Have You Been Putting Out The Wrong Signals? Updating Your Authority Marketing Empire

Authority Marketing Bad Hair Day - Wide

When was the last time you looked at your authority marketing “stuff”. If you are doing a lot of marketing and content creation, you are probably like me! I tend to put a whole bunch out there and then keep on trucking along, not thinking about all the nibbles out there that are no longer correct, but which are still in the search engines waiting to be found. Or in my auto responder emails that get sent automatically, and don’t even start on my social media “about me’s”.

Today let’s talk about updating all the “bits” in your authority marketing empire. I am in the process of doing this so I have a pretty good list of things that need fixing and in what order!

Public About Us

It is widely known that anyone who is looking to hire you or buy a substantial product from you will probably be checking out your “About Us” page on your website. Additionally, it is generally the longest page on that contains bits about you and how you want to present yourself to the world.

Some things that you might want to have are:

  • What you do now
  • Past experience
  • Personal history
  • Social Media links
  • Pictures

I keep this one updated the best so that I can use this as the place to grab all of my words and descriptions for my other Abouts.

Pro Tips

  1. I have my name www.TaraJacobsen.com pointing to the About Us page on my website. It is super easy for me to remember when I want to send someone there, plus it makes me rank really well for my name!
  2. Even though it is About You, make sure that the person coming to your site to check you out can see About Them. How what you do for people like them will help! It’s the old What’s In It For Them thing!
  3. If you need a hand working through your about us bits, our book, Advanced Sales Strategy: How To Craft Your Unique Selling Proposition is a great resource to get your wheels turning!

Social Profiles

Social profiles vary in length, but oftentimes they will have a “short description” and a “long description”. These are easy to pull out from your regular about us page, making sure that you are hitting the highest points for your potential customer rather than putting what is cute or irrelevant to them.

Some social profiles to look at:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Facebook page
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Google Plus
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Amazon
  • Good Reads

Pro Tips

  1. Your LinkedIn one is the most important to success on that platform. Here is a post about how to optimize your LinkedIn Profile perfectly!

Website Pages

Beyond your About Us page, you need to look at your website pages that rank the most highly. I use Google Analytics to track my traffic. Functionally what you need to do is go to your analytics program and check out the top 10-20 pages that people visit on your website. Then methodically go through and make sure all these bits are in order:

  • The content – make sure that what is on that page is congruent with what you are selling today
  • Calls to action – if these are your top pages, please make sure you have something for them to do next like sign up for your list or check out your products

Pro Tip:

While it can seem easier to go through all your pages at the same time, that will freak Google the heck out! I don’t really change more than 10% of my site or content per month so that Google doesn’t penalize me for being too different. Remember, these are your best traffic pages, so don’t mess that up by being a bull in a China shop. Be a sniper and pick them off one at a time!


Called many things like autoresponders, drip campaigns or even marketing automation if you are all fancy, these are the messages you send out when someone signs up for your lists.

Now, when you go and look you might make yourself totally crazy and want to sit and bang your head against the desk. These are generally painful to set up in the first place so oftentimes we spend more time on the mechanics of them and less time on making sure they are amazing and up-to-date.

Start with your most popular autoresponder and work your way back through them, filling in the blanks and making them AMAZING.

Pro Tip

  1. If you are prolific with lots of ideas (like I am), then you probably have lots of things out there. It can seem daunting but just start at the beginning and muddle through.
  2. It doesn’t matter if you do all of these at once, the autoresponder company will not be upset if you make sweeping changes.

Keeping Your House In Order

It would be awesome to think that you will never have to do this again, that you can spend a huge amount of time and get it absolutely perfect. But that is probably not the case. Most entrepreneurs go through a number of iterations and even if you think you are set in stone, there might be some changes in the future.

Don’t worry about that now, just get in the habit of swinging by all your stuff from to time-to-time to see if it is look spiffy (and right for right now!)

Business Strategy, Motivation and Everything Falling Apart

Business Strategy, Motivation and Everything Falling ApartToday’s post is a little different… instead of talking about what we could do as marketers, I wanted to share a little bit about what I am doing and how it is making me a better business person, Mom and money maker.

The Back Story

So I have been in business for myself for a long time. About 15 years ago my dream job with the perfect boss got sold to another company and I was on the streets. My future husband at the time was okay with me starting my own business and so I set out to do SEO and make websites. That was mildly successful, then I contracted to a manufacturing company, had a couple of jobs over the years when times were tight and we needed stupid things like insurance and say a steady income.

A dip into real estate told me that I was good at it but definitely did not love the day-to-day problems that come with being a Realtor so I went back to my first love, marketing and we have been together ever since.

Now, over the years I have tried lots of different business models, services, products and other things to make money and have been 6 figures successful, but with a lot of work and lots of expenses. But that was okay. It was just Johnny and I and I could spend a weekend working if I wanted to!

Enter the kids! We were fortunate to adopt three kids and boy did everything get turned upside down! Instead of all the time in the world, now I had to guard every second religiously. I started some amazing and fun things that I couldn’t keep up because they took time away from what I had to focus on right now, family and getting it all together.

Flailing Around

So I coach a lot of entrepreneurs and none of them will be surprised to learn that from time it is easy to get off track, running down too many roads or not being crystal clear about what will work so you are doing a bunch of “stuff” and getting nowhere.

That is how I have felt for a little while. I have been doing four or five different things okay-ish but with no real strong center and goal. I have “tried” some things and seen some results but have definitely dabbled around without a clear goal.

Then I had a opportunity present itself. I could spend some time with a person who would be able to really help move my business forward, but what the hell would I tell him I do? Would I sit there with the list of all my little bits and be just frozen? Hell no! I needed to get a business strategy in place…:)

Time Management - What I Could Do

So I drank my own Koolaid. I had an offsite meeting with myself and sat down to write all the things that I could or was currently doing. I measured 4 metrics…

Smiley, straight or sad. Did doing that work make me happy (smiley face), not bother me or neutral (straight face) or sad (frowny face). Now I had done this with tasks before and I am pretty good with what I like to do and what I am good at, but this was deeper. It went more to the heart of what I wanted to do with my next five years or so.

Stars. The next thing I did was to assign stars to the tasks and see which things I felt innately good at doing. This was between no stars (meaning I suck at it), one half a star (meaning I can do it but it is not an innate skill) and a whole star (I am great at it!).

Money. Next came whether doing something would cost money or make money. Now some of the things will cost money to ultimately make money like doing Pinterest marketing, but for this little bit I just wanted to know if it was a good money maker or not.

Time. Last, and maybe most important to me, was time. Would it take a lot of time or a little to time to implement the idea, product or sales channel.

Now doing this process was not fun. I had to take my own personal biases for what I thought I liked to do and set them aside and try to be sure to focus only on my actual feelings and interest in things. Seeing them all together helped too. If something was not a happy face, made little money and took time to figure out, well that got put WAY back on the list of things that I had to worry about.

Based on this list and the things that I like to do, I have come up with my Three Squares of focus (that is from my coaching program, it just means the three business things that I am going to focus on)…

  • Social Media Clients – I have clients currently and love them, but I will not be prospecting for any new ones.
  • Selling Affiliate Products – I have done this in the past in dribs and drabs but will now have it as a focus.
  • One-On-One Coaching – Now this isn’t the most money around, but it is good for me time-wise and it is a total “I like it” and “I am good at it” kind of thing.

Bah ha! I am good right? I can just head off into the sunset and start working…..NOPE!

Now I have to break down the things that I will do to support that in another round of happy, sad, etc. These would include things like making videos, writing blog posts, etc. that I can do to support my two main areas of focus.

Once I have that done, I can schedule my time to make those things a priority and jettison all the rest.

Why This Makes Me So Happy

So as we draw to a close, I just want to let you know why this warms the cockles of my heart. First off, I have the ability to control my work time. The things I chose can be scheduled around when I CAN work rather than when I have to work. I can do a blog post at 5AM if the house is quiet and do posting for my clients mid-morning when I am not as on it.

I can also control my income more because instead of gathering up all the little crumbs and bits, I can focus on doing things that feed into the sales funnels for just those two areas of my business.

I can plan tasks. The one thing that scares us entrepreneurs more than anything else is boredom, so fortunately I am not going to be bored. I can create a hierarchy of things to do easily based on how well or how poorly they support my efforts in just those two areas.

Some of the famLast but not least, I feel like I can go talk to the knowledgable person without looking like an insane disorganized mess. Honestly, my business wasn’t such a mess, it was how I FELT about what I was doing that was the problem. I mostly work with super successful people like myself who are great at doing things and less good at understanding why we do them or channeling energy into the right places to maximize success!

I hope a peek into my world helps you to get a grip on your business strategy! That process of sitting down and taking an inventory is super effective and helpful. Please let me know if you need help, I have a great small business coaching program that will help walk you through some these kinds of focusing exercises.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

Small Business Coaching and Motivation

3 Ways To Target Key Influencers In Your Industry

So today we are going to be talking about key influencers. These are people in your industry or other influential people who potentially help your business.

(please note in a first world marketing problem, my “assistant” Sammy asks to be let out towards the end of the video!)

How Many Key Influencers Should You Target?

I like to have 100-150 on each of my influencer lists. Now I say each because I have a number of different target markets like Realtors, Authors and then general business peeps. If you are just starting out, having one list will be just fine!

Isn’t this stalking?

So I often get people who are hesitant to use this marketing method. They hem and haw and tell me why they couldn’t possibly be so blatant about targeting people who could help their business.

I get that, but at the end of the day, my IMF list is not necessarily about helping me. It does eventually, but mostly it is a way to make sure that I am loving on the people who provided me value first.

To give you an idea of this in practice…here are some of my IMFs

Three Ways To Target Key Influencers In Your IndustryChris Brogan – I am not really sure how I initially found Chris, but I have bought a number of his courses and all of his books over the years. The value I get from his “stuff” is a drop in the bucket compared to what I have learned from him.

Seth Godin – Now Seth is a super busy guy who sends back really short email messages, but if you email he DOES talk back. Anytime I can share his new book, support his Kickstarter or do anything nice to help him I am totally on board!

The Self Publishing Podcast Guys – When my writing partner and I started writing books I needed to know how to do the publishing. After dinking around for a bit I found the most amazing podcast done by three guys, Johnny, Sean and Dave. Over the years I have supported them by sharing their Kickstarters, buying their membership and other fun bits. Then just the end of last year they became my clients and now I know, know them…what could be more wonderful than that!?!?!?

Methods of targeting influencers mentioned in the video

Twitter Lists – These are super easy to set up and use for targeting your peeps. Just make your list and then check in everyday to see if your influencers have posted anything good you can share or if they have retweeted anyone cool you can refollow.

Paper.li – This is a really neat, free way to find great content to post that originated with your influencers. Make sure you @mention them when you are posting something you found through them.

Bloglovin – A super cool way to see what they have posted on their website in a easy to categorize and follow program. Oh and it is free! This is a blog feed reader that works like Google Reader did before they shut it down.

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

My Top 10 Time Management Tips

My Top 10 Time Management TipsI have spent a lot of time and money studying all the best time management practices out there. I am very regimented with my scheduling and time and it has created a huge amount of freedom in my life! Even if you just cringed when you read that, please take a couple of minutes to hear me out!

This is Part 2 of a three part time management series, please make sure to check out the other two posts, Minding Your To Do List – Everything Can Not Be An Emergency and Planner Manners | How To Make Time For What Is Important In Your Life.

1. Write down your goals

You cannot manage your time unless you know without a doubt what is important to you. Not what you think you should want, or what your business looks like today but a rock solid list of goals that you want. I write these down on a daily basis as a series of affirmations, you can write them however you like. Mine today are:

  • I make $10,000 / month passive income
  • I make $5,000 / month from coaching clients
  • I sell 100 marketing workbooks a month
  • There is plenty of money for kids and crafts
  • I get 50,000 hits a month on my website
  • I speak 4X per month locally
  • I speak 6X per year nationally
  • I have 5 passive sales funnels
  • I work with clients I love
  • I have 100 coaching clients

2. Goals without timelines are dreams

So you can write down all the goals you want, but if there are no timelines associated with them, they are dreams. For example, I can say that I want to have 50,000 hits on my website a month…but with no timeline for getting there it is just a wish. Right now I have about 20,000 hits per month so I am aiming to increase that to 30K by May and then 40K by September. With that kind of momentum I should be able to push until the end of the year and get my goal!

3. Put pen to paper

So once you have your goals written and your timelines set, you need to break down your goals into actual tasks that will get you there. For each of your 10 goals, break down the steps that you need to take to get there. These can be as big or as small as you like, just do whatever you are most comfortable with!

4. DO something everyday

Then everyday do one of the small tasks towards your goals. If you don’t consciously think about your goals and then DO something everyday, life will happen and your goals will slip out of your hands. It is super easy to have a list of small tasks that will get you to your goals and do one every day!

5. To do lists instead of wish lists

This is about your everyday. We can all make huge lists of things that we could or might do. One of my friends used to have a 50 item “to do” list everyday. Now, she never actually got all those things done so every day she felt like a failure. She didn’t have a “to do” list, she had a wish list. Don’t do that to yourself!

I like to have a list of three things each day that I HAVE to get done. Then I add a couple more and that is about it. I don’t try to fill up my days knowing that there will be other things that come up during the day that will take up my time.

6. There are only so many hours in a day

Each of us has our own time challenges and I have to say that this is my greatest downfall. I am a great one for adding and adding and adding and never subtracting anything. I will add a blog post a day, a book a week, a podcast, quote graphics and a million other tasks without ever taking anything away.

With this one, you need to look at your goals and then what you need to do to get you to those goals. Is everything on your “have to do” list something that still moves you toward those goals or can you cut out some old dead wood of to dos that don’t really need to be done anymore.

Additionally, you need to do the one in, one out like there is with regular organizing. If you add something on a daily or weekly basis then you HAVE to take away an equal amount of time from something else.

7. Ruthlessly say no

All of this time management goodness pivots on doing what you have set as your goals. There will aways be other people who will have things that they think you should do. While it is nice to work with other people, you have to keep your eye on the prize of your business and your life.

The one biggest problem I see with entrepreneurs is that they want to help other people AND that they love fun and interesting new ideas. The problem with those two things together is that it is easy to get off track with your goals and get onto a new track with someone else’s goals. Don’t do that.

Yes check out new opportunities, but don’t it at the expense of your own goals and business.

8. Only do what you want

This is kind of opposite of doing what other people want. A lot of the time we put what we are really good at last on the list of things to do. Because it feels so easy and right, we ignore it or just don’t focus on it. For example, I am a prolific writer, but because it comes so easy it is easy for me to think that it is not important, or that I can to do it “whenever”.

If you have a special skill, don’t ignore it. Make sure to make it a big part of your business. Doing what you are good at will make your life better everyday!

9. Be nice to yourself

If you are reading this, there is a chance that you are struggling with time yourself. It is really important that you don’t beat yourself up. You can’t change anything about your time in the past, you have to just be sure to be mindful of your time going forward.

There is a really neat lady who does cleaning help (flylady.net) and she says, “you are not behind, just start where you are”. This works for cleaning your house and also for cleaning up your time management. All the troubles you had in the past can go away starting today. All you have to do is decide that you are going to be better at time starting today.

10. Time management is FREEDOM

I started this by saying that because I have my time so structured, I have freedom. Let me explain that now. Because I schedule everything so religiously, I have work time when I work and play time when I play. I can go out to lunch with a client or friend and not feel guilty. I can play “hookey” on a Tuesday afternoon without getting behind because I know how much time I need to spend to get my work done.

When you control your time you are master of your own domain. You call the shots and you can make every day a “WIN!”

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

Renaissance Entrepreneurs – Multi Channel Marketing

Renaissance Entrepreneurs - Multi Channel Marketing

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

Definition of a Renaissance Man

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

Definition of a Renaissance Entrepreneur

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

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

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

History of Renaissance Entrepreneurs

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

Leonardo da Vinci

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

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

facts about Leonardo from Wikipedia

Benjamin Franklin

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

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

facts about Benjamin from Wikipedia

Who Are Multi Channel Entrepreneurs

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

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

Umbrella or Theme

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

Venn Diagram of Entrepreneurs

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

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

The Internet and Big Content

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

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

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

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

Pitfalls To Being A Multi Channel Entrepreneur

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

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

Have To Have Focus (Three Things)

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

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

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

Old Dead Stuff Lying Around

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

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

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

NOT Failure

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

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

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

Changing the World

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

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

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

The Starfish Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Things To Focus On When You Are Updating Your WordPress Website | Website Design

4 Things To Focus On When You Are Updating Your WordPress Website | Website Design

Website design is one of the things that I accidentally know how to do. Back in 2001 when I officially started my marketing company (it was called 4D Marketing back then) I needed to get work and making websites seemed like it would be a great idea. I had a working knowledge of how to make them and a little bit of creativity and so BAM…I made HTML websites. Fast forward to 2008 and I started making blogs until today…the pinnacle of my website design happiness, I revised the look and feel of my website for the last time!

The Back Story

Okay, I am an entrepreneur and so I like to mess with my “stuff”. That said, I had made the last change to my website in haste, listening to a bunch of different people who said I had to be more “corporate” and “business-like” in my presentation. Because I was going through colossal sized changes at the time and didn’t have an idea for myself what I wanted, I went with the boilerplate, stuffy, stock photo extravaganza you see on the left. I sorta hated it…not just because it wasn’t pretty or fun, but because all that corporate-ness made it hard for my peeps to find anything they needed to use.

The rest of this post is about how I made the site of my dreams come true…:)

Updating Your WordPress Website

#1 Thing – Figure out the looks and feel

Big Stock Photo ExampleOne of the reasons that I can say that I am done changing my site, at least for a while, is that I took a fair amount of time to figure out exactly what I wanted my site to look like. I decided on the fun colors of pink, blue, yellow and green used in a “Garanimals” way. For those of you too young to remember, Garanimals were clothes that all matched if you put the blue bears together or the yellow lions.

The way that I did that was to pick a color palette already done by an artist onBig Stock Photo. I did not have to design the color scheme or banners that I used, I could just pull them down and pop them in. If you are working with a web designer, they will probably be happy if you can be specific about things like this that give them clues to what you like.

Photography. I also know for a fact that more women come to my site, watch my webinars and read my books than men. With that in mind I really just wanted to make sure that the majority of the pictures would appeal to women.

WordPress. I picked a Genesis theme that was close enough to what I wanted and then spent ALL my time developing graphics that would make the theme pop. The slider at the top has just 4 pictures but it is beautiful and eye catching. The sidebar has LOTS of color and I use the 8 little dots in a row to divide things all over the site.

#2 Thing – Stop Worrying About Looks And Start Worrying About Functionality

Having worked with lots of clients in the the past on their websites, I can tell you that they spend WAY too much time worrying about what goes where and how the search bar looks. Stop worrying about looks and figure out what you want your website to do!

While I was focused on making the site pretty, mostly I wanted to make sure that people could find what they were looking for. With that in mind I started the navigation buttons with the 4 types of people I work with, Entrepreneurs, Realtors, Startups and Authors, Speakers and Coaches. Niching down always feels funny and it did to me too! I like working with Manufacturers (a group that does need the “corporate” looking website to feel okay about working with me), but at the end of the day something has to go and they got axed.

Next comes quick links to my products. I had to cut some things there too so I axed all my services. No more setting up websites or doing social media, I am moving to a coaching, my products and affiliate based model (this was necessitated by adopting 3 kids so it was a happy change, but a change none-the-less).

There is also a link to my blog posts with categories. Now, I am pretty well represented in Google, but it doesn’t hurt to let people know how they can read your “stuff”.

Another thing I did was to take a page out of Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income’s website and make a “Start Here” page. With all the blog posts and content I have on the site, it has to be crazy hard to understand without some sort of roadmap. Hopefully adding this page will reduce my bounce rate and keep people on my website longer!

#3 Set Up Consistency

I have built consistency right into my site. I have the little dots that separate the sections and am using just three different fonts predominantly (Times New Roman, Impact and Kabel).

Having this kind of locked down “style guide” structure means that I don’t have to worry that all the bits will start to look cluttered.

Additionally I did the “Garanimals” color scheme meaning that Pink is for Entrepreneurs, Blue is for Realtors, Yellow is for Startups and Green is for Authors, Speakers and Coaches (you can see this in the top banner). The nice thing about this is that I can use this in the handouts I give and the digital products I develop.

#4 Sell Something

Jennifer McGuire WebsiteOne of the BIG reasons I wanted to change the look and feel was that I need to be able to sell more effectively on my website. With the corporate look there wasn’t a way to elegantly add sales banners or calls to action at the bottom of the posts. With this in mind, I added two types of sales functionality that I “borrowed” from the world of scrapbooking ladies (I KNOW, weird right? But these gals are nothing if not dedicated to making their hobbies a money making machine!)

I used a gal named Jennifer McGuire’s site as a template for how I was going to structure my sales pieces. There would be a a bunch of sales items on the right sidebar (which sometimes people don’t see because of “banner blindness”) and also links at the bottom listing the resources that I used in each post.

Now, from a BUSINESS standpoint, I am sure some of you think that this is excessive. It really is just not done that blatantly usually. But that said, I don’t think of the scrapbooking girls “selling” so much as showing me how to do something cool and then giving me a handy-dandy way to order the products right from that post.

I feel that same way about the links I share. I NEVER talk about something that I haven’t used or bought and I just have to tell you when I find something cool, so why not make it easier for you to find it right away?

Conclusion and Question

So there you have it, the redo what’s and why’s. So I have a question for you! What do you think about providing resources this way? Tacky or helpful? Please let me know in the comments below!

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead

Case Study – Event Marketing (Donna Thornton)

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

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

Donna Thornton – Psychic Medium Channel

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

What Donna Likes To Do

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

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

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

Who Would Buy What She Is Selling

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


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

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

Marketing Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want More? Get The Workbook!

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

>> Check out the Marketing Strategy Guide today!

Marketing Like It Is 1999! | Entrepreneur Marketing

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

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

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

Offline Marketing Tips and Tricks for Entrepreneurs

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

Marketing Strategy Workbook

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Personal Notes

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

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

The Real Truth – How Internet Marketing Supports Offline Marketing

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

Resources On My Website

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

Creative Cloud

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

Stock Photography and Small Print Runs

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

Email List

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

Social Media Circles

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Should You Write Your Blog Posts For Google or Social Media?

Content Marketing - Should You Write Blog Posts for Google or Social Media?The question of whether to write for Google or social has been banging around in my head a lot lately when thinking about content marketing. The happy, friendly answer of course is that you can write great content that does BOTH…big smiley face. But I am not really sure it is possible to do Google and social well.

This question came to mind a couple of different ways:

First: I did a really neat search on Similar Web for this blog, Marketingartfully.com. They had some good “stuff” that was presented in a pretty manner but what came glaring out at me was that 75% of all of my visitors come from Google search traffic.

75% Google Search Traffic

Now that amounts to a fair bit of traffic so YAY! But my numbers from Social were deplorable…

6% from social

and that is with me and my business partner sharing these posts on our HUGE social networks. So I started thinking…what the hell is going on here?!?!?!

Second: We set up a fair amount of blogs for our clients and they always want to get to the first page of Google for words like “Tampa Real Estate” or “Best Restaurant Denver”.

In the first case, they would have to build a giant site, garner a ton of real backlinks and take a relatively long time to get there. There are already other sites who have done that work for years and there is no way to jump to the front of the line.

The other kind of client is thinking about ranking well for a search term that doesn’t come up all that often in search. Currently Google is showing NO traffic for the keyword “best restaurant denver”. Now, that doesn’t mean there is no traffic at all, just not consistent traffic. Mostly when I want to find a great restaurant I will check Yelp first (they have a real scoring system, not just who is best at SEO) or ask my friends on Google+ or Facebook.

Lastly: My biz partner and I have talked for years about how we get traffic to our respective websites. She always used PLR (Private Label Rights) or duplicate content which is not Google-cool. She is a much better social media marketer than I am, sharing and building interesting networks of real people (I talk about marketing all the time so my real friends tend to try to be supportive but sometimes roll their eyes a lot!).

Long story short, in today’s world there is no one “right” way to do it and there are things that crossover, but I am a staking a claim – your one little blog post can’t be great for search and social at the same time! You have to pick a side!!!

Let’s start at the top – Headline

Google search results for entrepreneur marketingGoogle likes factually correct headlines with words to match search. As you can see here, all the results for the search “entrepreneur marketing” have those exact words somewhere in the title. Now I have heard like everyone else that Google killed SEO and now it understands words so you can just write about any old thing and it will figure out you mean “entrepreneur marketing”, but a couple of minutes on the search engine will show you these kinds of results for your industry!

Social. That is all well and good but knowing that most people who are going to find and share your post to social media will not take the time to rewrite your headline to make it more interesting does not bode well for our factually correct headline words. I like the fact that Vala added a personal endorsement on his post, but none of those headlines would really jump out at me in a buzzfeed kind of way. You can see that there are many hashtags (#entrepreneur) and @mentions but are those enough to counteract the bland dryness of the good for Google headlines?

Twitter headline listings

Buzzfeed-style sharable headlines are more along the lines of scandal, intrigue or mystery…

Buzzfeed headlines

Now, maybe I could write scandalous marketing headlines that would be intriguing AND search friendly, but would serious business people who are actually looking for marketing help really respond to that? I don’t really think so.

– – – A break for blatant social media link baiting – – –
Click To Tweet >>
SCANDALOUS Blog Post Reveals The Secret Behind The #SocialMedia versus #Google Controversy [JK] http://ctt.ec/sf3dq+

– – – Now back to our regularly scheduled programming – – –

Next comes content

Google generally adds up all the content in the blog post and figures out if what you say you are talking about in your headline is what you are actually talking about in your post. They also check to see if the user “bounces” meaning that they see the search result, click the link to the post and then come right back to check another search out.

While it is true that you could do a super fun headline like “Funny Realtor Postcards that will make you laugh so hard you pee your pants“, at the end of the day it is up to your content to support that title. The funny realtor postcards blog post is actually about how to have cute headlines for your print marketing, but I am not sure they are THAT funny.

I can only assume that someone seeing that title in social would expect pictures of postcards and not be thinking about reading a 1,000 word blog post on how to do direct mail marketing.

Pictures matter

There are at least 5 different sizes of pictures that you need to satisfy social. (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+). Pinterest likes a really tall photo that spans a couple of rows of listings (like the one at the top of this post!) and Google Plus likes a really wide post that they will make huge in the feeds like this.

Google wide photo

If you are primarily considering sharing your picture to social, you want to give enough information in the picture that someone could get the idea of what you are talking about just by looking at it THEN you want to make sure the words on the picture match the content of the blog post.

Plain jane social media pictureIf you are just writing a blog and not sharing it socially, then any old picture will work (or you could even skip the photo entirely). This is good enough to give you an idea that we are talking about social media and that is about all we are trying to accomplish.

Should You Write Blog Posts For Social Media or GoogleThis one though is great for sharing. It is 1200X800 so it will be big enough to show up well if shared on the social sites and anyone seeing it will know that it is about social and that it is a blog post about content marketing.

That is just the tip of the iceburg about pictures for social (it is such a big topic we wrote a whole book about it!)

Can you do both?

I really do try to make my blog posts Google friendly, fore-going social stuff. That said, it is pretty easy to make the graphics “social friendly” too. At the end of the day I am much more concerned with making Google happy than making social happy which shows up in my deplorable social numbers!

Do you try to do social or Google in your content marketing? Please leave a comment below to let me know!!

Buy The Book!

Graphic Design For Social Media Marketing EbookGraphic Design for Social Media Marketing

If you are checking this book out, you have probably figured out that pictures and good design matter to marketing, that your marketing efforts are becoming more and more image based, and that you HAVE to get with the program and start doing better, prettier, more compelling pictures in order to keep up.

The cool thing is that with just a few “tweaks” you can take your graphics from amateur to brilliant and this book will show you exactly how! We talk extensively about how images can capture a mood or evoke a feeling immediately, how to position text on an image to create impact, and generally how to make your marketing marvelous with pictures and graphics.

>> Get it on Amazon!!!


How To Sell A $97 Strategy Session – This One Is For Larry!

How to sell a $97 dollar strategy sessionThis post is about how to sell a $97 dollar consulting or strategy session.

You are going to see the length and wonder what the heck is so hard about doing this, but this is actually a piece for one of my all time favorite clients who is EXPLODING in his business recently and ready to take the next steps to make more money (and strangely enough, it will not be $97 at a time!)

Not A Money Maker

If you are doing a $97 consultation, even if it is for just an hour, you cannot do or source enough of them to make big bucks. Think about it…40 hours a week, $97 a hour times 52 weeks in the year IS just over $200,000…but…you are probably not a machine that can spit out great information on demand or keep too many stories in your head all at once. You will also have to do marketing and lead generation, administration and business development.

So why do a $97 session? It is basically to weed out the people who are tire-kicking or just fishing and find the diamonds in the rough.

Why So Much Resistance

In our coaching business, we find that many of our “peeps” are super resistant to doing this, and maybe not for the reason you think. Here are some common reasons they give for not being comfortable:

Realtors/Real Estate Investors – Larry works with real estate investors from the US and around the globe. He has an amazing real estate investing website and has recently started writing for a very highly regarded real estate investing magazine. On his site and in his popular newsletter he says constantly that people can call him with any questions, that he is available anytime. Very few people call, and the ones that do are mostly at the very end of sales cycle and are ready to talk money, but it seems to be taking them a long time to get there. One huge factor holding Larry back is that in the real estate industry, Realtors work for free until a deal is closed and he isn’t sure that someone will be willing to pay him for his time and expertise before being ready to close a transaction.

Direct Sales – We have another client who works in the direct sales industry (MLM). She has been a top recruiter for many years on a national level and her expertise is a highly coveted skill. That said, she feels really funny about charging people for her time. Mostly she works just with the people who are in her downline and puts charity time in working with people who belong to her company but are not in her downline. She has seen other people work with MLMers and charge for it, but it is hard to get her head around why someone would pay her money and how that would help grow her direct sales business.

Who Am I To Talk?

So you are on my site reading this so you probably know that I am pretty good at marketing, but what you may not know is that for years all my lead generating was done on a semi-paid model. I would give free talks around town or where ever I happened to be and offer the people in the room a $97 consult. I never did “coffees” or one-on-ones because I can’t help myself, I tell whoever I am with all about what they should do marketing-wise and if I met with 20 people informally I would get paid $0 and have wasted my time.

I say that I wasted my time because I am in business and the goal of being in business is to make money, not to help random strangers. Helping out people with no thought of payment is a non-profit model and I am a for profit business. Additionally, they got the ideas and concepts for free, so they assigned that exact value to them, $0, and didn’t really do anything with them.

Over the years I have talked to close to 1,000 small business owners and learned the back end workings of their businesses. Their motivations, goals and dreams which means that I can now help even more people do even better work in their business. While I no longer do $97 consults, I am super happy that I got all those chances to talk to people, building up my experience and their businesses.

The Real End Result

Enough about me, back to charging money for your time. So let’s look at Larry and his real estate investors. There are probably a few reasons they are not just calling him:

  • They really feel like they are going to be bothering him so they don’t call
  • They feel like if he is willing to talk to them for free, how good can the info be
  • They are so early in the process they would be “wasting his time” reaching out right now

It is funny that 2/3 of those involve people being considerate of Larry and his time. The people who are his best prospects really are happy that he is giving them great information on his site and in his newsletter, they respect his opinion and are just waiting until they are ready to pull the trigger before reaching out to him.

The problem is that some of them will never have enough information to make an investment, they will spend years and years, gathering information and never buy a property. Some other ones will read Larry’s stuff religiously, but not wanting to bother him, will pay someone else so they can have their questions answered and that guy will get the sale because he will have established rapport and been helpful on a personal level.

Strategy Sessions Instead of Consults

Consulting is experiencing a lack of respect and interest right now. People are sick of consultants who swoop in, talk-talk-talk and run out. We like to position our talks as strategy sessions because they are. We are not just throwing out info but making sure to put it together in a cohesive whole.

Another nice thing is that a strategy session feels like it should lead to another. You might want to offer them another session at a later date or even get them into a coaching program.

How To Set Up A $97 Strategy Session

Because I wrote this post for Larry, I know he was polite enough to read all the way through (aren’t you?!?!?) but what he really wanted was the meat, the step by step guide to how to make a $97 strategy session available!

1. Make A Page On Your Website – Write out what you are offering

I always gave them about 7 examples of things that we could talk about, but basically you don’t to have so much there that they rule themselves out because you don’t have their exact problem listed or so little that they don’t see a reason to give you $97.

2. You don’t need to put too much about you!

Probably you are selling your $97 strategy session at a speaking event, on your website or in your newsletter. All places where they already know how cool you are so keep the “about me” to a couple of key highlights.

3. You need a payment processing thingy (that is the technical term)

To start, we recommend using Paypal.com. Here is a BRILLIANT tutorial about how to put a PayPal button on your site. You just needs parts one and two! This functionally allows people to pay you, you will get notifications and they will get a receipt.

4. Thank you page

You want to have a Thank You page that explains what happens next (PayPal will let you designate this when you set up your button). This page should tell them EXACTLY what is going to happen next so they don’t worry that they just wasted their money.

I tend to tell them:

1. How long it will be before someone contacts them to set up their time (within one business day)
2. Who will call them (my gal Shell)
3. My phone number in case they have

here is my actual thank you page

5. A few graphics

If you are going to do this, do it right. Get with Fiverr.com person and have them make two or three graphics that will be on your page. You want a little bit of a variety so that you can share different things on social media and in your newsletter and people won’t get banner blindness (seeing the same thing over and over).

You should also have a call to action button on the sidebar of your website saying that they can “set up a time to call” or some other fun verbiage.

6. A sales sheet

It is important to have an on-site signup form anytime that you are giving a talk. You want to let them know that they can hire you. This one is a very gentle offer, all we are asking for is their name and email address. Oftentimes we would have a credit card signup sheet.

$97 Marketing consult


That is it! It looks like it has a lot of moving parts but is actually pretty straight forward and easy to do. If you would like help to figure out your business or marketing efforts, check out our Marketing Strategy Sessions!


The last thing I want to leave you with is the actual reason that you are doing these strategy sessions. You should have some real things that you are going to sell AFTER the fact. Now, that does not mean that your hour should be dedicated to selling something else. You should spend the whole time talking to your customer and finding out what they need.

After that you might find out that they need a product that you are an affiliate for, you might find out that they are ready for some ongoing training or they may be ready to start investing in real estate, they just needed some one-on-one time to figure that out.

IF they have additional needs and the money to spend on those, it is your responsibility to help them figure that out. You are not “selling, selling, selling”, you are really “helping, helping, helping”.


Podcast Marketing For Beginners – What To Do When You Are Starting Out

Podcast Marketing For Beginners -What To Do When You Are Starting OutAs you know I am a total marketing freak and I can speak super intelligently about many different types of marketing (public speaking, networking, graphic design, blogging, social media, SEO and about a gagillion more things). That said, I never had a podcast so I don’t feel like an expert at podcast this point by any stretch of the word.

I don’t know everything (yet) about podcast marketing, but what I do know about is the challenges and frustrations of hearing and reading bits from AMAZING podcasters who started years ago who now give totally different suggestions than than what they actually did to be successful. I think this happens in every business so I WILL have an amazing podcast with thousands of downloads someday in the not so distant future, but this is what I am doing just as we start out.

If you would like to hear more about our “journey” through podcasting startup, I will have that below!

1. Don’t just look at iTunes

I am a Apple fanatic, iPhone, MacBook Air, iPad and all. OF COURSE I was going to put our podcast on iTunes, but what do all those android users do to listen? I looked around to some of the blogs of amazing podcasters I liked and they had their shows on iTunes AND Stitcher. The cool thing is once you have that RSS feed thingy done, adding your podcast to other services is a breeze!

Here is our show on iTunes and on Stitcher.

2. Podcast graphics on your websites

Make sure the iTunes podcast and Stitcher podcast graphics are on all your websites, not just your podcast site (more about that later).

Podcasts are not mainstream yet, even though you may be consuming them like a mad person. BUT people who like podcasts REALLY like podcasts and will see your download on iTunes or available on Stitcher graphics in the top right.

Don’t get cute about them, much like the Twitter logo generally leads to a site’s Twitter account, your podcast buttons should lead directly to where they can find your shows to subscribe.

3. Have a separate website

I totally lucked into this one. We were messing around trying to figure out which of our “real” websites to use to host the show on, thinking that it didn’t matter all that much. Come to find out your show feed IS the thing that makes your iTunes and Stitcher bits work. I would not want the hassles of trying to keep my podcast feed separate from the hundreds of other posts that I have on Marketing Artfully..ack.

Additionally, I couldn’t figure out how to make it a great user experience for our listeners. If it was tucked in this site or the MandM Monsters site, they would have to hunt for it instead of it being right out there, front and center! >> check out our AMAZING Marketing Podcast website

4. Don’t forget what you already know!

Putting a keyword targeted link in there made me realize that oftentimes we discover a new technology or start a new project and want to learn all the “secret tricks” about how to do that one thing better. Instead, you should look in your bag of goodies and see what you are already good at (SEO, social media, networking) and make sure to use those skills when you are marketing your podcast!

5. Don’t listen to what they say, do what they did

So my secret crush, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, has a STUPENDOUS “setting up a podcast” post, that made our initial setup so much easier. But he said something in there that made me realize this post needed to be written. Pat makes thousands of dollars and had a gagillion downloads of his podcast. He has worked for years to build it up to what it is and is a raging success. BUT he says things like, “if I had it to do all over again I would..”

We have gotten most of our best ideas from listening and copying successful podcasters. Our intro is a compilation of a bunch of different starts that we like, the format was figured out by listening to a LOT of podcasts and figuring out what we like listening to. We put certain graphics on because we had stalked other podcasters and seen what we liked.

When you are figuring out your podcast, don’t think you have to make ALL the mistakes others have made, emulate the shows that you like and take the best bits from each!

6. Start right away, don’t wait to have 4-5 “in the can”

I feel like all these people who say, “if I had it all to do it all over again I would work less, have more balance, start it perfectly, do it this or that way” are being genuine but misguided. Pat said he would have waited to start until he had a bunch of podcasts done before launching. But that would have changed everything. Maybe he would have gotten one less opportunity or missed being featured on a site or other podcast that made a huge difference.

DON’T listen to them, start when you have your first one. It will be horrible and you will cringe in a year when you hear it, but it will be out there in the world. It will be an opportunity for someone to find you that will not happen if you are waiting for perfect. It will also force you to get all the pieces of your marketing together all at once instead of waiting weeks or months to get them done. There is nothing like being under the gun to make things happen!

7. You need to have more than a podcast on your posts!

Now we are getting into marketing instead of “podcast marketing”. On our first podcast blog post we forgot everything we know about marketing and made a bunch of mistakes. We are going to leave it that way so you can see our problems!

While we do have a video that people can watch and a player for the show episode, there are MANY things missing! (see the “right” way to do it here, on our “perfect” podcast blog post example)

A graphic that people can share on social media. You should have a separate graphic for each of your shows. It should be branded with your podcast but should also be unique enough that you can tell them apart. For these first few ones where it is just Rebekah and I, I used pictures of us with the M&M Monster branding and the iTunes and Stitcher icons so people know it is a podcast.

Content, words, heck anything for Google to index. On the first post I was so excited (overwhelmed) that I just wanted to get ANYTHING out there. That said, you can’t grow a blog without any words on the page for Google to index and we want the chance at least for that blog to rank well in search engines for topics we talk about on our shows.

Resources. There is nothing worse than listening to a podcast or Google hangout and not being able to figure out what the hosts said and how to find the things they are talking about. I am going to try to get WAY better about writing notes so that I don’t have to listen to every show in its entirety.

8. Any format you have!

Some people like video (hangouts), some people like audio (podcasts) and some people like to read (transcripts of the show). Make sure you are offering every format that will make everyone happy. YES, it takes a little longer but it will serve you well in the end.

9. Google Hangouts

We struggled with wanting to do podcasts until we figured out we could just do a hangout and then whizzy-wig the recording into an audio format. The benefit of doing a hangout and then recording it is that you are letting people see you and get to know you in a way that is not possible when just hearing your voice (more about this later).

Our Podcast Story

If you had some amazing a-ha ideas while reading the podcast marketing bits, I don’t mind if you leave now and get to work, but I did want to at least once tell you about our podcasting journey!

For a few years now (don’t let it take you this long!) I have been hearing about podcasts and just never jumped in the pond. Then a few months ago I figured out how to make iTunes work and started listening like a madwoman. There are some great podcasters out there and I got to “know” lots of them through hearing them talk to “me” each week. Now I know that they aren’t actually talking to me personally, but by listening week after week I got to learn about them and their lives, really feeling like they were a friend who told me neat things.

But I still didn’t want to just do a podcast. It seemed like a lot of work and I didn’t have anyone to do it with. Then my biz partner and I went to conference and heard about using Google hangouts to feed a podcast and the lights went on! I have been wanting to do more real videos where you don’t just hear my voice, but you get to see me too. That said, we have tried the “sit down in front of a video camera” or taping our events and neither one of those was right either. It was just too contrived and not something that I could maintain over a course of months or years.

But doing Google Hangouts is easy. It is using the camera on my laptop and then the Google just puts that recording right on my YouTube channel! I am doing it with a friend so I don’t have to look at myself and cringe every time I see a bump or a wrinkle, I just watch her and she just watches me.

We are not worrying about them being heinous and weird. They are not perfect and that is okay, I am sure they will get better and we will make more money and get a better backdrop…but for now good enough is good enough! We are so out in front of the game that we will win.

We give great content in a niche that is not talked about all that much…finding your perfect customer who will buy and buy. We are VERY knowledgable and already know that people like our “stuff”, we are just able to broadcast it the whole world now.

It is supporting our books. We are writing a business book a week for a year and have creeping up success but this should supercharge those sales.

It is free. The wonderful, weird part of this whole thing is that besides the $15 a month fee for hosting the audio files, this is all free to do. We take our time, use Google, iTunes, Stitcher and a number of other sites and bam we are broadcasters. Think of back in the day what the cost would be to do a “TV show” and record CDs to send out. The expense and time required would have put it out of reach for many of the people who are succeeding today.

The dorky ending. I am not a real emoter except with my friends and family. You are not going to find passionate talk about how I help people or what my dreams are (I do things and have them, just I don’t talk about them here). But if there is one thing that I wish for all my entrepreneur marketing peeps it is this…figure out how to make this work for you! Start an accounting podcast or a direct sales hangout or a funeral home show. Yes it will take time, but the rewards that you will get in the long term are something that you can’t even imagine today.

You WILL be the same person in a year, but where you are and what you have accomplished will be different. Make a difference starting today.

If this helped at all and you would like to help back a little bit, please signup for our podcasts on either iTunes or Stitcher. Bonus points if you leave a review!!! Please let me know about it in the comments and I will do something nice for you too!!!

Entrepreneur Marketing – Keep Moving Forward

Entrepreneur Marketing - Keep Moving ForwardWhoo whoo! This week is an amazing week to be an entrepreneur (she says jumping up and down, clicking her heels and giggling like a school girl)! This week we finally got on track, the gears are all turning and everything is coming together. This is a very good week to be in business.

So how do I know that this is a good week? Because last week was not so great. We were pounding out what to do with some little bits here and little bits there that were not coming together. We hadn’t heard from a client and worried that we were getting dumped, we had opportunities that did not match our vision (we really weren’t sure what our vision was but knew that those were not them!)

If you are an entrepreneur I know that you have had my “last weeks”, but have you ever had a this week? One were you KNEW you were getting somewhere? Cherish that feeling because it is usually followed by a lot of hard work to implement all your gloriousness!!!

Ideas are not strategies

My marketing partner, Rebekah, hates that we call one of our talks 100 Free Marketing Ideas. She loves the talk but hates that we use the term “ideas”. Ideas are for suckers is pretty much her take on it. Entrepreneurs can churn out ideas a dime a dozen. She wishes that we would talk to them about important things like strategies, systems and implementation (all things that I love too by the way). Just having given the talk about a million times so far, I know that free ideas get butts in seats at events and so we stick with ideas.

That said, you SHOULD have ideas, but it is implementing those ideas as strategies that will make your business better. And not half ass implementing of a million things, pick three rock star ideas and then run with them. I say three because entrepreneurs are categorically incapable of having just one idea. That feels too limiting and way less fun than chasing after a bunch of different things all at once, driving yourself nuts, right?!?!

So what are our ideas?

We have a strategy for exposure, for reaching beyond the limits of our current client base, for moving beyond the borders of our state lines and going big, like worldwide sensation big. Okay, that sensation part is not really true, we really want to help way more people, in way less time for a fair price WHILE getting to hang out together in fabulous places like New York, London, Dublin and other cultural and interesting cities.

We have tried many things that are not quite that like:

TINY CHEAP CLASSES. Holding in person classes in the Denver area for a small amount of money and a huge amount of time. We did this mainly so we could get to spend time together talking about marketing and make some money. Problem was that the effort required to put on these classes (securing a room, marketing the heck out of them, attending to teach, splitting the profits) meant that we were making barely above minimum wage for a highly skilled and valuable product. We tried taping them and selling them, but because of the interactive nature, they didn’t come across great on videos.

FREE NETWORKING GROUPS. Rebekah’s background is in promotions and networking so having free networking events is not hard, the mechanics are in place and hey, how much time could they take? Well we are back to the promotions, marketing and wrong clientele of it all.

SPEAKING LOCALLY. We still speak locally to small groups, colleges and the like, but that cannot be our only avenue for exposure. If we want to make it to London, we are going to have to get beyond Centennial CO and be out in the world, spreading the marketing word!

MEMBERSHIP SITE. I made membership site years ago and packed it with tons of great content. It took about 4 months of back breaking labor, but I bought into the whole, “you can get recurring revenue every month”…yeah right. I sold about 20 of them and then was on the hook to keep producing content every month to make them happy…sigh. I do not like things that I have to commit for years for.

COACHING PROGRAMS. So a couple years ago I got caught up in a sales pitch and bought a coaching program from someone who said they could help with speaking. Come to find out it was a coaching program about coaching programs. That was not my passion, but I did think, “well what could it hurt?” Holy buckets am I a bad coach. I am a great accountability person. I am a great masterminder. I am a great ideas gal. I am not great at meeting with someone on a weekly or monthly basis and building them up, holding their hand and telling them everything will be alright. I feel bad about taking someone’s money so they can feel good that they are “doing something” if that something is just hiring me but not changing in any way.

There are lots more, been there, done thats like the “recurring revenue from a newsletter”, affiliate marketing that worked for a while but then they changed our salesperson and we never sold another one, the list goes on and on.

What is your theme?

So why have I told you all the bits of our business that were not working? Hopefully you can write down all of your experience like that in a row, enumerating all your efforts (not failures) to see if there is a theme to them. Here is our theme…

1. We love working with entrepreneurs
2. We love teaching entrepreneurs
3. We love talking about marketing
4. We want to reach more people with less time
5. We want to hang out together
6. We want to make money

Over and over we came up with ideas that accomplished some of those things. We would teach and not make money, or we would make money but not reach as many people or we would….well you get the point. What you should do now is figure out what the main idea of all your great ideas that you implemented poorly was and write them down.

Moving forward

This all sounds horrible. Like we have been flailing around with no direction and have failed over and over. Do not get me wrong, at the time these all made us money but did feel like failures, like we wasted our time and were never going to figure it all out. Then a lightbulb went off this year. We could still do all those things, maybe not in same ways but in some way, so “what to do, what to do?”

As Barbara Corcoran says, “There’s great power in moving forward, whether you’re moving in the right direction or not. At least you’re moving forward.”

So now we have our three things. Three ways we are currently lead generating, helping entrepreneurs and working together. They are all doable, accomplish our goals and will add to the business world in ways that we can be proud of.

Writing a book a week for a year. I didn’t say they were easy! We are writing a business book a week for a whole year. We are about a third of the way there right now and there is nothing that is going to stop us from hitting that goal. We KNOW we are going to make some money on the book sales but that is not the point. The point is that we have already been offered numerous speaking opportunities, a book deal from a real publisher and a great deal of advice from people who say we are stupid and wasting our time. They do not understand that this actually a part of a larger plan. If you have your strategy and know what you are doing ignore the nay-sayers. They are too busy worrying about you to build their business.

Starting an internet show. We put our first internet show in the can this week. It is live on YouTube (we are using Google Hangouts to record it) and will be in the iTunes store as soon as they approve our account. The website is up and running and ready to go. This fulfills our helping entrepreneurs and spending time together. What it also does is allow us to highlight a book a week and sell more book and consulting services.

Selling courses. Remember the giant membership site debacle? Well that soured me for YEARS about making big, giant courses that take eons to make and sell well only if you are devoted to them alone and get hundreds of partners to beat the street in your name. But what about little courses? Based on our books? WHA WHA…the clouds parted and the sun shone through. We are recording the first videos today.

Seriously, this post is just for me. One day that seems to be glorious, where everything is lined up and I can see the future so clearly that I should be wearing sunglasses. My wish for you today is that you stop, look at what you have done, what you are doing now and what could change your life for the better in the future. If you figure it out, please let me know! You can comment, send an email or an owl, whatever it takes, just let me know you have made up here with me!!

100 Quick Marketing Activities You Can Do TODAY!

100 Quick Marketing Activities You Can Do TODAY!Marketing is all about doing something…writing a book, making a sales page, posting to social media. But honestly, our biggest marketing “wins” coming from forward movement, just doing some kind of Marketing Activity instead of waiting until everything is perfect.

This is list of marketing tactics…each is a little nibble of something you can do if you have 5 minutes between doing important things. Our huge marketing empires are made up of all these little moments.

If you like this, you will love our 100 Free Marketing Ideas sheet which is much more structured and could help more with a plan.

Social Media Marketing Activities

  • Check your profile and business banners, are they looking good or should you order new ones?
  • Order new social media banners on Fiverr.com
  • Share different people’s social media profiles once a day for a month “introducing” them to your lists
  • Give someone you just met Klout, share that to your Twitter to give them love
  • Follow 100 people on Twitter who could buy what you are selling
  • Research your hashtags on hashtagify.me
  • Set up a Twitter ad
  • Make a Twitter list of influential people you can follow and share their stuff
  • Download our Twitter Cheat Sheet and start using special characters in your posts
  • Like 5 business pages on Facebook, you have to comment on one of their posts to get credit
  • Upload a movie to your business page, wait 30 minutes and share it to your profile
  • Check the sidebar ads to see what they are doing
  • Accept your friend requests on Facebook, post something nice to their wall that is not self serving
  • Figure out what your biggest prospect likes and share a post which they would like that has nothing to with your business on your wall, tagging them
  • Pin 5 pins on your favorite Pinterest board from the internet helping someone else
  • Repin 10 pins on Pinterest
  • Check and see if your board pictures are the prettiest one you can pick, if not, fix it
  • Make sure your most import boards on Pinterest are at the top or the bottom (the middle is for “stuff”)
  • Follow 50 people on Google+
  • Sort your Google circles so they have no more than 99 people in each
  • Email a post to a Google circle
  • Use hashtags in your Google+ posts
  • Upload a video directly to Google+
  • Like 10 people’s posts
  • Join a community that you are interested in and circle all the member (you have to participate)
  • Accept all your invites on LinkedIn
  • Join 5 groups who have people like your prospects
  • Like 5 peoples posts
  • Write a recommendation a day for a month

Video Activities

  • Shoot a quick video of something interesting from your cell phone and upload it to YouTube (do that every day for a month!)
  • Start a playlist of something interesting and add 5 videos
  • See if your 5 favorite industry leaders have a channel, subscribe
  • Make it your mission to see if you can one of your videos to 1,000 views
  • Learn to use Jing or Screencast-o-matic.com (yes! it takes about 5 minutes to figure out)
  • Make a channel trailer for your YouTube channel, be real and tell people what you do!
  • Try Google Hangouts and see how easy it is

Posting Pictures

  • Take a picture a day and post it to Instagram
  • Tag your Instagram pictures with hashtags
  • Follow 5 Instagram people you want to do business with
  • Like 5 Instagram pictures
  • Make a quick quote with pictures in PicMonkey.com
  • Make a quick quote with pictures using the Word Swag app on your iPhone
  • Make a post with quotes and pictures on your blog


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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!


  • 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


  • 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


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.


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!


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!

Entrepreneur Marketing For Startups – If It Sounds Too Good To Be True

Entrepreneur Marketing - Startup warningEntrepreneur Marketing is one of the most predatory areas of marketing today.

Fleecing “newbies” out of their hard earned money is big business and we are here to tell our entrepreneur friends some hard truths (that might just save them some money and time!)

The 10K A Month Pipe Dream

Internet marketers (the people who are selling the “gold rush” and “get rich quick” systems of success are not stupid. In fact they are some of the smartest people in marketing today. They have spent millions of dollars to find out which exact triggers will cause you to hit buy, hoping that this time they are telling the truth about how much you will make.

One of the best converting triggers is to promise that you will make $10K a month. Studies have shown that this is “the dream”. The six figure income that everyone wants to hit.

While I agree that this is a great goal, the chances that you will make $10,000 a month if you are making very little or nothing right now is slim.

No List, No Site, No Problem

Another biggie in the internet marketing world is to say that you don’t need to have any assets to make money. That you can start with nothing and make millions.

When have you ever heard of this working in real life? When someone sat on the couch, dreaming of owning a franchise and raking in the big bucks. Or an author who has a book in their head and is a best selling author.

If you have no assets, digital or otherwise, it is going to be very hard to build up anyone’s business but the person selling the product. Oftentimes this kind of scheme involves you sharing their content on social or with your few connected friends. This works (for them) because they get hundreds or thousands of people to share their product with a few friends, adding up to a huge campaign for them and little money for you.

People Making The Course

Which brings us to the real reason most internet marketing courses are developed. To make money. That is the only reason. It is not some altruistic need to help “the little guy” or the wanting to “share it”. It is capitalism pure and simple.

They are making something that will make them money.

So are we bashing capitalism, heck no. What we are bashing is the hyperbolic sales messages and the packaging of crap to sell at a profit to people who are desperate and want to believe in miracles.

Circle Jerk

If you belong to any internet marketing lists, you will notice that there is a “launch” every couple of weeks (or days). All of the guys and gals with big lists will send out the latest and greatest amazing course to their list, knowing that their pals will send out their course the next week or next month.

The first thing that annoys me is that they hardly ever even take the time to change the subject line of the emails. This happens for a couple of reasons. Laziness on their part, they just copy and paste to their list and make money. Also, the people launching these products have spent a lot of money to have great copywriters find out what will trigger sales. Oftentimes they leave them intact because they know it will make you open it (and maybe buy).

It Used To Work

One last bit on the downside of many of these programs. Do you really think that someone who is making internet millions is going to “share the secret” with people who will be competing with them and driving up the cost of business?

Say someone knows the secret to getting $.10 clicks on Facebook. If they sell a course to 1,000 people in their niche and those people all start buying ads, the cost per click will go up as competition increases.

Instead they make their money and take all those screen captures of their money making success. Then once that starts to cost more naturally, they package their “system” and sell a course using techniques that used to work, but which are not as effective anymore.

Good Guys

I am sorry to say that being an entrepreneur is hard work. You will have to work hard and the chances of you going from zero to $10K a month in days are non-existant, but building a strong sustainable business is possible.

There are some truly good guys and gals in the marketplace. Here are a few that we know tell the truth and building strong, sustainable businesses helping entrepreneurs succeed.

  • The M&M Monsters are dedicated to working with entrepreneurs to get them started off on the right track. We do marketing strategy sessions that are affordable and effective.
  • good guys
  • Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income is a great guy who has built up an amazing affiliate business and who shares his tips with his podcast listeners.
  • Self Publishing Podcast – Sean and Johnny are an amazing resource if you are thinking of writing and publishing your own book.
  • Perry Marshall – If you are going to be doing Adwords, you need to start with Perry Marshall. He is the master of adwords marketing and has helped us often over the years.
  • Internet Business Mastery is where to start if you are just getting into affiliate marketing. This is a great post that talks about what we did here!
  • Joel Comm is a super successful internet marketer who is a great person to follow as he shares A LOT of great information.

We have spent years working with entrepreneurs and know that you can make it! You can have the life of your dreams and be hugely successful doing work you love. All it takes is time, patience and hard work. We know that you have it in you and all you need is a little push in the right direction!

Get Some Real Entrepreneur Marketing Help!

Entrepreneur Marketing - Start up strategy session bannerWe have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, helping them to get a real startup marketing plan in place and getting their businesses up and running faster than they ever thought possible! There is no secret to being a great entrepreneur, just having solid plan and executing it effectively every day…see how now!

Marketing Training Courses and Tools

Marketing Mini Courses

MMCTEM-Social-BannerIf you are having any kind of event, the most important thing that you need to do is get “butts in seats!”

These can be actual people in real life or virtual visitors if your event is of the online variety, but at the end of the day, if no one knows about your event, no one can come to it!

Topic covered include: Your event page, graphics for your event (including a FREE tool for making AMAZING post pictures), messages, hashtags and scheduling.

>> Find out more

Free Marketing Courses

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

100 Free Marketing IdeasThis 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

Entrepreneur Marketing…Going General Will Bite You In The Ass

Entrepreneur Marketing Bite You In The AssEntrepreneur marketing is not about throwing up a site, getting some followers on social media and selling your heart out. In today’s day and age, entrepreneur marketing is ALL about figuring out EXACTLY what you are selling and pairing it with what “they” want and giving it to them!

Pick A Niche

One of the things that I notice when I am out in the field speaking is that most small biz owners don’t want to eliminate anyone as a potential client so they go REALLY broad and shallow when describing their business. Realtors will talk about working with buyers and sellers, luxury and condos, functionally if you fog a mirror, they will take you out in the car. Now, don’t go getting all sanctimonious about those realtors, most small biz people that I see standing up in networking talk about ALL of the things that they could do, but not a lot about a really tight target.

The best thing about having a tight target is that people can refer to you. If you are a financial services person and you say basically the same thing that all the other financial services people are saying, there is no way I can thin you out from the crowd. Now, if you say that you work with families who have children in the 9th or 10th grade who did not plan for their children’s college education…that I can get all on board with. I KNOW people with kids that age because my daughter is that age and now I know who to be looking for to help you!

The second best thing about a tight target is that the person you are talking will have their reticular activator turned on and are ready to pick someone that they can refer you to!

Your reticular activator turns on when you are focusing on something actively…say you are thinking about buying a red jeep, all of a sudden there are red jeeps all over the road. Did they just have a sale on red jeeps? Nope, you just started noticing them! This works the same for your referral partners, clients and friends. If they KNOW that you like to work with newlyweds, all of a sudden they notice that there are newlyweds everywhere who they can refer to you!

Stop Selling Everything

You are thinking that this is like a pick a niche but it is not! I can’t tell you how many times I hear something like,

“I moved here from Baton Rouge last year (GREAT OPENING) and own a call center that hooks up small business owners with prospects (SOUNDS GOOD, WHEELS ARE TURNING TO HELP THIS GUY), but today I am here to tell you that I just opened a nail salon and have an amazing nail tech who can….(BLOODY HELL, WHAT IS HE SAYING?)

LOTS of entrepreneurs read my blog. We are truly special people who do have the bandwidth to accomplish more in a day than most people do in a week. BUT, we confuse the hell out of our business partners, friends and family when we are not super clear about what we are selling. We frustrate them when we have diverse interests and try to pursue them all at once. And, like this guy, we shoot ourselves in the foot when we confuse our prospects by not having a clear goal of what we are selling.

Even if you have diverse businesses, don’t talk about them in the same session. Pick the one that will resonate best with the person or people you are speaking to and stick with that one thing.

What’s In It For Them

I KNOW, you are sick of hearing about this one but honestly the whole world has changed and the old ways are dead. If you are trying to tell anyone about your company or your products, you are probably dead in the water before you start.

Instead you should be helping people, sharing your expertise and adding value at every step. The days of standing up in networking and saying, “I am looking for someone who…” are gone. The marketplace is too crowded and people are overwhelmed by THOUSANDS of marketing messages everyday.

So what should you do when you have a chance to talk? Should you just stand there and look silly? NO!

Stand up and HELP, give a tip about your industry, tell something that you found out which could help someone in the room, tell a story that could benefit your listeners, give a shoutout to someone else during your time (especially in leads groups where you KNOW KNOW the people in the room well already).

People are so sick of marketing and advertising being shouted at them that when a message comes through with sincerity and true caring it shines like the sun. Just by caring you can set yourself WAY apart from the crowd and cut through the chatter.

Entrepreneur Marketing – Marketing Focus…what are your three most important things?

Business Focus - Three ThingsOkay, if you have followed me for any period of time you know that I think that you should only have three main focuses (focusi?) for your business and your entrepreneur marketing. Because most entrepreneurs are a little ADD and jump around, I strongly suggest that my clients pick three things for three months at a time!

For me right now that is Speaking and Authoring a book, client work and…this is a big one for me…affiliate marketing!

So I was sitting around the other day (at my computer “working”, but work without focus is just sitting) trying to figure out what to do next and I thought, “a ha, I will do some client work”. Then I was still sitting and checking my email and social media….more sitting and finally I started writing a blog post, but then someone called and I had to some more client work.

Now client work IS one of the three things I HAVE to do (it puts food on the table for kitty), BUT it is not something that ONLY I can do. Wait, you mean that there are other people who can do tasks better than I can when I don’t love them…um…YES!

So here it is…DO THIS!

Figure out the three things in your business that only YOU can do. In my business these are the three:

  • Write blogs
  • Write email courses
  • Make videos and pictures

These three things get us the most traffic to our websites. Get us the most opportunities to speak. Get us the most referral links to our affiliate programs. So…

End of conversation. These are the three things I have to do BEFORE I do anything else EVERY DAY.

Go ahead and write your three things…I will be here waiting when you get back! (queue the Jeopardy theme song)

Now, get yourself a piece of colored paper like I did and write them big and bold. Put them up where you can see them ALL DAY while you work. When you find yourself straying into other things, ask yourself, “am I done with my three things” and if not, “is there someone else who could do the non-three things”.


I have to say that if you asked me the three easiest things to do in my business I would cite the same list. I KNOW blogs work because I have been pounding them out for years and like getting the chance to research or write them. I make videos about what I see as things people are missing in their marketing and I am a graphic artist so making pictures is actually fun for me.

BECAUSE they are all easy for me, sometimes it feels like “cheating” to spend my days doing them. There is so much other “stuff” that needs to be done that “just” working on my important things feels like shirking my duties or playing hokey!


Write your three things. Do them first every day for a week. See what happens. Tell me about it (I LOVE hearing how people’s lives change with little tweeks!)

Tweet this out – just click the link and your Twitter will pop up!

  • [AWESOME BLOG POST] What three things can only YOU do for your biz? tweet this
  • Blog post :: figure out your three things & all the rest falls into place! tweet this
  • Marketing Focus…what are your three most important things? tweet this

Entrepreneur Marketing – For Heavens Sake DO SOMETHING

Entrepreneur Marketing - For Heaven's Sake Just Do SomethingToday’s post is just an observation about what I see going on. I watch A LOT of entrepreneurs who are gung ho about their business, fire in the belly, moving and shaking it until….wah wah wah. I feel like I have to address this right now…entrepreneur marketing, for heaven’s sake DO SOMETHING!

I love the angel in this picture. I bought it from a stock photo place and when this guy (or gal) gets up this morning they are going to be ASTOUNDED that someone actually bought the tatty angel with a wrinkly gown. BUT this is exactly what I am talking about. Instead of second-guessing whether anyone would buy it, they put it out there! Okay…on to the meat!

Learning too much

Splitting your time and attentionI am a learner, listener, tryer. I spend A LOT of money buying training for myself and my staff. I think that one of the reasons I am so successful is that I am constantly figuring out new things and testing them. That said, I see problems, BIG problems.

In my world, occasionally two classes will come out at the same time and I buy both. Being human, I like one more than the other and do it more, BUT still try to watch and implement a little of the other one so as not to have wasted my money. Splitting your time and attention, even with the best of intentions always winds up with two things done poorly instead of just one!

I have also seen many entrepreneurs spend days, months and even YEARS waiting until they know enough to start. QUIT IT. Learn enough to get going and then try. If it was a zero sum game and the world stood still while you were getting ready, that would be fine. But all the stuff that you are learning now probably has a shelf life and if you don’t try now, it may have no value in 6 months or a year.

Go all in

Sorta, kinda trying to have a business is different than throwing your heart and soul into something. Starting out, you HAVE to give it everything you have. You have to take the time and put all your energy into whatever you are doing. I talk to a lot of people who are half-in. They are checking it out until it works or something better comes along. Have you seen a lot of Olympic athletes who are “trying” to be good? Nope! They are spending 6 to 8 hours a day in the pool, busting their asses.

If you are not passionate, I mean REALLY excited about your business, stop and do something else. Get a job, pick something else or figure out what you would love to do but stop torturing yourself. Life is too short to be an entrepreneur who isn’t in love with their business.

Quitting too fast

So you have a dream. You are busting your ass and…nothing. You have been working for two whole months and not seeing any results on your social or your website. Nobody has jumped up to hire you. Well, two months or six months or even a year working at something is normal. I KNOW, you have gotten those emails about how a guy (never someone you know) who had no website, no list and is making $1,000 a day. Those are marketing emails not real life. If you are trying and setting a groundwork, success will come, I promise! Stop going for the quick hit and start a real business.

Quitting too slowly

A good idea executed poorlyNow for the opposite. If you are not selling anything it may mean that there is not an audience for what you are selling. Could be that you need to get more specific or that the marketplace has just rejected whatever you are offering at the price you are charging.

Years ago I was selling an AMAZING service, one that I would have bought without thinking twice. That said, we could never get above 38 subscribers per month no matter how much effort we put in. Shutting it down felt like failing but in hindsight it opened up our time and energy to do something that would actually work.

Today I have learned that I should try something, see if there is interest and then if there is, sky rocket it and reach even more people.

Not planning

Last but not least is planning. My marketing partner (AKA the Media Monster, Rebekah Welch) and I sit down EVERY WEEK for at least 3 hours and talk about what we are doing right now, how it is in line with our business model and deciding what to have done by the following week. Now don’t get me wrong, we have a 5 year plan and a 2 year plan BUT you would be surprised at how random strangeness creeps into your business. Just this week we had to make a hard decision to stop doing in-person classes. Our business has outgrown them (YAY) but they are something that we really enjoyed and felt benefited our peeps. That said, they don’t match what we are doing now.

Now, you might say that if we like it and they like it, what does it hurt. After all, we are just talking about one afternoon a month right? Well there is writing the sales copy, creating the content, promoting the class, losing our planning time for that week, following up and a bunch of other time that goes along with it. PLUS the psychic energy used on something that is not moving us forward is can actually hold us back!

Take a hard look at what you “have” to do for your business. Are there any things that you do because you have always done them or they seemed to make sense a while ago? If so, STOP IT!

BONUS – Stop worrying so much

What makes the dawn come up like thunder? COURAGE!I find that some entrepreneurs are REALLY concerned about what they are putting out. They read and re-read every post. They have an editor look at it and revise it to within an inch of its life. They panic if something goes out wrong and send followup emails apologizing for being such an idiot.

Well…in my world, doing ANYTHING is better than doing nothing. Just this week I put out a quote with picture that I LOVED. It was a cowardly lion quote and epitomizes my feelings about courage. I posted it to the Facebook and watched the views and shares roll in. THEN I noticed that it had a mis-spelling. Instead of stressing about it, taking it down and losing all the social love, I just said, oh well.

I put out enough great content and it was such an amazing picture that no one even noticed (or if they did they didn’t tell me!) PLUS, I did something. Instead of putting out one perfect picture, I have put out 4 pictures this week, all of which have gotten social hits and broadened my reach. Stop worrying and start doing!

Entrepreneur Marketing – The Problems With Entrepreneurs

While I am all about entrepreneur marketing, I also have a strong affinity for entrepreneurs (being one myself!) With that in mind, when I was asked to be a mentor at a Startup Weekend Workshop here in Denver, I jumped on the chance.

Startup Weekend - Entrepreneur MarketingBasically, the Startup Weekend gang gets a whole bunch of entrepreneurs in a room, ask for startup business ideas, vote for the six or seven they are going to develop and then run with them for 72 hours. The mentors are there to provide help and shoot holes in the ideas. Now, this was my first one and I did not know I would be so intrigued so I signed up for just a half a day. In the future I would do an all day gig, just to be able to see the progression and the passion these people had!

The cool thing was that there were developers and programmers there who would be actually building parts of these ideas for the final presentation. Also, the head honcho for that event was a total rockstar who was able to keep the mentors on track, helping the entrepreneurs add value without throwing our opinions about what they should be doing into the mix (too much).

So what about the problems with entrepreneurs?

The most interesting thing about hearing these snapshot business plans was the fact that the same problems kept coming up over and over. Here are the top ones, and as an entrepreneur, I KNOW I have fallen prey to them a time or two myself!

What is the problem that you are solving? or Solutions In Search Of Problems This is a biggie. Building something that is AMAZING which there is not a problem for is a sure recipe for disaster. For example, years ago we launched a program to give Realtors content for their newsletters, emails and phone calls. While we did get a little traction, it was, all-in-all a failure. While the content was great and the concept brilliant, the Realtors didn’t really want to send newsletters and emails out. They were busy doing their business and our solution did not fit into what they were actually doing. Not only were we forcing them to do something that they weren’t excited about, it made more work for them…sigh.

The Customer Is Not You! When you are going about your business and then come up with a brilliant, “I WOULD PAY GOOD MONEY FOR THIS” or “DAMN I WOULD FIND THIS DATA HELPFUL”, you are not checking to see if anyone else (let alone LOTS of anyone elses) are interested. One example of this is to collect data about a subject and then try and sell that data without any filtering or analysis. If you are a data hound, the simple act of getting it is enough to make your heart go pitter patter, but for most people, raw data is a waste of money without some help to interpret it. The data guy was sure people would be able to extrapolate from the data because it would be enough for him!

Who Will Pay Having become a business person in the dot com era, this is a big red flag for me! Many of the groups were talking about how an industry would pay or how a single person would pay a subscription. I see this A LOT in my entrepreneurs…they have heard the siren song of, if I just get 1,000 people to pay me ten bucks a month, I will be RICH! OR they see something else in the marketplace that is not as good as what they are developing and think, of course industry will switch over to a better product! If that was the case, many businesses would be using Apples instead of PCs, but getting them all to change over to your product could be a years long task.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice Or No Pain Point This one is closely related to the customer is not you. There are many things that would be nice to have (pantyhose that do not run and balloons that don’t pop come to mind) but which are not practical for the marketplace or even needed. If there is a solution that makes a situation slightly better, then there will probably not be a huge market for it. One of the examples that came to mind was a website that would aggregate all the recipes from all the websites and categorize them. While this would be nice to have, I wouldn’t pay money for it. I LIKE looking around for recipes, pinning them on Pinterest, sharing my friend’s recipes. There are already sites that have THOUSANDS of recipes all in one place and having something paid to lay overtop of those is one of those “wouldn’t it be nice” things that few people would pay for….which leads us to…

Are There Enough People With That Problem? Building a solution to fix a problem 10 people have means that it is going to cost a pretty penny. Building a solution to a problem 1,000,000 people have is also pretty daunting but a least has the chance to be cost effective. If you are just starting out, I would think that targeting a niche market with a good number of people FIRST would be the way to go. Build something that works for some people first and then move on to other niches that could use your product with some slight modification (or maybe just a little different target marketing!) While it is tempting to build something EVERYONE will need, that often leads to something so watered down that no one wants it.

Overall, I think the mentors were able to help because we had all done or seen the mistakes before. If you are entrepreneurial, you are almost guaranteed to fail from time to time. The key is to dust yourself off and try again when that happens, learning what went wrong so you don’t have to make THAT mistake again!

Entrepreneur Marketing – Preaching to the Converted

Entrepreneur marketing is hard enough, but no one will really tell you what you are doing wrong. I KNOW, having spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours talking to, coaching and teaching entrepreneurs.

Now, just so you know, my kind of entrepreneurs are solopreneurs, small companies and direct sales and network marketing people, not those hard charging, 50 employee, 5 million in sales types (although this still applies to you!!!!)

entrepreneur marketing - preaching to the convertredSo what is preaching to the converted and how does it relate to your small business?

First a bit of a back story…I am from Northwestern Pennsylvania and we have A LOT of sayings and colloquialisms. I am not sure why they are so prevalent, but there you have it.

Preaching to the converted or as it sometimes goes, preaching to the choir, means that you already have someone in your house of worship and what you are telling them is something that they are ready, willing and happy to hear. Religion, for the most part, is a volunteer activity and people who are in church (or mosque or temple) have already made at least a small step towards wanting to hear what the preacher is saying.

Compare this to the faithful who go door to door and try to tell random strangers about their faith. The people in these homes MAY be willing to listen, MAY be at a place in their life when they are ready to make a change or MAY just politely say no thank you and close the door.

Compare the effectiveness of these two models, preaching to the choir and randomly accosting people, one by one, hoping that they are going to buy your message.

So how does this work with entrepreneur marketing?

Yesterday I was speaking at a networking event and a really nice perky lady was giving her 30 second speech. She stood up and talked for a couple of seconds about the features of her product, how famous it was and then said, “and a good client for me would be just about anyone! Everyone needs to have “X” to feel better”. She then sat down and I had NO idea who to refer to her. I KNOW, in her perfect world, I would stop my slothful ways, start worrying about my health, quit smoking and embrace her product and company, but there is as much chance of that as there is that I am going to invite door to door religious people in for a cup of tea and 6 hours of discussion.

Imagine instead, she is at a meeting of athletes (or mom’s of athletes) who are focused on providing the best nutrition and help for their bodies. OR a weight loss group who needs to know that while they are losing weight, they also need to make sure that they are not missing nutrients and other important bits for their bodies. THIS is preaching to the converted. THESE people have raised their hands and said they are at least a little interested in a healthier lifestyle that matches her product offering.

Let’s do another one…this is FUN! Another lady at another networking event consistently says she is looking for anyone with skin! Now she gets a chuckle, which you know I like, but I would be surprised if she get many sales leads or referrals. I KNOW, if she says that, she has the opportunity to sell her product to every human walking on the planet, BUT will every human on the planet really be interested in shelling out $69 for some cream that could help them look prettier? Probably not.

Will most men be interested in this? Probably not and she does not have a national audience to target (men and looking younger is an underserved market for anyone out who wants to know, we did A BUNCH of research for a past client and there is a dearth of products made for men, targeted to men in this arena – and NO, men probably won’t buy a product in a pink bottle, no matter how effective it is!)

So now we have narrowed down everyone with skin to female humans, cutting things in half, but wait, there’s more. Some women actually care about their skin (who knew). As you know, I am not all that interested in healthy living and guess what, I am not all that fussy about my skin. I use makeup when I speak, spend LOTS of money on shea butter, hand cream and good smelling lotions, but as for looking younger, not so much for me. I would think that young women, without any visible lines and wrinkles may not be good candidates either.

If I was that lady, I would target women, between the ages of 40 and 70 who wear makeup and lots of jewelry. These are women who are concerned with personal appearance and who probably have some disposable income to spend on creams and potions to make them look younger.

A final, sort of related note about entrepreneur marketing

Okay so we know WHO we are going to sell to, now where are they? When we are starting out, or launching a new product or service, it can seem like a GREAT idea to start nationally, hell, lets go international! Well if you are this far down, you probably know where I am going with this!

A recent client has licenses in both Florida and New York for their services. When we started the planning for their blog and social media services, they wanted to focus on BOTH New York and Florida, but then said that they could actually do it nationwide so that would be even better.

Now trying to rank for just plain “accounting – 543,000,000 competing websites” or “marketing – 2,360,000,000 that’s right 2 BILLION” competing websites makes no sense what-so-ever. We instead decided to focus on a local area with their services and once we get a foothold there, we might move to other areas – OR, they may be so busy servicing their clients that they do not need other locations (remember, we work with entrepreneurs, not people who want to own the next Price Waterhouse Coopers!).

So…has this explained a little better why entrepreneur marketing is all about choosing a niche, dominating that niche and then moving on to the next group, customer demographics or product type? I hope that you try this next time you are out networking or working on a marketing campaign as it can make a HUGE difference in your success!

Entrepreneur Marketing – Branding and Internet Marketing Verbs (Eponyms)

Entrepreneur marketing is all about getting your branding out there. Recently there have been a whole rash of new internet marketing eponyms that are actually verbs!

Entrepreneur Marketing - Internet marketing EponymsNot to get all grammar-y, but in today’s post we are going to be talking about nouns and verbs. Nouns and verbs (according to Websters Dictionary) are:

Noun: any member of a class of words that typically can be combined with determiners to serve as the subject of a verb, can be interpreted as singular or plural, can be replaced with a pronoun, and refer to an entity, quality, state, action, or concept

Verb: a word that characteristically is the grammatical center of a predicate and expresses an act, occurrence, or mode of being, that in various languages is inflected for agreement with the subject, for tense, for voice, for mood, or for aspect, and that typically has rather full descriptive meaning and characterizing quality but is sometimes nearly devoid of these especially when used as an auxiliary or linking verb

Doh, those are some meaty definitions! How about this, a noun is something that IS and verbs are something you DO! (on a side note, it is no wonder that it is so hard to learn English as a second language!)

Branding From The Past

Branding in the past was more passive. The TV industrial complex told us what we should buy and like good little consumers we ran out there and got what they told us to. Here are some of the branding words from the past (all nouns!)

  • Kleenex – if you had to blow your nose, you reached for a Kleenex, where you were using an actual Kleenex or a Puffs or some other brand
  • Coke – around the country, coke has been used as a noun for any brown carbonated beverage including when you actually got a Pepsi
  • Walkman – if you are a little older, you probably had a walkman, which was actually any kind of device that you could listen to music or books on
  • Band Aid – this one is HUGE! I am not sure I even knew there were other brands of adhesives to put on cuts
  • Thermos – while there are now hundreds of companies out there making insulated containers, we only call them Thermoses (or would it be Thermi?)

Interesting note, when I was researching this post I found an article from the BrandXpress blog who says these are actually eponyms (a general term used to describe from what or whom something derived its name. Therefore, a proprietary eponym could be considered a brand name which has fallen into general use) – who knew there was a name for this? Also, if you want more lists of brands that are verbs check out Fun With Words – Proprietary Eponyms.

Branding and Internet Marketing Verbs

The thing that I find the most interesting now is that no one person or Madison Avenue marketing company is telling the masses what the branding words are! It is being done by committee, through use rather than by marketers through force of ad dollars.

Here are some of my favorite internet marketing verbs:

  • To Skype someone – making a call over the internet
  • Googling someone – looking them up on a search engine to find their background
  • iChatting – my techy husband says that when they want to talk they iChat each other which is messaging over the internet
  • Facebooking someone – either looking them up on the facebook or connecting with them on that social media
  • Pin-able pictures – this is a huge one! the picture for this post was deliberately made “pinable” for my marketing board – having to be worthwhile to share is going to make a huge difference in blogging and graphic design!
  • It was photoshopped – meaning a picture was manipulated in a graphics program

I am sure that there are a gagillion other new Eponyms verbs for internet marketing, if you know of any I missed, make sure to leave a comment with your favorite!

Google Plus – A Handy Dandy Overview For Small Biz Owners and Entrepreneurs

Google Plus is going to be a great tool for small biz owners and entrepreneurs, once it gets a little bigger! So you should wait right? WRONG! There is SUCH a first responder advantage to getting in there (especially business owners who are NOT social media nuts like I am!)

Google Plus Small Biz EntrepreneursCircle me on G+! http://gplus.to/taradactyl

Basically, if you get in there early, everyone else can find you. If you come to the party late, you have to go find everyone.

For me, this is a no-brainer so, Step 1 get into google plus (if you need an invite, send me a message with your email address, preferably a gmail address, and if you seem like a real person I will send you an invite).

Setting Up Your Google Plus Account

This one is dead easy! Make sure to fill out all of the bits INCLUDING links to your other social media profiles, blogs, websites, etc. I would make sure that the first paragraph is stunning and that your blurb expresses who you are (sometimes that is all someone will know about you before deciding to put you into a circle!)

As with any social media site, this should be about you and what you can do for THEM! Make sure your bio tells them that you will be posting FABULOUS content about your industry and you are excited to be doing that.

Making Circle Friends

Circles are the strongest piece of the puzzle for me. They allow you to segregate your lists into pieces (I have circles for Denver Friends and Denver Realtors – I would put Denver Realtors into the little circle AND into the big general circle). There has been A LOT of talk about why having too many circles is bad, but I am convinced that this is my sweet spot. In this example, if I was doing a general marketing class in Denver I would post it to my Denver Friends circle – if it was a Realtor Marketing class, I would just post it to my Denver Realtors.

Google Plus CirclesBIG TIP about circles! If you don’t include the “Public” circle when you are posting things, it will look like you are not active SOOOO….make sure you use Public, Your Circles AND Extended Circles so that everyone you know, the public and people who circle your circles can see your posts.

Google Plus Overview For Small Business Owners

Here’s the skinny, if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur using social media marketing, I would love to see you spend a couple of minutes diving into Google Plus today! If nothing else, post a couple of things, set up your profile and add your clients (who are on already) to your circles!

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.

Small Business Customer Demographics

Knowing which customer demographics are right for your small business can make or break your marketing campaigns. Always make sure you know who you are targeting!

Small Business Marketing DemographicsMost small business owners have an idea of who their customers are, but most never dig deep enough to know how to use that knowledge. Figuring out your customer demographic is just the first step!

Recently I have noticed that there are more and more commercials targeting baby boomers who are still vital and doing things. The reason that I notice this is that they are advertising in places I go and have images that are attractive to me. One that springs to mind is Chase, who is using a cute couple who are clever and funny and who travel a lot. Chase was also the first advertiser that the New York Times signed up for advertising on the iPad.

So why do the Chase people work on me? They are somewhat affluent, they are childless in the commercials (people without children in the house have more disposable income!), and they are on the newspaper sites and TV channels I watch.

This multiple channel effect is called layering and can be done even on a little small business marketing budget! Think about sending a postcard with a marketing message, having it in your newsletter, posting about it for a week on Facebook, Tweeting it and also talking about it all month at networking. If you don’t think that will make an impact on your sphere, I don’t know what will!

The next time you think a commercial is stupid, ask yourself if it was targeted to your demographic. I was riding in the car with my husband the other day and a hill-billy sounding guy came on the radio and said inane things in his southern accent and at the end whipped out a Geico ad. REALLY? Men want to buy insurance from a hick? Well is that any worse than the fact that I have been won over by the repetition of the Rockwell song from my teens (Somebody’s Watching Me) paired with the stack of money that Geico uses to hook middle aged drivers?

Here are some tips for how to use Small Business Customer Demographics:

  • The next time you are going to launch a marketing plan, make sure you figure out who your client is and target those types of people
  • Fiind a big company that targets the same type of person and copy them. See what their message says, what images they are using and what media they are on.
  • Make sure you know whether you are targeting business-to-business or business-to-consumer as the sales message is VERY different.
  • Set up your marketing plan with a layering effect in mind to get the most bang for your buck!

How To Write and Promote A Micro Magazine

How To Marketing MagazineA month ago I had no idea how to write a micro magazine, although I did know how to promote it if one should magically appear. Here are the hows and whys of my brand new How To Marketing micro magazine!

Check out the FREE How To Marketing Magazine

Why write a micro magazine?

I have to say that two of my favorite marketing gurus could not be further from each other in opinion. Seth Godin is an old school, permission based marketer who helps you get in the right frame of mind without specifics about how to implement your great ideas. Gary Vaynerchuk is a new school marketer who is taking advantage of technology to grow a new media empire, again without too many specifics about how to do that.

So when both of these guys said that the wave of the future is having a magazine (or email list) with ads that target a niche, I took notice. Here is Seth’s post on Micro magazines and a future of media and a great Gary video on Where niche marketing is going for small business.

Hmmm…so both of them think that building up a following for something you love and being able to advertise to them is a good idea. I DO think having a website or blog as a destination is great BUT what about a magazine?

How do you pick the topic for your niche magazine?

It was pretty easy for me to pick the topic for my magazine! I started with marketing which is REALLY a broad niche. Then I took a look at my clients which include small business owners, entrepreneurs, Realtors, MLM or Direct Sales and then some local businesses like Retail and Restaurants. NOW it is possible that even that is too broad BUT I have to tell you, I am NOT going to make a magazine and distribution channel for each one of those so basically I am targeting businesses up to about 10 employees with relatively small marketing budgets.

How do you get content for your magazine?

So I wanted to do a sixteen page magazine, figuring if I ever print it I will have four 11X17 inch pages folded. That is a LOT of content. Because I like marketing so much, I tend to gravitate towards friends who like marketing also. So I did the only thing I could think of! I told my in-person networking group I needed articles, I emailed friends and also posted it on facebook. Here is the breakdown of where the articles came from:

  • In-person networking – four
  • Friends – two
  • Business Partners and past clients – four
  • Facebook – one

For the next issue I have someone already willing to write and a leftover half from a prolific friend. This time I had 11 articles and wound up having 20 pages.

How do you set up a micro magazine

I have a confession to make, I am graphic designer so this is REALLY unfair to people who do not have access to unlimited design time. I used Adobe InDesign for the layout of the magazine and made all of the ads myself. I used photoxpress.com for some free photos to include in the articles.

Some things I would change about the original design after the fact:

  • It looks more like a webpage with a header across the top
  • The marketplace section is very busy
  • I would have more pictures instead of masses of text
  • I would write an editor note or article myself (I was wiped out and did not have one brain cell left to spare on writing)

How to market your micro magazine

This one was easier for me than the average bear BUT here goes some ways you can get the word out there

  • Post it on facebook on your profile or business page
  • Set up a business page for just your magazine www.facebook.com/howtomarketingmagazine. Make sure you get 25 fans so you can get the custom url
  • Do an event on facebook the day it launches
  • Tweet it on Twitter – www.twitter.com/marketinghowto
  • Set up a blog with the book to download in PDF format – www.HowToMarketingMagazine.com
  • Do a press release on www.Free-Press-Release.com
  • Make sure to write a blog post about your launch and bookmark it!
  • Send a graphic of the magazine and a templated announcement to your authors so that they can send it to their spheres
  • AFTER you get a decent response you can do more like facebook ads, google adwords, etc. DO NOT spend money yet because there WILL be things you need to tweek and you can be sure people will email you to tell you about it!!!!

Well there you have it, it was harder work than I thought it would be BUT now I have a super great freeby to offer, I can sell advertising on my site and in the magazine AND I have a focus for growing a list of people with like minded marketing interests.

If you would like to find out how to get a snazzy magazine like this for your small business, I would be happy to give you a quote…1 MILLION DOLLARS…:) Okay, maybe not that much BUT I will tell you that if you do not that the ability or software to do the desktop publishing and graphic design, this puppy would cost a fortune in time!

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 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!

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 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!

Entrepreneur Marketing Focus and Motivation

Successful entrepreneur marketing is all about focus and motivation! If you are an entrepreneur you better hope your boss is focused and a real task master or you will find yourself veering off track on an almost daily basis.

Entrepreneur Marketing Focus MotivationThat is right, I said that entrepreneurs have a boss. Granted it is you, but you are still master of your own destiny and you better hope that there is a grand plan for success or you are doomed to failure!

I HATE when other people are right and I am wrong. There I said it, I was wrong. Sigh. When I was a Realtor, the gang over at Keller Williams was always saying that you should be working on the twenty percent of your business that is vital to growing and generates income. Gotta say that made me wicked mad as I could not figure out who was going to do that other eighty percent. Well here is my take on the VITAL 20 percent and the not so important other 80 percent!

Step One – Figuring out your ONLY important tasks

If you are an Entrepreneur you better make sure you are the rainmaker for your business. There is no one else who is going to be watching over your sales funnel to keep it stocked or hand you leads. With that in mind, I have to say that my most important function for Marketing Artfully is to make the rain. For me that means speaking, writing blog posts and networking with other humans online and in person. I have benchmarks that I am required to hit each day and week. For example I have to write one blog post a weekday. No excuses.

There are many other ways to generate leads like prospecting phone calls, leads groups, direct mail and email. It does not matter what type of marketing and prospecting you choose, make sure you have a quota and that you are accountable to yourself or someone else to hit that. BELIEVE ME, I know how easy it is to let these things slide, especially when you are busy and successful BUT you have to have a system in place and one that is unbreakable. If you say you are going to make 30 phone calls a day, do that, everyday. If you are going to do email, do not TRY to send out something every week, just do it. Like Yoda says, do or do not there is no try.

Step Two – Do what ever else MUST be done

So in my business I also have clients. They have paid me and I need to do things for them. This is another part of my eighty percent work. NOW, I do not have to physically do everything. There are parts that need my expertise and there are parts that need my supervision. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you are the only one who can perform all the tasks for your business or you will not be able to grow.

I will give you a great example! There are about 6 pages of line items needed to set up a blog. However, there are only a couple of vital things like doing keyword research and SEOing blog posts so that they show up right on internet. These are tasks that I never give to anyone else. The other 5 pages of line items are MUCH better done by someone who is meticulous and checks off every box.

Look at your business and see what can be handled by someone else (who might even be better at it than you)! The things that do not need to be in your hands are 80 percent things that you can offload.

Step Three – Get rid of the rest

I have to say that there are lots of things that I think I SHOULD do or maybe things that I COULD do in a perfect world. These include tasks that are left over from past processes that are done now (we used to enter everyone into this convoluted CRM system that did not get used fully) or things you like to do (I have seen small business owners require that they review EVERYTHING an employee does – if you are that guy, stop it! Either get a better employee or chill out a bit).

Once you realize that everything on your to-do list will never get done, life gets better. One of the things I do to make myself more focused is to write my to-do list every day. Not just new things but all the old things too. Let me tell you, when you have moved something over for more than 5 days, it is really not all that important or should be outsourced to someone who will actually DO it instead of just thinking about it!

Another thing that helps with focus is to have three things a day that HAVE to be done. You get to pick them BUT nothing else matters until those three things are accomplished today. They say that after 21 days doing something becomes a habit. When I started my one blog post a day rule, writing a blog post was on my three things list. Now that I have been doing it for a while it is a habit and new things have replaced it. Doing this makes that increased effort your new “normal”. If you had told me at the start of my blogging efforts that I had to write a post a day, rain or shine, I would have been overwhelmed. Over the years I have increased the number of posts a week a couple of times until now writing 5 posts a week is normal and easy!

So that is it. Easy-peasy to get your business on track…:)

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!!!

Entrepreneur Marketing The iPad Is Coming

The fact that the iPad is coming is HUGE for entrepreneur and small business marketing! If you think this is not going to change everything then you have not been paying attention to the popularity of the iPhone, the Android and other smart phones.

Gary Vaynerchuk iPadGary Vaynerchuk of Crush It fame, talked today about how every company should use their advertising to drive people online and how video blogs will get even more popular as a marketing channel.

The iPad and Advertising

How cool will it be when you can pay to advertise in a magazine and instead of having to drive people to the web, they are already there! They can click a link or a picture or video and go right to your information or sales page.

For a while now I have hesitated to pay for marketing offline unless there was a truly targeted audience. Many times they tell me how they can drive people to their website and my readership is higher than theirs!

Now don’t get me wrong, your local offline papers and advertising venues will probably not be able to mimic the capabilities of new snazzy marketing outlets like what the New York Times will, but it will be fun to see the new opportunities.

Email Marketing and the iPad

There are lots of times that I do not click through links when I am reading my email on my smart phone (I use the iPhone). That is because the websites are teeny and I am getting old and can not see as well as I used to. Having a normal-ish sized screen should make that process a little better and encourage me to send more emails with links (perhaps to YouTube videos or back to my site to see videos).

This will make sending those pretty HTML emails more important than ever! If you are not using a service like Constant Contact or Aweber for small business or Brokers Helper or My Red Tools for realtors, start now and get ahead of the learning curve and beat your competition.

iPad and Reach

If nothing else today, I want you (my loyal readers) to start thinking more about the new possibilities that the iPad is going to bring to small business and entrepreneur marketing! We have a couple of months to get our marketing houses in order before the WiFi iPads come out and we should be taking that time to figure out how to capitalize on it before our competitors do! The wiki about the iPhone says that there have been over 21 MILLION iPhones sold and that does not count all the other smart phone sales.

So what to do?

  1. Learn to make videos – Use either jingproject.com or camtasia.com for screen capture and buy a flip camera or use your phone. Do a video today and post it on You Tube. Even if it is dumb. Even if you don’t know what to say. Just doing it over and over will make you better at it AND do not worry that it is not perfect, we do not want perfect anymore, we want REAL!
  2. Get an email list database that has HTML capabilities – I recommend Constant Contact for almost all of my non-internet marketing only clients. Learn to embed videos or pictures that link to your videos in your emails.
  3. Stop being overwhelmed or confused – This is the big one! I see many of my clients who are stuck, just standing still watching the world go by as technology streams past. If you can do it, learn it today. If you can not, call me and I will recommend GREAT companies that can do it for you. It will not be free BUT it will be better than watching your business fade into obscurity!

There are affiliate links in this post that will pay me a little bit of money if you click on them. If you would like to avoid my getting a little bit of money, please type in the emails manually.

Niche Marketing Know Your Audience

When I think about niche marketing I am as hesitant as the next person to eliminate any potential customers BUT it is totally necessary! If you try and please everyone, you will ultimately please no one and will have a hard time succeeding. So, what causes me to make that terribly bold statement?

Niche MarketingYesterday I was at a networking group with a copywriter who had just visited our group for the first time. She asked if she could bounce one of her products off of us and we said of course! She then proceeded to say that she was offering to review any communications that we would send out including emails, blog posts and marketing materials, making sure that they were grammatically and visually correct. Huh. Well anyone who reads this blog knows that is NOT a top priority for me…sigh. Just the other day I sent out a message that said my Free Website Class was being held on February 32nd.

Now don’t get me wrong! I am as driven to provide great information and content as the next gal, BUT being perfect all of the time is not one of my main goals. That having been said, Joy (my friend the Denver Bookkeeper) sitting next to me was thrilled that someone would help her make sure that everything went out right. Gotta say, I WANT my bookkeeper or my accountant or my lawyer to have a higher level of persnickity-ness about their communications than my marketer or my hairdresser.

I work on volume and if I had to have someone review every one of the 100’s of blog posts or articles or emails I do a year, my reach would go down and I would not have the level of success I enjoy now. That having been said, she could definitely have a great client base if she were to focus on providing service for people who ARE worried about doing things perfectly. Joy would be a great client, a doctor would be a great client, anyone who is in a professional industry probably shares some of that same fear of sending out a “bad” communication!

Yet still she tried to convince me that I was wrong and that I should be more concerned.

You CAN NOT convince someone to buy your product or service without A LOT work. She would do better to focus on providing great products and services to a smaller group of people who are receptive to hearing her message. This is niche marketing at its finest!

Now I am not picking on the new copywriter only…I talk to a lot of realtors every month and the first thing I ask them is who they work with – buyers or sellers, condo owners or single family homeowners, first time homebuyers or move up buyers. Invariably, most of them say ANYONE! Anyone who can fog a mirror is a potential client. ARGGGG. If they would just make a stand and concentrate on some kind of niche, they could do so much more and achieve even more success.

My niche market is working with small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors on their marketing needs. I know FOR SURE who my target market is, so reaching them becomes easier than if I said that ANY company in the world is my potential prospect.

Please do not feel that choosing a niche eliminates anyone else. I do work with larger companies which have a more entrepreneurial spirit or who have a real connection to who I am or what I do BUT that is my choice. Day to day I am blessed to work with dynamic, interesting and sometimes chaotic entrepreneurial souls who are making a difference in the world!

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…:)

How to market with press releases

While we are thrilled to report that New Business Denver featured Marketing Artfully in their Social Networking edition, is that really interesting to our readers? I feel like that kind of notification should be reserved for a press release (more about that later). That having been said, I thought that it would be good to tell you some of the ways that small business owners and entrepreneurs can capitalize on good press!

Blogs are not press release sites and I FIRMLY believe that writing a press release and posting it here does no one any good. It probably just makes you (my loyal readers) roll your eyes and it would definitely not attract the kind of attention that I am looking for, which is for other press people to pick it up and possibly use me as source for information or quotations in the future.

Fortunately there are press release sites that allow you to post your information in a structured format that notifies places like google news that you have published. In my world there is “NEWS” like I am on the cover of a magazine and then there is “news” like I am teaching a workshop.

New Business Denver SearchAs some of you may know, I am a pretty frugal marketer and so I do not like to spend the big bucks on press releases. I use the site www.free-press-release.com and I sprang for the big money release – thirty bucks. The super cool thing is that right now I am number 7 on google for the search term “new business denver” for my press release – yay! If you have “news” you can get it out there for one dollar which is a great value. If you are a little less frugal you could use the site www.prnewswire.com which starts at one hundred and twenty five bucks and works up over three grand.

So then I “tweeted” my press release news and will be tweeting my blog post about my press release also. I facebooked and asked my friends to vote up my press release so that I would get more eyeballs (my friends ROCK – I have 14 votes already…:) PLUS it has the added benefit of being about to watch my view stats obsessively just like I do my google analytics. Here’s a link if you would like to read my New Business Denver Social Networking Press Release.

I also social bookmarked my press release on sites like Stumble Upon and Digg (although I did not do all of them since I am going to be promoting this post also and I don’t want to be spammy).

SOOOO if you get great press, make sure you let the world know and try to do it in the proper medium! If you would like to read the whole Social Networking Article on New Business Denver click the link!

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!!!

Is Honest Affiliate Marketing An Oxymoron

I have a huge question for you! Is honest affiliate marketing an oxymoron? Is there a way to make a little bit of money and still keep your integrity? Should you care?

My Take On DISHONEST Affiliate Marketing

honest affiliate marketingAs you know, I am a big marketing reader and learner. I have taken courses from people who recommend cloaking and using pseudonyms and having software download on people’s computer to guarantee that I get the credit for affiliate links rather than someone else (like having dibs when we were kids).

I have even set up some accounts (like one) using a pseudonym. I got all stressed out like the rest of the internet world when I heard that review sites where getting banned from google (I have done some reviews!!! am I going to be sent to google hell?!?!?!)

My take on it was that it was A LOT of work to keep the “gray hat” stuff straight. It also took more work than I was used to because it was separate from my name and my marketing artfully empire. So I tried it and said no! But that having been said, it is very lucrative and if you are an organized snarky person it may be worth your time to do!!!

The sites that are being banned tend to be sites where the blogger “reviews” three products (all with affiliate links) without having used the products or knowing much more about them than they pay well. Unfortunately some good guys got caught up in this net too.

My Take On Honest Affiliate Marketing

So what is honest affiliate marketing and does it apply to internet marketers only? Is it worth your time as a small business owner or entrepreneur to learn? I think so but you tell me…

Example 1 – Copywriter extraordinaire – Nancy Juetten

Nancy Jeutten had a boutique, highly paid PR company before the market turned in 2008. She was not looking to become an internet marketer or affiliate rockstar but circumstances required that she become one! Now Nancy is a TREMENDOUS advocate for the people she promotes. She has an editorial calendar that offers just one spot per month for affilate marketing links and then the rest is promote her amazing prodcuts like her Free Ebook – 32 Articles to Unleash the Power of Publicity.

Example 2 – Dunedin Realtor Deborah Ward

Deb recommends a product called Infusionsoft that she uses to keep in touch with her clients. She thinks it is great and it works well with her real estate marketing efforts. She signed up for their affiliate program and gets a commission when she recommends it to her realtor buddies. Is that HONEST? I think so if she is actually recommending it AND I would think that anyone who signs up and loves the product would thank her for it!

Example 3 – Michael Martine Remarkablogger

Michael recommends the Headaway for WordPress theme. He uses it on his site and recommends it to his clients because he thinks it is the best thing for them (I recommend the Genesis Theme because I like that one the best). If he TRULY feels that theme is great and that it serves his clients well, is it wrong for him to get a little bit of money if someone buys it? (please note Michael’s clarification – “I earn a percentage of sales for the work I do with them.”)

Marketing Artfully Examples

So I DO do affiliate links for products and services that I think are beneficial to my readers. I make sure to note that I may get a little bit of money if someone buys the products when I blog about it (this relatively new as that rule was not in effect until recently so older posts do not include it). I also tweet links for people to find great information, products or free stuff. Let me know if you think I am out of line…

  • James Wedmore has AMAZING YouTube training videos. I have purchased his products in the past and been happy. People have purchased his products through affiliate links of mine in the past and not asked for a refund. I plan on tweeting this out to people who follow me on the interwebs. Is that honest?
  • My friends send me affiliate links when I am going to buy something they recommend. My buddy Cyndee Haydon (Clearwater Realtor) and I were talking the other day about something she had tested and she said she would send me her affiliate link to buy it – I was not offended, I was just happy to know about it AND that she would get a bonus for telling me!
  • I bought Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crush It! AND got to see him in person (it was fabulous!) I think everyone in America should read it and then become motivated to do what they love like I do. Is it appropriate to include an affiliate link in my recommendation?

I KNOW there are hundreds of other examples out there of dishonest affiliate marketers but I tend to think that most small business owners and entrepreneurs could find SOMETHING that they could recommend that would make them some money. Especially if they are doing it in an honest and above board manner…I welcome your thoughts!!!!

I have literally millions of affiliate links in this post (okay, like 4) and some links to my friends websites which gives them google juice. Soooo…if you click on some of the links in this article I may make a little money, if you rather I didn’t, type in the URL manually!

Internet Marketing – Making the most of your marketing efforts

internet marketing successWhen you start internet marketing, or real life marketing for that matter, you are all fired up. You are going to tweet, and facebook and get a blog and free websites and and and…. Then one of two things happens A) nothing works because you did one thing on each of those mediums or 2) you get lots of business so you stop doing what worked!

The other thing I hear is that small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors don’t have the time to do this kind of marketing. They are too busy running their businesses to do lead generating to get more sales. Sigh. Their ONLY business is getting more customers and prospects! If they have no customers they have no business! So what is a smart marketer to do?

First – Determine what you like to do!

If you like to sit in front of the computer, make sure you are spending your time wisely…

  • Watch TV and follow more people on twitter
  • Take the time to write thoughtful blog posts instead of watching HGTV or Spike
  • Set up multiple twitter accounts in the niches you would like to target
  • Set up multiple blogs in the niches you would like to target
  • Answer your emails
  • Stop removing yourself from lists
  • Set up google alerts to get the latest information and inspiration on what to talk about
  • Get a database like aweber or constant contact and learn how to set it up

If you hate sitting in front of the computer, take 15 minutes a day and do these things

  • Answer your emails from the night before (if it will take more than 1 minute to answer them then put them on your list of things to do and move on)
  • Follow 50 people on twitter using twellow.com
  • Go into Facebook and accept your friend requests then post your status and “talk” to a couple of people on your live feed
  • Add a link from google alerts about something interesting to your fan page

(membership site gang – watch out for a really neat video later this week that shows how to pick your best marketing opps!!!)

Second – Stop Whining

This one is going to be a little bit mean so if you are having a bad day skip it…:) I do SO many things on the internet. I do everything I have suggested and more. I have client work to do, I have articles and blog posts to write, for goodness sake I have over 20 blogs, 5 twitter accounts, 4 Facebook pages, the list goes on and on. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and think that there is too much to do – then I look at the time I am actually spending working. I mean nose down, no phone, no emails, no nothing, just work. It is about 8 hours a day.

Can you say that you are actually working 10, 12, 14 hours a day. Really? When you are honest with yourself, couldn’t you carve out an extra hour (or even 15 minutes) a day to schedule dedicated time to growing your business?

Third – Get help!

Okay, back to being nice..:) When I say help I mean whatever help YOU need. I don’t need much help with setting things up because I am good at it. I have been doing it A LONG time and some things that may seem overwhelming to you are not hard for me. That having been said, balancing my checkbook is too much for me. All those numbers, ick. So – here are some ways you can get help!

  • Hire an assistant (virtual or real) to do some stuff for you. An assistant is only as good as what you need though. I need someone who can make sure I am doing my client work in a timely manner, enter all the people I meet in my database and add people to my membership site. I cannot expect an assistant to fix my blogs when they break (I hire a programmer for that), I cannot expect my assistant to be an accounting wiz (I hire my CPA and bookkeeper for that). DO NOT give your assistant more than they can do technically and DO NOT try to farm out your internet empire to them. If you do not know what to do hire a marketing person to SET UP the systems for your assistant to manage.
  • Learn to use tools – All those twitter accounts I have, most of them update themselves automatically when I post on any of my blogs via twitterfeed.com. Updating all those Facebook pages is super easy with hootsuite.com. I use writers to help with the heavy lifting of content for my niche blogs. I use my database to talk with people all at once. I automatically follow people using socialoomph.com. All these things make it easy to manage multiple accounts BUT I had to set them up first. Get your online empire built the right way and managing it is easy for you or your assistant!
  • Schedule time – Do you see a theme here? If you do not put time in your calendar to do these tasks you will never get them done. Take the first 15 minutes or hour of your day, shut off your phone and do your online marketing (or if you are having an assistant doing it, stop bothering them with “real work” while they are doing it..:)

Anyways – if you are down here, you are probably interested in REALLY starting to do some internet marketing. Congratulations! Your business will thank you and your bottom line will thank you.