried before. I got dragged there kicking and screaming and it failed (go figure). So this time, that stupid voice is jingling back there, you aren’t good at this, you tried this already and it didn’t work. Well, to be honest, I didn’t actually try. I did the limp handshake thing and did the absolute minimum required. If you have something on your goals that you did try before, be honest with yourself…if you tried your hardest and it failed, maybe you need to pivot and do something similar but not exactly the same, if you didn’t try and failed, imagine what would happen if you gave it your all!

9. Learn Something

You can’t do amazing things alone. You need a team to help like coaches, mastermind partners, brainstorm friends AND people who know what to do! I spend all my time not working listening to smart people. I have books on tape and podcasts downloaded. I read articles and watch YouTube videos that fill me with hope and help explain things. The people I see who are stuck, honestly believe that there is no time to educate themselves. They are in a rut and just churning down there, never looking up to see the light at the top. If you are “too busy” to learn things, you are probably busy at the wrong bits.

10. Living The Dream

Every one of us who owns our own business needs to take a moment and consider what that means. Want a raise, work harder. Want a bigger raise, work smarter. Want to take a day off? Take it, just work harder the next day. If you are self employed, get down on your knees right now and thank goodness you are not working for the man, that you are master of your own destiny and that this year is going to be the best one ever!

Goal Setting – Figuring Out Your Fabulous Life

Goal Setting - Figuring Out Your Fabulous LifeOkay, you guys know I am HUGE on goal setting, having written goals with you right now! But what if you don’t know what your goals should be? Today’s post is all about finding your passion and living your Fabulous Life!!!

The now

  • You are sitting at your desk, thinking, “if I have to do this one more time I am going to scream”. Whatever “this” is is OBVIOUSLY not a part of your fabulous life. OR
  • You are doing EXACTLY what you LOVE to do and feeling horrendously guilty that you are not doing “real work” because something that feels this good can NOT be what you should be doing in the moment!

Sometimes we can get all caught up in needing to change EVERYTHING to live our fabulous lives when all that is needed is a little pivot to get there.

What is a fabulous life

This post is a read and then write post so go fetch a tablet…I will wait for you!

A fabulous life is where your work life is filled with amazing opportunities, wonderful people you enjoy working with and you hop out of bed on Monday thinking, “thank god the weekend is over and I can get back to work!” I have to say that the number of people I see singing praises to the weekend is staggering (and sad). Obviously they are NOT living their fabulous life at work.

Now it is time to figure out your fabulous life bits. Draw three squares on your tablet and in those you are going to do put three things that you would enjoy doing. Now, this is not to combine work and play so no knitting (unless you own a yarn shop)…these should all be things that you would be happy to do, all day, everyday for the rest of your life.

Example…my three things are speaking, writing and consulting. I LOVE to have the opportunity to talk with people and help them improve their lives in big groups. I also am a prolific writer who HAS to put words on the page and tell you things that matter, like this post. Lastly, I love consulting because it is a quick hit…I can swoop in, help and leave without enduring a years long commitment like coaching has!

Another example is my Besty, a realtor. She LOVES to help teach new agents, speaking and problem solving. Her team is being built on a training philosophy, she has gotten better at not throwing up before speeches and her whole job is how to solve problems (with agents AND homeowners).

TODO: Write down three things you would do work-wise, all day, everyday, for the rest of your life if you had the chance.

How to figure out WHAT to do in your fabulous life

By now you are probably all fired up thinking, “damn, doing just that would be AWE-SOME!!!” But how do you get from where you are now to your fabulous life? Let’s start small (and you probably don’t want to censor yourself at this point), just put 10 things on the page that could help you get to your fabulous life and you can figure them out later.

Example…I want to be a writer. I could

1) have a blog
2) write ebooks
3) guest post on other blogs
4) write articles for money
5) partner with someone who is selling something but who is not a writer themselves
6) take writing courses
7) teach writing for the internet at a local college
8) write for a local offline paper
9) offer writing on fiverr.com
10) write courses for online offers
11) write great sales copy
12) take a copywriting course to get even better at writing sales copy
13) interview people who are successful writers now and find out what they do
14) watch videos on youtube about successful writers

As you can see, once I got going I had way more than 10 things that I could do and you might too!

TODO: Make a list of (at least) 10 things that you could do to make your fabulous life a reality.

Cutting the BS and getting something done!

Okay, now you are rock-solid sure that this is the direction that you want to go (if you came up with 10 things, you are probably pretty passionate about what you are wanting to do!). Now is where the rubber hits the road. You need to DO SOMETHING on that list…and not just something, ACTIVITIES that will make those things happen.

Example…Because I want to be a writer I need to do things that are, well, writer-y. Here are my activities for the next three months (three months is great because it is not so long that you can’t stand it and not so short that you get nothing accomplished!!!)

1) Write and publish one ebook on the Kindle per week…I will try and do a good job but will NOT worry about writing a masterpiece, they sell for $.99-$2.99 for heavens sake

2) Write on each of the blogs that we deem important at least one time per week…this will get us blog traffic AND will help spark creative juices that I can use in upcoming books

3) Make a point of having great sales copy on each book page…I will NOT just slap something together as this is important for my future

As you can see, I have SPECIFIC goals. One ebook a week is going to be glorious sometimes (I have some already written so they should go fast-ish) and heinous sometimes BUT the whole point is to not cut myself any slack. I WILL have an ebook posted by Midnight every Monday night for the next three months. As Chris Brogan says, #noexcuses.

How can I guarantee that? Simple, I will NOT wait until the 11th hour when everything can get screwed up. From Wednesday (my writing and book doing day) on, the ONLY thing I am going to work on is getting my book published. Everything else will have to wait until I am done. If this is my fabulous life then I am only hurting myself by doing client work or playing on social media instead of doing what I said I was going to do.

TODO: Pick three of your “could dos and make activities for them”.

Shooting yourself in the foot

So I will guarantee that you will not be comfortable with this.

If you are doing ANYTHING right now but what moves you toward your FABULOUS LIFE you are just burning time!It will feel like doing what you love cannot possibly fit into your schedule. You will tell yourself that this is just another case of try and fail miserably. You will have a million excuses…just tell yourself to shut up and do it. I know, that is really harsh but “yourself” has a vested interest in keeping everything exactly the way it is. Humans hate change and you are going to make things change.

Just remember that you did this “for” yourself (not “to” yourself). If you can catch a grip and simply do the activities that you figured out for the next 90 days I guarantee that your life WILL change in ways that you never imagined.

Need help figuring out your Fabulous Life? I would love to consult with you about how to get there…give me a call today to find out more 727-415-9165

(see how I slipped that in, one of my consulting activities is to actively mention that I have this service!)

How To Get Engagement On Social Media…Ask Questions!

How To Get Engagement On Social Media - Ask Questions!A big topic of conversation around here is how to get engagement on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Another big “discussion” topic is how stupid it is to foster that engagement by asking inane questions.

My business partner is big on these. She is a question asking fool and I was actually skeptical that this would work. I wouldn’t answer silly questions on Facebook so why would anyone else…or so I thought! Come to find out I am compelled to answer some of these silly questions when she posts them and I KNOW that they are just to get engagement…sigh.

Why do you want engagement like this?

Since I have a trouble with this, I am sure you are asking yourself the same kinds of things…if I sell real estate or jeans or business services, why would I want to go off topic and ask questions that have NOTHING to do with my product or service? Here are the only things that I can think of to justify this:

  • It works. Because social is about more than selling, people DO respond. They WANT to share their personal thoughts and feeling so you get engagement. Which leads us to..
  • It matters that people talk to you. Most of the sites use an algorithm that measures how often someone talks to you and then serves up additional “views” based on those connections. Facebook is a huge one for this. If you can get a number of people to talk to you about something non-business related, you get more opportunities to talk to them about things that truly matter.
  • Custom messages. Last but not least in my book…they tell you things about themselves that you can use later to sell more! How cool would it be to take the answers to each of these questions and include them as tags in your database and then send customized messages based on their likes and dislikes? I haven’t done this (yet) but would love to hear if it is working for you!

So what kinds of questions should you ask? Rebekah was very nonchalant about this and said, just ask them “this or that”. She can come up with millions of them off the top of her head. I on the other hand do not have this creative bone so I made her give me some examples. I will admit, once we got started it became easier and more fun to “play along”. Here are some of the best ones we came up with…feel free to use them in your social media postings AND make sure to swing back around and let me know which ones worked best!!!

Questions to ask to increase interactions on social media

Cool questions:

  • Who was your childhood hero?
  • Who was your favorite teacher?
  • Who is your favorite superhero?
  • Winnie the Pooh or Underdog?
  • Guns and Roses or Metallica?
  • Alfred Hitchcock or Steven King?
  • If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?
  • What are you doing this weekend?

Sports:

  • Sox or Yankees?
  • Soccer or football?
  • Skiing or ice skating?
  • How bout them (insert home team)?

Food and Beverage:

  • Beer or wine?
  • Steak or chicken?
  • Vegetarian or carnivore?
  • Hotdogs or hamburgers?
  • What is your comfort food?
  • Pizza or tacos?
  • Chicken or egg?
  • Chips or pretzels?
  • Tootsie Rolls or M and Ms?
  • Donuts or Bagels?
  • Hot sauce on eggs?

Fashion:

  • Shoes or sandals?
  • Who has more fun? Blonds, Brunettes or Redheads?
  • High heels or flats?
  • Suit or jeans?

Locations:

  • Did you come from a big city or small town?
  • Cozumel or Paris?
  • California or New York?
  • What was your all-time favorite vacation spot?
  • What is your favorite hometown landmark?
  • What’s your favorite thing to do in (insert town name here)?

Technology:

  • iPhone or Android?
  • Mac or PC?
  • Twitter, text or talk?
  • In person meetings or Skype?

Personal:

  • Who was your biggest crush?
  • Who was your first crush?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • Do you have any brothers or sisters?
  • Did you go to prom?
  • Have you ever smoked?
  • Have you ever skinny dipped?
  • Have you ever been on a blind date?
  • Have you ever missed an appointment?
  • Have you ever lied on a job application?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have kids?
  • Do you mind telling people how old you are?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Would you let your kids get a hampster?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • Do you go to the doctor when you are sick?

Weather or Location:

  • Summer or winter?
  • Spring or fall?
  • Live up north or down south?
  • What part of town are you from?

Favorites:

  • What is your favorite book of all time?
  • What is your favorite movie of all time?
  • What is your favorite album of all time?
  • What is your favorite rock band of all time?
  • What is your favorite Disney Movie of all time?
  • What is your favorite Broadway musical of all time?
  • What is your favorite black and white movie musical of all time?
  • What is your favorite quote?

Holidays:

  • How do you celebrate New Years Eve?
  • Open presents on Christmas Ever or Christmas day?
  • Does the Tooth Fairy come to your house?
  • Do your kids still believe in Santa?

Business:

  • What do you do?
  • Do you have a Facebook page?
  • How’s business?
  • What do you love most about your business?
  • Do you have a favorite customer?
  • Who was your favorite customer of all time?
  • What is your biggest business goal?
  • Are your goals written down?
  • Do you have a vision board?

Well there you have it, some questions to get you started getting engagement on social media…if you have more, please leave a comment below and I will add it to the list!!!

100 AWESOME Sayings To Use For Social Media Or Artwork

100 AWESOME Sayings To Use For Social Media Or ArtworkI grew up in the land of sayings. The good german folk of Northwestern Pennsylvania seemed to have a saying for everything and my parents and grandparents where full of them! What I found though, is that there are are a lot of truths in those sayings and that many folks have a visceral response to them that works well for quotes and social media postings.

Here are my favorite sayings, idioms, call them what you will…

I have separated them out according to how I will use them, please let me know in the comments below if I have missed one of your favorites! Also, Dad-isms may not actually be sayings, it is possible that they are ones he made up…but had to include them!

Inspirational Sayings

  • A rising tide lifts all the little boats
  • To the victor go the spoils
  • If at first you don’t succeed try, try again
  • Tomorrow is another day
  • Look before you leap
  • The longest journey starts with a single step
  • Carpe Diem – Sieze The Day
  • If a job is worth doing it is worth doing well
  • Doubt is the beginning not the end of wisdom
  • Fortune favors the brave
  • All’s fair in love and war
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss
  • All good things come to those who wait
  • Faith will move mountains
  • Good things come to those who wait
  • The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world
  • Little hinges swing big doors
  • Little strokes fell great oaks
  • Where there is a will, there is a way
  • Great minds think alike
  • Many hands make light work

Cautionary Sayings

  • It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness
  • He who hesitates is lost
  • Beggars should not be choosers
  • He who pays the piper calls the tune
  • A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
  • Jack of all trades, master of none
  • It ain’t over until the fat lady sings
  • No man can serve two masters
  • You can’t have your cake and eat it too
  • You can’t get blood out of a stone
  • Many a true word is spoke in jest
  • Penny wise, pound foolish
  • Once bitten, twice shy
  • Out of sight, out of mind
  • Pride goes before a fall
  • When in Rome, do as the Romans do
  • Actions speak louder than words
  • He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword
  • There’s no smoke without fire
  • Better to be silent and thought the fool that to speak and remove all doubt
  • The bigger they are, the harder they fall
  • The price of liberty is eternal vigilance
  • The end justifies the means
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day
  • Strike while the iron is hot
  • Misery loves company
  • The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence

Animal Sayings

  • Tail wagging the dog
  • Let sleeping dogs lie
  • Barking up the wrong tree
  • If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
  • Don’t change horses in midstream
  • You can’t run with the hair and hunt with the hounds
  • If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas
  • A leopard cannot change his spots
  • One might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb
  • Hold your horses
  • Big fish in a small pond
  • The early bird catches the worm
  • The worm will turn
  • Every dog has its day
  • As happy as a clam
  • Pull the wool over your eyes
  • Birds of a feather flock together
  • You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
  • Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched
  • Bats in the belfry
  • Why keep a dog and bark yourself?
  • You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink
  • Never look a gift horse in the mouth
  • There’s more than one way to skin a cat

Insect Sayings

  • Bee’s knees
  • Birds and the bees
  • Make a bee-line for it
  • You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar

Literary Sayings

  • Never judge a book by its cover
  • A word to the wise is enough
  • The pen is mightier than the sword
  • Pearls of wisdom

Artistic Sayings

  • Paint the town red
  • Red letter day
  • Back to the drawing board
  • A picture paints a thousand words

Devil and Angel Sayings

  • No rest for the wicked
  • Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t
  • Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
  • Needs must when the devil drives
  • Tell the truth and shame the devil
  • The devil is in the details
  • Between the devil and the deep blue sea
  • The devil finds work for idle hands to do
  • Revenge is a dish best served cold
  • Let the punishment fit the crime
  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions (Dad-ism)
  • People in hell want ice water (Dad-ism)
  • It will be a cold day in hell (Dad-ism)

I am just noticing that while we were not a particularly religious family, there was a lot of hell talk at our house!

Nautical Sayings

  • Shiver my timbers
  • Hand over fist
  • Time and tide wait for no man
  • Any port in a storm

Death Sayings

  • Dead men tell no tales
  • Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die
  • Old soldiers never die, they just fade away
  • The wages of sin is death

Weather Sayings

  • Into every life a little rain must fall
  • Every cloud has a silver lining
  • It never rains but it pours
  • The darkest hour is just before the dawn
  • Make hay while the sun shines

Miscellaneous Sayings

  • Smoke and mirrors
  • Heavens to Murgatroyd
  • The whole nine yards
  • Climb/Jump on the bandwagon
  • Close, but no cigar
  • Get down to brass tacks
  • Gild the lily
  • Talk through one’s hat
  • Go haywire
  • Hissy fit
  • In spades
  • The whole shebang
  • Whoops-a-daisy
  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
  • In for a penny, in for a pound
  • It takes two to tango
  • No use crying over spilled milk

Things You Say To Your Kids

  • Money doesn’t grow on trees (Dad-ism)
  • Were you born in a barn? (Dad-ism)
  • Another country heard from

While many of these came off the top of my head, I did check for the correct usage at The Phrase Finder…a truly epic site for this kind of thing. Also, if you would like to learn what makes an idiom…check out the wikipedia!

A rising tide lifts all the little boats

Small Business Marketing – 5 Things To Check Today!

Small Business Marketing - 5 Things To Check TodayOkay, we all are busy and life gets in the way of us having optimal online lives. Today, yes TODAY, you should take a peek at these 5 things and see if they are still working for you! Some of you may not be able to change certain ones, but the ones you can, either schedule time to change or do right away!

I KNOW, you are swamped today, but aren’t you swamped everyday? These are things that will make a huge difference to your success this year and are basically easy fixes!

Your Email Signature

Seriously, this is the one thing that EVERYONE you talk to sees EVERY time you send them a message! Here is my old signature line…not heinous, but not setting the world on fire either…

Tara Jacobsen - Old Email Signature Line

So how do you figure out what needs to be there? First off, what is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you want them to do? For me it is to get into my database and I don’t have the option for that anywhere…sigh. When I fixed this, you will notice that I broke up the word “FR|E|E” so that I would not get stuck in everyone’s spam filters.

Next are my contact bits…moved a couple of things around here and eliminated the link to my Facebook business page. Heaven forbid they sign up for that as Facebook shows so little of what I actually post there. That time has passed and now I just want them in my database!

Finally, I have used the avatar on the left FOR YEARS so I am keeping her active, BUT there is a school of psychiatry that says that “seeing” us in an email is just as good as “seeing” us in real life. I finally took a selfie that I like enough to include on my emails so my friends and clients can see me. I also made it a little smaller since so many people are using phones to access their email now.

Tara Jacobsen - New Signature

Still busy but have my call to action and the picture of me. I will use it for a little bit and see how it goes.

Your Website Layout

Now if you are using a “real” website, moving things around is probably a nightmare, but for those of us who are using wordpress, sliding things around is relatively easy peasy. I noticed the other day that it was REALLY hard to find the newest posts on Marketing Artfully. They were there, just down in the bottom with no pictures. As I really do want people to read my stuff, I am going to move some things around a bit!

Marketing Artfully - Old Layout Design

So I moved the recent posts up into the middle of the home page, reduced the number of small business marketing posts and added real estate marketing and customer demographic posts to the mix.

Now, there are other things that I think could do with some fixing, like I have TOO MANY competing things on the sidebar, but today is just the basics and I got those fixed! Check out the new layout with the recent posts front and center…

Your Social Media Descriptions

It is amazing how out of date these can get fast. I did this with my Twitter just a couple of weeks ago and was AMAZED at how off target it was. Make sure that you have the following bits in your social descriptions:

  • Links to your MOST IMPORTANT THING
  • Hashtags if appropriate (like on google or instagram)
  • Keywords like you use on your website (social profiles show up well in the google search)
  • What you are currently offering, most important to least important

Here is my updated Twitter profile that talks about EXACTLY where my business is TODAY:

Taradactyl Twitter Profile

Your Social Media Graphics

Okay, I admit I am not the best at practicing what I preach but WHAT WAS I THINKING when I did my Facebook business banner THIS WAY. It doesn’t use any of the imagery I use in anything else, it doesn’t have Marketing Artfully green, and my logo might as well not even be on there for how present it is. What happened was, I saw a technigue and wanted to try it and was less than impressed…so I left it there?!?!?

Marketing Artfully Old Business Page Banner

So this one is not going to set the world on fire, but at least it is congruent with my branding and it is better than what it was (that is our theme for today…good enough is good enough!) I also changed out the avatar which leads me to the last tip…

Marketing Artfully - New Facebook Timeline

Make sure you like all your profile pictures

I hated my LinkedIn profile picture and they MADE me use a “real” picture instead of my beautiful avatar lady who always looks great and never gets old. That said, I did (finally) get a picture that I didn’t hate so I swapped it out…this icky old one for my shiney new selfie:

Tara Jacobsen - Old LinkedIn

It is VITAL that you find a picture of yourself that you like. If you don’t have one, you are less happy with your social overall and will not be as effective.

Don’t let anyone tell you the “right” kind of picture. As you can see, mine is obviously a selfie, not perfect and DEFINITELY not professionally done, but I like it!

There you have it, my top 5 things that you need to check on your small biz marketing!!!

PS – all changes where made in the hour it took to write this post so don’t make this harder than it has to be, get some stuff fixed and then put the rest on your to-do list for fixing soon!

Time Management Tips – Forms and Crystal Clear Goals

Time Management Tips - Forms and Crystal Clear GoalsHave you ever spent the day “working” only to end it knowing nothing got done and thus feeling like a failure? Without a plan or system for what needs to be accomplished there is no winning and you are setting yourself up for certain doom.

If you haven’t read Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy yet, this is a great way to get motivated. Mr. Tracy is a time management genius and it is well worth your time to read it. He has spent a lifetime developing time management habits that serve him well…I am in awe of his focus.

Steps to organizing your work life and time

These are generally in order and build on each one. Please do not skip a step as you cannot accomplish what you want if you haven’t done all the steps!

Plan Your Time

The very first thing you have to do is get your calendar under control. You can have the best intentions in the world but if there is no time in your day to complete your tasks, you will fail miserably.

Time Management CalendarThis is my calendar.

It is color coded to include Orange – which is the Strategy bits that are what actually make me money and move my business forward. As you can see, my days start with that as I am most productive in the morning and there is no way that I can get off track.

Pink is personal and stuff I have to do (if I don’t feed the little ones and get them off to school, no one will!) Then I have my standing appointments and work for clients that HAS to get done.

So, you are probably a entrepreneur and the idea of locking down your time is opposite of what the dream is. In the dream world, you can spend all day doing what you want when you want it. In the real world, if you are willing to calendar (and hold yourself responsible), you actually get to do everything that you want and more.

When I put something into my calendar, it is sacred. I KNOW that if I do what I am “supposed” to do that day, I can take the kids to the park in the afternoon without feeling guilty. If I DO all my monthly tasks, then I “get” to research marketing and take classes because I am not just wasting time, ignoring what needs to be done!

To Do List

So what should you do to make yourself more productive and organized? Put IN WRITING what you have to accomplish and do those things first!

If you start your day out checking your emails, responding to crisis after crisis, then pop over to Facebook and diddle around there for a bit, you WILL waste immeasurable time accomplishing nothing.

The concepts that you have heard time after time are true. Sit down before you end your day and figure out what the top three things you HAVE to get done the next day are. I do these after I get all my “real” work done (like writing blog posts, doing social media and learning new things!)

Now, you “To Do List” people…here is where it gets hairy. A list of 100 (or a 1,000) things you need to do is a WISH LIST, not a To Do list. Keep that to the side and hidden if you must, but make sure you have a short (I like three things) list of things that you need to do TODAY.

Monthly Goals and Tasks

The next thing you have to do is sit down and figure out what your “theme” for the month is. Our theme this month is “Amazing Social Media” so we have two hours a day dedicated to posting, growing lists and learning about social media. (we use a month because ANYONE can do something for a month and it is long enough to see some results and make the work worth it!)

Things we have included are:

  • Writing (Tara) – One hour per day (this can be on our blogs or as guest posts OR writing sales letters)
  • Pinterest (Rebekah) – One hour per day (she is rocking the Pinterest and sending traffic from there so we gave her a whole blissful hour to work on it daily!)
  • Social media – Half an hour (this is checking in on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Klout, Google+, etc. each day)
  • Sharing and Linking – 15 minutes (I have to make time to comment on “stuff” other people do as I don’t spontaneously do this without prompting)
  • SS Round Table – 15 minutes (sharing our clients social media posts)

Now, that is THREE HOURS out of every one of my days. If I do not get those things done in the morning, I have to stay up late that night and get them done after the kids go to bed (I am an early bird so that is DEFINITELY not something I am going to do daily).

Some notes about this kind of thing:

First off, whether I did this kind of focused work or just floated around, I would still be “working” all day. Just with the time blocked I am actually accomplishing something that I consider important.

Second off, there is something to be said for the old axiom that we underestimate what we can accomplish in 5 years and over estimate what we can do in a month. With this type of focus, I WILL get stuff done this month.

Lastly, by the time the month is done, at least some of this will 1) take less time so I can incorporate it into my daily life for real and 2) I will have developed habits that will serve me well going forward.

How To Actually DO All The Crap You Said You Would

This is where the magic happens. After I get my schedule down and figure what I SAY I am going to do, I make a checklist for the month. My checklist this month has at the top the daily bits for the hours committed that I can check off. We also determined what the optimal things where to do on each of the “special social media” days and put them down as checkboxes to get done.

I can tell already that I need a daily checklist for what to do on the half-hour social media days as I ran over on time and just kinda hit the high notes. We will figure that out tomorrow in our weekly meeting.

Want to see our checklist? Amazing Social Media Month!

Some notes about this kind of thing:

Good enough is good enough – because we are not going to be using this for years in our business, it is fine to work with for a month. There ARE things that I would change BUT that would take time away from actually DOING it so they can stay there for a while.

YES, you have to have the checklist. I spent the last couple of months of last year floating around without a checklist. Yep I got stuff done, but not on the scale that I do when I have determined a course of action and then set the measurable goals for completing it.

So there you have it…my best time management tips for getting things done!!! Please feel free to comment if so have a great tip I missed.

Public Speaking, Blogging and Email Marketing – What Is Your Voice?

Public Speaking, Blogging and Email Marketing - What Is Your Voice?When you are public figure (and I am feeling like everyone in business is moving in that direction with the advent of blogging and social media), you have to be interesting. Your blogs, emails and speeches have to convey something that ads to the conversations that are happening online and in the real world.

Back in the old days, like 10 years ago, everything that a company produced marketing-wise was “corporate”, whether that company was a tiny little entrepreneur based enterprise or a massive conglomerate that was snapping up the competition left and right. The “brochure” was created, agonized over, re-worked and then stood proudly as a testament to THE COMPANY, a perfect piece to give a prospective buyer or client.

Then in about 2008 blogging started. At first people were confused…who cares if you had oatmeal for breakfast and NO business would ever be caught dead having a blog. Blogs were stupid.

Fast forward another couple of years and now blogging isn’t looking so stupid anymore. Some really big name companies are utilizing the power of the RSS feed and the fact that they can build an email list to market to and all of a sudden blogging is cool.

Here we are today. Social media means that you need to be, well, social. Posting internal company pictures, showing the process of your business and communicating with prospects and customers in a very “UN-Corporate” way. The masses have risen and there is no barrier to them. They want to see more than what you have so carefully crafted on your brochure. In fact, they are so busy with all their online stuff, they don’t have time to even look at your brochure!

Why Does All This Matter?

So this history lesson is nice, but what is the point? The point is that in years past, you could present whatever kind of front to the world that you liked. You could have a glamour shot taken and use that as your business card picture for 10 years, who would know?

Today, you are on the Facebook with a million pictures from events and other things you are doing. If you are a speaker, you are taking pics of the airport, posting stuff from the front of the room and generally documenting everything AROUND your speaking events on Instagram.

The world wants to see behind the mask and know all about you…and if they like what they see, they will sign up for your email lists, speaking events and read your blog voraciously.

The one thing about all this access is that it makes being fake impossible. You may WANT to be cool and polished, prim and proper, but then someone will post a picture of you on Facebook making silly faces and jumping around in your jammies.

We meet A LOT of people who want to avoid that happening by hiding behind their business Facebook page, cutting their “real” life off from the social media world. Seriously, this is just not going to happen today. Even if you are not on there, people are posting and commenting and sharing abut you all day long and it is better to be part of that conversation than to not have a voice!

Stop Worrying and Stay Real

So a number of years ago I had a great client who was super fun to work with. She was friendly and bubbly in person and her email messages reflected that in her writing style. A single missive could contain 10 exclamation points, two smiley faces and portrayed her joy of life.

Then came “the day”. I assumed she was ready to fire me as the tone of her messages turned dour. There was no life in them anymore, just the facts ma’am. After a couple of weeks of this, I had to call her and ask what was up (it was driving me crazy). Well, come to find out, she had hired a coach and the coach said she needed to clean up her emails and make them more “professional”. Gone were the smileys and exclamation points, and they never came back…sigh.

What is your voice?

From being interested in people and watching them A LOT, I have found a number of different types of writers and speakers. Here are a few that I notice…

Effusive and caring – This is the message I got when I joined Chris Brogan‘s affiliate program…”I’m SOOOOO excited you decided to help with being an affiliate marketer for all my various offerings.” It felt personal and that he really was talking to me because it was not boilerplate, perfect and proper. Chris is a very open communicator and that shows in his public speaking, email messages and his blog.

Vulnerable and openBrendon Burchard is a public speaker who really shares a lot about himself personally. He is caring and really interested in the people who belong to his tribe. His email message for Christmas was, “love you Happy Holidays!!” Now I would NEVER send that because it would not be congruent with who they meet when I speak or talk on my blog, but for Brendon, it was COMPLETELY understandable!

Grouchy and to the pointGary Vaynerchuk is one of my favorites! He is blunt and cusses a lot when he speaks. There is no mincing words here, he is very passionate that there IS time to do everything you want for your business if you will just, “Stop watching fucking Lost.”

Now, I am sure that Gary V. offends some of the people in his audience. They are not motivated in the same way I am so the message starts to sound like yelling or nagging instead of as inspiring and “get off the couch and do something”. Brendon is not one of my favorites. He IS high energy (which I like) but a little too touchy feely for me. That said, his message is so good that I stay on his list so I can still consume it when I am in the mood.

Stop rounding off the corners!

There are a million ways you can present yourself. You CAN be incredibly cultured and demure. You CAN cuss like a sailor and drink beers during your talks. You CAN be sincere and open, spilling your guts out for everyone to see.

What you HAVE to be is honest. If you are not a sliced-white-bread Yankee who wears alligator shirts and drives a “beemer”, don’t try to play one online. Today we have to make sure that our online life matches who shows up when we speak or make videos or blog.

If you have not found your voice yet, ask your 5 closest people what they think of you. Ask them to pick 5 words that describe you and your style and then run with it. I will tell you, being “real” means that half of the people will love you and half will hate you, but the ones that love will do so completely, signing up for your newsletters, watching your videos and attending any talks you give.

I KNOW, being yourself seems scary but honestly, it is the only way to go!

Humanizing Your Brand – If Toilet Paper Can Do It…

Small Business Marketing - Humanizing Your BrandWith the advent of social media, the world has shifted. Before SM a company could sit up on high and just be a corporation (or small business) without having to have a human personality. We talk with A LOT of small business owners who want to use their logo instead of being the face of their business…this is a huge mistake. As small business owners, we benefit when we take a look at what the big brands are doing to humanize their brands!

Not too many of us have hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch a major advertising campaign. We don’t have the money to hire actresses or do HUGE focus groups to see whether they like one thing or the other more. What we do have is the ability to copy what we see the “big dogs” with deep pockets doing. And what they are doing is putting a face on some really strange products like toilet tissue!

The Toilet Paper Lady

Humanizing Toilet Paper AdSo I was cruising one of my girlie (craft) magazines on my iPad the other day and came across a woman talking about toilet paper. She is British, relatively good looking and seems to have my best interests at heart (she just wants me to be clean and safe). She is talking to me about “bums” and invites me to head over to the Cottonelle Facebook page to talk about toilet paper (now I have to say that unless I was a marketing nut I would NOT have been compelled to go there BUT since I am, over I headed).

They are doing some stuff pretty right, there are some funny posts (like toilet paper sports casters) and seem to have some good interactions on the page. That said, it does seem like there are A LOT of ladies chiming in with love stories about toilet paper. How did that happen?

Oftentimes a brand like this will contact mommy bloggers and other influencers and give them free offers to “promote” their page or comment with their own opinions. Now, you can be sad about this or know that there are two great things about this… 1) you can grow a following yourself and get free toilet paper and 2) you can get this same kind of thing on a smaller level by offering your products or services for free in exchange for social interaction. I also am a huge proponent of begging (I infrequently ask my tribe to do things because I have built up good will through sharing great content for free – like this post!)

Sharing Cottonelle Facebook FailWhat they are doing wrong… so it is kinda little to see, but one of the Facebook peeps actually said to them, “You guys gotta come up with something better than this!” in response to a picture question, “Have You Shared The Joys Of the Cottonelle Care Routine With Your Family And Friends?” Seriously? Cottonelle thinks that we are going to share this photo to our timelines or spark a conversation with my Midwestern hubby about why we have to have a toilet care routine (that WOULD be fun, but could lead to a divorce!)

The page has a couple of neat posts but you can see that the corporate parent is not so comfortable about moving away from traditional push marketing and is losing the “person” in their brand. Just putting a picture of this chick onto a sales message isn’t going to work!

This Is Not New!

Old humans in adsSo it is easy to think that this is a new phenomenon with Social, but I can think of literally hundreds of examples over the years…from the Marlboro Man (my Mom smoked Marlboros and so do I) to Madge the lady who said you should soak your fingers in dishwashing liquid.

While we can see that the some of these brands have been modernized, the concept is still the same. Have a strong, silent man to represent your smokes. The thinking is that if you buy (and smoke) Marlboros too, you will be as cool as this guy.

Where I think Cottenelle is missing the boat is that the toilet paper lady is not “cool” or hip. She is obviously “mom-ish” aged, but she is a little cartoony for my taste. I happen to know that most women in the 35-45 demographic are not ready to lie down and die, turning into the stereotypical “mother”. This may be because having a “neutral” character is far less scary to a big brand than injecting a little edge into the equation.

Some interesting notes about humanizing your brand:

  • It is widely held that women are more approachable and shared on social media. This may be why we see so many women “spokesmen” for brands.
  • About 80 percent of buying decisions for this kind of thing are done by women so it is no wonder we have lots of ladies.
  • As humans we tend to like to see people who are “like” us. Have to think that the blond haired, blue eyed lady is not flipping the switches for African American or Hispanic buyers.

So there you have it, my take on humanizing your brand for small business marketing. If you have a favorite from today or days gone by, please leave a comment below so I can add him or her to the post!!!

Choosing A Niche – But Do You LOVE It?

Choosing a niche - do you love it?When you are doing entrepreneur marketing, there is nothing more important than to know who your perfect client is and then focus exclusively on that person when developing products or services. One of the ways that we recommend figuring out what you’re selling is to figure out what you like to do best.

As entrepreneurs, there are many things that we COULD do! Sometimes it seems like we are just jumping from one great new idea to another without really planning what we like to do (or at least would like to do for the next 5 years or so!)

This has happened to me a number of times over the years. I started doing real estate in 2007 because I thought it would be fun and I would be good at it. Well I was! I was a GREAT real estate marketer, but a horrible real estate agent. Within two years I had a pretty huge practice and was MISERABLE because in reality because I like marketing not helping people buy and sell homes. I was in and out within a couple of years with a firm understanding that I like marketing.

I have also fallen into other areas that I COULD do. Mostly they are one offs that are not profitable and take up way to much time once I get digging into what is needed. Check out this post to learn more about how these “detours” cost you time AND money…One-offs – How they cost small business owners time and opportunity!

So how DO you go about choosing a niche?

I KNOW, there are myriad people out there talking about how you should find your passion and then monetize that. That is cute, but there has to be a point where you really look at what the numbers are. If you love knitting and are a great knitter but not good on the computer, you are going to have a hard road to open up a local retail store and then finding enough other knitting others locally who will support your store. There are just too many online retailers that can crush you on price or selection.

Choosing a nicheThat said, you also DO NOT want to pick a “popular” niche just because it is profitable. I was cruising the interwebs the other day and came upon this article about wrestling and how the promoters were greedy. Pretty interesting in a marketing way.

I noticed that the site was using other people’s footage and basically just reporting with some of their own commentary thrown in. There were also many marketing pieces there including ads and links that the website owner could make money from….interesting.

Now, if you were trying to choose a niche, this one looks great! But for me, I would be able to write about one article that take me FOREVER to research. I would also have to start subscribing to and following blogs and news that was about sports, sport figures and the like. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good football game as well as the next gal, but that is definitely not a passion of mine.

Won’t choosing a niche limit how much you can make?

The next question I get about choosing a niche is, “but won’t I lose money by having such a narrow focus?” Um, just because you focus on and target a niche, doesn’t mean you won’t get opportunities outside that. You don’t turn them down, you just don’t focus on them with your marketing money or energy!

Again with the entrepreneur thing, but I think it bears repeating…entrepreneurs are smart and capable, they are able to be nimble and pivot easily. That is a blessing and curse. With marketing, time and patience are your friend and if you are always flitting from one new project to the next, you will have a hard time gaining traction to do what you want and live your fabulous life!

Pick a thin slice, focus on it for a good three to six months and then figure out if it is going to work. We tend to get WAY out ahead of ourselves with our ideas and fall in love or hate with something too quickly. Take a little time to plan your biz out and it will reward you in the long run!

I promise I am not bashing local, I LOVE this local shop

So what does a great niche look like? I am stalking a scrapbooking store in England, Art From The Heart (I live in the US and have never even been to England). I get their emails almost every day and watch what they have new in stock (I could never buy because the shipping would be OUTRAGEOUS!)

So how did this British upstart win my heart?

  • One – the owner of the store is a speaker and talks at events around the world (clue: if you are a local store owner, you have to leave it from time to time to generate business!)
  • Two – they have a great email list that sends the latest products AND pictures of finished projects AND news about where the owner will be…I AM stalking her after all!
  • Three – they have a Facebook page where they feature finished projects (not sure if they have a Pinterest, but I KNOW many of Dyan’s designs are pinned on the site!)
  • Four – she sells products in the US at stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby.
  • Five – she designs products that are good for her, things she is interested in using and because she is scrapbooker she is great at knowing what people like me want.

Now, if you are choosing a niche or getting ready to launch a new company, this sounds insanely out of reach. There are A LOT of moving pieces to her success and it is hard to figure out how you could get all that in a couple of months.

Well you CAN’T! If you are truly working on your passion and know what you want to do for YEARS you just need to start somewhere today. Pick your niche, pick your products or services and start today with ONE THING. Could be to sign up for an association site, setting up a website, sourcing products or basically anything that moves you forward one step. Tomorrow get up and do something else that moves you forward another step. Rinse and repeat.

Picking a great niche (for you) WILL make things easier but at the end of the day, you just need to take the time to build an empire around doing what you love and keep that momentum going every day!

Need help figuring out your niche? Give me a call today to find out more about our Entrepreneur Marketing consultation! You will be glad you did…:) 727-415-9165

Using SEO and Tagging To Play The Game!

Using SEO and Tagging To Play The GameOkay, today I am going to let you into the twisted world of “winning” at SEO and tagging on any website you are registered with. This is not for the purposes of ranking on search engines, but on specific websites that you are a part of (although it should work on YouTube and other sites that allow self tagging).

The Media Monster and I signed up for SpeakerMatch.com so we could get more public speaking events next year. You may be signed up for an association website, LinkedIn or other similar site where there is heavy database, keyword or tagging searching (I did this for my husband on LinkedIn so he could rank for Database Administrator (DBA) a keyword that people look for when they are looking for people like him! As you can see he is ranked number three with very little LinkedIn use and very few connections.

SEO LinkedIn Tagging and Keywords

If you are in the job market (for say speaking gigs), you could max out your profile with keywords that people might use like public speaker, denver, etc. These will all effect the number of hits you get. Don’t try to be everything to everyone on each site, just try to be the best you on each one!

Database Bits

SpeakerMatch Database SearchSo I was messing around searching the SpeakerMatch database BEFORE I publish our profile. There are a number of different database fields that you search (these are called CLUES to me!) This is the public search that meeting organizers will be using to find speakers. Some fields include:

please note that humans tend to start at the top and work their way down, keep that in mind!

  • Speakers First or Last Name – I can’t compete with this one…if they have someone in mind already I am NOT changing my name…:)
  • Keyword – This has to be a boolean search (a database term that means using keywords with the ability to use pluses, etc.) as the results that come up are not in the tags of the people who are returned. Note to self, make sure that I have LOTS of keywords in my description. Someone could search “marketing speaker” which returned 2 results OR “marketing speakers” which returned two also – could mean that it knows plurals but to be on the safe side I am going to use both.
  • Topic category – Now this is where it gets interesting! Like I said before, people read from the top down so my potential categories are (A) Advertising and PR, (M) Marketing and (S) Social Media. Now there is not a place for me to choose this so I need to make sure that I have those keywords in my profile so I can get in the juicy first category!
  • Fee range – optional based on your business…picking nothing (open) seems lame and counter productive
  • City - PLEASE use the biggest city in your area. I live in Westminster, CO but say that I am traveling from Denver as that is the closest large city to me!
  • State – Self explanatory
  • Gender, Ethnicity and Religion – Can feel like it is intrusive, but meeting planners and others sometimes have need of certain person to fill a spot. Your goal is to get on the list so fill these out!

Missed Opportunities

Now, I started filling bits out and thought I had it pretty well done except for tweeking. Then I dug a little deeper. You can have programs (your topics – many didn’t even have this basic information filled out), articles (why not write a couple of quick articles?), audio (pull it off of your videos!), blog (um add the link!), pictures, documents, and testimonials.

As with any website that makes their business selling information, rarely are the owners of the site (like SpeakerMatch) going to tell what to do to win. But dang, they sure give you come clues. If you are dedicated to succeeding at coming up in the most searches, add some articles (even though you wonder why in the heck you would…:) Upload your videos if that is what they like or share you YouTubes. Remember this is all a game and the player with the most cards WINS!

One thing that is tempting to do is repurpose something you have written somewhere else. I wouldn’t do that, make sure you have new content for the articles. Also, it would probably be a great idea to do a welcome video just for that website so people know that you care! These little touches will ABSOLUTELY make a big difference in how many people find you in searches (and that is the point right?)

If you have meandered down here, you probably have either a jones to make your LinkedIn or SpeakerMatch better BUT remember this works for ANY website that allows search term, SEO, tagging or opting in to things like “liking” certain pages (ie Facebook). If you start to think, “hey I want to be the one that comes up in searches” you can make a huge difference in your SEO marketing efforts!

Inspirational Business Quotes | Business Motivation Quotes

I admit it, I am a major quote nerd! I love to find really great quotes that I can use for inspiration, or to motivate me or to remind myself that there ARE giants who have gone before me and who experienced some of the same doubts and fears that I have today. I think for someone like me who spends a lot of time alone behind a keyboard, reaching out to people and hearing their words of wisdom is a very powerful driving force!

Please feel free to share the quotes with pictures freely, all I ask is that you leave the attribution to Marketing Artfully on there!

Goals are like magnets. They'll attract the things that make them come true. Tony Robbins

Goals are like magnets. They’ll attract the things that make them come true. Tony Robbins

But everyone doesn't deserve their own audience. That's something that's earned. - Seth GodinBut everyone doesn’t deserve their own audience. That’s something that’s earned.
Seth Godin

In order for you to profit from your mistakes, you have to get out and make some.
Anonymous

The difference in winning and losing is most often… not quitting.
Walt Disney, Animator

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.
Vince Lombardi, Legendary Football Coach

You can't be half brave, chris broganYou can’t be half brave. You can’t fly on the ground. You have to shift from “should” or “someday” or “going to” and do something.
Chris Brogan

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.
Erica Jong, Author

Obsess over how much you can give with your time rather than how little of your time you can give.
Sam Parker, Co-founder of JustSell.com

What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage!
Cowardly Lion, from The Wizard of Oz

People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don't know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to. George Allen, football coachPeople of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to.
George Allen, football coach

The secret of business, especially these days, is to focus relentlessly on your unfair advantage – the thing you do that others don’t.
John Rollwagen, executive

Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.
George Woodberry, Poet

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
Henry Ford

And when things start to happen, don't worry.  Don't stew. Just go right along. You'll  start happening too. Dr SeussAnd when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.
Dr Seuss

If you don’t fail now and again, it’s a sign you’re playing it safe.
Woody Allen, Director

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.
M Radmacher

The mode in which the inevitable comes to pass is through effort.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., American judge

When I was young, I observed that nine out of 10 things I did were failures, so I did 10 times more work. George Bernard Shaw, Writer and CriticWhen I was young, I observed that nine out of 10 things I did were failures, so I did 10 times more work.
George Bernard Shaw, Writer and Critic

Do not wait; the time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.
Napoleon Hill, Writer

I don’t think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it.
Mike Ditka, Football Coach

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.
Frank A. Clark

Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it. J. M. Barrie, DramatistDreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.
J. M. Barrie, Dramatist

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
Dale Carnegie

No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.
Brian Tracy, Author

So there you have it! My favorite inspirational business quotes that help with my business motivation. I update these when I find new great ones (hint, hint…if you have a good one I missed please leave it in the comments and I will add it to the list with a thank you link if approved!)

Is Long Form Content Taking Over The Google?

Is Long Form Content Taking Over The Google?I read an article the other day about how long form content (a fancy word for really long articles) is dominating Google now. This seems to be counter intuitive to today’s busy world as people try to consume less info in smaller chunks AND Gary Vee is writing whole books about how being brief and to the point is winning over long, intense posts.

What does make sense to me is that the “thin” sites from days of yore were made precisely to game the systems. These were full of short, crappy, spun posts that did not benefit Google’s users, the searcher. So maybe deep in the bowels of Google’s algorithm is a favoritism towards long content. How does Matt Cutts sleep at night knowing all the secrets of Google and still not telling us!!!

A Non Scientific Study of Long Form Content Results – My Data

I am not a math girl so I am not going to do an in depth study of numbers and variables, but what I do have is my analytics data that shows my old-old site with great traffic and a newer site that is process of growing. Let’s take a peek at what those sites tell us about the length of articles in combination with their popularity (only based on my numbers – I know, you math whizzes are cringing right now!)

Best pages with views and word count Marketing Artfully (minus the home page and sales pages):

  • 100 Great Email Subject Lines – Email Newsletters (2,635 views | 2,368 words)
  • What are important customer demographics? (717 views | 594 words)
  • Real Estate Marketing | 100 Great SEO Keywords for Realtors (713 views | 598 words)
  • Work Quotes With Pictures | Labor Day Quotes (612 views | 318 words)
  • Giving Thanks Quotes For Small Business (508 views | 755 words)
  • 100 Great Twitter Tweet Examples (494 views | 1629 words)
  • Customer Demographics – Age Demographics for Advertising (441 views | 656 words)
  • Small Business Marketing – 100 Great Call To Action Examples (290 views | 769 words)

Best pages with views and word count M&M Monsters (minus the home page and sales pages):

  • Real Estate Marketing – Tips For Listing Agents, Writing Your MLS Listing (72 views | 885 words)
  • Easy Email Follow Up Plan for Networking (61 views | 1392 words)
  • Why Knowing Who Your Perfect Customer Is Matters (31 views | 869 words)
  • Why Infusionsoft! (29 views | 873 words)
  • Real Estate Marketing – What Should You Send In Your Email Newsletters? (26 views | 810 words)
  • Real Estate Marketing – How To Market To A Farm (24 views | 639 words)
  • Real Estate Newsletters – Are Newsletters Dead (23 views | 476 words)
  • Email Marketing – What is the difference between autoresponders and drip campaigns (21 views | 818 words)

Conclusions…first off, I don’t really write posts between 300-400 words so there is NO chance for that length to be represented. That said, here is the breakdown by percentage of my top blog posts by length:

  • Epic (1500-2500 words) – 12.5%
  • Wordy-McWorderson (1000-1500) – 6.25%
  • Long But Not Stupid Long (500-1000) – 68.75%
  • Shortys – (400-500) – 12.5%

It seems like the sweet spot for getting traffic is somewhere between 500 and 1,000 words with 800-ish topping the list.

Google Results

Now lets go outside my posts and see how long the top Google results are for things I care about!

Customer Demographics

#1 – What are important customer demographics? (mine) 594 words
#2 – Customer Demographics (Frost & Sullivan – case study) 839 words
#3 – 14 Tips to Nail Down Demographics (Mashable) 1,245 words
#4 – Know Your Target Market (Entrepreneur.com) 1,281 words
#5 – What Are Your Customer Demographics? (Experian) 546 words
#6 – Demographics (Wikipedia) 650 words
#7 – The Difference Between Your Customer Demographics and Psychographics (YellowPages.com) 498 words
#8 – What are my best customers like? (Neilsen) 126 words

Conclusions – well I am in REALLY good company! I am sharing the first page with the likes of Entrepreneur, Neilsen and Mashable. All are between 498 and 1,281 words (with the exception of Neilsen’s 126 words with a couple of graphs). Pretty spread out, let’s look at another one!

Realtor Marketing

#1 – Realtor.com no words mostly pictures (stupid realtor.com)
#2 – Mobile List Builder Realtor.com no words mostly pictures (stupid realtor.com)
#3 – Realtor.org Field Guide to Marketing Tips for REALTORS® 768 words
#4 – Inman Next category page
#5 – Agent Boost 21 Low/No Cost Real Estate Marketing Tips 617 words
#6 – Marketing Monday 10 Killer Real Estate Marketing Ideas 2308 words
#7 – Mine – Realtor Marketing – Stop Offering A CMA | Comparative Market Analysis 561 views
#8 – Zillow Blog – Drones taking off as real estate marketing tool 645 views (first page, 1,142 total)

Conclusions – The NAR (National Association of Realtors) and Realtor.com dominate this keyword. That said, if you are a Realtor looking for marketing help you may wind up skipping the “official” sites after you have visited them once and move onto the sites lower down the page. I get a lot of traffic from Realtors looking for marketing help so they must be coming from somewhere!

Other Smart People Who Are Talking About This Too

Final long form content and Google thoughts. I think that we can safely say that a sweet spot to rank in Google for a specific keyword is about 800-1,000 words. There is also a bunch there around the 500 word mark but the concept that you can churn out 300 word minimum posts and get a quick hit ranking from Google is probably an urban myth. Hitting those high spots takes time, dedication and great content.

Side note, I follow ALL of these sites and they do not have just one amazing post about the topic. To rank well for a search term, your whole website has to have a cumulative ranking for that term and then you can break through with a great post that ranks on page one.

What does that mean? If you have a website that is all about Customer Demographics and write an AMAZING post about Social Media Marketing you may have a chance of that one ranking. BUT, if you have a site about weight loss and write that same AMAZING post about Social Media Marketing, your chances of ranking well diminish greatly!

Social Media Marketing Success – Using Lists To Stop Driving Yourself Nuts!

Social Media Marketing Success - Using ListsI have to say that the amount of content that I am exposed to daily is overwhelming. My day starts with checking the news on my USA Today app, going through email (not much news there, mostly spam I have to delete) and then I head over to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Klout and Pinterest. If I spent just 15 minutes doing each one, I would  have wasted 2 hours out of my day right off the bat (and 15 minutes would be a low estimate for some of them!)

So how do I make sure that my time is spent productively? Using lists makes it MUCH easier to fly through my day! On each of the social sites, I add people and companies to lists of things that I want to see and interact with, cutting my social time down to about half an hour and providing ONLY the content I want….

…which leads me to a question that you MUST ask yourself. Are you producing content that someone would add to a list? This is different across social media and here are a couple of things to think about:

Facebook – FB, being inherently social requires that you share a bit of yourself, your hobbies, funny bits and maybe some good quotes. FB is NOT the place to go on a rant, post provocative info or blast the other political party. You HAVE to remember that half of the county is Republican so sending out a snarky Sarah Palin post will make about half of your friends unhappy. Thinking of posting a “funny” gay bashing cartoon, most people have a friend or family member that is gay and while they may chuckle along with you, it doesn’t do anything for either of yours’ social standing. Something to remember…they may not unfriend you for doing this and you may have the feeling that everyone agrees with you. This can be because the people who have grown tired of your rantings have hidden you from their wall and now only people who agree with you entirely are seeing your posts.

Twitter – Twitter is simple. People are not necessarily wanting to see your whole breadth as a person, more-so they are looking for great information about single topics like marketing (YAY!), weight loss, business, camping, goal setting and the like. We have found that having a TIGHT Twitter timeline can be a very powerful thing. One of our Twitter accounts has gained over 500 followers in a little less than 2 months by focusing exclusively on the topic of Search and Search Engine Optimization. Having such a tight account makes it easy for someone to feel good about following us, they KNOW that they will get only information that they would be interested in.

LinkedIn – This one is a enigma to me. Generally all I see is recruiting, nationally recognized figures and large corporation content. So roll with it! Figure out how to post things that they might find interesting AND share the great national content that they produce. ALL posts on LinkedIn should be business related in some fashion.

Google Plus – Google Plus is for search! You can be a little more free wheeling with Google Plus because mostly people are not interacting with you on the level that Facebook requires. The main benefit of Google Plus is to grow large networks and then share content from your website or blog with keywords attached in the comments. This will make your posts show up in the “regular” Google search and is a super powerful tool!!!

Pinterest – The blessing of Pinterest is that you can have as many boards with varied interests that you like. The only thing that I make sure is that I have business related boards at the top and bottom of my profile. I feel like personal people (say people who follow my scrapbooking board will be more likely to “dig” for relevant info while business people are looking to look at the top and scroll to the bottom to see if they “like” me enough to follow my profile.

This is all great, but how can using lists for your social media marketing increase your effectiveness? I told you about all these social sites because I think it is important to know the FOCUS of the social media property before developing lists! Having a great list on Facebook will not automatically translate to a great list on Twitter!

Lists On Social Media Sites

Facebook – Let’s start with 800 lb. gorilla in the room! Facebook is nice and can be a really good site to build relationships and get referrals from. That said, I think that there is a really strategic way to increase your influence on Facebook with lists…

  • Profile lists – Your friends and family. If you are using FB for business, it can be VERY had to find the posts that you “really” want to see (like those from your Daddy and husband). With this in mind, you need to make a list of Friends and Family that you can check at will without waiting for Facebook to show them in your timeline.
  • Profile lists – Business friends. Now this is still a list of real people, not businesses. These would include key influencers you are targeting, clients, referral partners and basically anyone who you want to connect with business-wise.
  • Profile lists – Pages. Now this is where it gets powerful. Facebook thinks that comments from humans are more important than comments from pages so you can really help boost and make an impression on the page owner if you have a targeted list of business pages. Just remember, A LOT of these pages are managed by social media managers so you may not get as big a bang for your bucks as you might on say, Twitter. But still worth-while!
  • Profile lists – Groups. Same as pages, just groups.
  • Page lists – Pages. As your page, you can make lists of complimentary businesses, other local businesses and industry leaders who are using a page instead of a profile (pages can only interact with other pages – they can’t talk or comment to people although they could share a post). It is really powerful to interact as the page as this is one of the primary ways you can get likes now-a-days.

Because Facebook limits what you see on your wall, it is extremely important to have these kinds of interactions available through your pages and posts lists.

Twitter – AMAZING! Okay, I am biased because I like the Twitter so much, but Twitter lists are GREAT for finding and sharing (retweeting) information from your key influencers (again, industry peeps, clients, prospects and referral partners). Here are some reasons to do Twitter lists…

  • Filtering – There is SOOOO much information flying around on Twitter that without making lists, you cannot possibly find the great needles in the haystacks.
  • Retweeting – This is the highest compliment that you can give on Twitter. Sharing someone’s post is a great way to attract their notice.
  • Real People – Many Twitter accounts are actually the real person! This is a way to get access to people that you might never have a chance to talk with in “real life”.
  • Finding Content – There is A LOT of great stuff on Twitter that you can save to share for later on your social networks. That said, without having lists of types of content you will have a hard time finding anything good.

Pinterest – The cool thing about Pinterest is that lists are kinda-sorta built right in. By following boards instead of people, you will get only the “stuff” they post that is of interest to you. That said, there are no lists on Pinterest yet which is a real bummer. Moving right along…

Google Plus – You can easily make lists in Google Plus – they are called Circles and Google has made this easier than any of the other social networks. One thing to note about Google Plus circles is that you should try to limit them to 99 people or pages so that you retain the ability to email out your posts when you have something important. Sharing content works much the same as on Facebook with some notable exceptions:

  • Profile lists – You can mix up pages and people in these lists although I try to make Biz Page lists and people lists to keep my lists cleaner. I definitely look at people stuff before I look at business page stuff.
  • Biz lists – One superior thing here is that pages CAN like and circle people.
  • Engagement – Like and share from both lists to your profile and business pages!

LinkedIn – The most disappointing lists. Sigh. So on LinkedIn you can make lists in your contact book to email out to your contacts but you cannot make true lists of real people that you are connected to. What you can do is use Interests > Pulse to get easy access to industry leaders and people who LinkedIn as deemed as “Influencers”.  These can include journalists, best selling authors or industry titans. You can also add “channels” like marketing or innovation and companies that are big enough to attract LinkedIn’s notice. It is a good way to get content to share, but honestly, I doubt that many of these are real people, more likely they are being managed by Social Media Managers and are not a great way to reach key people.

There you have it! Lists for the top social media sites (I also have lists for my feed reader and Klout but seriously, how long can this post get?) If you have any great info about making lists on social, please make sure to leave me a comment below!

The Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistake, Bar None

So today we are going to talk about the biggest social media marketing mistake companies are making, bar none. If you are one of those that wants to know the answer and move on, it is not including pictures in your blog and social posts.

For those of you who want more, I think this post is going to be a big eye opener today. I am going to show how people are using photos well and how some are crashing and burning.

No photos in Facebook intended posts:

MIT Facebook pageMost of you know about MIT (the technology school) and they have GREAT info, but according to this article, Sharing fast and slow: The psychological connection between how we think and how we spread news on social media by www.niemanlab.org, this is how their Facebook page ALWAYS looks. Full of the MIT Magazing logo. Sigh.

No matter how brilliant your “stuff” is, if you don’t have a picture in it for sharing purposes, you are going to be fighting the inertia of most people’s overwhelm. You need to have something snazzy to grab their attention.

How you post to Facebook

I was talking to a gal the other day who did not want to have to use the native platform (logging into Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and preferred to use a service like Bufferapp.com or Hootsuite.com to schedule ALL of her posts. The problem with that is that the photos pull in differently depending on HOW you post them and the size of the image in the post. Here are four different posts, which I tried valiantly to maintain in their actual size comparison.

the size of photos in facebook

The first one was posted the same way that the second one was (with Bufferapp.com) the only difference being that the photo in the post was SO tiny that it could not be pulled in as a large photo (it would have pixilated).

The second post is actually not all that bad, it is big enough to attract notice in the news feed and the photo in the post was large enough that Facebook could pull it in easily!

The third one is a good example of how Facebook crops photos. I would have been better off to move the words to the middle instead of having them at the top so that they would be more centered when FB pulled it in.

Lastly (and obviously the best), I hand posted this, uploading the photo and then adding the link and words. Using the native format (logging into Facebook to post) makes a huge difference and should be used when possible!

The mother of all photo sites, Pinterest

Before Pinterest, we all had sorta-kinda okay pictures in our our posts that matched what we were talking about. Smart marketers today though, know that having a call to action when a photo is shared will make a BIG difference in how much traffic you get through Pinterest.

How to make interesting pinterest photos

As you can see, photo one was from the old days and was marginally close to the topic of the article, Is Honest Affiliate Marketing An Oxymoron. That said, because Pinterest is a visual and sharing site, NO ONE has bothered to read the words below it. They do not know that this is a blog post and really the only sharing opportunity I have is if someone likes spiders – which will NOT help to get traffic to my marketing blog!

Both the other photos have a strong call to action and let the reader know what the accompanying site and photo are about. These get shared very well and currently Pinterest is the fourth largest source of traffic on my website.

Google Plus Photos and Posting

Last but not least photo-wise is Google Plus. The same holds true that uploading a photo directly to Google+ makes it big and beautiful (good for people). That having been said, I have heard around that if you post a picture and put a link in the comments it will not show up in Google search as this is a tactic they recognized that the spammers would use to game the system.

With that in mind, it is good to post your important posts a couple of times to Google Plus, once with the link pulling the photo and once with the photo loaded separately so that you can take advantage of both types of benefits.

Videos In Blog Posts

You may follow some of the big names in marketing like I do and one thing that I notice is that they have a screen capture of the video they are including AND the video. The reason for this is that they can then post and pin the photo, pulling directly from the post. If all they have is a video, that will not pull in when posting to Facebook and the like.

Pictures and videos in blog posts

thanks to MarieForleo.com for doing such a good job at this!

Why Photos Matter

The Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistake - It's All About The PicturesIf you are a pinner (using Pinterest) please click the “pin it” link. If I had just used the photos in this post, you would have been able to “pin” them BUT would not have had the option to pin the picture that tells what the post is actually about! That would have greatly decreased the number of shares I would get on Pinterest and would have hurt my efforts across all the social media sites.

Never have pictures been so important to marketing as they are today and I fully believe that the biggest social media marketing mistake people are making is to not take advantage of the power of photos or pictures in their posts.

>> If you are a small business owner and would like some help with your marketing, please check out our social media marketing services page!

Small Business Marketing – Why Do They Keep Saying SEO Is Dead

Small Business Marketing - Why Do They Keep Saying SEO Is DeadThis post is for NON-SEO (search engine optimization) people, my small business owners who are out there in the trenches trying to figure out how to do SEO to get your posts and sites seen and read. It is pretty long and detailed, if you have any questions, please make sure to leave them in the comment section!

A little history of SEO

The history of SEO for me starts in about 1999 when I was working at a web hosting company and we started building websites for clients. In those days having a website was a rarity and luxury that few business owners could or would afford. In those days there were no search engines as we know them today, you just had yahoo and altavista which were sites that were effectively big directories of page links that you could add your website to. Not too much SEO going on yet…but we still tried. In those days you DID have to keyword each page because they were all separate HTML pages.

Fast forward to 2005-2006 for me and blogs had become all the rage in the big dog circles although I was still on the fence. That said, I built my two main sites there and we were off to the races. They looked clumsy and ugly, but man did they rank well in search engines like Google which was big and getting bigger all the time (check out the history of the Google here…:)

Around this time I first became aware that there were “black hat” and “white hat” methods of SEO and that some of the black hatters were doing mean things like hijacking your website and redirecting it to the porn…sigh. Oh this was high times for SEO. You could throw up a couple of “doorway pages” that were keyword stuffed and get rankings right away. You could also write a bunch of keywords in the bottom of the page and make them white so no one could “see” them…but of course the search engines could read them when the spiders came to index your site.

The other thing you could do was to make huge networks of links that were really lame and came from “thin sites” which had about 5 keyword stuffed pages. You could also pay very little to be put into gagillions of directories. All these backlinks still helped to increase your rankings on Google although everyone knew they violated the terms of service.

Onto 2009 and some really fun times. You could write a couple of posts and then “spin” them and submit them to sites like Ezine articles and article farms. There was no thought put into any of these, just tons of gibberish and sort of english sounding words all strung together. You could also find content on the internet and just pull the feed into your site as content or simply copy and paste it to your website and it would still rank well. For a while there, when you did a google search, all you got was crap sites…which leads us to a short break to talk about what Google does…

Google is focused on the user experience of the searcher and they don’t care if marketers are happy. They make changes to their algorithm constantly and this causes some sites to go up and some sites to go down. Sometimes popular site are penalized by these changes and tactics that worked in the past no longer will work. Additionally, they have an internal system for figuring out page rank of sites, giving sites a score between 0-10. Having a 10 site (like www.usa.gov and www.adobe.com) link to you is like the holy grail of link juice and something that all marketers try to accomplish!

Moving on, in 2011 the Panda Update targeted thin sites that offered a poor user experience…meaning that all of those crappy sites dropped like a stone. Not only did this effect the little sites, but it made the page rank that they sent to the connected pages in the network worthless. So if someone had 100s of sites all linking to them from thin sites and google took all those sites down all that ranking love went with it. Now we recommend that people have more “authority sites” rather than little tiny websites!

The 2012 Penguin Update specifically targeted links. This one mad me very happy because I KNEW that there were black-hatters out there who were getting LOTS of traffic because they had made A LOT of fraudulent backlinks to their websites and I didn’t want to cheat that way even though my clients’ and my sites were struggling to show up in the non-black hat world. This update didn’t just say that crappy backlinks were bad, and don’t do them anymore…it said we are going to penalize you dearly for all those backlinks you ALREADY have out there and you need to try to walk back the cat and make them go away. Think about finding 5 or 10 THOUSAND of bad backlinks, emailing the site owner and begging them to remove your link…not fun!

Last but not least, the Google is a changing over to semantic search. This is a term to describe the fact that, while many people are still searching on their computers, many searches are done on a smart phone with real words, such as “siri how do I get to the grocery store on 7th and main”. In the past this search would look much different as it was typed into a computer!

Now you are pretty much up to today so let’s break down some of the specifics about why they say SEO is dead!!! ps – I wrote a post a while ago about bad SEO not just not helping but hurting that you might enjoy too!!

No follow links

Back in the heyday of link building, there were many sites that allowed “follow” links in their comments and even on their sites (Squidoo comes to mind). That has changed drastically now and most links that you are able to proactively create are “no follow” links which do not pass any page rank to your website.

Over-optimized links

It has been almost two years now since Google said that they would punish you for bad links and still I get user names like this in my comment section…”SEO China, SEO Hong Kong”. What they are trying to do is get a link back that has the keywords SEO and SEO china in them. The problem with this is link building companies are unable to make links the way humans do. In the real world, some of those links would say “click here” and some would say the owner’s name, and some would say the company name and some would link to SEO china, but not all. The SEO companies are still using old tricks that no longer work and could hurt you!

Doorway Pages

Some of you may be wondering why I am talking about something from 4-5 years ago…well I am here to tell you, these are still going on and being sold by SEO companies even though they will probably hurt the website owner! These are keyword stuffed pages that are intended to stand alone and provide a “doorway” for a particular page on a website. For example, I could make a doorway page that was super optimized for SEO Expert Denver, and have the only link go to my sales page for that service. Sounds good, right? Well it was at least 4 years ago that Google got wise to these and shut them down (even before noticing the “thin sites” that they corrected in the Panda update). These do not work!

Keyword Links to multiple pages

Dude, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just, like, rank for Social Media Expert Maryland, Social Media Expert Florida and a whole bunch of different ones like that? Then we could make pages for each one with the same content except change the words to the right city and state…people are STILL doing this to this day even though it was Panda-ed. This one just needs to die a horrible death!!!

Article Spinning

There are hundreds of article spinner softwares out there and it can be tempting to think about all the great backlinks you can get…unfortunately this is another blast from the past and it doesn’t work nearly as well as it did before. You would be MUCH better off to write a number of different articles so you will know that it is original content!

Fake directories

There are literally MILLIONS of directories that you can submit your website to. None are particularly good or high quality and they don’t work anymore. Here is a great article about this… What Makes a Good Web Directory, and Why Google Penalized Dozens of Bad Ones. Please note that this post is from 2007…when they started to crack down. The sad thing is this is still a service that SEO companies offer today.

Buying links

The whole idea that you will write great content and people will beat a path to your door is cute and not all that relevant. You have to work your face off to get backlinks from other sites and share it on social A LOT to get traction. This can make wanting to just buy backlinks from Fiverr or a really bad SEO company very tempting. DO NOT DO IT!!! All of those links violate the terms of service and will count AGAINST you. In plain English…you will pay someone to make a whole bunch of links that you will have to pay someone else later to get rid of through remediation and hard work.

Why EXACTLY Do They Say SEO Is Dead

Well, Google just hid all the data about what keywords people use to search for your website so it is hard to figure out what you rank for. The data in your google analytics just shows the info from Yahoo and Bing and is such a small sampling for most of us that it paints an inaccurate picture. There are a few companies out there with some data about this stored but it is getting more out of date day by day.

The “tactics and tricks” that people used in the past are all falling by the wayside as google cracks down (sometimes retro-actively) on bad practices. Being cute and trying to game the system is getting harder and harder. I wrote this post because many of our clients are still hiring “old” seo firms that are using these practices and are being hurt by them. Today’s SEO landscape looks more like a soccer field with multiple players. You need to be doing social and video and blogging and myriad other things rather than relying on one company to “get your site to the top of the search engines”. It isn’t pretty and it is hard, but honestly you don’t have any other choice.

Goal Setting – Good Marketing Done Imperfectly Still Counts

Doing the day-to-day stuff is hard and where most people fail. So it is the time of the year that I do some serious goal setting. During December I generally try to post a blog post each and every day of the month (generally missing the first day…it has become a tradition around my house!)

So today I got all fired up to write an AMAZING blog post but then figured out that I had a speaking event, two client meetings and about 1,000 emails. Sigh.

What to do, what to do. Well people in person trump blog posts. Clients have paid for their time and that trumps blog posts. But still, it is important to do what I say I am going to do…so here are my deepest feelings about marketing:

Good marketing done imperfectly still counts

So I am signed up for a website called Flylady.com which tells you how to keep a house well (I am organizationally challenged which is why I have such stringent systems for my business). While I do like some of the tips, mostly I like her motto which is “housework done incorrectly still blesses your family”.

Those of us who are frustrated perfectionists can understand this immediately. It can seem like doing a post that is not a great seo post, that is published at 6:09 Mountain time is a waste. But it is not really. I truly believe that doing what you say, no matter if it is perfect is important.

Doing LOTS of stuff sometimes trumps doing perfect stuff

During my speaking event, a lady asked about social media and if she should do one really well or all of them (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Pinterest) a little bit. I think she wanted to hear that doing one perfectly was the best bet.

Of course I said, do all of them! It is tempting to do the one that you like the best, but your potential customers are actually on all of them and you are leaving a lot of opportunity on the table if you only do the one you favor.

Doing LOTS of stuff sometimes trumps doing perfect stuff – part two

Another thing for this topic is that A LOT of my traffic in the coming year will come from the posts that I write this month. Every day when I try to shoehorn a blog post in around presents for the kids, decorating, oh and work, I think about that.

Doing the day-to-day stuff is hard and where most people fail. If you can just show up everyday you will beat out 98% of the people out there!

Giving Thanks Quotes For Small Business

It is that time of year again! Time to give thanks for friends, family, and especially our clients! This post contains giving thanks quotes with pictures and Thanksgiving quotes that are appropriate for business. Please feel free to share them on any social media platform or your site, as long as you leave the attribution intact…:)

I am grateful that my horizons were not narrowed at the outset. Jessye Norman

I am grateful that my horizons were not narrowed at the outset.
Jessye Norman

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. James Allen

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.
James Allen

The sun will not rise or set without my notice, and thanks. Winslow Homer

The sun will not rise or set without my notice, and thanks.
Winslow Homer

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. Meister Eckhart

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
Meister Eckhart

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

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

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. Max de Pree

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.
Max de Pree

Gratitude is one of those things that cannot be bought. It must be born with men, or else all the obligations in the world will not create it. Edward F. Halifax

Gratitude is one of those things that cannot be bought. It must be born with men, or else all the obligations in the world will not create it.
Edward F. Halifax

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light. Albert Schweitzer

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.
Albert Schweitzer

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

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

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. Gilbert K. Chesterton

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. James Allen

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.
James Allen

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. Marcus Tullius Cicero

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Some more great Thanks and Thanksgiving Quotes

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

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

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.
Karl Barth

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

Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude.
Joseph Wood Krutch

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

Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.
Felix Frankfurter

Disappointment is a sticky one, because no one can steal contentment, joy, gratitude, or peace – we have to give it away.
Kristin Armstrong

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

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

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Marcel Proust

I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve made mistakes, but thanks to those mistakes, I’ve learned.
Enrique Iglesias

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
Aesop

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

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

I am very grateful to make my living doing what I would do for free.
Judd Nelson

Remember that not to be happy is not to be grateful.
Elizabeth Carter

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

I try to be grateful for the abundance of the blessings that I have, for the journey that I’m on and to relish each day as a gift.
James McGreevey

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

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

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

Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.
Eileen Caddy

_ _ _

These are the best Thanksgiving quotes with pictures that I have collected! Please let me know in the comments if you have a favorite that I missed!!!

Realtor Marketing – AgentMatch, What It Means To Your Marketing

Realtor Marketing - Agent MatchThis is a post about “Who moved my cheese”, the fact that everything changes and that you CAN win at any game in which you know the rules!

So Realtor.com rolled out AgentMatch in two marketplaces, Las Vegas and Boulder which is just around the corner from me. Basically, it uses the sold data on properties to “match” your search to the “best” agents in the area.

Wanting to know more, I put out a call for a Realtor that would talk about this with me who actually worked in the Boulder market (many of the agents I hear yelling are not actually in a market that has this yet) to get his opinion. His name was Jason Sater, with Coldwell Banker and these are a few of the things that he said:

  • Agent match is in Beta right now and may not roll out to the whole country. In addition, agents could do the same function in Zillow (loading in their solds) for a while now so not sure why all the hub-bub.
  • Jason has seen a nice mix of teams and individual agents ranking in the searches he has done. It seems like the top agents are represented but also some of the other agents in the area.
  • It does seem like you could manipulate things like DOM just by deleting the listing, reposting and setting as sold more closely together.

What I find interesting is that Jason is not actually freaked out at all. He is pretty calm about the whole thing and is really just trying to get his arms around what it will actually mean for his business. Make sure you check out his Boulder real estate website!!!

This is what AgentMatch looks like…

Agent Match Boulder COI started with a search that seems to be in “North Boulder”. Now, as a consumer I did not know that it would be North Boulder and I am not sure I would have noticed. The portion contains some normal market statistics:

  • Number homes on market
  • Homes sold in the last six months
  • Average sold to list price
  • Average days on market

Marketing Tip #1

The first thing that jumps out at me if I was a listing agent in this market is that there is no absorption rate shown (maybe because it is a hard concept to explain to consumers). BUT absorption rate is a much more practical number than simply average days on market. So No. 1, when going on listing appointments I would ABSOLUTELY print this top part out and bring it with so I could talk intelligently about it. Panic-ing agents worry that they are not on the bottom showing up as “best”, I would worry about being the most knowable agent sitting at their kitchen table.

Next there is a dropdown and while it defaulted to Agents with recommendations, I could also choose:

  1. Agents with recommendations
  2. Homes for sale in this area
  3. Homes sold in this area
  4. Average days on market
  5. Average sold price to ask price

Marketing Tip #2

Real estate agent selling tips [Ebook]They just dropped a big hairy clue here. If you are a Realtor in this marketplace you need to get more recommendations…and not just ANY recommendations.

According to a great article by Inman, the recommendations have to be made on RealSatisfied.com which seems to have a relationship with Realtor.com (my words not theirs).

So following the bunny trail down, you probably need to find out more about RealSatisfied.com. It looks like they have a free plan that lets you get up to three recommendations. Now, that may or may not be enough to get you on the top 16 in your marketplace, but I have to think it is a good place to start. I would DEFINITELY set up an account and get my three favorite customers to give me referrals…I would go to their homes and beg if I had to.

So here comes the hard part. If you need more than 3, you have to pay $79 a year for unlimited. Sigh. I am so sick of people charging realtors for tools they have to have for their business…BUT if this rolls out in your marketplace, better to have it than not.

Looking at the numbers

When you are using data, it is easy to get confused (and manipulate it!) Because they are looking at recommendations here, we can extrapolate that R Tim Goodacre must have the most reviews in RealSatisified. OR it could be that ALL 16 have great reviews and they rotate the top agent. OR, OR, OR…what it does mean is that we need to take a closer look at all the data…

So now let’s see what each criteria results for the top 8 agents for each category:

Recomm Listings Solds DOM Sold/Ask
Goodacre Goodacre (6) Goodacre (4) Goodacre (32) Ratay (103%)
Hobson Bell (4) Hobson (4) Herz (36) Herz (101%)
Franco Franco (3) Franco (2) Westfall (37) Caulfield (100%)
Ratay Kidder (3) Ratay (2) Meko (40) Hinkleman (100%)
Huffman Hinkleman (3) Westfall (2) Hill (45) Soklin (100%)
Kidder Hillman (2) Meko (2) Hobson (49) Hobson (99%)
Hinkleman Meko (2) Caulfield (2) Soklin (49) Franco (99%)
Bell Hobson (2) Huffman (2) Franco (52) Westfall (99%)

Some observations:

  • If you look a this data, Mr. Goodacre seems to be a rock star in all areas except for list to sale price. The problem with data is that one bad sale price could skew the whole thing and he DID make the list at number 16 with 86% for four homes sold. I challenge any realtor to think that this is a “bad” number. It is a real number!!! But then again, is the public educated enough to know that this one statistic is not enough for them to choose or reject Mr. Goodacre.
  • The three top List to Sold gals sold 2, 2 and 1 property each in the last six months. That high list to sale price is nice, but are they carrying a high enough inventory to be a successful agent? Hard to tell by looking at the numbers.
  • I did another search that turned out to be in the “Central Boulder Market”…only Goodacre and Hillman came up on this one in 15th and 13th places respectively.
  • While I don’t think having listings outside of your farm or neighborhood area hurts, what HELPS is to be the neighborhood or geographic location expert. I would NOT split up marketing dollars for prospecting postcards over that line. I would make sure to know what the boundaries of the areas where and stay inside them for maximum effect.

So, should you be freaking out that your Realtor marketing is going be decimated by AgentMatch, um…no! But are there things that you could do even before it gets to you to improve your chances? Heck yes!!!

Social Media Marketing For Small Biz FREE Email Course

Free Social Media Marketing CourseHave you ever scratched your head and wondered how the heck everyone else knows about social media marketing when you are just struggling to keep up with the latest trends. And forget marketing, you are just flailing around hoping that one of your posts will “go viral” and make all this hard work worth it.

Stop right now! Social media marketing involves strategy and you CAN learn how to make the social sites work for your business.

We have put together a course that will help you to understand HOW social works, WHY it is so important to your business and WHAT you should do to make the most of your time.

What this social media marketing FREE email course is not:

  • A how to set up your sites…you can get that on YouTube
  • A lame-o fluff piece…it is pure content that will help you figure out Social Media once and for all
  • This is not for using social media, well, socially…all emails and videos will show you how to use social to market your business

When you take this course you will get advanced marketing marketing concepts that marketing pros usually charge between three hundred and three THOUSAND dollars for!

How it works

Every other day you will get an email with another aspect of social media marketing. We stagger them so that you will have time to do a little work on each property before going to the next one!

What the course covers:

  • Why Social Media Is Important
  • B2B or B2C
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Website Integration
  • Drive To Email List

Sign Up Now!

we respect your privacy and never sell our list…please don’t forget to confirm your email address so you can start the course! (it can take a few minutes to come in and you might need to check your spam folder!)

Customer Demographics – Creating Your Perfect Customer Profile

Customer Demographics - Creating Your Perfect Customer ProfileYears ago, when I started looking how to pick the right customer demographics for my marketing, I only knew about the basics like age, marital status, income and the like. As I got a little more sophisticated (maybe a little obsessed) I started spreading that out to more and more areas of my perfect client’s life and was able to better write sales copy and develop courses that would help my target market.

Today I want to let you in on how we figure out our perfect target customer. We do this process:

  1. When we are developing a new product or service
  2. When we are writing a sales page to sell something that we already have in house
  3. When we are working with our clients to get them on track
  4. When we are trying to develop an advertising campaign and write ads that convert

The reason it is so important is it stops us from talking about our features and makes it focus on “what is in it for them”. By having a super clear vision of who we are looking for, all the subsequent marketing, posting, branding and everything else just cascades down from there!

Lets Get Started Working Up Your Perfect Customer Profile….

Sales and Marketing Success: Targeting Your Perfect Customer Who Will Buy & Buy1. Get our ebook, Sales and Marketing Success: Targeting Your Perfect Customer Who Will Buy & Buy

As you go though it, I will try to give you a quick overview of each section and item. That said, it is A LOT of info and if you need some help, please check out our Small Business Marketing Consults where we will walk through it with you!

2. Selling – what you are trying to promote

3. Name – now this is where we lose A LOT of people. They think it is stupid to give their profile a “name” and ask, “Why not just say that it is a woman or a man? Why do I have to pick something? This is stupid!” The harder you fight against it, the more I know that you are not selling to a person, you are selling to “people” – a nameless, amorphous blob who you consider to be customers, not individuals to cater to. Just stop arguing and give them a name!

4. Age, income, occupation, marital status – these are pretty self explanatory and considered “normal” customer demographics.

5. Kids – it is important to know about their home life. A single mother juggling three kids is going to have a very different level of time than a single man with no kids.

6. Car – now this one seems silly too, but knowing that someone drives a crunchy granola 1984 Cherokee versus a brand new leased Lexus is huge difference!

7. Neighborhood – goes along with lifestyle and is a good indicator of where to network and advertise to reach them!

8. Hobbies – can include things like do they golf, volunteer at a food bank, spend time with girlfriends, knit, go to the gun range…all sorts of interesting things that can hook to their political affiliations and other fun stuff.

9. Reason for working – are they the sole support of their families or doing it for pin money for extras? This comes into play when writing sales copy!

10. Financial focus – someone who is 63 and saving for retirement may be much more motivated than someone who is just trying to get a few extras like a trip to Disney World. (I feel like this needs a little explanation…think of MLM or Direct Sales people. Many stay at home Moms go into Direct Sales to get a little of their own folding money. When marketing to them you may need to talk more about getting out of the house or affording a trip. If they are the sole breadwinner and saving for college, their triggers will be very different!)

11. General – anything that you can think of to help describe your person! These are some of the bits that will make them seem more real!

12. Social sites, Internet and Search – where are they hanging out online? How will you try to reach them? Depends a lot on whether you are selling a B2B or B2C service!

13. What style of learning? This will help tell you whether you need to talk about “see how you can make more money” or “have you heard about…” We tend to like people who are like us so I like visual people (heck I named my site Marketing Artfully – I like everything to be pretty!)

14. DISC Personality – Huge for me! I don’t have a ton of this floating around publicly but did write a post years ago that might help with understanding this…Using The DISC Personality Profile For Marketing and Selling

15. Generational Beliefs are WICKED cool – these are things that we generally don’t even think about having an impact on us but which are very important. I am a Gen X-er and I KNOW that “if it is to be it is up to me”. Part of the latchkey kids, I was responsible for my younger sibling at a very young age and am still willing to jump right into the leadership role. Compare that to a Gen Y-er who would probably be more comfortable with having a friend along to share and help with the work. These generational forces are strong and need to be considered!

16. Worldview – probably the most important part for your marketing message! My worldview is that it is best to spend my business money at the end the end of the year so I don’t have to pay taxes on it. I am wide-open to marketing messages that come in during the holiday. Compare that with a single mom who has just spent every penny to put a great Christmas together for her family…the same message sent to each of us would be received very differently!

these next four come from Perry Marshall and his Swiss Army Knife course….gotta say I LOVE that Perry and am pleased to be an affiliate for this product!

17-18. What Your Customer Loves or Hates – this is personal to your customers. Could be something like singing in bars, making money, impressing their friends or the Tea Party. These are all very different things but they add to the framework that we can use to develop a strong marketing message.

19-20. Your Customers Heroes or Enemies – I find this to be very telling. If your gal’s hero is Oprah, there are hundreds of touch points that you can use…what Oprah says like “When you know better, you do better”. Having compassion for everyone, not just people you like. If her enemy is Sarah Palin, you can use sayings like “Can’t put lipstick on THIS pig” and the meaning is very clear. Now, you don’t want to be too polarizing and you might want to stick to general enemies like “working for the man” or “the people who don’t understand single girls and give them stupid advice”.

21. Positive Beliefs About Your Product Or Service – this is important. If you are selling a product that is known to do what it says (like the Dyson vacuum that is a best of class product) you have a much easier time than if you are selling a weight loss supplement. These are also sometimes beliefs that are not realistic but are still positive like, “I can set up a Facebook page and all my marketing woes will be gone”.

22. Negative Beliefs About Your Product Or Service – this is where you can get down to the nitty gritty and start making an impact! If you are a business coach and KNOW that people think, “I tried that before and wasted my money” then you can address that right up from in your marketing, setting yourself apart from those “others” who don’t have systems or a plan or satisfied clients.

23. Why They Buy - if you haven’t sold anything, guess. If you have a track record of sales, reverse engineer what it was that made them take out their wallets. Was it the fact that you have a great track record, was it your autoresponder series that primed them…basically just look at what got them over the tipping point and made them sign up or buy.

24. Albums, Actors, Movies, TV, and Books – These are all great cultural references. I always use the example of Twisted Sister. Saying that to one of my friends who was a teen in the 80s induces feelings of “we’re not going to take it”, big hair and Dee Snider in addition to the general term of endearment among my set. Calling someone a twisted sister is a compliment and if you are not of that age, you wouldn’t know that.

25. Other Experts – this is your competition. These are other experts in your field that you are going head to head with! While it is tempting to stick you head in the sand, looking them full in the marketing and figuring out how you differ can be a very productive process.

I KNOW that you are probably thinking, bloody hell, how much do I have to know about this person to sell them a toothbrush! That said, all of these touch points will help you to craft a message that will resonante with them and will make your job of crafting a message MUCH easier than if you are just sitting there with a blank piece of paper trying to figure out how to talk ONE MORE TIME about what you are selling

Want some help? I KNOW this can be overwhelming but it is vital to your sales and marketing success. Knowing your customer demographics could mean the difference between selling the heck out of your product and heading back to the cube farm in disgrace (see how I threw in that reference to your enemies!) Stop trying to go it alone and check out our Small Business Marketing Consults TODAY!

Small Business Marketing – 10 Things You Are Doing Wrong

Small Business Marketing - 10 Things You Are Doing WrongWhen you are doing small business marketing and trying your hardest, it can seem like all you are doing is spinning your wheels. You market your face off but it seems like no one is listening and when they do they are not responding. Having talked to A LOT of small biz owners, I can tell you that the problem is probably one of these:

Product development – We can’t understand what you are selling

The number one problem I see with small business owners is not having a super clear, you can rattle it off in 30 second message about what they are selling. Now, what you are selling in public may not be the actual product you get paid for (I am a speaker so I always “sell” getting my next speaking event BUT my actual sales are of social media marketing or marketing consulting services).

That said, frequently when I am at networking or a Chamber event, a business owner will flail around for 5 minutes, explaining what they do, not telling me in clear terms EXACTLY what they are selling!

Your mission…figure out EXACTLY what you are selling. If this is your first effort keep it to three things max, if you are seasoned you can probably go up to 5 which you can rotate at events. You MUST be able to spit it out in 30 seconds or less and you need to check with people who don’t know you to see if it is actually comprehensible!

Product development – Naming it something cute

In the day of the internet, A LOT of your leads, traffic and comprehension will come from people already knowing what you do. We have an amazing friend who built a huge marketing campaign around being a “megapreneur” or something along those lines. While the concept is interesting, in practice no one is looking for a made-up product word. They may be looking for entrepreneur marketing or entrepreneur consulting, but trying to build a brand from nothing that humans say is a long hard schlog.

When I lived in Clearwater, Knology was coming to town and it was AMAZING to watch the money being spent on branding them and rolling them out to the public. First went up billboards that had interesting sayings and a teaser that said something new was coming. Next were TV ads with the same (I think) red color and more teasers. Radio spots were bought and paid for, the local paper had some ads and then…wha wha…they let us know they were a cable and internet company.

Now, we never switched because we had Time Warner and were relatively happy, and I really only noticed because I am in marketing. BUT my frugal little heart wondered if naming the company a made up word was worth the MILLIONS they had to have spent to launch into the Tampa marketplace.

Your mission…take a real look at the name of your product or company. If it is made up, create a tagline that DOES have what humans say. If you are in the process of rolling out a new product or service, please make sure it has the actual function of the item in the name and leave the “cute” bits to the tagline.

Event marketing – Not enough time

Oh the humanity. My marketing besty, the Colorado Connector is an amazing PR and new media marketer. She can fill a room and generate buzz about any event we are having here in the Denver area. She has a huge database of people to contact and we sometimes consult with people on their event marketing efforts. It is at this consultation that I see the flaws in timing most marketers have.

First off, if you are having ANYTHING, you need a six week lead time. No questions asked and that doesn’t mean you are waiting to hear back about who the speaker is. You need to have your sales page and collateral materials ready to go including a online landing page (no we can’t share your Word Document flyer), at least a couple of graphics that you can share on social media, a press release, and handout flyers that you can take around to events. Next you need to have a plan for posting, schlepping around locally and basically how you are going to market your event.

Your mission: for your next event, do everything right. Give yourself time, hire a copywriter to write your sales page, go on fiverr.com to get some graphics made. Once you know what a true event marketing plan looks like, you can simply duplicate that for every other event you do going forward. I think you will be surprised at how effective (and popular) you will become!!!

Event marketing – Bad content

Okay, last event marketing one, BUT this is a biggie! Most people do not know how to write an amazing sales letter and your event NEEDS a sales letter. Just posting on Meetup.com that you are having something is not enough anymore. You need to SELL your event, your speaker, your USP or benefit to people who are going to attend. This is super important if you are charging but maybe even more so if it is a free event.
People have been burned too often on their time and now are hesitant to commit to wasting more of it on your free event.

Your mission: find an event that you felt like was a MUST ATTEND and figure out why you were so compelled to go. Look closely at their sales page and reverse engineer the reason that it tugged at you. Collect these so when you are writing your events up, you can use these same triggers to fill your room.

Small business marketing – Not enough time

Speaking of time, too many small business owners are frustrated because they feel like everything takes too much time…they want marketing to work RIGHT NOW. I wrote a post on how long it takes to get a great post ranked Small Business Marketing – How To Write Authoritative Hero Blog Posts. In it, I basically lay out that it takes about THREE MONTHS to get a really good blog post to start ranking. That is three months of promotion, sharing and slogging to get ONE POST popular.

I was giggling about this the other day with one of my marketing peeps….:) So many small business owners worry about what time to post their info. What time? Seriously, I don’t care what time you do something, it is the frequency and dedication that you use to get it done that matters. I post most of my blog posts about 10 times over the course of months to get traction. I post them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, make a video, heck anything that I can think of to get exposure for it.

This same thing applies to ALL of your marketing. Building a blog? Sad a week later that no one is reading? CRAZY! Start a Twitter account and KNOW that you will have thousands of followers in a week? UNREALISTIC. Building all of these properties takes time, dedication and patience.

Your mission: do something AMAZING and then plan to promote it for three months. Could be a video, blog post, or even a great graphic. Post it and share, talk about it, email your friends and ask them to share it too!

Small business marketing – Listening to too many gurus

This is a huge one for me! You NEED to find only one or two people to follow marketing-wise. If you have a 100 different “gurus” you are following they are all going to, over the course of a month, try to sell you something. Even if you only buy 5% of what is being sold, you will have spent hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. The reason this happens is that they are GOOD marketing people, their job is to get you to buy, buy, buy.

The problem is that if you are buying new systems, plans and products each month, you are not PLANNING and IMPLEMENTING against that plan. Honestly, you need to stop buying any new marketing products or courses until you know EXACTLY what you are doing and why you are doing it!

Your mission: if you have not met with a marketing consultant yet, find one and settle on a firm plan for your marketing. A good consultant will take into consideration what you want to sell, what your skill sets are and how much you have to spend on your marketing. Need a great marketing consultant? I would love to throw my hat into the ring to help you today!!! Find out more

Bandwagon jumping – By the time they tell you about it, it doesn’t work

Speaking of gurus, PLEASE know that by the time they are showing you the latest trick, it has flamed out. Do you really think that someone who is making GAGILLIONS of dollars a month doing something is going to sell you the “secret” for $47 or even $297? Telling you how to do something that is in direct competition with them (like buying Facebook Ads) is not smart, and these guys and gals are SMART.

We heard a great webinar the other day talking about how Facebook contests got the presenter thousands of new likes on their page. The “catch” was that they said early on that they had done this about 9 months ago. Well, Facebook has changed the contest format since then and contests are about as popular as Groupon giveaways now. The presenter was not lying, they did use a contest to get those likes, but by the time they are talking about it, that loophole has closed and it is not such an effortless sale anymore.

Your mission: Stop chasing easy and develop a plan for your marketing. Stick with it for at least 90 days before jumping to the next magical marketing trick. Bonus if you put all the “make money online” or “internet marketing” guys in a folder on your email that you never look at.

Productivity – No systems

Okay, this is a huge one! Do you know that I have a system IN WRITING for how to promote my blog posts and videos. This includes a worksheet where I list what I have done, where I have shared it and what I am selling for each item. I meet with my business partner each week to make sure we are on track and doing what we are supposed to do…:)

Once you have a marketing plan, this gets much easier. You know what you need to write about, what your videos should look like and how to get people down your sales funnel and into buying something. You feel better about yourself because you know what your top tasks are and when they are done for the day, you know that you have accomplished something worthwhile!

Your mission: First off, figure out what ONLY YOU can do for your business to market it (could be writing blog posts, making videos, chatting with prospects on the phone). Next make sure that you have a plan IN WRITING everyday for accomplishing this. Sounds easy but “real work” always gets in the way. I have seen that the best and most successful business people ignore what “has” to be done and do what “needs” to be done to grow their business every day.

Social media marketing – Posting one and done

Every thing that you create, including blog posts, videos, Facebook pages, etc. needs to be promoted multiple times. I KNOW, it can seem like you sent it out and you don’t want people to get “sick” of seeing it. I have a secret for you, most people are not paying that much attention to you! They are not worrying that they have seen something more than once because they probably didn’t even “SEE” it the first time.

Additionally (and I think this is a huge one) it depends what you are saying WHEN they are hearing it. By this I mean that someone who has never looked at Twitter will not like my Twitter posts, but if they start using this social media service, all of a sudden they can start “seeing” my posts from a couple of months ago that now have new life!

Your mission: Make yourself a worksheet! Plan how often each week you will blog. Figure out how many videos a month you will make. Daily post and follow new people on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Klout, LinkedIn (check out Tip 3 on this post to see an in depth description Internet Marketing 5 Tips To Organize Your Work Flow.)

Social media marketing – Thinking this is marketing

Okay last one! If you made it down here I have a REALLY GOOD feeling about your marketing chops! This one is HUGE and super important.

Most small business owners think that social media is marketing. The thing is that social media is just a little piece of the marketing puzzle. In my experience doing JUST social media is not an effective use of marketing time or money. Social media has to be a part of a blog, email, direct mail and in person marketing campaign.

It can be very powerful when used to build relationships, but standing alone as a prayer for generating sales it is a dud. We get A LOT of people who contact us and think that by setting up a Facebook page they are going to get hundreds of leads a week. That is just not true. Setting up a Facebook page is step one in a hundred step process to grow a sales funnel. Additionally Facebook is just one piece, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and YouTube also need to be in the mix.

THEN you need to have a way to capture names (an email database), an autoresponder series to keep them interested, maybe send them a post card or personal note. I KNOW….the gurus are telling you that all you need is Facebook or LinkedIn, but everything changes and you NEED to have a comprehensive marketing plan and system that will get moving down a pipeline from your “stuff” to a paying client over time!

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There you have it…my top 10 things you are doing wrong with your marketing! Please feel free to leave a comment if you agree (or disagree!) If you want to get going with a plan-plan and don’t know where to start, make sure to check out our Marketing Consulting Services.

Internet Marketing 5 Tips To Organize Your Work Flow

Internet Marketing 5 Tips To Organize Your Work FlowSometimes when I make myself crazy because I am not the most organized gal in the world, I think, what would I tell my peeps to do and then implement that….FORCING myself to create systems. This post is like that!

Here are my top tips for things to make your life a little easier – Internet Marketing 5 Tips To Organize Your Work Flow

So what the heck is work flow? It is the fancy term for the way you accomplish tasks! I am not an organized person, BUT I HAVE to do certain things to keep my internet empire running like a well oiled machine. Then every once in a while I will notice that there is a little hitch in a gear…here is what those may look like:

  • It might be that I am doing something and have to switch back and forth between folders a thousand times
  • Could be that I feel like I will “lose” something if I don’t do it right now (even though I am doing something else)
  • Sometimes it is that feeling that you KNOW you should be doing something BUT you are not inspired right at that minute and so it doesn’t get done

Now, there are a million organized people in the world who will tell you their systems for getting things done using folders, colored tabs and paperclips, but they just make me want to cry. Where it the organizer for a visual person, who likes to keep it loose but not make herself crazy…oh well, this post is not for the organized, it is for schmoes like me! Don’t try to copy my way of doing things, just take an idea here and implement it!!!

Tip 1 – Have a delete me folder

This is one that I have used for QUITE a while and which is brilliant! Anything that doesn’t have to be saved DOES NOT go on my desktop, it hits the delete me folder. These things can include:

  • Pictures that I am just passing onto social media to include in a post
  • Documents that I am printing out but don’t have to save to my computer
  • Zip files that get opened to somewhere else

Basically all the flotsam and jetsam that comes with doing business on the internet!

What a delete me file is NOT, it is not a second garbage can that you “store” stuff in. You have to be willing to “select all” and delete the whole shebang every now and then. No looking, no going through it one last time. Otherwise you are just making yourself a big dumping ground of unorganized stuff that you have to look through later!

Tip 2 – Have an editorial calendar

SOOO sorry that I am using so many terms, but it is that kind of day! An editorial calendar is a pre-planned outline of what you are going to do each week, month or year. It tells you what you need to be doing when you are stuck for ideas AND because you thought it out in happier times, it is probably a good reflection of what you SHOULD be doing to increase your business rather than what “feels right” today!

The huge bonus for this is that the planning doesn’t have to be heinous! Sit down with a glass of wine and your marketing besty and brainstorm the whole year first. Go month by month and figure out what you “theme” is for each month. Before the first of the upcoming month, fill out the sheet that tells you what you need to do for the next 4 weeks.

A couple of questions came up…YES we re-write the annual stuff every month, things change and we may have to move some bits around. NO you don’t have to do everything we do, but why not try for a couple of months and see how much you can get done!

Tip 3 – Make yourself bookmark folders of things you do often

This is a biggie for me. I tend to be a little loosey goosey with my day unless I have all my time locked down. Social media is a huge time sucker if not done properly so I make sure that I can progress through it easily without having to think too much.

With that in mind, I have a bookmark folder on my Chrome browser that has a tab for:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • Klout
  • Pinterest
  • Blog Lovin
  • Buffer

As I “walk” down the tabs I am able to quickly accomplish everything I need to do to “check in” on social media without having to think about it. I post something to FB and like a couple of friend’s things, check and see if anyone talked to me on Twitter, take a quick peek at LinkedIn, post on my Google Plus profile, hand out some Klout to influencers I am targeting and my friends, and check Bloglovin to see if there are any good articles available to “Buffer” for posting later and I am out.

If I am busy and don’t have the time to dink around, I can do all of this in less than 15 minutes.

Tip 4 – Get Evernote  or Pinterest to save “stuff”

One of the problems with the internet is that it is so interesting and HUGE. When I have some time and start researching things, I have blog posts, articles and videos that I want to see or read, but not a 16 hour day to consume them all.

If you are not a huge “sharer”, you can absolutely use Evernote to capture them all for consumption later. I tend to use the incoming folder as a dumping ground…don’t do that! Set up a “to read” folder and when you have read it, move it to either the trash or if you need to keep it, to a labeled folder.

I LOVE using Pinterest for this type of thing. When I find an article that looks interesting I will “save” it on a Pinterest board so that I can go back and see it later. The benefit to using Pinterest rather than Evernote is that Pinterest is public and when people see your boards they will want to follow you, growing your influence.

Bonus…when you have a Pinterest board that is popular, you can intersperse your posts and videos in there and get more website traffic or video views.

Tip 5 – Take the time to get it right

It drives me absolutely insane when I hear someone say, “I don’t have time to get organized” or “I try but nothing I do helps”. It literally took me over 5 years to get my calendaring system down to a science. I tried at least 4 different day planners (different sizes, different pages), a couple of online calendars, task lists and a whole host of other “solutions”.

Eventually I did figure out the right strategy for me. I use the Apple iCloud calendar that sinks on my phone, laptop, iPad and the internet (so my assistant can schedule appointments for me).

Had I given up and just resigned myself to missed meetings, stress and confusion, I would absolutely not be as successful as I am today. LESSON: keep trying until something clicks for you!

You often hear, “stop working IN your business and start working ON your business”. This is VERY true. There is no magic time fairy that makes extra time for those of us who have systems. We just know that spending a couple of hours now can save us weeks in the long run. LESSON: Unless you have rock solid systems in place, your first goal today should be to STOP and get your business in order. No emails, social media, getting quotes out, making phone calls or meetings until you at least have a framework for a plan to systematize your work.

There you have it, my top internet marketing tips to organize your workflow!

Entrepreneur Marketing…Going General Will Bite You In The Ass

Entrepreneur Marketing Bite You In The AssEntrepreneur marketing is not about throwing up a site, getting some followers on social media and selling your heart out. In today’s day and age, entrepreneur marketing is ALL about figuring out EXACTLY what you are selling and pairing it with what “they” want and giving it to them!

Pick A Niche

One of the things that I notice when I am out in the field speaking is that most small biz owners don’t want to eliminate anyone as a potential client so they go REALLY broad and shallow when describing their business. Realtors will talk about working with buyers and sellers, luxury and condos, functionally if you fog a mirror, they will take you out in the car. Now, don’t go getting all sanctimonious about those realtors, most small biz people that I see standing up in networking talk about ALL of the things that they could do, but not a lot about a really tight target.

The best thing about having a tight target is that people can refer to you. If you are a financial services person and you say basically the same thing that all the other financial services people are saying, there is no way I can thin you out from the crowd. Now, if you say that you work with families who have children in the 9th or 10th grade who did not plan for their children’s college education…that I can get all on board with. I KNOW people with kids that age because my daughter is that age and now I know who to be looking for to help you!

The second best thing about a tight target is that the person you are talking will have their reticular activator turned on and are ready to pick someone that they can refer you to!

Your reticular activator turns on when you are focusing on something actively…say you are thinking about buying a red jeep, all of a sudden there are red jeeps all over the road. Did they just have a sale on red jeeps? Nope, you just started noticing them! This works the same for your referral partners, clients and friends. If they KNOW that you like to work with newlyweds, all of a sudden they notice that there are newlyweds everywhere who they can refer to you!

Stop Selling Everything

You are thinking that this is like a pick a niche but it is not! I can’t tell you how many times I hear something like,

“I moved here from Baton Rouge last year (GREAT OPENING) and own a call center that hooks up small business owners with prospects (SOUNDS GOOD, WHEELS ARE TURNING TO HELP THIS GUY), but today I am here to tell you that I just opened a nail salon and have an amazing nail tech who can….(BLOODY HELL, WHAT IS HE SAYING?)

LOTS of entrepreneurs read my blog. We are truly special people who do have the bandwidth to accomplish more in a day than most people do in a week. BUT, we confuse the hell out of our business partners, friends and family when we are not super clear about what we are selling. We frustrate them when we have diverse interests and try to pursue them all at once. And, like this guy, we shoot ourselves in the foot when we confuse our prospects by not having a clear goal of what we are selling.

Even if you have diverse businesses, don’t talk about them in the same session. Pick the one that will resonate best with the person or people you are speaking to and stick with that one thing.

What’s In It For Them

I KNOW, you are sick of hearing about this one but honestly the whole world has changed and the old ways are dead. If you are trying to tell anyone about your company or your products, you are probably dead in the water before you start.

Instead you should be helping people, sharing your expertise and adding value at every step. The days of standing up in networking and saying, “I am looking for someone who…” are gone. The marketplace is too crowded and people are overwhelmed by THOUSANDS of marketing messages everyday.

So what should you do when you have a chance to talk? Should you just stand there and look silly? NO!

Stand up and HELP, give a tip about your industry, tell something that you found out which could help someone in the room, tell a story that could benefit your listeners, give a shoutout to someone else during your time (especially in leads group