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

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

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!

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

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.

[Tweet “[Blog post] AWESOME List of blogs to share on #socialmedia! @taradactyl”]

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.

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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

top-suggested-resource

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!

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!

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.

Need more? For a limited time only get your Blog AND Social Media Set-Up for the low, low price of just $1250 (saves $250)! Learn more, Call today! (727) 425-9165

*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

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!

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!

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!!!

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.

What A 6 Year Old Can tell Us About Sucky Marketing

What A 6 Year Old Can tell Us About Sucky MarketingSo my 6 year old knows nothing about what marketing is supposed to accomplish, what he does know is that some of it makes him wicked mad and interrupts him and some is great and interesting and adds to his life.

He plays a game that is subsidized by marketing. During his football games, each quarter ends with an advertisement he has to watch to get to the next quarter. The most interesting part of it to me is how he recognizes them across channels.

Sucky Marketing

I am not sure which car company it is but one of them has been buying A LOT of advertising time on his game. Now, admittedly he is playing Madden Football which is more of a big guy game BUT it is the constant interruption that he attributes to this car company. The interesting bit is that when he sees it on “real television” he goes out of his way to comment that they are on his game and he hates them.

Now, I am not sure that this is going to influence his buying decisions for a lifetime but it has happened enough that he has now associated that car company with something bad that happens. And he has played the game almost daily for two months…gotta think that some neural connections were made.

one note…this is a “typical” car commercial, lots of driving and inane comments… I did a search for car commercials to see if I could find and dang, there are actually some fun (and funny) commercials. would have thought have an entertaining commercial during a game would make more sense

This same thing happened to me. I was watching a show I had recorded in a marathon and they had obviously not sold enough different advertisers. I kept getting the same ad over and over…causing me to actually stop watching the program because I couldn’t STAND-TO-SEE-IT-ONE-MORE-TIME.

My final example is a brilliant one from SpyFu…they had bought A LOT of ads of on the YouTube so that they could retarget and blanket the marketplace. Problem was, there is ABSOLUTELY a fine line between being “everywhere” and actually being everywhere, over and over ad nauseum.

Is It Still Bad Marketing If It Is Not Memorable?

Now in the world of a 6 year old, this commercial actually ads to his experience. He stops and watches it and comments about it favorably on it when he sees it on “real tv”.

Unfortunately, it may not be accomplishing its goals…the six year old gets one dollar a week as allowance. It took me almost 20 minutes to find it because, even though I have watched it a bunch with him, I did not remember it was Inkjoy. I checked Pilot Pens, Bic and Paper Mate before figuring out that it was Inkjoy (purely by accident). Now I do actually have a budget for buying pens but would not have been able to identify the brand to buy them.

Take-away

It is really easy to hear “you should be advertising everywhere” rather than hearing “you need to be everywhere”. While it is great to use some of these new fangled marketing channels that we have at our disposal, the wise marketer knows the difference between connecting, marketing and advertising.

ps – the child in the photo is a stock image, although my child has that same face when he sees car ads!

Seth Godin Q&A

So Seth Godin is one of my all time favorite writers and speakers. I was in NYC courtesy of Infusionsoft’s bringing Seth in to speak (oh and the fact that my Daddy lives there and could provide transportation and a pull out couch!) I went with my biz partner Rebekah (the other half of the marketing and media monsters) and we had a GREAT time in NYC.

Okay, on to Seth!

Seth Godin NotesThe first thing you have to know is that I take funny notes – they are pretty and very artistic (YES that is a purple cow – no judging, art is in the eye of the artist…:) Second off, the notes are in answer to questions (which I didn’t write down because most were rambling and self serving – I think that mostly seth talked about whatever he wanted regardless of what was asked!) Lastly, they are not verbatim…my interpretation is in there and should not be held against seth if I misunderstood something!

He started with a quote I had not heard before…

“Every revolution destroys the perfect before it creates the impossible.” – Seth Godin

This was a lead in to talk about how industries like the music industry and travel agents have been disrupted by the seeming endless competition and weakening of established beachheads that were once the status quo. It is the end of the industrial age and now shelf space is unlimited. We have moved as a world from scarcity to abundance where people have unlimited choice and multiple channels.

His big question to us is “who are you trying to change with your work”. His example was the Harley Davidson culture that allows lonely people to buy a motorcycle, get some clothes that have the logo on them and then immediately be a part of a new family. There is no barrier to being a member of this team, just buying a bike. Also addressed was Apple whose legions of followers are trouping out right this minute to buy the latest and greatest cell phone. Apple set themselves apart by focusing on typography, industrial design and good taste when all the other computer companies were racing to the bottom on price.

His next big question was, “who would miss you if you were gone?” Are there people who would notice if you stopped your business or are you such a commodity that they could easily switch over to another provider without really noticing.

The Daily Candy in NYC is not trying to appeal to everyone. They are simply providing fashion and style to 25 year old women in NYC who like fashion and style. Their email list is not filled with middle aged, beer drinking luddites, it is full of 25 year old women who either can afford the products or dream of being able to afford the products they promote.

If someone talks about you and your business, what story will they tell. Without a story there is no way to spread the word.

I love his talks about selling to everyone, as seth says, no one is looking for the boring middle, they are intrigued by the people around the edges who are weird! When there is a good story people tell their friends…and the internet only amplifies this effect.

When you are talking to people (i.e. doing your marketing) make sure you are using words that are anchored in what they understand. Selling B2B, make sure your words help convince someone at a company that they can talk to their boss about hiring you without looking dumb. Like the old saying goes, no one ever got fired for buying IBM.

my big take-away here was that we need to focus on companies rather than trying to get solopreneurs to part with their own money…even small companies have line items that they are going to use for training or marketing

When asked what made him famous, seth talked about failing (A LOT). All of his turning points that made him what he is today came about because of stuff that didn’t work out the way he thought it would.

On hiring talent – Make sure you can offer them something that they can’t get anywhere else. Look for interesting people who might not be on anyone else’s radar like 60 plus year old programmers or disabled workers. You can’t be more normal than the old established brands so don’t try, get out on the edges to offer them amazing.

Selling into a need – A couple of people were mentioning in the Q&A that either their product wasn’t selling the way they wanted it to (but they were selling something) or that the marketplace didn’t seem to want what they were offering. The example was a lady who was selling a DVD into classrooms. Seth talked about how DVDs and classrooms may not be a good fit (too techy), that the teachers don’t have the money to buy the program and the fact that they will feel stupid if it doesn’t work. He had a great example of a company that made their product match a line item in NY school budgets that was already there. The sales pitch became much easier when they could go, “see that money you aren’t spending, this product fills that exact need and will not cost you anything.”

Building a funnel – One fellow asked about targeting CEO’s who make 5-100 million a year. A couple of things came up like 1) LOTS of people are targeting that demographic and getting to them is hard and 2) once they are there, they have the resources that they know, like and trust already. Seth suggested that you provide them with great information BEFORE they hit the big time so that when they reach your target demographic you are firmly on their radar.

Not being able to source for your retail or online store – A tile ecommerce site was sad that they couldn’t get all the tile manufactures to list on their site. Seth had a couple of things…first off, don’t try to sell every tile. Amazon did this in the early years by buying retail when the manufactures didn’t love them yet, BUT there is only one Amazon and they are already there. Instead he suggested that the tile guys figure out a way to be unique in the marketplace and then the tile companies will WANT to be on their site when all their competitors are listed there.

Social media spam - Spam is spam whether it is in email or on Twitter. He seemed to think promoted posts and the like were not so great although adwords was a version of permission based marketing because people were actively searching for answers on the google.

Seth Godin and the Marketing and Media MonsteresFor coaches – Building a career as a coach is hard. Most people who want a coach already have one and it is almost impossible to convince someone they need a coach if they are not looking for one. His suggestion was to think of a problem that you can solve for your target market and then tell them how to fix it.

Apps – Holy buckets…the poor lady who started with, “I have an App” got an earful…:) That said, I was in total agreement. Apps are not about apps but what they can do for someone and the app makers are way off base with thinking that technology alone is enough to make something popular. Seth said there is no scarcity and that most are all the same. (this is one of the reasons I love seth!) What he thinks is that the App that will win is one that will not work until other people use it too…like the fax. It doesn’t work unless the person on the other end has a fax machine too!

Marketing luxury shoes – This was a great bit about how to frame your message. He asked if women buying Jimmy Choos are buying a luxury shoe or are just making a sensible investment in fashion…dang. For those of us who do not live in the world of high fashion, spending a thousand dollars on one pair of shoes (gulp) seems crazy, but if that is your world view, you are looking for marketing that reinforces the thought that this is just a great purchase that will keep you on the cutting edge.

People don’t know why they do what they do - I did not know this…most people who ride tandem bikes put the man in the front which makes no sense. Being bigger they would help more by being in the back and because they are taller they are hard to see around if you are in the back. That being said, most do it that way. You need to KNOW your marketplace and ask LOTS of questions so that you can understand what they think and do even though they can’t necessarily tell you why they do it!

Well there you have it…Seth Godin at his finest!!! Bliss…:)

Small Business Marketing – Who To Learn From Taradactyl Style

My favorite marketing peepsOkay, I have had two of my connections in the last day ask who I recommend to learn from that is A. reputable and B. knows what the hell they are doing. So, here is who I trust for great info and on the mark content.

Some are little guys and some big guys. Some are people we represent because we like their products and some are just people we follow! All are people I have recommended to my friend-friends and now I am sharing them with you!

General Marketing and Concepts

Seth Godin – Author of the Purple Cow and one of my favorites, the Dip. If you are looking for inspiration and the will to keep going, these are the two I recommend. Also his link goes to his blog where everyday he has an insightful comment about the state of business or marketing. In the NYC area September 17,2013? See Seth in person

Malcolm Gladwell – Author of the Tipping Point and Outliers, he is SO cool because he looks at the causal effects of the world and figures out what makes things happen. I read Outliers at least once a year.

Gary Vaynerchuk – Author of Crush It and the upcoming Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. He is an AMAZING speaker…my idol. Make sure to sign up for Gary’s YouTube Channel to get the most up to date info on the marketing world.

Freakonomics – Now I don’t love the bits about Real Estate Agents but the overarching idea that numbers determines the way that things happen is pretty cool.

Marie Forleo – AWESOME woman who tells it like it is. Her Q and A Tuesdays are amazing on the YouTube. Marie Forleo on YouTube

Jay Baer – Author of Youtility. Really good ideas about how to provide amazing content so that people WANT to work with you! Jay’s Website – Convince and Convert

Chris Brogan – SUCH a great marketing mind. Has written a number of books including The Impact Equation and just launched a new marketing magazine (Owner Magazine) that you should check out!

Internet or Affiliate Marketing

Internet Business Mastery – If you are just starting out with internet or affilate marketing, these guys are DA BOMB. Simple, easy to understand info that will help you get going fast. Their podcast is a great way to consume their content.

Pat Flynn – If you have any interest in Internet or Affiliate Marketing (or even just how to do great marketing in general), run don’t walk to see Pat’s Smart Passive Income Blog. If one of my friends is considering Affiliate marketing THIS is the guy I send them to!

Sugarrae – SUCH great content. Her affiliate marketing info is second to none and if you watch nothing else, make sure to check out 11 Things My Son Taught Me About Life and Business. A tear jerker but you will be FIRED UP to kick some ass!

Paid SEO Search

Perry Marshall – Actually wrote the book on how to do Adwords. I have followed Perry for years and have never had a bad experience. Quite the contrary, I am a better marketer overall for having consumed his adwords content.

Howie Jacobsen – SUCH a good adwords marketer. He has a super easy going manner and gives great information.

Data

Derick Halpern – We saw him speak at an event and he was AMAZING. Not sure which place to put him as his social triggers website is such in a class by itself (so I put him in his own category!)

Website Conversion

Tim Ash – Again, saw Tim speak and fell in love with his content. His site, Site Tuners has great info on how to optimize your website for maximum effectiveness.

Which Test Won – Sends out a weekly email detailing how small changes in a website or email copy make a huge difference in how a campaign converts.

Social Media and Video Training

James Wedmore - James’ YouTube Training is where I start when I want to learn how to market instead of just making videos. And on top of that, he is freaking funny!!! Make sure to check out his YouTube Channel.

Amy Porterfield – Her information about how to do Facebook Ads is second to none. She has great, practical tips on how to make your Facebook marketing effective and affordable.

Sales

Jeffrey Gitomer – Okay, I admit it, I am not a sales kind of gal. I am a market your face off and then get the low hanging fruit. That said, sales does come into play sometimes and the only guy that ever made a ton of sense to me was Gitomer. Straight shooter and really great content!

Our Sites

So I can’t let you go without reminding you about our sites!

Marketing Artfully – I have been blogging about all things marketing for almost 7 years now and I am super proud of my site! Focusing on Customer Demographics, Small Business Marketing, Entrepreneur and Realtor Marketing, she is my pride and joy!

Marketing and Media Monsters – This is the love child of Rebekah Welch (the Media Monster) and me (the Marketing Monster). We are so excited to see where marketing is headed and give great information about how to market for your industry!

Seth Godin Marketing Meetup – Small Business Big Things Sept 17th

Seth Godin - Sept 17th NYCSeth Godin is speaking at an Infusionsoft sponsored marketing meetup event September 17th, 2013 in NYC!

During this three hour event Seth Godin will be doing a rare question and answer session…OMG if you have ever seen one of his keynotes, you know how wonderful his vision of how to do small business in the digital age is!

The Marketing and Media Monsters will be flying in to see this amazing networking and speaker presentation.

Some of the topics that will be covered include:

The way we work and play has changed. Big companies who have not innovated have failed. Small companies who have innovated are thriving.

Laggard companies are being crushed. Companies who can strategically innovate are being created and growing.

Will your business thrive? Will it survive?

Seth Godin - Marketing Meetup NYCIf you have never seen Seth speak, you need to make a point of signing up RIGHT NOW! This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Seth in a small setting. We signed up for the VIP tickets which were about a hundred bucks and included reserved seating and private networking afterward.

The best part? We got our readers reduced seats because of our association with Infusionsoft!!!! Seeing Seth Godin for under $30…are you kidding me? His keynotes generally cost thousands of dollars…so glad that we have this opportunity!!!

Sign up here >> http://smallbizbigthings2013.eventbrite.com/?discount=marketingartfully

Small Business Marketing – How To Write Authoritative Hero Blog Posts

Small Business Marketing - How to write authoritative hero blog postsSmall business marketing to me is about sharing information with the people who could be potential customers in a way that makes me an authority and them better marketers (and making more money). That said, A LOT of the time I post things on my that are just things that I need everyday. These tend to be evergreen marketing posts AND get a lot of clicks from the Google because if I am interested in them, probably other people will be interested too! So here is…

How To Write Authoritative Blog Posts

How to pick a topic

First off, you know the questions that people ask you all the time? Those are authoritative blog post topics. For example, in my world people want to know how to get their emails opened and read. The first step for that is to have a GREAT email subject line. With that in mind, I wrote a post that, well, has 100 great email subject lines!

Usually if there is a tool you need or something you would reference often, that is a great authoritative post topic. I use the email subject line post almost every time I have to write emails (and even when I need to do Twitter tweets…hey wait, 100 great Twitter tweets would be a super topic….hmmmmm must write that post next!!!)

How to know if it is working

So the first one you write will start out slow. DO NOT get discouraged! This is what the email subject line progression looks like over time…

View progression for authoritative blog post

If you can read the tiny little numbers you can see that there have been over 19,000 views on this post. BUT, you don’t have to see very well to know that that number grew over time. I had to work at it to get it ranked in Google. Which leads us to…

How to make your posts popular

Here are just a few of the ways that I have promoted this post!

  • Posted it to Facebook multiple times
  • Posted it to Google+ multiple times
  • Posted it to Twitter multiple times (on multiple accounts)
  • Posted it to Pinterest multiple times
  • Posted to LinkedIn multiple times
  • Internally linked it in my blog (like I did above – just means I made a reference to it in another post)
  • Wrote an email course that includes a link to it
  • Tell people about it when I speak and then send them the link
  • Submitted it as a URL to the Google Webmaster tools
  • Send out as a link in our email newsletter

Those are just a few of the things…one more I can do easy peasy…do a youtube video and share THAT to all the other places. Oh, and write about it on my other blogs. Generally, you should treat these like the “hero” blog posts they are and promote them on a weekly basis until everyone loves them as much as you do!

How to know what is working

So I use a plugin call SEO Search Terms Tagging that shows what terms people used to get to my blog posts. These are what the searchers were looking for:

  • best email subject lines ever (7)
  • email subject lines examples (not on page 1 – probably getting hits because of social connections)
  • great email subject lines (not on page 1 – probably getting hits because of social connections)
  • email subject examples (6)
  • best email subject lines examples (9)
  • subject for leave email (not on page 1 – and not sure what they were looking for)
  • email titles (5)
  • good subject lines for emails (not on page 1 – probably getting hits because of social connections)
  • newsletter subject lines (page 2 – 5)
  • good email subject lines (not on page 1 – probably getting hits because of social connections)

The numbers after are where I rank on google for those terms (I used a proxy server to check, your results may vary)… As you can see, I don’t rank number one for any of these, BUT because I am listed across multiple keywords, they all work together to get me lots of hits. Here is why some are getting more clicks when I am connected to the people searching:

So, if you are writing Authoritative Hero blog posts, hopefully these tips can help!

Promotional Products I Love! Oh the pens…:)

Promotional Products Pens

Okay, a confession, I LOVE promotional products. From cool screwdrivers to nail files and more, I love them all. That said, I need to have promotional products that I can afford to give away A LOT of and for me, pens are the answer!

The top pen in the picture are a new sample I just got from Uncle Scott (not my Uncle but two of my clients and my assistant’s Uncle Scott). It is a stylus for using on iPads and tablets that also has a pen inside (pretty cool). I have the other two in my arsenal for handouts already.

Why should you use pens as handouts?

  1. They are really affordable!
  2. I use them all the time and so I am branding my company everywhere I go.
  3. People LOVE the Javelin Pens – they are a really good writing pen!
  4. The Sharpie gel highlighter is not that much more expensive but seems to be considered a high value item. I frequently throw them at people who ask good questions at my events!
  5. I have really been looking for javelin stylus for myself (have been using a Bamboo one that is okay but not great)….this one “writes” really skinny on the tablet which is important to me! They are pretty cheap and would also be a high value item.

In talking about these, some things come to mind.

PLEASE do not get something that is “cool” that you would not love getting. I have a highlighter jones anyways so I think a gel highlighter is really neat…that translates to the value people feel when I give them one! The pen-pens are an amazing handout that I can throw in my speaking bag, handfuls at a time without over thinking whether the group I am going to give them to is “worth” it (we have some clients that buy really expensive handouts and never give any away because no one is deemed worthy!)

Well that is my ode to promotional products pens! If you have any questions about them, give Uncle Scott a call!

Scott Rauber
727-733-8387
Authorized Kaeser & Blair, Inc Dealer Since 1997

(this is NOT an affilate post! just a shoutout to my favorite pen guy and no, you probably can’t send me pens and have me write a post about your promotional products…:)

5 Steps To Amazing Lead Generation That Really Works

Lead generation is a topic that comes up A LOT in my world. Marketing is not exactly lead generation and so many small business owners to come to me frustrated and glum that they aren’t making any sales when in fact all they are doing is promoting and not ACTUAL lead generating.

So what is the difference between marketing and lead generation?

Marketing is all about increasing exposure to your business via a multitude of channels including your website, social media, networking and about a million other available outlets.

Lead generation is the active collecting of people’s contact information for the purpose of moving them through a sales funnel and ultimately to a purchase.

5 Steps To Amazing Lead Generation That Really Works

  • Step one – Know EXACTLY who you are trying to reach! A lot of times we hear that people want to reach women between 35-55 with a college education and a high income. That is not nearly good enough to develop an offer that will make them take notice. Are these women mothers, businesswomen, do they play soccer or do needlepoint? Are they homebodies or party gals? Do they have pets? Knowing the details of their lives lets you craft an offer that will get them to sign up to receive it. Which leads me to…
  • Step two - Know what you are trying to sell them. You CANNOT try to sell them everything you’ve got available. The more choices that you give human beings, the less chance that they will pick anything. For one of our offers, we are trying to attract small biz owners who are just starting out…we have a free offer and then followup with a chance to talk with us for an hour for a very low price. This is very congruent with what they can afford. If we gave a free offer about free marketing and then tried to seque them into a five thousand dollar package, we would probably not sell too many.
  • Step three - you have to have an AMAZING offer. I love that Seth Godin talks about the opposite of amazing is not terrible, it is just good enough. If you are trying to get someone to notice your business or sign up for your list you have to have something GREAT! Today’s cluttered world means that anything less will just get lost in the shuffle. One of our amazing offers is 100 Free Marketing Ideas, another is The Best Darn Email Marketing Course EVER! Both are amazing and get people to opt in to our list on a daily basis.
  • Step four – This is where most lead generation fails…in step 4 you have to have a followup program to get them through a sales funnel. You need to take that lead and nurture it like a little seed, watering it with information about your product or service that can help them make a buying decision. We all know that it takes at least 5 “touches” before most people trust enough to buy. If you are following up once, twice or even three times, you are falling short of getting the sale most of the time!
  • Step five – Know the lifetime value of that customer. Instead of just getting a quick sale and out, why not look at your current list of customers and prospects and see if there is something else you could sell them. Develop and source items that you know they will like and offer those to this group of “already know, like and trust you” customers!

Dave Sherman Lead Generation WebinarWe are rabid collectors of big lists. My biz partner and I have over half a million people who are connected to us socially and databases of over 40,000 contacts (growing every day!) We LOVE Infusionsoft for our sales funnels and lead generation and are super happy that we got a chance to pin Dave Sherman down on a webinar to help give us even more pointers….:) Check out this FREE Webinar – Fixing Follow Up Failure – How to Convert your Lead Graveyard into a Gold Mine (replay will be available if you can’t make it on that day!)

Small Business Marketing – 100 Great Call To Action Examples

100 Great Call To Action ExamplesI have broken this list of 100 Great Email Call To Action Examples up into categories that make sense to me and possibly to the people that I am trying to reach. While they ARE somewhat grouped, I have not alphabetized them or put them in precise order as I actually use these to spark the creative process!

Some places you can use these call to action examples include in banner ads, google adwords, in your email newsletters, on your webpages, basically anywhere you want to have someone do something!

Ease Them In Call To Action Examples

Gentle, Non Threatening Call To Action – great for free offers or when you are just getting people into your database. There is a chance that these will convert well (because they are gentle) or that they will flop (not giving a strong enough voice to the action) so make sure to test, test, test and see which is the best one!

  • Find out more
  • Learn more
  • Learn how
  • Watch
  • Watch now
  • Visit now
  • Go now
  • Train now
  • Visit site
  • Get email alerts
  • Get on the mailing list
  • Get started (it takes about 20 seconds)
  • Join the club now
  • Start creating
  • Take the next step
  • How to get started
  • Relax. Reserving a X is just a click away.
  • Take the quiz
  • Let’s get started
  • Start here
  • Check it out
  • Experience now
  • Join the community
  • How it works
  • Join the fun
  • Go

Detail, Detail, Detail Call To Action Examples

These seem to be for the people who are planning something, be a trip, a move or a new marketing plan….interesting to think about the different personality types, I would have to think that these are for “C” types (on the DISC Personality Test) who like to have details and facts.

  • Offer details
  • Click for details
  • Click here for details
  • See schedule
  • See plans and pricing
  • Start planning
  • Get details
  • Take the tour
  • Try the demo
  • Live preview
  • Learn what’s new
  • Compare
  • View features
  • Free or premium? – get a full features comparison
  • Thinking of upgrading? – estimate your X premium bill
  • More info
  • Search now

For Our Visual Friends Call To Actions Examples

Visual learners are forty percent of the population and especially important if you are going to be selling or offering something that you want them to look at or see.

  • Watch sneak peek
  • See in action
  • See how we are X
  • Read more
  • View portfolio
  • See plans and pricing
  • Watch the tour
  • View full X
  • Continue reading
  • Browse library of X
  • See the case study
  • Watch this video

Something For Nothing Call To Action Examples

Oh everyone likes something for nothing! Using a free offer is a great way to get people into your database. Just make sure that you have a plan for them once they are in there.

  • Get it free
  • Free download
  • Listen in – it’s free
  • It’s free – get started
  • Click here to get this deal
  • Click here and save
  • Get this deal
  • Request a free X today
  • Sign up for your free trial
  • Free 30 day trial
  • Try it now, free
  • Start saving today
  • Free instant access
  • Sign up for promotions
  • Download PDF preview

Contact Us And Request A Quote Call To Actions

Not the most amazing buttons but definitely to the point and if you hit your audience when they are ready to buy can be very effective!

  • Get a no obligation quote
  • Get a free quote
  • Call now
  • Contact us about your project
  • Contact us today for a free X
  • Call today and ask for free web only discount
  • Learn more about working with us

More Aggressive and Direct Call To Action Examples

These are all or nothing buttons, some more than other, but each requires that the user does something, makes a decision and takes an action.

  • Get it started
  • Join the hunt
  • Join today
  • Apply now
  • Apply online
  • Add to shopping cart
  • Add to basket
  • Order now
  • Subscribe now
  • Buy now
  • Shop now
  • Sign up today!
  • Sign me up now
  • Signup
  • View plans and sign up
  • Download now
  • Purchase now
  • Book tickets now
  • Scan your site now
  • Become a member
  • Help us defeat X
  • Create your account

Fundraising Calls To Actions

Would love to have more of these for our fundraising friends!

  • Donate now
  • Donate
  • Help now

Placing Limits on your Call To Action

  • Offer expires X
  • For a short time only
  • Limited time offer
  • For the first X people only
  • Order now and receive a free gift

If you have a good one (or two) I have missed, please leave a comment below and I will add it to the list (with a little link love to you!)

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Small Business Marketing Tips – Does Everything Have To Be Perfect?

Small Business Marketing Tips - You Don't Have To Be PerfectOne of my top small business marketing tips is to give yourself a break! Does everything have to be perfect? Not just no but hell no!

Today we are going to talk about your small business marketing and why shooting for perfection might be shooting yourself in the foot. Here are my top four reasons to NOT try for perfect…

Nothing is ever perfect!

I am not concerned with being perfect because I am a hard driver, ready, shoot, aim kind of gal. I don’t spend hours agonizing that I sent out an email with a typo in it, I am just happy to have so many readers who are happy to email me back and tell me about it…:) I also don’t know everything about marketing, I know a lot but not everything and am happy to admit openly and honestly when I am uninformed.

What do these things have to do with not trying to be perfect you ask? People who are ashamed when they make a mistake worry what people think more than I do. While I do think there is a happy middle of spell checking and grammer policing, if you are worrying that much that someone will unfriend, not hire or otherwise shun you because you made a mistake, you need to grow a little thicker skin!

We ALL have those high school moments when we realize that a mistake was made and we still wait for the laughter (at us, not with us) to start. That said, now that you are a grown up, own up to your mistakes and move on fast.

Wasting time on something that won’t work

This is my “fail early and often” speech. As a small business owner, you probably have lots of ideas about things that could work for your business. New product lines, new marketing pieces, etc. So you decide to go ahead and want to make sure it is perfect. You agonize for weeks, months or even years to get it perfect before you launch it. Couple things could happen…you could miss the window of opportunity where your idea will flourish OR you could find that there is no marketplace for your idea.

In either case you have spent A LOT of time developing something totally without knowing that there is a need for it. Instead, why not test it out on Adwords to see if people will click on your idea? What about doing it “good enough”, launching it and then finessing it as you go along – this is NOT the sell it and then make it, just a plea to not try to get it exactly right before you find out if anyone wants it!

If you do it this way, you will find out early if there is a need for what you are selling and can submarine things that are going to be duds. You have not consumed your life with it BEFORE finding out if it viable.

Getting ready to get ready

This is a big one and I have a great example from my business today! I did a video explaining our services to include in a quote request autoresponder. Half way through I thought, hmmmm there are some new things on YouTube I might want to incorporate, I should add annotations and call out boxes, maybe even an outside link…sigh. Instead, I did it “good enough” to include in our marketing and sent it on its way. It is not perfect, it does not have all the bells and whistles it could, but it is out there and has the chance to sell something!

Had I waited until I reviewed the 5 videos in the course I am taking on this, then recorded the video, then did all the bits, I would be looking at about a two week timeline to get the training hours in, the new features implemented and the video uploaded…IF something else did not come along in the meantime, and something ALWAYS comes along in the meantime.

Instead, it is out there ready to sell AND I can go back later, do it better and then change it out. In the meantime, I have something to test to see if it converts as is or if I should have more of a call to action or sales message.

“Actually in the world” trumps “working on” every time!

Last (and most important one) – Lots of marketing will always beat one perfect piece

In our internet-y, high speed world, information is flowing at the speed of light. One tiny little message, like a perfect video or email, will just be blown away!

In my world, I have done HUNDREDS of blog posts. Some are AMAZING and took a lot of time to write and some of them are just off the top of my head. I have to say the ones that came from the heart tend to rank better than the time-intensive, heavily researched ones. I also have LOTS of videos, blog posts, etc.

One of our clients has a great YouTube channel with her videos on it and she has over 26,000 views. Now, you might be thinking that she had one that “went viral” or that most of her videos have thousands of views. Nope, she has about 150 videos, most of which have less than 100 views. So there are a couple of things working in her favor:

  • Because some of them are older, they have just been around longer to get more views
  • Because she has so many, there is a chance someone will see one and want to see more
  • They are “real” videos not advertisements

That last one is super important. NO ONE watches commercials except during the superbowl so spending thousands of dollars to have one commercial made doesn’t make sense (that said, if you are in a high end industry make sure to get high quality videos done)! We are huge proponents of having a handful of professional videos you can use when necessary BUT also having LOTS of “off the cuff” videos available to help grow your views.

Apply this to pictures on Pinterest, blog posts, anything that you create for public consumption!

Using The DISC Personality Profile For Marketing and Selling

Using The DISC Personality Using the DISC Personality Profile for marketing and selling is one of the strongest tools in my toolbox. Knowing my personality type and that of my customers assures that I will be working with people who I will enjoy!

So what is the DISC Personality Test?

According to the Wikipedia, the “DISC assessment is a behaviour assessment tool based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Marston. Marston’s theory centers around four different personality traits: Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance.”

So the types are:

Dominance – These people are driven, determined and can tend to be a bit overbearing at times. (I am a “D”, I know that which I speak of!)
Inducement – These are the fun people who like to be around other people.
Submission – These are the nice people who nurture and support.
Compliance – Like CPAs and Accountants, these guys need lots of details to be able to function. They like order and structure.

Great, so what does that mean for our marketing and selling? A LOT! The easiest example I can give is myself. I am a “D” so I like things fast, fast selling cycles, fast implementations without a lot of hand holding, few questions and let’s get ‘er done! When I see a marketing piece that tries to sell me using A LOT of words, I shut down and move on. If you send me an email longer than few sentences, I fritz out and “save for later” because it looks like a lot of effort. Now, if I was “C”, I would be horrified by a sales piece that is just a couple of lines. Where are the details so I can make a buying decision?

So, now you have an overview, lets drill down into each of the DISC Personality types to see how to market to them and what selling tools you can use to close the sale!

DISC Personality Selling and Marketing for Ds

So if you are selling to a D, you better get to the point fast. Bullet points and headlines make content easier to read and digest. We like to control our consumption so you may be able to use the phone but don’t start with, “what are you doing or how is your day going”. Niceties are lost on D’s, we just want to get on the phone, find out what is needed or what you are selling and get off.

If you are sending a marketing message out to D’s, use bold statements. My marketing to D’s includes, “not a sing kumbaya, hand holding coaching program, I assume you will do what you commit to without me having to check with you every day”. Now that sounds harsh if you are another personality type, but for a D (who I like to work with), it is so much better than some kind of boilerplate marketing drivel. Remember, fast and to the point.

D’s make buying decisions fast. Rarely will we ponder for days, let alone weeks, on whether or not to buy something. We are jump right in and get started kinds of kids. That being said, don’t forget, we can dump you just as fast so you might want to spread your marketing around a bit!

DISC Personality Selling and Marketing for Is

If you are selling to an I, you need to make is sound like you are in it together. I’s are much like D’s in not wanting to have too much to read and going into overload if you have a four page marketing proposal. They will not want to hurt your feelings and will promise to look at it, but will probably find someone else that makes working with them easier. You can ABSOLUTELY call an I and ask them about their day. They will love it and want to find out about yours too!

If you are sending a marketing message to I’s, make sure there are a lot of people in there, and they better look like they are having fun! Talk about working together, being a team and you better have a bunch of contact points. I’s will not go off and work by themselves for days, they need to be with people and like to do things together.

I’s make buying decisions based on the person they are working with. They will not be swayed by some slick talking D coming along behind you. If they like you they want to work with you, the end. Keep up that relationship with good communication and you will have them for life.

DISC Personality Selling and Marketing for Ss

I like steady instead of submissive. S’s are the people who everyone counts on to get things done. If you are selling to an S, you need to make it sound safe and secure with guarantees and lots of testimonials from happy customers. They will read your marketing message and will probably have questions about your products. When prospecting S’s, you can call them, making sure to ask how their day is going and about their business or family.

When sending your marketing messages, make sure to have trust symbols like the Visa and Mastercard logos, the Better Business Bureau logo, license numbers (if applicable), etc. You want to talk about having been in business for X-number of years and about how you are going to be around for the long haul. S’s like to make sure everything will stay on an even keel.

S’s make buying decisions slowly and will stay with you forever as long as you don’t rock the boat too much. You can make changes, just make sure to give them notice and time to assimilate them!

DISC Personality Selling and Marketing for Cs

Oh the C’s. I think of the C’s like CPA, details, details, details! They want to know every bit of your sales process, work flow and reporting deliverables. They will need A LOT of data to make a decision and will need a number of phone calls to close the sale.

When sending your marketing message, no stone should be left unturned. They WILL read them all, highlighting points that they need to clarify before buying. C’s also like trust symbols and to know the background of any company they work with. Include degrees earned, certificates achieved, awards won, etc.

C’s make slow buying decisions and need to nurtured into buying so make sure that you send them a series of direct mail pieces or emails. The first one could be an overview of your products or services and the subsequent ones could be more details about different aspects.

There you have it, at least a start on how to market using the DISC Personality for marketing and selling!

My #1 Tip For Writing Great Email Newsletters, Blog Posts, Recording Videos and More!

Number one tip for writing great email newslettersI never talk about my number one tip for anything because things change, I learn something new, and generally marketing is moving target so I have to stay nimble like a tiger.

But today, I am throwing down with my #1, all time, most important, never goes out of style tip for writing great email newsletters, crafting amazing blog posts, recording stunning videos and every other sort of marketing that you do. In fact, it is one of the main, evergreen tenants of good marketing theory and I don’t we are talking about it enough!

You are only talking to one person.

There, for you High D’s who are worried that this is going to take too long, I have just blurted it out, for the rest of you, follow along!

When we are crafting blog posts or email newsletters, oftentimes we are thinking about all the people who are reading, listening or generally going to consume our info. We use terms like, “you all”, “you guys” or “everybody”. But think about it for a minute. Almost EVERY piece of content is being seen by just one person sitting at their computer or looking at it on their smart phone.

How To Go About Writing Great Email Newsletters, Articles or Blog Posts and Record Amazing Videos

Unlike “the news” which really is made for mass consumption, your written words are going to be sent out via email or over the internet. There will not be a gang of people sitting in a room waiting to read your pearls of wisdom, there will only be one person clicking that link and reading your words.

The easiest way to write for one person is to get a real person (or two) in your head and write as if you are talking to them. In another post I did for our Marketing and Media Monsters site I wrote today about new age marketing, I was thinking of two gals, Andye Murphy and Regina Sisco. Some of the ideas were specific to each of their businesses and I got double the great tips out because each has a little different business.

Another thing to check when you are producing content is are you saying YOU more than you are saying I or WE. If you are saying “we do this”, “I am” or “our tools” too much, your reader or listener will get grouchy and abandon all hope of you helping them! Howie Jacobson has my favorite saying, “are you we’ing all over them?” (read it out loud, it is really funny!) This is a SUPER easy way to tell if you content is great.

Last but not least, my besty the Colorado Connector talks A LOT about the WIFM (what’s in it for me) Channel that people are always playing in their heads. If your content is all about me, what I do or how I can help them, they will go away. Every person wants to know that you like them, that you care about their problems and that you have the solution for solving those problems.

Seriously, just making sure that you are talking to one person will make a tremendous difference in how your marketing is received! Now, go look at your web pages, listen to your videos and check out your last couple of email newsletters. Do not beat yourself up, just start a list of what you need to fix and grind through it. Then, start writing as if you are talking to your friends or best clients. Write as if you are telling them something and watch the accolades roll in!

Social Media Marketing – Why You Should Outsource Instead of Keeping It In House

Social Media Marketing - Why You Should Outsource Instead of Keeping It In HouseSocial media marketing is a mainstay of business today. No matter how stupid you believe tweeting and pinning and liking are, in the end there is a tremendous value to being present online WHEREVER your customers and prospects are.

Used to be business dictated how people found out about them and how they were projected in advertising and the media. You bought an ad, placed a yellow page listing or had a write up in the newspaper that you basically controlled. Today, consumers are out there talking about you and your brand, searching the internet to find out what your company is all about and making buying decisions based on what they find.

Yesterday we had a business owner call to say that there were bad comments out there on a website and he wanted to know what one thing he could do to make that go away. Unfortunately there is no one thing. There are ten spots on google every time someone does a search and he will need to fill those up with LinkedIn listings, website and blog listings, Facebook and Google Plus profiles, YouTube videos and all other manner of data about his company in order to battle that.

So what if no one is talking bad about your company. You are okay with sticking your head in the sand and ignoring social media right? Hmmmm no! Having one website that was supposed to carry the load for your entire marketing efforts may have worked in 2003, but today, you need to be visible across a wide range of media. Your customers all have a favorite and if you aren’t on there, your competitors will be attracting their attention before they even get around to searching for your products or services!

Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing

So now you know why you need it, why can’t you just hire someone in house to do your social media marketing? That way you can look over their shoulder and manage everything internally. Here are my Top 10 reasons for why this is a very bad idea!

1. It is cost prohibitive to get someone that is good. The AVERAGE salary for a social media marketing manager according to Salary.com is $101,969 a year. This does not include benefits that anyone decent will require.

Social Media Marketing Manager

2. The benefits package for this employee will be another expense. In addition to the salary requirements, you have another $12,550 to cover Social Security, retirement, healthcare, etc.

Social media marketing manager benefits

3. Getting someone with marketing experience. Social media marketing is not about social media, it is entirely about marketing. While learning the tools of how to accomplish the tasks is important, you would not hire a surgeon just because she had a good way with cutting her food. Knowing the company’s goals, what you want to accomplish and the best ways to do that are skills that are learned over the years. There are four hour courses that some of the so call “social media experts” take to learn the tools and then put themselves out there as gurus. Make sure to ask how long your in house employee has been doing marketing.

4. Staying current with the trends. Social media marketing and SEO are a moving target. You cannot learn something today and think that it will be the same in a year (or even the next two months). One glaring thing that comes to mind here is the practice of using posting services like Hootsuite. While there is a place for those, all you need to do is take a peek at your Facebook timeline to see that there are not nearly as many Hootsuite auto posts as there are real people who hand posted.

5. Keeping up with training. Another huge annual cost you will be bringing in house is training. Your employee will need to take courses and attend conferences and training events to stay current with the technologies. We spend between $6,000 and $10,000 annually in training for our employees and our marketing expert. The problem with spending this money on an employee is that all that know-how walks out the door if they leave.

6. A commitment to keeping jobs in America. One thing we do hear is that companies are sick of outsourcing US dollars overseas. This can make hiring a person for your company seem like a patriotic thing to do. We agree whole heartedly and there are social media marketing companies who are not outsourcing work (we know, we are one of them!). Simply ask if their employees are in the US or if they employ overseas workers when you are doing your due diligence.

7. Lots of hands. If you have your social media in house and your employee becomes sick or unable to do their job, there is no one to step in and pick up the ball. When you outsource your work, the social media marketing company should have multiple employees who can step in and take over your posting at a moments notice.

8. No animosity. Another big problem we find is that employees who are leaving or getting ready to leave on bad terms have sometimes tampered with or otherwise disrupted marketing channels before heading out the door. We have had more than one company contact us to see if there is a “secret” to getting their Facebook page back after a disgruntled employee has changed passwords or deleted pages. When you are working with an outside company, their workers are do not have any “skin in the game” to hurt your company. In fact, we hire all “seasoned” women who are proud of the job they do and who have never stepped a toe over the line without asking first.

9. Time and consistency. We have worked with a number of big (and small) companies who have every intention of hiring a social media marketing manager to, well, do the social media tasks. What we have found is that this person rapidly becomes busy doing other company things and the focus on tweeting, answering messages and generally minding the social media store gets diluted. Having an outside company dedicated to this allows your marketing department to keep the goals and focus in mind while directing the outsourcing agency, but the work still gets done.

10. Doing what you do best. If your company is not a social media marketing company, then the focus of your business needs to stay on your industry and not get mired in the social media flavor of the day. Utilizing internal talent to be doing outward facing tasks is definitely not the highest and best use of their time. It is fine to have sales people working with specific prospects, but your company as a whole has to have a plan in place to take advantage of this huge (and multi-legged) marketing opportunity.

Are we biased because we ARE a social media marketing company, probably! But I have to say that all of these are items that we have encountered in our work with companies and they are valid problems in this internet, social media based world.

If you have any questions about this or would like to talk about opportunities for hiring a social media marketing company to outsource your work to, please give us a call today! 727-415-9165

Small Business and Internet Marketing Tricks That Don’t Work Anymore

This post is for a friend who is just getting into internet marketing. She has been searching for help and came upon a number of different “ideas”. I REALLY want her to know what is and is not working working in the marketplace today, and if I want for that for my friend-friends, I thought I should also share it with my online friends!! Additionally, I have some great resources below for people I trust in the different marketing arenas. No affiliate links, just recommendations for good solid people who are providing good solid information!

Small Business and Internet Marketing Tricks That Don't WorkSo in my post, Keyword Marketing – Does Bad SEO Hurt I talked about old fashioned SEO tricks that used to work but no longer do. Today we are going to talk about Small Business and Internet Marketing Tricks that have gotten old and stale and which you might want to take out of your repertoire.

The reason most of these tips and tricks are out there are they worked for someone, somewhere, sometime. The problem with chasing the “get rich quick” dragon is that the people selling you stuff are not selling you current ideas, they only share them after they are done working.

Think about it, if they could make TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS a day, why would they be selling you a thirty dollar a month membership? Now, I am not putting them down for the original use of a technique, what I am sad about is that they have to know that the time for using that technique has moved on, yet they are now going to make some more money but trotting it out to the masses as a NEW get rich quick, or game the search engines idea.

Onto the small business and internet marketing tricks that don’t work anymore…

Recurring income – in 2008 I found out about recurring income and the allure of signing someone up for something once and then charging them forever-ish. In this model you do one thing, like have a software product and then instead of selling it to someone outright, you simply charge them less but bill them each month. You could also do a subscription like we did, write a marketing letter and web content that they could share…

the basis for any of these is that after you make the first one, all the other ones are free because they are already made and are PURE profit! The problem with this is getting a critical mass. We never got over 38 people at one time to sign up at one time (and we put a lot of effort into it). Additionally, about 10 percent of credit card charges fail each month and you have admin tasks to content with. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t think you should do something like this, just that the pendulum has swung back around and many people now want to pay once up front (even if it is a little bit more).

Membership websites – a couple of years ago, building a membership site and getting reoccurring income was all the rage. People were looking for a place to be able to congregate and get updated information. Now-a-days people are tending to congregate on social media sites instead and are not so much interested in joining membership websites. Additionally, if you are going to have a membership site, you need to know that you will have to put A LOT of effort into growing it and maintaining the software. What I suggested to my friend instead was to do a private Facebook group, some private videos on YouTube and an email newsletter that she could charge for WITHOUT having to build a giant membership site.

Anything “just like” – So if you are a small business owner or just getting started in internet marketing and someone is convincing you that it is “just like Facebook but with”…or “it will be like Pinterest but”…run don’t walk away from them. If someone is interested in Pinterest, they are going to go there because they have a critical mass of people already. Your product that is just like something else will have to compete on an unlevel playing field (don’t forget, my readers are usually doing some other business than selling software or websites so they already HAVE a product or service and are using marketing to sell it!)

Overpriced anything – I have a really nice man I know who wanted me to promote an ebook for him. Unfortunately, it was obviously a beginner effort (although the content was great), but this still would not have caused me to decline to promote it, what made it impossible to share was that it was a hundred dollars. WOW. That is a LOT of money for an ebook, no matter how great the content is. Ebooks are on the internet and there is no cost (functionally) to distribute them. While I could see paying $30 or so for something AMAZING by an author and respected expert I knew, a hundred dollars is a lot for something from an unknown author.

This is a trap that a lot of new marketers fall into. Just today I signed up for a webinar that cost about fifty bucks. It is on time management and will be great I am sure BECAUSE it is from Chris Brogan, best selling author of numerous books, internet expert and generally amazing guy with a huge email list who produces great stuff. The last one of his I attended had about 300 people on it…300 times $50 equals…drum roll please…$15,000. Now that is good scratch and anyone would be happy to make 15 GRAND for one hour of work!

The problem is, new marketers see these types of numbers and think, well $50 is how much I should charge for a webinar…ummm…only if you ARE Chris Brogan!!! If you are an unknown, you might want to set the bar lower like at $5 or free. You have to EARN the right to get paid big money for your information!

False Scarcity or Upsells – For the last few years, a great trick was to create what is called false scarcity. This was when marketers would have a launch and then “close it down” in a certain number of days to get people to buy.

While this IS a good tactic, it doesn’t work when EVERYONE is doing it. I KNOW that they will open it up again sometime. I KNOW they aren’t just selling 100 copies of a $7 software, I KNOW that if I don’t buy on the first pitch, they will probably offer it to me for less later, or throw in some bonuses to buy or give it to me for free. I also know they will try to sell me something else that will make the first thing work better (these are called upsells).

As an internet marketer, you will need to make some decisions about what and who to promote. I won’t promote false scarcity offers as they mess up my SEO, if I had 100 offers that are all dead on my website, my rankings would drop like a stone. Instead, we look for offers that are ongoing (or evergreen) to promote.

So who ARE good roll models for new marketers? Here are some of the people that I follow and why…:)

  • Chris Brogan – Really great inspiration. He is down to earth and is very responsive to his tribes. I like his stuff on time management and working with people. Plus he emails back!!!
  • Gary Vaynerchuk – Tell it like it is, no BS advice on how to succeed…:)
  • Pat Flynn – LOVE his stuff. Great details about how to do affiliate marketing on his podcast and website.
  • Internet Business Mastery – More great info on how to get started with internet marketing.
  • Perry Marshall – Adwords genius BUT much of his stuff is about writing great content and sales copy.
  • Howie Jacobsen – another adwords guy but SOOOO good at getting to the heart of who you are talking to and why they would buy
  • Marketing and Media Monsters – the site I do with Rebekah Welch where we talk about more targeted affilate and internet marketing information

hmmmm…sad that there are not more chicks here….but I think the more cutthroat world of hard core internet marketing is dominated by men. That is why I am excited that more women are asking me about it!!!

Small Business Marketing – Getting Motivated

If you could do one thing this year to increase your small business marketing efforts, I would say that getting motivated is at the top of the list!

I talk to A LOT of business owners about their small business marketing and the thing I notice most is that they are generally okay with their business. They are not happy or unhappy, they are just okay. They would like more customers and since they are talking to me, I KNOW that they are at least a little bit interested in how to make that happen, but that being said, very few are IN LOVE, head over heels with their business.

So how do you fall in love and get motivated again…here are a couple of things to do!

1. What Are You Doing?

Small Business Marketing - Getting MotivatedMake sure you are SUPER CLEAR about what you are selling and who you are selling to. I have to say that most of the problems that we see with our social media marketing clients is not because they are not seeing results, it is because they don’t even know what the end game is for their efforts. More than one has come to us and said, well we aren’t getting X, to which we reply, hmmmm well we weren’t trying to get X because you told us to try and get Y!

Step One…get crystal clear on what your goals are for the next 3 months. I use a three squares worksheet to do this, you can do it with a piece of paper and a pencil. Put down 3 long term goals for your business (5 years out). Then write down 5 things to do in the next three months that would be shorter term tasks that would get you to your goal. Then every day, work on one of those things to the exclusion of all else! Don’t worry when you get them done faster than you ever thought possible, you still have your pencil and can add more tasks if you get finished early.

the one thing - jay papasanBonus bit…I have been reading the advanced email copy of Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book The One Thing and they have some GLORIOUS ideas in there about focus and how to start habits that will lead to sucess…buy this!

 

2. Get Some Systems!

So there are lots of quotes about a goal without a plan or a dream without a date…here is the hard truth, if you do not have a step by step plan written down to get things done, you will fail. Life will get in the way and you will be exactly where you are now in 3 months (or three years).

I have a weekly meeting with our team to go over what we are shooting for, what we need to get done by the next meeting and make sure we are still on track. These kinds of weekly reviews make sure you are steering along the right course and that everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. I know many small business owners who feel that this kind of meeting and review shouldn’t have to happen, that their employees and partners should be able to work autonomously without any direction. Hmmmm…considering how hard I work to keep ME on track, it is no wonder that our teams need some guidance.

Additionally, we have worksheets that allow us to check off boxes when we accomplish things. For the social media for my company, I have a worksheet that lists every day, which social sites to hit, and lo and behold, it gets done. If I were to just say, well I will get to it, I guarantee that there is no way I could do that for a week, let alone every day of the month!

Step two…take your crystal clear goals for the next three months and make some forms or worksheets to remind you to do that thing every day. If it is make videos, make a level for each week and just do it. If it writing sales copy and you have research, put down half an hour a day to research and write sales copy. Stretch yourself more than you think because an amazing thing happens, once you get used to doing, it goes faster!

Bonus bit…if you need help with this, please sign up for my one hour marketing consultation so that you can get clarity!

3. Get Some Tools

I was talking with my bestie this morning about her real estate business and had to step back and look at what makes it so hard to market her! She is using an old fashioned database and my goal for her in the coming year is get her moved over to an internet marketing database like I use! One of the reason that she isn’t as on board is because it is not a real estate database and YEARS of marketing tell her she needs a real estate database….sigh…will let you know when I get her moved over!!!

Another thing that came across my desk this week was notice that someone had set up a new website for her financial services business. I though, holy cow, let me see, I bet she is doing really well if she is upgrading like that….sigh…it was a free weebly website and obviously was not going to instill great confidence in people who would be entrusting their life savings to her. SERIOUSLY? A free website?

Step three…figure out the tools you need to succeed and start budgeting for them now. My goal for my bestie is to have her on a real database by the end of July! BUT I want her and her assistant to learn about it now so they bust their butts to get the money together to get on board. If you are thinking about using a new technology, talk to trusted resources, get a demo from the company and then make a goal for how to make the money to acquire it!

Bonus bit…if you have questions about which database to use or whether you should do some kind of marketing…leave a comment and I will let you know my recommendations!

The Gamification of Everything – What About Marketing?

Today it seems like gamification is the buzzword, generally I hear about the gamification of everything, but what does that have to do with marketing?

The Gamification of Everything - What About MarketingFirst off, what is gamification? It is taking every day things that we HAVE to do and making them a game instead of work. So, I got a Fuel Band for my Anniversary from my husband so we could move around more. In general, it counts our steps, adds what calories we burn living and gives us Fuel Points which should reach 2,000 a day. So, I am a marketing person, we spend LOTS of time behind a computer and my fuel points are deplorable. Enter the game, constant checking and a goal to reach and soon I am moving around more and expending more calories. PLUS if I move around enough, at the end of the day the little guy on my App will do a dance.

Second off we work with a great Enterprise level gamification company that does all kinds of data integration, etc. They have been with us for a while so gamification in the capital G sense has been on my radar, but I never could see how it could scale down to our little peeps (or my smaller marketing company).

Enter a little company out in Denver who does Gamification for learning. Well that is nice, but still not pushing my marketing buttons….but wait! The process of gaming and learning…what if I could make that something that would work with how I do my marketing consults with small business owners. And because I am twisted, combine it with a Cosmo style quiz about getting your man. Hmmmmm…

So, today I am laying out the framework for a game that will help people sift down what marketing they should do, and because I blog better than I work on my business, you guys are coming along for the ride!

First off at 40K feet, there are some basic types of marketing:

  • Online Writing – Blogging, Guest Posting, Press Releases
  • Online Connections – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest
  • Online Marketing – Email, AdWords, paid ads on social media
  • Offline Networking – Meetups, Leads Groups, Speaking
  • Offline Advertising – Ads in Local Papers, Promotional Items, Popbys

And then there are some basic questions I ask everyone who does a consult with me:

  • What are your sales goals?
  • What is your budget?
  • What are you willing to do?

So what if we made picking the type of marketing that we do a game that you could go through. You could pick and choose the bits that matter to you, what you are willing to do (any plan that involves the phone for me is a dud), what you want to accomplish and it would spit out the right answers at the end?….plus it will hook to my database (InfusionSoft)…

..not sure how this is going to work, but will keep you informed!

PS – Can you let me know of any aspects of the business world that you are more or less intrigued about doing gamification marketing with?

Sales Cycle Marketing – What Is Convergence?

Sales Cycle Marketing - What Is ConvergenceSo yesterday I talked about sales cycle marketing and went over a little bit about how you need to make sure you find people who want to buy what you are selling early in the cycle and then carry that through to making the sale.

Today’s post is a little more in depth about why it is SO important to make sure that you capture the attention of your buyers early! This is technically called CONVERGENCE and it is an amazing marketing concept taken from the world of mathematics.

What Is Convergence In Marketing?

Doing a search for convergence, I found that there were over 30 different definitions of convergence listed on wikipedia.com, but the one that matters to us is, “that some functions and sequences approach a limit under certain conditions”. Not sexy, but certainly true in math and marketing!

Doh, that seems hard so let’s take a look at a picture of what this means…

Sales Cycle Marketing Convergence Graphic

In this graphic, you can see yellow (for low urgency, early in the cycle), orange (for medium urgency and a medium time to buy) with lastly, red (high urgency and a short time to buy).

As the buyer moves down the chart, the urgency gets greater. Think about something dire instead of sales. Say you get a tummy ache (yellow), you might think about taking some Tums and figuring out what you might have eaten that was bad. It gets worse (orange), most of us now hop on the internet and search our symptoms to see if there is something wrong. You are in abject pain (red), your next search is for your doctor’s phone number or the location of the nearest hospital.

In this example, the “sale” is made when you go to your doctor to get fixed and the research you did will not actually change the outcome because you are already your doctor’s patient. OR you will go to the hospital in the closest proximity to your current location even if the hospital across the state has a great marketing campaign.

A parable about purple databases (databases don’t come in colors!)

Now let’s talk about something that is not life threatening. Let’s consider you want to get more customers. You do some research online and figure out that you need a database (yellow). You do some research and find out that there are three that will fit the bill, and then your best customer calls and you are back to work work.

The next day you think, hmmm better find out more about those darn databases and hop online to do some research or call your favorite marketing person to see what she thinks…:) WOW, they are not cheap but you know it is something you need so you compile more data to make sure you can make a good choice (orange).

Finally, after much contemplation, you KNOW which one you are going to get, call the company and throw down your credit card.

BUT, what if, in the middle of all this, you talk to a guy and he says that purple databases are better and, lo and behold, he just happens to sell purple databases. THIS IS A BAD thing for those companies you researched a few weeks ago. They fell out of the rotation and someone else swooped in and made the sale.

Convergence in the sales cycle

This is the important bit so pay attention….

As a company that needs to make sales, you want to get into the game in the yellow area, SUPER early in the sales cycle. Now, I know you are thinking to yourself, “but I only really need to be the swooper at the end”. That would be great if it worked in real life, but more often than not, sales is a process and you want to have LOTS of people in your process (pipeline).

But, we know those people are not ready to buy yet so we have to nurture them, building a relationship along the way so that they think of us when it is time to pull out a credit card.

I use InfusionSoft (a non-purple database) to grab people’s contact info, then talk to them (send emails about our products), have someone call them and be nice (people like phone calls when they are relevant and helpful) and am there when they are ready to buy.

note – if you are considering a database and want to talk to someone who uses Infusionsoft, give me a jingle 727-415-9165

Why Coming Into The Sales Cycle Late Makes No Sense

Really, in a perfect world, we would all be able to prospect ONLY to people within days of making a buying decision and I am sure there are high tech or high cost ways to do this (think about those huge pages of car sales in the newspapers or buying $25 per click paid keywords). But since most of my readers are small business owners or entrepreneurs, we are not rolling in the big, big bucks so we need to grow a consistent system and pipeline of people who want to buy what we are selling.

The only way to do that is to consistently find people early in the sales cycle and then nurture them through the buying process. I choose to do this with technology, but you could do it with your Google calendar if you wanted, just setting up a 6 or 7 step program to stay in touch and scheduling each one individually.

Whether you go with a software system or a more manual system, the key is to keep talking to your prospects all throughout the sales cycle in order to make the sale!

PS – This is also called the sell until they buy or die system…:) I like that too but it is not as scientific!

Sales Cycles – Small Business Marketing

Many of my small business marketing peeps never take the time to really look at and consider sales cycles in their marketing efforts. Today’s post is going to be very important and worth taking the time to read!

So what is a sales cycle?

Small Business Marketing - Sales Cycles and When Will They BuyThink of it this way, when you are shopping for anything, you have a process you go through that starts with the idea and ends with the purchase. If it is a tiny item like a candy bar, the thought and the purchasing may be very close. If it is a large item or something you need for your business or to help improve your life, the timeline may be considerably longer, with more research involved.

Thinking of buying – So you are sitting at your desk and contemplating lunch when suddenly you see an ad for item, OR you are at an event and a speaker talks about something that is new to you and you think, “hmmm that might work for my business”, OR you are talking with a friend and they tell you about this great new product or service they are using. All of these are ways that the IDEA of buying something can come into your head.

Early research – Now you know this thing exists and if someone doesn’t sell you that minute on it, you are probably going to do some research on the topic.

I heard a great example somewhere about guinea pigs. People rarely buy guinea pigs spontaneously (thank goodness). They see them (or more likely their kids see them), then the parents research how much care and feeding they take, then the kids beg for a while and finally a pig is purchased.

There are multiple places in this research phase that you could attract the attention of researchers, have a GP for Dummies Book, offer a free guide to how to pick a long living GP, have a video tutorial about the care and cleaning of a cage. All of these things will get them into your sales pipeline IF you capture their data by asking for their email address and name.

Middle research – Okay, the initial discovery had been done and now your customer is moving onto serious research. In this case lets look at a bride. She has become engaged, done some early dreaming about her wedding, but now the rubber hits the road and she needs to find out pricing and availability of venues, where to get her gown and all the other things a bride has to do.

As a vendor in the wedding space, you would want to be on this short list. What if, during early research you had offered something like a free wedding checklist that she could use to make sure everything gets done and have continued to send tips her way for the last couple of months? Don’t you think your company will be on that short list?

Buying – The research is done and they are ready to buy. This is the sad little place that I see too many of my peeps miss the mark. They are all gung ho up in the research phase and actually convince someone of the value of buying whatever they sell, but then peter out and functionally make the sale for whoever comes along next and talks about it. You HAVE to be in constant contact at this point to make the sale!

The Bad News About Sales Cycles

I have bad news, most of my clients come to me all bright eyed and bushy tailed saying that they only want to target people who are 5 minutes away from buying their product or service. That is a truly admirable goal and sometimes possible by targeting buying keywords in your organic or paid online marketing, but mostly people want to buy from someone they know, like and trust.

Let’s say a customer is looking for social media marketing services and somewhere early in their search they happen along my site. They sign up for my mailing list and we send them great information for weeks or months about how to do their social media, what to look for, etc. By the time they are ready to buy they “know” me. They have seen my videos, they have read my emails, I have helped them to understand what they need to do and what kind of company they need to look for (miraculously close to what our company does) and so their buying decision becomes no decision, OF COURSE they hire us because we are the only real choice.

How To Do Sales Cycle Marketing

So you are thinking, “bloody hell”, how am I going to get all these people from thinking about buying to finally picking up the phone to call with a sale. You need to have a database that has the capability of:

  • Having a web form to collect the suspect’s email address and name
  • Have a series of “drip emails” (also called auto responders) that keep you in the front of their thoughts
  • A way to start separating the wheat from the chaff into prospects by checking which links they click in the emails to see where they are in the sales cycle
  • The ability to delegate some of these tasks (I have a WONDERFUL executive assistant who makes most of my calls for me, you NEED to have the best person for the job getting the task to perform)
  • Continuous, gentle reminders along the way to buy from you (these do not have to scream buy now, buy now, but why miss a sale because someone doesn’t know you are selling)

Sales Cycle Software Recommendation

If you are down this far, you are obviously interested in growing your business and making more money. Please, please, please stick with me for one more minute and find out how to stop thinking about doing something and really take action…

The ONLY way to accomplish all these tasks is by using some kind of advanced database (while Constant Contact or Mail Chimp will work early on, they fall apart at the place where you really start tracking and selling…they are a marketing tool, not a sales tool).

We recommend InfusionSoft for this kind of thing (we use them and they sponsor our site – first sponsor we have allowed in over 12 years – we love them that much!) Their software performs all of these functions AND they have training to make sure you know how to use it! Find out more about Lifecycle Marketing and InfusionSoft

Small Business Marketing – Authority Marketing

Small Business Marketing – Authority MarketingSo I talk a lot about authority marketing to my small business marketing peeps, but I don’t think I have ever spelled it out here. Not sure this is the “official version”, I just know what works for biz owners on a practical basis.

First off, what is authority marketing? It is taking the best bits of your business and becoming a champion of those pieces!

I talk (some would say ad nausea) about marketing, but in the final reckoning, there are some pieces of marketing that I champion…

  • having clear and definable activities that you do which will grow your audience
  • knowing EXACTLY what you are selling and how that fits into your marketing plan
  • and finally, totally digging into each different marketing channel that I think will help my readers and figuring out how to best explain that to my small business peeps

In the world of marketing, this could be construed as my USP (unique selling proposition), but in my world, it is just what I do, day in and day out.

So how does that transfer to your small business? First off, I firmly believe you have to love your industry. You have to read about it, write about it and immerse yourself into the culture of whatever business you choose. While there is some talk out there about choosing profitable industries, I think that anything can be profitable if you care and then leverage that caring into something that people want to buy.

What does that look like practically?

  • Sign up for newsletters from your competitors. DO NOT copy them, but use their info as a springboard to figure out what to write and talk about.
  • Attend industry events. It can be easy to get so busy working that you are not out there keeping on the edge of your industry. Knowing what is new and exciting about your industry is vital.
  • Share your knowledge. This is a HUGE one! When I am getting ready to write a post, I will oftentimes look around to see what other people think about it. If you are a thought leader in your industry, you WILL get opportunities that you did not even know existed.
  • Be excited. If you are not excited about what is going on, how can you expect anyone else to get excited? While it is hard for me to believe, not everyone loves marketing. That does not stop me from carrying on about it and my enthusiasm has caused some other people to care…that is being a champion for your industry.
  • Don’t worry about the people who don’t care. One of the hardest things in business is try and convince someone to care who doesn’t. Stop trying to convert the non-carers and focus on your biggest advocates PLUS the people on the fringes who could care if you explain how exciting it is. You will never sell your product or service to world, focus on selling it to the people who need or want it and forget the rest.
  • Get off the internet and get out the door. When I meet someone in real life who only knows me from online, I think they think I am just some person who writes emails and blog posts in some far away land (like the great and powerful Oz). It may surprise you know that I do at least one if not more big events a month, and many small speaking events (at least 6). This is because being insulated online (at home alone) stagnates you and dulls your skills. It is only when you are talking face to face with people that you can see their reactions and know how your message is really being received.

So, now you have all this knowledge, how are you going to get it out there to the masses who want to buy what you are selling?

  • Write a book. Sigh, this has been on my to-do list forever, but it is actually a great way to VASTLY increase your knowledge and credibility.
  • Blog about it. The number one, easiest way to start spreading your influence. The thing is to be consistent and make sure to always provide value.
  • Webinars. The cost of this technology is so small as to be almost a non-issue. Start doing great webinars, tape them and then let them spread.
  • Videos. If you are excited about your industry, let it out in videos. They can be screen capture or just you talking. Start this one TODAY.
  • Social media. Get on them, start talking and you will grow a following of people who are interested in what you have to say. Share your ideas as well as OPS (other people’s stuff).
  • In person. Go to networking events and talk about your biz. See what people think and be interesting.
  • Have an email plan. Not a plain jane newsletter, but actual info about your industry that people will want to read.

Okay, that is enough to get you started. Now go do something!

PS – When you are starting your authority marketing, no one will care. They will be busy doing whatever it is that they were doing before you decided to start and will need a while to figure out that you are out there. DO NOT get sad or disappointed. It takes time and consistency to become an industry leader and it will not happen overnight, but if you start today, you will be ahead of everyone else that hasn’t (and probably won’t start).

Remember that every person who you influence, who notices that you are doing something has the ability to share your message with someone else, and so on and so on.

Small Business Marketing – List Of Promotional Holidays

Small Business Marketing - List of Promotional HolidaysSmall business marketing is not just talking about your products and services day in and day out. Oftentimes, if you frame your message around a holiday, you can increase interest in your marketing efforts.

Here is a list of the promotional holidays – we like to call this surfing the seasons!

Easy Seasons

  • Winter
  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Summer

Basic Promotional Holidays

  • New Years Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Valentines Day
  • President’s Day
  • St. Patricks Day
  • Easter
  • Memorial Day
  • 4th of July
  • Labor Day
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • New Years Day

Yearly Events

  • Super Bowl
  • Kentucky Derby Day
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Opening Day of Football
  • April Fools Day
  • Groundhog Day
  • Back to School
  • Mothers and Fathers Day
  • Your company’s founding month
  • Election Day
  • Black Friday

Small Business Marketing – Great B2B YouTube Video Marketing

Small business marketing in the B2B (business to business) space can sometimes feel a little less exciting than what the B2C (business to consumer) folks can do. I hear a lot in the marketplace that social media and YouTube videos are not for B2B.

Small Business Marketing - Great B2B Norfolk Southern VideoWhile it can be hard to conceptualize how to make businesses like accounting, floor sweepers or cash registers (or now the Square) exciting, I cannot think of something older or more stable than rail transportation. It only applies to large companies who need national transportation for large amount of goods (a pretty small slice of industry). It is not a market segment that I would think of being on the cutting edge of technology or innovation.

That was why I got SO exited to see this commercial, that makes a B2B video fun, interesting and, heck even exciting!

So why does it work and how can you take these ideas and move them over to your small business?

The mystique of rail travel…okay, I have to admit that I love trains. I got it honestly from my dad who loves trains too. That having been said, there is a large percentage of the population who like trains, had toy trains or whose brothers, fathers or sons had trains. It pays to look at your industry and find out what makes it “sexy” or interesting. Could be whacky urban myths, a rabidly loyal customer base or even the industry itself.

Obviously this was a professional production, CGI laden, EXPENSIVE commercial that ran on the national cable channels. So how can you expect to compete (and darn it, you keep telling us that great production on videos is not important!) Take the idea of the video and transport it to your less expensive videos!

I could so picture this as a smaller local video with pictures of trains fading into a video of a train blowing past and then a picture of a big city in the background with the words superimposed over the images. That is a perfectly acceptable version that would work for our small biz peeps. You just need to make an effort to think how you can leverage these kinds of ads and make them your own.

Copy the big guys

I cannot express this enough. BIG NATIONAL companies spend a gagillion dollars doing ads, focus testing them, production costs, etc. If you can take their concepts and make them your own, you are WAY ahead of your local competition. Using a national ad that comes to mind, how fun would it be to take the Farmers ad with Kasey Kane (a Nascar race car driver) and a fire extinguisher and move it down to small business level by going with a local agent and a Boy Scout style racer.

B2B YouTube video marketing does not have to be boring or hard, it just takes a little bit of creativity!

want to learn more…check out Use Funny YouTube Commercials For Small Business Marketing

Swag Roundup – Tech Trade Show Promotional Products

Promotional products are a super fun part of marketing! I recently attended the Denver Business Technology Expo and had the chance to collect some “swag” for a scientific review of effectiveness… i.e. I asked the nerdy guys at the show what they liked the best AND asked my geeky husband (he is a database admin) who has seen A LOT of tech trade show promotional products over the years. Throw in my marketing intuition and you should be able to get a good idea of what kinds of products would work well as tech trade show handouts!

Technology Tradeshow Promotional Products ReviewLet’s get right to it…

1. Infusionsoft, who is a sponsor to this blog and Travis Campbell, the Marketing Professor, invited me to be their guest at this event. They had a REALLY nice handout, a black pen with the InfusionSoft logo AND a stylus tip. This was very well thought out to appeal to the tech industry!

2. Hostworks, Inc. offered a rather neat pen that caught my eye, nothing special, just appealed to my ascetic. A word on this, there were LOTS of pens, if you are going to give away a pen, you best be sure there is something AMAZING about it or it will just languish in the swag bag doing nothing but taking up space. One thing I did not see was Gel Highlighters like I use in my business – they go over great and make people want your stuff!

3. Both Dell and Storagecraft offered this pen. First off, I wasn’t sure what it was and when I hefted it, it was heavy for its size! Well, come to find out, it was actually a screwdriver with all the bits inside. Based on how many times my hubby uses screwdrivers, I HAD to have one to take home for him and he LOVED it! This was my second place winner for swag handouts!

4. USB jump drive from HighTouch Technologies. Thought that this one was great, looked snazzy and who doesn’t need a jump drive. Will DEFINITELY not throw it out and may share it with someone else.

5. Flashlight from Jones International University. This one seemed like a blast from the past. Could be that they are great handouts for college students who need to get to class in the wee hours of the morning, but at a tech trade show felt a little out of place.

6-7. Regis University on the other hand had a great, well thought out handout. This is our first arts and crafts handout (where they use stickers on a basic product to brand them). What I liked was that they had WD-40 for the geeks (a hot item) and stain stick for the ladies (I can always use a stain stick to throw in my pocketbook!). Overall a nice showing and practical!

8. This one was SUPER FUN, a glider with the Mercury Networks name, although they weren’t playing with them there AND the amount they had seemed to be limited as they had to consider whether I was worthy to get one. If you are going to do a swag handout, have enough to give one to everyone, throw them around, share them, give two to people with two kids. If you can’t afford to get that many, do something else! on a side note, they did not have their url on their glider, there are million mercury networks and I would not be able to find them after the event….just something to think about

9-11. Okay, Security Pursuit is a little dicey in my opinion. They had VERY attractive young ladies in nurses uniforms handing out little bottles of booze and condoms branded with the Security Pursuit name. That having been said, they were the talk of the show and there were guys manning booths not on “the strip” down the middle who were sad they hadn’t gotten a visit from the girls. On the other hand, I am not sure that anyone was noticing the company or asking about their products. It is a fine line. They also had a craft product saily thing that they WERE playing with and making a big splash. Overall, have to say these guys were there, having fun and raising awareness of their products. Honorary mention as I can’t make condoms a winner!

12. This holder thingy from Comcast is probably better suited somewhere else but I LOVED IT! It will sit on my desk saying Comcast, holding my papers upright for years. That having been said, the techy guys looked puzzled when I showed it to them and thought the idea was lame when I explained it.

13. VERY snazzy swag from VEEAM. It is a phone holder that keeps your phone upright on your desk. It is a high quality handout and seems like it would be VERY useful. They had lots and handed them out freely! Good on you Veeam…gotta give them 3rd place for this one!

14. Wah, wah, wah. This shining, flashing ice cube from Fortinet was GREAT at the show, flashing on the booth and drawing people over. The problem is, the battery died before I left the building and while I like the idea of a freezable ice cube, without it flashing I am not that interested (plus I would need more than one to be a practical ice cube solution). I get the concept but handing out something that is a disappointment in 5 minutes doesn’t seem like a great idea!

15. Last but certainly not least is the USB car phone adapter from latisys. WINNER, WINNER chicken dinner. These are REALLY nice, they came in two colors (I took the green of course) and there were LOTS of them on the table. I would definitely use it in my car and everyone at the show seemed really jazzed to go over and “talk” to them and pick up a present. Best in class for sure!

Tech Trade Show Promotional Products

So now that we have gone over the ones I have in my hot little hands, let’s talk about Trade Show Swag and what you are trying to accomplish!

  • First, you want the chance to bring people by your booth so they can hear about your great product. Please, please, please send the talky people from your company to the tradeshow. Too often there are three guys sitting in the booth talking amongst themselves, worried that they are going to look too aggressive if they speak to anyone. Great swag doesn’t overcome a bad booth staff.
  • Second, you want to give them something relevant to the industry. Booze and condoms are not relevant to network security, although they did get me to write about them so points for that! The ones that seemed most coveted appealed to the techy side of the attendees and which had a high value.
  • Third, if you can do something venue specific, rock it. The event was held at Wings Over The Rockies, an air and space museum so the two who had flying swag had a really neat story to tell!
  • Lastly, you want them to keep it on their desk, in their pocket or elsewhere they can see your brand and think of you everyday! While we don’t use Comcast, the fact that they will be holding my papers up and in my view EVERYDAY is a bonus for their brand.

Do I think tech show promotional products are going to help sell a bad service or product, no. Do I think that promo products can help brand your company, start a conversation or just give someone a smile, YES! If you are going to do tradeshows and go to all the expense of attending, why not give yourself the best shot to make a GREAT first impression!

Small Business Marketing – What Used To Work

Today it seems like small business marketing is all about the shiney objects and social media. Just today I was telling a friend how often I hear people talk about “what used to work” that they are not using anymore and she had a great comeback. SO many small businesses hear so often that you have to do the “new” marketing that they have forgotten to use tried and true methods that worked for them in the past!

Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future.  William WordsworthAt one of my favorite networking groups (The Dynamic Women a Denver womens networking group), we decided to attack this head on, all talk about what we used to do and find out if there are any missing pieces we can slot back into our marketing mix.

Here are the results of the small business marketing “used to do and it worked, but I stopped doing it for some reason” survey:

Mailing

Karen – Used to do Send Out Cards which she liked doing a lot. She said she just got out of the habit but that when she did send them she got a great response every time.

Robin – Had a great mailing system to follow up with clients. She would send a thank you for the appointment follow up, then a “it has been a while”, plus a birthday card with a 5% discount…worked great for generating repeat business…stopped for reasons unknown!

Networking

Evelyn and Dale – They used to attend mixers, Chamber events and networking lunches, set up get togethers or one-on-ones and then sell to those people.

Donna – Handed out flyers at networking and sold things. Go figure!

Amber – Went to 16-20 networking groups per week when she was starting her business. She has stopped that now (she is a new mom!) but is still getting calls and leads from the couple of years that she did that.

Product Based

Rachel had a great one! Make sure you are a product of your product. If you sell fancy nails, make sure your nails look great. If you sell marketing like I do, make sure that you have embroidered shirts, promotional items, etc.

Sherrie – agrees that you should buy your product BUT that you have to take the emotion out of it and not be bothered if your friends and family don’t buy from you.

In Person Marketing

Mickie (realtor) said she made her first sale to her next door neighbor and that it came about because she talked about her industry.

Jennifer (a realtor also) got her first client from walking around knocking on doors and offering a free market report.

Monica talked about doing shows in malls and making sure that you collect names, numbers and emails so you can followup.

Diane used to have a welcome meeting when she signed up a new Legal Shield customer. She invited the new member and her friends to do their wills together and got lots of leads from those (Diane is not doing that right now).

Email Marketing

Tara (me) – I used to do email marketing but don’t like my database anymore so I have stopped really communicating with my peeps. Believe you me, I am going to change databases this month and start sending more info out!

Amber – Even sending out informational emails about someone else’s events can get a response from people.

If you have a small business marketing plan that used to work and which you abandoned, please leave a comment below to let up know about it and make sure to try it again ASAP!

Small Business Marketing – How To Win…Analyze, Plan, Measure, Repeat

Marketing Pictures WIth Quotes - Analyze, Plan, Measure, RepeatSmall business marketing is fun for those of us who are of sound hunter stock…we head on out there into the fray with our clubs and bring back a new client. Hmmmm, works good, but what about tomorrow? Head on out there and doink another customer?

Sound small business marketing (the kind that has a steady stream of new prospects, suspects and customers streaming through your door) requires that you have something in place to help you get more focused and know what a win looks like! Now, for all you marketing farmers out there (you know who you are, you are doing your calls, making your contacts and growing your lists), this may seem simple, but for us hunters…we need a GOAL, a CHALLENGE and a reason to be less reactive and more proactive about our marketing!

I was listening to a real estate coaching video yesterday by a good friend, John Dietz, about goal setting. LOVE his, “how can you hit a goal that you don’t have?” AND his track activities ideas! Thought it would be GREAT for you to hear this from someone besides me…:) Go ahead, watch, I will be here when you get back!

So now you know that smart, successful, impatient, aggressive people like John and I have learned that even though you are a hunter, you can have big wins with specific goals! Long story short, let’s get to the meat…too late I know…:)

How To Win At Small Business Marketing

To win at small business marketing is easy. Figure out your target customer, find some of them, let them know about your company, your products, your services, get them to buy and provide an AMAZING experience. YAY! We are done here and making gagillions of dollars.

Oh, not making the big money yet? OR were making the big coin but now that train is left the station and you are not sure quite what to do? Let’s look at how get started with a PLAN! I KNOW, we entrepreneurial types like to keep it loose and fly by the seats of our pants, BUT seriously, if we want to make the BIG (consistent) bucks, we need to get something together to let us win.

Analyze

This is harder if you are brand new, but if you are an old dog like me, you can take a peek at what you already have that you can work with. You can see what is working now (even if only a little bit) and what you can work with in the future. My besty the Colorado Connector and I coined a phrase, KISS (keep it strategically simple). I am NOT talking here about finding something new, doing a new website, finding a new product. This is all about looking at what you have and seeing if there is anything there to work with.

For me, I like to see the low hanging fruit like the fact that I rank well on the Google for certain keywords like Realtor and Entrepreneur Marketing, Customer Demographics, etc. One of my goals is to keep those little suckers churning out website hits so I can get people in my database and sell them something down the line!

Another thing I have is a great Twitter following….I just started using a premium plugin (Social Metrics Pro) to track my twitter, facebook, pinterest and stumble upon links. The funny thing is that just analyzing how I am doing is making my numbers go up, even before having a plan!

Look at what you have now and start thinking about whether there is any low hanging fruit you can use. Do you have a YouTube channel, an email list, a radio show? DO NOT at this point start anything new, just look at what you have now and see if you think it can work better.

Plan

Small Business Marketing – How To Win…Analyze, Plan, Measure, RepeatOkay, now we need to plan our marketing strategy. Like John said, we are going to look at activities we can do rather than setting giant, unrealistic sales goals with no basis in fact.

Some of the activities that I put numbers to are below. The way I do this is to make a little form, starting with writing it down on a piece of paper and then figure out what I am going to do each and every month for the next three months. For me, I am going to focus on growing my social media marketing company leads and doing more affiliate sales of products that I believe in.

These are all in NUMBER OF….

  • Social media postings
  • Blog comments
  • Blog posts
  • Emails
  • Adds to the database
  • Speaking events
  • Phone calls
  • Mail pieces
  • Webinars
  • Videos

These are in no particular order of importance, just some of the things that I do and track on a monthly basis.

Measure

Your first measurement of how well it worked is did you do what you said you would, every thing, every week. I think that there is a lot of talk out there about how you can’t get everything done, how you have to make choices, etc. For me, the choice is clear, I do what I say I am going to do. Whether I tell you something or whether it is for me and my business, if I write it down, it gets done. Do not fall into the trap of taking the easy way out and and whining about how you just couldn’t do it. If it takes until midnight, working weekends and evenings to succeed, do this for three months and know that for the rest of your time in business you will have the benefit of this surge.

just as a heads up, I am being this harsh because if you do it for a week or two, it gets easier, takes less time and becomes a habit that will make you more money, BUT for the first little bit it will suck bad and you need to be committed to the crappy times so you can get better!

Next check and see if you accomplished anything specific. Did you add people to your database? This is now a true basis for setting goals for the NEXT three months! If you added 100 people to your database with a surge, add ten percent and make your next goal to add 110 to your database (you didn’t think that we were going to let these numbers go DOWN did you..:) Got 100 video views, figure out how to get 110 next quarter. Sell a product, plan to sell two the next time!

Repeat

If you are down here, you are at least buying into this enough to take a flyer with me. Spend three months doing this and then come back and tell me how it goes. I PROMISE that it feels GREAT when you accomplish what you said you would do. I PROMISE it feels great when you add more customers to your life. I PROMISE that if you do this in a committed way, it will become old hat and not hard anymore.

The next time you will have the ability to track your goals against what happened this time. You will be able to see progress. If you are a chart kind of kid, you will see lines heading up instead of down! All things that us hunter types thrive on…WINNING!!! Now get out there and do some marketing!!!

PS – It was funny in my first list of todos, I did not have social media. That is because I have elves at my company that help with that for my company (not my Tara stuff) and my clients. If you would like to find out how to hand some of this off to an AMAZING social media marketing company, click the link to find out more!

Work Quotes With Pictures | Labor Day Quotes

So I had to do some rocking labor day quotes with pictures so that my clients would have fabulous messages for the day…but I also did not want to leave you guys high and dry with nothing to post, so here are some of my favorite work quotes as well as productivity quotes put to pictures. Please feel free to pin and use as you wish!

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. Vince Lombardi

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. Vince Lombardi

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Arthur C. Clarke

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Arthur C. Clarke

Nothing is work unless you'd rather be doing something else. George Halas

Nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else. George Halas

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth. Pearl S. Buck

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth. Pearl S. Buck

Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things. Byron Dorgan

Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things. Byron Dorgan

The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.  Harry Golden

The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work. Harry Golden

The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play. Arnold J. Toynbee

The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play. Arnold J. Toynbee

Work is not man's punishment. It is his reward and his strength and his pleasure. George Sand

Work is not man’s punishment. It is his reward and his strength and his pleasure. George Sand

Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece. Nadia Boulanger

Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece. Nadia Boulanger

With confidence you have won before you have started. Marcus Garvey

With confidence you have won before you have started. Marcus Garvey

Happy Happy Labor Day To You!

A note about sharing your “stuff”. So the other day I saw a post someone wrote about why they would NEVER want anyone STEALING their work and sharing it all around the internet. HMMMM I guess I come down on the other side of the fence. I make watermarks so that you can feel VERY comfortable sharing my “stuff” and using it to make your business better. Please feel free to use these Labor Day Quotes and Work quotes anywhere you like, please just don’t remove the watermarks!

Happy Day to you all!

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Find out more about The Entrepreneur Blueprint!

Small Business Marketing – Writing Good Subject Lines And Content

Small business marketing is ALL about making a connection with the person you hope buys your product. Email marketing is brilliant when done right and great subject lines and content are VITAL to getting someone to even take a peek at your message!

Email marketing is so “old” that we forget it takes effort to make it successful. From the second that email started as a text based only message in the 1970’s to when AOL launched the infamous, “you’ve got mail” campaign, marketers were coming up with plans on how to use this technology to sell stuff.

Remember the bliss you felt when you heard that ping and knew someone was talking to you on that computer thing in the corner? Today email is competing with more than just online chat rooms and those new fangled website thingys. Today you have to compete with giants like smartphone apps, social media, videos, TV and dare I say it, real life humans that people may want to interact with more than your email!

So what is a poor marketer supposed to do? You have spent all this time building a list, you have grown a following, how the heck do you go about writing good email subject lines that will get people to read your message?

Writing Good Email Subject Lines

While it is good for a giggle to go through my emails and find bad subject lines…I did that before in my post Email Marketing Writing Great Subject Lines. Written just two years ago, the open rates for media (read marketing and advertising) were in the 13% range, today the email open rates have plummeted even further to 7.5% with a high average across the board of 15%-ish.

Seriously, the high is 15% of people opening your emails on average. What if you had a GREAT subject line that could move the needle a little bit and get you more readers (ie more sales).

A Bad Email Subject Line

Bad email subject line - writing good email subject lines post

This is what the subject line of this email is:
Launching a new product….Come check it out! – Having trouble viewing this email?

Can you figure out what is wrong before reading more?

First off, glad you are launching a new product…NOT! I don’t need a new product. If it was something specific like a new product to help with productivity or a new product that could make me look younger or a new product that was for dogs, maybe you would have a chance to get my attention….just a generic new product….FAIL!

Second bad part is the words after the official subject line shows, “having trouble viewing this email” instead of a teaser that lets me know a little about what is coming.

A Good Email Subject Line

Good email subject line

This is what the subject line of this email is:
Use This WordPress Theme To Spice Up Your Facebook Business Page – 25% Until

Can you figure out why this is good?

Because you are not me, you may not know that I am interested in WordPress and Facebook Business Pages. Those are both keywords that make me go UMMMM. Also, the teaser looks like there might be a discount!

The Little Teaser

So to me, the little teaser is often why I will open an email. Having that short little blub gives me a little more info in order to make a decision as to whether or not to open a message. Just so you know, I have over 29,000 UNREAD emails in my inbox, which does not count the ones I have read! I do not have time to read emails that are not going to enrich my life!

Social Media Emails

Small Business Marketing - Writing Good Email Subject LinesSo the reason for today’s post is that a connection on LinkedIn sent me an email today. Now, I get A LOT of social media emails (heck, today I even got a message through Stumble Upon). These messages come fast and furious all day long and I disregard most, if not all of them!

Today’s subject line was “My Wife”. This seemed like a less self serving message than most so I took a peek. In it, the husband was talking about a Kickstarter project to let his wife publish a book of drawings she did while battling cancer. HMMMMM. Went over to the kickstarter page, Draw It Out – An Intimate Breast Cancer Journey, and thought…well, could definitely get behind this lady and her dream for a book….donated a couple of bucks!

So what made this work? First off, the guy was helping his wife (I checked a little and his name matched hers and he didn’t seem like a total creep). Second off, Kickstarter was taking my money so no way to lose my credit card number to a Nigerian scammer. (For those of you who don’t know, kickstarter is a site where people can request funding for an upcoming project!)

Overall, thought this was the best social media email I have ever gotten and taken action on.

So why does writing a good email subject line matter so much to small business marketing? You only get one chance to make a pitch and have a great response. I KNOW you can send email after email, losing subscriber after subscriber, but we are about long term marketing plans, not get rich quick, turn em and burn em tactics. So, take some time and think about what the person the receiving end will see when they get your email! Maybe we can get these open rates up a little higher!!!

Ecommerce for Small Business Marketing

“What Ecommerce solution for small business marketing should I use?” is a question I get a lot! Ecommerce is your shopping cart or how you take payments for products online and can be a HUGE hassle to figure out. Here are some of the different ways you can accept payments.

First off, you need to know what you are selling and how much functionality you need. AND you need to know that I am not a shopping cart expert. I have used them myself in my business and have talked with many of my clients about what they used and liked or didn’t like. All comments are my opinions and are for beginning research. Please contact each company if you have any questions!

Ecommerce for Small Business Marketing – Onesey Twoosies

I am selling individual products like ebooks or consulting calls so I do not NEED a robust shopping cart solution. I choose instead to have a solution that is integrated into my database and autoresponder program (I use Office AutoPilot). The down side to AOP is there are not snazzy upsells like, “if you liked this product, you might also want to buy this product”. Could be I am losing some sales, but as most of my business comes from monthly billing or large project customers, it is not really a problem for me. Also, it is not the easiest program to set up BUT the customer service is magnificent AND the system is great once you know what you are doing!

Note: Integrated systems (your email and shopping cart in one) are not generally a good answer if you are going to do a lot of online sales. Shopping cart companies, like 1ShoppingCart.com, are great at accepting payments but not so good at email marketing. Email companies like Aweber or Constant Contact are good for email but not selling stuff. If you need to have a big shopping cart solution, keep them separate.

Another way you could dip a toe in the water and sell individual products is to use PayPal! I LOVE seeing that someone will allow me to pay with PayPal since some of my clients pay me this way and it winds up having a lot of “play money” stuck in there! (I KNOW, I could get it out, but it is my training, fun fund!) PayPal is great for starting out, checking to make sure there is a market for your products and is relatively easy for a novice to use.

IF you are selling LOTS of products online and want the functionality of a real store, you are going to have to look at a full blown shopping cart solution!

Ecommerce for Small Business Marketing – Online Shopping Carts

Next let’s look at a shopping cart option like 1ShoppingCart.com. Since I talk to a A LOT of small biz peeps, the one thing that I don’t think they understand is 1ShoppingCart.com is a like the hub of a wheel, it works great but doesn’t make your site move forward. With this site you need to have a “go to” company to get your money processed (we use Authorize.net which works on 1ShoppingCart and Office AutoPilot). Also, you will not get a full blown solution, just HTML code that you can then use to BUILD a sales page on your website. 1ShoppingCart IS great at what it does and is an industry standard for online marketers. They have an affiliate program built in and are good if you have some technical experience to build your site from scratch.

In the past, if you wanted to have an ecommerce site your options were limited to Yahoo Stores, and well, Yahoo Stores. The pricing was high and you kind of had to take what you could get. NOW, there are tons of neat and different options for you to choose from…here are two ways I would go if I selling products!

Shopify Online Ecommerce SoftwareShopify – Shopping Cart Software

Okay, I haven’t used this one myself, but have dug around in the site and they have some great features that my small biz peeps need but they don’t know it yet! First off the price per month is great ($29-59 for most of you!). Second off, they build you the whole site, so no having to take code and build out your own site. They also seem to have an eye on making sure that the search engines are able to index your site and get your products in the Google. It looks like they allow you to take payments with PayPal right off the bat and they work with Authorize.net too!

Again, I think what surprises most small biz peeps who are thinking about having a shopping cart is that with some of the companies there are no sales pages. They use PayPal or 1ShoppingCart and think that there is going to be a site with their “stuff” on there. Just not so.

Note: If you DO need a big shopping cart solution, PLEASE buy something off the shelf that has lots of customers and will be supported. Having someone make you a custom solution means that you are beholden to them for as long as you have your site! Now, I DO think it is worth-while to hire someone to DEPLOY a big solution for you if you are going to be setting up a store. You may need a graphic designer or photographer or just an admin person to make sure all your products are loaded correctly.

Online Shopping Carts – Etsy

Now, if you are selling something that is a good fit for Etsy (handmade, hand crafted or gifty-ish), I would say that it would be worthwhile to set up an Etsy store. The main reason for this is that they already have an audience there who are searching for things to buy and so you are smack dab in the path of people who might want to buy a homemade gift. No building a site!

Ecommerce for Blogs

Okay, you KNOW I am a blog kind of gal. I think that the RSS functionality of posting and the Search Engine Optimization are key to having a great online presence. What you may be surprised to know is that I DON’T think blogs are great for Ecommerce websites with lots of products (if you are a onesey-twosey kind of kid, keep the blog!!!) Even with plugins, I am not sure I love the security levels and they take A LOT of work to implement and get going. I have had a couple of clients work with companies to set up Ecommerce plugins and they have not been easy or thrilled with the results.

Disclaimer

I started with this and I am going to finish with this…these are just my perceptions of having an Ecommerce store and how SMALL business people should handle setting one up. If you are a big business with a tech department or you are going to be doing millions of online sales a year, this is not the post for you. As a company, we do not do ANY online store setup or maintenance and so I am always watching to see what we could do internally or what is available out there on the market to refer my peeps to. If you are an Ecommerce company and want to leave a thoughtful comment, please feel free to do so (I monitor them all). If you are just going to send me a hateful comment saying how wrong I am, please know that I delete those without a second thought…:)

this post contains affiliate or compensated recommendations, that having been said, I do not recommend anything that I have not researched or used and feel that would work for my clients! also, my disclaimers are generally ridiculously long due to not wanting to rank for silly disclosure terms or mess up my SEO for Ecommerce for Small Business Marketing Shopping Cart Software. i thank you for reading and if you do have a question about any of these that is SHORT, please post it in the comment section or on my Ask A Marketing Question page

Content Creation – ESL Problems (English as a second language)

Content creation is hard, even for prolific writers. We have a number of clients who are fully capable of producing their own content, but who do not put fingers to keyboard consistently enough to make a large or consistent body of work.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. - Ernest HemingwayWriting everyday or even every few days is hard and the proliferation of content sites out there (like iWriter or Unique Article Wizard) offering blog posts and articles for just a few pennies is a siren song to those of us who need to generate great content day after day.

So what is “Content”?

Content is blog posts, news articles, press releases and website copy. It is the words on the page that people read. There are many aspects of content, but we are going to touch on a few and mostly talk about ESL (English as a second language) troubles.

First off let’s talk about quality of your content. Gone are the days when you could write a mediocre piece and “spin” it a thousand different ways for posting on a gagillion websites. Google got wise to that tactic and now demands original content. Additionally, the amount of information out there is staggering and if your piece is not good or great, there is little chance anyone will be gullible enough to read it.

I also have a theory that the journalists, ousted from traditional media are now playing in non-news spaces and their words are understandably superior to mere mortals like marketing peeps, grinding out great posts day after day…just a theory though!

Secondly, content has to serve a purpose. Most of my posts are not time sensitive in the manner that news is (with the exception of Superbowl Ads). I do not have to scramble to combine the excitement of another marketing post with say the Summer Olympics or a star’s latest debacle. My posts are informative and tell you how to do some aspect of marketing.

Occasionally they are salsey, highlighting a product and then offering that product for sale. I read some blogs that are ALL sales and there are very few that hold my attention for long, so this one is for only occasional use here. You can figure out a nice mix of information and sales relatively easily if you try.

ESL (English as a second language) Problems

So today, my husband and I were taking out fish for dinner and he asked what the name of my catfish was, and I said “Claude”. He was shocked that I would have a friend for dinner so I said that it was actually “Clod” and he asked, why not “clawed”….and this post was born!

Beside the fact that my family is a little weird, that exchange shows how convoluted the english language is! One of them is a proper name, one a noun and one a verb and one a past tense, past participle of the word claw (I had to look that one up!)

Now don’t get me wrong, I play fast and loose with the English language, using anyways incorrectly a lot and making up words like gagillion, but primarily my English is filled with correctly used Americanisms that Google can recognize. Additionally, I grew up in Northwestern Pennsylvania, home of colloquialisms like “redd up the bed” or “I seen him do it” which are not grammatically correct, but which are in fact a form of American English.

Now, I have tried to use writing services in the past which use ESL workers (non-American people) who are willing to churn out content at a surprisingly low costs. The problem I have is two fold:

  1. You get what you pay for – most of the articles have MANY gramatical problems and some are downright incomprehensible!
  2. It takes me longer to fix them than to write them from scratch or have an English speaking writer who requires few changes
  3. Google can tell if you are using ESL writers (they are smart that way)

Okay, I know my issues were three-fold not two-fold, but one more came up and I just wanted to see if you are paying attention. Using an overseas service means that you are generally getting product from a writer who learned English as a second language and who in all probability, doesn’t have the breadth of knowledge that someone in America does about American English. Sometimes, in fact, their English is TOO correct and doesn’t sound like American at all!

So…what is this all about? I have people offer to post a guest post on my blog every day (sometimes twice a day). Originally, I thought that it would be a GREAT idea, superb content and I didn’t have to write so much. Two problems, I am ACTUALLY a writer so they generally don’t have the flair for the inane and snarky that I do AND most of them just ordered an article, and sent it to me unread. Sigh. I could do that myself if I was so inclined!!!

Long story short (too late I know!), if you are going to have content on your site, please make sure it was written in American English AND if you are going to submit a guest post article, PLEASE make sure it is FABULOUS!

  • PS – I had a young man submit one yesterday that was GREAT!!! You will see that one in the next few days…:)
  • PSS – There are some AMAZING sites with generally guest post writers (Mashable and Social Media Examiner come to mind), these are the caliber of writers that the world needs more of!
  • PPSS – We use American writers for our clients’ blog posts for this exact reason
  • PPSSS – If you are a frequent reader, you know I am from the rust belt of PA and am unabashedly unashamed of being a proponent of Buy American and supporting US workers (even if it costs a little bit more).

Success Quotes and Thoughts for Small Business – Burn the Boats

Okay, today I am going to talk more about mindset than marketing! What if you totally commit to your small business and burn the boats? Success quotes and thoughts for small business.

Henry Ford Quote - I am looking for a lot of men...I am from the rust belt of America. The Northwest corner of Pennsylvania just south of lake Erie, in a tiny town called Saegertown. The dads of my school friends worked on their farms, in tool and die shops and at the Talon zipper factory. They DID something or MADE something. After high school, I migrated south an hour to Sharon, PA, home of Sharon Steel, well previous home of Sharon Steel, the mill shut down and a huge portion of the town’s families were out of work with no future in sight.

Colin Powell Quote - None of us can change our yesterdays, but all of us can change our tomorrow's.To me, this economy feels much the same for my small business owners and their marketing. It seems like what we did in the past is not working (the Yellow Pages, having a big Rolodex, conducting seminars for payment, writing a best seller). All of these things used to guarantee success, but not so much anymore.

Today, to succeed in business it seems like you have to have mad computer skills, be online 24 hours 7 days a week, speak in person, speak online, have products, tweek your services…arggg.

Pick Something and Stick To It (for at least 3 months)

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new - Albert EinsteinSo what SHOULD you do to be successful in an economy like this? Be SURE of what you are selling and what your goals are. I mean like, you can get woken from a deep sleep with a drill sergeant yelling in your face and say, “I do (mine here) social media marketing, speaking and info products, sir yes sir!”

I recommend you pick 3 things to focus on in your business for 3 months at a time (the three squares for any of my coaching clients or seminar attendees).

Next you need to have a plan. An “in writing plan” based on your goals. You need to know in the morning when you get up EXACTLY what you need to do today to get you one step closer to your goals. Somedays I think, well why should I do the Twitter today, BUT since I sat down with a clear head and a sharp pencil 3 months ago and set in stone to check Twitter every work day, I just do it!

Burn The Boats

While there are lots of legends about where the phrase “burn the boats” came from, generally what it means is that once you reach land, burn your boats so that you have to go boldly forward without the ability to look back.

I LOVE this idea. Set up a plan and then COMMIT to seeing it through. Even when times are hard. Even when you want to give up (you do know that from time to time EVERYONE wants to give up!) Make no excuses. If you said you would write a blog post a week, then darn it, at 11:45 on Friday night you should be pounding it out, even if the time isn’t right or no one will read it.

Make YOU accountable to YOURSELF. Be disappointed if you make excuses.

If you need help getting YOUR focus and goals on paper, give me a call today to schedule a 1 hour call to get YOUR plan in order!!! 727-415-9165.

My Favorite Success Quotes

I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.
Henry Ford

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Wayne Gretsky

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.
Vince Lombardi

Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when I know there are footprints on the moon.
Paul Brandt

The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of ordinary qualities. These may for the most part be summed in these two: common-sense and perseverance.
Owen Feltham

Most of us serve our ideals by fits and starts. The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.
Cecil B. DeMille

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
Robert Collier

Google Universal Search – How Google+ Effects Small Business Marketing

So yesterday I talked about “getting to the top of google” and touched on how google has different results for different people (that is called google universal search). Today we are going to take a visual peek at what that looks like in real world small business marketing searching and how utilizing social media and especially Google+ makes a huge difference!

Small Business Marketing, Google+ and Universal Search

Google plus one universal searchAs a social media marketing company, we get our peeps on the Google+ and circle related people for them. BUT what does that mean in the real world? If I listened to the rumors, Google+ doesn’t have very many people using it and it isn’t as fun as Facebook for the average user, right?

In the picture, searching with Tara Jacobsen (me) logged into google, I get ALL kinds of people results. I get to see how many of my friends have plused one the blogger link, I have a picture of that nice Darren Rowse from Problogger, whose blog I read and who I have circled on Google+. Along those lines, Jay Baer is also in my circles, and there is his happy little face, big as life. The other search was done with proxify.com which anonymizes the search and takes out preferences and friend links. There you can see some are the same links, but no Jay, AND it added a video result (not sure why the video icon didn’t load, but I promise it worked!).

Google plus one universal searchBut maybe that is just me, right? Nope! This is another result from one of our realtor client’s account. Deb Ward, Clearwater Realtor Extraordinaire, is friends with Stacy Hansen, so when we did a search for ENTREPRENEUR MARKETING using her account, up jumped the result!

So whether you believe in Google+ plus as a social platform or not, I am totally ON BOARD as a way to increase search engine rankings for our peeps!

What Is Evergreen Marketing?

What is Evergreen Marketing | Evergreen Marketing DefinitionSo, I am writing a book about evergreen marketing and thought, huh, need a definition for evergreen marketing, will just pop on the interwebs to grab one. Much to my surprise, this stable, solid marketing concept is not defined ANYWHERE on the internet!

Since we have to do it ourselves, let’s start with what evergreen is… according to Miraim Webster, evergreen is defined as, “retaining freshness or interest : perennial”. That is nice! So if you are doing something in an evergreen way, it will keep coming back again and again each year to help you.

Evergreen marketing is producing a basic marketing idea, plan or concept that will last beyond the next couple of hours, days or even years, perennially providing you with new sources of sales or prospects!

What Are Some Evergreen Marketing Concepts?

Great branding – so some years ago I had a client who had grown up on certain street in New York and had HUGE ties to that area. Thinking she would name her writing business, 38th Avenue or something along those lines seemed to make a whole lot of sense from an emotional standpoint. But what about as an ongoing business model? As small business owners, we do not have time (or huge marketing budgets) to get people to associate street names, personal names, etc. with a product (at least not if you want to come out of the gate running!)

Name your company or product something with the name of what you do in it to increase brand recognition immediately!

Your Logo – we all want to change up our logos after a time. Playing around with colors and fonts and pictures is FUN! But, what about all that time you have spent marketing your brand, colors, etc. All down the drain for the thrill of the new and shiney. UNLESS you logo was designed in Word or by a child, try to stick with it and focus on important things like making money and getting new clients!

Your Keywords – Now that you have what your brand looks and sounds like, you need to have a REALLY firm grasp of what your product offering are. If you are a hair salon, don’t get cute and call it a hair studio, no one is looking for a hair studio, they are looking for hair cuts, or hair color, or hair salons in your town! Back in the day (like 10 years ago), it was popular to try and rank for HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of different keywords. Now, there was SERIOUSLY less competition then and it made sense. Fast forward to today when there are a million social media sites, video, websites and blog sites competing for your prospects attention.

To me this is the biggest one! Don’t listen to the hype that says SEO is dead or that the latest social media craze is going to kill google. PLEASE remember at the end of the day, the internet is a just a big database, indexing sites and properties by using words. Maybe in the future there will be something else, but for the foreseeable future, there is still a huge benefit to knowing the words that people use to search for your product or service.

So, that means that you need to pick 3 keywords and stick to those before branching out (I am talking about talking about nothing but those three words or phrases for 6 months to a year to get a firm foothold!) My three words are small business marketing, entrepreneur marketing and realtor marketing. I have been focusing on those for years and not surprisingly, rank highly for all three!

Your Products – Because I work with Entrepreneurs, I know the allure of shiney objects. Many of my coaching clients have ideas in a number of different industries for a wide range of different products. That does not work! You need to do some serious soul search and pick ONE BUSINESS to focus on, with a suite of 3 types of offerings or lead gen types and stick with that for at least 3-6 months. If you have a business that is rock solid and profitable and THEN want to branch out into a new product or service (ONE, not 17) then you can, doing the same 6-12 months to master that, and so on and so on.

Let me give you a real world example. One of clients owns a retail store selling, say shoes (names and industries are changed to protect the super nice!). So she hires us to market her retail store, BUT unknown to us, her heart is REALLY in gelly gloves, a direct sales product produced by ACME, Inc. Unsurprisingly, her retail store sells more of these gelly gloves than actual stock. Each time a client comes in, she does at least acknowledge that they may be looking for footware, but then starts going to about the benefits of a gelly glove, forgetting that her main goal is to sell shoes.

It is this fracturing of your product and service offerings that can kill a company. To my way of thinking, she should stop selling the gloves in her store OR stop having a store and focus on selling gellys as the two are similar but definitely do not match!

What Evergreen Marketing Is NOT!

Evergreen marketing is not Pinterest or Facebook, having a blog or a website, the latest mailing or postcard, your shopping cart, an email campaign or anything else that is a changeable, uncontrollable aspect of your marketing. I PROMISE you, having 10,000 connections on LinkedIn or a gagillion followers on Twitter, doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have a rock solid product line, solid lead generation tools and a followup system that gets you new customers.

Evergreen marketing is not online or offline. It is not having a yellow page ad or a google local listing. It is a sincere focus on your brand, and how you intend to present that brand, product or service to the world. If you are not TOTALLY SURE about all of your brand…make sure to find a coach or expert (I know a great one!) to help you get that focus and clarity!

The Definition of Evergreen Marketing

So if you made it down here and are doing a term paper or other thing that needs to have actual definition, here is my take…

Evergreen marketing is implementing the marketing concepts and practices that transcend the latest fad and providing long lasting, duplicatable expertise which will work across a variety of marketing platforms and mediums.

Small Business Marketing – Predictions for the future!

Small business marketing is a huge kerfuffly beast. Should you be doing online marketing, offline marketing, networking, writing more, writing less, more pictures, more videos…argggg!

Quote - clutch the pastSmall Business Marketing and Change

Most small biz owners do not go into business to become marketing experts or social media mavens. They go into business because they have a dream of getting paid for doing what they love. Or they have a dream of helping people with something. Or they have a dream of making enough money to support their families, with a little left over for a trip to Disney World.

What they did not think about was how fast the world is moving. My Mother In Law had one of the first black and white TVs in the neighborhood and today she sits and watches all her programs on an iPad whenever it is convenient for her! Today, not only did GM pass on the Super Bowl Ads, but they also opted out of Facebook ads, rejecting not only the TV industrial complex, but also new age media.

I KNOW that they decided to bow out of the Superbowl Ads because of the cost (3.8 MILLION dollars for 30 seconds of airtime, not counting the cost of making the commercial which can run in the hundreds of thousands). Some of the reasons for dropping Facebook paid ads include the popularity of the free biz pages, less response than from Google’s ad networks and the thinking that ad prices will probably rise after Facebook’s recent IPO (I already think that the cost of FB ads is out of reach for most of my readers!)

Small Business Marketing Predictions

Making small business marketing predictions is making feel a little like Johnny Carson doing the envelope trick on the late show, BUT I think it is super important for small biz owners to know what is coming and what is not necessary.

A COMPANY WEBSITE – This is in all caps because I think that the days of having a brochure company website that looks pretty but doesn’t DO anything for the user is over. NO ONE has the time to sit and read about your “strategic partnerships”, “stakeholder capital” or other boilerplate words that talk about what the company does, rather than what the company does FOR YOU! (check out last week’s WIFT post for more on providing what’s in it for them)

what to do instead: You should have a blog with posts about what your customers want to know about. For example, you guys are reading this post because it tells you things about marketing, you would NOT read a post about the blogging services that we offer. Now, does that mean that I should not have a services page, an about us page, etc. Nope, but it DOES mean that I have to catch your attention FIRST before you will even consider working with me!

VIDEOS – Okay, seems like these will be ALL caps…:) Videos are the new way of consuming data. I see a post like this one (long and in depth) and mostly save them for reading later. If there was a video in here that went over everything in a couple of minutes, I probably would get a lot more interaction on this post!

what to do instead: So does this mean that I think you should NOT write blog posts? Nope, blog posts are made of words and the internet is a giant database of words. Google uses words to figure out what to show searchers. What I do think is that getting attention will shift within a few years to VIDEOS then BLOG POSTS then researching to see if they want to use your product or service. Damn that seems like a round about way to do marketing, right? Yep, but if you want to get more new customers, it could be what you have to do to get attention from a VERY BUSY WORLD.

PICTURES – Used to be that I would write a post about this topic, search my photo sites for a picture and then plop it in (SMALL SIZE please to make the load time faster).

what to do instead: Fortunately for me I am a graphic artist so I make a cool quote picture now to go with each post. This allows me to a) have a great picture for humans, b) have a great keyword targeted file name and alt tags and c) have a beautiful picture to share on Facebook and Pinterest, driving traffic from those sites to my blog post.

SOCIAL MEDIA – When we started doing social media for clients, we were looking at the big 3, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Today we are looking at a minimum, Facebook, Twitter, Klout, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube. The places have doubled and once we get them up and running, the time to manage them more than doubles!

what to do instead: Now you need to make sure you have a presence across many different social platforms. You need to like and retweet and repin other people’s content as well as posting your own. I KNOW, it stinks how much time this takes, BUT if you are in business, this is something that is important. The saddest thing to me is that oftentimes, if you do not have a presence, your customers will assume you have gone out of business. That is the economy we are living in and being in business means being social, whether we want to or not!

So those are my small business marketing predictions for today. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post when everything may have changed when Facebook or Twitter starts doing embedded chips or holograms…:)

Small Business Marketing – WIFT (What’s In It For THEM)

So the other day I wrote a post about Small Business Marketing – A Call To Action and talked a little bit about WIFT (What’s in it for them) but I thought this warranted a bit more notice than a one liner!!!

Commitment QuoteWhat Is In It For THEM

I talk to A LOT of small biz owners and they are VERY serious about their product or service. They can go on and on (and on) about how wonderful it is, all the features it has and why you HAVE TO BUY IT NOW! Just the other day at networking, we had a fellow who did his 30 second speech in 3 minutes, waxing eloquent about what he had to offer…sigh.

So, this is what you need to do, shut up and listen! When you have a prospect in front of you, ask them questions about what they are trying to accomplish. Ask what problem they think you can help them solve. Take notes. Ask more questions and listen some more. Write down more. Do this with at least 5 prospects. NOW you have your sales message!

Take those notes and write out your marketing message backward. DO NOT talk about all your bells and whistles, talk about how you can take all of that pain and make it go away!

WIFM Examples

Social media marketing – I KNOW my peeps do not have enough time to blog, tweet, friend, like and all the other stupid things that business owners have to do in the new age digital marketing. Our marketing message is about saving time and getting customers NOT about how we post 5X per week or how you are updated whenever there is a change in the social media sites.

Selling software – I worked as a hired gun speaker for a Realtor software company. When we went out to talk to the agents, the other presenters ALWAYS said the software the software did EXACTLY EVERYTHING they needed to do. While I loved the company and the software, OF COURSE the answer was not always that piece of software and you could see the doubt in some eyes.

Direct sales – this is a biggie for me! Some of the people selling nutritional products may have the answer to all my health prayers, but I have NO IDEA what the hell they are talking about. They use industry jargon and technical terms that I do not understand, blinding me to whatever the stuff really does. Dumb it down! If you have to talk about the science at all make it general and, better yet, tell your prospects how it will help them! It will help you lose weight, get nicer hair, live longer, get more sex, whatever the outcome is, NOT the science of it all.

Well, hopefully that helps…knowing the WIFT, what’s in it for them of it all will help you get more sales and make you more money!!!

Small Business Marketing – What is your call to action?

Small business marketing happens for only one reason, to get someone to buy something sometime. Without a call to action, you are flopping around, hoping they get your message!

Ladies, have you ever had a fellow hit you up for a date in such a round about way that you weren’t sure at the end if you were actually going out for a “date” date, or just hanging out with a friend. This is what a sales message with no call to action leaves us with…a feeling like you should, could be doing something but there is no definitive action associated with it!

I call this being factually correct versus having a call to action and it happens ALL THE TIME. Just last week our company did not do anything for a client, although we DID receive an email about some things they needed, sort of. The email was factually correct and stated that there were changes that need to be made but a) it didn’t assign a leader to make sure they got done and 2) there were no call to actions. So let’s break this down so it is easy to understand!

A factually correct statement was, “we are going to use XXX’s Facebook Profile going forward”. Hokey doke, works for me, check I read the email…la la la. A call to action is, “we are going to use XXX’s Facebook Profile going forward, TARA I need you to switch them over to the new timeline and make a cool picture please!” DOH, goes on my calendar with a to do item and the picture comes out the other side!

So what if you are the one who is requesting stuff, do you have to hold everyone’s hand throughout the process and put all the details in? Um, yes you need to ask explicitly for what you want and no, you don’t have to micromanage it, but you do have to take some ownership for it!

Whenever my staff is not doing what I want them to do I think, “how have I screwed this up”. NOT why are they so lame and lazy. My staff is decidedly NOT lame or lazy so if they are not doing what I want, then the blame lies with me!

Call To Action Marketing

Call to action - Small Business MarketingOkay, so now you get it with managing your peeps, how the hell does this work in the marketing world? I have been making display banners for number of clients lately and so have done a TON of research into what looks good AND what would make me DO something.

Many of the banners out there are factually correct. They have a picture of a brand and I THINK they think I will know enough about them to spontaneously figure out that it is a button to push AND that there is something wonderful waiting for me there. Huh. I am pretty busy and rarely have time to go “exploring”.

So parts of good banner design (and good marketing in general) are something eye catching, a WIFM (what’s in it for me) and a call to action. Could be a “click here”, could be a “go”, could even be a little arrow, just SOMETHING to let busy people know that they should DO something.

The banners in the pictures are some that I found doing research. In every case, the top one is factually correct while the bottom one asks you to do something. My favorite are the ones for women in Spanish (I think). Whatever language it is, I could tell on the second one that they wanted me to DO something by the button!

What Is Your Call To Action?

Okay, so banner ads aside, what is the call to action in your small business marketing? Does your brochure ask people to call you, do your business cards prompt them to “friend you on Facebook”, does your website ask them to sign up for your list with a free offer?

At every point in the process of designing your marketing you should ask two questions, what is in for them AND what action do I want them to take after they see it!

Photo Sharing Sites and Apps – Small Business Internet Marketing

Photo sharing sites and apps are a big deal in small business internet marketing! These are the wave of the future so grab your board and let’s get going!

My prediction is that within 2 years and 9 months (used to say 3 years but gotta move the bar!) ALL initial contact with your company will be through a video or a photo first. Now, I am not one of those who say that tablets and phones will take over laptops and computers BECAUSE I am WORKING on a computer. Love to surf on my tablet, dabble on my phone, the portability of my laptop, but for hard-core, bang it out and get it done, I have to sit my happy ass in a chair and WORK. Not on teeny tiny screen but on a dual monitor, giant processor computer.

So what does this mean for me and using photo sharing apps on my phone? TODAY I draw the line in the sand and figure out which photo sharing app I will use! Here are the criteria:

  • Is it easy? This is my NUMBER ONE criteria. EVERYONE thinks I am a techy doll but I can’t even hook my mouse to my laptop so I need ease of use!
  • Can I get it from the phone to the other social sites I need (for this experiment I am considering primarily facebook, pinterest and google+ – just to let you cats know, NONE of them shared to either Pinterest or Google+ at this point so focused instead on facebook, twitter, flickr and email)
  • Can I take pictures on my phone and NOT have to email them to myself to access them online for other uses like blogging or posting later?
  • Who has recently been bought by whom? Instagram has recently been brought into the Facebook fold so this is where I will start BUT want to consider other options because I am not only interested in how it works with Facebook!

As with all of my experiments, this one will be highly unscientific and biased! I will be taking pictures in relatively bad lighting of a duck. SOOOO sorry to my actual social media friends who have to see this on my various walls! Let’s get started!

Instagram Photo Sharing App ReviewPhoto Sharing Sites and Apps – Instagram

I did not have to research to check this one out. Instagram was bought by Facebook and so will obviously be a good choice for them, BUT are they a good choice for my other needs?

First off, I downloaded the app to my phone. Rats, had it but forgot my login, heading to the website to see if I can reset it…yup! Easy peasy, they gave me my password AND username…score! No picture…I’m sure they want a picture picture but really, just use an avatar (clients could use a logo), not digging this so much but moving on (later was able to pull in my Facebook picture so it worked out okay after all).

Leaving the website and heading to my phone to take a picture of a duck! Push the camera button, bunches of style options come up,picked one, check mark, heads to screen to enable caption, twitter, facebook, email, flickr, tumbler, foursquare. Hooked up twitter, facebook, email and flickr for now. A note, facebook’s authorizer was in french (ack), I did NOT hook up foursquare because it hooks to my Facebook already.

DOH – forgot a caption so it said “just posted a photo” instead of what it is…trying again! Perfect.

Instagram Review – Okay, I like that I can tooggle on an off the the different services and there is an email with the picture as well as being able to pull it down from Flickr. BONUS – the instagram put the picture into my photos on my iPhone so I can upload it Pinterest from there if I wanted to! Seriously two thumbs up.

SUPER BONUS – if you are playing the Empire Avenue game, then one picture adds like a gagillion points (not sure how the points work so my numbers may be inflated).

TruHDR

Okay, this is an artsy fartsy one. It makes pictures look dimensional and I like to think that it makes me look like a brilliant photographer (I have ACTUALLY brilliant photographers all around me so I am a little touchy about this!).

So I took a picture of the duck, then went looking for the sharing bit, NOTHING! Hmmm maybe get creative? WOW!!! I could upload my artsy fartsy photo TO the Instagram and then share it on the ones that I had set up. Holy Buckets batman, have to see if I can find a good competitor to make this a fair race!

Photo Sharing Sites and Apps – Photoshop Express

Okay, take a picture of a duck…:) I am getting good at this! There are MANY more editing tools that I am used to from Photoshop like hue, saturation, cropping, etc. Have to say that I am not good at using a little tiny phone to edit pictures, if I was going to be manipulating them a lot, would probably take them down off the internet and do it on my computer.

Okay, BIG downer here!! I set it up so that I could share to facebook, email and flickr (no foursquare or twitter available like there is on Instagram although you could send it to TwitPix but damn, how many sites do I need?!?!!?) So all happy, hit the share button and I have to do them one at a time. Share to email, share to flickr, share to facebook, are you kidding me?!?!?!

For an editing software, I think this one is hand’s down, the winner. BUT for a click and go photo sharing app? Two thumbs down on this one.

Photo Sharing Sites and Apps – Wrapup

Okay, I am in. Instagram it is. Took a little over an hour to write this post and check out ALL of the different photo sharing app places and take pictures so if you budget an hour to learn it, you should get out the door super easy! The ONLY thing I can see ruining this commitment is if Facebook shuts off the other sharing features and turns Instagram into a Facebook only photo sharing site, but will keep the faith for now!

Small Business Marketing – Creating New Habits

{EAV:5da08477a9fda337} – funny little empire avenue thingy to verify my blog! Oh the things I will do to be popular on social media…:)

Small business marketing is a grind. If you were looking for something more uplifting and easy, move along, nothing to see here.

Small Business Marketing - How To Get Things DoneBUT, if you want to learn how to grow a marketing empire or really start creating some new habits…this is the post for you! Creating new habits is easy, it is not simple but it is easy. Just start doing it, TODAY!

Let’s start with the creating new habits timelines that I am talking about:

  • One week – you should feel GREAT if you are successful at doing your new “habits” for a week. One day, bah, anyone can do a day, but doing it for a whole workweek, that is SOMETHING!
  • Three months – this is the timeline that I use for setting habits in place and goal setting. Three months is a good amount of time because you can see the end of it and it doesn’t feel like forever!
  • One year – this is how long I use to judge if something is working, GASP! Yes, that is right, I use a social network or blog or make videos and products about something for A WHOLE YEAR before I give up on it! The reason for this is, if I don’t I am just jumping around after shiney objects all willy-nilly getting nowhere – more about this later!

Creating New Habits – See If They Are Worthwhile!

Ok, I am great for making bold pronouncements of new habits that I want start (cleaning my kitchen sink is a biggie!). But for business, I have to make sure that what I am setting in stone is a good habit to have, that it will help me sell more and that it will actually ACCOMPLISH something.

Watch any webinar and you will find something you are not doing right now, that if you could start doing it would make you a ton of money! I love webinars and watched one the other day about affiliate marketing (where you promote other people’s products). I thought, hum, if I just found a product every day, wrote a post about it, pinned a picture on Pinterest and talked about it on Facebook, damn I could be rich in three months!

But….hmmmm. I have my own products I haven’t promoted to the best of ability. I have lists of social media and friend contacts who would disappear if I spammed them with a new product a day and MOST IMPORTANT, I would not enjoy doing that every day. Sigh…another one bites the dust.

So what new habits ARE appropriate for me? Well, one is sending a personal note a day. I did this before and it got me business but then I was busy and stopped (that one ever happened to you?) Another one is to work on an ebook or information product every day. I could go on and on, in fact I have a list in front of me and am working out which are going to make the short list for the next three month period!

Creating New Habits – Be Realistic About Your Time!

If you are like most business owners, you are either really busy or really bored. New biz owners often do not have clients to work with, do not know what will work small business marketing wise and have nothing but time to devote to marketing. You guys, do a lot of different things to find out what you like to do and what works, then finesse later.

This part is actually for the really busy small biz owners (like me). If I had my way, I would do nothing all day but research marketing ideas, check them out, write about them, make videos and get Sonic sodas to keep me going.

Unfortunately, no one has stepped up to pay me for drinking soda, so back to work I go. My work work is running a social media marketing company that works with small biz owners. A lot of the time that means talking with clients, paying bills, making sure we are on track, talking to prospective clients and setting up social media empires for other people. No sodas and no researching.

So any new habits need to have realistic timelines to fit into my super busy schedule! With that in mind, I am adding a personal note and doing custom graphics for blog posts (like the one on this post). This will increase my visibility on a medium I already use (blogging) and add a new area (Pinterest). The personal notes are just a no brainer for me, I like stamps and going to the post office! I ordered a bunch of notecards with my new branding on them.

Still in the realm of time, remember that something that you just start doing always seems harder than doing nothing (deep, right?) The first time you do a custom picture you have to get a graphic, find a quote, do the formatting, size it, say dammit that was wrong, re-size it, save it, post it, etc. The next time you have all those bits already done so it takes half the time. By the forth or fifth time, you will have a plan and a system and be cruising. Too often we take the time amount that comes with the FIRST time we do something and brand our new habit with that HUGE number!

Creating New Habits – Make It Easy To Succeed

If you made it down to here you are probably well on your way to making your new habits stick (willing to listen to all this creating new habits talk means you are committed – or should be committed, it is a toss up!)

To make it easier to do your new habit, make sure you make it easy. For example, I went to the post office and bought two sheets of stamps, put my cards right next to me on the desk and had return address labels printed. Kind of takes the pain out of sending personal notes when I can do it in 3 minutes without leaving my desk!

Online I will oftentimes make a folder on my browser (Chrome or Firefox) with all the pages I need bookmarked there. I can then just right click and open them up all at once. Soooo, for my social media I have a folder with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Klout bookmarked. Simply by right clicking and saying “open all bookmarks”, each of these pages is opened and ready to fly through!

Creating New Habits – Making It Stick

Because I am careful about what I add to my list of todos, I generally can make a new habit stick pretty quickly. But this is the part that I promised to come back to…if it makes the list, I do it for a YEAR! EEEK!

Being an entrepreneur and working with entrepreneurs, I KNOW how fun it is to chase shiney squirrels. Seriously, coming up with a new product, service, plan, strategy, idea, concept…all in my sweet spot. BUT, the problem with that is the herky-jerky stop start that never gives anything time to get off the ground!

Since I decided that I LOVE Pinterest, I am giving her a year. I am going to make videos, like pictures, share pins, etc. for a YEAR. If I do three pins a day for the work year that is 5 (days a week) X 3 (pins a day) X 50 (weeks in a year). That is 750 opportunities to connect with someone new, share something and even have fun doing it. If I do videos about how-tos even once every couple of weeks, that will be 20 plus Pinterest videos.

How often have you decided to do something, tried it for a couple of weeks (or a couple of days) and then decided that it didn’t work? Exercise is like that for me, if I don’t have a 6 pack abs after THREE STRAIGHT DAYS of doing situps, I slither back to my slothful ways. Marketing is like that too! I will see people do three blog posts, no one comments, they say it is stupid and give up. That makes as much sense as exercising for and hour and a half and expecting to look like Jennifer Anniston!

Here is your mission if you choose to accept it…figure out one new marketing habit that you are going to embrace for the next three months! It can be phone calls, door knocking, personal notes, sending a daily email, Facebook, Pinterest, postcards. I don’t care what it is, you have to pinky swear that you will do it every work day for the next three months. No whining about, “its hard”, no crybaby, “but no one likes me”. Just do it!

If you could use a little help creating new habits, or heck even thinking about WHAT your new habits should be, check out my marketing coaching programs – they start with a tiny commitment of an hour and go up to 3 months!

Vitriole and Hate On Facebook – Not Good For Small Business Marketing!

The level of vitriole and hate on Facebook is amazing to me as a human, let alone as a small business marketing expert. The reason for this post is to maybe let some business types know how their comments look from the other end of the Facebook AND to offer some suggestions about how to promote your agendas and beliefs in a positive way.

Hate on FacebookNotes about this post…1. I TRY not to be mad on the Facebook as it looks bad, that being said, I have occasionally (like yesterday) vented my anger at people who do not put their email address on their business cards or further back, people who spam on Facebook. I am not a saint, just a little more judicious about who I want to alienate on the Facebook and 2. No names were used and this is not about civil liberties, free speech or any other thing. This is about how you are perceived on social media by potential customers who would like to buy things from you or your company.

Hate On Facebook

So I took a little walk around the Facebook block today after seeing a post denigrating witches (a group I have some friends in). Now I know that this person is not thinking this is hate (because I know him well), but…heck it is hate. Here are some of the other things I found on Facebook this morning…

  • Last night, at Bible Study, I was thinking Islam is against homosexuality. Islam is against abortion. Christianity is against homosexuality. Christianity is against abortion. I’m totally confused about just what religion, if any, oblahblah really follows!
  • I will never pay any taxes to support abortion in any form. It would have to be over my dead body! I use to wonder how these things happened in red china ,the ussr, and nazi germany. I have not lived this long to ever give in to that. I have worked all my life helping and saving lives, not only as a nurse,but volunteering as a red cross nurse and helping pregnant girls etc. How can this evil be growing in our once beautiful country????
  • Criminalizing abortion again? Let’s not let this country be run by over-zealous bible thumping bigots with no sense of practicality and flexibility.
  • This is a little old but someone needs to tell me that they agreed with this. 1.2 Billion of our tax dollars given to black farmers only! How come this was never reported in the Lame street liberal media?
  • Bill O’Reilly – #1 among the most misinformed people in America. The perfect love story.
  • Gays are demons, swine-bandits and crocodiles. In a sane society, they would all be hunted down by the police and brought before a court of law for prosecution. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case in Europe and America, but virtue still reigns in Africa. Perhaps it is not too late for the west to return to the path of righteousness?
  • your representative is leading the charge to get those queers in uniform back in the closet where they belong.
  • For somebody to say this is repugnant enough, but to take away our rights by law and claim to be doing it FOR us, shows once again the hypocricy of the GOP party.

Those were just a few of the comments I found and they represented the opinions of people who…

  • hate gays
  • hate republicans
  • are anti abortion
  • are pro abortion
  • think the liberal media is biased
  • think fox news is the worse network ever
  • truly believe the GOP is killing america
  • or think democrats are killing america
  • god is good, if you are not following his teachings you are going to perish in the fires of hell
  • say that bible thumpers have no place in america
  • actually said that blacks and women should go back to their place
  • want the world to be how it was when they were young
  • or think that there is some kind utopia where we could all live in peace if big business would just go away
  • keep the guns, shoot the unwilling
  • lose the guns, they are the root of all evil
  • execute all rapists and child molesters immediately
  • work to fix the problem of child abuse by spending money on programs to help the needy

Whew…that was…well disturbing to say the least. So what EXACTLY am I trying to say here? I am saying that as small business owners, doing small business marketing, you CANNOT afford to alienate potential customers by sounding off with hate filled rhetoric on your Facebook wall.

I KNOW, it seems like everyone agrees (or disagrees) with you. I KNOW you have the right to have opinion and voice them. But here are some fun statistics….there are a little more than 300 million people in the United States, in the last election (2008), 49% of the men in this country who voted voted for Obama (our Democratic nominee) and 48% voted for McCain (our Republican nominee). A poll done at the end of 2011 showed that 78% of the respondents self-identified themselves as Christians. Some women are pro-choice, some are pro-life. Some people are gay supporters, some are anti-gay. To my uneducated eye, it really seems to be about 50-50 on just about every issue out there.

As a small business marketing pro, I can tell you that most of my customers cannot afford to alienate half of the potential buying pool for their product or service. Image you are a plumber who works on pipes. Are you going to turn down a job because the client is against your political idealism, is it even going to come up or do they just need their dishwasher fixed.

Believe me, I DO understand idealism and sticking to your beliefs, but do you really have to share them with the buying public?

So, how would you be able to share you viewpoint and beliefs without running afoul of what I am starting to feel like, the marketing nazi? BE POSITIVE!!!! And I mean positive without that snarky thing after, so no, “dogs are great! and all you cat lovers who think you know the right kind of pet are stupid and uneducated”.

Two of my favorites who do this AMAZINGLY well are GodVine and the World Wildlife Fund.

GodvineGodvine

What I think they do well is spread the good parts of Christianity, the love and acceptance and GREAT THINGS HAPPENING, without judgement and stating that their way is the only way. While I have not seen the inside of a church in a while, I do visit Godvine almost every day, watching a great coming home story or a dog rescue. They epitomize how to share a message without having to hit people over the head with it! (PS – I shared the story about the dog and his military dad on my Facebook wall).

Klout For Good WWFKlout and WWF

Okay, this another favorite, Klout and WWF (World Wildlife Fund) paired up (IE – the WWF did a marketing campaign with Klout). I LOVE that this has a real marketing component! So the thing that jumped out at me was the free FB Timeline photos you could download. Happy pictures of polar bears and pandas without one dying or starving animal in sight (I KNOW, shock and fear sell, but not to me, I am all about the positive!) The idea is that Facebook peeps can use the photos with the WWF logo on the picture, a subliminal reminder to help and support the WWF.

So now I feel like I have written war and peace about the subject of HATE ON FACEBOOK. I am really hoping that getting this off of my chest will make a difference in how my small biz peeps post to their Facebook accounts! Happy, not hateful. Sunshiney, not snarky. Just remember that no one wants to work with someone who is perpetually angry so be aware of what you look like from the other side!

Social Media Marketing – What You Should Be Doing Now

Social media marketing is HARD! I have never worked with a marketing platform that changes more than this giant kerfuffle of sites and places that you need to have a presence on, oh and they change it constantly so that you have to be on top of what you should be doing now!

A little bit of social media marketing background. I just checked the “when did you join Twitter” website and it says I started my Taradactyl twitter account on November 30,2007. WOW, That is going on 5 years now and over that time I gathered well over 10,000 followers. The reason I start there is that this was my first foray into using social media as a marketing platform. According to facebook, I started over there July 21, 2008 after talking with a friend who said it might have some further marketing implications than posting pictures of kitties and puppies.

Upon discovering that social media marketing would work for me, we decided that we would take our mad marketing skills and start doing social media for clients. At the start, this was relatively easy as it was just a dorky LinkedIn profile, a Facebook Profile and a Twitter account that was fed by a blog. BOY did we think we were cutting edge, and dang, looking back was it easy-peasy compared to today. Basic graphics and post some stuff, and BANG you are done.

Today I have to say that if you are NOT a graphics artist or video maven, social media, website design and blogging are out of the reach of most small business owners. We have targeted for our clients the top social media sites that are effective for small business marketing today (I will break out what we recommend below, just remember that if you are reading this tomorrow it may have changed again by then…:)

Blogging for social media marketing

Blogging for social mediaI am a HUGE proponent of blogging for social media marketing. I have this site and get SCADS of opportunities from having a big robust site with lots of content. People find us through SEO (search engine optimization), I have a place to put my speaker stuff, talk about entrepreneur marketing and discuss small business and social media marketing. Because I take the time to write good content and have a strong opinion, people read what I write and I have become an expert in my industry.

Now let’s talk about blogging for the small biz owner. Seriously, who has the time to post 1-2 times per week, getting “pinable” pictures in there for your additional social media sharing (more about “pinability” later)? Additionally, aggregator sites like networked blogs and rss graffiti no longer have the impact of posting so you need to pop over to Facebook and the like to post your entry.

Having a blog means having graphics, the overall look and feel, marketing buttons, and blog post pictures.

Facebook for small business marketing

Social media marketing facebook page and profileOkay, I go back and forth on this one. Originally, we used the customer’s profile (human) to do marketing, then we switched when Facebook launched business pages, and now I am in a quandary. I REALLY like some of the new features of the business pages and you HAVE to have one like the old yellow page ad was mandatory, BUT…and I think this is a HUGE but for our small business people (not corporations, small biz owners) people don’t like to talk to your brand, they like to talk to YOU.

What does this mean marketing-wise? We manage lots of different types of social media, restaurants, resorts, doctors, realtors, art sites, etc. Some of them have great results talking as a page (our restaurants are especially effective this way), but the realtors, spa owners and the like bomb as pages. If you are considering hiring a new hairdresser (ladies, you KNOW what a big deal this is), you don’t care as much about the salon as the service and personality of hairdresser right?) This makes it hard. How much personal information to share while still keeping a professional demeanor.

I share mostly marketing on my Tara Jacobsen profile but do have pictures of my puppy after having tater tots. The tater tots post got a lot of likes and comments, while some of my marketing posts fall on the floor with a thud. Seriously, most people are on the Facebook for socializing and learning more about people, and not so much for buying stuff.

Does this mean you can ignore a page and only use your person, nope! It could change again and you would be WAY behind the curve AND it is just a cost of doing business today. You have to have a presence, both as a person and a business.

Twitter for small business marketing

Social media profile - taradactylEveryone who loves twitter, raise their hand. Okay, the two of you can put your hands down now. But seriously, twitter is a GREAT platform for social media marketing. It allows you to post your message, target specific geographic or cultural users and computers love twitter.

WHAT? Why would computers like Twitter? Twitter has what is called an “open API” which means developers can make programs that pull from twitter. You can hook your blog directly to Twitter and there is nothing to stop it from appearing to all your followers. You can use hashtags (#) to mark your posts as being in #denver or about #marketing.

It is also easy to connect with people on the Twitter. I have “talked” with best selling authors, my marketing heroes and even a politician (accidentally) once.

Google+ for social media marketing

google plus small business marketingGoogle+ is still in it’s infancy. The thing to know about it is that THE GOOGLE owns it. Seriously. Right now, that is all that we need to worry about. You need a business page, you need a profile and you need to post on there.

The other thing you want to do is to start circling people (same as adding friends on the Facebook). You can have 5,000 people in your circles and can target different industries.

As a business tool, right now, it is not that great, but it will be!

YouTube for small business marketing

Videos, that’s right, videos are going to be half of the backbone of the new internet within a few years. People do not have time to read anymore, they want to watch a quick 2 minute video that gets the point across. Think about it, what if I had a video right below here where I TELL you my top pics instead you reading them. I can tell you that I had to CRAM all of this into 2 minutes which was not easy BUT now I will have a place to put a backlink to my blog and you get to “hear” my picks instead of reading them!

Pinterest for small business marketing

Social Media Marketing - PinterestAgain, this is a rather new entry to social media marketing scene and I have heard from more than one person that Pinterest is for women. Not so and I will tell you this one or one like it will be a hot player in the next few years.

So what is pinterst? It is a visual photo sharing site. You can make “boards” with your interests and save things to look at later. So let’s talk about this. I have a board with marketing (of course), a board for good website buttons for future reference, a board on crafting and a board on bees. Most of my repins (sharing on Facebook) come from my success quotes, but I am building a circle of friends on here just like I did on Twitter and Facebook in the past.

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP

Okay, I know for many of you who have reached the bottom of this page, doing this type of marketing is out of the question time-wise and ability wise (believe me, I KNOW, I was sad this morning thinking about all the changes we would have to make our clients new Facebook business page timelines next week!!!)

That having been said, if you think this is too much to handle and would like to find out how to hire a top-notch social media marketing company, give us a call today to find out more!!! 727-415-9165

Direct Sales Versus Network Marketing (MLM)

Many of our entrepreneur marketing coaching clients are involved in Direct Sales or MLMs. Because I was not sure I actually knew the difference (okay, I admit, I didn’t know there WAS a difference!), I thought I should get some help from an expert in the industry!

Guest post by Direct Sales Expert – Tina Kraft

Entrepreneur Marketing MLM Direct SalesThere are many articles out there about direct sales versus Network Marketing (sometimes called MLM or multi level marketing). I find it interesting how varying the opinions are on this subject. First off, I have been involved in both so this comes from first hand experience. Having said that, each and every company has a different sales model and compensation plan. Every company has a different percentage of commissions.

Network Marketing Companies

Most Network Marketing Companies have an auto ship for both the customers and the distributors, and to receive your royalties as a distributor it is a minimum monthly autoship to receive your products for “wholesale” – every company is different. Network Marketing is based more on signing people up to be either a customer or distributor and have them on autoship. They are normally consumable products. You make less money on your individual sales and about the same on your downline as in direct sales, but again EVERY company is a little different.

Direct Sales Marketing Companies

Direct Sales is more relationship based and face-to-face sales. Most Direct Sales companies use the party plan module. The commission made by the distributor from their personal sales is usually very good so YOU are more in control of your income. You can also build a downline and have residual income from your downline. Most companies have incentives and bonuses for sales and recruiting and also have incentive trips you can earn for FREE! Being more of a relationship based model, you have repeat customers and hosts for your “parties” or events. This is also why it is dominated by women as we are more relationship based in business.

How To Pick A Company

So what type of company do you want to be a part of? First when picking a company you need to figure out what you are passionate about. Are you passionate about health and wellness, decorating, bling, cosmetics, fashion, coffee? The list goes on and on! Also look at the compensation plan structure, do you want to build a team and become a leader in the company? What type of support will you need?

Direct Sales and Network Marketing are great ways to become an entrepreneur. It DOES take hard work, dedication and time to build your business.

Remember that nothing in life that is worthwhile is easy!! But it is very gratifying!! Make sure you are committed to your venture and don’t become discouraged easily.

Tina M Kraft is an Accountability Coach and has built a multi million dollar team in the Direct Sales Industry. She lives in Denver with her husband of 35 years. Visit her site at tinamkraft.com, Friend Tina on Facebook, Follow her on Twitter or Connect on LinkedIn!

Entrepreneur Marketing | Direct Sales, Network Marketing, MLM

Local Marketing Case Study – Water 2 Wine

Local marketing experts will tell you that the only thing that matters is getting to number one on google, or having the most fan page likes, but rarely will they tell you about the things that REALLY matter to sales. How you treat people IN PERSON, once you get them there matters even more!

So, local business owners, first I want tell you about some marketing books you need to go get and read right now:

I would love if you read them and then came back, but at least put them on your book list or radar to read if you own a local business and care about local marketing.

What they mostly say is that to succeed in business you have to be customer centric and unique in the marketplace – BOILERPLATE ALERT. So what do those fancy terms mean? I thought it would be easier to tell you about a great local business, rather than describe them (ad nauseum) in a blog post.

Water 2 Wine in Greenwood Village, CO

I do not wax eloquent too often about service from a local business. I am generally happy to snap a picture and throw something up on FourSquare to show my appreciation, but last night’s experience required a little more. I was meeting some friends before a networking event at a wine bar (I am a beer girl) so had low expectations, plus I was early, again…sigh.

Walked in the door and was greeted by a nice lady who didn’t push me to order and who headed me in the right direction for the loo (restroom for those of you who don’t know the technical terms). Now, ever since I was a little girl and saw a fountain in a bathroom, I have been fascinated with facilities. These were gorgeous, clean and (gasp) had wonderful high-end toilet paper. Seriously, they had me at Charmin!

Water 2 Wine - Local MarketingNext was the nice bartender (who I found out later was the owner) who asked me about what kinds of wine I wanted and proceeded to give me samples of three I tried. PS – he knows what he is doing, every time I tried one I thought I would like, WRONG, all of his, spot on!

The networking started and he mingled, made sure everyone had a nice time and generally helped make the evening great.

So onto paying…first off, I had trouble understanding that they were not charging me for the tasting….really? Okay, well here’s the charge, where is the tip line so I can add a nice little gratuity…what? No tipping?!??!!

They are nice to everyone AT A STORE LEVEL…from the owner, to the bartenders, to the nice man who seemed to be a barback and who got me a glass of water, apologizing that they don’t have ice (probably so goobers like me can’t ice the red wines!).

Okay local marketing class? What have we learned today?

  • A culture of caring starts from the top down – Employees are like kids, they model what they see and if you have a caring attitude, it will shine through to your employees.
  • Give more than you said – No tip means that I saved $2 – I charge between $100 and $250 an hour for consulting and you can’t buy a promotional post on my blog so for less than the price of a cup of joe, they guaranteed that they got one more raving fan (and some free marketing).
  • Raving fans – when I was saying I was coming down for networking (I usually don’t leave the home at night) the ladies I know all said I would LOVE Water 2 Wine. These kinds of apostles out in the marketplace, telling everyone how wonderful you are – priceless.
  • Multitudes of Awards – you don’t even have to take my word for it that this place is BRILLIANT, they have won the 2011 Denver’s #1 Wine Shop and Wine Bar AND the award for Denver 5280’s Top of the Town.

I KNOW, not all that much marketing and more customer service today, BUT SO important to sales! If you know a great place in your area who could use a customer service shout out, post a link and I will add it!!!

Lastly, thanks Marcus for being such a good business owner and a downright nice guy! If you would like to check out Water 2 Wine, click the link to visit their site! Or better yet, head over there for glass of grapes…

Water 2 Wine
9608 East Arapahoe Road
Greenwood Village, CO 80112
303-799-9463

Social Media Marketing – Should You Join Little Social Networks

Social media marketing, is not having friends or connecting with old acquaintances, but actual marketing that is about brand building, getting new opportunities and when possible, generating leads for your business.

Social Media Marketing - Little NetworksSocial networks (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+) are places where people gather to communicate, share pictures of their doggies, quotes, and just random bits of their life. If you had asked someone even a few years ago if having an omelet for breakfast would be worth telling the world about, they would have looked at you like you had a brain problem, but many of us now share A LOT of the minutia of everyday life online through these media.

Right now, there are some main social networks where people share their info and which communicate with each other pretty well:

  • Facebook (first really big one)
  • Twitter (great for searching, computers and getting to people you never thought you could reach!)
  • LinkedIn (more for industry, not just a job board anymore but not as SOCIAL unless you can devote a LOT of time and attention)
  • Google+ (a late-comer but owned by google so fast out of the gate and one of my favorites!)
  • Foursquare (good for local businesses)

Time

So how do you decide how many social networks you should join? I go by which ones have the most people that I am going to get opportunities from. What kinds of opportunities do you ask? People to sign up for my mailing lists, opportunities to speak on webinars or in person, leads for our social media marketing company, potential coaching clients, basically the same leads I am trying to get by writing targeted blog posts every day or so.

Notice I did not say sales. In service industries or big ticket training programs or expensive products, the chance that I will post something and someone will buy it on the spot are pretty slim. NOPE, social media marketing is about kissing the girl, not getting to third base on the first try! (thanks to that nice @garyvee for the Paradise By The Dashboard Light analogy)

Small Business Marketing Doodle

Social media marketing servicesOkay, most small biz owners are overwhelmed, disgusted or confused by social media. What is it, why do they need it and how should they fit it into their already busy schedule?

We work with small biz owners to help implement a social media marketing plan that will work for their company! Find out more about our social media marketing services or call today to talk with real live human being! 727-415-9165

Small Business Marketing Doodle
How Do They Make Money?

The next thing I check is how do they make money. Google makes money from selling advertising, Twitter has a less clear profit model, but they are working on it. Facebook sells ads and LinkedIn sells premium memberships with enhanced communication capabilities.

Little social networks that want to grow up to make lots of money need people. They will make VERY little on the front end and OOODLES when they have millions of users. Unfortunately, with the exception of the big 4, I have not found other social networks with lots of people yet. Not to say someone won’t come along BUT it doesn’t make sense for me TIMEWISE to join 100 little networks, hoping that they will grow.

I will give you a perfect example…Plaxo. Plaxo came along early and was very proactive about connecting with Facebook, in fact, you could have all your FB posts go over to Plaxo. Huh, not as many people, same stuff over there as is on Facebook….why not just use Facebook?

But Someone Asked Me To Join A Little Social Network and I Don’t Want To Disappoint Them!

Because I have big networks across multitudes of platforms, I get “invited” by other people to join other networks that they belong to. Little networks with nothing particular to set them apart from the big networks I have. Some warning signs of little networks that are not wise to spend your time on:

  • it is a “craigs list” style website – why not just use craigs list?
  • like facebook, with a little linkedin and some twitter thrown in – seriously? first off, having that many interfaces would be a nightmare to use and again – why not use the ACTUAL Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter?
  • NOT like Facebook, we focus on creating relationships with our members – Facebook COULD be about relationships if you choose to use it that way, so could Twitter and LinkedIn

So Do You HATE All Little Social Networks?

I do NOT hate little social networks with a purpose other than copying big social networks.

I have a client who started a social network for lightworkers and metaphysical people (who I believe are an underserved market) and is busting her ass to get members and grow her business. I belong to this and contribute to her offerings when I can BECAUSE her client base are people who fit well into the consultation and coaching part of my business.

There are some up and coming social networks I like a lot (some are tools for using with social networks but they have a social factor too!)

  • Pintrest – a visual kind of bulletin board where you share social stuff
  • Instagram – Mobile picture sharing site that works with Facebook
  • Spotify – for music sharing
  • Tumblr – a micro posting site (this one is a dark horse, have it on here because there are socially connected people pushing for it!)
  • Klout – tracking your social capitol and can share with others (I am writing a whole post about this one – keep your peepers open for it!)

So how did I pick this list? They are ones that come on my radar because friends use them or they get press or I just find them cool. That does NOT mean that I should spend all of my time growing friends and followers on them, but it does mean I will make an account and see how it goes, using them when I have time.

So let’s cut to the chase, if you are doing social media marketing and are focused on it as an aspect of brand building, networking and promoting your business, joining a million little social network wanna-bees does not make sense. What does make sense is to focus on the big 4 and have a smaller presence on a few smaller networks that make sense to you personally!

If you have a network that you ADORE and want to share here, please leave a comment and I will review it…we all may find a great new “place”! If you are just a spammer, I read all comments before publishing so don’t waste your time!!!

Small Business Marketing – Using Video Reviews To Generate Traffic and Sales

I have been on small business marketing training seminars that talked about using product reviews to get more traffic and increase sales. I admit it, I just could NOT get my arms around how actual small business owners would use these (I can see how spammers or one hit wonders would use them for quick hits, but not real business owners!)

So today, I figured out how using video reviews could actually work to generate traffic and sales for small business marketing…BRILLIANT!

The Back Story…And The Ways That This Works…

I have been doing paper crafting things like coloring, stamping etc. for a little while now and am looking for some tools to make my job easier (cutting little pieces of paper is not my sweet spot).

Step 1 – So, I was on the YouTube looking up how to do cutting and I found Sizzix Big Shot as a recommended product…

The person making the video I watched might have missed an opportunity to sell me one of these bad boys, had she directed me to HER website with an additional post and video I might have bought through her affiliate link. As it was, I had to go to the Google to research what a Big Shot was and…

Step 2 – Who pops up but Amazon?

Go figure. Their site is HUGE, their web score is great…SOOO many people use it. As small business owners we could never hope to get even a tiny portion of the traffic they get a day! So I found the machine and there were reviews done by users, one of which was a video review by June Campbell…check out using video reviews in action

Step 3 – She has her web address at the end of the video…

Video reviews to get trafficNow, one important thing to note about June’s review is that it was NOT a sales pitch. It was a 7 minute long, how to video that showed how to use this product, with a TEENY WEENY little reference at the end to her website.

Please, please, please also notice that it is a simple video. It is not production quality or perfect. SERIOUSLY, NO ONE WANTS TO WATCH COMMERCIALS anymore, that ship has sailed. They would rather watch real people doing real things than have a slick, professional, TV quality video (stepping off my soapbox now..:)

Step 4 – June sells videos on how to do scrapbooking…BRILLIANT!

So when you go from her review (which has 37 thank you comments itself) to her website…which sells an information product teaching people how to do things WITH the product, she can sell you something…the heavens part and it all makes sense!

Using Video Reviews To Generate Sales Leads

Video Review Examples

Okay people, I am not great at making things up so I need some help, put your product or service in the comments and I will see if I can come up with a video review that you could with a complimentary product! Here are a couple to get us started…

Bookkeeping Services > QuickBooks review (there are no video reviews at this time) > Sell your quickbook services by having additional how to videos on your blog!

Craft store > Reviews on EVERY product you sell in house that is on Amazon or Google Product or anywhere else with lots of traffic that allows video reviews > sell locally using the power of Amazon

Small Business Marketing – Are you a farmer or a hunter?

Small business marketing can either be active or passive…so what’s the difference? Basically it is whether you are working like a farmer or a hunter!

Small business marketing - hunter farmerI felt like I have to write this post because of meetings I have had with clients lately (coaching and social media marketing). All were with favorite clients and they were very telling in how much resistance I got for my suggestions! So this is what happened at my meetings…

  • Yesterday I met with two of my favorite clients and was talking with them about their marketing efforts. During the talk I suggested that they do “popbys” which is hand delivering a small gift to your customers and prospects. They said that doing that would be very time intensive and that they would rather do things that are more time-effective. Fair enough.
  • Day before that, I was talking with a Realtor client and asked if she was doing open houses. She said she was too busy working on transactions to take the time to do open houses and that she wasn’t sure that doing them would be time effective. Fair enough.
  • Last week I talked to a coaching client who is ROCKING it, but she needed some ideas about how to get more targeted business. I suggested she do in-person networking and sell a $97 consultation. She seemed to think that, having tried that in the past and not had too much success (before she had a GREAT product), she felt that it would not be time effective. Fair enough.

Huh. I was starting to sense a theme here…:) So what were “time-effective” strategies? Some of them were doing cold calling, a couple were doing email newsletters and one was relying on the internet for leads. NONE felt that getting belly to belly with humans would be a good idea. Sigh.

What Do Small Business Marketing Farmers Do?

DO NOT get me wrong! I love planting sales seeds and watching them grow. I DO think you should build up lists that will eventually turn into business. I DO think that consistent marketing done over time will result in consistent sales.

What I don’t think is that farming is ALL you should do (especially if you are doing it because it saves time and effort – you will get the best results from doing things that are hard which other people refuse to do!)

Farmers…

  • Do one-on-one meetings with people who are not looking to buy their products right now but who could be a good referral source in the future
  • Work for years on their website, getting ranked for keywords that will get them traffic and sales – my favorite!
  • Hold informational seminars where they collect names of people who are in an industry for later use
  • Grow large social media networks of people interested in their industry
  • Start an email newsletter list and send out emails once a month
  • Attend networking groups, mixers and leads groups

Now, many of you may be thinking, gee Tara, isn’t farming what you sell? SURE! I have built a highly sustainable, income producing, sellable business over the last 10 years PARTLY by farming. We have gotten clients AMAZING sales and opportunities through these methods and if you follow me at all, you know I am a HUGE proponent of growing big lists and communicating with them regularly.

BUT, if you want to sell something SOON, you need to get in front of humans that can buy your stuff NOW!

What Do Small Business Marketing Hunters Do?

  • Call targeted prospects who have expressed an interest in buying their product or service – we ALL have leads that have fallen through the cracks and feel crumby about it, CALL THEM!
  • Stop by targeted prospects offices with TWO popbys (small tokens of your undying affection), one for the gatekeeper and one for the prospect
  • Speak at an event where you are the featured guest and sell something to the people there (I use a sort of passive approach by having a signup form for an hour long consultation, you could be more aggressive about it – selling from the stage)
  • Taking a prospect to lunch
  • Holding an open house or brokers opens if you are in real estate – people DO NOT stop by an open house unless they are thinking of buying or selling
  • Asking EVERYONE who wants some of your time, “Are you planning on buying my product or service in the next 30 days” before agreeing to meet with them (tire kickers are not a good use of time!)

So, should you do ONLY hunting, flitting from one prospect to the next, kicking them to the curb if they do not buy in your timeframe? A resounding NO! But I will say that as far as I can tell, most small business owners are MUCH more comfortable farming than they are hunting.

I don’t know if time is REALLY an issue either. YES, it does take time to meet someone in person or get to an event, BUT people who have looked you in the eye and shaken your hand are much more likely to remember you than people who joined your email list or only talk with you on social media. Think about it, the person on the other end is busy too, they get your call and think, “yeah should call her back” and something comes up.

When I ask someone if they are busy, they say YES like it is a individual thing happening only to them. I have to say that whenever I ask it, EVERYONE is busy. You are not ESPECIALLY busy, your tasks are not ESPECIALLY hard, everyone had lots to do, is on overwhelm and doesn’t have time to waste. The difference between people who are busy and happy and those that are busy and frantic is time management, calendaring and saying no.

Hope this helps your small business marketing efforts, that you do a little more hunting, still keep on farming and get out there and SELL SOMETHING!

Small Business Marketing – Training, Webinars and COACHING

Small business marketing is all about focusing on what is important and getting things done. Training and seminars are GREAT but not effective unless you actually USE what you learn in them! That is where coaching comes in!

Small Business Marketing Email SignatureYesterday a man who sells great content was having a web-a-thon that was offering a superb product for a high price. I wanted it BAD. BUT, I have not viewed all of the training that I have bought yet and especially have not implemented all of the the things that I should. So no training…sigh.

I DO training and webinars, in fact, yesterday I was on one with Geri Stengel of Ventureneer, a website for non profit marketing, and she said she got some great ideas from my 100 Free Marketing Ideas content. That warmed the cockles of my heart, but when I emailed her back I noticed her signature line in her emails. It is FABULOUS. All kinds of social media links, info about her business, etc. Mine is lame…sigh. I KNOW I need to fix that. I have heard it from a million different people and even TEACH it to others….so what is the problem?

And what does that mean for all you training and webinar junkies?

You go to a training or sit on a webinar, absorbing great content but not IMPLEMENTING what you heard (that nice Nikki Ubaldini calls that having “smart drawers” – taking a class and putting all your notes into your desk!)

Here’s what to do!

  1. If it is free and you have the time, attend the training or the webinar. If you pay for it, you better plan to use the info!
  2. Take notes and make an action list – 3 items only of what you are going to do with the content
  3. Implement those items!
  4. If you need more to do before the next webinar or training comes along, refer back to your notes and pick 3 more things to IMPLEMENT

Another way to get better at what you need to do from training is to teach what you are working the most on. I TEACH time management because I am a student of getting things done and know more than most people about how to set up systems and plans to make my life easier and more effective. If you are struggling with social media, offer to teach a class on it! I bet you will learn and DO a lot while you are preparing for it!

Make a list of the things that you notice you need to do! It can be HUGE, but the best thing about a list like this is that you can do something when you only have 5 minutes!

The last thing to do is get a coach. I am a small business marketing coach and help people stay on track and focused. I provide accountability and a PLAN for getting from point A to point B without getting distracted by all the shiney objects that come our way.

It may surprise you that I HAVE a coach too. Anyone who is successful knows that meeting your goals and moving forward requires getting help from someone who knows things you do not know (you know what you know, you don’t know what you don’t know!)

With all the great free and paid Training and Webinar information out there, it is easy to get overwhelmed…stay focused and implement and you will be on your way.

PS – you can see from my picture that TODAY was the day I implemented a new email signature…I feel so productive!

Small Business Marketing – Having A Plan

So today I am working on small business marketing plans for some of our clients. While I love the thrill of coming up with new ideas, the most important part to assuring success to have a rock solid, laid out, step-by-step plan!

Small Business Marketing PlanI am a student of time management and goal setting who uses tools everyday to make my life a little easier (I help my coaching clients with this too!). That having been said, I spend a lot of time watching other people work and it generally looks like this:

  • Get up sometime, have some coffee, check some emails….SHIT, there are problems
  • Put out a fire, stress, run late for a meeting…SHIT, I don’t have everything ready
  • Duck into the meeting, event or appointment, apologize for being late, apologize for not having all your stuff
  • Rush out, get to the office, check your voicemail….SHIT, there are problems
  • Etc, Etc, Etc

Instead of that, what if you had a plan for your entire business and knew every morning what the most important things were overall. These could be getting speaking events if you are a speaker, geting listings if you are a Realtor, selling product if you are in direct sales, lead generating if you are a sales person. I KNOW, sounds simple right? BUT if you think about your number one, most important job for your business, I would be willing to bet you do that MUCH less often than you think you do!

Everyday something will come up that will try to knock you off your goals. Problems, opportunities, shiney squirrels and all kinds of things are much more interesting than putting your nose to the wheel and grinding out what you need to do to succeed.
Small Business Marketing Doodle

small business branding consulationSometimes, all it takes is someone looking at your business with a fresh set of eyes to see what you need to do to get to the next level. Sit down with us for an hour and come away with REAL action items that will get you on the road to business success.

Click the link to find out more about our 1 Hour Marketing
Coaching call
. Just make sure you get your spot NOW because
space is limited… and these phone consulting sessions are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Small Business Marketing Doodle

Soooo…. here is my hope for you today:

  • Start work everyday at the same time
  • If you work at home, get dressed, no jammies!
  • Write down the three most important things to do today BEFORE you do anything else
  • Have daily things you have to get done BEFORE you do anything else (blogging, social media, send personal notes, make phone calls)
  • THEN check your emails or voicemails! If there is something you can do in 2 minutes or less, do that, if it will take more of your time or soul, put it on the list of your todos AFTER your three important things
  • Get to work!

Okay, we didn’t even touch your calendar, but that is a post for another day!

If you are serious about your business and sales, you HAVE to have a plan EVERY day to stay on track and get ahead. I KNOW, your business is different. You have emergencies that you have to deal with immediately OR you HAVE to be available 24/7 OR you can’t have a calendar and a schedule because every day is different OR you are too busy to make a plan.

I hate to tell you this but that is everyone’s life. You are not different…you are just making excuses. So, vow today to start putting yourself and your business goals first and everything else will fall into place!

I KNOW, the dream of owning your own business was to be free as a little birdy, but I have to say, if you schedule and plan and stick to it, you are MUCH more free, guilt free, time free and stress free than if you are chasing your tail and running around and around after every shiney squirrel that comes along!!!

How To Grow a List | Small Business Marketing

How to grow a list is a big topic in my small business marketing world! That is probably my number one question I get, followed close on its heals by what should I send to that list?

Getting Started – What Kinds Of Lists Should You Be Growing?

Growing an email listThere are SO many different lists we have to manage now. Small business marketing has never had such a wealth of ways to communicate with their clients, customers and prospects before.

That having been said, all those lists can quickly get out of hand and unmanageable. PLUS, how do you know that your list building efforts are actually going to pay off?

Here are just a few of the lists that you should be cultivating:

  • Email list – lifeblood of your business!
  • Facebook friends
  • Facebook likes (business page connections)
  • Twitter followers
  • LinkedIn connections
  • Google+ circles
  • YouTube subscribers and contacts
  • Misc industry related groups and websites

This is just a start of the lists you should have, but it is a good start! Having people who you can talk to is vital to your online (and offline) marketing success.

Why Should You Care About Your Lists

There is a secret society of people with big lists (I KNOW, it sounds like the Illuminati of old, but it is true!). I have big lists of social media contacts, website readers and email recipients and almost every day someone contacts me to see if I will post something for them, or send something for them or basically sell out my lists for money. I choose not to do this as it could harm my relationships with these people, but growing big lists and monetizing them is one business model that unfailingly works well.

Here it comes…the secret to building big lists! Drumroll please, work like a farmer.

You think I am kidding, right? Nope. I love the concept of “thinking like a hunter, working like a farmer”. What you want to do is figure out who to target with your lists and then grind out growing them. While there ARE ways to jump start a list (doing affiliate emailings to someone else’s list is one biggie, but it costs money or credibility OR buying a list) but most of them work about as well as you think they might, not at all. the one exception to this is buying a direct mail list, they usually have between a 2% and 4% response rate

Just the other day I heard a snake oil concept about growing a Facebook Profile to 5,000 then magically transferring that over to a business page (which allows sales while the profile does not). While that instantly made me think YAY, I immediately knew that I would not do that for myself or my clients. Seriously, that would be the fastest way I can think of to get banned from Facebook if it is even possible to do.

If you are a small business owner and not a spammer, there are things that you should and should not do. Here are some examples:

  • DO start growing your lists by finding people who you are interested in and who interest you, then interact with them
  • DO schedule some time each day to grow each of those lists (I schedule 20 minutes a day for list building)
  • DO make easy for people to join your lists (have your contact info on your business card, have an opt in form on your website, offer something free for joining, etc.)
  • DO add every human you meet in person to your list
  • DO have a signup sheet or contest to collect names at in person events
  • DO get that stack of business cards off of your desk and into a database program like Constant Contact or Office Auto Pilot (what we use)
  • DO NOT buy an email list of people to spam
  • DO NOT try “tricks” to get big lists (they ALWAYS backfire)
  • DO NOT listen to internet marketers – this is a HUGE secret! Internet marketers are great at making money OFF OF YOU! Seriously, if they are actually raking in $70,000 a day selling something, do you REALLY think that they are going to be selling a $47 ebook on how to make money on the internet? They are great at building big lists and sending out hope to people, NOT at helping you actually succeed.

So, what do people with big lists talk about when they are chatting with each other? How to grow lists…:) Seriously, this is really interesting to some of us and could almost be considered a talent (a kind of twisted, not fun, grind it out talent, but a talent none the less). WHO KNEW on November 30, 2007 when I started tweeting that Twitter would grow to become important to marketing. I did not, but I knew that it couldn’t hurt to get an account and start growing it. (Google+ is at the same point now, make sure you jump in there and get started TODAY).

Just by jumping in then, I was able to increase my reach and grow followers easily. The same thing happened when Facebook started their pages, back then you could get anyone to like your pages and trade suggestions to like, but now it is MUCH harder to get likes.

So, make sure you are staying ahead of your competition by focusing on building your lists. Put time for it on the calendar and make a strategic plan to implement!

Neat tool I used to find out how long I have been tweeting!

Small Business Marketing Entrepreneur Doodle

small business marketing planning callIf you would like to find out some specific suggestions and goals for your small business marketing list building efforts (plus a handy-dandy worksheet I use to make it easier), give me a call today or check out our Small Business Marketing Planning Call today!

Small Business Marketing Entrepreneur Doodle

Setting Goals for 2012 | Small Business Marketing

Setting Goals for 2012 | Small Business Marketing – As a small business marketing expert, I am asked all the time about what to do and THEN am asked how the heck they are going to find the time to accomplish all of those goals. I find that having written goals and calendaring them is the only way to win!

So we are going to talk about how to find and focus on your goals, then how to implement them day to day on a consistent basis!

Small Business Marketing Goal SettingI LOVE the picture in this post because it is EXACTLY how you should start.

Think of everything you have to do, all your todo lists and everything else and put them in a drawer. I do not have hard numbers to throw around, but I know at least 50% of my HUGE tasks lists never get implemented. Either I do the item and forget that it is done, it expires a sad death because it wasn’t done in time to be effective or other things are more important. So I recommend turning everything upside down and figuring out what you like to do and what makes you money FIRST!

Here is a Small Business Marketing Productivity Form 3 Squares I send out to people who are members of my community (you can sign up on the home page if you are not already getting great stuff like this in your inbox!) Basically, you need to put your three main business focuses in the three squares and the figure out your tasks based on what you have said are your goals, instead of using the “what fire should I put out today” approach.

Picking the top three things that matter most to your business each day makes sure you stay on track! I consider and then write down what I have to do today and then make sure they get done. Sounds easy but I am busy like everyone else and things pop up which try to distract me. Having those in front of me makes a HUGE difference!

One thing for my long term goals. I follow that nice Brian Tracy and he says that if you do not have written goals, you just have dreams. It is great to write down your long term goals, but if you do not do something EVERY DAY (big or tiny) to move towards them, then you are never going to get there. Seriously, there are ALWAYS things that pop up which will see more important than something that is 3 years away. Stop putting your important things last and work on them daily.

Okay, so now I know what is important to my business and what my long term and short term goals are. So how do I get there from here? GRIND IT OUT!

If you are looking for some magic bullet that will make work less, well worky, this is not the place for you. I get a lot done because I am willing to plan and then execute against that plan, grinding away every day. So here are my daily tasks for Marketing Artfully for the first 3 months of 2012! Feel free to add them to your todos or make up your own BUT you have to have specific numbers attached or life will get in the way!

Daily Goals

  • facebook, comment or post
  • twitter, comment or post
  • linkedin, comment or post
  • google+, comment or post
  • haro.com email to see if someone needs an expert or speaker
  • answer all emails twice a day (no rollovers, schedule, answer or evernote!)
  • schedule speaking events or client meetings
  • print all materials needed
  • do one thing for social media marketing
  • do one thing for small business marketing coaching
  • do one thing for speaking

note: the checking social media takes about 15 minutes (I set a 20 minute timer and that is all I get), the bottom three are my three squares so I have to do something every day, emails overwhelm me so I am going to have a policy of one-touching them!

Weekly Goals

  • write three blog posts a week for Marketing Artfully
  • client blog posts
  • back up the spreadsheet
  • comment on 10 blog posts (for backlinks)
  • 2 in person events (speaking, networking, classes)

Monthly Goals

  • client marketing plans
  • videos for clients
  • check bank account

So how does this work in the “real world”? I calendar EVERYTHING! I have a wonderful assistant who schedules things for me BUT she can’t if I don’t have things in there so I am super vigilant.

Small Business Marketing - CalendaringI will tell you now, once you put all your “must dos” on your calendar, it starts to look like there won’t be time for anything else. Here is where you have to GET REAL! If you have things that have to get done, and having them on your calendar makes you overwhelmed, maybe you have too many must dos!

Seriously, whether or not you acknowledge them, these things still take time up from your week, whether you calendar them or NOT. This is how we get so overwhelmed. So you have a couple of choices:

  • Tighten up your goals even more so there is time to accomplish at least most of your tasks or…
  • Magically add more time to the day (okay, this one is a little snarky but true!)

What I tend to do is put time in the calendar for things I have to do and then move it around if my assistant needs to schedule something else (like a client call or appointment with a human). It is important to note that you cannot just delete the time (you still had it as important to your business, remember?). You just need to move it around to fit your actual schedule that week!

So, does this seem a little overwhelming? I have been finessing this plan over the course of about 5 years so starting today it WILL be overwhelming. That having been said, it is SO PRODUCTIVE and vital to your success that it is worthwhile taking the time TODAY to implement it!

If you would like to have some help with your goal setting for your small business, I have a special, one hour marketing consult where we will sit down with YOUR business and discuss EXACTLY what you should do. I have done HUNDREDS of these and have a model for what works and you WILL walk away with concrete goals for what to do! Check out the link or give me a call today (727-415-9165) to sign up or find out more!

Finally, I want to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2012, here’s hoping that you get going goal setting for 2012 and that you small business marketing makes you many sales in the coming year!

Being Authentic Is The New Black – Small Business Branding

Small business branding is just like corporate branding, just cooler! As a small business owner, you have the chance to project your personality and focus into every aspect of your business, starting with being authentic!

Recent Corporate Branding News That Is Bad

So we were sitting around with the family yesterday and the topic of the new Cooper Mini came up (two mid 40’s, two mid 60’s and a mid 70’s aged people). That got us talking about the new Fiat 500, which lead to the fact that Fiat faked Jenny From The Block. For those of you who don’t know it, Jennifer Lopez has built part of her brand on the fact that she is just a girl from the Bronx and Fiat tried to make it look like she was tooling around in NYC but she was actually in Los Angeles during the filming. Here are some of the articles about the debacle:

So why was this so egregious to my family who has no stake in Fiat or Jennifer Lopez? Because it felt like we were lied to…period. If you are going to show her driving in the Bronx, which is her home town and part of her brand, would it really have been so hard to do it there? Was she too important to go back or was Fiat too lazy get the girl to the city? Either way, it did not feel authentic!

Small Business Branding and Authenticity

So what does this mean to you and your brand? My brand it being “TARAdactyl”, a marketing obsessed, time managing, blogger, speaker and coach that gets things done. (Who knew in the early 2000’s that having a Google name like that would follow you around forever?!?!)

When I speak, I am brutally honest. When I talk on my blog, honest, in person, online, in print, everywhere, same schtick. The nice thing about this is that I don’t have to try and remember what I told to whom. I can speak my mind and not feel like I am being untrue to myself.

Now, could a lawyer or doctor do that? SURE! Dr. Oz is one scary dude, but he is honest about all kinds of things that most people won’t talk about on TV.

But being authentic to your brand does not all have to do with honesty, it also has to do with staying true to who you are and what your company sells. If you are selling cars or houses or bathtubs and you are proud of your product and how you represent it, that will show through.

(if you are not all in on your product, that is a post for another day, but seriously, quit selling that right now and get going doing something you LOVE doing!)

Watch This! Gary Vaynerchuk talking about being authentic from 2008 – this shit never goes out of style!

small business branding consulationIf you would like to find out how to get YOUR small business branding on track, click the link to find out more about our marketing consulting sessions!

Marketing Artfully

Social Media Marketing Services   Marketing Speaker   Small Business Coaching
Social Media Svcs   Marketing Speaker   Small Biz Coaching
 
Looking for someone to do all those pesky social media and blogging tasks? We do it all!   Want a fun, informative Marketing Speaker who will make a huge impact on your audience?   Need a boost to get your business to the next level? Systems to get you more success!

Branding Yourself – Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Branding Yourself - Your Unique Selling PropositionBranding yourself can be a scary proposition, what if everyone hates you and throws tomatoes? BUT, to make an impact in today’s world, you have to have a unique selling proposition!

So lately I have been setting up a small business marketing coaching program and so I have been thinking about MY branding, not how I present Marketing Artfully, but ME and what I bring to the the table.

Now, you need to know from the outset that I HATE the term Unique Selling Proposition or USP because it is trite, overused and intimidating. That having been said, it is the correct term so we will use it here.

So How Do You Start?

First off, who are you. What do your friends think of you? I have a piece of paper on the wall that I got years ago with a list of traits that people who knew me said I was like. This keeps me going when I am blue, but was a good start for my USP! The words are; honest, a wealth of knowledge, focused, independent, always willing to help, clever and funny (my favorite) and passionate about what she does.

So, TODAY, email your friends, favorite clients and loved ones and ask them to pick three words to describe you. If you are brave, do this on the Facebook. See how other perceive you and pick the ones that match YOUR insides. I picked, clever and funny, focused and passionate about what she does.

Chew on those for a week or so and see how you can fit them into how you position your services or your business focus.

Figure Out Who Is Going To Buy From You

Next I tried to figure out my target audience. While I like all small business owners, I LOVE people who are as crazy and goal driven as I am. SOOOOO, I am going to write a sales page that talks about all the nutso parts of me that people like that will appreciate. Things like my HOLY COW, Coaching Program which is a balls to the wall, 4 week death march to get things done. Is this one for everyone, SO NO, but it will mean that I am going to be working people who are focused and goal driven which is congruent with me and my business.

OKAY, I can hear you now, if you are targeting those types of people, what about everyone else on the planet. aren’t you going to miss out on sales? YEP! I am and YAY!!!

Why would I be happy to miss out on sales? Because I have worked with detail oriented, check off every box, have to know the why of it all people before and we are not a good fit. They get frustrated that I don’t tell them every little tiny step or go in a line from Point A to Point B and I get frustrated that they take a week to do something that I could have done in an hour. Does that make them bad people, ABSOLUTELY NOT, it makes them GREAT people who are not going to be a good fit for working with me!

Final Thoughts About Your USP

Okay, hopefully knowing the back story of my Unique Selling Proposition helps you a little bit. Here are the steps to take in order with details (for all you detail peeps!)

  1. Find out from your friends who you are to them
  2. Write those down and pick three that feel good to you
  3. Pick a target market of people you would like to work with>/li>
  4. Write your copy and offers in words and feelings that will attract those types of people

I know it SOUNDS easy, but doing anything with YOU is always funny because we tend to not like looking at ourselves so closely. The glory of this is though, once you have this handled, you can move on, living a life of prosperity and honor (okay that is a little much, but you can know that your message is the same as your being and do good with it!)

Buy The Book!

Advanced Sales Strategy - How To Craft Your Unique Selling PropositionAdvanced Sales Strategy: How To Craft Your Unique Selling Proposition USP
If you have ever sat down and tried to write a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) for you or your company, you know the frustration of trying to figure out how to make everything sound different and special. Sometimes figuring out what makes you so special is not easy as you would think! This book will walk you through exercises that will get your creative juices flowing and get words coming out fast and furious!

Google Plus Pages for Small Business Marketing

Google plus business pages for small business marketing are here! Here is my take on how to make a Google Plus page for a small biz (which may be a little different than what you would do for a giant corporation!)

Check out the Marketing Artfully google plus business page!

Google Plus Pages for Small Business MarketingLet’s start at the beginning. You get your page at the right side of your Google Plus Profile. Then up jumps the question of whether you are a location (brick and mortar business), a brand (like Snickers or Crest), a Company, Institution or Organization (that is what Marketing Artfully is!), Arts Entertainment or Sports or Other (don’t pick other, it is hard to classify other and you may miss opportunities).

Next comes your tagline – 10 words that describe your business (these should be your 3 main keywords!). Add an avatar – this is a square like the other Google Plus Profiles so no big, beautiful banner yet. Tell your friends – DO NOT do this yet, there is nothing on your page!!!

Post some stuff, circle some people and bang – you are ready to go!

HUGE NOTES – Make sure to circle your own page so you can find it (there didn’t seem to be an immediate link in google search to it, even using the plus sign). Also, fill in your about us (looks like a good place to drop a couple of targeted backlinks and add some photos so it is pretty!)

Google Plus Direct Connect

Okay, this looks like a biggie and something that is out of our control! What it functionally is the ability to add that page from google search by using the plus sign (+) before the brand. In the description below the Google Plus text says, “You can automatically add Google+ pages to your circles from Google Search. Just add + in front of the page you’re searching for. Directly connect with pages this way from now on?”. I answered yes!

Google Plus Direct Connect

Google Plus Direct Connect looks like it should be a post all by itself as this is what hooks to google search and adding to the circles, BUT since we are not able to DO anything about it, lets move on to a FACEBOOK to GOOGLE comparison.

Facebook To Google Translation

Okay, they say there are only like 6 stories in the world and that every other thing comes from that. Social media is like that and if you can figure out what make them similar, the learning curve can go down considerably!

Share on Google+ Is Like Share on Facebook – functionally this takes the page you liked and shares it on your human profile.

Share on google plus business pages

Circle on Google+ is like Like on Facebook – I made a circle named brands so I can keep all my businesses together for now!

Add google business pages to circles

Google Plus Pages Terms of Service Notes

If you would like to read the entire Google Plus Pages terms of service, click the link. Here are my top notes that apply to our clients:

  • You may not display third party advertising on your Google+ Page. – Functionally this means that you can sell any of YOUR products or services on the page but not have anything like affiliate marketing or paid for ads from a third party.
  • Subject to the Google+ Pages Terms, any Google+ user may create a Google+ Page, but only users with authority over the subject matter may administer the Google+ Page. – YAY! We can work on our client’s pages legally!
  • Any contests, sweepstakes, offers, coupons or similar promotion on your Google+ Page must also comply with the Google+ Pages Contest and Promotion Policies. – Looks pretty liberal if you are doing good not evil!

Nothing amazing here. If you are conducting your business above board and simply trying to get the word out, you should be fine!

Social Media Marketing Services

If this all seems like to too much to do, check out our social media marketing services and we will get you set up on this and all the other social media properties right away!

Free Website Reporting Tools

Free website reporting tools are used to check not only the number of hits that you get, but also the “reach” that your posts are getting through social media and other internet sources. These free website reporting tools are the ones we use to measure how well our clients blog sites are doing.

One thing to remember though, is your audience. If you are talking about healthy eating or gluten free recipes like our FitNuts, you will see a higher ranking and broader reach than if you are selling something like Denver bookkeeping services which has a much smaller target audience.

Free Website Reporting Tools

Free website reporting tools - Website GraderWebsite Grader

Website Grader is a good utility tool to check how well your website is set up and how much content there is that has been indexed by the search engines.

They check things like:

  • Does your site have a blog
  • How often your posts are shared on social media
  • How many indexed pages your site has
  • What reading level your content is written for (I don’t believe in dumbing it down to the 5th grade reading level as common wisdom suggests, write how you talk and people will like you more!)
  • Is your metadata like your title tags and keywords written correctly and different for each page or post
  • Do you use header tags
  • Are there too many images on your site (my sites ALWAYS have too many images!)
  • How old is your domain and how long until it expires (the search engines like knowing that you will be around for a while)
  • How many backlinks you have
  • Whether you have a mobile version of your site available

If you have a new site (under a year old), there is nothing that you can do about some of these things but give it some time and make sure everything else is set up solidly.

Google Analytics Free Website Reporting ToolGoogle Analytics

Okay, I know what you are thinking, EVERYONE says to use Google Analytics! Yep, because it is world class reporting for FREE! Back in the day, we paid hundreds of dollars a month to get the information that you get from analytics for free. That having been said, I use it for normal things (like seeing how many hits I get), but also for seeing which pages to optimize on my website and where to place ads to get the best possible return.

What to use Google for:

  • Check how may web hits you get – duh!
  • See what your bounce rate is. Having a high bounce rate means that people are coming to your site and then leaving quickly (common wisdom says within 10 seconds). If your bounce rate is high, consider optimizing your site for faster speed or lose some of those lovely pictures.
  • Check your content to see which pages or posts are visited most often. I found by doing this that almost 75 percent of my traffic goes to about 10 pages and my home page is not one of them! This is where I place targeted ads for products or services that I want to sell.
  • See when people come to your site. I get VERY little traffic to my site on the weekend. I checked to see if this was a self fulfilling prophecy by writing rockstar posts on a Saturday and still nothing. SO, in my world, writing during the week will increase who gets to see my posts. You should also see WHEN people come to your site. If your traffic comes from another time zone, it may be worth posting when they are reading (morning, lunch time and after work).
  • I obsessively check my sources to see where I am getting traffic from. Because I am a marketing speaker, I get lots of direct traffic (meaning they typed the name of my website directly into the address bar). I also check to see if I am getting links from other websites or social media. One good way to know where to buy advertising is to see where traffic comes from and then ask if they will let you put an ad on their site.

Okay, there are a million posts about using Google Analytics free website reporting tool so I won’t go on and on, just know that this is bees knees for hard core detailed information about your site.

Social Mention - Free Website Reporting ToolsSocial Mention

This one was new to me, but I have fallen in love with it. While you can put anything into the search bar, we use it to track the reach of blog posts. Simply put your website url into the search bar and it will return a list of the places that your site has been posted or shared.

Some of the places they track are:

  • When someone tweets or re-tweets your page or post
  • If a page has been linked to as a reference in another page or post
  • If someone has used a tool like ClipMarks to save your page for later
  • Links from video sites
  • Search engine links
  • I even had a listing from Plurk (I don’t know what a plurk is but I still liked it!)

So what can you do with this? Check and see which topics get shared the most and write about them more. See who was nice enough to share your content and thank them. See if you should be focusing more on social media, bookmarking or some other area.

Notes About Using These Free Website Reporting Tools

The reason I did the research to find these tools was so that we could have good (free) reporting tools to let our clients see how their blogging was working. I also like to see how MY site is doing.

What I did to make it more manageable was to set up my tools and then bookmark them (I have both my website reporting and my social media reporting tools under the colorful folder title of “tara reporting”). Then when I want to see what is going on, I simply run down the bunch of them and take a peek.

When you start this, you are going to be tempted to look every day, don’t do that. Checking that often will just cause you to make decisions based on very limited data (never a good idea). Instead, check once a week and then once a month do an in depth analysis and formulate your plan for the upcoming month.

:: If you would like to find out how we use these free website reporting tools to help our clients succeed, check out our small business marketing services! ::

Small Business Marketing – How To Finish The Year Strong!

Small business marketing is not sexy (there I said it!) It is ALL about the grind and getting things done. Today we are going to talk about the grind and how the next two months can be the most productive ones that your business has seen!

Small business marketing - finish the year strongWhat Small Business Marketing Is

People are always amazed when I talk to them about small business marketing! They think we are going to be talking about Twitter and Facebook (the current darlings of the marketing scene) or about what their logo should look like. Well, for me it is all about:

  • What products do you have for sale and how are you going to get the word out about them?
  • What services do you offer and it is CRYSTAL clear to the people who you are selling to
  • Is it easy to buy something from you or are you being “cute” or just not clear
  • What is your sales funnel and how are you going to get people in the top of it?
  • How are you going to followup with those people once they have raised their hand (hardly anyone buys right off the bat)
  • What is your sales message and are you selling YOU or what THEY want?

I have to stop now because I could go on and on with problems that I see in small business marketing today! OH, one last one… Are you focusing on important things or are you obsessed about something that matters to you but will not get you more sales? Sigh. I see this all the time! A client REALLY wants to have tiny logos under his email signature but doesn’t know how to write the code to make that happen but is still spending time worrying about it. I wanted to have a popup on one of my blogs and spent over 10 hours trying to get it to work (wish I could have that time back now!) Another client took over two months to figure out the name and right font for his logo (let’s not even talk about how many colors and styles he looked at).

Whatever you are obsessing about, finessing until it is perfect, worrying over, STOP IT!

How To Finish The Year Strong

I see too many business owners this time of the year “winding down”. They actually say, Halloween is coming like it is the start of the end. Don’t get me started about the whole, shut down from Thanksgiving to New Year’s model that many business owners have.

I have to tell you that I cannot afford that in my business and if you read my blog and like marketing, I have a feeling that you can’t afford to take off two or three months a year either. I say three months because if you start stopping in November, it will take you well into January to get things going again.

So what can you do? Let’s break it down!

1. You can be the one in your marketplace with a strong presence throughout the end of the year. If you blog, post more. If you network, network more. Phone calls, you get the picture! When everyone else goes away, this is your time to SHINE! Market share you take over now never goes away!

2. You can get all your “stuff” in order. My site went down yesterday and I had to do a quicky re-design and update BUT had that not happened, it would have been on the calendar to fix in November or December. I needed to get some SEO work done, but additionally, I needed to make sure that my products and services were easy to find and buy. On social media, you can get your lists in order, email you can start growing your list or segregating your list.

The best way to get on track with this is time block and set up systems for your marketing, lead generating and followup tasks so that they become second nature (writing blog posts has become like breathing to me, just happens).

3. Hire a coach. Seriously, I hired a coach for the last three months of the year and the insight and accountability that comes from having a third party look at your business and give you direction is invaluable. If you are thinking about hiring a coach, check out our small business marketing coaching options.

4. Develop new products or services. Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW that there will be a slowdown for most businesses during the Thanksgiving week, and the week between Christmas and New Years (for all my retail readers – I KNOW this isn’t your problem BUT use this info for your after the returns slowdown…:) During the time that you are slow, sit down and figure out what you can offer, write a sales letter for your current products that shows them in a new light, write those autoresponders you have been putting off. Using this time to create new products is SUPER VALUABLE and will serve you well in the new year!!

small business marketing coachingWant to finish the year strong?

I KNOW that having systems, written goals and action items are the only way you are going to succeed with your marketing efforts! If you are thinking about hiring a small business marketing coach to help, I work with a handful of business owners each month to get them on track and moving up to the next level. Check out our small business marketing coaching programs today!

Small Business Marketing – In Store Events

In store events are a great small business marketing ploy to get people into your brick and mortar business! They can be big or small, but all are effective if you are committed to making them AN EVENT!

Small Business Marketing In Store EventsWhat Are In-Store Events?

In store retail events are not just about having “a sale” (please say that with a sigh in your voice!) Having a reason for people to come to your brick and mortar business does not have to be a cause for losing revenue, in fact, I think that it should be a cause for increasing revenue and making more sales!

There are many types of in-store events across many different types of businesses, but I thought that this one was especially well thought out!

Designing With Wow

One of our friends, Dale Jaworski (an Denver interior designer extraordinaire and specialist at WOW Furniture) sent us the above Meetup email about her interior designers group. The content of the email was:

Our group will explore ways to innovate and inspire interior design. We will be looking to enhance the private designer’s business with education, ideas and special product offerings. Each month we will have a speaker and highlighting of a brand to meet your customer’s needs. Supporting each other to build a better design community in the Denver metro area!

We are collaborating with WOW! furniture store, who has offered us their conference room and refreshments each month. They offer a great designer incentive program, along with wonderful high end, custom vendors to order from. If you’ve never been there you owe it to your clients to check it out! To participate in the Designer Program you will need a copy of your sales tax license and a business card.

What They Did Right

If you are looking to start bringing in more in-store traffic, this is the way to do it! Here are some of the things that I LOVE about this event:

  • It is FREE – they are not trying to get people to pay for the pleasure of coming to the store! Instead, the store is offering a space available to interior designers who are their target market for sales.
  • It is VERY specific about what the attendee will get, “enhance the private designer’s business with education, ideas and special product offerings.”
  • While the speakers will be highlighting the product offerings, if they do it right, the overall feeling will not be SELL, SELL, SELL on Dale or WOW’s part, the feeling will be that they showed them great ideas, and, amazingly enough, they are available right downstairs!

So you have this meetup and get some people in the door. What now? This is how I would follow up with the meetings:

  • Send a handwritten thank you card for attending – there are currently 5 signups so that would not take a huge amount of time! PLUS 5 highly targeted, engaged designers is better than having a hundred schmoes in the room.
  • Set up a postcard program to invite them to the next event (Meetup.com will send them an email – you should send them a card).
  • Call them in the meantime to take a “back of the house” tour of WOW. Everyone likes to see behind the scenes and this will build your rapport with the designers.

There are about a thousand other things you could do, but this is a start!

Small Business Marketing – Layering Your Marketing Message

Small business marketing is all about getting prospective customers to notice you. I KNOW, you think that small business marketing is about getting them to BUY from you, but first they have to know you exist!

Small Business Marketing - LayeringThe easiest way to get people to notice you is to show up everywhere they go, from in person, to their mailbox, online at social media and in their email inbox. This process of being everywhere is officially called layering and should be part of a planned structured marketing campaign.

LL Bean is stalking me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the LL Bean gang! They have American made clothes (I am from the rust belt near Pittsburgh so this has always mattered to me). Their clothing is unbelievably high quality and they have a no questions asked return policy. Seriously, you can wear your shoes, clothes or coats for YEARS and if something goes wrong, they will make it right, no questions asked.

Years ago I got on their mailing list and they have continued to send me catalogs, even though I have not ordered in quite some time. Sort of nice, but did not compel me to buy.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing LL BeanSo today I opened my Facebook and they had posted a message about extreme weather clips on the LL Bean Facebook page. Not a picture of their product with a link (although they have them too!), a video from the weather channel about terrible cold weather.

Small Business Marketing Tip – So NOW I am thinking about cold weather in conjuction with LL Bean! They have snuggly warm coats and slippers in case it snows like that here.

 

Email Marketing

Email marketing LL BeanAfter cruising the Social Media and noticing the LL Bean clip (I didn’t watch the video but got the gist and the association stuck). I popped open my inbox to delete messages (I mean read my email…hehehe). What showed up there? An email from LL Bean!

Now I am in marketing so I tend to notice when things happen like this, but I am also human and the urge to buy something from LL Bean is getting greater and greater!

 

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing LL BeanSo, as most of you know I am an internetty kind of gal. I get leads from the internet, teach internet marketing classes and have every whiz-bangy kind of appliance needed to access the internet at my disposal.

That having been said, I rarely BUY things on the internet. I go to stores and look at catalogs (doh, I just happen to have an LL Bean catalog handy!). Sending me a catalog will definitely make this layering marketing work better for the Bean!

 

How To Do Layering For Small Business Marketing

So you are a small business owner or entrepreneur and you are thinking to your self (in a really snarky tone, I can hear you) that you do not have the millions of dollar advertising budget that LL Bean has! That figuring out all that technology is going to take time and money you don’t have.

Here are some easy ways for small business owners to capitalize on what we have seen here today!

  • Direct mail marketing – There are two ways to do direct mail marketing on a shoestring. Print dinky postcards on colored paper, 4 to a sheet or buy them from Vistaprint for pennies on the dollar. I checked yesterday and the cost for a postcard stamp is 29 cents so the cost to do a 100 piece mailing should be less than 50 bucks total. I am getting ready to send a 100 piece dinky postcard mailing this week and will let you know what the response rate is!
  • Email marketing – if you are not using an online database like Constant Contact or Office Auto Pilot (the one I use) yet, start today. Figure it out and start building a list! Send them informative emails. I KNOW, you are all clamoring about what to send, send something that is related to your business!
  • Pick up the phone – Call them to see if they got what you sent! Your mailing made this a much warmer call.
  • Social Media Marketing – Post something about this on your social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or LinkedIn. Be careful not to be too salesy, just something good and interesting for them to enjoy that is related to your business.

With my coaching clients, I recommend that we have “theme months” where we pick a theme and market to that using multiple sales channels. I can’t stress enough that you should pick a theme for this month RIGHT NOW, set up some of these layered sales outlets and get started bringing in more prospects and sales!

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If you would like to find out more about my Small Business Marketing coaching programs today, give me a call 727-415-9165.

Small Business Marketing – Systems and Results

Small business marketing is not as fun as you would think it would be. While there are times that you get to look over creative, pick a new brand or colors or even roll out a new product, most of the time it is just grinding through the standard tasks that really make a difference in the long run.

Small business marketing systemTo make those tasks easier, I have a system, in fact I have multiple systems and forms that I use to make sure that I know my goals and the steps it takes to from Point A (a really good idea) to Point B (actually doing something) to Point C (seeing results). I find that too many people fall off somewhere between A and B, then are sad that it didn’t work and they never get any results at all, good or bad!

In my post last week, Small Business Marketing – When You Start, No One Is Listening! I talked about what happens when you start anything new, but I didn’t really give you any tools to help you. That made me think that it might help to take a peek into what I do when I roll out a marketing channel plan for my business.

Small Business Marketing System – Video Blogging and YouTube

We tell our clients that video is the way to go in the upcoming marketing realm so I have to practice what I preach! With that in mind I am posting at least a couple of free videos a week on the YouTube, adding to my membership site videos and also writing blog posts that take advantage of this medium (like this one!)

The thing about creating small business marketing systems that hangs up people the most is perfection. They spend time planning and plotting and working to get it perfect BEFORE they try it out. I basically sat down and made a goal that I would post 3 videos and blog posts a week and set up a form. As you will see in the video, I used it for a while and then needed to fine tune it to make it work. Your systems should be a fluid thing until you are sure you have the process down, then set them in stone for a few months and set up a new system for something else you want to accomplish!

So there you have it, my small business marketing system for getting videos out the door and published! Please – start your own system today for something you would like to accomplish and tell me what it was in the comment section (extra credit if you make a video and post it to your YouTube channel!)

 


 

Small Business Marketing Training VideosSmall Business Marketing Training

Need to know more about how to actually DO all of those great marketing ideas you hear about. Check out Marketing Artfully University! We have answers to all your marketing questions with step-by-step instructions and videos to walk you through! Find out more about these Small Business Marketing Training Videos today!

Small Business Marketing – When You Start, No One Is Listening!

Small business marketing seems like it should be relatively easy these days, set up a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, a YouTube Channel and about 30 other things and people will flock to you, RIGHT? Come-on, if you do all that work to get everything set up, that’s it, RIGHT?

Small Business Marketing Nothing WorkingWe work with A LOT of small business marketing clients, on their social media, blogs and videos and EVERY one says the same thing at first,

“But I don’t think anyone is (watching | reading | listening)

OF COURSE no one is watching, reading or listening to you yet! You have been doing it for about 10 minutes and they are busy!

Think about YOUR day. You get up, check your email and answer the important ones, get ready, check your voice mail and then answer the important ones, check the news, check the internet, see if there is any chit chat on Facebook or Google Plus, write a blog post, make a video, etc. In my world, just because someone else makes one video, doesn’t lead to me buying something the first time out of the gate.

How People Buy

So I follow this guy on Facebook who says he can help teach how to get 10,000 fans. Here is approximately how the sale was made:

  1. I saw something good he posted on Facebook and liked his page
  2. I followed that for about 4 months and he made an offer to give me something for free if I signed up for his mailing list
  3. He emailed me a few dozen times with more good, free stuff and did not spam me
  4. He asked me to attend a free webinar about getting fans
  5. I bought a $50 product as a result of the webinar

Damn that feels like A LOT of work for 50 bucks! It was posting on Facebook, setting up autoresponders and sending emails, setting up a webinar and sales page, doing the course for the sale and then, months later, 50 bucks. If he had stopped working at any point in time during that process because he thought “no one is listening”, he would have missed the sale. Now this guy is pretty sharp and his stuff is good so I figure he sold to more than me. Say he sold 10, that would make his take for all that work $500. But what if he sold 100?

We all hear about the thousand of people on webinars who buy. I recently paid $50 to attend a webinar and the guy estimated that he sold about 300 seats on the webinar. That was a 15 THOUSAND dollar payday for two hours? Damn good money if you can get it, BUT! But, you need to be Chris Brogan to rake in that kind of dough. Chris has spent YEARS giving great information and growing a following to get that response.

So, if you are just starting out and are NOT going to be willing to do A LOT of work BEFORE someone starts listening, stop now and save yourself some heartache. BUT, if you are serious about making a name for yourself with your small business marketing, get out there and start doing LOTS of stuff so people start listening!

Small Business Marketing – Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Small business marketing has MANY shiney objects to chase and it may seem like the latest and greatest new gizmo is the most important. Today we are we are going to talk about what may seem a little antiquated (smile) email marketing and some common email marketing mistakes!

Small business marketing - email marketingI see A LOT of mistakes out there with small business owners who are using email incorrectly or who have not even thought about how or why to set up their email marketing in the correct manner. This post is going to go over common mistakes and what to do to fix them. Sorry to my friends who, as always, know that they are loved and who will be my goats for anything that makes me crazy!

Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Not having a professional email address

If you are still putting a gmail, aol, road runner, comcast or other free or obviously system emails on your business cards or handouts, people notice and assume that you are not professional (at the very least they will assume that you are WAY behind technology-wise, which in this day and age is not cute or funny, it is a red flag to potential customers!)

Using your company email address

While I understand there are some situations that you need to use a corporate email address, this is a SMALL BUSINESS BLOG. Most of us do not work for IBM or Lucent, we have a little more flexibility with our personal branding. So, why SHOULDN’T you use your company email?

One of my friends, who shall remained unnamed, Brian P, has changed his email address no less than 4 times since I have known him. It started with BrianP(at)homebank.com and went to BrianP(at)countrywide.com and then BrianP(at)tricountyfl.com and finally today, BrianP(at)VanDyke.com. The worst part of it is, he had a website about mortgage banking and could have used BrianP(at)mortgagecommunicationspot.com the WHOLE TIME!

I will tell you, most people are not hiring the company you work for, they are hiring YOU and Brian has to have lost some people who would have worked with him again but they are two or three email addresses back and don’t know how to get a hold of him.

Not Having An Email Marketing List

This is a biggie. I talk to many people who network often who have said they have stacks and stacks of business cards on their desk and have not put them in a list yet. Arggg. This means that all that networking is for naught. You HAVE to follow up with an email newsletter or some other followup method you are missing the boat.

If you are not using a service like Constant Contact or Aweber, you CAN email easily by just having an excel spreadsheet with First Name, Last Name and Email. You can then cut and paste the addresses into most email clients and send your message (NO MORE THAN 50 at a time so it is kerfuffly BUT it WILL work). The nice thing about doing it this way is that when you ARE ready to do your real email newsletter, you will already have your list ready!

Free Resources From Past Posts

Email Newsletters – Email Marketing – Good Email Subject Lines and Super Duds
Email Marketing – Email Newsletter Marketing Topics and Ideas

Marketing Artfully University Resources

NEW – Setting Up Your Email Addresses Effectively
How should you grow your contact list
Secret Email Marketing Strategies

find out more about small business marketing help at MAU! The cost is low, there are over 82 posts with videos and there is a small one time fee to join!

Small Business Marketing Launches – Learning From The Big Guys Ibex

Small business marketing launches can be confusing! You have already been selling your product or service for a while so why would you need to “launch” it again?

What IS a small business marketing launch?

If you have been on the internet for any time at all, you will notice from time to time that multiple people send you the same exciting opportunity email OR your favorite company starts sending you a bunch of emails about the same topic. This is called a “launch” and just means that they are focusing on getting the word out about one of their products or services (could be a new one or re-launching an old one).

The concept is great and can generate a lot of buzz for your company. Here is an example of a product launch done by Seth Godin and the Domino Project in conjunction with Ibex, a sports clothing company. The ways we small biz owners can use the concepts are in italics!

IBEX LAUNCH OVERVIEW

First Ibex partnered with Seth Godin, a REALLY big name in marketing and his Domino project which helps launch books for self publishers. They were promoting the publishing of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s book, Self-Reliance, and trying to generate new customers for the Ibex company. Ibex gave away $15,000 worth of clothing to people who tweeted out a link to book giveaway and mentioned their hashtag (#ibexwear).

The Ibex Contest Rules:

1. To enter, you must do the following:

  • follow @projectdomino on Twitter – you could do this! offer a free giveaway to one of your twitter followers!
  • during the dates of the sweepstakes (From 6am ET on May 25, 2011 – 5pm ET on May 26 2011), send out a tweet about the publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s book Self-Reliance (in Kindle or hardcover) – make a condition of entering your giveaway that they tweet out something
  • in the tweet, reference this URL (http://bit.ly/emersonSR) and use the hashtag #ibexwear – YOU set the hashtag to use, so for Marketing Artfully University I might use #MAU to designate the hashtag
  • only relevant tweets are eligible, and people tweeting the code more than four times a day will be disqualified.

Here is the entire contest page.

What Ibex Did Right!

  • Partnered with Seth Godin (who has a great marketing blog and huge list of followers) meant that A LOT of people heard about the contest – as a small business owner, you don’t need millions BUT find the influential people you know and ask them to help. These are called “affiliates” and may do it for free or may want to have a small cut of the profits.
  • Offered a free giveawayyou do not have to give away thousands of dollars, offer one or two copies of your hardcover book, a free website membership or even an hour of your time to people who participate.
  • Drove people FIRST to follow them on Twitterthis helped them to build up their twitter following!
  • Did it in a tight time framethis is my least favorite part of launches – you need to do A LOT of promoting in a very short time and be available to facilitate it the entire way through!

Small Business Marketing Launches IbexWhile I MIGHT have posted about this contest anyways, I for sure wanted to give Ibex a shout out because they (1) picked me to win a $50 gift card and (2) included a free cap and a handwritten note when I got the product in the mail! Check out David Starkweather’s post (Ralph Waldo Emerson in a Wool Shak? | What Great Marketing Looks Like) about how he won a card also!

Which brings me to my final point. Seth Godin attracts marketers. Marketers tend to be talky-talky people who share things and have blogs and who are built to tell people things! If they had chosen say, Michael Jordan, to pair with, they may have gotten the initial boost of his popularity, but THEN would a bunch of athletes have spread the word even further by blogging about the great marketing campaign? I am not sure, but I don’t think so.

No matter what your industry, if you are going to do a small business marketing launch, make sure to have connector-type people helping you or you may hear a resounding dud for your efforts!

YouTube For Business Video Ideas – Advertising On YouTube

YouTube for business can be a great marketing channel. Advertising on YouTube is tricky so here are some video ideas for small business owners.

YouTube for Business - Advertising On YouTubeIn my post the other day, I talked about YouTube Video Marketing – Are You Trying To Go Viral? In that post we talked about the fact that, while it is important to try and “go viral”, most BUSINESS videos are going to rank okay only within a niche. This post is about getting your business videos to laser target a niche that may get you fewer views but those views will be laser targeted!

General Google Keyword Research

So in this post I was thinking that I would target the keywords “youtube for small business” which is good for my main site keywords. BUT I wanted to rank well on google for the correct search term so I used the Google External Keyword Tool to do a search and see if there was any traffic for those keywords. Come to find out, the search term that I was thinking of had 170 searches per month BUT the search term YouTube for Business has 368,000 searches per month. This was a pretty easy one to figure out – the post HAD to be titled “YouTube For Business Video Ideas – Advertising On YouTube”.

Keyword Reseach For YouTube

So I have a general idea that the Google itself should like “YouTube for Business”, but what does YouTube think about that? I used the search bar and found that there were 623,000 without the quotes (a pretty hard nut to crack), but there are only 113 results for the exact search phrase WITH the quotes. I can fight 113 people!!!! So next I will make a video that matches this post that will include a link back here. I will also share that video with my social media buddies which will increase likes, views and offer me credibility.

Small Business YouTube Video Ideas

All this is great, you say. All this figuring out what to make is good, you say. BUT what the heck should you make videos of?!?! There are some REALLY easy ways to figure out what to make videos of for your industry without having to figure ANYTHING out!

  • What do you find to be the most interesting bits of your business? If you are a florist and have come up with some really neat tricks to arrange flowers, make a video of that.
  • What do you find the most annoying about your business? I frequently make videos of things that I am sick of explaining over and over again. If you are a dog groomer, make a video of each of the different grooming styles starting with a fluffy, hairy mess and turn them into a show dog!
  • FAQs – I guarantee that you have questions that come up over and over, make a video of each answer. Take this right off of your website!
  • Check your emails – I always have my clients send me long answers they give their clients for blog posts, do this same thing for your videos. If you are a realtor and get lots of questions about a specific subdivision or town, make some videos of that area. The great thing is that you can send the video with your email description and let them see a bit of your personality with your answer!

So those are the easy ones. Now lets go to YouTube and do some searches to see if we can figure out some good topics with not too much competition!

I was doing a search for a client for the term “dog pain” because he sells a great natural dog pain product. What I noticed was that when I did that search, there were a lot of videos about yoga and a man called T-Pain, AND there were 30,800 results. So I redid the search with negatives included, so the search looks like dog pain -T- -yoga, which means search for dog pain but ignore yoga and T- before pain. Now we only have 7,410 results but that is still a lot of competition.

I have done some research online and know that dog pain medicine is good on regular Google so I checked on YouTube and there are only 722 results PLUS that is the actual product that he sells so SCORE. We need to do some dog pain videos for him!

Advertising On YouTube

So does advertising on YouTube work? YouTube is much like Facebook. People are not necessarily going to be willing to watch a true advertisement. What you want to do with YouTube for business videos is make a video that is going to be interesting or informative, NOT saley. I have to say that we have found that most small business owners earnestly make videos that are truly advertisements and not informational.

If you are going to actually try and sell something, make sure that you have a video that would be interesting to someone other than your Mom and THEN include a link back to a sales page or or at least a post with a call to action to buy something.

So there you have it, great YouTube for business video ideas! I hope that come up with some good, informative, videos that you would be proud to share.

Small Business Marketing – How Do People See Your Company

Small business marketing, sigh. In the past it was easy, take out a yellow page ad and you were done. Well times they have changed and small business marketing is now a million moving parts that all have to be working together to make a whole campaign.

small business marketing mazeWe talk to our clients every day and they are grouchy that they have make videos and answer online questions and basically be available to their potential customers who have not even said they are willing to buy yet, they are just exploring their options.

In this day of always on internet (remember when you had to log in and out and only got 1 hour a day), consumers are researching your company or product extensively before they are willing to give you their hard earned money. They are checking to see if you have good reviews on Yelp, seeing what your Facebook page looks like and if you talk there. Some like Twitter and tweet you first to see if you are a real person. I know what you are thinking, GIVE ME A BREAK, who has time for all that sillyness, I just want to run my business and make some money.

Here are two of the small business marketing quotes that we have heard since YESTERDAY

  • “She found us through an ad and went to the site and found Facebook there…. Don’t know why in the world she didn’t just call in the first place.”
  • we have a listing that would like to list with us but they do not find us on internet searches when entering XXX luxury or XXX waterfront etc.

These types of things come through every day. A customer of ours who doesn’t understand that the lady is not going to buy ANYTHING before vetting it on the Facebook. A realtor who doesn’t like the internet or blogs and who never saw the benefit of ranking well for keywords, until every other client asked why they didn’t show up in Google.

Unfortunately, if you are going to be in business in this day and age, you HAVE to be fluent in small business marketing online. Every day you are not out there, you are falling behind and may never catch up.

Small Business Marketing Solutions

So all the doom and gloom, what is a business person to do? Here are my top tips for getting started.

  • If you are OK at using the internet yourself, start taking classes to find out what you should be doing and then start small and do something everyday. I have a membership site that can help with your DIY Small Business Marketing efforts.
  • If you truly have a very small marketing budget and no computer skills what-so-ever, find a kid. They grew up on this and are technically savvy about how to use the systems. The problem with hiring a child is that they have no marketing knowledge and could hurt more than help your efforts.
  • If you have any kind of marketing budget at all, it is worth hiring a professional marketing company like us to do your marketing for you! I KNOW most yellow page ads cost about $800 a month, for that you could have a really good running start to a small business marketing online empire!

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this is just how it is and only going to get worse going forward. We didn’t mention QR codes, mobile or any of the other things on the horizon that you are going to have to master along with all the “normal” things we have to do small business marketing wise today. My best suggestion to the small business owner who wants to stay in business is to start today!

Small Business Lead Generating Sales Funnel

Small business lead generating is a big deal over here in our marketing world! We are really good at helping you fill your sales funnel, but if these leads never follow through to a conversion and a sale then it is a wasted effort.

Small Business Lead Generating Sales FunnelWhile working with our small biz clients, we often hear that they have gotten “no leads”. Huh, that is weird since I see leads coming across the email, in blog comments and as requests for info on Social Media. I think what they are saying is that they have gotten no “sales” or new clients. This can happen because of a breakdown between leads and sales.

Today we are going to look at all the pieces that go in making a successful lead to sales transaction.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel (also known as the sales pipeline) is the term for the process by which we add A LOT of leads into the top of the funnel and sales come out of the bottom, losing some along the way. The parts of the sales funnel can be called a lot of different things including prospects, suspects, and customers; leads, visitors and pre-qualifications.

We are going to look at some of the normal sales-funnelly things, but then we are going to talk specifically about where your process may be failing your conversions. It can be VERY easy to get caught up in the labeling and not look a the practical aspects of going from propects to sales.

Small Business Marketing Lead Generating Sales Funnel

The Practical Sales Funnel

Leads – Opportunity

Leads can look like many things. They can be a message sent through Facebook asking about your services, an email info request, a response back to your email newsletter, basically any time someone talks to you about the goods or services that you sell. THE FIRST THING you should do after getting one of these messages is to add this person to your database, CRM (customer relationship management software), or spreadsheet of prospects. Make sure to note what kind of service or product they were interested in.

This is the first step of your sales funnel and just consists of collecting their contact information so that you can communicate with them on an ongoing basis.

Sales Call – Connection

The first time that you contact this prospect (whether it be by email or phone), your goal should be to set an appointment. An appointment for a formal phone call or in-person meeting where you can talk over your offerings at a time that is convenient and when the prospect will be receptive to listening to you.

I think that this should be over the phone as you have not pre-qualified this person enough to know if they are a good fit. Can they afford your product or service? Are they ready to buy within the next 30 days? Have they researched any of your competitors?

These are all vital things to know and you are just wasting time meeting with someone who is not ready, willing and able to buy your product or service.

Follow Up – Timing

I am going to tell you something that you may find shocking. Most prospects do not buy right away, gasp. Honestly, I have asked some of our clients how many times they followed up on a sales lead and they say that they never followed up because the person did not buy after the first contact. This is what we in the business call BURNING LEADS. The prospect raised their hand and said they were interested, but probably did not have enough information to take out their credit card and buy.

You should follow up a phone call with an immediate personal note or email, thanking them for their time. You should then reach out with offers of additional info at least two or three times more over the next couple of weeks (put it in your calendar). After that, make sure they are on your newsletter list so they receive ongoing communications from you, which could remind them why they called you in the first place!

If you are a typical small business owner, you are probably a TERRIBLE salesperson. If this is the case (as it is with me) you are going to need to hire someone to follow up for you. You can pay this person a fixed rate or “spiff” them an amount for each appointment they set for you. DO NOT skimp on this, a good salesman can make you more money than you ever imagined possible!

Conversion – Obstacles

Okay, you have a lead and they want to buy BUT they have not pulled the trigger (ie paid you yet). This is the most frustrating part of the sales process and one you need to look at very closely because it is probably your fault that the sale is not moving forward!

First off, make sure it is VERY easy for your prospect to pay. Just this week we had a lady call and say she had been waiting for us to send her a link for payment. Now I KNOW that we sent that link over a week or so ago, BUT what matters is that we re-send it to her right away while she is paying attention to us.

Another great example about how a process can fall apart is one of my bookkeeping clients. She takes her prospects, sends them to her salesperson to follow up, gets them excited about her services, they say they want to buy and then…NOTHING. In my opinion, the sale is falling apart because she expects them to gather their receipts, bank statements and other financial documents together themselves. To me it feels like, if they could do all that themselves, what would they need her for?!?!?! We suggested that she make a part of her services a two hour, holding-your-hand and getting your documents together startup meeting. This way, she will get the client on board AND she will be losing less of them due to the fact that they are terrible at accounting tasks.

Sale – Persistence

Overall, sales takes persistence and can be absolutely, soul-killingly hard if you are not geared to enjoying being a salesperson. BUT, if you make it a game to see how many people you can move down your small business lead generating sales funnel, removing speed bumps along the way, you WILL make more sales. This in turn will make it much more likely that you will want to do it again and and again!

Small Business Marketing – Telling The What But Selling The How

Small business marketing is all about SELLING a product or service that people have a need for, unfortunately most people on the internet are looking for free and easy. That is why we tell most of our clients to be free and loose with the WHAT and sell for access to the HOW.

Small Business Marketing - Selling the what not the howSmall Business Marketing – Telling The What

I was talking with a client the other day and he was worried that having a blog and talking about his business and the intellectual property was hurting the chances to SELL something.

The funny part of this is that we had just gotten done talking about how great the response was from some of the recent things we posted – TRUE business opportunities!

In this day and age of instant access to whatever your heart desires, it can feel like selling anything via the internet is a lost cause. “Buyers” are looking for money for nothing and the clicks for free. That having been said, I have found that there are 3 types of “buyers” on the internet:

  1. People who want information for nothing – These types were never going to buy and if you help them great.
  2. People who want information and want to do it themselves – These types are good for a membership site or to get signed up for a seminar or class.
  3. People who want information to make an informed buying decision – BINGO! These people are checking out what and how you say things in anticipation of working with you or buying your product in the future and are the ones that we should focus on.

If you dumb your stuff down so far that you are not giving away anything, the chances of anyone noticing you is slim. It is much better to share too much and then have a rock-solid plan for monetizing that traffic or audience which brings me to…

Small Business Marketing – Selling The How

If you are a reader of this blog or have attended one of my live free events, you will hear me say often, “give your best stuff away”! For me that means telling people in the room the one neat thing that I found that works great or the couple of key things to do that will increase their business. This goes back to my three types of buyers above, the ones that were never going to buy still will not BUT the ones that are cruising for real help will definitely get their ears up if they think I know something REAL that can help their business.

Additionally, I will often tell you exactly what you should do, sometimes in EXCRUCIATING (to you) detail. I know as I am writing when I have crossed a line – when I tell you HOW to do it. That takes away from potential sales to my membership site or small business services company. For my client above, telling them what real estate markets to target is fine, telling them what types of investments are good is fine, posting how to buy them (or even find them) without him in the middle somewhere is less than fine!

So, long story short (too late I know)! For your small business marketing efforts, make sure they are in this order:

  • Sell something you like and are knowledgeable about
  • Get crystal clear about what product or service you are going to sell
  • Share your knowledge about your industry and make sure you have calls to action to purchase your product or service

To find out more, check out our Small Business Marketing Services or DIY Small Business Marketing Membership Site.

Small Business Marketing – The DISC and Your Sales Funnel

Small business marketing is full of fun things to trip you up! How your disc personality index and your sales funnel can keep you from making sales from all those leads.

Small Business Marketing DISC and Sales FunnelYour sales funnel is the process by which you get people to buy from you. They move through the funnel from Sales Leads to Followup to Conversion to Sales. Very rarely will someone call you from a piece of your marketing and be ready to buy on the spot. This is where your DISC personality type can get you into trouble!

My DISC personality type is a D – driver. When I buy something I do not research 1,000 different options, ask for referrals or angst about the buying process. My sales process usually goes like this, I hear about something interesting, I buy it. This makes it VERY hard for me to sell to other people of different personality types. They generally do not make decisions that way and so I have to have systems in place that will allow them to learn more about my products or services (followup), give them buying options and a little time to decide (conversion) and then, bang they buy. This process can take MUCH longer than I think it should and requires that I have an active part in making the sale.

One of things that I do, knowing that I am that “D” type personality, is to slow down when I am talking to a prospect who is NOT like me. I talk lower and slower so that I do not scare them off. I answer ALL of their questions, even if I think that it is crazy to ask so many. I also have other people involved in the sales cycle who are better than I am at calling to followup and also to send information that is going to be vital to making the sale.

D types are good rainmakers and can help drive new leads into your sales funnel.

I Personality Type and Sales – “I” or intuitive type people are GREAT salesmen or women. They like the social interaction that comes from talking and getting to know new people. They truly care about the prospect and want to make sure they understand what they need. The one thing that can hurt an I is wanting to “make the sale”. A lot of times I’s will not want to lose the sale because the company is not able to perform a certain task. If you are an I, watch out for trying to make your prospect happy at the detriment of your business going forward!

Another thing that I’s have to look out for is the high-highs and the low-lows. Every lead feels like a win and they are ready to run with it, BUT every no feels like a loss or even a personal rejection. This can cause disappointment or frustration and if enough come at the same time, I’s can get thrown off of their games for weeks at a time. My suggestion to I’s if this happens is to call one of your favorite current or past clients to get a warm fuzzy about what you are good at and get right back on that horse again!

I types are good rainmakers and can also drive leads into your sales funnel.

C Personality Types and Sales – “C” Type people are analytical and facts driven. They want all the details of the process to be outlined and would like the sales funnel to be linear. I have a client who is a Denver Bookkeeper, TOTALLY a “C” type. To her the sales process should run like a well oiled machine. A sales lead comes in, a phone call is made, a meeting is set, facts are given and then the prospect buys. Easy-peasy! Well, we have been tracking how that is working in function and initially there was a gap in her followup. If the person did not buy on the first call, she wrote them off as not a “real” lead, not thinking that the sales cycle for most people is longer than one call. She has implemented a great followup call system using a true salesperson who stays in contact with her prospect, but still has a hard time closing the sale.

We talked yesterday and the gap is now at the prospect preparing their documents in order to be able to hire her. They want bookkeeping help, they need bookkeeping help, but they are not functionally doing the tasks required to make this possible like collecting bank statements, filling out spreadsheets or getting their receipts in order. This gap actually makes sense! If the person is not generally good at keeping these things together then they will be overwhelmed at the thought of having assemble them in order to hire a bookkeeper. My suggestion was to make part of her services a “hand holding” hour or two where she gets together with the prospect or client to get those items together. To her it feels silly, “why can’t they just get those things to me”, but to the people who need help, this could be a HUGE value add!

C type people are technically good at details and followup.

S Personality Types and Sales – If you are a D or an I type personality and need help with your sales, go TODAY and find a “S” to help you! S type people are stable, steady and caring. They will take all of the crazy ideas that you have and help you to implement them. They will followup on prospects and help them make good buying decisions that are win-win for you both.

I have a S! She is great for me as she doesn’t get distracted by my wild flights of fancy, she is dedicated to helping our company grow and she is the one all the customers say “I LOVE Michelle”. OF COURSE they love Michelle, by personality type she is set up to be caring and nurturing.

C type people make great customer service and inside sales people, getting prospects through the whole funnel to the sale.

I will bet you a dollar that your DISC personality type is effecting your sales process in some way, making your small business marketing efforts less effective. Take a look and really see what you might be doing to cause gaps in the process, find the holes and fix them! If you are looking for ways to improve the process, take a DISC personality yourself AND give one to any new people your are considering hiring – while it is fun to have someone who shares your DISC personality type, more often than not you need someone who is NOT like you to help grow your sales.

Small Business Internet Marketing – RSS Feeds

I am a small business internet marketing kind of gal. Notice the small business part? While I try to keep my posts non-techy so that my peeps can implement most of the concepts themselves, this RSS Feeds post is going to be a little technical BUT worth reading if you want free traffic to your blog, facebook or videos sites!

Small Business Internet Marketing RSS FeedsWhat Do Search Engines Do

Before we get too technical, lets talk about search engines and what their job is. Search engines are constantly looking for new information to show humans who have used keywords to do searches. So, if you do a search for “big screen tvs”, search engines will provide you with a variety of sites, some with reviews, some with sales and some with research data. They will do their best to provide a variety of content so that the human who is searching finds what they are looking for, be it a news story, blog post, picture, press release or any other manner of information.

Additionally, search engines have algorithms that allow them to know that when you type “superbowl” you really mean “super bowl”, that big football game played at the end of the season. They can also know that humans search for “cold remedies” when they really want to know about “sore throats”. Our language is diverse and keeps the google on its toes.

Small Business Internet Marketing – RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds and Small Business MarketingSo what are RSS Feeds and what do they have to do with search engines and content? RSS Feeds are technically “Really Simple Syndication” feeds that PUSH content you have developed to other places such as blogs, twitter and other aggregator websites who need to have LOTS of content. There are couple of ways to find these feeds, (1) if you are using the Firefox web browser they appear in the address bar as blue icon or (2) you can look around the page and see if you can find an orange icon that indicates an RSS feed is available.

As a small business marketer you can use these feeds for a number of different things like auto-publishing to your Twitter account or posting to your Facebook page, but today we are talking about the magic of other people using YOUR feeds to produce content for THEIR site.

Small Biz Marketing Rss FeedsThe picture above shows a screen capture of someone who took my blog post about Superbowl Demographics and posted it on his website. This site did a REALLY nice job of it, pulling quotes, recognizing me as the author and adding backlinks to my blog. See HIS post here. It is safe to assume that he has taken my RSS feed and is using it to publish content on his blog. The picture down here is another site that publishes my content, RealtorYou.com. They pull my posts and put them onto their pages, adding backlinks to my recent posts although they are not as good at crediting me as the author of the content.

So why would these people take my posts and publish them on their sites? I am trying to rank for certain keywords like realtor marketing, small business marketing and entrepreneur marketing. The RealtorYou.com site seems to be trying to rank for “internet marketing for Real Estate Agents”. Search engines DO put a lot weight on having the exact keywords people search for BUT they also add up different bits to make a whole. In this case it seems that RealtorYou.com is hoping that my Realtor Marketing articles, plus the work that they do will get them to the top of the search engines for the search term “internet marketing for Real Estate Agents”.

Additionally, they are running google adwords down the right side of the page so they get a little bit of money anytime someone clicks on one of those links. For all we know the whole site is nothing but aggregated feeds that they never have to do any work to update and which may pull them in a ton of money.

What are pingbacks?

When you have a blog, often you will get a message from your blog that you have a pingback. A pingback means that someone has published your content on their site with a link back to your blog. It is VERY nice and you should ALWAYS approve it unless the site publishing it is a “bad neighborhood” like porn, pharmaceuticals or gambling sites.

So what does that mean for small business internet marketing?

Is this post going to explain EVERYTHING about RSS feeds and how they help your small business internet marketing efforts, no. Is it going to tell you about everything that you need to do to get your feeds recognized so that complete strangers publish your content on their sites, no. As small business marketers, what I hope it does is open your eyes to why having a blog, Facebook or YouTube channel might be so important. As you publish content on these media which have an RSS feed, you never know who is going to pick it up and use it for SEO or to “plump” up THEIR content!

If you would like to find out how we help our clients use RSS feeds and other fun marketing items to grow their business, check out our Small Business Marketing Services!

Thanks to Richard Turcott for featuring my post in his RSS blog!

Badly Executed Small Business Marketing – Commenting On Blog Posts

Commenting on blog posts is one of the ways internet marketers recommend to use to get traffic to your website. Unfortunately most of these campaigns are badly executed small business marketing!

Small Business Marketing Commenting on Blog PostsLet us start with WHY you want to comment on blog posts. There are any number of reasons but in general it is to:

(1) get a high comment on a popular blog so that people will follow your link and find your site
(2) to be SO insightful that everyone who reads your comment will be forced to visit your site
(3) get a backlink that has the correct keywords to increase your google rank or
(4) to post a comment so full of actual links to your site that you are spammer and will not be taken seriously and your comment may not be published

You will notice that two of the three of these require that a human see your comment and then follow a link back to your site. If you are paying someone who is in another country to post inane comments like “good post” or gibberish that makes no sense, this is just throwing money down the drain. We have a number of clients who spent good money to get “backlinks” this way. Unfortunately when checking the links, most were on “no follow” blogs so they were basically paying for nothing!

According to Wikipedia a no follow blog is

a value that can be assigned to the rel attribute of an HTML a element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.

What that means for us marketers is that google will not count that as a point in our favor so if we are not going to do commenting the right way our time is wasted!

Commenting On Popular Blogs

This one works well if you have the time to cruise popular blogs in your industry and are prepared to make insightful comments that ADD the conversation rather than just posting “first” on them. The reason this works well is that comments generally show from first to last and so anyone reading the post will get to see what you wrote and may click the link to get back to your site. The only thing to watch out for on this is one is to make sure you are early or late in the conversation, some popular blogs get HUNDREDS of comments and being in the middle of them will get you no love.

Posting Insightful Comments

This one works well and if used in conjunction with targeting industry leaders can increase both your traffic and networking efforts. So this is how it works, you take someone like Howie Jacobson, adwords genius, who writes a blog and has written a book about how to do adwords correctly. If you are in the online marketing field, he is a great one to comment on because people read his blog AND he answers his own comments. This way you could get a click back while increasing the chances that a big wig in your industry might notice you and possibly recommend you OR comment on YOUR blog!

So what is an insightful comment. I can tell you that is not determined by length! Just yesterday I wrote a post about real estate farm marketing (which is picking an area that a realtor would target) and got a really long considered comment about selling farms in the midwest. TOTAL disconnect and I did not approve the comment so that time was wasted for either the person commenting or whoever they hired to do this work. Make sure that you write a couple of sentences that are relevant to the conversation!

It is also about content! Here is a comment that came in on that same post, “Thanks for a great post. very informative. I totally agree with you, having is the right mindset is most important of all. I Have already shared this post with a few of my friends and they loved it. Thanks”. NOW, while I have plenty of posts that talk about mindset, this was not one of them. Had they taken two minutes more and found the right post to comment on, I would have approved it even though it was spammy. The grammar mistake was theirs not mine!

Commenting On Blogs for Keyword Targeted Backlinks

Blog post commenting small business marketingThis one is a little technical and somewhat controversial. If your whole point of commenting is to get a keyword targeted backlink then you need to use a term like “Small Business Marketing” as your name rather than your REAL name (in this case I would want to use Small Business Marketing INSTEAD of my real name Tara Jacobsen).

If I did this on a blog that allowed follows then the google would attribute that keyword back to my blog! Unfortunately most blogs are no follow and additionally, some that are will not post comments from keywords, only people. If you are paying people to post comments, then make sure they are targeting “do follow blogs” and that they are using your keyword targeted names.

Commenting With Hyperlinks

One of the easiest ways to get labeled a spammer is to post a comment FULL of hyperlinks to your website. If it is an open comment blog it will get posted but it is impolite. If the blog author monitors their comments then they will, in most cases, not approve the comment. Either way, definitely not a best white-hat marketing practice!

So there you have it! My top commenting on blog posts marketing tips. If you have any further suggestions or comments please leave them below with your real name and no spam..:)

Small Business Marketing and Facebook Privacy Settings

If you are using Facebook for your small business marketing efforts, how you set up your privacy setting could have a HUGE negative impact on your success.

Small Business Marketing and Facebook Privacy SettingsIf you are playing around on Facebook with a little business thrown in or are a personal user, this post is not for you. I am talking ONLY to small business owners who wish to use this valuable marketing channel to grow their contacts, sell products and grow relationships online for business purposes.

Facebook Privacy Settings and the Small Biz Owner

You can dial up or dial down how much people who are not your friends can see. I have found that this can impact how many people are willing to be your friend, whether you are instigating the connection or they are seeking you out. The business owner in the top picture KNOWS that the more information that she shows, the more likely that someone will be interested enough to “friend” her. She says where she works, where she went to school and where she lives now, BEFORE you click to become her friend.

Facebook profile setting for small business marketingThe person in this profile has done everything possible to assure that I will not be her friend. She has a fake picture and locked down her information so that I have to be her friend BEFORE I can see anything about her. In the beginning when everyone wanted more friends, this might have worked but now she is facing a LONG climb to get a decent number of friends.

Think about it, would you want to start a friendship with a real human who did not tell you anything about themselves? I wouldn’t. I like to know a little before I will even consider hitting that “become my friend” button.

How SHOULD You Set Your Privacy Settings For Small Business?

Again, if you are using the Facebook for personal use these settings may not be for you, BUT if you are going to be using it for business, these are the suggestions that I am making and how I have my account set up!

  • Posts by me – EVERYONE (I want them to be able to see how cool I am without having to be my friend!)
  • Family – EVERYONE
  • Relationships – EVERYONE
  • Interested in and looking for – EVERYONE (Now all I have is networking, BUT if you are wanting to keep your dating preferences under wraps you might want to limit this one)
  • Bio and favorite quotations – EVERYONE (this one is vital to showing you are a well rounded human)
  • Website – EVERYONE (OF COURSE! kinda the point)
  • Religious and political views – FRIENDS ONLY (I don’t have anything listed here BUT no sense alienating someone before I even get a shot!)
  • Birthday – EVERYONE
  • Places I check in to – FRIENDS ONLY
  • Include me in “People Here Now” after I check in – I check YES, this is personal preference
  • Edit album privacy for existing photos. – See comments below
  • Photos and videos I’m tagged in – FRIENDS OF FRIENDS (I thought about making this everyone but it is dependant on someone else so this is okay for now)
  • Can comment on posts – EVERYONE (I monitor my account pretty well and delete any spam so I am good with this AND might make some new friends I wouldn’t have “met” otherwise)
  • Friends can post on my Wall – EVERYONE (only do this if you check often so you don’t get a wall of spam)
  • Can see Wall posts by friends – EVERYONE
  • Friends can check me in to Places – DISABLED (I don’t need my friends to do this for me)
  • Mobile phone – FRIENDS ONLY (please DO NOT limit this, if a prospective client wants to call, don’t make them jump through hoops to find your number!)
  • Other phone – FRIENDS ONLY
  • Address – FRIENDS OF FRIENDS (This ONLY shows your city, state and zip, NOT your street address. I WOULD allow access to this!)
  • IM screen name – FRIENDS ONLY
  • Email Address – FRIENDS ONLY

When you are changing these settings so that only your friends can see things, PLEASE remember that you should assume that NOTHING you do on Facebook is truly private. I NEVER send anything by Facebook email that I would be sorry to see posted on my wall. I NEVER post a picture and think that only a few people will see it if I make my privacy settings right. If I want to talk privately with a client or a friend I call or email them outside of Facebook!

Well there you have it, Small Business Marketing and Facebook Privacy Settings. Hope that helps setting up your account to be able to get the most friends, the easiest way possible!

PS – If you would like to find out how to have US handle these for you, give us a call at (727) 505-5384 to find out more about our Social Media Marketing Services!

Small Business Marketing Logos Design

When you are talking about small business marketing logos, design matters VERY much. There are some basic design elements which can really help or hurt your marketing efforts!

Small Business Marketing LogosThe design of your small business marketing logo is a VERY personal and subjective process. What could appeal to you might not be something that will work well with your industry or the overall function of your business. BUT, there are some basic design functions that are fundamental to your ongoing marketing success which, as a business owner, you probably never considered!

Choosing Your Logo Colors

In this day and age of digital printing, it can be very tempting to have a full color logo instead of a two color basic logo. I think that this is HUGE mistake that can affect the cost of everything from name tags and embroidery to printing and branding. Having two colors allows you to buy offset printing if you get big enough to do large print runs, as well as semi-forcing you to use one of your colors as a “signature color” for your business. I can tell you that for my company, I use the acid green from my logo on EVERYTHING so that when people see it, they think Marketing Artfully!

Another color consideration for your business is that there are “industry” colors that will immediately allow consumers to identify what you might be selling. Some examples include:

  • Red and blue for healthcare
  • Green for environment products
  • Yellow for construction
  • Black, gray and navy for technology
  • Blue for social media

It is easy to think of companies by the colors they keep! Coca Cola is red, McDonalds is red and yellow, Home Depot is orange, the list is endless. What never ceases to amaze me is that small biz owners do not recognize that having a really strong, simple vector logo is a hallmark of EVERY large corporation. Even knowing that, many of them want to use fancy graphics or design “fluff” which leads me to my next marketing logos rule:

DO NOT USE GRADIENTS IN YOUR MARKETING LOGOS

Can you tell this one of my all time major pet peeves? Having a fancy-smancy gradient is the hallmark of a designer that is not willing to have a fierce conversation with their client! Many of my clients have requested that we do them a logo with all kinds of design fluff that will only cause trouble for them in the future.

Gradients are when the color blends from dark to light or one color to another. It is a “shiney” silver sheen on a logo or a starburst light flash. When you use a gradient in your logo, many things can go wrong. It can be VERY hard to print good black and white copies of it. If you want to use it on a golf shirt, the setup costs can be astronomical, and it requires that you ALWAYS use four color printing.

I cannot stress enough that if you cannot use just two colors then make sure that you have a two-dimensional vector logo that will serve you well for years and years!

Corporate Logo Mistakes

Old and New Gap Marketing LogosI am not sure if you are aware of it BUT in my marketing world there was a HUGE snafu lately when the gap tried to reinvent their logo. They went from a clean crisp gap word on blue background to a new-fangled gap word with a gradient square. Now I am not saying that the gradient was the entire problem but they DID have to change it back after the uproar!

 

Old and New YMCA Marketing LogosI am on the wrong side of this one, but I HATE the new YMCA marketing logos! They have 5 (count them 5) different color variations, a gradient and no consistent theme to the coloring. The thinking is that “the Y” will become a hip-hop-happening place because of the new modern colors and the rounded corners on the Y. Give me the old standby that is recognizable and basic design and dress up the brand with some great creative design rather than messing with a good solid logo!

Small Business Marketing Logos Exceptions

Real Estate Marketing LogosAs I said before, logo design is VERY subjective. If you cannot stand the thought of a two color logo, make sure that you ADORE whatever you choose!

One of favorite clients, Palm Harbor Realtors Matt and Julia Fishel had us design a VERY unique realtor logo. It was not overly house-y and it was lots of different colors. That having been said, we found great beachy colors to signify their waterfront housing focus and made sure that it had a solid vector design. Then we paired it with “the shacks” that were the same colors as their logo and bada-bing, design brilliance!

The bonus – just this week Julia got a lead from the internet and when asked why they picked her, the new client said because they liked her logo!

For marketing logos and more – find out about our small business marketing services!

Top 5 SEO Small Business Marketing Tips

When I talk about my Top 5 SEO small business marketing tips, I am referring to how to rank well in the search engines for targeted keywords that will increase traffic to your site organically. These are search engine optimization tips which can help you get more readers to your blog.

Top 5 Seo small business marketing tipsSearch engine optimization or keyword marketing is super fun, it is like a little contest to see if you can beat the person who holds the rank ahead of you in Google or the other search engines. BUT to rank well, you need to know EXACTLY the search terms you want to achieve for both your overall site and then each individual post. The math looks like this:

1 blog post about realtor postcards + 1 blog post about realtor logos = Realtor Marketing
1 blog post about baby safe laundry detergent + 1 blog post about green janitorial supplies = Green Cleaning Products

Trying to rank for BIG AUDACIOUS keywords starts with ranking for little attainable keywords first.

Tip One for SEO Small Business Marketing Tips

Know what your big audacious keywords are!

Small Business SEO Marketing Tip Two

Know what your tiny keywords are! I have a program that I use to find out what keywords I can gain rank for which we use to help our clients gain positions for targeted keywords. You can do the same by using a tool called SEMRush to find out what keywords you rank for organically already. Now, this will only show you the top 10 but it is a good place to start without having to spend a dime. Take those and make it your goal to move them up a couple of positions by the first of next month.

MAKE SURE you write them on a piece of paper and hang them in front of you while you work. When you are thinking of writing a post, make sure that you have those target keywords in there somewhere in the title and content!

Super Important Tip Three

Put google analytics on your website and look at it.

The picture above shows my google analytics for Marketing Artfully the last rolling month. I know that “social media services” is doing well because I am sending paid traffic to it is, BUT customer demographics is doing well also. Customer demographics is a subset of marketing that I am interested in but which I never really tried to rank for, I just put up a couple of posts and got the traffic. You can reverse engineer some great keyword rankings by figuring out what people are already searching for and finding on your site and then doing more of that!

PS – I bolded “look at it” because most people don’t, or if they do then they are not sure what they should do!

Tip Four for SEO Small Business Marketing Tips

Learn to write posts with keywords in them the correct way. This is one of my HUGE pet peeves with copywriters who write interesting articles but who do not know how to keyword them correctly. It is great to produce excellent content, but it is even better if it gets people to read it and find you knowledgeable or even makes you money because you have something to sell. Writing for writings sake is noble, but not lucrative.

Here are two posts that will help you write good, keywordy articles:

Here is my last tip – Write more. I know, not sexy but it is true. Sometimes I think to myself, why don’t I rank for that keyword and then realize it is because I have not written an article about that specific topic. Google and the other search engines do not care what you hope to rank for, they only care what you have added to the internet. The huge peaks on the chart above show that I have SO much more traffic on a day I write and bookmark a post. When I am focused on getting rankings I am writing A LOT and it is REALLY not convenient to take the time away from client work to do so BUT it is vital to the long-term success of my business. Do it first thing before any other work and then start your day.

Well that is it, my Top 5 SEO Small Business Marketing Tips – if you have any good, practical tips, shout them out in the comments!

Fancy Small Business Marketing Ideas

Fancy small business marketing ideas are FUN! They take time and money to develop and can yield big results or colossal failures.

Fancy Small Business Marketing IdeasIn yesterdays post, Easy Small Business Marketing Ideas, we talked about some basic, old school marketing ideas. Today’s post is about OVER THE TOP, more expensive marketing ideas that could score you some great new customers.

Shooting for an unrealistic, non-attainable keyword over the years

If someone calls you from google and says they can get you to rank number one for a keyword, run! It is ONE keyword and you are betting all your money that you can make enough on that ONE keyword to grow your business. Instead, try to rank for a seemingly unattainable keyword. This could take years but would be SO worth the trouble.

In my case, I try and get the Marketing Artfully site to rank for “Entrepreneur Marketing”, “Realtor Marketing” and “Small Business Marketing”. I have been very successful with the two former and less so with the latter. There are 120 MILLION competing sites for Small Business Marketing and I have just been plugging away for the last three or four years throwing that term into blog post titles and my main site keywords. Low and behold, this month I noticed that I am number 27 (ie page 3)! Wow! I won’t get many clicks from that BUT moving from page 3 to page 2 is an attainable goal, with page 1 just around the corner!!!

Doing Google Adwords, Stumble Upon Ads, Facebook Ads

This one can get you in A LOT of trouble fast. I have heard stories of people who racked up thousands of non-refundable click dollars overnight. If you are going to use these PPC (Pay Per Click) or paid marketing channels, you better plan on testing, watching, testing, changing your landing page, testing, watching, changing your ads, testing, well you get the picture. If you are going to try these, plan on weeks of training and constant vigilance to make sure that your efforts are yeilding the results you are looking for!

Just a word to the wise, make sure you are super good at organic BEFORE you do PPC. It will decrease the cost per click and help you get more impressions.

Social Media Marketing

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are all the rage right now. When I offer to speak, this is the ONLY topic people are interested in hearing about! The media is throwing this around like it is the holy grail and saying you should be tweeting, posting and friending half of the day. Just yesterday someone on a forum I follow was talking about how he spent hours a day connecting with his LinkedIn peeps. My question to him is how many leads is he getting from that? Having these accounts is vital these days and we do offer social media marketing services, BUT it can be a big time drain for the small biz owner.

If you are happy doing it and getting results from it, keep it up. Just know that I spend about $500 a month in training to stay on top of the current trends and if it is not your core business, you could be paying someone to do it for you instead of spending your time tweeting!

Promotional Items

This is what most people think about when they think small business marketing. Pens, coozies, Tshirts and more can be given out with your phone number, website or ever QR bar codes. An idea we came up for a Tupperware client was to give away a plastic item with her info screen printed on it. This is a great way to associate your brand with your company’s products. That having been said, make sure that they match! If you are a writer, bookmarks are a great idea. Selling cars or houses, a keychain is a great giveaway.

Barring it matching, make it SUPER functional. I got a glass cleaner cloth that hangs from my keychain from some company at a trade show. The buzz around that booth was incredible and I have it on my keychain to this day. The problem for me is that I couldn’t tell you what the company is to save my life SO, make sure it matches you industry. This hand out would be good for optometrists, VisionWorks, or even eye surgeons to give to referring doctors. Don’t forget your B2B and wholesale friends when you are making your selections! OH, we had a funny talk yesterday about how Star Title Partners of Clearwater and another title company out here in Colorado have great pens. If you find someone handing out a great pen, ask where they get it and order from there!!!

My favorite promotional items peeps are Sherrie Davis Kinkaid, of Graphic Odds and Ends, who does embroidery and screen printing and Brenda Kerr, of JB Image Promotions, who has all the current hot promotional items.

Make A Big Deal Out Of Small Marketing Pieces

Lori Crawford, upscale Trinity Real Estate maven, and I came up with a way to use Vistaprint’s free and cheap postcards to make her look VERY classy. We used a notecard with her branding on it for a mailing piece and included a small postcard inside with return address postage for homeowners in her target geographic area to sign up for her mailing list. These pieces wound up looking like a million bucks and wowed the heck out of her farm!

Use Free Items To Tempt People To Your Email List

This may be one of the biggest, most convoluted items here. First find out what people want from you! Tina Kraft of It Works, was talking yesterday on Facebook about eating healthy snacks. WOW did it have a good response and so she is going to compile a list of 100 healthy snacks that she can trade people for their email address. She then has an oppportunity to set up a great auto-responder series selling her services and to send them monthly marketing newsletters. The lifetime value of that customer could be a really big deal, for the price of free pdf!

Well, there you have it, Fancy Small Business Marketing Ideas. I would pick one of these, master it and then add another one. Trying implement more than one of these at a time will dilute your focus and reduce the effectiveness of them all!

Easy Small Business Marketing Ideas

Many small business owners are looking for easy small business marketing ideas and simple marketing strategies. This post is going to get you back to basics with 10 easy small business marketing ideas that do not cost an arm and a leg!

Small Business Marketing IdeasWith all of the hype about social media, mobile marketing and the like, it can seem that every marketing idea requires an advanced degree and a big budget. I am here to tell you that there are many things that you can do VERY simply and with a small budget!

Test Test Test
Okay, first let us talk about HOW we are going to implement these ideas and whether they will work for your business. I am a big proponent of starting small and seeing if your small business marketing idea is going to work. DO NOT order 1,000 flyers or 10,000 brochures. Order 100 and see if they work. Post your flyers at 5 locations and see if anyone bites.

ALWAYS ask your clients how they found you. If they are a chatty sort, ask why they picked you! You need to know what is working and what is not so you can do more of the former and less of the latter.

Top 10 Easy Small Business Marketing Ideas

Marketing With FlyersOld School Marketing Flyers
This flyer was posted at a local UPS store. The cost was about ten cents for the paper and a little bit of time for the design. You cannot get more old school or simple than this!

Because this UPS store has mailbox services for small business owners, I would assume that there would be traffic for this flyer. When I am checking out a marketing opportunity, the first thing I want to be sure of is that the audience I THINK is going to buy will. The number of little tabs torn off says that this message is being read and that people are willing to take action on it. Now, the big thing to note would be if anyone actually called or visited the website on the tabs.

Business Cards
I think that business cards are the Rodney Dangerfield of marketing. They are small, so you can carry a bunch of them around with you and they are cheap so that you can buy A LOT. I am categorically opposed to flipping through a stack of different cards for your different businesses and trying to figure out which one to give to a prospect BUT, that having been said, why not split test some different designs?

Have one card with your Facebook, Twitter and other contact info on it and see if you get more “friends”. Have one card with a “free consultation” message and see if anyone bites. These tiny marketing pieces are a great way to find out what people really want from your small biz!

If you would like to find out more about the lowly business card, check out my post, Is Business Card Marketing A Dying Art Form?

A Small Business Marketing Postcard
When you are prospecting and getting leads, many times a follow-up postcard will prompt them to give you a call. While you can do a convoluted follow-up plan, having one general postcard that you can drop in the mail with a hand written address can go a LONG way. I use Vistaprint for all of my basic printing needs as they are VERY CHEAP!

Send a Small Business Marketing Postcard Part Deux
If you have a budget, sending out a “real” postcard campaign can be a very effective tool. Your mail house can buy lists of businesses or consumers in a targeted geographic area for you. I LOVE postcards because they are colorful and stand out in the mail AND since fewer companies are using direct mail these days, your message will stand out. HUGE BUT, make sure that your message is a good one with a call to action. Include a coupon, drive them to your website for an offer, or give them a reason to call you like a free report or free consultation.

Because this is a higher cost marketing idea, there is less room for error. I would test, test, test with cheap postcards to make sure you get a good result BEFORE starting a mail campaign. Also, plan on sending up to 5 times. It is true that to reach people you must show up more than once a year. If you are looking for a great mail house, I use Mailco, make sure to ask for Tammy.

Old School Press Releases
We have a friend who is an old school PR gal. She gets GREAT coverage from the press for her clients. Just write a press release and then send it into your local papers. Don’t forget neighborhood papers as well as the big newspapers in your city. Make sure that you write the press release as interesting story! No one wants to read ABC Company Launches A New Website, EVERYONE wants to know about the 70 year old technology whiz who uses his computer to sell music online.

Join Your Chamber Of Commerce, Rotary or Lions Club
If you are selling to brick and mortar businesses, get to the Chamber, Rotary or Lions Club. The small biz owners who have a budget and who could afford you are probably members of one of these groups.

Go Where Your Customers Are
We talked about this a bit in the flyers section BUT this is a biggie. If you are selling cars, go to the car shows, road rallys and other automobile related events. If you are selling wedding related items, attend and have a booth at the Bridal Shows. Frequent bride related online forums and participate. I work with small business owners so I go to networking events, teach classes and attend other small biz events. If I was looking for Mommys I would go where the they are, the public library, daycares, mommy and me events, school events, etc.

TShirts, Ball Caps and Stickers
If you can make something fun, have a great character logo or do something neat, TShirts, Ball Caps and Stickers can be a great way to get the message out. NO ONE wants to wear your company logo on their shirt, but they might wear our unofficial tagline, “Bad Marketing Hurts Everyone” if we make it pretty enough. When I was young, my parents owned a bookstore and we got tshirts all the time with a catchy slogan on them that helped to sell the books. Make sure to produce high-quality items that are appropriate for your target market, if you are targeting men, golf shirts are great but would be dud with the Mommy crowd.

100 Free Marketing IdeasUsing a Database or Spreadsheet
In marketing, it is all about getting the click or call BUT you will not accomplish anything unless you have the follow-up behind you. Make sure you put ALL of the prospects that you get into a database (I use Infusionsoft for my database). THEN on the wall beside me I hand write the top 5 prospects so that I can make sure to focus on getting their business. Another way I have found that works to track leads is to write them in a notebook with their contact info. I then transfer them over to the next page each week so that I know who is active or who has said no. This is a great way to do it as you can make calls to them when you are stuck waiting for your kids or at the doctors office!

Swap Client Lists
Once you have a database or lead spreadsheet, you have a marketable commodity! If you are a realtor, partner with your lender and send a great postcard out to BOTH of your mailing lists. If you are a jeweler, find someone who has a list of men type people who can be shamed into ordering for their wives (a florist with a good list comes to mind). If you want to mail out your own message, ask the person with the list if it is okay to include an endorsement or add a testimonial about the product from the list owner.

So there you have it, 10 Simple Small Business Marketing Ideas! If you have any other ones you like, feel free to share them in the comments.

Use Funny YouTube Commercials For Small Business Marketing

Use funny youtube commercials for small business marketingThe easiest way to jump start your small business marketing is to use funny YouTube commercials for small business marketing. Piggy backing a funny YouTube commercial that a national company has spent GAGILLIONS to produce is a great way to help build YOUR brand!

National advertisers spent audacious amounts of money to produce videos and buy airtime. Some scary numbers for us small business marketing types are $250,000 on up for taping a commercial, $10,000 to $2.4 million to buy air time (that higher number is for the superbowl, how many of the super bowl advertisers are out of business now?)

Use Funny YouTube Commercials For Small Business Marketing

So how can we compete? Use their high priced commercials for our own marketing (with proper references of course – we are marketers NOT plagiarizers!) It is easy to find funny commercials on YouTube. Here are some marketing ideas that you can use for your company, even if you are truly a mom and pop with no parent company!

Insurance Company Marketing

Use national marketing campaigns for small business marketing

In the picture above, Jean-Paul (JP) “Good Hands” Gudka, an Allstate Insurance guy posted the Allstate Mayhem Satellite Dish video with the tagline on HIS facebook account “Protect yourself from Mayhem! Call me today!”. In addition to that YouTube video, he also has a “Storms cause major damage in metro Denver” and other links to pop media and current events around the Denver Metro area.

NOTE: We are approached by businesses ALL THE TIME who are in the real estate, financial services and legal fields who are terrified to market. PLEASE understand that you CAN do fun and interesting things without compromising your integrity or putting your license in jeopardy!

Bookkeeping Marketing

For the financial peeps, it can seem IMPOSSIBLE to find something that would be fun and festive about bookkeeping. Well a two minute search on YouTube turned up a funny parrot ad that QuickBooks had put out. You could post it to your profile with the message “Is EVERYONE nagging you to get your business books in order?!?!?!…:)”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf85HqiQKD0&feature=player_profilepage[/youtube]

Those are just two examples, you can literally find HUNDREDS of funny YouTube Commercials that you could use as teasers to help market your business. All I did was do a search for “funny commercials” and got 174,000 results!

Other Funny YouTube Commercials Ideas

For health and beauty – Old Spice Swagger with Ray Lewis
For auto dealers or tire stores – Changing tires can be dangerous from Goodyear
For realtors – A funny commercial from My Realty.com – you could tell your prospects that you will even list it here for them!

Long story short, most humans like funny things and if you use funny YouTube commercials for your small business marketing you can save yourself the time and trouble of producing them yourself! If you have any other good commercial ideas, please feel free to leave a comment!

Small Business Logo Design Mistakes

Small business marketing logo design mistakes plague my business. Many small business owners think fancy trumps functional in logo design, much to their detriment!

Small Business Marketing Logo MistakesMany years ago, making logos was one of the major sources of income for my business. I have made hundreds of logos at this point and want to share some words of wisdom with any small business owners looking for a new or updated logo.

Small business logo design mistakes

First off, just because you can print in 4 colors affordably does not mean that your logo should contain every color of the rainbow. Do not forget, your logo has to look just as good in black and white as it does in full color. Our suggestion is to pick one or two colors that will represent your company and stick with those.

Coca Cola LogoOne color? Blasphemy! Until you think of coca cola who has turned red into their signature color or IBM who turned big blue into a household word in the nineties.

Some huge brands who use only two colors in their logo design include Walmart, Visa and McDonalds. These companies all know the power of having an easily recognizable color scheme and a bold font to associate with the corporate identity.

It baffles me that small business owners cannot see that fancy, gradient filled logos are the polar opposite of building a great brand.

Harley Davidson LogoSecond, should you use just words or should you add an icon to your logo. The Harley Davidson logo combines words with the shield shape to to provide an instantly recognizable symbol for hog riders everywhere. Oh yeah, and they have two colors!

Icons can become synonymous with the brand like the Nike Swoosh or the Apple, well apple. They can also stand in for the logo when they want to have a graphic depiction like the coca-cola bottle shape. Again, these are not super fancy and can easily be recreated on a golf shirt which is my main way of determining the efficacy of a logo design.

Starbucks LogoNow do not get me wrong, there are fancy logos like Starbucks mermaid logo which does have a lot of moving parts, but at the end of the day it is a two color vector shape that you can embroider on caps and tshirts.

Lastly, colors can make a huge difference in how your company is perceived. Healthcare providers tend to gravitate towards green, blue and red. Technology based companies are deep in the blue, black and gray hues and marketing companies tend to have up-to-date colors like acid green or bright orange.

So why wouldn’t you want to be super different and set yourself apart from the crowd? Well, since most consumers make split second decisions about whether they want to find out more about working with your company, making your logo something way out or whacky could defeat your chances before you even get out of the starting gate.

Branding your company is a purely objective opportunity. Make sure you like the colors, icons and fonts that you use BUT do not make designing it a marathon. Remember that the best logos are clean, crisp and basic.

There you have it, my take on small business logo design mistakes. Luckily, I do not tend to design many logos anymore since I wind up looking like the bad guy for suggesting a clean, crisp design that is more functional than sexy. BUT, I still have to work with lots of logos for clients and I implore small business owners everywhere to take these logo design tips into consideration, no matter which designer you use!

Thanks to Brands of the World for the great graphic logos!

20 Percent Of Marketing Works But Which 20 Percent

I have heard that 20 percent of marketing works, but which 20 percent is working is often a really good question! There are no hard and fast rules about how marketing works, but we CAN track the results of that marketing.

20 Percent of Marketing WorksIn the old days, we knew some good numbers about marketing, send out a mailer and get a 2 percent response rate. Follow it up with a phone call and increase that number to 4 percent. Ah, the good old days!

Recently I sat down with a prospect who was throwing numbers around and he asked me point blank, how many percent of the people who will use our service are going to come from Social Media. I told him in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, I do not know. Understandably, he wanted to be able to quantify any investment he would make in marketing, but guessing and throwing around numbers before we knew more about how it would play out is silly to me.

The way I quantify my success in marketing is how many new prospects are created, how many turn into clients, and how well their retention rate is. Lets break those down:

  • How Many New Prospects – Marketing is all about getting new opportunities. I have heard all the mystical stories about how millions are made online without ever having to talk with anyone, but most of my clients are in the service industry or small business owners. I have NEVER sold my services without talking with someone or meeting with them at least once. My prices are not inexpensive for small biz owners and I understand completely that they want to know that there is a real human who knows her stuff at the other end of the line. Those new opportunities that marketing creates are part of the activity of getting new clients. You are just trying to get X number of people to show an interest in your product or services.
  • How Many Turn Into Clients – Even if you have 1,000 leads a day (from my mouth to God’s ear), if you don’t have a followup program to remind them that they are interested, you cannot sell them. To me the beauty of newsletters, twitter and facebook is that you can stay in front of your prospects without SELLING SELLING SELLING. I generally get a new client every time I send an email, BUT those people first got onto my email list through my blog, a speaking event or through social media. Additionally, when you follow up with a phone call from time to time, your conversion rate will climb exponentially.
  • How Well You Retain Them – Keeping your clients happy with your business starts before the sale. If their expectations of what you are going to do for them are not in line with what you actually produce, you will spend a lot time getting new people into the system and spitting them back out. Not good for your bottom line OR reputation!.

Here is a funny Dilbert that shows this PERFECTLY

Tracking marketing results

Marketing does rely on a good product and consistent message, and just being the one talking the loudest will not win! So which 20 percent of marketing works?

To me the marketing that works best is a consistent message, over time (NOT expecting immediate, glorious results), with a clear product offering. I cannot tell you how many small business owners (1) are not sure of what they are selling or (2) change their offerings as often as they change their clothes. Do not get me wrong, I have launched some products that died an ignominious death, BUT I have never changed my target audience or providing the best, most time-relevant offerings possible.

Are you excited about your business?

One question I always ask people is, are you excited about your business? Do you leap out of bed every morning just thrilled to get going on your day? If you are self employed and you are NOT this excited, then you are doing it wrong!

are you excited about your businessSmall Business Entrepreneurs – A Get Rich Slow Kind Of Scheme

We work with many different types of entrepreneurs and small business owners who are working on a get-rich-quick kind of scheme. They jump from idea to idea, thinking the next one is going to be the BIG one that makes them heaps of money. I have never seen this work out, although I am sure you have gotten tons of emails telling you that it is possible for just $997.

One of my favorite bloggers, Remarkablogger, posted a challenge to other bloggers about revealing their secrets to breaking through to the other side of blogging success. I do not really talk about what makes my life easier or harder as an internet (and REAL) marketer, but in hopes it will help someone else, here are a few of my favorite things.

An Entrepreneurial Upbringing – A BIG ONE – One of the reasons I am successful at marketing and speaking to small business owners is that I grew up with that mindset. When I was young we had the “Whalers Walk” behind our house. This was a little gift store that was open whenever someone was home (as I was too young for a driver license, mostly that was me). I would follow shoppers up with my little cash box and sell to them. The next store my parents had was the DandyLion gift shop (my mom was WAY more creative with her naming conventions than I am!) As a child, I got an early exposure to the thrills of opening and running your own business.

Early Internet Interest
– Around 1999 I got into a job where I did marketing for an internet company. When I started I had NO idea the difference between Linux and Windows servers, what programming languages where good for websites or even a lick of graphic design. Through trial and LOTS of error, I learned enough about that kind of thing to talk reasonably well with clients and overcame any fear that I had of technology. NOW, do not get me wrong, I am not a techy girl BUT I can talk the talk and not get snowed by fancy sounding techno-speak.

Failing A LOT – This one is HUGE – I mess up a lot. I have rolled out products that no one bought. I have spent good money on copywriting that would not make a starving man buy food. I have developed a “no lose” monthly product that I could not get more than 35 people at a time to sign up for. I have learned that you should not put years of time into something until you KNOW that it will make money. Do it good enough to get out there and then refine it AFTER you know it is something that the market wants.

Naming and pricing things – Oftentimes we know what products we have and what we like to do, duh. Most times we keep that a secret from potential clients by not formally naming it and putting a price on it. I used to do more piecemeal items, which I hate. Once I set up monthly marketing services, my business really took off. I LIKE working with committed people who are determined to make their businesses succeed, not just throw up a website or blog and think it will solve all of their problems.

Learning new things – Last but certainly not least is that I know everything is going to change and that I have to stay on the front lines to keep up. If you told me 5 years ago blogging and making blogs would be paying the bills I would have said you are nuts. Three years ago I did not know anything about social media and today I get paid to speak about it. It makes me sad when I see people stuck in what USED to be. They want everything to go back to how it was when they understood it. Well that is not going to happen. Progress moves forward and we have to keep up the pace. This little excerpt from Micheal’s post says it all!

If you look back to the 70s and early 80s, you’ll find something both interesting and very revealing of human nature happened. The robots came. What I mean is, robotics in manufacturing happened. And everyone knew it was going to happen. People who worked in factories knew it was coming. Those workers had a choice: they could learn something/do something new to take advantage (or at least sidestep) the coming change (like go to to school for… oh, I don’t know… robotics), or they could do… nothing.

You know what most people did, right? Weird, huh? Like lambs to the slaughter, etc. Those people were responsible for families, too, who were then harmed by this fatalistic refusal to deal with the changing times. Sad.

Hot Small Business Marketing Help

Hot Small Business Marketing Help is a mix of the latest posts that we just LOVE, selected resources that we think are hot and a mix of our products and affiliate products that we recommend. This is meant to be an overall resource for small business, entrepreneur and realtor marketers.

Small Business Entrepreneur MarketingGeneral Small Business Tools

Small business owners often have a hard time with basic business focus. These products and services will help you to get a better idea of the basics of your business so that you can succeed at marketing.

Blog post – Small Business Marketing Focus – I have to say that this is the ONE thing that most small business owners miss. From the comments on this post, having a focus is worth SO MUCH more to your business than anything else you can do for marketing efforts.

Small Business Online Help

Blog post – Small Business Internet Marketing Tools – Some of our favorite tools – this is a MUST read for anyone who needs some tips and tricks about internet marketing for Small Biz.

Blog post – Writing Evergreen Blog Posts – Writing evergreen blog posts is not sexy BUT it will make a HUGE difference in how well your website will rank for key terms you need to dominate.

Blog Post – How To Have A Custom Facebook Business Page – Facebook Custom Business Pages are becoming a must-have for small businesses.

Recommended Marketing Videos Resources

I sign up for more training in a month than most of you probably do in a year. I think that learning one new thing a day will make a huge difference in your success. That having been said, I know of a number of totally free marketing resources that you can access anytime you like for FREE!

Free Resource – Gary Vaynerchuk Keynotes – Gary is the author of Crush It and has great content in his keynote speeches that is so worth hearing!

Free Resource – Offervault Recorded Webinars – There is SO much great free information on Mark Roth’s website. It has a free member section that contains webinars on all kinds of internet marketing, NOT just affiliate stuff.

Small Business Marketing That I Pay For or Recommend

It can seem like everything you need is on the internet for free and what kind of schmoe would pay for anything anymore? Well I AM frugal but found out a long time ago that it does pay for information that I don’t know OR for things that will save me time and heartache. These are all things that I use in my business which cost money, but that I think are worth it!

Paid Tool – SEMRush – I had been using another keyword research tool which I liked very much. I got all that info and more for half the price using SEMRush. Worth taking a peek.

Our Products – DIY Small Business Videos – Our membership site has small business marketing videos that are updated monthly. On these videos I tell you the new things that I have learned and which I think can help you grow market share. Check out all of our small business marketing products.

Paid ResourceConstant Contact Email – The reason I use Constant Contact instead of AWeber or another service is ease of use PLUS I did not have to have my list re-confirm the first time uploaded them. My list is NOT super sophisticated and has a hard time understanding why they have to re-up.

Design Resources That I Like

Idea Book by Chuck Green is a GREAT design resource. He has templates and all kinds of design resources.

I will be updating this post when I find new great stuff! If you have something to recommend please leave a comment and I will consider adding it!

Technical Resources

WordPress Site Optimizing Expert Shawn is who I call on when I am having trouble with my (or my clients) blogs. All wordpress blogs experience bugs from time to time and I can tell you that learning to fix them takes a rocket scientist! Shawn is quick and has great pricing. If your blog needs a tune-up check out his roadblock removal package!

Web Directories – this is one of the tools that we use to help grow our clients backlinks.

How To Find Your Small Business Passion

Finding your passion is all the rage today. You are supposed to get out there and start doing what you are put on this earth to do. Problem is, most people do not know what their small business passion is!

Finding your small business passionYesterday I wrote about having a small business and entrepreneur marketing focus and man-o-man was I humbled by the response from my past clients and readers. Hearing that they are making thousands or tens of thousands of dollars more from the advice that I gave them was overwhelming.

So what is the magic that causes this to happen? Is it because I talked to them? Nope. Is it because they magically had the secret to making millions online. Nope. It is because they had a passion for what they wanted to do with their business and then worked really hard to make it happen.

About ten years ago I dubbed myself “Queen of Marketing”. No one bestowed that on me and I have no fancy schmancy college degree in Communication or Marketing. What I do have is a passion for marketing that is all out proportion with how interesting it is to normal human beings. I read about it, watch webinars, teach classes and consult with clients, basically it consumes about 75% of my waking hours. Can you say that about your business?

How To Find Your Small Business Passion Overview

I have read Gary Vanerchuk’s book Crush It and know that you have to have a passion. I have read about half of Joel Comm’s book KaChing and know that you have to have a passion. I have also talked with thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors and know that most do not have a passion. They like their work well enough OR hate their work but like the income OR just are doing something for right now to get them through.

REALLY? You are spending 40 hours a week or more doing something that makes you go meh. Stop it now!

How to find your passion seems to be somewhat vague and most people have no idea how to go about it, and even less about how to fit it into their business model.

Where To Start

Start by figuring out what you like to do. I do not mean knitting, unless you are a rabid knitter and it consumes your every waking thought. Most people have hobbies and those should not be confused with their business life. Keep those fun and figure out what you like to do work wise. Here are some weird things that I know people like to do:

  • Accounting tasks – now I am an accounting dud. I hate balancing my books BUT there are people out there who get a thrill from making all those numbers add up. One is my client Joy (of Lakewood Bookkeeping and Accounting fame) who likes to work with small business owners. She enjoys helping them to regularly manage their accounts and grow their business. Another client likes to get in there and find out all of the problems in small and medium sized businesses, straighten them out and get them on an automated track. Same job, two different versions.
  • Real estate – My pal Cyndee, Clearwater Realtor extraordinaire, is hyper focused on providing great service and information to high end buyers in the Tampa Bay area. She has spent the last two years targeting that group and referring out anything that does not match her high-end criteria. NOW, you may think who does not want to target high end buyers, well many realtors actually would rather work with first time homebuyers OR sellers in distress OR people looking just for waterfront properties. Each person needs to target exactly what their passion is and go after that with gusto.
  • MLM Business – Two of my friends and clients are in multi-level marketing (or direct sales). They sell such diverse things as passion products and green cleaning supplies. While they LIKE their products they LOVE sales and business building respectively. It would not really matter WHAT they were selling, they are focused on the aspects of their businesses that they have a passion for.

So what is your passion?

If you do not know what your passion is, frustration can overwhelm you. Stupid passion talk.

Stop beating yourself up and start noticing when you are having fun. If you are making phone calls, getting leads and making things happen, maybe doing phone support is your passion (and one that can be VERY lucrative). If you ADORE researching new products online and figuring out what is going to be hot next season, maybe that is your passion.

Yesterday I spoke at a networking group and asked an insurance guy if he had THE MOST INTERESTING insurance information. He said no. Why would I want to read, listen or buy from a guy who did not have the passion for his business to make sure that my home and family are secure.

Here is how you do it…close your eyes (oops that doesn’t work for this venue), well keep your eyes open and think about what one thing you would do business-wise if that is all you could do for the rest of your life. Don’t worry about your industry, concentrate on what tasks you like to do within your business life.

There. You are done! That is your passion and now you can go out and make yourself work that matches that passion. It will probably not start or be lucrative today. You may have to keep your J-O-B for now or keep selling to people who do not thrill you today. BUT if you know what you want to do and take one or two steps towards that everyday, you WILL get there.

Fast Track To Passion Success

Most people should stop at the end of the last paragraph. They will find something they like to do, do a bit each day to move towards that and in a couple of years be comfortable financially or personally, whichever is important to them.

If you do not have a burning desire to build something, grow your influence or make a change in the world, that is fine! Finish here and prosper.

Warning Hard Work Ahead!

Okay, now that we have the “nice” people out of the way, here is the hard core, make it happen soon, get me to the finish line version.

If you want to Crush It with your passion, you are going to have to work hard with a single-minded focus for a while. You need to live, breathe and work your business for a while before she is going kick ass and take down names.

Whenever I hear tremendously successful people say that they would have done it differently if they had the chance today, it makes me NUTS. If they had worked less, spent more time smelling the roses and enjoying life, they would not be where they are today.

Great success takes hard work. If you can not work on your passion at your current work, you are going to have to do it some other time. Do it early in the morning, knock out some at lunch, stay up late, work on the weekends. If you have the luxury of working at your passion now, can you honestly say you are giving it your all every day?

The only way to succeed at this is to find someone who will kick your butt. I am NOT talking about a warm and fuzzy accountability partner who will pat you on the head if you make your calls today. I am talking about someone who will help you to set steep but realistic goals for the next week or two and who you would be HUMILIATED to tell you failed. I have been up at 11 o’clock at night (REALLY late for me) finishing things that I said I would get done so that I would not have to tell my person I just did not do it.

These should be YOUR goals and the the things that will make the most impact on your business in the next week or two. Do those things and then set new goals. Do them when you do not feel like it, do them when your car breaks down or your cat tears up your curtains. Do them when you would rather be fishing or getting your nails done. Life will always try and distract you BUT if you really want to succeed you will soldier on through and “just do it”.

Start today.

Small Business Internet Marketing Tools

Small business internet marketing tools can make your life SO much easier. In this post I am going to review a few of my favorite tools that I use for my business or my customers.

Small Business Internet Marketing Keyword Tools

Keyword research is vital for finding out what exact keywords you want to use to rank well in the search engines. When writing this post I spent about a half an hour before discovering that “Internet Marketing Tools” is a high volume, lower (200,000-ish) results term which is why I chose it over “keyword marketing tools”.

 

Keyword Research Tools For Small Business

Google External Keyword Tool

Cost: Free
Use: The google keyword external keyword tool is a workhorse for showing you what the search volume is for phrases you are considering using.
Tips: The best way to get a good idea of the actual data is to “show all” the columns. That way you can see what people are willing to pay per click for the term.

SEO Tools Keyword Density Checker

Cost: Free
Use: The Keyword Density Checker tool lets you put in your url and make sure that your site has good keyword optimization for the terms that you are targeting.
Tips: I check this often as I have thought I was optimized right for a search term, only to find out that I was WAY off the mark. This can happen even more with blogs as the content on the home pages changes frequently.

SEM Rush

Cost: Free or $49-ish Monthly
Use: SEM Rush allows you to see what keywords you rank on the first two pages of google for and also acts as an aggregater to show you what search terms rank well in Google and makes suggestions for additional terms.
Tips: The paid version shows you places that you could buy banner ads from based on similar keyword AND places who might buy advertising from you.

Scribe for WordPress

Cost: $17 Monthly
Use: Scribe basically checks your blog posts to make sure that they are seo’d correctly. You would think I would be good at this by now but on almost every post I find something that could be tweaked a little bit to make it even better. Here is a Scribe video demo.
Tips: For most of my clients the lowest version will be enough, I can not say that I have used more than 50 or so analysis a month even with seo-ing clients work also.

Website Design Tools

Photoxpress

Cost: 6 Free Per Day or $10 per month
Use: If you need photos for your site or blog posts, you can download and use these photos.
Tips: I pay the $10-ish fee for the premium membership. Have always gotten great photos and they are all large enough to use for print.

Web Resizer

Cost: Free
Use: Super easy peasy way to resize photos for the web. Just upload your pic and they will reduce the size for you automatically.

Attention Wizard

Cost: 1 Free Per Day
Use: This is my new favorite toy! Attention Wizard lets you see a heat map of where people look at when coming to your website or blog, just by uploading a screenshot!
Tips: Knowing where people look allows you to see exactly what the focus is and will increase sales to your products OR get you more newsletter signups!

Thesis Theme For WordPress

Cost: $87
Use: Thesis for WordPress is what we use for our clients! It has great back end features and there are a TON of skins to make it look pretty.
Tips: If you are going to use it on more than one site, just bite the bullet and get the developers license. The forum has some GREAT information about how to use the theme.

Internet Marketing Training

Offer Vault

Cost: Free
Use: Offer Vault has a TON of free internet marketing videos in the member area. All you need to do is sign up for free to get access. When I need a fix of new ideas, this is where I go!

Misc Internet Marketing

Flippa

Cost: Varies
Use: Flippa lists websites and domain names for sale. You can find old domain names and even some sites. Just be careful, one domain listed said it was registered in 1970!

All of the products in this post are ones that I use currently for myself or my client OR are products that I have used in the past but still highly recommend. There are some affiliate links in this post, if you would like to avoid my getting a little bit of money for referring you, please type the product name into a search engine.

Blogging Success Stories for Small Biz

Blogging success can sometimes be hard to judge and having goals is vital to knowing whether you are doing well or just spinning your wheels.

Blogging success storiesWhen you are blogging (or for that matter doing any marketing that takes time away from your real work), you MUST know what you are trying to accomplish. Here are sone of the results that you can measure to see if you are succeeding….

Blogging success indicators

  • Posting regularly – this is a biggie! I find that small business owners often want immediate results from their blogs. They feel that throwing up a couple of posts should bring a flood of visitors and traffic to their door. This is not going to happen. Blogging is a get rich slow kind of gig where you build up content and a following over time.
  • Getting readers – it would be lovely if you started writing and then people just magically found you. Well this part is going to take work also. Make sure that you list your web address on all of your outgoing emails, have links from your social media and association pages and tell everyone you know what great information you have on there. One of my best suggestions is to follow that up by bookmarking every post on places like Digg, Stumble Upon, Propeller and others. These give you back links and can generate real human traffic.
  • Make it easy for people to sign up and receive your blog posts automatically. I have never found anything as good as the free service Feedburner by Google for this. When you offer this to your readers, basically they are going to get an email or an update to their reader every time you post something. WOW!
  • KNOW what your readers want to hear about. When you get comments on your blog posts, make a note that that post sparked interest. Do a Survey Monkey to find out what is top of mind for your readers. Check your Google Analytics to see what keywords people are using to get to your site and write more about those topics!
  • Write about current topics of interest. You can go to the front page of Twitter and see topics are trending OR use search.google.com to search your industry and see what other people are finding interesting now.

So, after you do all this, HOW do you get more business from a blog? Well people buy my products almost every day from my blog, which they find because of my quality content and posting. SOOO that tells you e-commerce is a great thing to consider for your blog AND…

I wrote a post about My Top Ten Tips for How To Get Paid Speaking gigs. A woman named Maria Todd commented and I wrote back in the comment section to thank her. The next night I was at an event and woman had a golf shirt on with Ask Maria Todd embroidered on it! We talked for at least a half an hour on ways to generate more speaking engagements, what pricing models work and whether we are pro NSA or not. Now I am SURE that I will get at least a couple more speaking events from her suggestions which always lead to more money in my pockets!

DISC Personality Types and Small Business Marketing

The DISC personality types affect small business marketing in ways that we cannot see because of the way that we interact with the world, our business and our marketing style. Here is how small business marketing is presented AND received by DISC personality type.

DISC Personality and Small Business MarketingPersonality type is a major force in shaping who we are as people, and how we react to things in both our environment and our world. Marketing is a way for small business owners to sell their products and services and must be directed towards the correct type of clients who are willing to make that purchase. This article will detail the ways in which a person’s personality type shapes how small businesses conduct marketing and also how that marketing is received by potential clients.

The DISC Profile works well for understanding different personalities, how they present their marketing, and how they receive marketing messages. “DISC is the four quadrant behavioral model based on the work of William Moulton Marston Ph.D. (1893 – 1947) to examine the behavior of individuals in their environment or within a specific situation. DISC looks at behavioral styles and behavioral preferences.” (Wikipedia)

We will look at all four of the DISC personality types in this article: “D” or dominant personalities, “I” or influence, “S” or steady and “C” or compliant personalities.

High “D” people are described as demanding, forceful, egocentric, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, aggressive, and pioneering. These are the people likely to start and run a successful small business. They are motivated and undeterred by adversity, soldiering on through tough times.

High “I” people are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. They can also be a driving force in growing a business, relying on personal contact to grow their customer base and make sales.

High “S” people are calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, deliberate, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. These people are unlikely to be swayed by marketing messages (even compelling ones) and are generally not going to be lured by the opportunity to start a new business from scratch.

High “C” people are careful, cautious, exacting, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate, and tactful. These people are unlikely to start a small business BUT are very likely to serve as the “right hand” of a small business owner. They are excellent support people who are integral in making the business successful, setting up systems, handling payroll and making sure that product or service levels are met.

Marketing Done By Personality Types

High “D” marketers are very direct and to the point, frequently leaving off details of their product or service that other personality types require for making buying decisions. They tend to focus on selling features of the product or service rather than selling how the product will benefit the client. High “D” marketers need to be especially aware that everyone does not process information in 5 second bites the way that they do and structure their message accordingly.

High “I” marketers tend to jump from new marketing idea to new marketing idea, always searching for the next big thing that will make their business skyrocket. They should be aware that for marketing to work, it must be part of a cohesive plan which requires time to produce results and analysis to gauge effectiveness.

High “S” marketers will set their marketing plans up, crafting all the details and then continue on that course throughout the lifecycle of the product. There is very little room for change based on feedback from their clients and the message can get stale. While a consistent message is a good thing, these marketers should be aware that what works for them today may not work for the life cycle of their product or service.

High “C” marketers are generally the opposite of High “D” marketers; they have ALL the details of the product. Their copy tends to be long and fact filled, requiring the consumer to do research within the message. These marketers have lots of tools available and assume that their viewers will dig down into the message to find them. High “C’s” will need to make sure to highlight points that are pertinent to a buying decision, and then provide additional information for the viewer to read through.

Marketing Received By Personality Types

Headlines and features are important to High “D” buyers. High “D’s” want just the facts. If they see a message that is compelling enough to catch their attention, they will stop and dig into the “meat” of the offer, but you will lose them if there is not something immediately interesting about your product or service prominently displayed. High “D’s” generally make buying decisions quickly and expect to implement your product or service immediately upon purchase.

High “I” buyers will read through your message, if you present it in a compelling way. They are looking for new things to try and are willing to learn more about your product or service if they think it will help their business. With these buyers you should have lots of testimonials and feedback from other clients who have found good use for your offering. They make buying decisions quickly and will work with you to get the new product or service in place.

High “S” buyers are not looking for new products. They are happy with the status quo and are set in their ways. If you have something that will make their company more productive or revolutionize their business, you will have to send them that message over and over, expect multiple sales calls and a long implementation schedule. The beauty of selling to this type of client is that once you have the sale, they are unlikely to change vendors anytime soon!

High “C” buyers need A LOT of documentation to make a buying decision. They will want to know all of the product specifications, how they will implement your product or service, pricing, and will be willing to spend a lot of time researching before purchasing. These people will require multiple sales calls prior to purchasing in order to make sure that they have a good understanding of the entire process.

In Conclusion

As a marketer, knowing your (and your potential client’s) personality type can help you craft the most effective marketing possible. Watch out that you do not assume that everyone will react to your marketing efforts the way that you would. Make the most of your small business marketing efforts by finding trusted advisors from other personality types to help provide feedback on your ideas, assuring that you will appeal to the broadest range of potential clients possible.

Features Versus Benefits Part Deux

My features versus benefits post asking whether you are selling the steak or the sizzle is one that pops up quite a bit on my google analytics. It seems like every small business marketer has struggled at one time or another with trying to figure out what is a feature and what is a benefit.

Features versus benefitsBasically, features are facts about the product or service that you sell. They tend to be VERY important to the person who is the manufacturer or service provider but which are less sexy to someone who is buying it.

Benefits are what it will do for you. How it will affect your life or your profits. Benefits are why late night television infomercials work so well. We get sucked into the idea that by spending a couple of bucks we can learn to sell real estate for millions of dollars or dehydrate all of our groceries so that they will stay fresh for years.

I was sitting around watching TV the other day and a mini infomercial came on for the Mister Steamy, a gizmo that is used in your dryer. As I am always interested in good marketing, I took a peek.

The features were….

  • It is a round ball
  • There are about quarter inch nubs sticking off of it
  • It is yellow
  • It is used in the dryer

At no time did the pitch man mention any of those things. The entire commercial was devoted to selling the benefits of the product. Now I am a pretty savvy consumer but with these types of benefits I was intrigued….

  • All my clothes would look new and pressed
  • My sheets would come out hotel smooth
  • My shirts would be magically ready to wear
  • It softens clothes while you dry with no added expense of a dryer sheet
  • If I needed a shirt in a hurry, I would have it in seconds without an iron

Those are some great benefits for me! Then when they doubled the offer for the same price, I almost bit. NOT because I thought it would work but because I WANTED all those time saving conveniences they said I could have to be true!

Great marketing will not fix a bad product. But if you are a small business owner with a great product or service to sell, please look at your sales sheets or website product page. Do you have features listed that are important to you or have you outlined all of the benefits to your customer?

If necessary, you can have your benefits at the top of the page and the features at the bottom so that once they are “sold” they can check out the details BUT they will never pour over all the specifications for your product until they believe that it can help them in some way!

There are no affiliate links in this post and I am sad to report that while mr steamy has great marketing, a product review site said that the actual functionality is non existant.

Twitter Marketing for Small Business Goes Mainstream

I frequently talk to my small business owners about fun twitter marketing things we can do. The normal response is glazed eyes and protestations that it will not work for them! Today, the New York Times had a GREAT article about small business owners who are leveraging twitter to gain market share – Twitter for small business marketing has FINALLY gone mainstream.

Twitter marketing for small business goes mainstreamOne of the most interesting interviews was the owner of a software company that has been able to leverage his social media channels into real website traffic and a allowed him to be a evangelist for his company.

(Mr. Berry) posts about interesting articles, blog links and anything that strikes him as surprising. “The key thing is being interesting,” he said. Mr. Berry said he believed that his Twitter stream generated 10 to 20 percent of the traffic that came to his company Web site. If he can pique interest and establish himself as a trusted authority, he said, customers are more likely to buy his products and services. Read the whole story!

The small business marketers featured in this story have small local twitter lists and HUGE twitter followers. Some use it to talk to customers and some use twitter for quasi focus groups. Unilaterally, all had a goal in mind for their social media efforts and executed a plan instead of feeling like they were just “messing around”.

Some goals small business owners can have for their Twitter Marketing Strategy…

  • Grow your email list – if you have a great call to action on your website, drive Twitter people to your site to sign up
  • Grow your Facebook Fan Page subscribers – send people to your fan page for specialized info
  • Ask questions about upcoming products or services you are developing
  • Paste links to older evergreen blog posts to drive traffic to your blog
  • Become an authority on something and grow a large Twitter following who like and trust you

Those are the Twitter Marketing do’s, here are the don’ts

  1. Do not misunderstand who your followers are… If you have a twitter list of small business owners, DO NOT try and sell them baby products, even if you have a high commission on that item and you think it is great.
  2. Do not send spam messages over and over again. Just because you can load your affiliate link into software that will send it out every 15 seconds doesn’t mean you should.
  3. Do work like you are a human. Take some time to think about what your twitter list would be interested in and find more of that. Be honest with yourself, would you like the stuff you are posting or are you just going through the motions.

Twitter marketing is actually easy, fun and can be profitable if done right! Now that the NYT says it is okay for small businesses to market on Twitter, get out there and get started today!!!!

If you would like to learn more about Social Media Marketing for small businesses – check out our Social Media Marketing Videos!

Arbitrary Small Business Marketing Goals Part Two

These arbitrary small business marketing goals are part of continuing series about how Small Business Marketing Goals Make A Huge Difference. Read at your own risk, they coud make you do something!

Small Business Marketing Arbitrary GoalsSocial Networking or Social Media

If I get one more email that tells me that they can get 10,000 in 15 minutes I am going to scream! The best way to grow a marketing channel that will respond to your offers and listen to what you say is to grow it slowly and patiently.

Having a gagillion person list when you sell weight loss is silly. Most of the people will disregard what you are sending or unfriend or unfollow you. Having built a list of ladies primarily, who are concerned about their weight or appearance and who are looking for help…that is priceless to the marketer who is focused on the weight loss niche.

If you want numbers to shoot for…follow 50 people a day on Twitter (some will follow you back), friend 10 a day on Facebook and get as many connections as you can on LinkedIn. Hit Plaxo just for fun and then establish a presence only on the hundreds (or maybe thousands) of other sites out there.

Then, this is the hardest. Post every day. I post every weekday which says that I am interested in my account, providing great info to my friends and followers and are not using it as purely a spam-engine to sell them something.

Blogging for Business

Having a blog is harder work than having a website. A website takes a little time once and then fades into obscurity. A blog wants to be fed which in turn calls the search engines and also can help populate a bunch of your social networking.

If you do not have a blog start one today. WordPress.com has free ones and we sell business blogs that work. Start writing. If you are new, one post a week is a great way to start. It will take you what feels like forever but soon it will become a habit and will seem less hard. Also you will get in the groove of finding out what your readers like which takes me to part two of blogging…

If you have a blog, look at your stats and see what is generating traffic and write more about that. You KNOW google is sending people to your blog for that keyword phrase and will be reinforcing their faith in your site to provide great content on that topic!

If you have a blog, and you get more hits on the day you post, what would happen if yoiu committed to posting one more day a week? I get up to 10 times more traffic on the days that I post than on just normal days.

Last but not least, bookmark your posts. Get the little button at the bottom that says share and share on StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicios, Google, Yahoo and more. Set up your accounts once and then you can just fly through posting easily!

Local Marketing

This is a new field that is growing because of the capabilities of the GPS Phones and the growth of online marketing for local businesses. If you are not on there yet make sure you hit gowalla.com, foursquare.com, google and yahoo local.

Even if you are a work from homer or online business, set up your stuff!

There you have it! If you do a couple of these things your business will grow, if you do them all you should be able to count on getting more leads and increasing your revenue much faster!

Small Business Marketing Goals Make A Huge Difference

Small business marketing can be super fun and totally overwhelming. Every once in a while I like to throw down the gauntlet with some small business marketing goal numbers so that my peeps have something to shoot for!

Small Business Marketing Goals Make A Huge DifferenceThose of you who have been readers for a while know that about once every six months I post a post with suggested tasks and arbitrary suggested goals! If you do even a couple of these things you will notice a change in your online success!

Stake your claim to audacious keywords!

When I started blogging for Marketing Artfully, I picked three keywords to shoot for based on my targeted clients, entrepreneur marketing, realtor marketing and small business marketing. Through repeated use of these terms in my titles and content of posts, MA ranks pretty well for some competitive keywords.

So now I have a secret for you! If you use the google buzz more and get friends through google, your site will show up on their search results ABOVE all the other regular search terms and google will put some recommendations below also based on the fact that you are “friends” on buzz or your profile.

Small Business Marketing Goal – select some keywords that you think are out of reach and make it a goal to write about them once a week for a year. Yes I said a year. If you think that you are going to write one blog post and take over a competitive search term, you my friend are sadly mistaken. If you think you are going to write one post and stay on top for the next 5 years, again no go. Search these days is more dynamic than ever and targeting keywords in your blogging, tweeting and facebook notes will make a huge difference in your results.

Do more email marketing

Email marketing is a pain in the rear. You have to write an email, then do your links, make sure it is pretty and THEN as soon as you hit send you notice that there is a typo on the first line….noooooo. Okay, that is pretty melodramatic but we all feel stress when we are going to send out something to our entire client base. Some people like accountants, bookkeepers and mortgage pros count on being correct more than, say marketers, so they SHOULD have someone else take a once over with a critical eye.

That having been said, if you send out 3 perfect newsletters per year while your competition is sending out one a week, who do you think will win that game AND do you think your mailing list will notice that you send “perfect” newsletters? Most people do not have time to critique your stuff and the ones who do are no loss. I can tell you in all sincerity, if you have a typo, SOMEONE will let you know! Thank them and then sell to them while you have them on the phone!

Small Business Marketing Goal – Set a schedule for yourself on how often you are going to send out a newsletter. Really. Then do it. Do not “try” to send it once a month and then skip. Do not “try” to send it once a week. Yoda says, “do or do not, there is no try”. If you make a commitment to sending out a newsletter twice a month instead once a month, your sales will go up. Sooo if you are not sending one at all, sign up for a service like Constant Contact and get started today. If you are already doing one (sporatically) make it a priority.

Figure out how to make video more a part of your marketing

Video marketing is going to be huge and just one more way to get your message out there. If you have a well written post and plop a video in there with your voice and some personality, you have made both the search engines AND humans happy! I KNOW that every one of you have watched a video online so you can not say that it is stupid and just ignore it.

So how do you do video? Buy a flip camera today. It is about $150 bucks and super easy to use. If you do not have $150 buck today, get the enhanced jingproject.com videos to do screen captures for $15 a year. If you do not have $15 to make a huge impact on your business, consider doing something else! Harsh? YES. But I see too many small business owners worrying about pennies when they should be worrying about how to dominate their market niche.

Small business marketing goal – If you know how to do video, do one each week or month. Post it to youtube.com with a link back to your HUB site. Share it on Facebook. If you do not know how to do video, do a search on youtube.com for how to do Jings and do one today. EVERYONE is intimidated when they do not know how to do something well. Your first videos will be HORRIBLE but as you do more they WILL get better!

Okay this is getting long so I am going to talk about the rest of my small business marketing goal suggestions tomorrow. For now pick just one of these ideas and implement it. Start now.

Small Business Marketing Do Not Let It Get You Down

Your small business marketing efforts can sometimes get you down. This post is a rah rah effort to keep you moving forward and to keep those gremlins in your head down!

Small Business MarketingMy small business marketing gang contains small biz owners, mlm-ers, realtors and even online entrepreneurs. While these are all different kinds of companies, the same fears, anxieties and doubts are shared by all!

A CONFESSION – I am marketing energizer bunny kind of gal. I love learning new things and trying out new techniques. That having been said, learning how to do new things is scary for everyone and I do not always get going while singing “The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music”. So our first bullet is….

You Avoid Learning Small Business Marketing Because You Think It Will Have A Steep Learning Curve

I have to say that I took class in welding once and it DID take about 6 weeks to become good at lining up all those little gray beads of metal. I also got a college degree on the 10 year plan. Those two experiences aside, gotta say, every other thing I have ever tried, I OVER-ESTIMATED how long it would take to learn!

Set up my first Facebook Page (17 hours in my mind, about 20 minutes in actuality), making movies for my membership site (3 weeks, actually took about one whole day), getting my accounting under control (YEARS in my mind, about 3 hours in real life).

If you are avoiding doing something new because you think it will take forever to learn, do one of two things, either start it right now and try or get coaching or training on how to do it. Most things you need to know marketing-wise are in our DIY Small Business Marketing package OR you can do a search on YouTube.com and find out how to do almost anything!

You Are Worried Small Business Marketing Will Take Up All Your Time

There are two types of these worriers, ones who KNOW they hate marketing and will never do it and those who secretly love marketing and worry that they will spend all their time doing that and never sell their own products again.

Marketing is like every other task for your small business. NO ONE likes doing their books, but is a necessary evil in order to keep the IRS off your back. NO ONE likes making phone calls, but even I have to pick up a phone and follow up every now and then. Marketing is just another task that you either need to buck up and do or outsource to reputable marketer with a plan.

The last bullet is a two-fer…

Small Business Owners Are Afraid of Failure Or Of Not Getting Good Marketing Results

I was talking to one of my favorite humans on the planet this weekend. We have been talking for over a year about getting him on the internet so that he can grow his business. Come to find out, he is afraid that no one will read his stuff. Sigh. It is true, at first you may be writing blog posts only to yourself. You may feel a bit like shouting “is anybody out there” and hearing it echo back.

NO ONE has ever started anything ever with a huge following. Apple spent the last year building up excitement about their table computer, they did not wait until they were sure that there millions of people out there already convinced. I watched a fellow who was a part of a REALLY big real estate company leave and then re-grow his own following elsewhere. It was not fast and he had help along the way BUT he did it.

Start today. Do not worry that anyone will read what you are going to write. Write from the heart and I guarantee some people will find you and like what you have to say.

Start today. And tell it like it is. Do not sugar coat it so that you do not offend someone. It does not matter if you have the most vanilla stuff out there, someone will be offended so you might as well be genuine and talk about whatever you like.

Start today. Learn about something that scares the bejesus out of you. Get a book from the library or download the audio book or hire someone to teach you. Stop being scared and be BOLD!

Start today. Take a chance on something marketing-wise that is low cost but big reward. Some suggestions are to grow your lists for Twitter or Facebook. Add 100 people to your email list. Go to networking and meet 20 new people. Start a blog. Do something – TODAY!

Unintended Marketing Consequences Beware Beware

Unintended marketing consequences pop up at the most inopportune times! If you are not minding your goals, it is easy to run off the track with something new and shiney that does not do what you thought it did.

Unintended Marketing ConsequencesI have to say that I hear about all kinds of new marketing ideas every day from blogs I read, email lists, readers who send me ideas and friends who know I like marketing. Some of them are G-R-E-A-T and some have put a really bad mojo on my marketing efforts. That is why I generally test out anything I am going to recommend on my stuff first. At least if I mess my Marketing Artfully or Tara Jacobsen marketing up I can usually fix it!

Recent unintended consequences…:)

  • MarketingArtfully.com redesign – to all you email readers out there, you may not know that I redid Marketing Artfully’s look and feel. While it is BEAUTIFUL, I have to say that it DID make some time changes necessary. In the past I could knock out a post in about 15 minutes and bang, up it went. Now there is more juggling around with image sizes, categorizing and more. Not a deal breaker but DEFINITELY did not know that would be the result!
  • Adding everyone to Gist – Now I do not know if www.gist.com is going to take off BUT like all things that pop up I joined in case it does do well (here is my take on Social Networking First Responder Advantages). That having been said, uploading everyone all at once to that one was a major ick factor. It wound up creating the same mess that I have now trying to follow all my real friends online stuff.
  • Getting more of the kind of clients you DO NOT WANT! My biggest beef with unintended consequences is when you are very successful but have started down the wrong road. This has happened to me a couple times where I built a successful client base but did not like the work I was doing. Argg. Be very careful to plan who you want to work with BEFORE you get started with what kind of marketing to do

If you have any neat bad marketing mojo stories, please feel free to share them here!!!

PS – The title of this post cracks me up, the Beware Beware part comes from the movie Labyrinth and funny rock people say that in a really spooky voice…I am cracking myself up over here this morning!

Small Business Marketing Timing Is EVERYTHING

In your small business marketing efforts, timing is EVERYTHING and is something that very few people consider. Figuring out your timing can increase your efforts, without taking any more work than you are doing now.

Small Business Marketing TimingIn my post last week about thoughtfully scheduling your social marketing, I talked about doing things when it was convenient for you instead of when it is best for your customers and prospects. This post will talk more about THINKING about your small business marketing timing to maximize your results.

Here are some examples and tools to help your small business marketing efforts…

Know when your visitors come to your site! By using google analytics I can tell you that over time, the majority of my visitors come Monday to Thursday with almost none on the weekends. So how to I capitalize on that? Usually I write a informative or fun post Monday, and then great keyword rich posts Tuesday to Thursday and a Realtor or Local Marketing post on Friday.

This way I am still providing great content for my readers BUT I am also getting the most marketing bang for my buck!

Know when people read your email newsletters! You may have never thought of this but I bet you have a better result when you send your newsletters out a certain day of the week. Overall small business marketing wisdom says that Tuesday through Thursday is good for B2B and the weekends for B2C BUT you need to check your audience. Take a couple of months and mix up WHEN you are sending them and then check your open rates.

Know when to sell your product or service! You can use google trends to see when people are searching the most for whatever you are selling. This is NOT an exact science and you need to dink around in there for a while but over time you will be able to see that promoting mittens in June is a bad idea or selling weight loss in September will be a bust.

The easiest way we have found to do this is to pick “themes” for the month. SOOO if it a Realtor client, we may look at when the most people typically buy homes and start heavy duty marketing a month before. OR if it is health food store, we will talk about vegetables in the spring when they are coming up on being the freshest.

Piggyback on the big guys! Most businesses have associations or competition that has huge themes. If you are selling green cleaning products, take advantage of the fact that people are searching for the term “earth day” and make sure you have that in your titles when it has the most chance of being lifted by the national event!

Use google alerts or watch the TV to see what big companies are marketing and see if there is anything there you can work into your marketing. For example, next superbowl I could do a post on the history of “Go Daddy” marketing and get a jump in hits because of the big ad spend they are doing around the superbowl.

Hopefully that helps you see that your small business marketing efforts can be super-plumped just by paying attention to what is going on around you!!!

Small Business Marketing Planning

Small business marketing planning is something most entrepreneurs and small business owners never do, much to their detriment. They spend their time jumping from the latest new thing to the next big thing, never stopping for a breath.

Small Business Marketing PlanningSo what does small business marketing planning entail exactly? Here are some of the steps that we take our marketing clients through that could help you to get your marketing efforts on track:

  • Who are the clients you are trying to attract
  • How have you found them before
  • What products and services do they like
  • What products and services should you offer
  • What channels (online, offline, social media, direct mail, etc) should you use to reach those people with your offer
  • What steps are you going to take this month, this week, today to implement your marketing plan
  • What metrics are you going to use to gauge your success? Added contacts, friends, followers, sales, leads, etc.

One of the first things you should notice about this is that at no time did I say do you want a new logo, blog, email program or any other specific thing that is the flavor of the moment. All of the shiney marketing things like Facebook, WordPress, and Email are just the TOOLS to use and are a HUGE distraction to your plan. Figure out WHAT to do BEFORE you figure out HOW you are going to accomplish it!

These are just a few of the parts of creating a SUCCESSFUL marketing plan. If you implement just a couple you will be MILES ahead of your competition. If you implement them all, you cannot fail!

Small Business Marketing Say EXACTLY What You Are Selling

Small business marketing does not always come naturally and I see a lot of mistakes out there. One of the biggies is assuming your customers know what you sell!

Small Business Marketing Products and ServicesNow if you are a florist, I assume you sell Flowers BUT you may have the neatest gift shop ever in your store too! Mechanics fix your car but maybe you have the best detailer in the world and could make my car beautiful and functional. Here are some examples, check and see if any of them sound like you…

  • I LOVE my accountant, he is grouchy and nags at me and is an old friend of my husbands. When I was going to buy life insurance, I did not use him. Not because I would not have, because I did not know he sold it!
  • I have a great new client, Lisa Keyes who is a health and wellness expert. We are doing her a new marketing plan including a blog so we were talking the other day and she said one of her customers went to a MD instead of using natural stuff to help with allergies. I HAVE ALLERGIES and did not know that Lisa could help with them!
  • One of my favorite Tampa Bay Realtors, Gary Ubaldini, tells the story of how his dentist sold his house without him years ago. Gary had never told the dentist that he was a realtor!

Sooo…do your clients know what you do? Are you sure?

PS – We were hiding our light under a bushel also…:) If you would like to find out more about the small business marketing products we offer, check out our creatively named products and services tabs above…:)

Is Small Business Marketing EVER Done

I talk with small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors on a daily basis and what I hear most often…is my small business marketing EVER done.

Small Business Marketing QuestionsThis usually follows them telling me that they had a website built a couple of years ago and now people are telling them they need a blog. OR they are doing postcard mailing and everyone is telling them that is dead. OR they want to know if they REALLY need an email contact program because they kinda, sorta use their yahoo account for that now. Social media, social networking, article marketing….argggg.

Well I have good news and I have bad news….

The Good Small Business Marketing News!

If you are willing to be flexible and move forward with a light heart knowing that everything marketing will never stay the same again, you will probably kick the tail of all of your competitors who are out there moaning about how it used to be.

More good news…it doesn’t cost a fortune anymore to do small business marketing. Facebook and Twitter are free. There are apps and skins and gizmos that plug right into what you are doing now which make things easy peasy. You do not have to rely on direct mail costs anymore to reach everyone, you can email or blog or write articles (I am a HUGE proponent of direct mail BUT do not want that to be my only option!)

The Bad Small Business Marketing News!

Everything is changing. Once you get MySpace down and have a good following the gang moves over to Facebook Groups. Then they tell you that Facebook groups do not count anymore and you have to go to Fan Pages. Your website is outdated before it is done being built. You have to get new business cards with your Twitter name on them or you are a giant loser, oh wait twitter is gone and gazoombas is the next big thing (I made that last one up BUT I guarantee that there WILL be a next big thing!)

How the heck are you supposed to keep up with all of this?!?!?!

To my way of thinking there are two types of small business owners, those that like marketing and those that think it is a necessary evil. For those of you who like marketing, come back often and check out the super duper new stuff!

For those of you who do not, we are considering offering a monthly marketing manager model to keep you on the cutting edge of both the internet and offline marketing. I would REALLY appreciate it if you would take my 3 question survey about your small business marketing needs. It will take 2 minutes and is totally confidential! Click here to take survey

10 Reasons To Use Social Media For Small Business Marketing

Here are my Top 10 reasons to use social media specifically for your small business marketing efforts. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to take advantage of social media when it is just becoming mainstream.

Happy Social Media MarketingWhy should I use social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for my small business is ABSOLUTELY the question that I get the most! Many small business owners feel that social media is a big time waster that does not have a great way of tracking results. They also think social media is a fad that will fade out over time.

For those of you who ARE using social media, this list might help you to move it up on your lead generating to-dos. For those of you who are considering using it (and if you have read this far you are at least CONSIDERING it), this may help tip you over to giving it a try!

Small Business Marketing and Social Media

  1. Social media is on google – Ranking well on google is the goal for many small business websites. Your page rank and placement is vital and talk for another day BUT you do not have the power that sites like Twitter and Facebook have. They rank well all by themselves so hooking yourself to them can only help increase your website traffic on your main site.
  2. You can be the top 10 results for your business – When someone does a search for your business or business name, it would be nice if you controlled the message. If you have done something as simple as fill out the profiles on social media sites, you will come up as separate results. There will be a Facebook result, a Twitter result, a LinkedIn result…well you ge the picture!
  3. It is free – I am not sure that any of us have gotten used to this. All you have to do is trade time for marketing. Dang. If you told me 10 years ago that I could have as much free small business marketing as I wanted FOR FREE I would have laughed in your face. Websites cost in the tens of thousands, yellow pages were exorbitant and print advertising was the only other option for local marketing.
  4. It is easy – There is a low barrier to entry for small business owners who may not be technology geniuses – if grandmas can learn to use Facebook, surely with a little help you can too! I work with lots of small business owners who are doing it themselves on the social networking front and succeeding. If you would like to learn how please check out my social media videos. If you would like to skip learning all about social media for your small business and get help at a VERY affordable cost, I recommend Stacy Hansen at Personalized Marketing and Amber Montel at Your Marketing Voice.
  5. You can schedule your social media – this is a biggie for me! I take some time each week to schedule tweets and postings on my Facebook pages. Because I am doing this all at once, I am not distracted by the shiney things I see over on those sites and can more properly manage my time!
  6. You can use it to drive traffic to your website or blog – I touched on this earlier but this is a REAL BIGGIE! Each and every communication you do on social media can be used to send traffic back to your website or blog. With a structured plan in place, you can make sure that all of your efforts are geared to capturing email addresses or selling your products or getting new readers.
  7. You CAN measure it – Back in the day when we were doing print or mailings, it was harder to measure what the results were for the money you spent. Yes, you could set up a separate phone line to answer calls but did you REALLY track that? With social media efforts, you can see exactly how many of your website hits came from Twitter, you can check and see if Facebook sends more than LinkedIn and MEASURE your results!
  8. You can reach people who you would never have access to – I talk to some REALLY neat people who would have been too far up the foodchain before for me to have access to before like best selling authors and marketing geniuses. Instead of having to figure out how to “get around the gatekeeper”, you can “friend” or “fan” that person and most times they will answer you. With LinkedIn you can see EXACTLY how many degrees of separation there are and ask your business colleagues to “introduce you” to that hot prospect.
  9. The law of large numbers – I have about 2,000 people in Facebook who I am connected to, and about 6,000 each on Twitter and LinkedIn. That is almost 15,000 people who have raised their hand and said that they are at least a little interested in what I have to say. If I tried I could probably have a whole lot more. Those are crazy numbers of free marketing prospects to talk with every day. I also have about 100 people who get this blog every time I post. That is really neat that they are interested enough in what I have to say that they will give up time to read it!
  10. You will still have an early adopter advantage – I talked about this before in another post (Social Networking First Responder Advantage) but it bears repeating. If you get in early (and we are still early here), you can stake out your place on the Social Networks and gain early adopter status!

BONUS – This is not really a reason, just something to think about. Big companies have morons working for them. They do crazy stupid things like the mean guy at Nestle who got into a “pissing contest” with someone who was visiting the Nestle Fan Page, probably based on a mandate that he got from “corporate”. Nestle stock prices dropped and a worldwide boycott could ensue over some really stupid comments by an employee with too few brains and too much power.

Because most small business owners are closer to the message, this will not happen to your company. You will probably sit down with someone who will be monitoring your social media and say, “we LOVE our customers, make them happy”. When someone blesses you by talking about your product or service, jump in there and talk back to them. Every communication with a human is a possible win for your small business so wade on in and give it a try!

Small Business Marketing What is your superpower

Small business marketing is all about the Linchpins that Seth Godin talks about in his new book. I just finished listening to it and I loved the part about finding your superpower and using that to succeed!

Seth Godin LinchpinWhat is your superpower?

Do you know what your superpower is? Do you know WHAT a superpower is? One of the examples from the book is that a ConEd guy is “good with people”. That is not a quantifiable skill, nor is one that can really be taught. That makes the good with people guy valuable.

My superpower is to be able to see what small business owners need to do next to succeed in business. When they tell me all of the things that are going on which are keeping them from succeeding, the real issue sticks out like a bullseye on their face to me!

My husband, computer programmer and this week wedding photographer, is REALLY good with math. That helps him with programming, spreadsheets and camera settings and lighting.

Recently I have met people who; seem extremely stable, are amazingly funny and who are master negotiators. Those are their superpowers. They can do other things BUT each of those traits had a powerful adjective in front of them.

I think it may be hard to know our own superpower. To find yours, ask your friends and clients. They will know your superpower and that will help you to craft a really great mission or positioning statement. The nice thing about superpowers is they are all BENEFITS and not features.

You would not say that you are obsessive compulsive, you would say that your attention to detail makes you the perfect person to work with lawyers. You are not hyperactive. Your high energy assures that you meet deadlines and achieve your clients goals.

I would LOVE to hear your superpowers and how you are using them to help grow your business…:) Make sure to leave them in the comment section!

If you would like to purchase Seth Godin’s Linchpin please click the link. It is an affiliate link so if you want to purchase it without my getting a little bit of money, make sure go directly to Barnes and Noble yourself!

Small Business Marketing Where Do You Find The Time

Small business marketing takes time. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but… Now you can farm some of it out to take a little less time, but that is only after you have spent a while understanding it first.

Recently I have read and listened to a couple of neat talks on finding time to do small business marketing that I thought would be fun to share with you! One of the things that has become pretty obvious to me is that time spent watching TV could be better used growing my business. Huh.

Now I am not imune to the television, I like a nice home show as much as the next gal. I DO know that my TV watching has taken a pretty precipitous decline over the last few years. My husband and I have even flirted with canceling cable and watching movies, internet shows and the like.

According to Clay’s keynote below, as a country we spend 100 Million Hours a weekend watching television ads. Argg.

As a marketer I bet you are wondering why I am anti-ad, that seems REALLY off base. Well I am not anti-ad, I am anti unrelated advertising that does not improve my life. Seeing ads for franken-foods that will knock me off of my semi-veggie plan do not help. Seeing ads for baby products do not help. Cars that I do not want and can not afford to drive (I am curb-knocking driver) are silly.

I DO like the internet ads that I see. They are generally related to something I am already interested in. When one of my favorite blogger suggests a product, generally it has something to with a topic I am enthused about. Think about that when you are developing products or “wasting time” blogging. Your audience WILL be interested in what you want to talk about and they may be interested in something you want to sell.

I know that entrepreneurs and small business marketers are interested in my Do-It-Yourself small business marketing product that I launched this month because they clicked on google ads. Soooo if I spend my time writing about small business marketing, there is a good chance I will find more people who are interested in that and will sell more more of them.

That hunt to be specific and get more business is WAY more interesting to me than watching the final season of Lost or morning talk shows. Sorry TV, I am too busy growing my business to pay attention to you!


Clay Shirky idea of cognitive surplus is REALLY interesting. He talks about how many extra hours we have when we do not spend so much time watching TV.Gary Vaynerchuk is the first one that I heard talking about how people would choose the internet over having TV. This is just one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s keynote speeches that I listen to when I need a kick in the ass!

Do It Yourself Small Business Marketing

Do it yourself small business marketing does not have to be lame, it just takes more effort than hiring it out. So if you are a do it yourself kind of small business owner this post is for you.

What type of human should be involved in do-it-yourself small business marketing?

  • If you are the type of human that is curious about how to do new things, go for it. If you get frustrated and angry when you do not know how to do something hire someone.
  • If you are constantly coming up with great ideas this is for you. If you struggle to think of one way to market, farm it out.
  • If you can manage your time and objectives, great! If you are having trouble finding the time getting “real” work done I can promise you that marketing will fall to the bottom of your list.

Will it take away time from your core business?

One of my MLM buddies was having an event where she could sell her products, get some business for the venue owner and hopefully make some money. That “make some money” part was not high up on the list AND the event took almost all of her time for a full month. I cannot imagine that she made enough money to cover the “cost” of the time away from her business.

In this case there are two options:

  • Since she liked doing the event, maybe that is her calling and selling makeup is not
  • She should have have farmed out that marketing piece. I KNOW there are event planners that do not take much money (I use Amber Montel of Denver Boulder Internet Marketing to plan and market my classes. If you do not know someone, throw it out there on Facebook or Twitter and I guarantee someone will know someone)

Will it take away from your core business part two

If you are a small business owner doing your own marketing, make sure you have a plan and a timeline. I would suggest that doing your marketing should be done outside of your normal business hours. BLASPHEMY I know, BUT marketing your small business is probably not going to be accomplishing sales like working in your business hence the outside of “normal” business hours.

Make yourself a plan and stick to it. Figure that ten hours or so a week will really make a difference in your sales and then just do it. Pick two evenings to spend five hours each or do two hours each weekday. Whatever works best for you.

So what kind of things can a do-it-yourself small business marketer do?

  • Email marketing – this is an easy one, get Constant Contact and a list. Send out an email at least once a week so your client base knows you love them! Make sure to write great headlines that get opened!
  • Write blog posts or do video blogging – If you are doing your own marketing on a shoestring, set up a wordpress.com blog and start writing. I am not sure you are going to get a ton of traffic BUT I will tell you that you will get better at producing content. When I started I was not sure that I would have enough to write about but now can bang out a video or blog post in no time flat.
  • Set up free websites on squidoo.com, msn live and other free websites aggregators. Have them link back to your main site with keywords
  • Use vistaprint to get free brochures, business cards and postcards. Mail them out or schlep them around neighborhoods or parking lots.
  • Set up your social networks like Facebook and Twitter and talk to people. Just setting them up and never doing anything will assure you fail.
  • Got to networking events and take pieces of paper with your marketing message or a sale item so that people can follow up with your offering after the event. Just standing up and telling something will not translate into actions. I also think that changing your message is effective so make sure to have different themes for each month.
  • DO NOT get discouraged! I have tried HUNDREDS of different marketing tactics over the years and some work gloriously and some are duds. Make sure you track any money you spend on marketing to make sure you are getting a good ROI and start small, do not send 10,000 postcards until you know that the marketing message converted on a 100!

The final benefit to do it yourself marketing is that no one will ever love your business like you do (you DO love what you are doing right!) If you get in a groove and make marketing part of your business plan, you can probably afford to farm it out in six months or so BUT you will have all the knowledge you gained of what worked and what did not work to help your marketing person going forward.

Click the link you would like to find out more about our VERY affordable DIY Small Business Marketing Program!

There are affiliate links in this post and a link to our own product. If you would like to purchase anything without my getting paid a little bit of money for referring you, please type in the URL manually!

Small Business Marketing – GREAT Customer Service

Small business marketing and great customer service go hand in hand! While I do believe marketing is vital to growing your business, if you have not addressed your customer service model then you are pouring leads into a funnel where nothing is catching them!

Great Customer ServiceThere is nothing more frustrating than running a fabulous campaign that drives a ton of traffic to your website, blog or store and then finding that sales do not increase. Most of my small business owner clients do not do this deliberately, they just have never though of their customer service process as being vital to their success.

Here are a couple of great customer service experiences I have had recently, does your company operate with this level of customer service or have you kind of decided that it is easier to get new customers than to service the old ones?

  • Chase Bank – whoo whoo, who knew that a HUGE bank could provide great customer service? Well come to find out, it really is the humans at the branch that make all the difference in the world! So I was heading out to Vegas last week and had all my change rolled and ready to turn into my bank (not to be named because they are horrible!). Well the bank lady snidely told me they do not take change rolled and that if I wanted to get money for it I would have to go over in the dark corner and unroll it all myself. ARGGGGG. So I took my change across the street to Chase Bank. There Darby and Adam helped me to cash it in even though I did NOT EVEN HAVE AN ACCOUNT. I am sure they wouldn’t do that every week for me BUT I have to tell you, I am a fan for life!!!! Those Chase commercials never got me to consider or talk about a huge banking conglomerate but those nice humans at the branch sure did!!!
  • While in Vegas we went to the Harley Davidson diner. Now, Johnny had warned me that service in Vegas could be spotty since he knows bad service makes me wicked mad. The people there (especially Ray our server) were SO NICE. The manager was roaming around helping his servers and everyone was VERY pleasant. That will be sure to stay on my list of places to go in Las Vegas!

What this shows is that great customer service is a top down policy. Chase must have some kind of “treat the customer right” sort of policy or the guys at the branch would have been jerks like the TCF lady (oops did I say the horrible banks’ name or that it is on 120th in Broomfield, CO and you should avoid it like the plague!!!). Seeing the manager and how he treated his staff and the customers at the Harley place was also neat to see. You could tell that it was a fun and busy place to work, that the management liked their customers and that every server was happy to be able to help. DANG.

So what is your small business customer service policy? I KNOW – many of you only have yourself or one or two employees BUT that does not matter! If you have a service mentality then when you grow everyone under you will have a service mentality. Stuff rolls downhill so make sure that you are positioning your brand and marketing to reflect what your values are and how to treat your customers!

Small Business Marketing Focus Social Media Marketing Month

Having a small business marketing focus is one of my very favorite things to talk about! When you pick a marketing topic to feature each month, you can laser target your traffic and help to sell one of your products effectively. This is social media marketing month over here at Marketing Artfully!

Small Business Markting FocusSo what does having a small business marketing focus look like in the real world?

This month I am targeting selling my social media do it yourself videos and my Boulder social media workshop. These are some of the things that I do that will make a difference in how well I do:

  • All of my speaking engagements are about social media. I am doing the Boulder class AND a free social media workshop with New Business Denver.
  • I have already used www.hootsuite.com to schedule sales tweets. I am also doing a little split testing to see if I get better conversions with the price included or without.
  • Every week I will be doing a blog post targeted to social media. Since I post every day, if I just did social media posts my readership would want to kill themselves after 20+ posts. If you post on a lesser frequency, you could blog about the same topic all month.
  • I will be doing some videos that will compliment my posts with links back to my site.
  • I have refreshed some of my free website links that specifically target keywords like social media, facebook, linkedin and twitter.

Now I know most of you do not sell marketing but this will work with any kind of business and will get you more traffic from google and the other search engines. This is because when you have a concentrated effort, you are reinforcing multiple times that you site is about a specific set of keywords. Since the search engines like to serve relevant content, they will notice that your site is a great fit.

Extra credit – If you have done all of these things and are looking for something else to do, you can practice cross linking your posts! Make sure you use your keywords. For example, I could link to my Social Media Marketing Twitter Grader post from this social media marketing post and get some internal linking google love!

Small Business Internet Marketing Get Rich Slow

Small business internet marketing is not a sprint, it is a get rich slow scheme. As with anything that is important to your business, it takes time to build up a audience AND the skills to do the work. Here are a couple of the things that I do on a regular basis to market my company and the time it takes to do them!

Small Business Internet MarketingWrite Blog Posts – this is the MOST important thing I do for my small business internet marketing efforts! When I write a post and publish it more people come to my website – DUH. I have a goal of 10,000 visits per month and the ONLY thing that will get me there is having new great content AND making sure that it is written correctly so that search engines can find it.

There are three types of blog posts I write:

  1. Evergreen Blog Posts – These are meant to be information that will not get stale and which will help my small business owners no matter what happens with different platforms like facebook or wordpress. Some of my recent evergreen posts cover things like keyword research, naming your products and email marketing. While these things may change form from time to time, they are a part of doing business on the internet in our time. These posts can take between 1-2 hours and usually require a little research.
  2. Current Information Posts – These are posts that cover a new product or tool that I think my readers would like. Generally I put some content there with a link to whatever I am talking about and these take only about 15 minutes to write. Now sometimes I put a video up on how to use them over at the Marketing Artfully membership site which adds another half hour or so.
  3. My Opinion Posts – I think that I like these the best. This is one of those posts! Basically what I do is write about how I do my business or what I think about a topic that would be relevant to my readership. These posts take between 15 minutes for a shorty and half an hour for a long one like this.

Keep Track Of My Marketing “Stuff”

The next most important thing I do is make sure all of my marketing links, products and services are up to date. Things change in business and checking back regularly to make sure that your offerings reflect your current business is super important. Just this week I realized that an old post had a link to a service we no longer offer so I changed that link. I also saw that one of my profiles had old information and fixed that too. I HATE that I have to do this as I am no different than anyone else. I wish that I could just do everything once and have it be finished but that is not the real world and wishing for that does not help me or add to my success. I would say that once a month I take about an hour to look at different things and at least once a day I find something I can tweek and make better.

Promoting My Site

This is a biggie. I spend a lot of time each day doing something that will help drive traffic back to Marketing Artfully but all of it matters. Here are some things I do and timelines:

  • Speaking – I go out and talk to humans and let them know that there is a wealth of small business marketing on my site. This takes about 10 hours per week counting networking and teaching.
  • Bookmarking – This is a hoot! I was teaching class the other day and telling people to click the little link at the bottom of their blog posts to share them and get more traffic. Someone asked if I had to do that every time I posted and was horrified when I said yes. REALLY? It takes me exactly 6 minutes to bookmark to 10 websites like stumble upon, google, digg and more (I timed it today). Now it took me a couple of hours initially to get them set up but they drive hundreds of people to my site each month. Well worth the time it took!
  • Commenting on other blogs – HUH this takes about 15 minutes a day more or less. I have a bunch of blogs that get emailed to me or show up in my google reader so I don’t have to look too hard for things to comment on AND I like learning about new things so this is pleasure for me to do.
  • Setting up incoming links – I make free websites that have links back to my blog and targeted keywords. I do not do this regularly enough but when I sit down to do it it takes a couple of hours to make multiple backlinks.

Email Marketing

I only send out a couple of emails a month so I would say this takes me two hours a month. Nothing sexy here, just making sure that I send great information to people who really want to read it.

Making Videos

This is one I think small business owners are afraid of! It takes me 10 minutes to make a video using jingproject.com and pop it up to youtube. It takes me 10 minutes to do a video with my flip camera and pop it up to youtube.

Now when I do the training videos for my membership site it takes about an hour a video since there are intro and editing and uploading BUT that is only for people who are doing fancy-schmancy training. Most of the time I opt for down and dirty with great information and more of it than I could do if each video was a work of art.

Well I hope that helps – this post is running to just over a thousand words, took me about a half an hour to write and I actually enjoyed knowing that some small business owners would benefit from knowing how little time it takes to succeed online!

PS – I was prompted to write this post because I got an email in my inbox that said “How I Made $54,281 in 90 Minutes By Doing This One Thing” which implied that if I bought his product that I could make 54K with no work and with no effort!!!

Small Business Marketing Naming Concepts

Every once in a while I like to get back to old school marketing and talk about how small business marketing naming concepts work in the real world! People will ONLY buy what they can understand and they do not have your knowledge of the back story of your products.

Old School MarketingThis is the WORST name for a product I have ever seen (the name of the business is kept secret for obvious reasons)! They are a butcher and sell meat products. Naming a product “55 Pound Lamb Carcass” may be factual BUT I wonder how much it improves sales…:) I especially like the fact that they talk about dead sheep and then put a picture of the little wooly lamb next to it!

The other end of the bad naming concept spectrum is someone who has a great concept but does not name their product or even set the parameters for what it entails. There is a woman in my networking group who has gotten SO much better. Before she talked about how she sold “happiness” and “feeling good”. That IS focusing on the benefits of her products BUT we had no idea what-so-ever what she was actually selling! Now she is actually saying what her product is and I have to think that she will sell more of them!

So your homework today is to:

  1. Make sure you have named your product or service
  2. Check that it is not an icky or offensive name
  3. Confirm that other humans can understand what you are selling even if they do not know about you
  4. Then sell, sell, sell!

Click here if you would like to find out a little more about features versus benefits

Duplicate Content for Small Business Owners and MLMs

As some of you may know, I do internet and offline marketing for small business owners BUT I also do A LOT of research into hard core internet marketing since many of the techniques I learn from those guys translate into something that my small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors can use!

Sorting out duplicate contentThe other day I was reading about duplicate content on adwords websites and how that effects the rankings and the amount those advertisers get paid. That made me think long and hard about my small business owners who work for companies that offer “websites” and “shopping carts” for them to use to market their business.

If you have a Tupperware website (or candle or jewelry or weight loss) site that your company provides, there is a good chance that it has duplicate content on it! While it is great that your company provides an ecommerce or marketing solution for you, the chances of you ranking for that search term when there are thousands of the same sites out there is incredibly slim.

So what can you do? If you have some money to invest in your business you can have a blog like the one we did for Rae Ann over at Green Cleaning Products. She isn’t competing with all of the other people who represent her company anymore, instead she is representing herself and green cleaning products, with Wow Green simply as a product. Additionally, she DOES rank on the first page for Green Cleaning Products Denver which is one of search terms we targeted for her!

So what if you are just getting started? You could use free websites or blogs to set yourself apart from the crowd! Each time you leave a breadcrumb around the internet that is different from your company website, you increase the chance of someone finding you and possibly following that back to buy!

If you would like to learn about using free websites to market and are in the Denver area next week, consider coming to our Free Website Marketing Workshop (the sites are free the workshop isn’t…:)

Super Bowl Ads Recap and Analysis

What is the purpose of an Superbowl advertisement? Is is branding, comedy or SALES? It is my understanding that all advertisements are supposed to generate twice as much revenue as they cost and at the very least should be able to pay for themselves with sales. Here is a VERY subjective look at Superbowl ads old and new and their sales effectiveness.

According to CNN Money, the 2010 super bowl ads cost “a record $2.6 million for a 30-second spot”. Add that to the approximately 1 million dollars it takes to produce the ad. That is a tremendous amount of money to have to recoup with sales and it doesn’t even touch what companies like Dorito’s and Papa Johns paid to be official sponsors of the event.

The other consideration is whether the ad is effective for just men or just women. At halftime my husband’s favorite ads where the Snickers where they slammed Betty White into a puddle and also the Doritos bark collar. I liked the irony of Oprah, Jay and Dave sitting together having a terrible Superbowl party BUT that is totally branding AND you have to know a lot of back story to have it make sense. That having been said, to people who DO pay attention it was worth a chuckle. I also like the ongoing Budweiser ads with the Clydesdales although this years was just okay.

I have been VERY disappointed with the ads and was particularly grouchy about one that had people flipping around in a pool like dolphins. REALLY? You are a Madison Avenue ad firm with a million dollar budget and the ability to do ANYTHING and you come up with slog like that?!?!!?

My Husband’s favorite commercial of all time is far and away the Nissan pigeons. We had a little talk about the effectiveness of the ad since he has never bought a Nissan, but John contends that it is a success because he talks about that commercial years later. He also thinks that paying this much attention to commercials is stupid, but that is a post for another day…:)

I don’t care what anyone says…I LOVED Pets.com and they were around just about the time that Stanley Brown Dog was a puppy so I have to say that single handed-ly tried to purchase enough new toys to keep them in business!! That having been said, having a business model that effectively loses money while spending gagillions on advertising may not be the exact way to go.

The Apple Computer Ad 1984 is my all time favorite commercial and the very first time that I remember noticing advertising as something I liked to study! It was directed by Ridley Scott and has set the bar pretty high for the competition. There IS something to be said for the fact that I did not purchase an Apple product until a couple of years ago – was it actually effective or just neat?

Small Business and Entrepreneur Marketing Do what the fast kids do

Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs can feel like it is hard to get wind in their sales for their marketing efforts in today’s economy! Well I heard the magic words yesterday for how to get those efforts going again…:)

Small Business and Entrepreneur Marketing
Skittles the Sailor
My friend (Dunedin Realtor, Deb Ward) sends her child out in what looks to me like a bathtub onto the gulf of mexico, into freight line sailing channels and generally assumes that the training he gets will assure that he comes back. Well yesterday I attended my first sailing class to show solidarity for Skittles the Sailor. While most of the class sounded to me like the teacher on Charlie Brown, wah, wah, wah, the coach speaking said something that really hit home for me.

If you are having trouble getting your boat to go, just copy what the fast kids are doing.

Holy cow! That is great advice for kids and also for small business and entrepreneur marketers!!! We all know someone in our town or industry who seems to really be doing great things. For me it is Gary Vaynerchuk who has a best selling book, gets paid gagillions for keynote speeches and who loves what he does every minute of the day. For you it may be the Doctor who isn’t sitting there whining about how bad the economy is, he is out there with billboards and print and a great website – taking over market share that he will never lose once the economy starts getting more on track.

Now I am not a proponent of plagiarizing anyone, BUT you can definitely keep an eye on the competition to see what they are doing. OR do a search on the Google and find out what the successful florist in the next town over is doing that you could copy and generate more sales for your business. OR copy the fancy New York City business that is paying the super big bucks to Madison Avenue advertising agencies to get great ideas.

Whatever you do, sitting there with no wind in your sales is not an option if you want to keep your doors open. Get out there TODAY and copy what the fast kids are doing!!!

Real Small Business Marketing

Real small business marketing is NOT a lot of things. It is not social networking like facebook or twitter. It is not throwing up a blog and hoping someone will come. It is not signing up for the latest online directory or craigs list or usfreeads.

Real Small Business MarketingWhat real small business marketing is is hard work. It is old fashioned identifying your target market, then figuring out the best way to reach them, then crafting a great offer that you know will make them interested. Then the really hard work starts! It is contacting prospects, following up until they are ready to buy and even some wine and dining from time to time.

Just because there is more opportunity available on the internet does not mean that we can abandon our old business ways. Getting belly to belly with a highly targeted prospect will still result in a sale. Calling your suspect list and making sure that they know you are still in dialogue is huge. Sending personal note instead of emails really does work.

We live in fabulous times that allow us access to millions of new customers instead of the 200 or so that we know personally. Make sure that you transfer some of your old marketing tricks to these new marketing media!

PS – Speaking of old time marketing ideas…have you called your past customers lately to see if they need to buy something else?

Small Business Marketing There is no set it and forget it!

This post about small business marketing is a follow up to “There is no one marketing thing that works“. In that post I gave small business marketers the bad news that there is one marketing thing that works like the old yellow page ads used to. Well get ready for more bad news! If you would rather that the world go back to the way it used to be, then this may not be the post for you.

Loudspeaker SalesmanI LOVE the infomercial pitchmen! They are brilliant at separating you from your money with catchy taglines and REALLY strong call to actions. The best tagline I ever heard was “set it and forget it”. This was for a product that cooked an entire meal for you using one appliance and the salesman had the audience chant that over and over during the commercial.

Neato kitchen appliance notwithstanding, there is no set it and forget it for your small business marketing. Buying a website and blog, then ignoring it for a year will not get you top google rankings. Just setting up a business Fan Page will not grow your sales by thousands. BUT worse than that even, learning to use Facebook or Twitter will not carry you over then next 10 years of marketing.

If you had asked about the biggest social networking site a couple of years ago you would have been talking about MySpace, which has now fallen off the face of the earth marketing-wise in favor of Facebook and Twitter. If you built a state-of-the-art website 3 years ago, you may be surprised to find that an affordable blog may be the best way to drive traffic to your sales page.

Nothing stays still and if you are thinking that you can just “set and forget” your small business marketing, you may find yourself losing ground fast!

Small Business Keyword Marketing

In my post yesterday about entrepreneur internet marketing I talked a little bit about keyword selection but I feel like I did not explain how fun small business keyword marketing can be! Here is a little bit about what prompted my keyword obsession this week…

So I am always working on great keyword selection for my clients but sometimes I get lazy with my own keyword focus. This blog ranks well for realtor marketing and entrepreneur marketing but I wanted a little extra zing for my new Small Business Internet Express product so I was looking at some google adwords data.

While setting up my campaign I noticed that the keyword “entrepreneur internet marketing” cost $3.00 a click and only had about 91 searches a month. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Google wants me to pay three dollars for a keyword that might get seen by about one hundred people a month? Not this marketer I tell you!

Small Business Keyword Marketing So I set out to rank on the first page for that keyword organically and today, one day after posting that article on my blog I rank on page one – yay! Now it is a great win because I am on page one, not so great because (as we know) that search term only gets about a hundred searches a month even though there are six million google listings that come up when you search for that term…:)

Small Business Keyword Focus

So how do you rank well for keywords that really matter? Pick three that are going to be a main focus for your site and then pound the crap out of them! You can get really great ideas of other niche keywords by doing a google search and seeing what google adds to your search as a suggestion. Today they suggested that I might also be searching for “entrepreneur marketing plan” or “social entrepreneur marketing”.

So if I was trying to get a listing for entrepreneur marketing today I would make sure that that search term was in the title tags for my overall blog AND in the titles of lots posts with additional sub keywords added. Age of your domain DOES matter but so does great content so aim really high for you 3 main keywords and you will do well over time!

There is no one marketing thing that works

I have been talking about this with humans A LOT lately so I am just going to get it off my chest here. There is NO ONE marketing thing that works! Facebook is not going to change your life, getting a blog or a website will not get you 1000 prospects tomorrow, new business cards – nope, print advertising – nitch, direct mail – nil, video – nada. Small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors need to get a grip on the fact that anyone selling them THE ONE THING that will take care of all their marketing needs is lying (and not just a little bit, a big fat lie!)

small business entrepreneur and realtor marketingThere are a bunch of small business owners who are sad. They do not like doing marketing much and prospecting (calling) is out of the question for them. They are pining for the good old days when they could just place their yellow page ad once a year and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Realtors are looking for a time when sitting in the office meant that you got the next live buyer or seller that walked in the door for floor time. Pine away, those days are gone and yearning for them just means your small business is slower to get going in the new, more competitive marketplace.

Think about what has come and gone even in just the last decade…

  • I started 2000 arguing with business owners that having a flash movie between their website and the search engines was harmful (and expensive)
  • HTML built websites were hard to build, expensive to change and gave way to…database and frame websites that were hard for search engines to find!
  • No one even knew about google
  • Direct mail fell off the map in the latter part of the decade (smart marketers know that now is the time to get in when competition is low)
  • Advertising in newspapers stopped being the other easy way to market
  • Snazzy marketing materials and design became affordable at Vistaprint.com
  • Blogs showed up as a great way to get found by search engines and were easy to use
  • Social networking like myspace came and went and new ones like twitter and facebook took their place
  • AND people started using the internet to find small businesses instead of using..wait for it…the yellow pages!!!

Now-a-days small business owners have to be more marketing savvy. They do not have to learn HOW to do the actual technical parts but they DO need to know what works the best for their business AND get involved. I can guarantee that no one will love your business like you do so handing over your marketing to a snake oil saleman could be death of it!

I am putting this out there loyal readers – before you spend more than $1,000 on any type of marketing please post a link to what you are thinking about here. If I think it is great I will publish it and give  your marketer some great publicity and you the thumbs up. If I think it less than great I will message you behind the scenes and let you know my thoughts. I have talked to too many small business owners lately who are spending a FORTUNE on snake oil…:(

There is an affiliate link for vistaprint in this post, if you click that and then sign up I will get a little bit of money, if you would like to avoid giving me a little bit of money type it in manually.

Small Business Marketing – How To Get More Traffic

All small business marketers want more traffic to their website, blog or facebook pages. These are where you can actually make content and build a brand and a following rather than just talking to your readers. So how can you get more traffic?

This is NOT a get traffic quick scheme! This is a slog it out, build a following, talk to them kind of post so if you are looking for a quick hit, move along.

Still here? Okay here goes…The first thing you need to do is figure out where you are sending all of that traffic and what you want it to do! I send all my marketing traffic to Marketing Artfully and until recently had kind of mixed the message once you got here. There were tons of things to look at and click and places to go. Now it is very clear that I want you to click over to my membership site. SO….look at the site you are going to be sending all that traffic to and make sure it has a call to action.

Back to traffic….

There are a gagillion ways to send generate traffic and the first thing I want you to do is STOP and figure out what you like to do!!!!

  • Do you like to write?
  • Then blog A LOT and then use the little button at the bottom to “share” your content on Stumble Upon, Technorati, Digg and Delicious (I use the tell a friend wordpress plugin by social twist for this!)
  • Write articles on Ezine Articles and point links back to your site
  • Get out there and comment on other people’s posts
  • Do you like to teach?
  • Hold seminars and webinars that drive people to your website
  • Make a little video class series and offer it for free
  • Do you like people?
  • Join the social networks and get involved – you cannot just put a link on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and let it sit there forever without any love
  • Are you a Salesman? (I LOVE salesmen!)
  • Call people with complementary blogs and talk to them. Ask them if they would let you put a blog post on their site with great content.
  • Ask them if you can do a teleseminar with them that you can tape and distribute
  • Call your database and tell them all the great things you are doing on your main site
  • Email your database and ask them to share the big changes with their friends
  • Email someone with a complementary blog and ask them to NICELY to feature a link back to your site! I got the nicest email today that sparked my interest from Ethan over at Sparxoo which prompted this post.

So there you have it, some ideas to increase your traffic that are not hard, but take some work! Some will provide you with direct traffic and some will help your google rankings. Any which way, all will get more eyeballs on your site!!!

If you would like to see the email that sparked this post and find out more about how to generate backlinks from other sites, visit our Marketing Memebership Site – the great letters I responded to are available at the $1 level!!!

Small Business Marketing – Breadcrumbs and Daisy Chains

Wow does that sound friendly! What could be happier than daisy chains? Well Daisy Chains and Breadcrumbs are actually hard core small business internet marketing concepts that you (as a small business owner, entrepreneur or realtor) would do well to learn, know and love!

I have been talking about leaving breadcrumbs around the internet FOR YEARS! It makes me feel like all the little things I am doing online are leading to something much bigger than the tiny little parts.

So what are breadcrumbs? Breadcrumbs are little pieces of data that you put around the internet leading back to your website. There are literally millions of places that you can leave breadcrumbs but here are my top 10 for ease of use and effect:

  • Facebook fan pages
  • Twitter
  • Squidoo
  • Leaving a blog comment
  • Writing a guest post on someone else’s blog
  • Aricle marketing
  • Blogger
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Stumble Upon
  • You Tube (I know this is 11 but I was on a roll)

So what kinds of breadcrumbs do I leave? I leave links to my main site and I leave links to specific blog posts that I think are relevant. I leave links to my affiliate products or sales pages for my products. Basically anything of yours you can make a link to is fair game!

So what is a daisy chain?

A daisy chain then doubles the power of your breadcrumbs by spreading the link love around. When you are making your breadcrumbs, link them to your target page but then also link them back to another breadcrumb. Here is the main part of this – DO NOT link them back and forth in reciprocal links! Your daisy chain goes from your breadcrumb to your main site and to one other breadcrumb.

So here is my daisy chain for today!

  1. I was trying to get Marketing Artfully to rank better for the search term “realtor marketing”
  2. So I linked my squidoo lens Real Estate Marketing Pro to point to Marketing Artfully WITH the search term “Realtor Marketing – Direct Mail Postcards” pointing to the blog post about that topic I wrote yesterday
  3. Then I went to Facebook and linked my Business Page to marketing artfully and squidoo
  4. Next I am going to submit this post to Digg, Delicious, Reddit and Stumble Upon

All these little interconnected links quadruple the effect of my breadcrumbs!

Realtor and Small Business Marketing Tip – Google Voice!

Google Voice - Realtor and Small Business MarketingSo you know I like make sure my realtors and small business owners know the latest and greatest marketing information so that you can take over and dominate your market! Well today’s topic is Google Voice!

I signed up for Google Voice a few weeks ago and got the notification the other day that I was in…YAY! The thing that I like the best about this is that they provide you with a local number to use on your marketing materials BUT you can also forward your messages from your cell phone to google voice, they transcribe it and record it and then text or email you with the message. You can also text right from the comfort of your desk chair.

The setup is super easy and only took me about 5 minutes to get up and running. The best part for me is that I was paying for this service with another company and now get it for FREE!

Hope that helps with realtor and small business marketing!

How To Market Your Small Business

Small Business Marketing Day!
Small Business Marketing Day!

People ask me all the time what I do to market my small business (and my Realtor Marketing clients). I KNOW when I hear those words that they want to know the magic bullet – the ONE THING that I do to achieve online success. The ONE THING that I focus on that makes the traffic and sales flow.

Well today is marketing day! I do lots of things on the fly, but today I have the luxury of spending all day marketing my websites, products and referral sites! I am going to be starting at 9am and only have one phone call to break up the day (and it is with one of my favorite people on earth so that is alright!)

So what is the plan? I thought that I would let you know what I plan to do and then I will pop back in and let you know what actually got done. Sometimes it is more and sometimes less, but without a plan I am going nowhere fast!

Marketing Artfully – Small Business Marketing Company
Fix social networking video landing page
Fix marketing artfully layout
Add ads to Marketing Artfully
Monitor new adwords campaign for article marketing
Set up twitter blasts for websites and blogs

Realtor Marketing – Trinity, Foreclosure, Dunedin and St. Pete Real Estate Websites
Set up twitter blasts for blogs
Add social networking buttons to each site
Either do posts or articles for at least two of them
Add MLS search button to all sites

There you have it! I am also listening to some training videos so may swap some in and some out but in general am going to be rocking the internet – watch out other marketing people, I am coming at you!

PS – So I never liked putting pictures in my blog posts because I am lazy…:) That having been said, since I load them onto facebook and the pretty pictures show I have been adding more – yay facebook!

Small Business Branding – Give it a name

Small business branding is NOT an art! It is also NOT a science! But it is vitally important to your business. If you have not done so yet, do (or get some done) keyword research so that you know the two or three terms that matter in your industry to whomever is purchasing your products or services.

Then name your business – NOT NOT name it something cute or personally fulfilling. Can you guess what Safer Dates sells, how about Business Writing Ink or Marketing Artfully? What do you think Etsy sells (crafts), Endodis (kitchen and restaurant supplies) or Geico (insurance). As a small business owner you do not have enough money to start a branding campaign to convince people that geckos go with insurance!

Then brand (name) your products or services. Products are easy because you have something tangible to work with, services can seem harder but giving them a name and a set price. STOP, I know that everything you offer has variables and that you CAN’T put a price on your services because they are flexible. The internet and humans HATE flexible. Put a name and a price on it and then put a disclaimer that it could be higher or lower depending on the circumstances!

I offer a Small Business Marketing Inspection: ($100) Review your current marketing plan on a two hour consultation call (or visit if you are local to Clearwater or the Boulder area) detailing areas of excellence and suggestions for areas you may need some additional work on!

This is something people can understand and call to ask me about. For startups, this is enough but sometimes small business owners are ready for the next level of service which is $500 and which offers more. And sometimes they want a custom solution to their marketing needs, BUT if I never got them talking with a solid, BRANDED and PRICED offer I would be dead in the water!

So to recap our branding talk:

  1. Do some keyword research to find out what the internet and your potential customers think your business or products should be about
  2. Name your business something that will help your sales
  3. Name your products or services and give them a price

Next time we will talk about how to take that brand online!

One-offs – How they cost small business owners time and opportunity!

According to Miriam Webster “one-offs” are limited to a single time, occasion or instance. I see MANY small business owners making the mistake of looking at customers as a one-off and also looking at one-off projects as real opportunities rather than the tremendous problems they really are!

One-offing Your Customers

I know, that sounds kind of bad AND it is! When we are in the trenches selling out products or services it can get really easy to become laser focused and lose the big picture. Your product or service may not be the answer to every problem and it is disingenuous to try and make it fit. Also, getting money from a customer one time (even a lot) but burning the relationship is SO not worth it!

The first goes along with the old saying, “when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. I worked for a GREAT company a while ago who operated like this. They were SO passionate about their product that they answered every question with “well you should use our product for that…and that…and that”. They also NEVER talked about any solutions other than their product, even if their solution was not in the best interest of the client. Humans recognize quickly that someone is doing this and then apply a filter to the information, always looking for the “gotcha” rather than listening to benefits.

The other half of this is sucking a customer dry with EVERYTHING you can take, burning them out for any future sales and losing your credibility at the same time. I know, a bird in the hand and all that BUT the lifetime value of a customer, their referrals and their goodwill is worth SO much more than taking everything you can get and leaving a bad taste in their mouth. Be honest with yourself about your motivation and make sure that you are doing what you can to serve your clients fairly and they will stay with you, bringing in way more than you could have made on one single transaction.

One-offing Your Projects

This one is SUPER easy for small business owners to do! It is always tempting to bring additional revenue to your company by taking on a project that is SORT OF like what you are doing now. A great example is our blogging product – we sell self-hosted wordpress blogs on Godaddy hosting. We have a 5 page, single spaced process to how to set it up and make it web ready ON GODADDY.

There are about a million other hosting companies and sometimes we have potential clients who would like to use their own preferred host. That is great for them, bad for us. Figuring out how to build blogs effectively on two different hosts would be inefficient, three would be terrible and ten would be absurd!

Make sure that you know EXACTLY what your company does and doesn’t do. Have referral partners that you can send people who don’t fit to. I KNOW – as entrepreneurs we think we can do anything! Just remember that learning to do something special for one customer may never transfer into revenue from anyone else and takes away time from your core business!

How To Pick New Small Business Opportunities

This month’s second small business marketing newsletter was about having multiple streams of income, which got me thinking about how we should choose those streams for ourselves. I have a confession to make…I am a huge proponent of multiple streams of income and I have an entrepreneurial spirit so I spend lots of time considering new things I COULD do to increase my business opportunities. This post is about what I (and you) SHOULD do to maximize my time and effort and minimize pain!

John Jonas gave the best description I ever heard about how to pick what to do. He said you should never get more than one step away from what you do now or more than one step away from the kind of customer you serve now when deciding new things to try.

Here is my one step approach for Marketing Artfully. The three main things I do for my business are blogs, information products and speaking. Because information products often have affiliate programs, starting my own or joining someone else’s is a good fit for me and makes sense to add to my resource page. Also, doing internet masterminds involves speaking (which is one of my things) so it is okay also.

ma_blocksSome other things for me that would be a good fit are things that provide services to entrepreneurs and small business owners, social networking items and other business related items.

Now here comes the brilliant part – when I get a great idea of something to do that is NOT one step away, I can drop it quickly. Instead of spending time and energy on researching something (or more likely diving into something) that will not help my business, I can easily determine if it is a good fit and, if not, move on!

This system works for ANY business! My buddy Deb Ward of Deborah Ward and Associates is a realtor in the Tampa Bay area. You can see from her blocks that there are some things that match well with her business model and some that don’t. She does coaching, sells real estate and owns a team of realtors. Getting referrals and owning shares in a title company are great for her, she could also add speaking to realtors easily because of her coaching focus. BUT, adding non-real estate related items would dilute her message and efforts.

dwa_blocksSo, to all you entrepreneurs out there considering new ventures…make sure that you are checking your blocks and keeping on track for success!!

Free Marketing – Small Business Owners Best Friend

What a time we live in! Marketing is free, I am SO happy about that and so confused that more businesses are not leveraging these channels.

Some history…in 1999 I worked at Digital Chainsaw, an internet company, where we built websites for small businesses. Many of these companies had no online presence and were trying to be early adopters. The cost to do the blueprint for the site (NOTHING was built) was $1,000 and the cost of building the site was from $20,000-$40,000. Now don’t get me wrong, there are still some businesses that have to have professionally built websites with big back-end programming, but most small businesses do not. The last thing about that time to tell you, it was deep in the heart of the tech boom and small business start-up money was flowing freely!

Fast forward 10 years to a new business start-up (if you are not doing marketing you are a start-up no matter how old your company is). I talk to more and more small business owners that do not have ANY resources for marketing. And THAT IS OKAY! I can’t even believe I can say that but it is true.

Today we are going to talk about FREE MARKETING! Upcoming posts will talk about low cost marketing and then big money marketing  – which still will not come close to the $20,000 that used to be the norm!

FREE MARKETING IDEAS!

  • Blogs – today you can have a blog set up in minutes for free! I suggest starting with www.wordpress.com but www.blogger.com works and is my geeky husband’s favorite. You can add widgets, customize the blog with your logo and get your marketing message out there! The drawback, for me, on free blogs is that it is hard to put contact forms on free blogs which will be part of our moderate pricing marketing. If you want to skip the free blog and go to the medium priced blog. I recommend a self-hosted wordpress blog for as low as $500!
  • Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – These social media sites allow you to put up a profile, communicate with your customers and friends, post links to your blog posts and set up FREE event notifications. They allow you to build a community around your brand and I can’t tell you how many referrals I have businesses get while watching my “friends”. If you would like to find out more, check out our social networking video series (not free but VERY affordable!)
  • FREE Websiteswww.wetpaint.com, www.squidoo.com and other sites will allow you to put a free page on the subject of your choice. When I was a realtor in Dunedin Florida a few years ago I put up this page, years later it is still there AND if you do a search on Squidoo for Dunedin real estate, my page is the only page. Do a search for Dunedin screen printing and NOTHING comes up, same for Dunedin Lawyer, Accountant, and cleaning. Imagine if you had the Tampa Bay area sewn up for your local business? What would that do for your bottom line? AND google LOVES these sites!

So these are my three best FREE marketing ideas. They cost you nothing but time and provide BIG results! If you have some other free ideas let me know in the comments…:)

Marketing in Colorado! How to get started

So I have finally arrived in my new home and will be up and running on Monday. I thought that some of you might like to know what it is like to do (another) start-up on an existing company. 

First off I am going to make contact with humans!

  • Visit local real estate offices and offer to teach classes (I love teaching and miss it A LOT)
  • Check Meetup.com for local meetings I can attend – I will be focusing on small business related meetups. It is always a little scary to go to something new BUT it is SO much easier now that you know you will be welcome…:)
  • I am starting an internet marketing mastermind in conjunction with www.twbaonline.com here in Colorado (probably somewhere between Denver and Boulder to start). I will be working with Chris (www.CommanderBlue.com) to get this going over the next few weeks!

 So what could you do this week to meet more new people? It is fun and could lead to more business!!!

What is database marketing? Solving small business marketing problems!

According to Wikipedia, database marketing is “a form of direct marketing using databases of customers or potential customers to generate personalized communications in order to promote a product or service for marketing purposes”.

Wow is that not helpful! My definition of database marketing is to have all your clients, potential clients, prospects, vendors, friends and family all in one place that you can use to send out direct mail, email marketing and generate call lists. Currently on my “marketing TV tray” I have a post-it note with a name of someone who I need to add to my database, two business cards and a sign in sheet from a class that I taught. If I do not add them to my database today I will

  • lose their name entirely
  • find them in three months and forget why I had their card
  • find them in six months and be too embarrassed to send anything because they won’t remember me (I KNOW I won’t remember them!)

So how do you use your database for marketing?

Send out emails to your database – This is FREE! You can start a bi-monthly newsletter and send your marketing message out WITH a nice piece of information that will be of value to your readers. For home service people that might be tips on how to winterize their home, ways to clean their grout or even a list of associated vendors they recommend. For real estate professionals it might be market stats, information about first time homebuyers or how to prepare their home for staging. Whatever you send, make sure that you think – “would I be interested in reading this”. If not – write something better! (if you are stuck on what to send, check out our Small Business Marketing Solution –  Thrive Client Contact System)

Make phone calls – Each month pick a couple of letters (A-C, S and T) and print out your database people whose last name starts with that letter. Carry your list around and when you have a couple of extra minutes call your people!

Send direct mail marketing pieces to your database – You can mail your clients a monthly piece of newsletter marketing, marketing postcards or even your personal brochure. Please note – if you are going to judge the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign by 1 sent message don’t bother. You need to send out your direct mail message for at least 3 months in order to be able to find out if will work! If you can’t afford to send out to your entire database, cut it in half and send half of your people a letter, newsletter or postcard each month, rotating the names so EVERYONE gets something at least every other month!

Some other things you can do with your database:

  • Collect Birthdays and send a nice card out a couple of days before (I am BAD at this – you WILL NOT get a card!)
  • Make notes about what you talked about – your people will think you are brilliant when they realize you remember all their personal info! Just pop in and take a peek at their notes BEFORE you call them!
  • Upload relevant documentation and attach it to their record. You can attach their invoice, sales receipts, contracts etc. by scanning them into a PDF and then uploading them to your database.

If you will commit to using your database, adding EVERYONE you meet the day you meet them, you WILL get more business and make more money!!!

Airports, Snow Boots and Your Small Business Marketing Message

I love small business marketing and I love my husband who has moved to Denver for a job transfer. So I have been flying back and forth to the Denver Airport to visit him and try and find a house to buy in the Denver area (we have an offer in – again – so fingers crossed people). What I noticed about the weather here compared to Clearwater Florida, where I am moving from, is that it is C-O-L-D. The people are generally nicer and they have snow boots.

I also noticed that real estate in Colorado is also different from real estate in Florida. They get a different commission than I am used to, they have fewer listings than agents carry in Florida and they have snow boots on when they show houses.

So what does this have to do with marketing you ask? We KNOW real estate is local but so is marketing! If you are in Cleveland, which is a very depressed area right now, you may have to market WAY harder in order to get the same results you got in the past. You may have to do more face-to-face sales pitches to close a client. If you are in Denver, where they say the economy is more solid, you can focus on gaining market share. Do LOTS of marketing to take over the market before the national economy rebounds!!!

While it is not fair that you have to work harder in Cleveland than Denver, make sure you match your efforts to your expected results, not just what worked in the past!

and don’t forget to wear your snow boots!

Small Business Marketing – Are You Selling The Steak Or The Sizzle?

Small Business Marketers are Selling The Steak Instead Of Selling the Sizzle!

What the heck does that mean? Well it means that as humans it is SO much easier for us to sell the features of a product than to figure out the benefits to our target audience. For myself, it is easier to tell you that with our Small Business Social Media Marketing Services you get a complete website and social media package than it is to “sell” you on all the benefits like increased sales, more exposure to potential clients and more leads.

I have tried for a couple of months to figure out how to get this message out since I am not great at sizzling, so why am I writing this post? Because I saw a BRILLIANT commercial this weekend. You tell which is steak and which is sizzle…

The carefully selected, high quality ingredients in Purinaa® Dog Chow® brand Dog Food Complete & Balanced provide 100% of the essential nutrients your dog needs to help stay happy, healthy and satisfied throughout his long, healthy life.

  • Contains 23 vitamins and minerals
  • Formulated with high quality protein
  • Great Taste

HMMMM…VITAMINS AND MINERALS ARE GOOD, PROTEIN IS GOOD

or

A groundbreaking 14-year study by Purina researchers showed that dogs fed to an ideal body condition** throughout their lives had a median life span of 1.8 years longer – and were considerably healthier – than their littermates.* And although the dogs in the study generally developed the same health conditions as they aged, treatment for those conditions was delayed approximately two years for the lean-fed dogs.

MY DOG WILL LIVE 2 YEARS LONGER? I LOVE MY DOG – I WANT THAT!!!!

Make sure you take a look at your small business marketing, are you selling steak or sizzle? Have a non-industry friend look at your marketing, see if they would be excited to buy you product if they didn’t know you! Post your link on Facebook and ask your online friends if they would buy it. DO NOT be sad if you get criticism – just take that and fix it!

If you would like me and my readers to take a peek at your info and be blatantly honest, add a link here and we will all help (beat up on you)!

Small Business Marketing Case Study – Intuitive Organizing

So in my quest to tell the world how they should do their small business marketing, I met the other day with Cassandra and Lani of Intuitive Organizing! We did a two hour marketing plan meeting and had a great time discovering some things about their business and how to position it.

What they do

Intuitive Organizing provides organizing and cleaning services. They are incredibly commited to doing this with the smallest amount of enviromental impact possible. Basically, they help people clean up thier homes or offices. They go into homes of seniors who are moving to ALFs and help them downsize to fit into their new homes. They also work with families when a person passes away and their household needs to be dis-assembled.

What they were doing 

Casssandra and Lani had made some great connections which could provide customer leads in bulk. They have been speaking with a potenitial business partner who is a great opportunity and also had made inroads into the Guardian area. Guardians are people who help the elderly and disabled manage their money and assist them with selecting vendors. 

Through discovery, we found out that Guardians HAVE to provide 2 quotes (ALWAYS COMPETITION) and also are bound to choosing the lowest cost vendor in order to give the senior the most value for their charges. 

What I think

These women are commited to providing exceptional service during a time when people are stressed and sometimes grieving. They are professional and upbeat. I think they are going to do VERY well as long as they remember that they are in business to make money, not just help people (you know it is not a job unless you make money!!!!)

I like the look of their materials but their message is not totally clear. They tend to have a lot about their concept and credo and not much specifically about their services and value proposition. I think they should put specific clients in their heads and then set up marketing materials that explain that. I think they should have a price sheet, client testimonials and a clear mission statement that captures their business briefly.

I think they should tell their story – they manage your “stuff”, they sell your stuff and give you the proceeds, they donate your stuff if it doesn’t sell, they recycle your stuff to charities that are in desperate need and as a VERY last resort, they take the rest of your stuff to the dump. They LOVE to make things neat and organized. They light up when they talk about helping people. They want to help their employees have more opportunities. 

I think that they should concentrate on making business arrangement with people who can help them generate leads in bulk. Realtors are a great source of business for these guys – they DO NOT have to get two quotes, Realtors do not want the cheapest vendors (Realtors want to provide value BUT they also want to provide their clients with a high quality service). There are free ways for them to market to Realtors including setting up an Active Rain blog. Realtors allow them to use economies of scale – there are LOTS of realtors and they tend to share great vendors when they find them!

I will keep everyone up to date with how Cassandra and Lani are doing – I REALLY believe in the service they offer and am excited about their environemental policies!!!

Small Business Marketing Case Study – Body and Mind Enrichment

So I met with a GREAT gal this week – Emily with Body and Mind Enrichment. She won our drawing at the WIN (Women in Networking) Symposium for a free Marketing Plan! 

Mary Dado of Business Writing, Ink and I started out by taking a tour of all the plants Emily has around her house that she uses in organic natural products that she makes like bug spray, itchy creams, ointments, oils, scrubs and LOTS more. I used her bug spray and itch cream – it is all natural (very nice!) and has a fresh, woodsy smell because it is made of herbs!! Emily also composts and makes things like tea from lemongrass.

Emily’s life is dedicated to healthy living through eating, exercising and working WITH nature!

We talked with her for a while and worked on her mission statement (still in progress) and discovered that she has been keeping the different parts of her business separate (pilates instruction, natural products and overall health instruction). Through analyzing her favorite clients we found that it was people she helped with their WHOLE lives that she most enjoys working with. We also discovered that she does her best lead generating by attending networking events and having a table. She needed to have some materials that she can put on the table that show her products, her services and that tell people what she likes to do. It is VERY hard to sell concepts like healthy living without showing pictures of how that looks. We decided that she would use a collage format for her materials and I heard from Emily just today that she got a tri-fold flyer together for her first show today (I will keep you updated on how that went!)

We also talked about her website (www.bodyandmindenrichment.org) which is not something that Emily is married to keeping in it’s current format. We will probably convert this to a blog where Emily can talk about her healthy living philosophy, her products and her services. 

Some neat things that Emily does or can do that could help differentiate her –

  • She does a group meeting that features vodka infused with herbs (this one I can get on board with…:)
  • I just saw today on Best Friends (Dog Town) that there is such a thing as catnip bubbles to play with Kittys – I think this would be a GREAT way to reach people who are dog and cat lovers without their having to be health oriented! 
  • With a blog Emily could reach MANY more people with her ideas and also grow a following, making her an expert in healthy living
I will let you guys know how everything works out for Emily! Mary and I have agreed to help her since she is SUCH a wonderful soul and has such great enthusiasm for her business!!!

What makes you a expert? Small Business Success!

Small business success! So you think you are an expert? Who says? Sometimes people are “crowned” an expert on TV, Doctors are experts through training and education, and sometimes you can join a business association or get a designation within your industry.

More often than not though, it is what you DO that makes you an expert!

Books – Conventional wisdom says that if you want to become an expert on something read 3 books. That seems a little light to me BUT if you read three books and it sparks you to read 2 magazines and visit 5 associated websites AND talk to a human, I think you can consider yourself an expert.

Time – If you like something for long enough you will be come and expert! My father has a VW “Thing”. It is old and he doesn’t drive it very often BUT he has had it for a while so he has gone to VW meetups, he gets catalogs, he has read A LOT about it, he used to get a VW magazine. He knows A LOT about an obscure car that few people care about.

Interest – We think of computer guys as nerds, they think of themselves as geeks! They are REALLY interested in computers and how to make them work. They have websites like SlashDot.com where they can gather for the latest geeky news. They have causes like “Open Source” which means that everyone can contribute to programs to make them better because they have access to the source code. The great programmers that I know have rarely taken a computer science class. They don’t have time for it because they are too busy playing around on their computers!

Channels – You can even PICK what you might be interested in! I work with two great realtors who have decided to focus on Short Sales. Julia Fishel (The Pinellas Peach) works these in the Palm Harbor area and Deb Ward who works them in the middle of Pinellas County (ComeToClearwater.com). The interesting thing is that they are only about 10 miles apart BUT because of the nature of real estate are not direct competitors! Both have taken every class they can to learn about the current rules of short sales, they have found a great title company who can support them (Star Title) and they are actively looking for that kind of work!

Because I Said So – This is the one that seems the hardest to get a handle on! To be an expert, you just have to say that you are an expert and it will become so. If people think you are an expert, it makes you want to find out more about your chosen topic so you don’t look like a schmoe when people ask you about it. You will start to get mail about that subject. You should start a blog. You could join an association. But most of all the universe will say “dang this woman likes marketing and training, let’s give her some opportunities to do both!”.

Do Something – Make sure to do something (preferably everyday) that reinforces your expertise, write a blog post, attend an event where you tell people what you do, send out a direct mail piece that tells people what you do, SING IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!

Convergence – When Need Meets Timing!

So, I know that you have all been thinking about Convergence and what it means to your business? Right? Okay, well maybe not but it is important to your sales!

I was talking with a small business owner the other day and she said she felt more comfortable in a consultative role with her clients (her semi-exact quote is “I have never SOLD anyone anything, I help them figure out their needs and then help them achieve them”.

Well I think we can all benefit from that attitude, but at the end of the day EVERY business owner has to sell something to survive! From the top of wall street to the small business owner, we are in business to SELL something!

Okay, how does convergence matter to selling? Convergence (according to Wikipedia} “denotes the approach toward a definite value, as time goes on; or to a definite point, a common view or opinion, or toward a fixed or equilibrium state.” Holy buckets batman! What it means to me is the meeting of needs with a product.

As you can see in the graphic below, it is a movement from satisfaction with the status quo on through some pain to a buying decision. 

Convergence Slide
Convergence Slide

How about some example to clear things up!

Grocery Stores – In my area we used to have Albertson’s grocery stores. Now given a choice of ALL the grocery stores around the country, I would choose Wegmans but they are not in my area so I used to shop at Albertsons. I was in the green light for Albertsons. If they stayed the way they were, offering low prices, specials and half way decent service I would have continued to shop there indefinitely. They closed – sigh. So now I have to find a new grocery store (pain) and so I chose Publix. Not as cheap, cleaner and better service.

Web Browsers – I used Internet Explorer and Firefox until recently (these are different programs for accessing the internet). About a month ago Firefox did an update (that I hated) about the same time as Google offered a new browser Chrome. Well I tried the new browser and I like it! It has some great google features in addition to all the things that I had liked about Firefox. I would NOT have been in the market for a new browser had Firefox not made my back button big (I know – a stupid reason to switch) but since I was, Chrome came out at a good time for me to adopt it.

Homebuyers – My husband and I are considering moving to Colorado (our move is NOT a sure thing at this point) so I am going on websites to try and see what houses are available in the couple of towns we think we MIGHT like to live in. I DO NOT need to talk to a realtor at this point so I have not registered with any websites. I am in the green area of need, but there is no pain. Say that Johnny’s transfer comes through and he moves out there ahead of me, leaving me with 2 dogs, a cat, a mother-in-law and 2 more dogs. THAT IS PAIN! I will be SERIOUSLY motivated to find a realtor – RIGHT NOW – and get house hunting.

In each of these cases a change happens to the status quo of a buyer’s life. It is VERY hard to make enough noise in the marketplace to cause a change to people who are satisfied with a product that is working great for them BUT if they have a broken product or system OR no product or system and pain happens, they will be looking for help. 

This is where you come in with your direct mail, websites and emails. If you have been talking to that person about how your product, service or store can help them solve their problems, you can capitalize on their need! If you have built a great website that is easy to find on the search engines with lots of information about your product, services or store, they will find you and approach you for help. 

Make sure your marketing house is in order so that you can capitalize on changes in the marketplace that will occur in your favor! Advertise to people who MIGHT need your services so that when they DO need your services you are ready to sell them something!