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

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

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

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

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

Rarely Is Our World Our Exactly Our Customer’s World

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

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

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

Facebook Marketing Won’t Work Because I Say So

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing “Tricks” Don’t Work On Me

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

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

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

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

SHUT YOUR MOUTH – Small Business Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

One Last Thing To Think About

 

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

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

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

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

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

How Long Does It Take?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overselling On A Sales Call

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

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

Shut Up And Listen

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

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

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

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

I cannot possibly say this better than Marie does!

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

Should You “Pay It Forward”?

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

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

Wrapup

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

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

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

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100 Quick Marketing Activities You Can Do TODAY!

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

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

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

Social Media Marketing Activities

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

Video Activities

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

Posting Pictures

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

Brainstorming

  • Write down 25 ideas for blog posts
  • Check who your top 5 competitors are on google and see what they are doing that you could copy
  • Start saving quotes you like in Evernote
  • Check Amazon to see which categories books in your industry sit in
  • Check Google to see how many competing websites there are for a phrase you are trying to hit
  • Do a Google search and see how many Google+ posts come up in the results
  • Save all the best sales pages you see in Evernote
  • Check Google Trends to see which of your keywords is hot right now

The Book Biz

  • Leave a review for your favorite author (hint hint) on Amazon
  • Add some of your favorite authors books to your wish list in Amazon to help them
  • Check your favorite book categories and figure out what is missing in the marketplace (later you can write a book!)
  • Visit Goodreads and start a book list

Local Sites

  • Check in everywhere you go on Foursquare.com
  • Take a picture each time you check in (bonus points if they are selfies or who you are dining with)
  • Check in on Yelp and give your favorite local businesses a review
  • Send a press release about your company to the local papers

 Blogging

  • Check the keywords and description on your blog (are your terms out of date)
  • Check your sidebar, is it showing your visitors exactly what you want them to do…we want you to sign up for our free courses!
  • Use Google analytics to find out which of your posts is the most visited and add a call to action that matches the content
  • Make 5 thoughtful comments on competing sites in your niche
  • Subscribe to the Google Webmasters YouTube Channel to learn the latest SEO tips
  • Add a neat video to the sidebar of your blog
  • Share 5 of your best archived posts

Email

  • Look at your outgoing signature line, snazzy it up a bit
  • Send a really amazing message to everyone, include something that they would really want!
  • Make segregated lists of people who like your industry AND then ones who like dogs, babies, etc.
  • Start asking everyone you talk to for their birthday, start sending out cards
  • Make sure your subject lines are awesome

Offline

  • Look at your business card, is it up-to-date and interesting, does it have a call to action?
  • Start a list of local companies that you can recommend
  • Do a hard copy newsletter, hand it out and mail to key prospects
  • Make a comment card to give to your customers for feedback
  • Pick up some thank you notes to send to people you talk to
  • Order some cool pens, we use the javelin pens and everyone loves them!
  • Order some stickers (we are enthralled with the sticker!) click for a $10 credit!

Customers

  • Call your best customer and thank them for being wonderful, ask them if there is anything else you could offer that they would like to buy
  • Send an email with an interesting link to your favorite customer and just say you were thinking of them
  • Make a sales leads sheet or print out your pipeline…what could you do to add just 5% more leads to your pipeline

Mindset

  • Try something on the list that you have never done before or think is stupid
  • Use Fiverr.com to spark an idea, see what is available for $5 and go for it
  • Start a list like this that is relevant to your industry to post on your blog
  • Vow to spend 5 minutes a day working on your favorite social media channel…every day, no distractions
  • Do something nice every day for someone who can’t help you, share a charity’s post, enter a contest and vote for someone, share a kickstarter, just be nice

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Throughout we cover the background for each topic so you know what worked before and what you should avoid now, tips for using the sites including universal best practices and in-depth marketing strategies.

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Are You Going All Justin Timberlake With Your Marketing?

Justin Timerlake MarketingSmall business marketing is a lonely game. You spend hours and hours crafting a great sales page or doing a ton of graphics or writing a blog post…then you send it out into the world and hope someone, somewhere will like it enough to actually read it and come back to you with wallet in hand.

Now, I don’t believe that Justin spends too much time alone pining for attention, but he does do some amazing things in his acting and singing career that I think we can definitely emulate!

When you see this picture of Mr. Timberlake, what comes to mind? Suave, debonaire, you might even be picturing him in his Suit and Tie video. He is a serious artist with a very high profile…and also willing to do whatever it takes given the situation he finds himself in!

Exposure

So JT (Justin Timberlake as we like to call him around the dinner table) appears on the The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and instead of just having the “normal” sit on the couch and tell us your story show, they do the History of Rap, dancing and singing and generally carrying on. Now this is a full on production with singing and dancing, choreographed to the minute and obviously something that was not just thrown togother.

As far as I can tell, they have done five of these shows, featuring different music each time. Now there is a good chance that JT is a big enough draw on his own to appear a few times, but these shows bring down the house, get shared virally on the internet and generally increase awareness for three things, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and the Tonight Show. No wonder he keeps getting invited back!

Play Full Out

Justin Timberlake all out

Look at these and then revisit the super snazzy guy in the picture post. Since we follow (stalk) JT closely, we know that he has been wine, a gingerbread man and many other goofy characters on the shows that he appears on. In every one, he plays full out which is the key.

If you are a fine looking, stylish grown man dressed in a wine bottle and only kinda sorta going through the motions, you are going to look dumb. But when you are living it, doing the best that you can and going for it, it becomes something really spectacular to behold.

No matter what you are doing in your marketing or business, please make sure that you are playing ALL OUT! Making videos, don’t be wimpy, give them some life, show that you care, show some personality. Doing a webinar, don’t hold back your best stuff, throw it out there and you will be surprised about how great a response you will get!

Don’t Be Afraid

Everyone doing anything is at least a little afraid. The most outgoing extroverted human will still get some butterflies before speaking to a stadium full of people. If you are playing hard you will constantly be running up against things that make you a little nervous. Don’t let them derail your momentum or make you stop!

This is not just about speaking or public appearances, it works the same for learning how to use Google Hangouts, or how to make really cool graphics or any other new skill. As humans we have spent millennia making sure that we DON’T risk life and limb just to check out a new tree or eat an unknown mushroom. Mistakes like that could kill you, but marketing rarely will!

So Bland Your Are Invisible

One last thing before we go! It can seem like a brilliant idea to make your “Stuff” appealing to everyone. To “dumb it down” so that no one finds it even a little bit offensive. That is the WORST strategy you can use. If you have to be bland to feel okay, you are going to struggle all throughout your marketing efforts. Bland is boring and great marketing is the opposite of boring.

Would Justin Timberlake be okay with bland marketing? I don’t think so…he would recklessly run at it, jumping off the cliff fearlessly knowing that great things are on the other side!

Free Marketing Training Courses and Tools

Fre Marketing Training and ToolsAre you looking for amazing free marketing ideas? We have the goods for you right here! Get help with your social media, newsletters, small business marketing, realtor marketing and more.

These are not just thrown together classes or some kind of come on to buy something else, every one of them is chock full of great content that will help you rock your marketing!

These aren’t just basic, beginner information that you can find on any website or YouTube…it is advanced strategies and tactics that we use in our marketing business today.

Who are these classes for?

  • Small business owners
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  • Speakers, coaches and trainers
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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!

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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!

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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!

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100 Free Marketing Ideas

This is the fourth annual 100 Free Marketing Ideas sheet, with a twist. When we took a look at what had changed over the last couple of years we realized that we needed to update the ideas from the ground up!

This amazing resource contains everything from internet marketing to social media to offine marketing ideas. Make sure you pick just a few and get going today!

>> Download the 100 Free Marketing Ideas

 

The Twitter Cheat Sheet

Because we use Twitter so often (and effectively), we took a bunch of time to figure out some things about which tweets catch the eye and how to attract more attention to our tweets. Some of them were obvious (have great info) and some more obscure, like that people tend to respond more when using the word “you” because they are alone when they read tweets. We keep this cheat sheet right beside us on our desk when we are tweeting so that we can post the most powerful messages possible.

>> download the Twitter Cheats Sheet

 

The Twitter Tweet Generator

Up until recently I used the TweetAdder tweet generator tool to make a variety of tweets that I could use to marketing on Twitter. With the recent changes, they deleted that function, but luckily I have a geeky husband who made me this AMAZING Tweet Generator!

Please use it responsibly…:)

>> Use the Twitter Tweet Generator to create a list of every combination of tweets based off of user entered text.

We are pleased to present these free marketing training courses and tools to help you with your small biz marketing efforts…
if you got some great ideas, please let us know!

Small Business Marketing: The Real Bull Shit About Get Rich Quick Internet Marketing

Small Business Marketing: The Real Bull Shit About Get Rich Quick Internet MarketingTruth is, I am sad about the state of small business and entrepreneur marketing. There are good, hard working people out there in the trenches just trying to figure out what the hell they should be doing online to market their business. It seems like every day a new site pops up or a new marketing “trick” being touted as the “4 Hour Workweek”, “new goldrush” or “get rich quick” scheme.

Having been on the internet for going on two decades and working in the marketing space for about 15 years, I am here to tell you there are some hard truths you need to know if you are going the “GRQ – Get Rich Quick” route.

1) You have to start early. Many of the people who are trying to sell you something got into whatever it was before now! I have great traffic on this site because it is old and I have blogged consistently for 8 years now. Our social media channels are D-List popular (we will NEVER compete with the likes of Ashton Kutcher) but robust enough to do what we want with them…again, started with them early and have worked them consistently for years. The marketers that can show amazing results probably started when no one was doing it and then rode the wave as it became popular and now are reaping more rewards by selling desperate people the “secret” of how to do the same. The problem is, the landscape you will be playing on is not the same! The goldrush days are gone and the hard work days are here.

2) Marketing geniuses are not stupid. Think about it, there are only so many best #1 podcasts on iTunes or first page listings on Google. When a technique or strategy is working well, cranking in the dough in, they are busy working it, not telling schmoes about it. It is only after the peak of the bell curve hits that they package the “fool proof” plan they used when the picking were easy and make money off of that too!

3) Some things do work, until the platform breaks it. Now, there are good people out there selling courses and classes that offer value. The problem sometimes is that the tactic works until the platform break it (I will explain!!!) One tactic on Facebook was to post words with no hyperlinks, this got you more listings in the news feed, which got you more followers which lead to more exposure. We bought a $97 course that told how to do some neat tricks, used them for one week and then Facebook changed the algorithm and BAM, those things didn’t work and we had to figure out other things that do. Sigh.

4) You are probably not cool. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about cool hunting back in 1997. Basically, there are people who inherently can look at things and tell if they are going to be cool. Gary Vaynerchuk is pretty good at spotting cool (Twitter, Medium) but has had some dorky misses (what was up with that Gowalla thing?) I have talked to thousands of small business owners and what they think is “cool” marketing wise, is generally about two years over and being sold by someone who did when it really was cool!

Platforms, Tricks and Strategies…Before we go much further let’s talk about the parts of marketing in the digital age.

Platforms

Platforms are the sites and services that we use. Here are some of the most common platforms and their categories:

  1. Amazon – Ebooks and product sales
  2. iTunes – Podcasts
  3. Blog Talk Radio – Broadcast radio
  4. YouTube – Video
  5. Infusionsoft, Mail Chimp – Email marketing
  6. Google Hangouts, Livestream – Broadcast video (like TV)
  7. Wishlist – Memebership websites
  8. Clickbank – Affiliate sales
  9. Kajabi – Information product sales
  10. WordPress, Blogger – Blogs
  11. Facebook – Social Media
  12. Twitter – Social Media
  13. LinkedIn – Social Media
  14. Google Plus – Social Media
  15. Pinterest – Social Media

This list took me 5 minutes off the top of my head. I had originally intended to break each down, but we are are at 600+ words now and that would have made it a truly EPIC post! Suffice it to say that this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are probably at least as many more that I didn’t list but which are viable marketing channels.

Tricks

Tricks are the “sneaky” tactics that internet marketers try to sell to game the system. These are the things that are probably not working right now but which did before a loophole on a platform closed. If you get an email promising this kind of thing…RUN the other way (pulled directly from my email inbox this morning)…

  • Sneaky bid trick pulls in a $13,073 profit + Local Market Update
  • Get 2109 Done For You Proven Facebook Campaigns (Revive Fanpages FAST)
  • 900 Targeted New Opt-ins EVERY Day – You Could, Too
  • Sneaky bid trick pulls in a $13,073 profit + Local Market Update (you thought I messed up right? nope, it is just a campaign that ALL the internet marketers are copying and sending to their lists right now)
  • Imagine over 1 million targeted views… XXX is LIVE!
  • How to Create Your Video Traffic Machines [3 simple steps]
  • Google’s hidden ranking formula has been uncovered…
  • Make $273 A Day With This…
  • Hurry, only 1 Day left to get this Google spying tool.
  • Easiest Cash online… RIGHT HERE.

When these come into your inbox, it is tempting to hope that this one really will be the one that trips the switch. Just by using this one little trick you can circumvent all the hard work, building an empire and other things that you actually know work. One reason I can find so many so easily is that I have any kind of this thing to into a special folder in my email, skipping the inbox. Now, I love great marketing more than anyone, but my goal for my business does not involve getting knocked off track by a shiney new object. Which leads to…

Strategies

Strategies are plans. They have been well thought out and are set in stone for a period of time. They have definitive goals and measurable results. You know why you are doing them and WILL NOT DEVIATE no matter how many flashy, GRQ emails come into your inbox! Let’s look at some of those platforms again and figure out strategies instead of tricks…

  1. Amazon – Strategy: Publish an ebook a week for a year. Measurable results: Ebook sales, grow email list, consulting opportunities.
  2. iTunes – Strategy: Gain listeners, growing network. Show expertise in the industry, affiliate sales.
  3. Blog Talk Radio – Strategy: Gain listeners, growing network. Show expertise in the industry, sell personal classes and course.
  4. YouTube – Strategy: Gain subscribers, drive to website. Show expertise in the industry, sell consulting.
  5. Infusionsoft, Mail Chimp – Strategy: Grow email list and community who likes to hear from you. Sell something.
  6. Google Hangouts, Livestream – Strategy: Gain watchers, growing network, post on recording on website and grow blog traffic. Show expertise in the industry, affiliate sales.
  7. Wishlist – Strategy: Grow membership, gain residual income, maybe affiliate sales.
  8. Clickbank – Strategy: Make money from sales (requires other channel to collect followers).
  9. Kajabi – Strategy: Build multiple sales funnels, grow email list and sell information products.
  10. WordPress – Strategy: Gain traffic with great information, sell your products or services.
  11. Facebook – Strategy: Drive to website or email list, grow relationships.
  12. Twitter – Strategy: Grow network, post amazing stuff, quick hit links to products or services.
  13. LinkedIn – Strategy: Grow network, connect with industry, drive to email list or website.
  14. Google Plus – Strategy: Grow followers, post keyword targeted information to get indexed in Google.
  15. Pinterest – Strategy: Grow connections, gain traffic by posting amazing photos with links to your website.

Having Patience

Now, I know these suck. Not one promises internet riches overnight and they all look like hard work. All of them also require patience. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, did I say patience? Yep! There is not one of these strategies that will work the first day you try them. You will not do one thing, set up one site or send one email and rake in thousands.

Leveraging What You Have

The cool thing…so there is one really cool thing. Once you have set up a strategy and implemented it, the benefits go on and on. We are writing an Ebook a week for a year (check out this week’s book, Sales and Marketing Success, Targeting Your Perfect Customer Who Will Buy and Buy).

First off, it is REALLY good. It is the 5th book we have written (just 47 more to go) and everything is easier. The cover is nicer, the content is tighter, and we are using our already built social media and website empire to market it. Because we stayed in the groove of marketing, we had a built in audience, sales channels already set up and the experience to know what our customers need. Building on long term success is actually really cool.

Just Starting Out?

That said, what if you are just starting out? We have a client who is doing his own thing with setting up a podcast (I am blown away by his bravery!). While we did make a website for him (he is smart enough to know what he is good and not good at), the rest is all him! I asked him for 5 ah-has from someone just starting out…I am pleased to present Dave Negri of the Contractor’s Secret Weapon Podcast!

  1. When you look at the overall picture of podcasting it can look very daunting. Lucky for me, with my personality I just take an overall look if it looks doable and I just jump in feet first and go for it. There are a lot of great podcasters that give away a lot of free information to get you up and running. Ah-ha… I can do it. Anybody can do it.
  2. It’s not as scary out there as one might think. You don’t have to go it alone. Like I said, there are a lot of great podcasters that will point you in the right direction. I’m going to plug Dave Jackson at School of Podcasting. He is a great resource for newbies as he has been podcasting since 2005.
  3. I was told first thing is to figure out what your show is going to be about. Lucky for me we knew exactly what we wanted it to be about and why. Out of the gate we had 50 weeks’ worth of topics without any guest interviews figured in (ah-ha, listen to the experts they will shorten your time to get up and running)
  4. It’s like any other business, if you create systems as you go it takes the uncomfortable out of the new thing and makes it comfortable. Well, maybe a little easier.
  5. Going into it with the proper mindset has made all the difference in the world. It’s not just another task do to for business. We had to make it as much fun as we could for everyone, ourselves and our listeners. Our goal was to help our business grow, but also add value to our listeners and help their business grow. I truly believe that podcasting is still in its infancy stage and there is no limit to the possibilities for the future podcaster.

I could not be happier for Dave. His strategy is to have a quality podcast for the next year. He has reached out to experts he knows (like me) and we are supporting him by sharing his stuff and appearing on his show. He did not think that having a podcast would be easy or successful 7 minutes after he aired the first one, but he does know that if he can get over the hump, there are great things on the other side!

Here is the podcast that he had me on!

The End

Really? You made it down here despite all the cool distractions. Well this is the most important bit anyways so you are in luck!

The best part about the fact that this shit takes hard work is that most people will start it and never finish. If you want to start a webinar series and have a strategy and the stones to stick in there, you will succeed. If you want to be an affiliate marketer and are willing to bust your ass, you will succeed. There is nothing “secret” about any of this. Have a plan, take time to let that plan grow and hustle. That’s it!

Small Business Marketing – 5 Things To Check Today!

Small Business Marketing - 5 Things To Check TodayOkay, we all are busy and life gets in the way of us having optimal online lives. Today, yes TODAY, you should take a peek at these 5 things and see if they are still working for you! Some of you may not be able to change certain ones, but the ones you can, either schedule time to change or do right away!

I KNOW, you are swamped today, but aren’t you swamped everyday? These are things that will make a huge difference to your success this year and are basically easy fixes!

Your Email Signature

Seriously, this is the one thing that EVERYONE you talk to sees EVERY time you send them a message! Here is my old signature line…not heinous, but not setting the world on fire either…

Tara Jacobsen - Old Email Signature Line

So how do you figure out what needs to be there? First off, what is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you want them to do? For me it is to get into my database and I don’t have the option for that anywhere…sigh. When I fixed this, you will notice that I broke up the word “FR|E|E” so that I would not get stuck in everyone’s spam filters.

Next are my contact bits…moved a couple of things around here and eliminated the link to my Facebook business page. Heaven forbid they sign up for that as Facebook shows so little of what I actually post there. That time has passed and now I just want them in my database!

Finally, I have used the avatar on the left FOR YEARS so I am keeping her active, BUT there is a school of psychiatry that says that “seeing” us in an email is just as good as “seeing” us in real life. I finally took a selfie that I like enough to include on my emails so my friends and clients can see me. I also made it a little smaller since so many people are using phones to access their email now.

Tara Jacobsen - New Signature

Still busy but have my call to action and the picture of me. I will use it for a little bit and see how it goes.

Your Website Layout

Now if you are using a “real” website, moving things around is probably a nightmare, but for those of us who are using wordpress, sliding things around is relatively easy peasy. I noticed the other day that it was REALLY hard to find the newest posts on Marketing Artfully. They were there, just down in the bottom with no pictures. As I really do want people to read my stuff, I am going to move some things around a bit!

Marketing Artfully - Old Layout Design

So I moved the recent posts up into the middle of the home page, reduced the number of small business marketing posts and added real estate marketing and customer demographic posts to the mix.

Now, there are other things that I think could do with some fixing, like I have TOO MANY competing things on the sidebar, but today is just the basics and I got those fixed! Check out the new layout with the recent posts front and center…

Your Social Media Descriptions

It is amazing how out of date these can get fast. I did this with my Twitter just a couple of weeks ago and was AMAZED at how off target it was. Make sure that you have the following bits in your social descriptions:

  • Links to your MOST IMPORTANT THING
  • Hashtags if appropriate (like on google or instagram)
  • Keywords like you use on your website (social profiles show up well in the google search)
  • What you are currently offering, most important to least important

Here is my updated Twitter profile that talks about EXACTLY where my business is TODAY:

Taradactyl Twitter Profile

Your Social Media Graphics

Okay, I admit I am not the best at practicing what I preach but WHAT WAS I THINKING when I did my Facebook business banner THIS WAY. It doesn’t use any of the imagery I use in anything else, it doesn’t have Marketing Artfully green, and my logo might as well not even be on there for how present it is. What happened was, I saw a technigue and wanted to try it and was less than impressed…so I left it there?!?!?

Marketing Artfully Old Business Page Banner

So this one is not going to set the world on fire, but at least it is congruent with my branding and it is better than what it was (that is our theme for today…good enough is good enough!) I also changed out the avatar which leads me to the last tip…

Marketing Artfully - New Facebook Timeline

Make sure you like all your profile pictures

I hated my LinkedIn profile picture and they MADE me use a “real” picture instead of my beautiful avatar lady who always looks great and never gets old. That said, I did (finally) get a picture that I didn’t hate so I swapped it out…this icky old one for my shiney new selfie:

Tara Jacobsen - Old LinkedIn

It is VITAL that you find a picture of yourself that you like. If you don’t have one, you are less happy with your social overall and will not be as effective.

Don’t let anyone tell you the “right” kind of picture. As you can see, mine is obviously a selfie, not perfect and DEFINITELY not professionally done, but I like it!

There you have it, my top 5 things that you need to check on your small biz marketing!!!

PS – all changes where made in the hour it took to write this post so don’t make this harder than it has to be, get some stuff fixed and then put the rest on your to-do list for fixing soon!

Humanizing Your Brand – If Toilet Paper Can Do It…

Small Business Marketing - Humanizing Your BrandWith the advent of social media, the world has shifted. Before SM a company could sit up on high and just be a corporation (or small business) without having to have a human personality. We talk with A LOT of small business owners who want to use their logo instead of being the face of their business…this is a huge mistake. As small business owners, we benefit when we take a look at what the big brands are doing to humanize their brands!

Not too many of us have hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch a major advertising campaign. We don’t have the money to hire actresses or do HUGE focus groups to see whether they like one thing or the other more. What we do have is the ability to copy what we see the “big dogs” with deep pockets doing. And what they are doing is putting a face on some really strange products like toilet tissue!

The Toilet Paper Lady

Humanizing Toilet Paper AdSo I was cruising one of my girlie (craft) magazines on my iPad the other day and came across a woman talking about toilet paper. She is British, relatively good looking and seems to have my best interests at heart (she just wants me to be clean and safe). She is talking to me about “bums” and invites me to head over to the Cottonelle Facebook page to talk about toilet paper (now I have to say that unless I was a marketing nut I would NOT have been compelled to go there BUT since I am, over I headed).

They are doing some stuff pretty right, there are some funny posts (like toilet paper sports casters) and seem to have some good interactions on the page. That said, it does seem like there are A LOT of ladies chiming in with love stories about toilet paper. How did that happen?

Oftentimes a brand like this will contact mommy bloggers and other influencers and give them free offers to “promote” their page or comment with their own opinions. Now, you can be sad about this or know that there are two great things about this… 1) you can grow a following yourself and get free toilet paper and 2) you can get this same kind of thing on a smaller level by offering your products or services for free in exchange for social interaction. I also am a huge proponent of begging (I infrequently ask my tribe to do things because I have built up good will through sharing great content for free – like this post!)

Sharing Cottonelle Facebook FailWhat they are doing wrong… so it is kinda little to see, but one of the Facebook peeps actually said to them, “You guys gotta come up with something better than this!” in response to a picture question, “Have You Shared The Joys Of the Cottonelle Care Routine With Your Family And Friends?” Seriously? Cottonelle thinks that we are going to share this photo to our timelines or spark a conversation with my Midwestern hubby about why we have to have a toilet care routine (that WOULD be fun, but could lead to a divorce!)

The page has a couple of neat posts but you can see that the corporate parent is not so comfortable about moving away from traditional push marketing and is losing the “person” in their brand. Just putting a picture of this chick onto a sales message isn’t going to work!

This Is Not New!

Old humans in adsSo it is easy to think that this is a new phenomenon with Social, but I can think of literally hundreds of examples over the years…from the Marlboro Man (my Mom smoked Marlboros and so do I) to Madge the lady who said you should soak your fingers in dishwashing liquid.

While we can see that the some of these brands have been modernized, the concept is still the same. Have a strong, silent man to represent your smokes. The thinking is that if you buy (and smoke) Marlboros too, you will be as cool as this guy.

Where I think Cottenelle is missing the boat is that the toilet paper lady is not “cool” or hip. She is obviously “mom-ish” aged, but she is a little cartoony for my taste. I happen to know that most women in the 35-45 demographic are not ready to lie down and die, turning into the stereotypical “mother”. This may be because having a “neutral” character is far less scary to a big brand than injecting a little edge into the equation.

Some interesting notes about humanizing your brand:

  • It is widely held that women are more approachable and shared on social media. This may be why we see so many women “spokesmen” for brands.
  • About 80 percent of buying decisions for this kind of thing are done by women so it is no wonder we have lots of ladies.
  • As humans we tend to like to see people who are “like” us. Have to think that the blond haired, blue eyed lady is not flipping the switches for African American or Hispanic buyers.

So there you have it, my take on humanizing your brand for small business marketing. If you have a favorite from today or days gone by, please leave a comment below so I can add him or her to the post!!!

Small Business Marketing – 10 Things You Are Doing Wrong

Small Business Marketing - 10 Things You Are Doing WrongWhen you are doing small business marketing and trying your hardest, it can seem like all you are doing is spinning your wheels. You market your face off but it seems like no one is listening and when they do they are not responding. Having talked to A LOT of small biz owners, I can tell you that the problem is probably one of these:

Product development – We can’t understand what you are selling

The number one problem I see with small business owners is not having a super clear, you can rattle it off in 30 second message about what they are selling. Now, what you are selling in public may not be the actual product you get paid for (I am a speaker so I always “sell” getting my next speaking event BUT my actual sales are of social media marketing or marketing consulting services).

That said, frequently when I am at networking or a Chamber event, a business owner will flail around for 5 minutes, explaining what they do, not telling me in clear terms EXACTLY what they are selling!

Your mission…figure out EXACTLY what you are selling. If this is your first effort keep it to three things max, if you are seasoned you can probably go up to 5 which you can rotate at events. You MUST be able to spit it out in 30 seconds or less and you need to check with people who don’t know you to see if it is actually comprehensible!

Product development – Naming it something cute

In the day of the internet, A LOT of your leads, traffic and comprehension will come from people already knowing what you do. We have an amazing friend who built a huge marketing campaign around being a “megapreneur” or something along those lines. While the concept is interesting, in practice no one is looking for a made-up product word. They may be looking for entrepreneur marketing or entrepreneur consulting, but trying to build a brand from nothing that humans say is a long hard schlog.

When I lived in Clearwater, Knology was coming to town and it was AMAZING to watch the money being spent on branding them and rolling them out to the public. First went up billboards that had interesting sayings and a teaser that said something new was coming. Next were TV ads with the same (I think) red color and more teasers. Radio spots were bought and paid for, the local paper had some ads and then…wha wha…they let us know they were a cable and internet company.

Now, we never switched because we had Time Warner and were relatively happy, and I really only noticed because I am in marketing. BUT my frugal little heart wondered if naming the company a made up word was worth the MILLIONS they had to have spent to launch into the Tampa marketplace.

Your mission…take a real look at the name of your product or company. If it is made up, create a tagline that DOES have what humans say. If you are in the process of rolling out a new product or service, please make sure it has the actual function of the item in the name and leave the “cute” bits to the tagline.

Event marketing – Not enough time

Oh the humanity. My marketing besty, the Colorado Connector is an amazing PR and new media marketer. She can fill a room and generate buzz about any event we are having here in the Denver area. She has a huge database of people to contact and we sometimes consult with people on their event marketing efforts. It is at this consultation that I see the flaws in timing most marketers have.

First off, if you are having ANYTHING, you need a six week lead time. No questions asked and that doesn’t mean you are waiting to hear back about who the speaker is. You need to have your sales page and collateral materials ready to go including a online landing page (no we can’t share your Word Document flyer), at least a couple of graphics that you can share on social media, a press release, and handout flyers that you can take around to events. Next you need to have a plan for posting, schlepping around locally and basically how you are going to market your event.

Your mission: for your next event, do everything right. Give yourself time, hire a copywriter to write your sales page, go on fiverr.com to get some graphics made. Once you know what a true event marketing plan looks like, you can simply duplicate that for every other event you do going forward. I think you will be surprised at how effective (and popular) you will become!!!

Event marketing – Bad content

Okay, last event marketing one, BUT this is a biggie! Most people do not know how to write an amazing sales letter and your event NEEDS a sales letter. Just posting on Meetup.com that you are having something is not enough anymore. You need to SELL your event, your speaker, your USP or benefit to people who are going to attend. This is super important if you are charging but maybe even more so if it is a free event.
People have been burned too often on their time and now are hesitant to commit to wasting more of it on your free event.

Your mission: find an event that you felt like was a MUST ATTEND and figure out why you were so compelled to go. Look closely at their sales page and reverse engineer the reason that it tugged at you. Collect these so when you are writing your events up, you can use these same triggers to fill your room.

Small business marketing – Not enough time

Speaking of time, too many small business owners are frustrated because they feel like everything takes too much time…they want marketing to work RIGHT NOW. I wrote a post on how long it takes to get a great post ranked Small Business Marketing – How To Write Authoritative Hero Blog Posts. In it, I basically lay out that it takes about THREE MONTHS to get a really good blog post to start ranking. That is three months of promotion, sharing and slogging to get ONE POST popular.

I was giggling about this the other day with one of my marketing peeps….:) So many small business owners worry about what time to post their info. What time? Seriously, I don’t care what time you do something, it is the frequency and dedication that you use to get it done that matters. I post most of my blog posts about 10 times over the course of months to get traction. I post them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, make a video, heck anything that I can think of to get exposure for it.

This same thing applies to ALL of your marketing. Building a blog? Sad a week later that no one is reading? CRAZY! Start a Twitter account and KNOW that you will have thousands of followers in a week? UNREALISTIC. Building all of these properties takes time, dedication and patience.

Your mission: do something AMAZING and then plan to promote it for three months. Could be a video, blog post, or even a great graphic. Post it and share, talk about it, email your friends and ask them to share it too!

Small business marketing – Listening to too many gurus

This is a huge one for me! You NEED to find only one or two people to follow marketing-wise. If you have a 100 different “gurus” you are following they are all going to, over the course of a month, try to sell you something. Even if you only buy 5% of what is being sold, you will have spent hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. The reason this happens is that they are GOOD marketing people, their job is to get you to buy, buy, buy.

The problem is that if you are buying new systems, plans and products each month, you are not PLANNING and IMPLEMENTING against that plan. Honestly, you need to stop buying any new marketing products or courses until you know EXACTLY what you are doing and why you are doing it!

Your mission: if you have not met with a marketing consultant yet, find one and settle on a firm plan for your marketing. A good consultant will take into consideration what you want to sell, what your skill sets are and how much you have to spend on your marketing. Need a great marketing consultant? I would love to throw my hat into the ring to help you today!!! Find out more

Bandwagon jumping – By the time they tell you about it, it doesn’t work

Speaking of gurus, PLEASE know that by the time they are showing you the latest trick, it has flamed out. Do you really think that someone who is making GAGILLIONS of dollars a month doing something is going to sell you the “secret” for $47 or even $297? Telling you how to do something that is in direct competition with them (like buying Facebook Ads) is not smart, and these guys and gals are SMART.

We heard a great webinar the other day talking about how Facebook contests got the presenter thousands of new likes on their page. The “catch” was that they said early on that they had done this about 9 months ago. Well, Facebook has changed the contest format since then and contests are about as popular as Groupon giveaways now. The presenter was not lying, they did use a contest to get those likes, but by the time they are talking about it, that loophole has closed and it is not such an effortless sale anymore.

Your mission: Stop chasing easy and develop a plan for your marketing. Stick with it for at least 90 days before jumping to the next magical marketing trick. Bonus if you put all the “make money online” or “internet marketing” guys in a folder on your email that you never look at.

Productivity – No systems

Okay, this is a huge one! Do you know that I have a system IN WRITING for how to promote my blog posts and videos. This includes a worksheet where I list what I have done, where I have shared it and what I am selling for each item. I meet with my business partner each week to make sure we are on track and doing what we are supposed to do…:)

Once you have a marketing plan, this gets much easier. You know what you need to write about, what your videos should look like and how to get people down your sales funnel and into buying something. You feel better about yourself because you know what your top tasks are and when they are done for the day, you know that you have accomplished something worthwhile!

Your mission: First off, figure out what ONLY YOU can do for your business to market it (could be writing blog posts, making videos, chatting with prospects on the phone). Next make sure that you have a plan IN WRITING everyday for accomplishing this. Sounds easy but “real work” always gets in the way. I have seen that the best and most successful business people ignore what “has” to be done and do what “needs” to be done to grow their business every day.

Social media marketing – Posting one and done

Every thing that you create, including blog posts, videos, Facebook pages, etc. needs to be promoted multiple times. I KNOW, it can seem like you sent it out and you don’t want people to get “sick” of seeing it. I have a secret for you, most people are not paying that much attention to you! They are not worrying that they have seen something more than once because they probably didn’t even “SEE” it the first time.

Additionally (and I think this is a huge one) it depends what you are saying WHEN they are hearing it. By this I mean that someone who has never looked at Twitter will not like my Twitter posts, but if they start using this social media service, all of a sudden they can start “seeing” my posts from a couple of months ago that now have new life!

Your mission: Make yourself a worksheet! Plan how often each week you will blog. Figure out how many videos a month you will make. Daily post and follow new people on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Klout, LinkedIn (check out Tip 3 on this post to see an in depth description Internet Marketing 5 Tips To Organize Your Work Flow.)

Social media marketing – Thinking this is marketing

Okay last one! If you made it down here I have a REALLY GOOD feeling about your marketing chops! This one is HUGE and super important.

Most small business owners think that social media is marketing. The thing is that social media is just a little piece of the marketing puzzle. In my experience doing JUST social media is not an effective use of marketing time or money. Social media has to be a part of a blog, email, direct mail and in person marketing campaign.

It can be very powerful when used to build relationships, but standing alone as a prayer for generating sales it is a dud. We get A LOT of people who contact us and think that by setting up a Facebook page they are going to get hundreds of leads a week. That is just not true. Setting up a Facebook page is step one in a hundred step process to grow a sales funnel. Additionally Facebook is just one piece, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and YouTube also need to be in the mix.

THEN you need to have a way to capture names (an email database), an autoresponder series to keep them interested, maybe send them a post card or personal note. I KNOW….the gurus are telling you that all you need is Facebook or LinkedIn, but everything changes and you NEED to have a comprehensive marketing plan and system that will get moving down a pipeline from your “stuff” to a paying client over time!

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There you have it…my top 10 things you are doing wrong with your marketing! Please feel free to leave a comment if you agree (or disagree!) If you want to get going with a plan-plan and don’t know where to start, make sure to check out our Marketing Consulting Services.

What A 6 Year Old Can tell Us About Sucky Marketing

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

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

Sucky Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

Is It Still Bad Marketing If It Is Not Memorable?

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

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

Take-away

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

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

Small Business Marketing – Who To Learn From Taradactyl Style

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

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

General Marketing and Concepts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Internet or Affiliate Marketing

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

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

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

Paid SEO Search

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

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

Data

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

Website Conversion

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

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

Social Media and Video Training

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

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

Sales

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

Our Sites

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

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

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

Small Business Marketing – How To Write Authoritative Hero Blog Posts

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

How To Write Authoritative Blog Posts

How to pick a topic

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

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

How to know if it is working

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

View progression for authoritative blog post

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

How to make your posts popular

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

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

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

How to know what is working

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

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

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

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

Limit Your Market – A FABULOUS Guest Post About Niche Marketing!

Today’s post is by Barbara Grassey, writer extraordinaire and good friend of mine! Her niche marketing tips are SUPERB and her marketing knowledge rivals mine (not sure I can say that about too many peeps!)

Limit Your Market - Niche MarketingI spent my first five years of internet marketing trying to dominate my market place. World domination was my goal and I hit seminars, webinars, teleseminars, read books, went on forums, got mentors, bought courses and software and did everything I could to conquer the internet. My findings: The internet is REALLY, REALLY BIG.

After beating my head against the world wide wall, I finally knocked some sense into it. I woke up one day and realized I didn’t need to dominate the internet. I didn’t even need to dominate my niche. In fact, I barely needed to market.

I run a “boutique” business. No, I don’t run a boutique. A boutique business is one where the clients are high end and very, very niche. I don’t need to market to the masses and in fact there are no masses to market to. I can get by with as few as eight clients a year, though I shoot for 12. I usually have one or two repeat clients a year. Almost all of my clients are referred to me.

I would love to tell you that this happened through clever strategizing on my part. I wish I could say that I purposely built up a referral business. Of course I didn’t. It happened partially through luck and partially because I do good work that I charge a lot of money for. I have very little overhead (internet fees, coffee, single malt scotch, chocolate — not necessarily in that order) and mostly sit on my sofa in shorts and a t-shirt. I seldom actually meet with a client. It’s all done by email and a few phone calls. I still have to work – it’s not passive income. But I don’t have to spend a lot to do what I do.

Once I realized how small my true target market was I stopped killing myself trying to dominate the marketplace. My target demographic is less than 10,000 people. OK. Maybe a few more than that, but I am not interested in finding ALL of them. I only need a dozen a year and there are new people entering the marketplace every year.

While this may be very nice for me, how does this information help you? It may not. But it very well might. When I worked with marketing clients (back when I was trying to be all things to all people), I always started them out with an exercise to find their target demographic. It starts with finding their ideal/best client. For me, my ideal/best client is a busy speaker who needs a manual and doesn’t hesitate to pay big money for it. I especially prefer clients who don’t like to read. But that’s my bias. Sometimes your client base is geographic or a certain ethnic group or age range. You need to know who you are targeting before you do anything else. That exercise alone should start focusing your marketing efforts.

Once you figure out who your ideal client is (and that client is ALWAYS someone who willingly pays for your services), you need to determine if they can be reached easily. If your target market is difficult to reach, you’re always going to be struggling – spending too much time and money to bring clients into your business. So, if your target market is hard to reach, can you narrow or widen your target to a more easily reached demographic?

As an example, let’s say you run a pool service. Your target market is anyone with a pool within a certain geographic area. You can run ads in the local paper and gradually build up a cliental of 50 or 100 homes at a moderate monthly fee. That would be a pretty good business at $75 a month. But, could you build your business faster if you bought a mailing list of people who owned pools? (Yes, of course. There’s a list for that. There’s a list for just about everything!) What if you targeted pool owners in one or two upscale subdivisions? Now you can charge the same or maybe more (“Elite Pool Service”) and you are no longer driving all over hell and creation to service your accounts, cutting your overhead. What if you targeted commercial pools – hotels, condo associations, etc. You can charge more for that service, have fewer clients and cut your costs even more.

The point is, you probably don’t have to be or want to be the largest pool service in the world. You just want to carve out a customer base that provides a steady income, that you can expand at will and maybe one day sell your business at a nice profit.

The third component is to charge enough money to compensate you for your hard work and cover your overhead. Too many businesses are afraid to charge what they are worth and this results in constant cash flow problems. It eventually leads to owner burnout. What you charge is a marketing tool. It helps define your customer. It weeds out people who can’t afford you, and people who can’t afford to pay you are very bad clients. It establishes a higher level of credibility and confidence which is incredibly dumb, I know, but it does. “He must be good – look how much he’s charging!”

Take a look at your business and spend some time determining just how many clients you need on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. How many do you need if you raise your prices? Then determine if there is an easily targeted subset of your market that you can go after. You may find that you can have more clients, money and time by limiting your market rather than dominating it.

My pal Barbara Grassey is super funny (no, seriously, she used to be comedian!) PLUS an amazing ghost writer of manuals for speakers. I LOVE her style and look forward to every word!!!

10 Advanced Lead Generation Strategies to Turn Your Business Into A Goldmine

10 Advanced Lead Generation Strategies to Turn Your Business Into A GoldmineSo excited to have this guest post from my Monster buddy, Rebekah Welch! We have the Marketing and Media Monsters and she rarely gives out these advanced lead generation secrets!

Lead generation is vital to the success of every business. If you need customers, you need to generate leads to find those customers. No matter how amazing your product or service your business will not draw new customers automatically.

Before you implement the 10 Advanced Lead Generation Strategies to Turn Your Business into a Goldmine discussed below, it is vital to make sure you have a few tools in place.

  • A way to capture the leads you get so you can put them into your database. Use a simple lead capture form on your blog or website. If your leads are coming from another source other than your site (such as networking or email), make sure you have the ability to input those leads into your database. Hire an admin or VA if needed to make sure this piece gets accomplished.
  • robust database and customer relationship management (CRM) system with automation capabilities.
  • A highly functional and dependable email client with great deliverability.
  • A fantastic, high touch, high impact automated follow-up system. I recommend a powerful auto-responder that you can customize for your brand and load with power-packed value added messages and compelling calls to action.

*I recommend using an all inclusive tool such as Infusionsoft that can handle all of the above in one location.

Now that you have your tools in place, employ these advanced techniques to dramatically increase your incoming leads.

1. Optimize Your Website or Blog for Search (SEO)

Statistics show there are approximately 5.2 billion web searches performed daily. Getting your business in front of your target market when they are looking for solutions to the problems that your business solves is the name of the game. Choose your keywords wisely – based on what your customers are ACTUALLY searching for – and position them appropriately in your web address, your titles, your images and videos, and the body of your content. Give the exact info necessary to earn their click, which will buy you the opportunity to educate your prospect on your ability to solve their problem and lead them into your database.

2. Content Marketing

In 2012 businesses spent more than $16 billion on online content marketing alone. Craft high quality content based on your customers needs and challenges then offer it for free on your blog. Position your business as the go-to resource in the market place for your industry. When your potential customer is looking for a solution that your business offers, your company will be top-of-mind.

Always focus on education and avoid anything that feels like a hard-sell or a power pitch. Instead provide real value that includes calls to action within the content you create. If you are truly knowledgeable and capable, your former and existing customers will provide the social proof of your excellence.

3. Create AMAZING “How To” Guides

Your customer doesn’t care about you UNTIL you solve their problems, ease their pain, or provide valuable information. Learn your prospects most sensitive pain points and identify how exactly you can help. Create high quality “how to” guides based on solving that specific issue, and offer it to them via your blog or social networks. Use a simple form to capture their name and email as an exchange for your guide.

4. Create Interesting Reports for Your Industry and Give Them Away

Research interesting and useful information for your market and compile your findings into a report that you offer on your site for free. Sharing information is a great way to develop thought leadership, and position yourself as an expert. Helping your potential customers make better informed decisions will generate conversations, encourage referrals and generate a continuous flow of leads. Use a simple form to capture their name and email in exchange for your report.

5. Identify And Engage Joint Venture Partners

A joint venture is an agreement between your company and one that offers a complimentary product or service. Each partner recommends the other’s products or service to their own audience, creating a broader reach for both parties. Joint Ventures can be used strategically to generate leads, build trust around both partner’s products or services, and mutually boost awareness of each party’s offerings.

6. Boost Leads with Amazing “Explainer” Videos

According to Jakob Nielsen you only have 10 seconds to capture a potential lead’s attention. If you can engage your prospects and convince them stay on your page for thirty seconds, you can often keep their attention for 2 minutes or more.

The most effective way to achieve this is through Video. Entertaining “explainer” videos can quickly demonstrate your ability to solve the problems your potential customers are facing. Build in a call to action (request a quote, get more info, etc.) that captures their name and email.

7. Host Value-Packed Webinars

Webinars are a great way to target your prospects pain points and challenges and present your solution in a highly personal way. The trick is getting interested parties to show up. Make use of your branded email and auto-responder to send a confirmation when they register, a follow up email a few days out, and another the day of your webinar. After the event offer a replay for those who registered and could not attend or would like to see the information again.

8. Target Potential Customers with Social Media Ads

Most Social Media ad platforms enable you to reach tons of potential prospects with rich display ads and highly-targeted text ads. Most offer some method of filtering which allows you to target viewers by location, gender, age, and interests. The purpose of these ads is to funnel prospects into your database where you can offer them your guides, reports, webinars and build the relationship that leads to the sale.

9. Use Inboxq to Answer and Track Questions on Twitter

Twitter is an excellent place to add value, build community and bring in leads. Inboxq is a chrome extension that allows you to track Twitter questions in real time. As questions pop up that you have solutions for you can chime in and position yourself as a resource. Set up tracking in inboxq by identifying keywords relevant to your business. You’ll get a real time alert every time a question is asked based on the keywords you specified. Make sure you answer specifically and use the inquirers name in your response so they know that you are human. Provide links to your relevant resources that help them solve their issues.

10. Send A Value-Packed Newsletter on a Consistent Schedule

Engage and nurture your prospects on a consistent ongoing basis with a fabulous newsletter packed with info. Begin with a compelling headline to make sure your newsletter gets opened. Make your newsletter interesting and loaded with value. Link the content to your resources – your site, your products, your guides, your reports, and your webinars – as well as any Joint Venture opportunities you may be cross promoting.

5 Steps To Amazing Lead Generation That Really Works

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

So what is the difference between marketing and lead generation?

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

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

5 Steps To Amazing Lead Generation That Really Works

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

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

Small Business Marketing – 100 Great Call To Action Examples

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

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

Ease Them In Call To Action Examples

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

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

Detail, Detail, Detail Call To Action Examples

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

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

For Our Visual Friends Call To Actions Examples

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

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

Something For Nothing Call To Action Examples

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

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

Contact Us And Request A Quote Call To Actions

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

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

More Aggressive and Direct Call To Action Examples

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

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

Fundraising Calls To Actions

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

  • Donate now
  • Donate
  • Help now

Placing Limits on your Call To Action

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing is ever perfect!

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

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

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

Wasting time on something that won’t work

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

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

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

Getting ready to get ready

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are only talking to one person.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small Business Marketing – Getting Motivated

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

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

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

1. What Are You Doing?

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

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

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

 

2. Get Some Systems!

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

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

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

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

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

3. Get Some Tools

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

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

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

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

The Gamification of Everything – What About Marketing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sales Cycle Marketing – What Is Convergence?

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

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

What Is Convergence In Marketing?

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

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

Sales Cycle Marketing Convergence Graphic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Convergence in the sales cycle

This is the important bit so pay attention….

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

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

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

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

Why Coming Into The Sales Cycle Late Makes No Sense

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

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

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

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

Sales Cycles – Small Business Marketing

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

So what is a sales cycle?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bad News About Sales Cycles

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

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

How To Do Sales Cycle Marketing

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

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

Sales Cycle Software Recommendation

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

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

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

Small Business Marketing – Authority Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does that look like practically?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small Business Marketing – List Of Promotional Holidays

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

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

Easy Seasons

  • Winter
  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Summer

Basic Promotional Holidays

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

Yearly Events

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

Swag Roundup – Tech Trade Show Promotional Products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tech Trade Show Promotional Products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Win At Small Business Marketing

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

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

Analyze

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

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

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

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

Plan

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

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

These are all in NUMBER OF….

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

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

Measure

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

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

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

Repeat

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

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

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

Small Business Marketing – Writing Good Subject Lines And Content

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

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

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

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

Writing Good Email Subject Lines

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

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

A Bad Email Subject Line

Bad email subject line - writing good email subject lines post

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

Can you figure out what is wrong before reading more?

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

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

A Good Email Subject Line

Good email subject line

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

Can you figure out why this is good?

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

The Little Teaser

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

Social Media Emails

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

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

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

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

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

Ecommerce for Small Business Marketing

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

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

Ecommerce for Small Business Marketing – Onesey Twoosies

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

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

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

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

Ecommerce for Small Business Marketing – Online Shopping Carts

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

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

Shopify Online Ecommerce SoftwareShopify – Shopping Cart Software

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

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

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

Online Shopping Carts – Etsy

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

Ecommerce for Blogs

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

Disclaimer

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

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

Success Quotes and Thoughts for Small Business – Burn the Boats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burn The Boats

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

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

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

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

My Favorite Success Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small Business Marketing – What is your call to action?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call To Action Marketing

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

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

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

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

What Is Your Call To Action?

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

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

Gary Vaynerchuk The Thank You Economy – Is It Scalable?

Okay, gotta get this out on the table first so there are no unpleasant police surprises…:) I am semi-stalking Gary Vaynerchuk…not in the creepy way, but in the way that my dog (who is a super scaredy-cat) thinks that it is okay to stay at home alone if one of Gary’s keynotes is playing in the background because I listen to them so much! Oh and I have seen him a couple of times in person, have both of his books…well…maybe need a 12 step…BUT…

Gary Vaynerchuk - is it scalable?He sent me a present!!! Okay, I know he sent LOTS of people a present BUT I still felt great about it and think he is an even cooler guy than before!

For those of you who do not know, Gary’s book, The Thank You Economy is about how having a connection with people from the online world is super important and vital to your small business marketing going forward. BUT, the one thing I hear about all the time is people asking him, “is it scalable” to have thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of “friends” online? How do you make them ALL feel like they know you?

Well, you send them an email asking them to help get your book higher on the Amazon rankings, PLUS a promise to send something super out later. No promises when later, just later. No promises what later, just later. No expectations, just a good communication.

Then, many months later, another email verifying an address. Asked and answered. Then….drumroll please…a box of really cool stuff comes in the mail!!!!

Now I am surely not on the scale of Gary, but I have some big networks, speak a lot in public and KNOW that a lot of people look down on the fact that I cannot honestly be “friends” with all of them….well no. Seriously, they are all not someone who I would see or talk to on a day to day basis, but they are people who at least know me a little and probably feel like they could reach out for help if they needed it!

For example:

  • Yesterday a fellow who had attended one of my classes called me and asked if I do website hosting, I DO NOT! But gave him a really great referral for a lady who could help. SCORE – helped the man AND gave a referral to a friend-friend.
  • Also yesterday, got an email from an old friend-ish. He was writing an ad and had some of his HTML messed up on a link. He sent me an email and I fired right back with the fixed code. Now, could/would I do that if I was super busy speaking or meeting with a client? Nope. BUT if I am there and he needs help, HELL YES I am going to help!
  • Lastly, I am often able to use my social capital to help charities who need a new roof, or a Facebook page like or even just a bump in traffic, all cool things I sometimes do for “friends”. I don’t do it every time someone asks, but if it is something I support I am glad to help!

So is The Thank You Economy scalable – pretty much! Do some people feel left out, ignored or otherwise disgruntled, I am sure they do! Are there always going to be that type of people? Yep!

Long story short (too late I know), so if you are worried you will have TOO MANY FRIENDS or TOO MANY CONNECTIONS, stop that. Get more friends, be nice to them and see what happens!!!

Thanks Gary…I think it is scalable!

Small Business Marketing – Creating New Habits

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

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

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

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

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

Creating New Habits – See If They Are Worthwhile!

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

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

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

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

Creating New Habits – Be Realistic About Your Time!

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

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

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

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

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

Creating New Habits – Make It Easy To Succeed

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

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

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

Creating New Habits – Making It Stick

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Marketing – What You Should Be Doing Now

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

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

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

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

Blogging for social media marketing

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

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

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

Facebook for small business marketing

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

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

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

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

Twitter for small business marketing

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

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

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

Google+ for social media marketing

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

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

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

YouTube for small business marketing

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

Pinterest for small business marketing

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

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

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP

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

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

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

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

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

The Back Story…And The Ways That This Works…

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

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

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

Step 2 – Who pops up but Amazon?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using Video Reviews To Generate Sales Leads

Video Review Examples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Do Small Business Marketing Farmers Do?

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

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

Farmers…

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

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

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

What Do Small Business Marketing Hunters Do?

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

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

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

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

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

Small Business Marketing – Having A Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the link to find out more about our 1 Hour Marketing
Coaching call
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space is limited… and these phone consulting sessions are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Small Business Marketing Doodle

Soooo…. here is my hope for you today:

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

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

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

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

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

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Google Plus Pages for Small Business Marketing

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

Check out the Marketing Artfully google plus business page!

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

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

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

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

Google Plus Direct Connect

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

Google Plus Direct Connect

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

Facebook To Google Translation

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

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

Share on google plus business pages

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

Add google business pages to circles

Google Plus Pages Terms of Service Notes

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

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

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

Social Media Marketing Services

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

Small Business Marketing – How To Finish The Year Strong!

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Finish The Year Strong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

small business marketing coachingWant to finish the year strong?

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

Small Business Marketing – In Store Events

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

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

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

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

Designing With Wow

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

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

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

What They Did Right

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

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

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

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

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

Small Business Marketing – Layering Your Marketing Message

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

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

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

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

Social Media Marketing

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

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

 

Email Marketing

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

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

 

Direct Mail Marketing

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

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

 

How To Do Layering For Small Business Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

Small Business Marketing – Systems and Results

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

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

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

Small Business Marketing System – Video Blogging and YouTube

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

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

So there you have it, my small business marketing system for getting videos out the door and published! Please – start your own system today for something you would like to accomplish and tell me what it was in the comment section (extra credit if you make a video and post it to your YouTube channel!)

 


 

Small Business Marketing Training VideosSmall Business Marketing Training

Need to know more about how to actually DO all of those great marketing ideas you hear about. Check out Marketing Artfully University! We have answers to all your marketing questions with step-by-step instructions and videos to walk you through! Find out more about these Small Business Marketing Training Videos today!

Small Business Marketing – Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Small business marketing has MANY shiney objects to chase and it may seem like the latest and greatest new gizmo is the most important. Today we are we are going to talk about what may seem a little antiquated (smile) email marketing and some common email marketing mistakes!

Small business marketing - email marketingI see A LOT of mistakes out there with small business owners who are using email incorrectly or who have not even thought about how or why to set up their email marketing in the correct manner. This post is going to go over common mistakes and what to do to fix them. Sorry to my friends who, as always, know that they are loved and who will be my goats for anything that makes me crazy!

Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Not having a professional email address

If you are still putting a gmail, aol, road runner, comcast or other free or obviously system emails on your business cards or handouts, people notice and assume that you are not professional (at the very least they will assume that you are WAY behind technology-wise, which in this day and age is not cute or funny, it is a red flag to potential customers!)

Using your company email address

While I understand there are some situations that you need to use a corporate email address, this is a SMALL BUSINESS BLOG. Most of us do not work for IBM or Lucent, we have a little more flexibility with our personal branding. So, why SHOULDN’T you use your company email?

One of my friends, who shall remained unnamed, Brian P, has changed his email address no less than 4 times since I have known him. It started with BrianP(at)homebank.com and went to BrianP(at)countrywide.com and then BrianP(at)tricountyfl.com and finally today, BrianP(at)VanDyke.com. The worst part of it is, he had a website about mortgage banking and could have used BrianP(at)mortgagecommunicationspot.com the WHOLE TIME!

I will tell you, most people are not hiring the company you work for, they are hiring YOU and Brian has to have lost some people who would have worked with him again but they are two or three email addresses back and don’t know how to get a hold of him.

Not Having An Email Marketing List

This is a biggie. I talk to many people who network often who have said they have stacks and stacks of business cards on their desk and have not put them in a list yet. Arggg. This means that all that networking is for naught. You HAVE to follow up with an email newsletter or some other followup method you are missing the boat.

If you are not using a service like Constant Contact or Aweber, you CAN email easily by just having an excel spreadsheet with First Name, Last Name and Email. You can then cut and paste the addresses into most email clients and send your message (NO MORE THAN 50 at a time so it is kerfuffly BUT it WILL work). The nice thing about doing it this way is that when you ARE ready to do your real email newsletter, you will already have your list ready!

Free Resources From Past Posts

Email Newsletters – Email Marketing – Good Email Subject Lines and Super Duds
Email Marketing – Email Newsletter Marketing Topics and Ideas

Marketing Artfully University Resources

NEW – Setting Up Your Email Addresses Effectively
How should you grow your contact list
Secret Email Marketing Strategies

find out more about small business marketing help at MAU! The cost is low, there are over 82 posts with videos and there is a small one time fee to join!

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!

Small Business Marketing Launches – Learning From The Big Guys Ibex

Small business marketing launches can be confusing! You have already been selling your product or service for a while so why would you need to “launch” it again?

What IS a small business marketing launch?

If you have been on the internet for any time at all, you will notice from time to time that multiple people send you the same exciting opportunity email OR your favorite company starts sending you a bunch of emails about the same topic. This is called a “launch” and just means that they are focusing on getting the word out about one of their products or services (could be a new one or re-launching an old one).

The concept is great and can generate a lot of buzz for your company. Here is an example of a product launch done by Seth Godin and the Domino Project in conjunction with Ibex, a sports clothing company. The ways we small biz owners can use the concepts are in italics!

IBEX LAUNCH OVERVIEW

First Ibex partnered with Seth Godin, a REALLY big name in marketing and his Domino project which helps launch books for self publishers. They were promoting the publishing of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s book, Self-Reliance, and trying to generate new customers for the Ibex company. Ibex gave away $15,000 worth of clothing to people who tweeted out a link to book giveaway and mentioned their hashtag (#ibexwear).

The Ibex Contest Rules:

1. To enter, you must do the following:

  • follow @projectdomino on Twitter – you could do this! offer a free giveaway to one of your twitter followers!
  • during the dates of the sweepstakes (From 6am ET on May 25, 2011 – 5pm ET on May 26 2011), send out a tweet about the publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s book Self-Reliance (in Kindle or hardcover) – make a condition of entering your giveaway that they tweet out something
  • in the tweet, reference this URL (http://bit.ly/emersonSR) and use the hashtag #ibexwear – YOU set the hashtag to use, so for Marketing Artfully University I might use #MAU to designate the hashtag
  • only relevant tweets are eligible, and people tweeting the code more than four times a day will be disqualified.

Here is the entire contest page.

What Ibex Did Right!

  • Partnered with Seth Godin (who has a great marketing blog and huge list of followers) meant that A LOT of people heard about the contest – as a small business owner, you don’t need millions BUT find the influential people you know and ask them to help. These are called “affiliates” and may do it for free or may want to have a small cut of the profits.
  • Offered a free giveawayyou do not have to give away thousands of dollars, offer one or two copies of your hardcover book, a free website membership or even an hour of your time to people who participate.
  • Drove people FIRST to follow them on Twitterthis helped them to build up their twitter following!
  • Did it in a tight time framethis is my least favorite part of launches – you need to do A LOT of promoting in a very short time and be available to facilitate it the entire way through!

Small Business Marketing Launches IbexWhile I MIGHT have posted about this contest anyways, I for sure wanted to give Ibex a shout out because they (1) picked me to win a $50 gift card and (2) included a free cap and a handwritten note when I got the product in the mail! Check out David Starkweather’s post (Ralph Waldo Emerson in a Wool Shak? | What Great Marketing Looks Like) about how he won a card also!

Which brings me to my final point. Seth Godin attracts marketers. Marketers tend to be talky-talky people who share things and have blogs and who are built to tell people things! If they had chosen say, Michael Jordan, to pair with, they may have gotten the initial boost of his popularity, but THEN would a bunch of athletes have spread the word even further by blogging about the great marketing campaign? I am not sure, but I don’t think so.

No matter what your industry, if you are going to do a small business marketing launch, make sure to have connector-type people helping you or you may hear a resounding dud for your efforts!

Facebook Marketing – Application Scams and Viruses

Facebook marketing is generally fun! We have a process by which we make sure that our clients get great exposure and connect with the most people and companies possible. That having been said, there are A LOT of application scams and viruses so tread carefully if you are using Facebook for business!

Facebook Marketing Scams and VirusesI admit, I am basically writing this to send to my clients so they know what to click and what not to on the Facebook. Some of you may agree or disagree about the validity of some of my suggestions, if you are unhappy, get your own blog, these are all applications that we have found to be detrimental to the business personas we are trying to achieve online!

DO NOT Play Games On Facebook

Farmville, Mafia Wars and other Facebook games may seem like a super-fun way to while a couple of minutes away during the day. Because they are socially tied in, when you harvest a crop or shoot a bad guy, it shows up on your friends (and clients’) walls. Imagine them, sitting and waiting for a vital email from you and the next thing they see is that got a high score on bejeweled! Now, I am sure that you were playing while you were eating lunch or returning calls or any of the million other things that you have to do to stay alive in a day BUT you don’t have to broadcast that to everyone who is connected to you on Facebook! While this is not actually a virus or a scam, I don’t think that gaming has any place on Facebook for a business professional!

Stik Facebook Spam

Stik is a Facebook App that asks for peer recommendations and then wants to spam your friend’s walls with all kinds of useless information. We work with LOTS of Realtors who love to push these kinds of things out but HONESTLY, it is spam and will get you unfriended faster than you can shake a stick! Here is a great post about “Social Media SPAM – Is Stik.com good for your facebook profile?” that says it better than I ever could!

You Are In This Picture Facebook Scams

Any time you get a notification from a friend that says “you look wonderful in this picture” or “OMG, did you see what you did on this video”, step lightly! If they require you to “allow” an app to access your account to see what horrible fate has befallen your image, DO NOT CLICK ALLOW!!! It is a spammer app that will then send that same message to everyone on your friends list.

Check Out Who Visited Your Profile Scams

This is a big one I get almost every day! There is NOT a way to see who has simply typed your name into the search bar to look you up. When you see this message, it means that one of your friends got fooled and a spyware or virus app wants to bother all YOUR friends now too. DO NOT CLICK ALLOW – do you see a theme here people, if you have to click allow to see something, it is one that you DO NOT want to let into your FB world!

Rules Of Thumb For Avoiding Being A Facebook Spammer

The worst part of being fooled into clicking some of these Facebook malware programs is that it makes YOU look like you are a spammer! Whether you intended to or not, you put your friends on the spammers radar by randomly clicking things that you should know better than to click! Here are some good rules of thumb to avoid being taken in:

  • If it seems to good to be true, it is! Social media is no different than anywhere else. NO ONE is going to give you an iPad for free OR get you 10,000 fans overnight or any of the other wild things out there. Have some common sense and think to yourself, does this make sense?
  • Generally people are nice on Facebook. Because Facebook has a self monitoring feature of letting people unfriend you if you are a jerk, rarely will anyone send you a message that says someone else posted a picture or a video of you looking like a fool. These types of scare tactics prey on our insecurities but are mostly imaginary. What horrible things you think are happen on FB (almost like High School) mostly aren’t! Just keep track of what you are tagged and posted in and you will be fine (if they want you to hit “allow” to see it first, altogether now, DO NOT CLICK THE LINK!)
  • If it seems totally self serving, it probably is. Stik is totally PUSH marketing that is telling people that you are in business and they better damn well listen to you. Social media is not like that, it is more around the corner marketing and NO ONE likes having your marketing message on their wall, ESPECIALLY if you can not control where it goes!

General Information About Facebook Scams

I KNOW, there are probably a hundred different privacy settings that you can use to try to avoid these slimey spammers, but at the end of the day, using your common sense will do more to help your Facebook Marketing avoid application scams and viruses than any privacy settings can ever do. Stop clicking random strange things and you should generally be fine!

Facebook For Business – May 2011 Updates

Facebook is not made for business, rats! I KNOW, it is to talk with your peeps, share photos of your puppies and generally schmooze. BUT many of us have found it is a great lead generating source and there are bits that can be great for business if done correctly. Here are my most recent notices and what they may mean for small business marketing.

Facebook for Business - May 2011 UpdatesFacebook For Business – Making Your Business A Person

One of the biggest no-no’s I see on Facebook that small business owners name their profile their business name. Not only does this violate the terms of service BUT it also confuses the public when we then launch them a real business page. Stop doing this!

There are a couple of real-life reasons that it does not make sense to do your business as a person:

  1. If you have a person, you have friends. These are people that you can invite to your events easily and use the “suggest to friends” feature within Facebook. You can also “update fans of your page” when you have an event. To give you an example, I have 751 “likes” on Marketing Artfully, of which 280 of those people are my friends (more on the fuzzy math of friends and likes later). My events are local so I have my friends separated into lists of Tampa friends and Denver friends and invite the correct people appropriately. The fans of my page are automatically filtered by Facebook and so are easy to invite geographically desirable potential attendees.
  2. You can only have 5,000 friends, you can have unlimited “likes”. This is not always a factor to small business owners who use smaller, more industry targeted numbers BUT it is a factor.
  3. You are not supposed to SELL on your profile. If you make your business a person, the amount of sales talky-talk that you can do before you are banned is GREATLY decreased! I have one friend who has had to redo her person three times because they banned her so often for selling on her profile!

Weird Random Facebook Changes

Weird random facebook changesOkay, today this fun little box popped up on the right of my PROFILE and said “related stories” when I was posting about one of my speaking events. Not sure I really think that they were related, but barring that, this could mean that if we post things on the profile that are a little more geographically targeted (I said “denver friends”) and a little beefier, that Facebook could pull our content out and post is as something that others could like right from their walls. This DID NOT seem to “sponsored” meaning a paid FB ad. As far as I can tell, this DOES NOT happen on the business pages.

All of your friends updates DO NOT show on your wall. I am sad! Facebook has decided that my husband is not important and that I should not see his posts. He is definitely someone I want to know about, but not visible to me unless I type his name in the top and specifically check what he has been talking about. I HAVE set my settings to show ALL friends and pages but no Johnny J. I have also noticed that I do not get notifications when everyone interacts with me, just some of the people (I have friends that have mentioned this too). If you want to see more than just what Facebook thinks is important, make sure you click the “most recent” tab instead of using the “top news” and know that you still might not be seeing everything.

Changes To The Facebook Groups

New Media PR Consultant, Rebekah Welch, the Colorado Connector gave me some great pointers about the changes to Facebook Groups. We do not aggressively use the groups so I fall back to her expertise in this matter!

As the “old” groups are archived and we are, “upgraded” to the new format, there are some SIGNIFICANT changes that are going to affect how people connect. One being that groups are now limited to ONLY 250 members. (A serious hit …for group owners with 300, 500, 1,500 – like us!) Another being that fb will remove ALL of the members of the old group – and group owners will have to get (250) of their old members to migrate to the new page. Invites also will be affected – group owners will only be able to directly communicate with invitees until the list reaches 4,999. At 5,000 you lose the ability to update your invitees.

While pages are great for being indexed on browsers (groups are not), all updates you share with your “fans” or “like” – ers are essentially sent to what equates to a spam folder in the message area. Most people don’t realize it’s there, so they never look at it. THIS is one reason why some folks have slower conversion results with a fan page as opposed to a group page where messages go directly to the FB inbox. SO, while pages allow you to have unlimited followers, you can’t exactly interact with them effectively.

Being a SEO junkie, I was never a fan of groups and now have even more reason to not love them. I also do not like that the organizer has the ability to add me all willy-nilly to groups randomly without my prior permission and that most business owners do not take the time to interact with their groups. Hosting a group is a big time commitment and if you are not going to be in there interacting EVERY day, it is mostly a wasted effort. I have to say, that this is the one area that LinkedIn trumps Facebook. If you are going to make a commitment to starting a group, the messaging capabilities and interactions are much more robust on LinkedIn than on FB.

How They Are Counting “Likes” To Your Fan Page

On this one, I am as lost as the rest of you. In the past, the number of “likes” to your page seemed to be separate from the number of friends that you had who liked your page. ALL of our clients have had the numbers of “likes” as reported by FB drop dramatically in the last month and I am thinking that this is because they have changed their “fuzzy math”, NOT because hundreds of people have just decided to unlike at the same time. Additionally, I have not seen that there is a reporting function for Business Pages that like your page. We LOVE the new interactions that pages can have with each other and utilize that effectively for driving new Likers, BUT I do not see a way to know how many pages like your page (although you can see how many pages your page likes). Whew, that makes sense to me but not sure that it translates well to writing!

If anyone has more information about these numbers, please feel free to leave a comment!!!

photo courtesty of http://www.flickr.com/photos/pshab/498122926/

Small Business Marketing Magic – There is no get rich quick!

Small business marketing magic is a lie! There is no get rich quick scheme that can grow you a sustainable, ongoing marketing plan. Having a good marketing plan that feeds into your Small Business Lead Generating Sales Funnel, is hard work and not something that you should expect overnight.

Small Business Marketing MagicFacebook Business Page Lies

Yesterday I was working away diligently and got a call. It looked like one of my client’s numbers so I answered. A lady wanted to know if we sold Facebook fans. I asked her if she wanted us to help her grow her page with real people and she said no, that she wanted to know about getting 10,000 likes right away. Sigh. We have clients who have paid some money (eighty-nine bucks) for 1,000 likes. They got about 400 total new likes and honestly, they were not real Facebook people. They were profiles that were auto-set up with a photo and very limited info. They had no friends, they had no updates, basically they were just one like from someone who would never share your page, comment or care about what you do.

I cannot see any way that having 10 or 10,000 fake fans will help anyone grow and told her so. She then brought up the fact that there were LOTS of companies selling this so it must be real! I told her that I would love to lose 15 pounds a week and that there are lots of companies selling that also. Doesn’t make it so!

Social Media Marketing Will Result In Immediate Sales

Small Biz owners are always surprised when we tell them that social media will not be likely to get them SALES in the first month. The first month of getting your social media and internet empire set up is a building process. It involves building a Facebook business page, branding your Twitter and YouTube channels, making videos or writing blog posts. All of these things are vital to showing the world that your company has a strong online presence.

So, does that mean sales will start flooding in once you have your empire set up? Nope. Sorry to be the bearer of more bad news BUT, social media is a great channel for getting people interested, doing networking and talking about your business in a way that will spark an interest in what you do. No matter what the hype is, Facebook will not sell a million of your products if they do not sell at that rate in the open market. What it WILL do is act as a great source of leads, leads that have to be nurtured and grown, just like you would in the real world.

Many times I hear that people don’t want to spend all that time talking to people online. I think they want people to call and say, “give me 10 of those widgets”. The best way to think about social media is to equate it to real life networking. If you have ever gone to a networking event and had someone chew your ear off about how great their product is, that will give you an idea of how some people come across online. The SOCIAL in social media means that you will have to talk with them (either through messaging or emails) before they are going to want to call and place an order.

You Can “Go Viral” And Your Business Will Explode

I wrote a post the other day about Trying To Go Viral With Your YouTube videos. Some of the data that I found was astounding like only 80,000 hits on a video that had Eminem, a commercial on the superbowl and a cost of 9 million dollars. That is a REALLY high cost per hit.

Going viral online is like getting on the Oprah Show. We ALL dream about producing something that is so brilliant that everyone wants to share it and we can get rich and retire to Aruba. The fact is, Oprah rarely features companies on her show and going viral mostly involves people, pets or kids doing something funny and non-commercial.

It is much better to try and capture a target like “going viral to people who want to buy or sell a house in the Stratford Lakes subdivision”. Not going to be a lot of people, but are going to be people people who are interested in working with you! For a pizza shop, going viral nationally will not do all that much to increase business, but if you can get videos of the neighborhood kids enjoying your pies, they may share them with their friends who can comfortably reach your business by car or on foot.

So, there are three small business marketing magic myths busted! Really, all it takes is hard work and time to promote your business. Not sexy but the truth!

PS – Next post is going to bust the loch ness monster, yetis and the fat guy in the big red suit wide open!

Small Business Marketing – How Do People See Your Company

Small business marketing, sigh. In the past it was easy, take out a yellow page ad and you were done. Well times they have changed and small business marketing is now a million moving parts that all have to be working together to make a whole campaign.

small business marketing mazeWe talk to our clients every day and they are grouchy that they have make videos and answer online questions and basically be available to their potential customers who have not even said they are willing to buy yet, they are just exploring their options.

In this day of always on internet (remember when you had to log in and out and only got 1 hour a day), consumers are researching your company or product extensively before they are willing to give you their hard earned money. They are checking to see if you have good reviews on Yelp, seeing what your Facebook page looks like and if you talk there. Some like Twitter and tweet you first to see if you are a real person. I know what you are thinking, GIVE ME A BREAK, who has time for all that sillyness, I just want to run my business and make some money.

Here are two of the small business marketing quotes that we have heard since YESTERDAY

  • “She found us through an ad and went to the site and found Facebook there…. Don’t know why in the world she didn’t just call in the first place.”
  • we have a listing that would like to list with us but they do not find us on internet searches when entering XXX luxury or XXX waterfront etc.

These types of things come through every day. A customer of ours who doesn’t understand that the lady is not going to buy ANYTHING before vetting it on the Facebook. A realtor who doesn’t like the internet or blogs and who never saw the benefit of ranking well for keywords, until every other client asked why they didn’t show up in Google.

Unfortunately, if you are going to be in business in this day and age, you HAVE to be fluent in small business marketing online. Every day you are not out there, you are falling behind and may never catch up.

Small Business Marketing Solutions

So all the doom and gloom, what is a business person to do? Here are my top tips for getting started.

  • If you are OK at using the internet yourself, start taking classes to find out what you should be doing and then start small and do something everyday. I have a membership site that can help with your DIY Small Business Marketing efforts.
  • If you truly have a very small marketing budget and no computer skills what-so-ever, find a kid. They grew up on this and are technically savvy about how to use the systems. The problem with hiring a child is that they have no marketing knowledge and could hurt more than help your efforts.
  • If you have any kind of marketing budget at all, it is worth hiring a professional marketing company like us to do your marketing for you! I KNOW most yellow page ads cost about $800 a month, for that you could have a really good running start to a small business marketing online empire!

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this is just how it is and only going to get worse going forward. We didn’t mention QR codes, mobile or any of the other things on the horizon that you are going to have to master along with all the “normal” things we have to do small business marketing wise today. My best suggestion to the small business owner who wants to stay in business is to start today!

Small Business Lead Generating Sales Funnel

Small business lead generating is a big deal over here in our marketing world! We are really good at helping you fill your sales funnel, but if these leads never follow through to a conversion and a sale then it is a wasted effort.

Small Business Lead Generating Sales FunnelWhile working with our small biz clients, we often hear that they have gotten “no leads”. Huh, that is weird since I see leads coming across the email, in blog comments and as requests for info on Social Media. I think what they are saying is that they have gotten no “sales” or new clients. This can happen because of a breakdown between leads and sales.

Today we are going to look at all the pieces that go in making a successful lead to sales transaction.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel (also known as the sales pipeline) is the term for the process by which we add A LOT of leads into the top of the funnel and sales come out of the bottom, losing some along the way. The parts of the sales funnel can be called a lot of different things including prospects, suspects, and customers; leads, visitors and pre-qualifications.

We are going to look at some of the normal sales-funnelly things, but then we are going to talk specifically about where your process may be failing your conversions. It can be VERY easy to get caught up in the labeling and not look a the practical aspects of going from propects to sales.

Small Business Marketing Lead Generating Sales Funnel

The Practical Sales Funnel

Leads – Opportunity

Leads can look like many things. They can be a message sent through Facebook asking about your services, an email info request, a response back to your email newsletter, basically any time someone talks to you about the goods or services that you sell. THE FIRST THING you should do after getting one of these messages is to add this person to your database, CRM (customer relationship management software), or spreadsheet of prospects. Make sure to note what kind of service or product they were interested in.

This is the first step of your sales funnel and just consists of collecting their contact information so that you can communicate with them on an ongoing basis.

Sales Call – Connection

The first time that you contact this prospect (whether it be by email or phone), your goal should be to set an appointment. An appointment for a formal phone call or in-person meeting where you can talk over your offerings at a time that is convenient and when the prospect will be receptive to listening to you.

I think that this should be over the phone as you have not pre-qualified this person enough to know if they are a good fit. Can they afford your product or service? Are they ready to buy within the next 30 days? Have they researched any of your competitors?

These are all vital things to know and you are just wasting time meeting with someone who is not ready, willing and able to buy your product or service.

Follow Up – Timing

I am going to tell you something that you may find shocking. Most prospects do not buy right away, gasp. Honestly, I have asked some of our clients how many times they followed up on a sales lead and they say that they never followed up because the person did not buy after the first contact. This is what we in the business call BURNING LEADS. The prospect raised their hand and said they were interested, but probably did not have enough information to take out their credit card and buy.

You should follow up a phone call with an immediate personal note or email, thanking them for their time. You should then reach out with offers of additional info at least two or three times more over the next couple of weeks (put it in your calendar). After that, make sure they are on your newsletter list so they receive ongoing communications from you, which could remind them why they called you in the first place!

If you are a typical small business owner, you are probably a TERRIBLE salesperson. If this is the case (as it is with me) you are going to need to hire someone to follow up for you. You can pay this person a fixed rate or “spiff” them an amount for each appointment they set for you. DO NOT skimp on this, a good salesman can make you more money than you ever imagined possible!

Conversion – Obstacles

Okay, you have a lead and they want to buy BUT they have not pulled the trigger (ie paid you yet). This is the most frustrating part of the sales process and one you need to look at very closely because it is probably your fault that the sale is not moving forward!

First off, make sure it is VERY easy for your prospect to pay. Just this week we had a lady call and say she had been waiting for us to send her a link for payment. Now I KNOW that we sent that link over a week or so ago, BUT what matters is that we re-send it to her right away while she is paying attention to us.

Another great example about how a process can fall apart is one of my bookkeeping clients. She takes her prospects, sends them to her salesperson to follow up, gets them excited about her services, they say they want to buy and then…NOTHING. In my opinion, the sale is falling apart because she expects them to gather their receipts, bank statements and other financial documents together themselves. To me it feels like, if they could do all that themselves, what would they need her for?!?!?! We suggested that she make a part of her services a two hour, holding-your-hand and getting your documents together startup meeting. This way, she will get the client on board AND she will be losing less of them due to the fact that they are terrible at accounting tasks.

Sale – Persistence

Overall, sales takes persistence and can be absolutely, soul-killingly hard if you are not geared to enjoying being a salesperson. BUT, if you make it a game to see how many people you can move down your small business lead generating sales funnel, removing speed bumps along the way, you WILL make more sales. This in turn will make it much more likely that you will want to do it again and and again!

Small Business Marketing – Telling The What But Selling The How

Small business marketing is all about SELLING a product or service that people have a need for, unfortunately most people on the internet are looking for free and easy. That is why we tell most of our clients to be free and loose with the WHAT and sell for access to the HOW.

Small Business Marketing - Selling the what not the howSmall Business Marketing – Telling The What

I was talking with a client the other day and he was worried that having a blog and talking about his business and the intellectual property was hurting the chances to SELL something.

The funny part of this is that we had just gotten done talking about how great the response was from some of the recent things we posted – TRUE business opportunities!

In this day and age of instant access to whatever your heart desires, it can feel like selling anything via the internet is a lost cause. “Buyers” are looking for money for nothing and the clicks for free. That having been said, I have found that there are 3 types of “buyers” on the internet:

  1. People who want information for nothing – These types were never going to buy and if you help them great.
  2. People who want information and want to do it themselves – These types are good for a membership site or to get signed up for a seminar or class.
  3. People who want information to make an informed buying decision – BINGO! These people are checking out what and how you say things in anticipation of working with you or buying your product in the future and are the ones that we should focus on.

If you dumb your stuff down so far that you are not giving away anything, the chances of anyone noticing you is slim. It is much better to share too much and then have a rock-solid plan for monetizing that traffic or audience which brings me to…

Small Business Marketing – Selling The How

If you are a reader of this blog or have attended one of my live free events, you will hear me say often, “give your best stuff away”! For me that means telling people in the room the one neat thing that I found that works great or the couple of key things to do that will increase their business. This goes back to my three types of buyers above, the ones that were never going to buy still will not BUT the ones that are cruising for real help will definitely get their ears up if they think I know something REAL that can help their business.

Additionally, I will often tell you exactly what you should do, sometimes in EXCRUCIATING (to you) detail. I know as I am writing when I have crossed a line – when I tell you HOW to do it. That takes away from potential sales to my membership site or small business services company. For my client above, telling them what real estate markets to target is fine, telling them what types of investments are good is fine, posting how to buy them (or even find them) without him in the middle somewhere is less than fine!

So, long story short (too late I know)! For your small business marketing efforts, make sure they are in this order:

  • Sell something you like and are knowledgeable about
  • Get crystal clear about what product or service you are going to sell
  • Share your knowledge about your industry and make sure you have calls to action to purchase your product or service

To find out more, check out our Small Business Marketing Services or DIY Small Business Marketing Membership Site.

Social Media Marketing – Social Media REAL Results

Social media marketing like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube is a tricky beast. It can be time consuming and if done wrong, super spammy. That having been said, social media can produce REAL results for your small business!

We do social media marketing for small business owners and oftentimes during the sales process they ask us what kind of results they can expect from our efforts. I THINK that they are asking what kind of SALES can they expect to receive within a couple of days of starting, but that is just conjecture on my part!

Social media marketing is not a direct line kind of thing. It is more like grabbing a tigers tail and hoping that he is going where you want to go! I read the best post the other day about why Facebook marketing does not work, it is worth a read for sure. The nice thing about this article is that it comes from an agency who has really deep pocket clients who have made the mistakes that our small biz marketing peeps cannot afford to make.

Social Media Marketing Results and Goals

I was talking to a client the other day and he was VERY focused on growing his database so that he could send them marketing messages. With that in mind he had developed a series of four different autoresponders with GREAT content. The problem was his front-end pitching of it. Basically by reading what he was saying, you could tell immediately that his goal was to get you in his database which would turn anyone off.

With social media marketing (actually with all marketing) we have to know that there are humans at the other end of line. Our goals for using social media have to be REALLY clear so that we know what we are trying to accomplish with our efforts. Here are a couple of goals that you could have in social media:

To Get Them Into Your Database

Social media marketing resultsIf you are talking A LOT with someone on social media, check out their information. Often they will have their email or phone number on there, add them to your database. Additionally, you can have a great teaser and a link that you can post judiciously that will allow people to opt into your database but don’t be a spammer about it! Here is a link to one of my clients FREE ebooks about “How To Buy USA Real Estate” that could be a good carrot! The photo shows how you can add it to your Facebook profile without looking like a spammer.

To Sign Up People To Work With You

Social Media Marketing ResultsOne of my favorite online MLM marketers is Kirsten McKay Smith of Passion Parties. She REALLY knows how to engage her clients, team members and prospects on Facebook. THIS Is the kind of thing that can happen when you are out there. She had a prospect who she “friended” on Facebook. Now that could have gone nowhere as many of our leads do BUT through communicating on the Facebook, Kirsten stayed in touch and when her prospect was ready was there to sign her up immediately.

Kirsten is also an author of the What It Takes To Make A Million Dollars In Direct Sales books, unsurprisingly, this same thing works for sales of her books. In fact, I saw on there the other day someone asking about when her forth volume was set to come out! Gotta think that will lead to some sales.

To Stay In Front Of Prospects Without Spamming Them

Social media marketing social media real resultsThe picture is a lead that I got yesterday from a prospect. The content basically said that she had met me at a talk that I gave over a year ago and had implemented some of the suggestions that I gave and had great results for her company. NOW, she is at another company and is interested in finding out about the services that I offer. YAY! So how did this happen? Was it because I set up a Facebook profile a year ago, ignored it and then magically someone wanted to buy something?

Nope! This is the process that this prospect went through:

  • She attended a class that I gave
  • I put her into my database AND asked her to be my Facebook friend
  • She did not need my product or service right then BUT we saw each other on the Facebook, I liked some of her stuff off and on, generally she still knew I was out there in the business
  • She sent me a message through Facebook asking about my services

Now, will she turn into a client, maybe. BUT the whole point is to fill up your pipeline with people who are curious about what you do and make sure to pay attention to them. Have to say that having them as Facebook friends is a super easy way to do that!

– – – –

I do not know if you know this or not, but we have a Small Business Marketing and Social Media membership site will all kinds of great information about how to actually DO some of the things that we talk about over here! In fact, I am going to be adding some new videos TODAY that cover how to do these kinds of posts that get results for your social media efforts!!!

New Facebook Business Pages – What It Means For Marketers

Facebook is at it again, yesterday they rolled out their new business pages so here is an update on what the changes mean and how we are going to implement them for our clients.

Facebook Business Page Changes UpdateFacebook as a way of changing things around on us without asking if we want changes (imagine that!) Overall I have to say that I am positively giddy about the changes that they have made and as it looks like we are going to have switch by March anyways, let’s dig and see what they have been up to this time!

Note: As we always tell our clients, FACEBOOK owns our pages and all the content, period the end. With this in mind, it is super important to keep up with the changes that they make BUT also important to know that things could change at the drop of a dime so you have to keep up with them as they happen!

My FAVORITE Facebook Business Page Change!

My favorite facebook business page changeWhile most of the changes seem to be more cosmetic than anything, allowing us to comment on our own pages as a human is my absolute favorite! I have a feeling that this one is going to increase the amount of interaction that happens on the page! As people, we are more inclined to find comments by humans interesting rather than the page itself adding to the conversation.

As you can see, I am logged in as Tara Jacobsen, making a comment on my Marketing Artfully page and it shows up as my person rather than just another post by the page. For social media types this is BRILLIANT as we can now make ourselves admins on the page again so that we can comment on our clients posts as something other than the page!

How to make commenting on your pages as a human work

Settings for commenting on your pageYou are going to have to go into the settings of your page and UNCHECK the box next to “Always comment and post on your page as PAGE NAME even when using Facebook as YOUR NAME”.

 

My second favorite Facebook Business Page Change

Commenting on a page as a pageThis one is a little trickier! Now you can comment on another business page as YOUR business page. Again, I can only think that this will help us as it will get more people to check out your page when you make insightful comments on OTHER pages. As you can see on the left, I made a comment on Personalized Marketing’s business page as both Tara Jacobsen (the person) AND as Marketing Artfully (the business page).

I suggest using this feature to comment on pages in complimentary industries (Realtors can comment on Home Inspection pages, Pet Sitters can comment on Dog Food Pages). DO NOT use this for evil and hijack someone else’s page, BUT as a marketing tool, STELLAR!

Facebook account settingsTo make this one work you have to have done Step 1 and made your commenting on YOUR pages done by your human. Next you are going to have to go to the top right and select “Use Facebook as a Page”. This brings up a whole list of the pages that you admin for, simply select the page that you want to comment as and you are set to go!

A couple of things to note, I had to “Like” the page as my page before I could comment AND it was super easy to switch back to being “Tara Jacobsen” instead of Marketing Artfully. I just clicked account again and it gave me the option to go back to being me.

Other Facebook Business Page Changes Of Note

Facebook Business Pages Changes Left NavigationFeatured pages – If you go into your “Edit Page” mode, you will see Featured Pages which allows you set the other pages that you like. Make sure to feature your friends’ pages, business partner pages and clients.

Featured page owners – You know how it was impossible to show who owned the page, no more!!! Now you can just set the owner as the human who owns the page.

Left Navigation – To move the left navigation around, just click edit and it is a drag and drop. As the top four only show, I suggest adding your notes, YouTube, event and your blog. All things humans might be interested in about you.

Custom Facebook Business Pages – This was a big one for me, I was worried that these were going away but the work perfectly! New people to your page still see the pretty landing page, old likers see the wall.

If you are a small business owner and think this is all too much to take in, just know that our client didn’t have to lift a finger today, we did all these changes for them! Find out more about our Social Media Marketing Services today!

Small Business Internet Marketing – RSS Feeds

I am a small business internet marketing kind of gal. Notice the small business part? While I try to keep my posts non-techy so that my peeps can implement most of the concepts themselves, this RSS Feeds post is going to be a little technical BUT worth reading if you want free traffic to your blog, facebook or videos sites!

Small Business Internet Marketing RSS FeedsWhat Do Search Engines Do

Before we get too technical, lets talk about search engines and what their job is. Search engines are constantly looking for new information to show humans who have used keywords to do searches. So, if you do a search for “big screen tvs”, search engines will provide you with a variety of sites, some with reviews, some with sales and some with research data. They will do their best to provide a variety of content so that the human who is searching finds what they are looking for, be it a news story, blog post, picture, press release or any other manner of information.

Additionally, search engines have algorithms that allow them to know that when you type “superbowl” you really mean “super bowl”, that big football game played at the end of the season. They can also know that humans search for “cold remedies” when they really want to know about “sore throats”. Our language is diverse and keeps the google on its toes.

Small Business Internet Marketing – RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds and Small Business MarketingSo what are RSS Feeds and what do they have to do with search engines and content? RSS Feeds are technically “Really Simple Syndication” feeds that PUSH content you have developed to other places such as blogs, twitter and other aggregator websites who need to have LOTS of content. There are couple of ways to find these feeds, (1) if you are using the Firefox web browser they appear in the address bar as blue icon or (2) you can look around the page and see if you can find an orange icon that indicates an RSS feed is available.

As a small business marketer you can use these feeds for a number of different things like auto-publishing to your Twitter account or posting to your Facebook page, but today we are talking about the magic of other people using YOUR feeds to produce content for THEIR site.

Small Biz Marketing Rss FeedsThe picture above shows a screen capture of someone who took my blog post about Superbowl Demographics and posted it on his website. This site did a REALLY nice job of it, pulling quotes, recognizing me as the author and adding backlinks to my blog. See HIS post here. It is safe to assume that he has taken my RSS feed and is using it to publish content on his blog. The picture down here is another site that publishes my content, RealtorYou.com. They pull my posts and put them onto their pages, adding backlinks to my recent posts although they are not as good at crediting me as the author of the content.

So why would these people take my posts and publish them on their sites? I am trying to rank for certain keywords like realtor marketing, small business marketing and entrepreneur marketing. The RealtorYou.com site seems to be trying to rank for “internet marketing for Real Estate Agents”. Search engines DO put a lot weight on having the exact keywords people search for BUT they also add up different bits to make a whole. In this case it seems that RealtorYou.com is hoping that my Realtor Marketing articles, plus the work that they do will get them to the top of the search engines for the search term “internet marketing for Real Estate Agents”.

Additionally, they are running google adwords down the right side of the page so they get a little bit of money anytime someone clicks on one of those links. For all we know the whole site is nothing but aggregated feeds that they never have to do any work to update and which may pull them in a ton of money.

What are pingbacks?

When you have a blog, often you will get a message from your blog that you have a pingback. A pingback means that someone has published your content on their site with a link back to your blog. It is VERY nice and you should ALWAYS approve it unless the site publishing it is a “bad neighborhood” like porn, pharmaceuticals or gambling sites.

So what does that mean for small business internet marketing?

Is this post going to explain EVERYTHING about RSS feeds and how they help your small business internet marketing efforts, no. Is it going to tell you about everything that you need to do to get your feeds recognized so that complete strangers publish your content on their sites, no. As small business marketers, what I hope it does is open your eyes to why having a blog, Facebook or YouTube channel might be so important. As you publish content on these media which have an RSS feed, you never know who is going to pick it up and use it for SEO or to “plump” up THEIR content!

If you would like to find out how we help our clients use RSS feeds and other fun marketing items to grow their business, check out our Small Business Marketing Services!

Thanks to Richard Turcott for featuring my post in his RSS blog!

Badly Executed Small Business Marketing – Commenting On Blog Posts

Commenting on blog posts is one of the ways internet marketers recommend to use to get traffic to your website. Unfortunately most of these campaigns are badly executed small business marketing!

Small Business Marketing Commenting on Blog PostsLet us start with WHY you want to comment on blog posts. There are any number of reasons but in general it is to:

(1) get a high comment on a popular blog so that people will follow your link and find your site
(2) to be SO insightful that everyone who reads your comment will be forced to visit your site
(3) get a backlink that has the correct keywords to increase your google rank or
(4) to post a comment so full of actual links to your site that you are spammer and will not be taken seriously and your comment may not be published

You will notice that two of the three of these require that a human see your comment and then follow a link back to your site. If you are paying someone who is in another country to post inane comments like “good post” or gibberish that makes no sense, this is just throwing money down the drain. We have a number of clients who spent good money to get “backlinks” this way. Unfortunately when checking the links, most were on “no follow” blogs so they were basically paying for nothing!

According to Wikipedia a no follow blog is

a value that can be assigned to the rel attribute of an HTML a element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.

What that means for us marketers is that google will not count that as a point in our favor so if we are not going to do commenting the right way our time is wasted!

Commenting On Popular Blogs

This one works well if you have the time to cruise popular blogs in your industry and are prepared to make insightful comments that ADD the conversation rather than just posting “first” on them. The reason this works well is that comments generally show from first to last and so anyone reading the post will get to see what you wrote and may click the link to get back to your site. The only thing to watch out for on this is one is to make sure you are early or late in the conversation, some popular blogs get HUNDREDS of comments and being in the middle of them will get you no love.

Posting Insightful Comments

This one works well and if used in conjunction with targeting industry leaders can increase both your traffic and networking efforts. So this is how it works, you take someone like Howie Jacobson, adwords genius, who writes a blog and has written a book about how to do adwords correctly. If you are in the online marketing field, he is a great one to comment on because people read his blog AND he answers his own comments. This way you could get a click back while increasing the chances that a big wig in your industry might notice you and possibly recommend you OR comment on YOUR blog!

So what is an insightful comment. I can tell you that is not determined by length! Just yesterday I wrote a post about real estate farm marketing (which is picking an area that a realtor would target) and got a really long considered comment about selling farms in the midwest. TOTAL disconnect and I did not approve the comment so that time was wasted for either the person commenting or whoever they hired to do this work. Make sure that you write a couple of sentences that are relevant to the conversation!

It is also about content! Here is a comment that came in on that same post, “Thanks for a great post. very informative. I totally agree with you, having is the right mindset is most important of all. I Have already shared this post with a few of my friends and they loved it. Thanks”. NOW, while I have plenty of posts that talk about mindset, this was not one of them. Had they taken two minutes more and found the right post to comment on, I would have approved it even though it was spammy. The grammar mistake was theirs not mine!

Commenting On Blogs for Keyword Targeted Backlinks

Blog post commenting small business marketingThis one is a little technical and somewhat controversial. If your whole point of commenting is to get a keyword targeted backlink then you need to use a term like “Small Business Marketing” as your name rather than your REAL name (in this case I would want to use Small Business Marketing INSTEAD of my real name Tara Jacobsen).

If I did this on a blog that allowed follows then the google would attribute that keyword back to my blog! Unfortunately most blogs are no follow and additionally, some that are will not post comments from keywords, only people. If you are paying people to post comments, then make sure they are targeting “do follow blogs” and that they are using your keyword targeted names.

Commenting With Hyperlinks

One of the easiest ways to get labeled a spammer is to post a comment FULL of hyperlinks to your website. If it is an open comment blog it will get posted but it is impolite. If the blog author monitors their comments then they will, in most cases, not approve the comment. Either way, definitely not a best white-hat marketing practice!

So there you have it! My top commenting on blog posts marketing tips. If you have any further suggestions or comments please leave them below with your real name and no spam..:)

Small Business Marketing and Facebook Privacy Settings

If you are using Facebook for your small business marketing efforts, how you set up your privacy setting could have a HUGE negative impact on your success.

Small Business Marketing and Facebook Privacy SettingsIf you are playing around on Facebook with a little business thrown in or are a personal user, this post is not for you. I am talking ONLY to small business owners who wish to use this valuable marketing channel to grow their contacts, sell products and grow relationships online for business purposes.

Facebook Privacy Settings and the Small Biz Owner

You can dial up or dial down how much people who are not your friends can see. I have found that this can impact how many people are willing to be your friend, whether you are instigating the connection or they are seeking you out. The business owner in the top picture KNOWS that the more information that she shows, the more likely that someone will be interested enough to “friend” her. She says where she works, where she went to school and where she lives now, BEFORE you click to become her friend.

Facebook profile setting for small business marketingThe person in this profile has done everything possible to assure that I will not be her friend. She has a fake picture and locked down her information so that I have to be her friend BEFORE I can see anything about her. In the beginning when everyone wanted more friends, this might have worked but now she is facing a LONG climb to get a decent number of friends.

Think about it, would you want to start a friendship with a real human who did not tell you anything about themselves? I wouldn’t. I like to know a little before I will even consider hitting that “become my friend” button.

How SHOULD You Set Your Privacy Settings For Small Business?

Again, if you are using the Facebook for personal use these settings may not be for you, BUT if you are going to be using it for business, these are the suggestions that I am making and how I have my account set up!

  • Posts by me – EVERYONE (I want them to be able to see how cool I am without having to be my friend!)
  • Family – EVERYONE
  • Relationships – EVERYONE
  • Interested in and looking for – EVERYONE (Now all I have is networking, BUT if you are wanting to keep your dating preferences under wraps you might want to limit this one)
  • Bio and favorite quotations – EVERYONE (this one is vital to showing you are a well rounded human)
  • Website – EVERYONE (OF COURSE! kinda the point)
  • Religious and political views – FRIENDS ONLY (I don’t have anything listed here BUT no sense alienating someone before I even get a shot!)
  • Birthday – EVERYONE
  • Places I check in to – FRIENDS ONLY
  • Include me in “People Here Now” after I check in – I check YES, this is personal preference
  • Edit album privacy for existing photos. – See comments below
  • Photos and videos I’m tagged in – FRIENDS OF FRIENDS (I thought about making this everyone but it is dependant on someone else so this is okay for now)
  • Can comment on posts – EVERYONE (I monitor my account pretty well and delete any spam so I am good with this AND might make some new friends I wouldn’t have “met” otherwise)
  • Friends can post on my Wall – EVERYONE (only do this if you check often so you don’t get a wall of spam)
  • Can see Wall posts by friends – EVERYONE
  • Friends can check me in to Places – DISABLED (I don’t need my friends to do this for me)
  • Mobile phone – FRIENDS ONLY (please DO NOT limit this, if a prospective client wants to call, don’t make them jump through hoops to find your number!)
  • Other phone – FRIENDS ONLY
  • Address – FRIENDS OF FRIENDS (This ONLY shows your city, state and zip, NOT your street address. I WOULD allow access to this!)
  • IM screen name – FRIENDS ONLY
  • Email Address – FRIENDS ONLY

When you are changing these settings so that only your friends can see things, PLEASE remember that you should assume that NOTHING you do on Facebook is truly private. I NEVER send anything by Facebook email that I would be sorry to see posted on my wall. I NEVER post a picture and think that only a few people will see it if I make my privacy settings right. If I want to talk privately with a client or a friend I call or email them outside of Facebook!

Well there you have it, Small Business Marketing and Facebook Privacy Settings. Hope that helps setting up your account to be able to get the most friends, the easiest way possible!

PS – If you would like to find out how to have US handle these for you, give us a call at (727) 505-5384 to find out more about our Social Media Marketing Services!

Small Business Marketing Logos Design

When you are talking about small business marketing logos, design matters VERY much. There are some basic design elements which can really help or hurt your marketing efforts!

Small Business Marketing LogosThe design of your small business marketing logo is a VERY personal and subjective process. What could appeal to you might not be something that will work well with your industry or the overall function of your business. BUT, there are some basic design functions that are fundamental to your ongoing marketing success which, as a business owner, you probably never considered!

Choosing Your Logo Colors

In this day and age of digital printing, it can be very tempting to have a full color logo instead of a two color basic logo. I think that this is HUGE mistake that can affect the cost of everything from name tags and embroidery to printing and branding. Having two colors allows you to buy offset printing if you get big enough to do large print runs, as well as semi-forcing you to use one of your colors as a “signature color” for your business. I can tell you that for my company, I use the acid green from my logo on EVERYTHING so that when people see it, they think Marketing Artfully!

Another color consideration for your business is that there are “industry” colors that will immediately allow consumers to identify what you might be selling. Some examples include:

  • Red and blue for healthcare
  • Green for environment products
  • Yellow for construction
  • Black, gray and navy for technology
  • Blue for social media

It is easy to think of companies by the colors they keep! Coca Cola is red, McDonalds is red and yellow, Home Depot is orange, the list is endless. What never ceases to amaze me is that small biz owners do not recognize that having a really strong, simple vector logo is a hallmark of EVERY large corporation. Even knowing that, many of them want to use fancy graphics or design “fluff” which leads me to my next marketing logos rule:

DO NOT USE GRADIENTS IN YOUR MARKETING LOGOS

Can you tell this one of my all time major pet peeves? Having a fancy-smancy gradient is the hallmark of a designer that is not willing to have a fierce conversation with their client! Many of my clients have requested that we do them a logo with all kinds of design fluff that will only cause trouble for them in the future.

Gradients are when the color blends from dark to light or one color to another. It is a “shiney” silver sheen on a logo or a starburst light flash. When you use a gradient in your logo, many things can go wrong. It can be VERY hard to print good black and white copies of it. If you want to use it on a golf shirt, the setup costs can be astronomical, and it requires that you ALWAYS use four color printing.

I cannot stress enough that if you cannot use just two colors then make sure that you have a two-dimensional vector logo that will serve you well for years and years!

Corporate Logo Mistakes

Old and New Gap Marketing LogosI am not sure if you are aware of it BUT in my marketing world there was a HUGE snafu lately when the gap tried to reinvent their logo. They went from a clean crisp gap word on blue background to a new-fangled gap word with a gradient square. Now I am not saying that the gradient was the entire problem but they DID have to change it back after the uproar!

 

Old and New YMCA Marketing LogosI am on the wrong side of this one, but I HATE the new YMCA marketing logos! They have 5 (count them 5) different color variations, a gradient and no consistent theme to the coloring. The thinking is that “the Y” will become a hip-hop-happening place because of the new modern colors and the rounded corners on the Y. Give me the old standby that is recognizable and basic design and dress up the brand with some great creative design rather than messing with a good solid logo!

Small Business Marketing Logos Exceptions

Real Estate Marketing LogosAs I said before, logo design is VERY subjective. If you cannot stand the thought of a two color logo, make sure that you ADORE whatever you choose!

One of favorite clients, Palm Harbor Realtors Matt and Julia Fishel had us design a VERY unique realtor logo. It was not overly house-y and it was lots of different colors. That having been said, we found great beachy colors to signify their waterfront housing focus and made sure that it had a solid vector design. Then we paired it with “the shacks” that were the same colors as their logo and bada-bing, design brilliance!

The bonus – just this week Julia got a lead from the internet and when asked why they picked her, the new client said because they liked her logo!

For marketing logos and more – find out about our small business marketing services!

Fancy Small Business Marketing Ideas

Fancy small business marketing ideas are FUN! They take time and money to develop and can yield big results or colossal failures.

Fancy Small Business Marketing IdeasIn yesterdays post, Easy Small Business Marketing Ideas, we talked about some basic, old school marketing ideas. Today’s post is about OVER THE TOP, more expensive marketing ideas that could score you some great new customers.

Shooting for an unrealistic, non-attainable keyword over the years

If someone calls you from google and says they can get you to rank number one for a keyword, run! It is ONE keyword and you are betting all your money that you can make enough on that ONE keyword to grow your business. Instead, try to rank for a seemingly unattainable keyword. This could take years but would be SO worth the trouble.

In my case, I try and get the Marketing Artfully site to rank for “Entrepreneur Marketing”, “Realtor Marketing” and “Small Business Marketing”. I have been very successful with the two former and less so with the latter. There are 120 MILLION competing sites for Small Business Marketing and I have just been plugging away for the last three or four years throwing that term into blog post titles and my main site keywords. Low and behold, this month I noticed that I am number 27 (ie page 3)! Wow! I won’t get many clicks from that BUT moving from page 3 to page 2 is an attainable goal, with page 1 just around the corner!!!

Doing Google Adwords, Stumble Upon Ads, Facebook Ads

This one can get you in A LOT of trouble fast. I have heard stories of people who racked up thousands of non-refundable click dollars overnight. If you are going to use these PPC (Pay Per Click) or paid marketing channels, you better plan on testing, watching, testing, changing your landing page, testing, watching, changing your ads, testing, well you get the picture. If you are going to try these, plan on weeks of training and constant vigilance to make sure that your efforts are yeilding the results you are looking for!

Just a word to the wise, make sure you are super good at organic BEFORE you do PPC. It will decrease the cost per click and help you get more impressions.

Social Media Marketing

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are all the rage right now. When I offer to speak, this is the ONLY topic people are interested in hearing about! The media is throwing this around like it is the holy grail and saying you should be tweeting, posting and friending half of the day. Just yesterday someone on a forum I follow was talking about how he spent hours a day connecting with his LinkedIn peeps. My question to him is how many leads is he getting from that? Having these accounts is vital these days and we do offer social media marketing services, BUT it can be a big time drain for the small biz owner.

If you are happy doing it and getting results from it, keep it up. Just know that I spend about $500 a month in training to stay on top of the current trends and if it is not your core business, you could be paying someone to do it for you instead of spending your time tweeting!

Promotional Items

This is what most people think about when they think small business marketing. Pens, coozies, Tshirts and more can be given out with your phone number, website or ever QR bar codes. An idea we came up for a Tupperware client was to give away a plastic item with her info screen printed on it. This is a great way to associate your brand with your company’s products. That having been said, make sure that they match! If you are a writer, bookmarks are a great idea. Selling cars or houses, a keychain is a great giveaway.

Barring it matching, make it SUPER functional. I got a glass cleaner cloth that hangs from my keychain from some company at a trade show. The buzz around that booth was incredible and I have it on my keychain to this day. The problem for me is that I couldn’t tell you what the company is to save my life SO, make sure it matches you industry. This hand out would be good for optometrists, VisionWorks, or even eye surgeons to give to referring doctors. Don’t forget your B2B and wholesale friends when you are making your selections! OH, we had a funny talk yesterday about how Star Title Partners of Clearwater and another title company out here in Colorado have great pens. If you find someone handing out a great pen, ask where they get it and order from there!!!

My favorite promotional items peeps are Sherrie Davis Kinkaid, of Graphic Odds and Ends, who does embroidery and screen printing and Brenda Kerr, of JB Image Promotions, who has all the current hot promotional items.

Make A Big Deal Out Of Small Marketing Pieces

Lori Crawford, upscale Trinity Real Estate maven, and I came up with a way to use Vistaprint’s free and cheap postcards to make her look VERY classy. We used a notecard with her branding on it for a mailing piece and included a small postcard inside with return address postage for homeowners in her target geographic area to sign up for her mailing list. These pieces wound up looking like a million bucks and wowed the heck out of her farm!

Use Free Items To Tempt People To Your Email List

This may be one of the biggest, most convoluted items here. First find out what people want from you! Tina Kraft of It Works, was talking yesterday on Facebook about eating healthy snacks. WOW did it have a good response and so she is going to compile a list of 100 healthy snacks that she can trade people for their email address. She then has an oppportunity to set up a great auto-responder series selling her services and to send them monthly marketing newsletters. The lifetime value of that customer could be a really big deal, for the price of free pdf!

Well, there you have it, Fancy Small Business Marketing Ideas. I would pick one of these, master it and then add another one. Trying implement more than one of these at a time will dilute your focus and reduce the effectiveness of them all!

Easy Small Business Marketing Ideas

Many small business owners are looking for easy small business marketing ideas and simple marketing strategies. This post is going to get you back to basics with 10 easy small business marketing ideas that do not cost an arm and a leg!

Small Business Marketing IdeasWith all of the hype about social media, mobile marketing and the like, it can seem that every marketing idea requires an advanced degree and a big budget. I am here to tell you that there are many things that you can do VERY simply and with a small budget!

Test Test Test
Okay, first let us talk about HOW we are going to implement these ideas and whether they will work for your business. I am a big proponent of starting small and seeing if your small business marketing idea is going to work. DO NOT order 1,000 flyers or 10,000 brochures. Order 100 and see if they work. Post your flyers at 5 locations and see if anyone bites.

ALWAYS ask your clients how they found you. If they are a chatty sort, ask why they picked you! You need to know what is working and what is not so you can do more of the former and less of the latter.

Top 10 Easy Small Business Marketing Ideas

Marketing With FlyersOld School Marketing Flyers
This flyer was posted at a local UPS store. The cost was about ten cents for the paper and a little bit of time for the design. You cannot get more old school or simple than this!

Because this UPS store has mailbox services for small business owners, I would assume that there would be traffic for this flyer. When I am checking out a marketing opportunity, the first thing I want to be sure of is that the audience I THINK is going to buy will. The number of little tabs torn off says that this message is being read and that people are willing to take action on it. Now, the big thing to note would be if anyone actually called or visited the website on the tabs.

Business Cards
I think that business cards are the Rodney Dangerfield of marketing. They are small, so you can carry a bunch of them around with you and they are cheap so that you can buy A LOT. I am categorically opposed to flipping through a stack of different cards for your different businesses and trying to figure out which one to give to a prospect BUT, that having been said, why not split test some different designs?

Have one card with your Facebook, Twitter and other contact info on it and see if you get more “friends”. Have one card with a “free consultation” message and see if anyone bites. These tiny marketing pieces are a great way to find out what people really want from your small biz!

If you would like to find out more about the lowly business card, check out my post, Is Business Card Marketing A Dying Art Form?

A Small Business Marketing Postcard
When you are prospecting and getting leads, many times a follow-up postcard will prompt them to give you a call. While you can do a convoluted follow-up plan, having one general postcard that you can drop in the mail with a hand written address can go a LONG way. I use Vistaprint for all of my basic printing needs as they are VERY CHEAP!

Send a Small Business Marketing Postcard Part Deux
If you have a budget, sending out a “real” postcard campaign can be a very effective tool. Your mail house can buy lists of businesses or consumers in a targeted geographic area for you. I LOVE postcards because they are colorful and stand out in the mail AND since fewer companies are using direct mail these days, your message will stand out. HUGE BUT, make sure that your message is a good one with a call to action. Include a coupon, drive them to your website for an offer, or give them a reason to call you like a free report or free consultation.

Because this is a higher cost marketing idea, there is less room for error. I would test, test, test with cheap postcards to make sure you get a good result BEFORE starting a mail campaign. Also, plan on sending up to 5 times. It is true that to reach people you must show up more than once a year. If you are looking for a great mail house, I use Mailco, make sure to ask for Tammy.

Old School Press Releases
We have a friend who is an old school PR gal. She gets GREAT coverage from the press for her clients. Just write a press release and then send it into your local papers. Don’t forget neighborhood papers as well as the big newspapers in your city. Make sure that you write the press release as interesting story! No one wants to read ABC Company Launches A New Website, EVERYONE wants to know about the 70 year old technology whiz who uses his computer to sell music online.

Join Your Chamber Of Commerce, Rotary or Lions Club
If you are selling to brick and mortar businesses, get to the Chamber, Rotary or Lions Club. The small biz owners who have a budget and who could afford you are probably members of one of these groups.

Go Where Your Customers Are
We talked about this a bit in the flyers section BUT this is a biggie. If you are selling cars, go to the car shows, road rallys and other automobile related events. If you are selling wedding related items, attend and have a booth at the Bridal Shows. Frequent bride related online forums and participate. I work with small business owners so I go to networking events, teach classes and attend other small biz events. If I was looking for Mommys I would go where the they are, the public library, daycares, mommy and me events, school events, etc.

TShirts, Ball Caps and Stickers
If you can make something fun, have a great character logo or do something neat, TShirts, Ball Caps and Stickers can be a great way to get the message out. NO ONE wants to wear your company logo on their shirt, but they might wear our unofficial tagline, “Bad Marketing Hurts Everyone” if we make it pretty enough. When I was young, my parents owned a bookstore and we got tshirts all the time with a catchy slogan on them that helped to sell the books. Make sure to produce high-quality items that are appropriate for your target market, if you are targeting men, golf shirts are great but would be dud with the Mommy crowd.

100 Free Marketing IdeasUsing a Database or Spreadsheet
In marketing, it is all about getting the click or call BUT you will not accomplish anything unless you have the follow-up behind you. Make sure you put ALL of the prospects that you get into a database (I use Infusionsoft for my database). THEN on the wall beside me I hand write the top 5 prospects so that I can make sure to focus on getting their business. Another way I have found that works to track leads is to write them in a notebook with their contact info. I then transfer them over to the next page each week so that I know who is active or who has said no. This is a great way to do it as you can make calls to them when you are stuck waiting for your kids or at the doctors office!

Swap Client Lists
Once you have a database or lead spreadsheet, you have a marketable commodity! If you are a realtor, partner with your lender and send a great postcard out to BOTH of your mailing lists. If you are a jeweler, find someone who has a list of men type people who can be shamed into ordering for their wives (a florist with a good list comes to mind). If you want to mail out your own message, ask the person with the list if it is okay to include an endorsement or add a testimonial about the product from the list owner.

So there you have it, 10 Simple Small Business Marketing Ideas! If you have any other ones you like, feel free to share them in the comments.

What are important customer demographics?

When you are a small business owner, answering the question of what are important customer demographic can make or break your marketing efforts.

updated October 16, 2014

Customer Demographics are defined by Wikipedia as including “gender, race, age, income, disabilities, mobility (in terms of travel time to work or number of vehicles available), educational attainment, home ownership, employment status, and even location.” These types of classifications can help us to target the right kind of marketing to the customers we are trying to target.

Top customer demographic categories to look for:

  • gender
  • race (ethnicity)
  • age (date of birth)
  • household income
  • home ownership (length of residence, home size, mortgage)
  • disabilities
  • education
  • employment status
  • children
  • location
  • type of car(s)
  • marital status (head of household, spouse)
  • savings, cd, 401k

Demographic Resources

  • Census Bureau data – free to use and a wealth of information.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics Demographic categories used by the BLS include sex, age, race and ethnic origin.
  • Social Security Fact Sheet – Misc high level data about African Americans, American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, Women and Young People.
  • Tax Records – Tax records can generally be found by searching “tax assessor’s office” for the county that you are are researching. This data is a goldmine for length of residency, mortgage information, tax exemptions and deferrals.

Additional Customer Demographic Resources:

Customer Demographics – Age Ranges, Generational Names and Numbers. Really good post breaking down generational demographic data.

Customer Demographics Versus The Perfect Customer Profile If you are trying to figure out your “Customer Avatar” by using demographic data, this is a great post to show the difference between demographic data and finding your perfect customer.

Small Business Customer Demographics A more general overview of Customer Demographics, this one will help you to laser focus on the customers you should be targeting.

Examples small business demographics market segmentation:

What are important customer demographicsAll this customer demographic data is great but if you don’t know to use and implement it in the real world, it is not actually all that helpful!

Here are a few examples of how you can use demographics in practice for your marketing efforts.

  • Hairdresser and Salon Customer Demographics – if you are selling haircuts, you could have a number of different types of clients. You could cater to young, african american males who are looking for edgy cuts OR you could target middle aged women who need a cut and color every six weeks or so. BELIEVE ME, the marketing to attract these two groups are going to be VERY different and trying to hit both of them would be impossible. For both the younger crowd and the ladies, Facebook is a good answer. You will want to target people in your geographic location (another demographic).
  • Financial Services Customer Demographics – this is a little easier. While everyone can afford a haircut, financial services people need to target consumers and business owners who are in a higher income range and who are interested in increasing their wealth. This customer will generally be older than 40, have a higher level of education and are probably currently employed. You can start relationships on Facebook, but you will grow a level of trust more easily with an email newsletters or videos of your service offerings.
  • Real Estate Customer Demographics – I have to say, as an industry I think that some Realtors are a little bit more focused on customer demographics than other small business owners are. OBVIOUSLY a first time homebuyer couple in their early 20’s or 30’s will need to have a different marketing message than empty nesters looking for a second home. While most Realtors will work with anyone who will fog a mirror, I KNOW that they would be more successful if they at least had different campaigns for the different target groups they serve.

I could go on and on, but hopefully you can start to get an idea of how to pick some demographics that could represent your ideal customer.

NOW, choosing your target customer demographics can seem like profiling rather than simply targeting demographics. While profiling is hurtful and unfair, demographics are used so that you can get your message out to a group of people who will be receptive to hearing your message. It will also allow you to save marketing dollars, as you will not be spending money with ads in places where your ideal customer does not frequent.

Fun exercise – One thing I have heard people do is to pick your important customer demographics and then make up a person who matches them. You could find a stock photo of someone who epitomizes your marketing criteria and then name him or her. That way, instead of trying to imagine what a made up person thinks or would buy, you can “sell” to someone you get to know!

Watch Out Great Marketing Tools and Resources Ahead


Important customer demographics

Use Funny YouTube Commercials For Small Business Marketing

Use funny youtube commercials for small business marketingThe easiest way to jump start your small business marketing is to use funny YouTube commercials for small business marketing. Piggy backing a funny YouTube commercial that a national company has spent GAGILLIONS to produce is a great way to help build YOUR brand!

National advertisers spent audacious amounts of money to produce videos and buy airtime. Some scary numbers for us small business marketing types are $250,000 on up for taping a commercial, $10,000 to $2.4 million to buy air time (that higher number is for the superbowl, how many of the super bowl advertisers are out of business now?)

Use Funny YouTube Commercials For Small Business Marketing

So how can we compete? Use their high priced commercials for our own marketing (with proper references of course – we are marketers NOT plagiarizers!) It is easy to find funny commercials on YouTube. Here are some marketing ideas that you can use for your company, even if you are truly a mom and pop with no parent company!

Insurance Company Marketing

Use national marketing campaigns for small business marketing

In the picture above, Jean-Paul (JP) “Good Hands” Gudka, an Allstate Insurance guy posted the Allstate Mayhem Satellite Dish video with the tagline on HIS facebook account “Protect yourself from Mayhem! Call me today!”. In addition to that YouTube video, he also has a “Storms cause major damage in metro Denver” and other links to pop media and current events around the Denver Metro area.

NOTE: We are approached by businesses ALL THE TIME who are in the real estate, financial services and legal fields who are terrified to market. PLEASE understand that you CAN do fun and interesting things without compromising your integrity or putting your license in jeopardy!

Bookkeeping Marketing

For the financial peeps, it can seem IMPOSSIBLE to find something that would be fun and festive about bookkeeping. Well a two minute search on YouTube turned up a funny parrot ad that QuickBooks had put out. You could post it to your profile with the message “Is EVERYONE nagging you to get your business books in order?!?!?!…:)”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf85HqiQKD0&feature=player_profilepage[/youtube]

Those are just two examples, you can literally find HUNDREDS of funny YouTube Commercials that you could use as teasers to help market your business. All I did was do a search for “funny commercials” and got 174,000 results!

Other Funny YouTube Commercials Ideas

For health and beauty – Old Spice Swagger with Ray Lewis
For auto dealers or tire stores – Changing tires can be dangerous from Goodyear
For realtors – A funny commercial from My Realty.com – you could tell your prospects that you will even list it here for them!

Long story short, most humans like funny things and if you use funny YouTube commercials for your small business marketing you can save yourself the time and trouble of producing them yourself! If you have any other good commercial ideas, please feel free to leave a comment!

20 Percent Of Marketing Works But Which 20 Percent

I have heard that 20 percent of marketing works, but which 20 percent is working is often a really good question! There are no hard and fast rules about how marketing works, but we CAN track the results of that marketing.

20 Percent of Marketing WorksIn the old days, we knew some good numbers about marketing, send out a mailer and get a 2 percent response rate. Follow it up with a phone call and increase that number to 4 percent. Ah, the good old days!

Recently I sat down with a prospect who was throwing numbers around and he asked me point blank, how many percent of the people who will use our service are going to come from Social Media. I told him in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, I do not know. Understandably, he wanted to be able to quantify any investment he would make in marketing, but guessing and throwing around numbers before we knew more about how it would play out is silly to me.

The way I quantify my success in marketing is how many new prospects are created, how many turn into clients, and how well their retention rate is. Lets break those down:

  • How Many New Prospects – Marketing is all about getting new opportunities. I have heard all the mystical stories about how millions are made online without ever having to talk with anyone, but most of my clients are in the service industry or small business owners. I have NEVER sold my services without talking with someone or meeting with them at least once. My prices are not inexpensive for small biz owners and I understand completely that they want to know that there is a real human who knows her stuff at the other end of the line. Those new opportunities that marketing creates are part of the activity of getting new clients. You are just trying to get X number of people to show an interest in your product or services.
  • How Many Turn Into Clients – Even if you have 1,000 leads a day (from my mouth to God’s ear), if you don’t have a followup program to remind them that they are interested, you cannot sell them. To me the beauty of newsletters, twitter and facebook is that you can stay in front of your prospects without SELLING SELLING SELLING. I generally get a new client every time I send an email, BUT those people first got onto my email list through my blog, a speaking event or through social media. Additionally, when you follow up with a phone call from time to time, your conversion rate will climb exponentially.
  • How Well You Retain Them – Keeping your clients happy with your business starts before the sale. If their expectations of what you are going to do for them are not in line with what you actually produce, you will spend a lot time getting new people into the system and spitting them back out. Not good for your bottom line OR reputation!.

Here is a funny Dilbert that shows this PERFECTLY

Tracking marketing results

Marketing does rely on a good product and consistent message, and just being the one talking the loudest will not win! So which 20 percent of marketing works?

To me the marketing that works best is a consistent message, over time (NOT expecting immediate, glorious results), with a clear product offering. I cannot tell you how many small business owners (1) are not sure of what they are selling or (2) change their offerings as often as they change their clothes. Do not get me wrong, I have launched some products that died an ignominious death, BUT I have never changed my target audience or providing the best, most time-relevant offerings possible.

Are you excited about your business?

One question I always ask people is, are you excited about your business? Do you leap out of bed every morning just thrilled to get going on your day? If you are self employed and you are NOT this excited, then you are doing it wrong!

are you excited about your businessSmall Business Entrepreneurs – A Get Rich Slow Kind Of Scheme

We work with many different types of entrepreneurs and small business owners who are working on a get-rich-quick kind of scheme. They jump from idea to idea, thinking the next one is going to be the BIG one that makes them heaps of money. I have never seen this work out, although I am sure you have gotten tons of emails telling you that it is possible for just $997.

One of my favorite bloggers, Remarkablogger, posted a challenge to other bloggers about revealing their secrets to breaking through to the other side of blogging success. I do not really talk about what makes my life easier or harder as an internet (and REAL) marketer, but in hopes it will help someone else, here are a few of my favorite things.

An Entrepreneurial Upbringing – A BIG ONE – One of the reasons I am successful at marketing and speaking to small business owners is that I grew up with that mindset. When I was young we had the “Whalers Walk” behind our house. This was a little gift store that was open whenever someone was home (as I was too young for a driver license, mostly that was me). I would follow shoppers up with my little cash box and sell to them. The next store my parents had was the DandyLion gift shop (my mom was WAY more creative with her naming conventions than I am!) As a child, I got an early exposure to the thrills of opening and running your own business.

Early Internet Interest
– Around 1999 I got into a job where I did marketing for an internet company. When I started I had NO idea the difference between Linux and Windows servers, what programming languages where good for websites or even a lick of graphic design. Through trial and LOTS of error, I learned enough about that kind of thing to talk reasonably well with clients and overcame any fear that I had of technology. NOW, do not get me wrong, I am not a techy girl BUT I can talk the talk and not get snowed by fancy sounding techno-speak.

Failing A LOT – This one is HUGE – I mess up a lot. I have rolled out products that no one bought. I have spent good money on copywriting that would not make a starving man buy food. I have developed a “no lose” monthly product that I could not get more than 35 people at a time to sign up for. I have learned that you should not put years of time into something until you KNOW that it will make money. Do it good enough to get out there and then refine it AFTER you know it is something that the market wants.

Naming and pricing things – Oftentimes we know what products we have and what we like to do, duh. Most times we keep that a secret from potential clients by not formally naming it and putting a price on it. I used to do more piecemeal items, which I hate. Once I set up monthly marketing services, my business really took off. I LIKE working with committed people who are determined to make their businesses succeed, not just throw up a website or blog and think it will solve all of their problems.

Learning new things – Last but certainly not least is that I know everything is going to change and that I have to stay on the front lines to keep up. If you told me 5 years ago blogging and making blogs would be paying the bills I would have said you are nuts. Three years ago I did not know anything about social media and today I get paid to speak about it. It makes me sad when I see people stuck in what USED to be. They want everything to go back to how it was when they understood it. Well that is not going to happen. Progress moves forward and we have to keep up the pace. This little excerpt from Micheal’s post says it all!

If you look back to the 70s and early 80s, you’ll find something both interesting and very revealing of human nature happened. The robots came. What I mean is, robotics in manufacturing happened. And everyone knew it was going to happen. People who worked in factories knew it was coming. Those workers had a choice: they could learn something/do something new to take advantage (or at least sidestep) the coming change (like go to to school for… oh, I don’t know… robotics), or they could do… nothing.

You know what most people did, right? Weird, huh? Like lambs to the slaughter, etc. Those people were responsible for families, too, who were then harmed by this fatalistic refusal to deal with the changing times. Sad.

Hot Small Business Marketing Help

Hot Small Business Marketing Help is a mix of the latest posts that we just LOVE, selected resources that we think are hot and a mix of our products and affiliate products that we recommend. This is meant to be an overall resource for small business, entrepreneur and realtor marketers.

Small Business Entrepreneur MarketingGeneral Small Business Tools

Small business owners often have a hard time with basic business focus. These products and services will help you to get a better idea of the basics of your business so that you can succeed at marketing.

Blog post – Small Business Marketing Focus – I have to say that this is the ONE thing that most small business owners miss. From the comments on this post, having a focus is worth SO MUCH more to your business than anything else you can do for marketing efforts.

Small Business Online Help

Blog post – Small Business Internet Marketing Tools – Some of our favorite tools – this is a MUST read for anyone who needs some tips and tricks about internet marketing for Small Biz.

Blog post – Writing Evergreen Blog Posts – Writing evergreen blog posts is not sexy BUT it will make a HUGE difference in how well your website will rank for key terms you need to dominate.

Blog Post – How To Have A Custom Facebook Business Page – Facebook Custom Business Pages are becoming a must-have for small businesses.

Recommended Marketing Videos Resources

I sign up for more training in a month than most of you probably do in a year. I think that learning one new thing a day will make a huge difference in your success. That having been said, I know of a number of totally free marketing resources that you can access anytime you like for FREE!

Free Resource – Gary Vaynerchuk Keynotes – Gary is the author of Crush It and has great content in his keynote speeches that is so worth hearing!

Free Resource – Offervault Recorded Webinars – There is SO much great free information on Mark Roth’s website. It has a free member section that contains webinars on all kinds of internet marketing, NOT just affiliate stuff.

Small Business Marketing That I Pay For or Recommend

It can seem like everything you need is on the internet for free and what kind of schmoe would pay for anything anymore? Well I AM frugal but found out a long time ago that it does pay for information that I don’t know OR for things that will save me time and heartache. These are all things that I use in my business which cost money, but that I think are worth it!

Paid Tool – SEMRush – I had been using another keyword research tool which I liked very much. I got all that info and more for half the price using SEMRush. Worth taking a peek.

Our Products – DIY Small Business Videos – Our membership site has small business marketing videos that are updated monthly. On these videos I tell you the new things that I have learned and which I think can help you grow market share. Check out all of our small business marketing products.

Paid ResourceConstant Contact Email – The reason I use Constant Contact instead of AWeber or another service is ease of use PLUS I did not have to have my list re-confirm the first time uploaded them. My list is NOT super sophisticated and has a hard time understanding why they have to re-up.

Design Resources That I Like

Idea Book by Chuck Green is a GREAT design resource. He has templates and all kinds of design resources.

I will be updating this post when I find new great stuff! If you have something to recommend please leave a comment and I will consider adding it!

Technical Resources

WordPress Site Optimizing Expert Shawn is who I call on when I am having trouble with my (or my clients) blogs. All wordpress blogs experience bugs from time to time and I can tell you that learning to fix them takes a rocket scientist! Shawn is quick and has great pricing. If your blog needs a tune-up check out his roadblock removal package!

Web Directories – this is one of the tools that we use to help grow our clients backlinks.

How To Find Your Small Business Passion

Finding your passion is all the rage today. You are supposed to get out there and start doing what you are put on this earth to do. Problem is, most people do not know what their small business passion is!

Finding your small business passionYesterday I wrote about having a small business and entrepreneur marketing focus and man-o-man was I humbled by the response from my past clients and readers. Hearing that they are making thousands or tens of thousands of dollars more from the advice that I gave them was overwhelming.

So what is the magic that causes this to happen? Is it because I talked to them? Nope. Is it because they magically had the secret to making millions online. Nope. It is because they had a passion for what they wanted to do with their business and then worked really hard to make it happen.

About ten years ago I dubbed myself “Queen of Marketing”. No one bestowed that on me and I have no fancy schmancy college degree in Communication or Marketing. What I do have is a passion for marketing that is all out proportion with how interesting it is to normal human beings. I read about it, watch webinars, teach classes and consult with clients, basically it consumes about 75% of my waking hours. Can you say that about your business?

How To Find Your Small Business Passion Overview

I have read Gary Vanerchuk’s book Crush It and know that you have to have a passion. I have read about half of Joel Comm’s book KaChing and know that you have to have a passion. I have also talked with thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors and know that most do not have a passion. They like their work well enough OR hate their work but like the income OR just are doing something for right now to get them through.

REALLY? You are spending 40 hours a week or more doing something that makes you go meh. Stop it now!

How to find your passion seems to be somewhat vague and most people have no idea how to go about it, and even less about how to fit it into their business model.

Where To Start

Start by figuring out what you like to do. I do not mean knitting, unless you are a rabid knitter and it consumes your every waking thought. Most people have hobbies and those should not be confused with their business life. Keep those fun and figure out what you like to do work wise. Here are some weird things that I know people like to do:

  • Accounting tasks – now I am an accounting dud. I hate balancing my books BUT there are people out there who get a thrill from making all those numbers add up. One is my client Joy (of Lakewood Bookkeeping and Accounting fame) who likes to work with small business owners. She enjoys helping them to regularly manage their accounts and grow their business. Another client likes to get in there and find out all of the problems in small and medium sized businesses, straighten them out and get them on an automated track. Same job, two different versions.
  • Real estate – My pal Cyndee, Clearwater Realtor extraordinaire, is hyper focused on providing great service and information to high end buyers in the Tampa Bay area. She has spent the last two years targeting that group and referring out anything that does not match her high-end criteria. NOW, you may think who does not want to target high end buyers, well many realtors actually would rather work with first time homebuyers OR sellers in distress OR people looking just for waterfront properties. Each person needs to target exactly what their passion is and go after that with gusto.
  • MLM Business – Two of my friends and clients are in multi-level marketing (or direct sales). They sell such diverse things as passion products and green cleaning supplies. While they LIKE their products they LOVE sales and business building respectively. It would not really matter WHAT they were selling, they are focused on the aspects of their businesses that they have a passion for.

So what is your passion?

If you do not know what your passion is, frustration can overwhelm you. Stupid passion talk.

Stop beating yourself up and start noticing when you are having fun. If you are making phone calls, getting leads and making things happen, maybe doing phone support is your passion (and one that can be VERY lucrative). If you ADORE researching new products online and figuring out what is going to be hot next season, maybe that is your passion.

Yesterday I spoke at a networking group and asked an insurance guy if he had THE MOST INTERESTING insurance information. He said no. Why would I want to read, listen or buy from a guy who did not have the passion for his business to make sure that my home and family are secure.

Here is how you do it…close your eyes (oops that doesn’t work for this venue), well keep your eyes open and think about what one thing you would do business-wise if that is all you could do for the rest of your life. Don’t worry about your industry, concentrate on what tasks you like to do within your business life.

There. You are done! That is your passion and now you can go out and make yourself work that matches that passion. It will probably not start or be lucrative today. You may have to keep your J-O-B for now or keep selling to people who do not thrill you today. BUT if you know what you want to do and take one or two steps towards that everyday, you WILL get there.

Fast Track To Passion Success

Most people should stop at the end of the last paragraph. They will find something they like to do, do a bit each day to move towards that and in a couple of years be comfortable financially or personally, whichever is important to them.

If you do not have a burning desire to build something, grow your influence or make a change in the world, that is fine! Finish here and prosper.

Warning Hard Work Ahead!

Okay, now that we have the “nice” people out of the way, here is the hard core, make it happen soon, get me to the finish line version.

If you want to Crush It with your passion, you are going to have to work hard with a single-minded focus for a while. You need to live, breathe and work your business for a while before she is going kick ass and take down names.

Whenever I hear tremendously successful people say that they would have done it differently if they had the chance today, it makes me NUTS. If they had worked less, spent more time smelling the roses and enjoying life, they would not be where they are today.

Great success takes hard work. If you can not work on your passion at your current work, you are going to have to do it some other time. Do it early in the morning, knock out some at lunch, stay up late, work on the weekends. If you have the luxury of working at your passion now, can you honestly say you are giving it your all every day?

The only way to succeed at this is to find someone who will kick your butt. I am NOT talking about a warm and fuzzy accountability partner who will pat you on the head if you make your calls today. I am talking about someone who will help you to set steep but realistic goals for the next week or two and who you would be HUMILIATED to tell you failed. I have been up at 11 o’clock at night (REALLY late for me) finishing things that I said I would get done so that I would not have to tell my person I just did not do it.

These should be YOUR goals and the the things that will make the most impact on your business in the next week or two. Do those things and then set new goals. Do them when you do not feel like it, do them when your car breaks down or your cat tears up your curtains. Do them when you would rather be fishing or getting your nails done. Life will always try and distract you BUT if you really want to succeed you will soldier on through and “just do it”.

Start today.

Small Business 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!

Westminster and Clearwater – 7 Minutes In Marketing Heaven!

Westminster and Clearwater, get ready for 7 Minutes In Marketing Heaven! We are having a marketing meetup like you have never seen. All to benefit charity and help small businesses grow their market share and get more customers!

Westminster and Clearwater Small Buisnesss MarketingANYONE is welcome, we want as many people to come and learn as possible! Some of the opportunities are:

  • Pay your $5 Bucks and ask a question
  • Hang out and listen to other peoples questions
  • Have some munchie food (or bring your favorite finger food dish to show off!)
  • Bring cards to network
  • Hand out YOUR marketing information, or put it up for review if you are brave
  • Tell your friends so that they can get more business too!
  • Donate to two wonderful causes

The Details – Westminster Marketing Meetup

Who: Sponsored By Tara Jacobsen of Marketing Artfully and Jade Sund of Awaken Sister in Westminster and Tara Jacobsen of Marketing Artfully In Clearwater
What: 7 Minutes In Marketing Heaven
When: July 28th from 1pm to 4pm
Where: Ask Training International – 18 Garden Center, Broomfield, CO 80020
Why: To help small business owners, Max Fund No Kill Shelter and Fish of Broomfield

If you have any questions please call Tara at 720-334-8088 or Amber at 720-338-6996.

Westiminster event produced by Amber Montel of Your Marketing Voice

The Details – Clearwater Marketing Meetup

Who: Sponsored By Tara Jacobsen of Marketing Artfully and Stacy Hansen of Personalized Marketing
What: 7 Minutes In Marketing Heaven
When: August 17th from 5pm to 8pm
Where: Snookers Grill, 606 North Pinellas Avenue, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Why: To help small business owners, and Pet Pals No Kill Shelter.

Clearwater area event produced by Stacy Hansen of Personalized Marketing, for questions call 727.505.5384.

Small Business Affiliate Partner Programs

Small business owners are GREAT at doing referrals for other other businesses, what they are not great at is formalizing and monetizing that relationship with small business affiliate partner programs.

Small Business Affiliate Partner Programs

Small Business Affiliate Partner ProgramIn our post yesterday we talked about how small businesses can take advantage of formal online affiliate programs. Today we are going to go deeper than that surface and talk about Affiliate Partner Programs for small business owners.

These kinds of relationships are more in depth than plain affiliate marketing programs. Frequently they involve ongoing relationships with clients and partners and there is a stronger connection between the two companies than just shooting out a recommendation in an email. This type of arrangement can also sometimes be called a JV or Joint Venture.

How Affiliate Partner Programs Work

With affiliate partnerships, both companies agree that there will be a formalized referral process and a set amount of commission paid. This can be either a percentage of the sale, a one time “finders fee” or even a percentage of an ongoing monthly fee.

While it would be nice to have an online solution to track this (we are using 1ShoppingCart), you can also do it by sending a referral sheet for the other party to sign or by simply having a “handshake agreement” about payment.

Some Examples of Affiliate Partner Programs

  1. When I was a Realtor, I realized that they have THE BEST formalized partner programs nationally that I have ever seen. Whenever a Realtor gives a referral to another Realtor, both sides know that there will be a referral fee paid. The amount of that commission varies but falls generally between 25% and 35%. The downside to this system is that because of strict federal regulations, Realtors can only give referral fees to other Realtors, no one else.
  2. Marketing Artfully’s partner program is promoted to a very small number of select vendors. We are not looking to have 900 partners, just a handful or two of very specialized companies that promote our products and services. We work closely with other marketing companies, personal contacts and and our past clients so that they can “suggest” our services to others because of their belief in our company
  3. Trading your skills for compensation – If you are good at something, like sales or marketing, you can trade your knowledge and expertise for a cut of the profits. Conversely, if you have something great to sell, you can have a mini sales force out there promoting your product or service on a regular basis in exchange for a fixed commission amount.

Now, just because you have a program like this DOES NOT mean that you cannot accept referrals from people without paying or require that you get paid for every referral you give. I recommend my clients to other businesses all the time and would not even think of asking for a fee for doing so.

Having an affiliate partner program takes some time to set up (I would guess that I have about 20 hours into mine) and you have to keep in contact with your people or they will forget to promote you BUT the rewards are tremendous and SO worth the time!

There is an affiliate link to 1ShoppingCart in this post!

Small Business Affiliate Programs Overview

Small business owners rarely understand online marketing’s affiliate programs. They are more comfortable with the idea of referrals or small business partnership programs. Here is a basic overview of how internet marketing affiliate programs work and how you could incorporate them into your small business.

Affiliate versus partner programs

Internet Marketing Affiliate Programs

Internet marketing affiliate programs are pretty neat! Basically, they allow you to sign up, get a link that is associated with your account and then use that link to make money. When someone buys a product or sometimes just gives an email address and name, software behind the scenes records that and then once you reach a certain payout level, you get a check in the mail from the company that you are promoting.

Where do you find affiliate programs?

Link to constant contact affiliate programIt is easy to tell if a company you do business with has an online affiliate program! Simply go to the bottom of their website and see if there is a link to “affiliate program”. Once you click on that link, generally they will ask a bunch of questions, including your Social Security Number or EIN business number. This is so that they can send you a 1099 if you make more than $600 per year with their program.

How do you pick which affiliate programs to promote?

I am VERY picky about which affiliate programs I suggest to my readers or email list. I generally stick to products or services that I use like Constant Contact for email newsletters or the Thesis Theme Print Is Dead I use for Marketing Artfully’s home page. I then include the affiliate link in blog posts, email newsletters and other things I send out.

Pre-made affiliate marketing bannerAdditionally, there are often pre-made buttons or banners that you can place on your website which the company that does the program will provide! You would just insert the banner into your post or page about the topic, or into your sidebar if you wanted to promote them all the time. Just make sure include your affiliate link on the picture when you insert it into the blog post or webpage.

ADVANCED TIP – Always make sure your affiliate link prompts a new browser window so that you do not lose that traffic by sending them somewhere else. Let them go to your affiliate link but then return once they close that window! (if you click on the above button, you will see how this works in real time!)

Affiliate Program Bewares

When you get started doing affiliate marketing, there are a few things to watch out for:

  • Make sure you have a disclaimer on your site stating that you participate in affiliate programs and that you sometimes post links to them. This is an FTC requirement so that people will know that might be promoting something for monetary gain. (you can see the one I use at the bottom of this page)
  • I generally also mention at the end of my post so that there is absolutely no confusion. I am always happy to have people who recommend a product to me send an affiliate link so I am comfortable with doing that myself.
  • DO NOT have one disclaimer that you use on each and every post or your site will start ranking for your disclaimer instead of your wonderful content. I wrote a fun post about my FTC disclosures being out of hand if you would like to read more about this!
  • DO NOT get spammy! It can seem SO neat that you can get money for nothing that you might want to send it out immediately, put it on your website and send the email templates they give you to everyone twice or three times. Try to avoid that…:) Just put a banner on your site or send out a link in your monthly newsletter. Tell people about it and then offer to send them a link if they want to buy.

Blogging Success Stories for Small Biz

Blogging success can sometimes be hard to judge and having goals is vital to knowing whether you are doing well or just spinning your wheels.

Blogging success storiesWhen you are blogging (or for that matter doing any marketing that takes time away from your real work), you MUST know what you are trying to accomplish. Here are sone of the results that you can measure to see if you are succeeding….

Blogging success indicators

  • Posting regularly – this is a biggie! I find that small business owners often want immediate results from their blogs. They feel that throwing up a couple of posts should bring a flood of visitors and traffic to their door. This is not going to happen. Blogging is a get rich slow kind of gig where you build up content and a following over time.
  • Getting readers – it would be lovely if you started writing and then people just magically found you. Well this part is going to take work also. Make sure that you list your web address on all of your outgoing emails, have links from your social media and association pages and tell everyone you know what great information you have on there. One of my best suggestions is to follow that up by bookmarking every post on places like Digg, Stumble Upon, Propeller and others. These give you back links and can generate real human traffic.
  • Make it easy for people to sign up and receive your blog posts automatically. I have never found anything as good as the free service Feedburner by Google for this. When you offer this to your readers, basically they are going to get an email or an update to their reader every time you post something. WOW!
  • KNOW what your readers want to hear about. When you get comments on your blog posts, make a note that that post sparked interest. Do a Survey Monkey to find out what is top of mind for your readers. Check your Google Analytics to see what keywords people are using to get to your site and write more about those topics!
  • Write about current topics of interest. You can go to the front page of Twitter and see topics are trending OR use search.google.com to search your industry and see what other people are finding interesting now.

So, after you do all this, HOW do you get more business from a blog? Well people buy my products almost every day from my blog, which they find because of my quality content and posting. SOOO that tells you e-commerce is a great thing to consider for your blog AND…

I wrote a post about My Top Ten Tips for How To Get Paid Speaking gigs. A woman named Maria Todd commented and I wrote back in the comment section to thank her. The next night I was at an event and woman had a golf shirt on with Ask Maria Todd embroidered on it! We talked for at least a half an hour on ways to generate more speaking engagements, what pricing models work and whether we are pro NSA or not. Now I am SURE that I will get at least a couple more speaking events from her suggestions which always lead to more money in my pockets!

DISC Personality Types and Small Business Marketing

The DISC personality types affect small business marketing in ways that we cannot see because of the way that we interact with the world, our business and our marketing style. Here is how small business marketing is presented AND received by DISC personality type.

DISC Personality and Small Business MarketingPersonality type is a major force in shaping who we are as people, and how we react to things in both our environment and our world. Marketing is a way for small business owners to sell their products and services and must be directed towards the correct type of clients who are willing to make that purchase. This article will detail the ways in which a person’s personality type shapes how small businesses conduct marketing and also how that marketing is received by potential clients.

The DISC Profile works well for understanding different personalities, how they present their marketing, and how they receive marketing messages. “DISC is the four quadrant behavioral model based on the work of William Moulton Marston Ph.D. (1893 – 1947) to examine the behavior of individuals in their environment or within a specific situation. DISC looks at behavioral styles and behavioral preferences.” (Wikipedia)

We will look at all four of the DISC personality types in this article: “D” or dominant personalities, “I” or influence, “S” or steady and “C” or compliant personalities.

High “D” people are described as demanding, forceful, egocentric, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, aggressive, and pioneering. These are the people likely to start and run a successful small business. They are motivated and undeterred by adversity, soldiering on through tough times.

High “I” people are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. They can also be a driving force in growing a business, relying on personal contact to grow their customer base and make sales.

High “S” people are calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, deliberate, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. These people are unlikely to be swayed by marketing messages (even compelling ones) and are generally not going to be lured by the opportunity to start a new business from scratch.

High “C” people are careful, cautious, exacting, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate, and tactful. These people are unlikely to start a small business BUT are very likely to serve as the “right hand” of a small business owner. They are excellent support people who are integral in making the business successful, setting up systems, handling payroll and making sure that product or service levels are met.

Marketing Done By Personality Types

High “D” marketers are very direct and to the point, frequently leaving off details of their product or service that other personality types require for making buying decisions. They tend to focus on selling features of the product or service rather than selling how the product will benefit the client. High “D” marketers need to be especially aware that everyone does not process information in 5 second bites the way that they do and structure their message accordingly.

High “I” marketers tend to jump from new marketing idea to new marketing idea, always searching for the next big thing that will make their business skyrocket. They should be aware that for marketing to work, it must be part of a cohesive plan which requires time to produce results and analysis to gauge effectiveness.

High “S” marketers will set their marketing plans up, crafting all the details and then continue on that course throughout the lifecycle of the product. There is very little room for change based on feedback from their clients and the message can get stale. While a consistent message is a good thing, these marketers should be aware that what works for them today may not work for the life cycle of their product or service.

High “C” marketers are generally the opposite of High “D” marketers; they have ALL the details of the product. Their copy tends to be long and fact filled, requiring the consumer to do research within the message. These marketers have lots of tools available and assume that their viewers will dig down into the message to find them. High “C’s” will need to make sure to highlight points that are pertinent to a buying decision, and then provide additional information for the viewer to read through.

Marketing Received By Personality Types

Headlines and features are important to High “D” buyers. High “D’s” want just the facts. If they see a message that is compelling enough to catch their attention, they will stop and dig into the “meat” of the offer, but you will lose them if there is not something immediately interesting about your product or service prominently displayed. High “D’s” generally make buying decisions quickly and expect to implement your product or service immediately upon purchase.

High “I” buyers will read through your message, if you present it in a compelling way. They are looking for new things to try and are willing to learn more about your product or service if they think it will help their business. With these buyers you should have lots of testimonials and feedback from other clients who have found good use for your offering. They make buying decisions quickly and will work with you to get the new product or service in place.

High “S” buyers are not looking for new products. They are happy with the status quo and are set in their ways. If you have something that will make their company more productive or revolutionize their business, you will have to send them that message over and over, expect multiple sales calls and a long implementation schedule. The beauty of selling to this type of client is that once you have the sale, they are unlikely to change vendors anytime soon!

High “C” buyers need A LOT of documentation to make a buying decision. They will want to know all of the product specifications, how they will implement your product or service, pricing, and will be willing to spend a lot of time researching before purchasing. These people will require multiple sales calls prior to purchasing in order to make sure that they have a good understanding of the entire process.

In Conclusion

As a marketer, knowing your (and your potential client’s) personality type can help you craft the most effective marketing possible. Watch out that you do not assume that everyone will react to your marketing efforts the way that you would. Make the most of your small business marketing efforts by finding trusted advisors from other personality types to help provide feedback on your ideas, assuring that you will appeal to the broadest range of potential clients possible.

Features Versus Benefits Part Deux

My features versus benefits post asking whether you are selling the steak or the sizzle is one that pops up quite a bit on my google analytics. It seems like every small business marketer has struggled at one time or another with trying to figure out what is a feature and what is a benefit.

Features versus benefitsBasically, features are facts about the product or service that you sell. They tend to be VERY important to the person who is the manufacturer or service provider but which are less sexy to someone who is buying it.

Benefits are what it will do for you. How it will affect your life or your profits. Benefits are why late night television infomercials work so well. We get sucked into the idea that by spending a couple of bucks we can learn to sell real estate for millions of dollars or dehydrate all of our groceries so that they will stay fresh for years.

I was sitting around watching TV the other day and a mini infomercial came on for the Mister Steamy, a gizmo that is used in your dryer. As I am always interested in good marketing, I took a peek.

The features were….

  • It is a round ball
  • There are about quarter inch nubs sticking off of it
  • It is yellow
  • It is used in the dryer

At no time did the pitch man mention any of those things. The entire commercial was devoted to selling the benefits of the product. Now I am a pretty savvy consumer but with these types of benefits I was intrigued….

  • All my clothes would look new and pressed
  • My sheets would come out hotel smooth
  • My shirts would be magically ready to wear
  • It softens clothes while you dry with no added expense of a dryer sheet
  • If I needed a shirt in a hurry, I would have it in seconds without an iron

Those are some great benefits for me! Then when they doubled the offer for the same price, I almost bit. NOT because I thought it would work but because I WANTED all those time saving conveniences they said I could have to be true!

Great marketing will not fix a bad product. But if you are a small business owner with a great product or service to sell, please look at your sales sheets or website product page. Do you have features listed that are important to you or have you outlined all of the benefits to your customer?

If necessary, you can have your benefits at the top of the page and the features at the bottom so that once they are “sold” they can check out the details BUT they will never pour over all the specifications for your product until they believe that it can help them in some way!

There are no affiliate links in this post and I am sad to report that while mr steamy has great marketing, a product review site said that the actual functionality is non existant.

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 Goals Make A Huge Difference

Small business marketing can be super fun and totally overwhelming. Every once in a while I like to throw down the gauntlet with some small business marketing goal numbers so that my peeps have something to shoot for!

Small Business Marketing Goals Make A Huge DifferenceThose of you who have been readers for a while know that about once every six months I post a post with suggested tasks and arbitrary suggested goals! If you do even a couple of these things you will notice a change in your online success!

Stake your claim to audacious keywords!

When I started blogging for Marketing Artfully, I picked three keywords to shoot for based on my targeted clients, entrepreneur marketing, realtor marketing and small business marketing. Through repeated use of these terms in my titles and content of posts, MA ranks pretty well for some competitive keywords.

So now I have a secret for you! If you use the google buzz more and get friends through google, your site will show up on their search results ABOVE all the other regular search terms and google will put some recommendations below also based on the fact that you are “friends” on buzz or your profile.

Small Business Marketing Goal – select some keywords that you think are out of reach and make it a goal to write about them once a week for a year. Yes I said a year. If you think that you are going to write one blog post and take over a competitive search term, you my friend are sadly mistaken. If you think you are going to write one post and stay on top for the next 5 years, again no go. Search these days is more dynamic than ever and targeting keywords in your blogging, tweeting and facebook notes will make a huge difference in your results.

Do more email marketing

Email marketing is a pain in the rear. You have to write an email, then do your links, make sure it is pretty and THEN as soon as you hit send you notice that there is a typo on the first line….noooooo. Okay, that is pretty melodramatic but we all feel stress when we are going to send out something to our entire client base. Some people like accountants, bookkeepers and mortgage pros count on being correct more than, say marketers, so they SHOULD have someone else take a once over with a critical eye.

That having been said, if you send out 3 perfect newsletters per year while your competition is sending out one a week, who do you think will win that game AND do you think your mailing list will notice that you send “perfect” newsletters? Most people do not have time to critique your stuff and the ones who do are no loss. I can tell you in all sincerity, if you have a typo, SOMEONE will let you know! Thank them and then sell to them while you have them on the phone!

Small Business Marketing Goal – Set a schedule for yourself on how often you are going to send out a newsletter. Really. Then do it. Do not “try” to send it once a month and then skip. Do not “try” to send it once a week. Yoda says, “do or do not, there is no try”. If you make a commitment to sending out a newsletter twice a month instead once a month, your sales will go up. Sooo if you are not sending one at all, sign up for a service like Constant Contact and get started today. If you are already doing one (sporatically) make it a priority.

Figure out how to make video more a part of your marketing

Video marketing is going to be huge and just one more way to get your message out there. If you have a well written post and plop a video in there with your voice and some personality, you have made both the search engines AND humans happy! I KNOW that every one of you have watched a video online so you can not say that it is stupid and just ignore it.

So how do you do video? Buy a flip camera today. It is about $150 bucks and super easy to use. If you do not have $150 buck today, get the enhanced jingproject.com videos to do screen captures for $15 a year. If you do not have $15 to make a huge impact on your business, consider doing something else! Harsh? YES. But I see too many small business owners worrying about pennies when they should be worrying about how to dominate their market niche.

Small business marketing goal – If you know how to do video, do one each week or month. Post it to youtube.com with a link back to your HUB site. Share it on Facebook. If you do not know how to do video, do a search on youtube.com for how to do Jings and do one today. EVERYONE is intimidated when they do not know how to do something well. Your first videos will be HORRIBLE but as you do more they WILL get better!

Okay this is getting long so I am going to talk about the rest of my small business marketing goal suggestions tomorrow. For now pick just one of these ideas and implement it. Start now.

Small Business Marketing Do Not Let It Get You Down

Your small business marketing efforts can sometimes get you down. This post is a rah rah effort to keep you moving forward and to keep those gremlins in your head down!

Small Business MarketingMy small business marketing gang contains small biz owners, mlm-ers, realtors and even online entrepreneurs. While these are all different kinds of companies, the same fears, anxieties and doubts are shared by all!

A CONFESSION – I am marketing energizer bunny kind of gal. I love learning new things and trying out new techniques. That having been said, learning how to do new things is scary for everyone and I do not always get going while singing “The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music”. So our first bullet is….

You Avoid Learning Small Business Marketing Because You Think It Will Have A Steep Learning Curve

I have to say that I took class in welding once and it DID take about 6 weeks to become good at lining up all those little gray beads of metal. I also got a college degree on the 10 year plan. Those two experiences aside, gotta say, every other thing I have ever tried, I OVER-ESTIMATED how long it would take to learn!

Set up my first Facebook Page (17 hours in my mind, about 20 minutes in actuality), making movies for my membership site (3 weeks, actually took about one whole day), getting my accounting under control (YEARS in my mind, about 3 hours in real life).

If you are avoiding doing something new because you think it will take forever to learn, do one of two things, either start it right now and try or get coaching or training on how to do it. Most things you need to know marketing-wise are in our DIY Small Business Marketing package OR you can do a search on YouTube.com and find out how to do almost anything!

You Are Worried Small Business Marketing Will Take Up All Your Time

There are two types of these worriers, ones who KNOW they hate marketing and will never do it and those who secretly love marketing and worry that they will spend all their time doing that and never sell their own products again.

Marketing is like every other task for your small business. NO ONE likes doing their books, but is a necessary evil in order to keep the IRS off your back. NO ONE likes making phone calls, but even I have to pick up a phone and follow up every now and then. Marketing is just another task that you either need to buck up and do or outsource to reputable marketer with a plan.

The last bullet is a two-fer…

Small Business Owners Are Afraid of Failure Or Of Not Getting Good Marketing Results

I was talking to one of my favorite humans on the planet this weekend. We have been talking for over a year about getting him on the internet so that he can grow his business. Come to find out, he is afraid that no one will read his stuff. Sigh. It is true, at first you may be writing blog posts only to yourself. You may feel a bit like shouting “is anybody out there” and hearing it echo back.

NO ONE has ever started anything ever with a huge following. Apple spent the last year building up excitement about their table computer, they did not wait until they were sure that there millions of people out there already convinced. I watched a fellow who was a part of a REALLY big real estate company leave and then re-grow his own following elsewhere. It was not fast and he had help along the way BUT he did it.

Start today. Do not worry that anyone will read what you are going to write. Write from the heart and I guarantee some people will find you and like what you have to say.

Start today. And tell it like it is. Do not sugar coat it so that you do not offend someone. It does not matter if you have the most vanilla stuff out there, someone will be offended so you might as well be genuine and talk about whatever you like.

Start today. Learn about something that scares the bejesus out of you. Get a book from the library or download the audio book or hire someone to teach you. Stop being scared and be BOLD!

Start today. Take a chance on something marketing-wise that is low cost but big reward. Some suggestions are to grow your lists for Twitter or Facebook. Add 100 people to your email list. Go to networking and meet 20 new people. Start a blog. Do something – TODAY!

Small Business Marketing Timing Is EVERYTHING

In your small business marketing efforts, timing is EVERYTHING and is something that very few people consider. Figuring out your timing can increase your efforts, without taking any more work than you are doing now.

Small Business Marketing TimingIn my post last week about thoughtfully scheduling your social marketing, I talked about doing things when it was convenient for you instead of when it is best for your customers and prospects. This post will talk more about THINKING about your small business marketing timing to maximize your results.

Here are some examples and tools to help your small business marketing efforts…

Know when your visitors come to your site! By using google analytics I can tell you that over time, the majority of my visitors come Monday to Thursday with almost none on the weekends. So how to I capitalize on that? Usually I write a informative or fun post Monday, and then great keyword rich posts Tuesday to Thursday and a Realtor or Local Marketing post on Friday.

This way I am still providing great content for my readers BUT I am also getting the most marketing bang for my buck!

Know when people read your email newsletters! You may have never thought of this but I bet you have a better result when you send your newsletters out a certain day of the week. Overall small business marketing wisdom says that Tuesday through Thursday is good for B2B and the weekends for B2C BUT you need to check your audience. Take a couple of months and mix up WHEN you are sending them and then check your open rates.

Know when to sell your product or service! You can use google trends to see when people are searching the most for whatever you are selling. This is NOT an exact science and you need to dink around in there for a while but over time you will be able to see that promoting mittens in June is a bad idea or selling weight loss in September will be a bust.

The easiest way we have found to do this is to pick “themes” for the month. SOOO if it a Realtor client, we may look at when the most people typically buy homes and start heavy duty marketing a month before. OR if it is health food store, we will talk about vegetables in the spring when they are coming up on being the freshest.

Piggyback on the big guys! Most businesses have associations or competition that has huge themes. If you are selling green cleaning products, take advantage of the fact that people are searching for the term “earth day” and make sure you have that in your titles when it has the most chance of being lifted by the national event!

Use google alerts or watch the TV to see what big companies are marketing and see if there is anything there you can work into your marketing. For example, next superbowl I could do a post on the history of “Go Daddy” marketing and get a jump in hits because of the big ad spend they are doing around the superbowl.

Hopefully that helps you see that your small business marketing efforts can be super-plumped just by paying attention to what is going on around you!!!

Small Business Marketing Planning

Small business marketing planning is something most entrepreneurs and small business owners never do, much to their detriment. They spend their time jumping from the latest new thing to the next big thing, never stopping for a breath.

Small Business Marketing PlanningSo what does small business marketing planning entail exactly? Here are some of the steps that we take our marketing clients through that could help you to get your marketing efforts on track:

  • Who are the clients you are trying to attract
  • How have you found them before
  • What products and services do they like
  • What products and services should you offer
  • What channels (online, offline, social media, direct mail, etc) should you use to reach those people with your offer
  • What steps are you going to take this month, this week, today to implement your marketing plan
  • What metrics are you going to use to gauge your success? Added contacts, friends, followers, sales, leads, etc.

One of the first things you should notice about this is that at no time did I say do you want a new logo, blog, email program or any other specific thing that is the flavor of the moment. All of the shiney marketing things like Facebook, WordPress, and Email are just the TOOLS to use and are a HUGE distraction to your plan. Figure out WHAT to do BEFORE you figure out HOW you are going to accomplish it!

These are just a few of the parts of creating a SUCCESSFUL marketing plan. If you implement just a couple you will be MILES ahead of your competition. If you implement them all, you cannot fail!

Small Business Marketing Say EXACTLY What You Are Selling

Small business marketing does not always come naturally and I see a lot of mistakes out there. One of the biggies is assuming your customers know what you sell!

Small Business Marketing Products and ServicesNow if you are a florist, I assume you sell Flowers BUT you may have the neatest gift shop ever in your store too! Mechanics fix your car but maybe you have the best detailer in the world and could make my car beautiful and functional. Here are some examples, check and see if any of them sound like you…

  • I LOVE my accountant, he is grouchy and nags at me and is an old friend of my husbands. When I was going to buy life insurance, I did not use him. Not because I would not have, because I did not know he sold it!
  • I have a great new client, Lisa Keyes who is a health and wellness expert. We are doing her a new marketing plan including a blog so we were talking the other day and she said one of her customers went to a MD instead of using natural stuff to help with allergies. I HAVE ALLERGIES and did not know that Lisa could help with them!
  • One of my favorite Tampa Bay Realtors, Gary Ubaldini, tells the story of how his dentist sold his house without him years ago. Gary had never told the dentist that he was a realtor!

Sooo…do your clients know what you do? Are you sure?

PS – We were hiding our light under a bushel also…:) If you would like to find out more about the small business marketing products we offer, check out our creatively named products and services tabs above…:)

Is Small Business Marketing EVER Done

I talk with small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors on a daily basis and what I hear most often…is my small business marketing EVER done.

Small Business Marketing QuestionsThis usually follows them telling me that they had a website built a couple of years ago and now people are telling them they need a blog. OR they are doing postcard mailing and everyone is telling them that is dead. OR they want to know if they REALLY need an email contact program because they kinda, sorta use their yahoo account for that now. Social media, social networking, article marketing….argggg.

Well I have good news and I have bad news….

The Good Small Business Marketing News!

If you are willing to be flexible and move forward with a light heart knowing that everything marketing will never stay the same again, you will probably kick the tail of all of your competitors who are out there moaning about how it used to be.

More good news…it doesn’t cost a fortune anymore to do small business marketing. Facebook and Twitter are free. There are apps and skins and gizmos that plug right into what you are doing now which make things easy peasy. You do not have to rely on direct mail costs anymore to reach everyone, you can email or blog or write articles (I am a HUGE proponent of direct mail BUT do not want that to be my only option!)

The Bad Small Business Marketing News!

Everything is changing. Once you get MySpace down and have a good following the gang moves over to Facebook Groups. Then they tell you that Facebook groups do not count anymore and you have to go to Fan Pages. Your website is outdated before it is done being built. You have to get new business cards with your Twitter name on them or you are a giant loser, oh wait twitter is gone and gazoombas is the next big thing (I made that last one up BUT I guarantee that there WILL be a next big thing!)

How the heck are you supposed to keep up with all of this?!?!?!

To my way of thinking there are two types of small business owners, those that like marketing and those that think it is a necessary evil. For those of you who like marketing, come back often and check out the super duper new stuff!

For those of you who do not, we are considering offering a monthly marketing manager model to keep you on the cutting edge of both the internet and offline marketing. I would REALLY appreciate it if you would take my 3 question survey about your small business marketing needs. It will take 2 minutes and is totally confidential! Click here to take survey

10 Reasons To Use Social Media For Small Business Marketing

Here are my Top 10 reasons to use social media specifically for your small business marketing efforts. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to take advantage of social media when it is just becoming mainstream.

Happy Social Media MarketingWhy should I use social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for my small business is ABSOLUTELY the question that I get the most! Many small business owners feel that social media is a big time waster that does not have a great way of tracking results. They also think social media is a fad that will fade out over time.

For those of you who ARE using social media, this list might help you to move it up on your lead generating to-dos. For those of you who are considering using it (and if you have read this far you are at least CONSIDERING it), this may help tip you over to giving it a try!

Small Business Marketing and Social Media

  1. Social media is on google – Ranking well on google is the goal for many small business websites. Your page rank and placement is vital and talk for another day BUT you do not have the power that sites like Twitter and Facebook have. They rank well all by themselves so hooking yourself to them can only help increase your website traffic on your main site.
  2. You can be the top 10 results for your business – When someone does a search for your business or business name, it would be nice if you controlled the message. If you have done something as simple as fill out the profiles on social media sites, you will come up as separate results. There will be a Facebook result, a Twitter result, a LinkedIn result…well you ge the picture!
  3. It is free – I am not sure that any of us have gotten used to this. All you have to do is trade time for marketing. Dang. If you told me 10 years ago that I could have as much free small business marketing as I wanted FOR FREE I would have laughed in your face. Websites cost in the tens of thousands, yellow pages were exorbitant and print advertising was the only other option for local marketing.
  4. It is easy – There is a low barrier to entry for small business owners who may not be technology geniuses – if grandmas can learn to use Facebook, surely with a little help you can too! I work with lots of small business owners who are doing it themselves on the social networking front and succeeding. If you would like to learn how please check out my social media videos. If you would like to skip learning all about social media for your small business and get help at a VERY affordable cost, I recommend Stacy Hansen at Personalized Marketing and Amber Montel at Your Marketing Voice.
  5. You can schedule your social media – this is a biggie for me! I take some time each week to schedule tweets and postings on my Facebook pages. Because I am doing this all at once, I am not distracted by the shiney things I see over on those sites and can more properly manage my time!
  6. You can use it to drive traffic to your website or blog – I touched on this earlier but this is a REAL BIGGIE! Each and every communication you do on social media can be used to send traffic back to your website or blog. With a structured plan in place, you can make sure that all of your efforts are geared to capturing email addresses or selling your products or getting new readers.
  7. You CAN measure it – Back in the day when we were doing print or mailings, it was harder to measure what the results were for the money you spent. Yes, you could set up a separate phone line to answer calls but did you REALLY track that? With social media efforts, you can see exactly how many of your website hits came from Twitter, you can check and see if Facebook sends more than LinkedIn and MEASURE your results!
  8. You can reach people who you would never have access to – I talk to some REALLY neat people who would have been too far up the foodchain before for me to have access to before like best selling authors and marketing geniuses. Instead of having to figure out how to “get around the gatekeeper”, you can “friend” or “fan” that person and most times they will answer you. With LinkedIn you can see EXACTLY how many degrees of separation there are and ask your business colleagues to “introduce you” to that hot prospect.
  9. The law of large numbers – I have about 2,000 people in Facebook who I am connected to, and about 6,000 each on Twitter and LinkedIn. That is almost 15,000 people who have raised their hand and said that they are at least a little interested in what I have to say. If I tried I could probably have a whole lot more. Those are crazy numbers of free marketing prospects to talk with every day. I also have about 100 people who get this blog every time I post. That is really neat that they are interested enough in what I have to say that they will give up time to read it!
  10. You will still have an early adopter advantage – I talked about this before in another post (Social Networking First Responder Advantage) but it bears repeating. If you get in early (and we are still early here), you can stake out your place on the Social Networks and gain early adopter status!

BONUS – This is not really a reason, just something to think about. Big companies have morons working for them. They do crazy stupid things like the mean guy at Nestle who got into a “pissing contest” with someone who was visiting the Nestle Fan Page, probably based on a mandate that he got from “corporate”. Nestle stock prices dropped and a worldwide boycott could ensue over some really stupid comments by an employee with too few brains and too much power.

Because most small business owners are closer to the message, this will not happen to your company. You will probably sit down with someone who will be monitoring your social media and say, “we LOVE our customers, make them happy”. When someone blesses you by talking about your product or service, jump in there and talk back to them. Every communication with a human is a possible win for your small business so wade on in and give it a try!

Small Business Marketing Burnout and Failure

Small business marketing burnout and failure is not EXACTLY the most uplifting topic ever, but I think it is important to talk about the fact that NO ONE gets everything done and what steps we can take to do better.

WSmall Business Failurehen I get frustrated with MY small business marketing I feel like a 10 year old kid who just wants to put her head under the covers and just MAKE IT ALL GO AWAY! Very mature I know, but it is what it is.

So let us talk about small business marketing failure first

I have failed miserably and gloriously at some of my marketing efforts (the mid 2000’s spammy email list debacle comes to mind first). The thing to remember though is that I have TRIED lots of marketing things too and some of them have succeeded.

I know that there are some things I do better at than others marketing-wise. I am TERRIBLE phone caller, sigh. I wish that was not so, but making a marketing plan that drives people to pick up the phone and call me is money flushed down the drain.

I know that I like doing online marketing and that I can measure the results with google analytics SOOO I do more online marketing and plump up the places that send me traffic.

Take a look at your marketing that is failing and either fix it OR ditch it. DO NOT spend one more dime on marketing that is not working without a plan!

Small business marketing burnout

I have a list of HUNDREDS of things I should be doing right now that I am not, which also makes me feel like a failure. When I get to this point, two things HAVE to happen:

  1. I have to make my list smaller. I do not know anyone who has ever gotten through their whole list of things to do, it is just not possible SOOOO I need to make a smaller list. There is not enough time in the day to do everything so there have to be fewer things.
  2. I have to focus my list. Take out your list of things to do or if they are in your head write them down now. Now look at them realistically (I HATE this part). How much can you actually do today…next week…this year. Which ones will drive money to your bank account soon? Do those first, even if they are the hardest or the ones that you do not know how to do!

What if you fall off the wagon?

So you are cruising along doing your marketing and then work happens. You do not post to your blog for two weeks, you do not email your list for a month, you do not send your quarterly newsletter, you stop calling your customers. ARGGGG

First off, they probably did not notice since work is happening to them too! And Second off, just start doing it again today. No apologies, no long winded explanations, just get back out there and start all over again. One day at a time baby, one day at a time.

I am going to be doing my two hour small business marketing consults for $100 until June first when the price will be going up to $250. If you would like to get on calendar to talk, email me soon (tara@marketingartfully.com) to save your place.

Small Business Marketing What is your superpower

Small business marketing is all about the Linchpins that Seth Godin talks about in his new book. I just finished listening to it and I loved the part about finding your superpower and using that to succeed!

Seth Godin LinchpinWhat is your superpower?

Do you know what your superpower is? Do you know WHAT a superpower is? One of the examples from the book is that a ConEd guy is “good with people”. That is not a quantifiable skill, nor is one that can really be taught. That makes the good with people guy valuable.

My superpower is to be able to see what small business owners need to do next to succeed in business. When they tell me all of the things that are going on which are keeping them from succeeding, the real issue sticks out like a bullseye on their face to me!

My husband, computer programmer and this week wedding photographer, is REALLY good with math. That helps him with programming, spreadsheets and camera settings and lighting.

Recently I have met people who; seem extremely stable, are amazingly funny and who are master negotiators. Those are their superpowers. They can do other things BUT each of those traits had a powerful adjective in front of them.

I think it may be hard to know our own superpower. To find yours, ask your friends and clients. They will know your superpower and that will help you to craft a really great mission or positioning statement. The nice thing about superpowers is they are all BENEFITS and not features.

You would not say that you are obsessive compulsive, you would say that your attention to detail makes you the perfect person to work with lawyers. You are not hyperactive. Your high energy assures that you meet deadlines and achieve your clients goals.

I would LOVE to hear your superpowers and how you are using them to help grow your business…:) Make sure to leave them in the comment section!

If you would like to purchase Seth Godin’s Linchpin please click the link. It is an affiliate link so if you want to purchase it without my getting a little bit of money, make sure go directly to Barnes and Noble yourself!

How to Choose the Right Keywords for Your Small Business

How to choose the right keywords for your small business is one of the most important things that you can do with your marketing efforts. This post features guest author Reid Peterson, Internet Marketing Educator at growthinharmony.com!

Keywords Small Business MarketingFor those of you that don’t know by now – your keywords do matter.

That doesn’t mean to choose a keyword like “Real Estate” because you are a real estate agent and you sell real estate. You would spend the rest of your life competing for a search result ranking that might make page 5. (if you’re lucky)

And you might think you’re clever and choose “Real Estate Denver CO” because you sell real estate in Denver, Colorado.

Guess what? Instead of taking a life time to rank high in search results pages, it may take a decade. (and if you’re a rock star- like one who would publish two or more blog posts per day, it you might get to #1 rankings in a year.)

Yes, SEO companies promise you page 1 rankings (and often #1 ) by tomorrow, but even if that is true (which I’m still waiting for someone to video blog their success of that), you would have to pray that the views of your website are converting to business. Are they?

So your website success (earning business from the people who view it) starts somewhere- where exactly is that “somewhere?”

It starts with keyword research and you have to be both very smart and creative about the keywords you choose. Here’s how to use your smarts and creativity to choose the right keywords for your business:

1) Know your customer. And I mean know them well- all five senses (maybe avoid what they taste like though.) You’ve probably heard that you must know your ideal customer’s needs (wants) but do you know how they react to the emotional umcomfortabilities that create their needs and wants? Yep, you must know that!

2) Listen to how your customer communicates. What words do your ideal customers use to speak or write? Those are your keywords right there! (I now feel complete but also compelled to write more)

3) Test the words your ideal customer uses. Now that you know what your customers say to express their needs, you have to see if there is enough search volume for these phrases. Google “google external keyword tool” for a free method of checking the search volume for these phrases. You can also use wordtracker (not sure if it is free) or a software that I think is inexpensive: Market Samurai (this is what I use and it serves me well.) When you select your tool, determine how many searches is enough for your business to prosper from.

4) Wordsmith the phrases that you select. You may have thought “Real Estate Denver CO” was a great keyword phrase because it has a specific location included in it, but guess what? Other real estate agents have also done the same thing. The competition is probably very high to compete for. Instead, get even more specific (and creative). People searching real estate online may be in the market to buy a home… Why not compete for the search term “buying a home in Denver?” (You may be surprised)

5) Use your smarts. Your final step is to analyze the key words/phrases that you’ve creatively crafted. Use analytics (in your head) to assess the relevancy of the phrases. Do they represent the language/communication of the community that represents your ideal client? If you were a good business person and listened to your ideal client speak emotionally about what they need, would you hear them say the keywords that you selected? If not, it’s time to go back to being creative and come up with new ones.

Going through this process of using your creativity and smarts will help you select the right keyword for your business; Ones that reflect the needs of your ideal clients. Also, ones that provide the comfort that your clients are seeking (which means sales for you!)

Reid Peterson teaches people how to market their business online. He teaches in focus group formats; empowering business owners to learn self SEO, Social Media, and Better Blogging methods. To learn more about Reid Peterson and how you can master your own online marketing, visit http://growthinharmony.com

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!

Small Business Marketing – GREAT Customer Service

Small business marketing and great customer service go hand in hand! While I do believe marketing is vital to growing your business, if you have not addressed your customer service model then you are pouring leads into a funnel where nothing is catching them!

Great Customer ServiceThere is nothing more frustrating than running a fabulous campaign that drives a ton of traffic to your website, blog or store and then finding that sales do not increase. Most of my small business owner clients do not do this deliberately, they just have never though of their customer service process as being vital to their success.

Here are a couple of great customer service experiences I have had recently, does your company operate with this level of customer service or have you kind of decided that it is easier to get new customers than to service the old ones?

  • Chase Bank – whoo whoo, who knew that a HUGE bank could provide great customer service? Well come to find out, it really is the humans at the branch that make all the difference in the world! So I was heading out to Vegas last week and had all my change rolled and ready to turn into my bank (not to be named because they are horrible!). Well the bank lady snidely told me they do not take change rolled and that if I wanted to get money for it I would have to go over in the dark corner and unroll it all myself. ARGGGGG. So I took my change across the street to Chase Bank. There Darby and Adam helped me to cash it in even though I did NOT EVEN HAVE AN ACCOUNT. I am sure they wouldn’t do that every week for me BUT I have to tell you, I am a fan for life!!!! Those Chase commercials never got me to consider or talk about a huge banking conglomerate but those nice humans at the branch sure did!!!
  • While in Vegas we went to the Harley Davidson diner. Now, Johnny had warned me that service in Vegas could be spotty since he knows bad service makes me wicked mad. The people there (especially Ray our server) were SO NICE. The manager was roaming around helping his servers and everyone was VERY pleasant. That will be sure to stay on my list of places to go in Las Vegas!

What this shows is that great customer service is a top down policy. Chase must have some kind of “treat the customer right” sort of policy or the guys at the branch would have been jerks like the TCF lady (oops did I say the horrible banks’ name or that it is on 120th in Broomfield, CO and you should avoid it like the plague!!!). Seeing the manager and how he treated his staff and the customers at the Harley place was also neat to see. You could tell that it was a fun and busy place to work, that the management liked their customers and that every server was happy to be able to help. DANG.

So what is your small business customer service policy? I KNOW – many of you only have yourself or one or two employees BUT that does not matter! If you have a service mentality then when you grow everyone under you will have a service mentality. Stuff rolls downhill so make sure that you are positioning your brand and marketing to reflect what your values are and how to treat your customers!

Internet Marketing Keyword and Product Names

When you are doing internet marketing, keyword and product names are more important than almost anything else you can do. It is great to have a product or service, but if no one can find it then you are going to have trouble making sales!

Internet Marketing KeywordsFriday I wrote a post about Small Business Marketing Naming Concepts which covered the basics of generally naming your products but I feel like I missed something in the internet marketing translation.

Why Keywords and Product Names Matter

I cannot stress this enough, keyword and product names matter more today than ever! Getting sales or leads from the internet relies on humans being able to find your company while doing searches. People find information by doing looking on search engines. Every one of you has “googled” something at least once in your life so you know what I am talking about. Search engines are just databases of information that is indexed by taking words you use and comparing them to words other humans use and seeing if they match.

This is not rocket science. If I name my best product Small Business Internet Express instead of naming it the Marketing Artfully Success System I have more of a chance of showing up in the search engines for the search term “small business internet” which is closer to my product than using my company name or obscure terms like success system.

Just so you know what this would mean to your business in the real world:

  • Small Business Internet is searched 49,500 times per month
  • Success System is searched 33,100 times per month and
  • Business Success System has not enough searches to even estimate

So if I was trying to let small business owners know that I am selling internet products, the name I am using DEFINITELY will have a better chance of being found than something less fun and sexy. Now I KNOW it not fun to name your products what they are. It is more fun to make great marketing campaigns based on something funny or clever, BUT that makes it harder to get the word out there.

As a small business owner, I do not have the resources to do a branding campaign big enough to get the general public and especially the search engines to understand that a made up name is really a small business internet marketing program.

Small Business Marketing Naming Concepts

Every once in a while I like to get back to old school marketing and talk about how small business marketing naming concepts work in the real world! People will ONLY buy what they can understand and they do not have your knowledge of the back story of your products.

Old School MarketingThis is the WORST name for a product I have ever seen (the name of the business is kept secret for obvious reasons)! They are a butcher and sell meat products. Naming a product “55 Pound Lamb Carcass” may be factual BUT I wonder how much it improves sales…:) I especially like the fact that they talk about dead sheep and then put a picture of the little wooly lamb next to it!

The other end of the bad naming concept spectrum is someone who has a great concept but does not name their product or even set the parameters for what it entails. There is a woman in my networking group who has gotten SO much better. Before she talked about how she sold “happiness” and “feeling good”. That IS focusing on the benefits of her products BUT we had no idea what-so-ever what she was actually selling! Now she is actually saying what her product is and I have to think that she will sell more of them!

So your homework today is to:

  1. Make sure you have named your product or service
  2. Check that it is not an icky or offensive name
  3. Confirm that other humans can understand what you are selling even if they do not know about you
  4. Then sell, sell, sell!

Click here if you would like to find out a little more about features versus benefits

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!

Internet and Keyword Marketing Are Constantly Changing

Internet marketing and especially keyword marketing is fun, challenging AND changing! It used to be so easy to define your business and then run with that for years or even decades. A barber was a barber and didn’t try to be a stylist or add things to his business. An accountant did books for small businesses and knew that tax time would bring a huge windfall to her business.

We do a keyword marketing analysis for each of our blog customers and I consider this to the MOST important phase of the project. I have often been floored when I find that there is little or no competition for keywords that I expect to be huge and also have been surprised that obscure keywords have such a high competition in the marketplace.

That having been said, it also pays to listen to what humans are talking about. Lately I have noticed a trend that when people call and ask me to speak they keep asking about “social media” instead of “social networking”. Now when I started out speaking and working with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter a while ago, it was all social networking BUT times they are a changing and I am always curious to see what the numbers have to say.

DOH – Social Media gets 135 THOUSAND searches a month and Social Networking gets only 12 thousand. Sigh. That means that I had to go back in and change my graphics on my social media how to videos, on my buttons and re-write my sales pages. I have to re-think my adwords campaigns and even how I present myself as a speaker. I have to change my vernacular and even go in and add new tags to my old social networking posts. Darnit. I wish everything would just stay the same, but it does not and that is just how our new world is!

If you are a small business owner, make sure you are listening to your customers. Have their words or needs changed. Do they want you to provide something that you aren’t currently doing. DO NOT get stuck in a rut or resist change because it is hard. I was reminded of a book that I read years ago (Who Moved My Cheese) which basically said that if you are not willing to listen and make changes your business will wither and die.

SOOOO get out there and call your best customers TODAY. Find out what they are talking about and what their needs are that your company can provide. Check your keywords to make sure they are helping your marketing efforts and product lines. If you have not checked them in 6 months, today is the time to do so. Look at all this change as an opportunity to fix what was not working and improve your bottom line while you are at it!

If you would like to have a keyword marketing analysis done, we are honoring our $100 price point through this month only, then the price jumps to $250. Also, the book reference contains an affiliate link, if you click that I will get a little bit of money. If you would like to avoid giving me a little bit of money just do a search for that title on Amazon..:)

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!!!

Facebook Marketing Getting Personal

Marketing Artfully was recently featured in New Business Denver for social networking (more about that coming later!) I have been getting some great questions about Facebook from the readers and when I answer them I will share with you, my loyal readers. The first question is one I get A LOT, can you keep your Facebook personal profile separate from your Facebook Business Pages? My question back is, should you?

Facebook MarketingHere is the question…

I just have a question for you – you recommend joining facebook, but you specified NOT to create a business account. I already have a personal facebook account that I’ve been intentional about keeping separate from my business. Can I create a personal account for my business instead of a business one- how do I go about this? I’m feeling so confused!

Facebook’s terms of service say a personal profile needs to be a human and that each human can only have one personal account. So in my case I am one human (www.facebook.com/tara.jacobsen) with one personal profile. Right now I have 1,532 “friends” of Tara Jacobsen. You should absolutely NOT set up your business as a person since it is not a human…:)

Facebook allows you to set up multiple Business Fan Pages, so since I have multiple sales channels I have one fan page that is my Marketing Artfully general fan page and one that targets Realtor Marketing. I also have ones for my other interests like Western Decorating and Photography Marketing, but since those are more personal passions I don’t spend as much time on them.

Now to be totally honest with you, it is VERY hard to find out that my pages are associated with my profile unless I deliberately try and show people. I can share my page posts on my personal profile BUT it doesn’t do it automatically and I don’t share every marketing post with my general friends, just the ones that I think will benefit the general population.

So if you are concerned that your “friends” will be inundated with marketing messages from your business page you are wrong. That having been said, it is VERY hard to get fans for your Business page if you are adamant about not combining the two pieces. It is SO much easier to make friends than fans and many times your friends are aware that you are passionate about your business anyways and probably would not be surprised to know that you like things related to your profession.

Hope that helps clear up some of the questions. My take on it is that the line between your public and personal lives are blurry anyways and the internet has made that ever more evident. If you are going to be successful marketing your business with Facebook I would just hang your love for your business out there and let the chips fall where they may. My husband (a programmer and FABULOUS photographer) keeps threatening to “unfriend” me because I talk about marketing all the time!

Real Small Business Marketing

Real small business marketing is NOT a lot of things. It is not social networking like facebook or twitter. It is not throwing up a blog and hoping someone will come. It is not signing up for the latest online directory or craigs list or usfreeads.

Real Small Business MarketingWhat real small business marketing is is hard work. It is old fashioned identifying your target market, then figuring out the best way to reach them, then crafting a great offer that you know will make them interested. Then the really hard work starts! It is contacting prospects, following up until they are ready to buy and even some wine and dining from time to time.

Just because there is more opportunity available on the internet does not mean that we can abandon our old business ways. Getting belly to belly with a highly targeted prospect will still result in a sale. Calling your suspect list and making sure that they know you are still in dialogue is huge. Sending personal note instead of emails really does work.

We live in fabulous times that allow us access to millions of new customers instead of the 200 or so that we know personally. Make sure that you transfer some of your old marketing tricks to these new marketing media!

PS – Speaking of old time marketing ideas…have you called your past customers lately to see if they need to buy something else?

Small Business Marketing There is no set it and forget it!

This post about small business marketing is a follow up to “There is no one marketing thing that works“. In that post I gave small business marketers the bad news that there is one marketing thing that works like the old yellow page ads used to. Well get ready for more bad news! If you would rather that the world go back to the way it used to be, then this may not be the post for you.

Loudspeaker SalesmanI LOVE the infomercial pitchmen! They are brilliant at separating you from your money with catchy taglines and REALLY strong call to actions. The best tagline I ever heard was “set it and forget it”. This was for a product that cooked an entire meal for you using one appliance and the salesman had the audience chant that over and over during the commercial.

Neato kitchen appliance notwithstanding, there is no set it and forget it for your small business marketing. Buying a website and blog, then ignoring it for a year will not get you top google rankings. Just setting up a business Fan Page will not grow your sales by thousands. BUT worse than that even, learning to use Facebook or Twitter will not carry you over then next 10 years of marketing.

If you had asked about the biggest social networking site a couple of years ago you would have been talking about MySpace, which has now fallen off the face of the earth marketing-wise in favor of Facebook and Twitter. If you built a state-of-the-art website 3 years ago, you may be surprised to find that an affordable blog may be the best way to drive traffic to your sales page.

Nothing stays still and if you are thinking that you can just “set and forget” your small business marketing, you may find yourself losing ground fast!

Small Business Keyword Marketing

In my post yesterday about entrepreneur internet marketing I talked a little bit about keyword selection but I feel like I did not explain how fun small business keyword marketing can be! Here is a little bit about what prompted my keyword obsession this week…

So I am always working on great keyword selection for my clients but sometimes I get lazy with my own keyword focus. This blog ranks well for realtor marketing and entrepreneur marketing but I wanted a little extra zing for my new Small Business Internet Express product so I was looking at some google adwords data.

While setting up my campaign I noticed that the keyword “entrepreneur internet marketing” cost $3.00 a click and only had about 91 searches a month. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Google wants me to pay three dollars for a keyword that might get seen by about one hundred people a month? Not this marketer I tell you!

Small Business Keyword Marketing So I set out to rank on the first page for that keyword organically and today, one day after posting that article on my blog I rank on page one – yay! Now it is a great win because I am on page one, not so great because (as we know) that search term only gets about a hundred searches a month even though there are six million google listings that come up when you search for that term…:)

Small Business Keyword Focus

So how do you rank well for keywords that really matter? Pick three that are going to be a main focus for your site and then pound the crap out of them! You can get really great ideas of other niche keywords by doing a google search and seeing what google adds to your search as a suggestion. Today they suggested that I might also be searching for “entrepreneur marketing plan” or “social entrepreneur marketing”.

So if I was trying to get a listing for entrepreneur marketing today I would make sure that that search term was in the title tags for my overall blog AND in the titles of lots posts with additional sub keywords added. Age of your domain DOES matter but so does great content so aim really high for you 3 main keywords and you will do well over time!

How Often Should You Post To Your Blog?

I have been blogging about small business marketing for years now and one of the most frequent questions I get from beginning bloggers is – how often should I blog? To me this is NOT a one size fits all kind of question! There are a number of factors to be considered including…

How Often Should You Post BlogsFirst – Do you like to write?

Posting blog entries is not a chore for me. I can write about anything (once I even wrote about toenails in conjunction with marketing on a dare!) Since it is not hard for me to do, making sure to post at least three times per week here is easy. If you are not a natural writer, I would suggest starting with once a week and building up from there!

Second – How often does your audience expect to get updates?

My audience is small business owners, realtors and entrepreneurs and I know that they are only avid readers of my content basically Monday through Thursday. Friday through Sunday are dead times for me so I rarely post then. Also, they are not necessarily looking for me to post multiple times per day so I am good with a thrice weekly schedule.

Third – What are you trying to accomplish with your posts?

I have close to 200 posts on my site that I have done over the years. While much of my daily traffic comes from today’s posts, an equal number of new visitors are coming in response to a search engine listing on an archive post. This is the long tail theory of marketing which says that I could never figure out EXACTLY which keywords people might use to search for my content BUT if there is enough content out there then I will get eyeballs.

For example, today someone found my site by searching “differences between facebook, linkedin and twitter”. Now I have never written a post for that and the page that came up was the sales page for my social networking videos that I need to change BUT the cool thing is that they bought! Writing lots of content is the closest thing to money for nothing and the chicks for free that I can find!!!

If you have not read Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail” yet it is definitely a MUST READ if you are just getting going on internet marketing! This is an affiliate link but that doesn’t make my ABSOLUTE recommendation any different…:)

Finally – What can you commit to?

I have found that some bloggers start off hot and heavy and then peter out because they get busy. Busy with life, busy with following up on all of their blog sales leads, busy with work. Now those are high quality problems to have, but if you blog 30 times your first month, 10 times your second month and 2 times your third month, you are going to disappoint your readers who have now come to expect a high volume.

My thought is that it is better to set a reasonable schedule and then live up to it. If you do write more then you can just schedule that they be published at a later time.

Well bloggers – hope this helps! The photo with this picture is my original blog design from 2006! I liked my meerkats and other cute pictures but they did not necessarily scream small business…:)

Do you love your small business

People who meet me or attend one of my training sessions are always blown away by how much I love marketing. Sometimes I get up at 4am because I can not sleep anymore thinking about all of the really neat marketing stuff I get to do that day. Do you love YOUR small business that much? If you do, great, move along with what you were doing before. If not, here are a couple of suggestions about what you can do to get motivated!

falling in love with your small businessGet Small Business Systems In Place

Sometimes I find myself wondering what I am going to do if I get more customers. It is a REALLY high quality problem to have, but if I can’t service them well, what is the point of having them. If you are concerned that you might get too many customers, here are a couple of ways to handle them…

  • Make sure you (and your employees) know what to do from start to finish on each project or sale. I KNOW that taking time to define and write down your systems takes time initially but it will serve your business for years in the future.
  • Know that you are going to be busy for a little bit, but then you can get more help. There is always an awkward stage when you go from the volume of leads and customers you are used to having to having A LOT more. Just know that eventually you can take all that extra money you are making and hire more help!
  • Make sure you are asking your helpers to do what they are good at! If your assistant is good at marketing, don’t ask him to call your accounts payables – those are different skill sets. Find a qualified person to do what they excel at and both of you will be happier!
  • Raise your prices! If you are in a service business and have WAY too much work, raise your prices OR vow to only work with clients you LOVE at the same price you are charging now..:) If you get too many leads or they are not the kind of clients you want to work with, refer them out.

Get more prospects and follow up

  • There is nothing that helps a small business succeed like lots of leads. If a business is struggling, in almost every case I can guess that it is because they do not have enough people to sell to. Marketing fixes this, networking fixes this, cold calling fixes this. Any plan you make that involves doing a specific lead generating task ALL the time (not just when you are slow) will assure that you have lots of prospects to sell to.
  • Brian Tracy says that the most important things to do is prospect, present and FOLLOW UP! Most small business owners have no system for following up with their prospects after the initial contact. This is one area that will make a tremendous difference in your business and which is WAY too involved to cover in a bullet point…:) Get a plan to follow up!!!!

Stop listening to the news and your peers

  • If you are constantly being bombarded with doom and gloom it is easy to think that all business is down. That is NOT so! I don’t watch the scary news but I do read a bunch of blogs by business owners who are excited about their business. They are growing, expanding their lines, hiring more people and basically thriving which helps reinforce to that little voice in my head that it IS possible.
  • I help with a lot of realtor marketing plans and if I could tell you the number of agents I know who think that the market is FABULOUS you would fall off your chair. The good ones are thriving in this market because there is less competition and skill matters more than ever. If they can be optimistic, surely you can!
  • The news says small shops are closing left and right…true but there are also prime locations that were unaffordable before that good store owners can snatch up now!

Really people, if you own your own business and are not thrilled to get up, stop it. Either figure out how to light the fire in your belly again or shut it down. If you are not enthusiastic about what you are selling, how is anyone else going to get fired up to buy from you?

Make 2010 the year to get happy about your business!

There is no one marketing thing that works

I have been talking about this with humans A LOT lately so I am just going to get it off my chest here. There is NO ONE marketing thing that works! Facebook is not going to change your life, getting a blog or a website will not get you 1000 prospects tomorrow, new business cards – nope, print advertising – nitch, direct mail – nil, video – nada. Small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors need to get a grip on the fact that anyone selling them THE ONE THING that will take care of all their marketing needs is lying (and not just a little bit, a big fat lie!)

small business entrepreneur and realtor marketingThere are a bunch of small business owners who are sad. They do not like doing marketing much and prospecting (calling) is out of the question for them. They are pining for the good old days when they could just place their yellow page ad once a year and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Realtors are looking for a time when sitting in the office meant that you got the next live buyer or seller that walked in the door for floor time. Pine away, those days are gone and yearning for them just means your small business is slower to get going in the new, more competitive marketplace.

Think about what has come and gone even in just the last decade…

  • I started 2000 arguing with business owners that having a flash movie between their website and the search engines was harmful (and expensive)
  • HTML built websites were hard to build, expensive to change and gave way to…database and frame websites that were hard for search engines to find!
  • No one even knew about google
  • Direct mail fell off the map in the latter part of the decade (smart marketers know that now is the time to get in when competition is low)
  • Advertising in newspapers stopped being the other easy way to market
  • Snazzy marketing materials and design became affordable at Vistaprint.com
  • Blogs showed up as a great way to get found by search engines and were easy to use
  • Social networking like myspace came and went and new ones like twitter and facebook took their place
  • AND people started using the internet to find small businesses instead of using..wait for it…the yellow pages!!!

Now-a-days small business owners have to be more marketing savvy. They do not have to learn HOW to do the actual technical parts but they DO need to know what works the best for their business AND get involved. I can guarantee that no one will love your business like you do so handing over your marketing to a snake oil saleman could be death of it!

I am putting this out there loyal readers – before you spend more than $1,000 on any type of marketing please post a link to what you are thinking about here. If I think it is great I will publish it and give  your marketer some great publicity and you the thumbs up. If I think it less than great I will message you behind the scenes and let you know my thoughts. I have talked to too many small business owners lately who are spending a FORTUNE on snake oil…:(

There is an affiliate link for vistaprint in this post, if you click that and then sign up I will get a little bit of money, if you would like to avoid giving me a little bit of money type it in manually.

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.

Small Business Marketing – How To Get More Traffic

All small business marketers want more traffic to their website, blog or facebook pages. These are where you can actually make content and build a brand and a following rather than just talking to your readers. So how can you get more traffic?

This is NOT a get traffic quick scheme! This is a slog it out, build a following, talk to them kind of post so if you are looking for a quick hit, move along.

Still here? Okay here goes…The first thing you need to do is figure out where you are sending all of that traffic and what you want it to do! I send all my marketing traffic to Marketing Artfully and until recently had kind of mixed the message once you got here. There were tons of things to look at and click and places to go. Now it is very clear that I want you to click over to my membership site. SO….look at the site you are going to be sending all that traffic to and make sure it has a call to action.

Back to traffic….

There are a gagillion ways to send generate traffic and the first thing I want you to do is STOP and figure out what you like to do!!!!

  • Do you like to write?
  • Then blog A LOT and then use the little button at the bottom to “share” your content on Stumble Upon, Technorati, Digg and Delicious (I use the tell a friend wordpress plugin by social twist for this!)
  • Write articles on Ezine Articles and point links back to your site
  • Get out there and comment on other people’s posts
  • Do you like to teach?
  • Hold seminars and webinars that drive people to your website
  • Make a little video class series and offer it for free
  • Do you like people?
  • Join the social networks and get involved – you cannot just put a link on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and let it sit there forever without any love
  • Are you a Salesman? (I LOVE salesmen!)
  • Call people with complementary blogs and talk to them. Ask them if they would let you put a blog post on their site with great content.
  • Ask them if you can do a teleseminar with them that you can tape and distribute
  • Call your database and tell them all the great things you are doing on your main site
  • Email your database and ask them to share the big changes with their friends
  • Email someone with a complementary blog and ask them to NICELY to feature a link back to your site! I got the nicest email today that sparked my interest from Ethan over at Sparxoo which prompted this post.

So there you have it, some ideas to increase your traffic that are not hard, but take some work! Some will provide you with direct traffic and some will help your google rankings. Any which way, all will get more eyeballs on your site!!!

If you would like to see the email that sparked this post and find out more about how to generate backlinks from other sites, visit our Marketing Memebership Site – the great letters I responded to are available at the $1 level!!!

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Internet Tools

Internet Tools

I feel strongly about this – you should learn how to use the Top Ten internet tools that will make a difference for your small business! These are in no order and come from the talks that I give and questions I am asked by small business owners on a daily basis.

I do not know about you but I sometimes procrastinate about learning how to do something new. I assume that it will be really hard and will take forever to learn and that it will possibly make my head explode. I have to say that most of the time, I am wrong!

That having been said, figure out what makes the most sense to set up yourself and what you can farm out. I had a little problem with Widgets on this blog. Figuring out how to fix it was going to take A LONG TIME and it was something that doesn’t happen a lot – I had a programmer do it so that I could keep working on my actual work. Throughout this post I will give my take on whether learning how to set up some of these things is worth it or if you should get help.

TOP TEN INTERNET TOOLS FOR SMALL BUSINESS

  1. Learn about writing great headlines – Whether you are writing an email or a blog post, you need to know how to make a reader take notice AND how to make it search engine friendly! This post started out about “learning internet things – arggg” and morphed into a topic that you were interested enough in ready to click through to AND it has keywords that the internet can index rather than a “cute” title.
  2. Learn how to use email for marketing – I have an email list that I contact twice a month. They are a great gang of people who look to me to be a source of marketing information and many have purchased something from me at some time. I don’t sell sell sell BUT when I find something that I think works I make sure to let them know. If you are going to have one list only I suggest using Constant Contact, if you are going to have multiple types of email subscribers make sure to use a fuller service like AWeber. If you are technologically or administratively challenged, have someone set up your list for you and import or data entry your contacts. It cost me about $100 / month to have someone data entry my new contacts and it is SO worth it!
  3. Learn how to use Social Networking! – I have to say that I have had more success getting business from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter from anywhere other than speaking to groups. Just this week I “met” a lady who is attending one of my speaking sessions next month and also got a social networking setup gig from a LinkedIn contact. I would NEVER have met these people in real life so having these FREE marketing tools is brilliant! I offer a social networking how to video series that will help you get up and running fast if you like to do it yourself. If you would like to have everything done for you and ready to go we do a $250 social networking setup that makes getting started effortless!
  4. Learn to make hyperlinks! This one is HUGE and is the question I am asked most about during my classes. As you see above I link to my offers using keywords like “social networking how to video series”. That lets google know what the page I am linking to is about. I do this this also when I comment on a blog post. This one is SO easy once you know how – just use this code <a href=”http://yourlink.com”>Keywords go here</a>.
  5. Learn to make YouTube Videos – Get yourself a Flip Camera and start taking movies. The reason why I recommend the flip is because it is so easy to use. Press one button to start, same button to stop, then plug into your computer and upload to YouTube! This one is VITAL and SO EASY, there are tons of videos on YouTube about how to do it and it will take you less than 10 minutes to learn!
  6. Get a blog - This could be numbers 6-10 it is SO important!!! Many small business owners think that a website is the way to go without understanding the power that having a blog brings. Blogs PUSH your message out to google as soon as you publish it. Blogs are easy to use so you can pop your videos into a post and hit publish. You can put each blog post on facebook or digg or twitter. Blogs are easy to change. Blogs rock! If you would like to find out more about small business blogs visit our website http://websiteandblogdesign.com.
  7. Learn to use the filters on your email program - DO NOT unsubscribe or send nasty messages back when someone sends you an email. That is a potential customer that you are eliminating from your business. Instead set up a filter to send them to a “special folder” or even the trash automatically. Learning to use your email better will eliminate your aggravation and reduce the amount of time you spend.
  8. Sign up for google alertsGoogle alerts will send you a daily message with all the information about your industry or topic. Realtors, ask for alerts about your area + real estate. Small business owners use your industry. THEN take the information that you find interesting and write blog posts about it OR just post the link on your Facebook business page. This is a GREAT way to become an expert in your industry!
  9. Sign up for i-google – This is a way that you can use your google homepage to see blog posts by your favorite writers. I did a video explaining how to use the google reader. This one will take you less than 5 minutes to set up! Then you see what people are talking about in your industry and can make comments with text links back to your website or blog!
  10. STOP PROCRASTINATING! If you don’t know how to do something important, learn how to do it. Pay for training, hire someone to set it up for you or figure it out! You will be amazed at how some of these tools can change your business and life if you learn to use them right!

If you would like to learn more please visit…

Top 10 Internet Tools Writing Great Headlines | How To Use Social Networking

How To Write a GREAT Sales Letter!

You know I never re-post stuff from other people but Gabor Olah of PLRwholesaler sent out one of the more informative emails that I have gotten recently. His email about how to write a great small business marketing sales letter was very informative and easy to understand. PLR is Private Label Rights and this guy offers a bunch of great content (make sure you get on his mailing list)!

Many people have asked what’s the secret to writing a compelling sales letter that sells. Every communication you send to customers or prospects should have a clear purpose – and your sales letter is no different.

Now there’s simply not enough space to go into detail about every aspect of your sales letter, but below is a
brief summary of some of the major points you need to address.

Before sitting down to write a sales letter make sure you are clear about the product or service you are offering, the price, any bonus offers, whether there is a time limit, etc.

Think from the point of view of the customer. What will make them interested in your product or service?

Do not make the letter about you or your company. You will not make sales by telling customers about the latest events in your office or the history of your company’s expansion. The letter should be about the customer, their problems, and how you can solve them.

Headlines are the most important part of a sales letter. So it’s important that you try to come up with at least twenty different headlines and then select the best.

Generally headlines should be longer than 3 or 4 words, but less than 17 words. Take a look at newspaper headlines and other sales headlines for inspiration. Be specific. If you have a figure of 37% then use it, do not say ‘over 30%’. Do not exaggerate in your headline to get attention. If it cannot be believed readers will not bother to look further.

When you first begin writing the main body of the letter do not edit it as you write. Just write what you think is the main, important message and do not stop to correct spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. If necessary stare determinedly at the keyboard as you write, or better still turn the monitor off on your PC.

The reason for this is that if you continually stop to make corrections the words will not flow and the message may become confused. Don’t get me wrong, it’s vitally important to make sure that your final copy contains no spelling mistakes. But this should be done once your first draft is completed.

Avoid long sentences and paragraphs in your sales letter. You want to make the letter as easy to read as possible and the most effective way to do this to “trick the eye” by creating whitespace.

You can do this by breaking the letter up into subheadings that refer to the contents of the next section. Your subheadings should give enough information for someone skimming down the page to understand your offer.

Once you feel your letter is complete put it aside for a while before reading through it again. You may spot
mistakes or areas of confusion that you didn’t initially notice.

If you cannot leave it for a period of time give it to someone else to read. Ask them to skim through it to see if they get the main points of the message. If they do they can then read each sentence and give you their impression of the letter.

Now as I mentioned at the start, this is only a very brief summary on the steps you need to follow to create a sales letter. While it’s by no means a full-blown explanation, it gives you a place to start.

Sincerely,
-Gabor

Find out more about PLRwholesaler!

Realtor and Small Business Marketing Tip – Google Voice!

Google Voice - Realtor and Small Business MarketingSo you know I like make sure my realtors and small business owners know the latest and greatest marketing information so that you can take over and dominate your market! Well today’s topic is Google Voice!

I signed up for Google Voice a few weeks ago and got the notification the other day that I was in…YAY! The thing that I like the best about this is that they provide you with a local number to use on your marketing materials BUT you can also forward your messages from your cell phone to google voice, they transcribe it and record it and then text or email you with the message. You can also text right from the comfort of your desk chair.

The setup is super easy and only took me about 5 minutes to get up and running. The best part for me is that I was paying for this service with another company and now get it for FREE!

Hope that helps with realtor and small business marketing!

Small Business Customer Service – Flashzebra.com

When I hear about great small business customer service I just have to talk about it! Lon from FlashZebra.com (a manual off-camera flash distributor) sold Johnny two cables. Well when he opened the package only one came. John emailed Lon and within minutes got an answer that his second cable was coming and that the shipping costs were being refunded for John’s trouble. WOW!

Lon has done a great job of choosing a niche! He sells camera cables for flashes to serious photographers. Also he has camera cables that John couldn’t find anywhere else on the internet. He is also doing a great job of generating incoming links.

I will keep an eye on flashzebra.com to see how it is going – love to see a little guy with a great concept!

How To Market Your Small Business

Small Business Marketing Day!

Small Business Marketing Day!

People ask me all the time what I do to market my small business (and my Realtor Marketing clients). I KNOW when I hear those words that they want to know the magic bullet – the ONE THING that I do to achieve online success. The ONE THING that I focus on that makes the traffic and sales flow.

Well today is marketing day! I do lots of things on the fly, but today I have the luxury of spending all day marketing my websites, products and referral sites! I am going to be starting at 9am and only have one phone call to break up the day (and it is with one of my favorite people on earth so that is alright!)

So what is the plan? I thought that I would let you know what I plan to do and then I will pop back in and let you know what actually got done. Sometimes it is more and sometimes less, but without a plan I am going nowhere fast!

Marketing Artfully – Small Business Marketing Company
Fix social networking video landing page
Fix marketing artfully layout
Add ads to Marketing Artfully
Monitor new adwords campaign for article marketing
Set up twitter blasts for websites and blogs

Realtor Marketing – Trinity, Foreclosure, Dunedin and St. Pete Real Estate Websites
Set up twitter blasts for blogs
Add social networking buttons to each site
Either do posts or articles for at least two of them
Add MLS search button to all sites

There you have it! I am also listening to some training videos so may swap some in and some out but in general am going to be rocking the internet – watch out other marketing people, I am coming at you!

PS – So I never liked putting pictures in my blog posts because I am lazy…:) That having been said, since I load them onto facebook and the pretty pictures show I have been adding more – yay facebook!

Small Business Marketing – Free Tools

So I have been talking A LOT about free marketing tools lately since I think this is the best way to “pad” your marketing budget. Make sure you pay for things that matter and get great free tools where available!

Here are three of my favorite free tools!

Free Marketing Tool #1 – Google Local Search Listing

Google Local Free Tool Screen Shot

Google Local Free Tool Screen Shot

If you are a local business with a BUSINESS address, there is nothing more powerful than making sure that your property is listed in google’s local search. I did a search for denver mary kay sales people and  the ones that have registered with google come up front and center.

Think about that – 3 Mary Kay people are being highlighted in the ENTIRE Denver Metro area. They are not struggling to get people to notice them, we can guess that they get incoming calls asking about their services!

Free Marketing Tool #2 – Eyejot Emails

We love Brian P. Forrester of TriCounty Mortgage, he gets the fact that he has to do marketing and that he should be paying us to help so that he can write loans. BUT I have to say that I respond the most to his FABULOUS eyejot.com videos!

When he sends out his video messages about realtor information he is accomplishing NUMEROUS things! He is giving valuable information to his clients. They may share it with potential realtor prospects (Brian, start suggesting sharing at the end), he is establishing himself as an expert in the area that he talks about AND he is training his people to expect regular communications from him (Brian, send these out weekly!).

While Brian pays a couple of bucks to have his eyejots branded, you can get started with the free ones right out of the box!

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Free Marketing Tool #3 – Jing Project

I use www.jingproject.com to make all my screen capture videos for my online training series (check out my social networking training videos). It is as close to free as humanly possible ($15 a year) for the pro version that makes excellent screen capture videos that you can post on your blog, put up on YouTube and use for many other marketing opportunities.

Again, you are establishing yourself as an expert in your industry, leaving more breadcrumbs around the internet to draw people back to your website (we call those linkbacks or incoming links) and generally providing great information for your clients and prospects.

I KNOW – I have told you about some of these before BUT I am wicked mad that only Cyndee Hadon (fabulous florida realtor) and Brian P. Forrester (tremendous mortgage man in Tampa Bay) are the ONLY ones that send me eyejot videos!

Facebook Hits 250K Users!

I thought you might like to see how the progression of facebook looks! Think about it, as a small business owner, how do you ignore this HUGE media outlet. If you would like to be my friend, I am at www.facebook.com/tara.jacobsen

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Twitter Day – How to use twitter for your small business!

So I am determined to get some value out of twitter and social networking for my business! With that in mind I have set out on a mission to figure out how to make twitter work for me and my tribe…:)

These are my twitter numbers right now (I did follow a bunch of people this morning so that number is a little skewed!) 963 Followers, 1060 Following

Now I have to say to start, if you are just getting into twitter this will be a little harder for you. I have been on twitter for a while and so have updates that people can see and decide to follow me. If you are new make sure you (1) set up a twitter account, (2) post some updates relevant to your business and (3) follow some other people (they will probably follow you back!).

Here are some of the things I have done to get more followers and actually make twitter work for me!

  1. Followed a bunch of people directly from Twitter – FREE
  2. Signed up for Xavier Media’s get more followers program – FREE
  3. Signed up for Tweet Later which sends a message out automatically for me to ask people to be my Facebook friend also (if you would like to learn more about this, I wrote about it on my marketing artfully facebook page, while you are there, make sure to become a fan!) – FREE
  4. Signed up for some groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that allow you to post your twitter link (it looks like this http://www.twitter.com/taradactyl) – FREE

If I do anything else I will make sure to post it here but for now I am all tweeted out!

Google Local Business Listings – Great for small business owners!

Want another way to get more clicks to your website? For FREE? Google local business search is free, easy and sent 22 people to my website last month. Is that a lot? Not compared to the regular search, but considering that I set it up a couple of years ago and never touched it again, I am pleasantly sureprised.

Google sent me a message today that I can now get reports on my local search clicks so I popped back in, added my new Colorado location, uploaded some video testimonials and bang I am live!

Make sure you verify your business with a phone call or email. If you use the phone option, they call you within seconds and give you a pin number to enter to verify your given phone number is active.

Eyejot – a free email marketing tool!

There are SO many free tools on the internet to get your marketing message out – Eyejot is a winner! One of my absolute favorite marketers – Brian P. Forrester of Mortgage Communication Spot sends out an eyejot most Mondays to tell his sphere important information about the mortgage industry. It takes him less than a minute to record and he reaches many realtors and home buyers with his message!

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If you want to get great updates from Brian, email him to get on his eyejot list…:)

Thesis For WordPress – How To Videos

social_networking_informationThis 18 VIDEO course will walk you through all of the steps on how to use your Thesis for WordPress blog to grow your business. This course is perfect for the beginner who needs to know where to start and for the more advanced user that wants to increase thier blogging knowledge!

BUT wait…:) If you buy this now and we update it later are you going to have to pay more money?!?!? Nope – we will send you notifications any time this page is updated so you can see the new videos FOR FREE!

The Thesis for WordPress How To Video Course Includes:

Beginner Basics – How To Use Your WordPress Blog 

  • Signing into wordpress and an overview of the dashboard
  • Creating a post
  • Using relevant links
  • Comments – How to approve or deny them
  • Appearance and widgets overview

Advanced Thesis For WordPress Options

  • Adding a page and navigation
  • How to use Tags and Categories
  • How to add plugins
  • How to add users
  • Adding YouTube videos to your blog posts – Coming Soon!

WordPress for Thesis SEO Options

  • What is SEO (search engine optimization) – Part 1
  • What is SEO (search engine optimization) – Part 2

General Blog Marketing – How can you get the word out!?!?!

  • Google loves blog posts!
  • Using Twitterfeed to automatically upload your posts
  • Market your blog posts with social media
  • Digg your post!

Special for Marketing Artfully Clients

  • How to use feedburner
  • How to use analytics

Before you buy! These are hands on, how to videos that will teach you the real deal BUT they are large files because of all of the content. If you are on a slower internet connection it WILL take them a while to download. If you mind waiting for this great content please do not purchase this product!

Price $24.97 – for the first 5 people then going to $49.97 – AND it is free for all our blog clients!

Airports, Snow Boots and Your Small Business Marketing Message

I love small business marketing and I love my husband who has moved to Denver for a job transfer. So I have been flying back and forth to the Denver Airport to visit him and try and find a house to buy in the Denver area (we have an offer in – again – so fingers crossed people). What I noticed about the weather here compared to Clearwater Florida, where I am moving from, is that it is C-O-L-D. The people are generally nicer and they have snow boots.

I also noticed that real estate in Colorado is also different from real estate in Florida. They get a different commission than I am used to, they have fewer listings than agents carry in Florida and they have snow boots on when they show houses.

So what does this have to do with marketing you ask? We KNOW real estate is local but so is marketing! If you are in Cleveland, which is a very depressed area right now, you may have to market WAY harder in order to get the same results you got in the past. You may have to do more face-to-face sales pitches to close a client. If you are in Denver, where they say the economy is more solid, you can focus on gaining market share. Do LOTS of marketing to take over the market before the national economy rebounds!!!

While it is not fair that you have to work harder in Cleveland than Denver, make sure you match your efforts to your expected results, not just what worked in the past!

and don’t forget to wear your snow boots!

Tracking your statistics – How can that help?

So I had a small business marketing seminar a couple of weeks ago with a focus on real estate professionals like Realtors, Mortgage Bankers, and marketing experts. One of the Realtors who attended (Cyndee Haydon – Clearwater Real Estate Specialist) has been tracking her numbers since the seminar and she is setting the world on fire! Her leads are qualified, consistent and…holy cow there are LOTS of them!!!

Now I cannot take any credit for the number of leads or the quality of them or even how she has developed the system to manage all these leads. What I can humbly attest to – Cyndee is now able to hyper-focus on dollar productive things that she needs to do and all the rest is just fluff. She is NOT answering stray and random buyer calls anymore. She is NOT spending tons of time with unqualified buyers. She IS focusing on her strengths which are generating leads, blogging, networking and all the other things that she is good at and likes!

My heart is SO happy! Not only has Cyndee focused her business, but she tracks her stats so she knows how far she has come! She knows how many leads, where they came from, where they went AND will be following them to see the conversion to clients. If you do not track these numbers you will never know if you are getting better!!!

Just hearing that today made me want to be a better person and track my leads more! I am currently blogging between 1-2 times per day, everyday for a month (which will get ME more leads…:) but the next thing I am doing is setting goals and tracking ALL my leads!! How about you?

Small Business Marketing – Are You Selling The Steak Or The Sizzle?

Small Business Marketers are Selling The Steak Instead Of Selling the Sizzle!

What the heck does that mean? Well it means that as humans it is SO much easier for us to sell the features of a product than to figure out the benefits to our target audience. For myself, it is easier to tell you that with our Small Business Social Media Marketing Services you get a complete website and social media package than it is to “sell” you on all the benefits like increased sales, more exposure to potential clients and more leads.

I have tried for a couple of months to figure out how to get this message out since I am not great at sizzling, so why am I writing this post? Because I saw a BRILLIANT commercial this weekend. You tell which is steak and which is sizzle…

The carefully selected, high quality ingredients in Purinaa® Dog Chow® brand Dog Food Complete & Balanced provide 100% of the essential nutrients your dog needs to help stay happy, healthy and satisfied throughout his long, healthy life.

  • Contains 23 vitamins and minerals
  • Formulated with high quality protein
  • Great Taste

HMMMM…VITAMINS AND MINERALS ARE GOOD, PROTEIN IS GOOD

or

A groundbreaking 14-year study by Purina researchers showed that dogs fed to an ideal body condition** throughout their lives had a median life span of 1.8 years longer – and were considerably healthier – than their littermates.* And although the dogs in the study generally developed the same health conditions as they aged, treatment for those conditions was delayed approximately two years for the lean-fed dogs.

MY DOG WILL LIVE 2 YEARS LONGER? I LOVE MY DOG – I WANT THAT!!!!

Make sure you take a look at your small business marketing, are you selling steak or sizzle? Have a non-industry friend look at your marketing, see if they would be excited to buy you product if they didn’t know you! Post your link on Facebook and ask your online friends if they would buy it. DO NOT be sad if you get criticism – just take that and fix it!

If you would like me and my readers to take a peek at your info and be blatantly honest, add a link here and we will all help (beat up on you)!

Seth Godin – 2 Minutes Of Wisdom

Sunday morning. Coffee and reading a couple of blogs – BAM! I was just “hanging out” online and suddenly had GREAT inspiration in under 2 minutes!

Andrew Warner over at Mashable interviewed Seth Godin for a couple of minutes and gave me a great way to start my day of business building! Here’s my take on a couple of the points that came out of the interview..

Less Competition – I was thinking about this the other day. The small business owners that we work with are concerned about all the companies that are failing. Realtors are looking around and seeing their brethren dropping like flies and wondering if this is the time to drop out too. OH MY GOSH – this is SO the time to dive in and take market share! You are competing with fewer like businesses, you can make a slight tweek in your business and make huge differences! Don’t be afraid – be aggressive!

Build Value – It is amazing to me that in this day and age, after YEARS of hearing about Permission Marketing and being “customer-centric” the way that most businesses market. They are still sending out advertisements telling how great their product is and why you should drop everything, reach into your wallet and give them your money. They are NOT using relationships. They are not trying to build a business based on trust and sharing and providing true value for money. 

Focus – Seth’s last point was to be disciplined about what you are building. Deliver what you promise. Provide more than you promise. Work within your budget. I think we need to add to this that you HAVE to know what your business is doing. This seems simple but most business owners do not know what the main goal for their business is – figure it out! 

Thanks Seth and Andrew for starting my business building day off with a bang!

Marketing Planning Seminar for Real Estate

BE PART OF THIS AMAZING OPPORTUNITY TO
GROW YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS!

This one-day Marketing Planning Seminar for Realtors, Title Companies and Mortgage Professionals will help you focus on the activities that will help you establish your brand, grow your business, get new clients and generate leads for your business.

Marketing Guru Tara Jacobsen will take you through the steps to take to make a marketing plan that works with YOUR business. Some topics we will cover include:   

Finding your perfect customers
Developing a mission statement
Building your brand
Online and offline marketing ideas
Lead generating ideas

You WILL leave the class with a detailed plan for how to grow your business!

SEATING IS LIMITED TO 25 ATTENDEES – Don’t miss your chance to change your business!

PLUS – As a bonus, everyone who attends will get a FREE copy of “How To Service Your Listings” AND the special report “100 Things To Do To Sell Your Listings” (A $30 Value)!

When: February 6th from 9-1
Where: Integrity First Funding Group
1237 Lady Marion Lane
Dundedin FL 34698
Cost: $25

Great (and not so great) Customer Service

So I have been switching over to a new credit card and shopping cart system. Sigh. The process is horrendous and I keep finding new things I have to fix. We have to transfer people from our old database, we have to get all our people to re-optin (Tammy Mac this means you…:) We have to set up forms and autoresponders and other terrible things. I have been on hold with customer service for what seems like days!

The bright spot in all of this is the great guys over at 1shoppingcart.com. Today I talked to Andy who did everything he could to help fix a form for me (I am still working on getting it to look right BUT he really tried!!). I also tend to get Mark a lot when I call – I am SERIOUS, it has been over 20 times in the last two weeks. He is VERY patient and knows A LOT about the product.

Having chosen a vendor, I have definitely had my decision reinforced that it was a good one. Great customer service is NOT the norm these days so you find it, treasure it!

That having been said, I have also had terrible customer service lately.

Adobe. A HUGE company that just got $643 from me for a software update has terrible customer service. The customer service rep I spoke with had no knowledge of the english language. He put me on hold for over 10 minutes to try and find a form that I needed to have emailed to me and never sent the form. He was rude. I am sorry I have to use Adobe. NOT a good experience.

Discover Card sold me out. I have a merchant account with Bank of America now (it is going away soon!). BOA has a terrible back end system that is impossible to reconcile, making my accountant sad BUT that is not why I am so glad to be leaving them! I opted to have Discover offered as one of the credit cards I accepted. No fewer than 8 different “Discover Partners” have called me offering services for “free”. They are not free, they just want me to sign up for a service for free for a little bit and then start charging me when I forget to cancel. Double sigh. I have told them I do not need a website or promotions or anything else but they still call. I hate Discover now.

This is not rocket science. Having a company culture that rewards customer service is vital. Letting your customers know that you will not sell their name should be standard. Having someone answer your phone with a cheerful hello costs exactly the same amount as having a surly receptionist.

It all starts at the top. If you are a small business owner with no employees, take a look at how you are operating. If you are a small business owner with a staff, talk to them tomorrow about what they can do to make your customers happy.

Happy is good. Hate is bad.

Small Business Advice – Doing what you love AND…other stuff

Small Business Advice – Anyone who knows me well knows I LOVE talking about marketing, reading about marketing, teaching marketing classes, blah, blah, blah. On the weekends I frequently spend time researching new marketing ideas, planning for new projects and doing lots of other TOTALLY fun things. This weekend I ALSO spent 7 hours fixing my blogs, optimizing them for SEO, picking keywords, etc. I hate doing that! A friend called me during hour 7 and asked what was wrong, I sounded that glum!

I also spent 6 hours this weekend working on a design project for a great client (www.Managemy401k.com). The owner is a businessman and marketer who is commited to executing a comprehensive marketing plan for 2009 – that makes me SO happy! BUT he needs design help first, so I am doing that for him as part of the whole plan. That is not my favorite part, but it is something that must be done in order for him to succeed.

So what does that have to do with you? You are a Realtor, or retail store owner, or a craftsman, or a Mary Kay Lady. Well…I am sure that you picked your profession because you love part of it. I know Realtors who have battled through 2 years of hardship with no end in sight, just because they love helping people and selling real estate. I know beauty consultants who like to make people feel good about themselves by making them pretty.

EVERY small business owner (and employee) has stuff the don’t like to do. Stuff that they put off as long as humanly possible before starting and then only do scratching and clawing through each step with horror and gloom. What if you did those things first? Got them out of the way sooner rather than later? OR What if you found someone else to do it instead? Kept the parts of the business that you like and ditch the rest!

Small Business Marketing Case Study – Body and Mind Enrichment

So I met with a GREAT gal this week – Emily with Body and Mind Enrichment. She won our drawing at the WIN (Women in Networking) Symposium for a free Marketing Plan! 

Mary Dado of Business Writing, Ink and I started out by taking a tour of all the plants Emily has around her house that she uses in organic natural products that she makes like bug spray, itchy creams, ointments, oils, scrubs and LOTS more. I used her bug spray and itch cream – it is all natural (very nice!) and has a fresh, woodsy smell because it is made of herbs!! Emily also composts and makes things like tea from lemongrass.

Emily’s life is dedicated to healthy living through eating, exercising and working WITH nature!

We talked with her for a while and worked on her mission statement (still in progress) and discovered that she has been keeping the different parts of her business separate (pilates instruction, natural products and overall health instruction). Through analyzing her favorite clients we found that it was people she helped with their WHOLE lives that she most enjoys working with. We also discovered that she does her best lead generating by attending networking events and having a table. She needed to have some materials that she can put on the table that show her products, her services and that tell people what she likes to do. It is VERY hard to sell concepts like healthy living without showing pictures of how that looks. We decided that she would use a collage format for her materials and I heard from Emily just today that she got a tri-fold flyer together for her first show today (I will keep you updated on how that went!)

We also talked about her website (www.bodyandmindenrichment.org) which is not something that Emily is married to keeping in it’s current format. We will probably convert this to a blog where Emily can talk about her healthy living philosophy, her products and her services. 

Some neat things that Emily does or can do that could help differentiate her –

  • She does a group meeting that features vodka infused with herbs (this one I can get on board with…:)
  • I just saw today on Best Friends (Dog Town) that there is such a thing as catnip bubbles to play with Kittys – I think this would be a GREAT way to reach people who are dog and cat lovers without their having to be health oriented! 
  • With a blog Emily could reach MANY more people with her ideas and also grow a following, making her an expert in healthy living
I will let you guys know how everything works out for Emily! Mary and I have agreed to help her since she is SUCH a wonderful soul and has such great enthusiasm for her business!!!

WIN Symposium – What a great bunch of gals!

My buddy Mary Dado of Business Writing, Ink and I participated in a Women In Networking Symposium last night. This was a group of almost a hundred women owned or operated businesses who got together to support each other. There were also MANY attendees who came to visit the booths!

I have to say that spending time with these women (and a few really fun guys…:) was thrilling! I met women who work with the elderly and their heirs to organize their lives, I spoke with people who did Mary Kay and Lia Sophia and Candle Delights, realtors and mortgage companies, chefs and hairdressers, and almost another other small businesses that you can think of. (Stay tuned for case studies!!!!)


Every one of these women, to a person, was thrilled to be doing what they are doing. They were excited about finding out how they could grow thier businesses through marketing and growing the number of people they could reach!

In this economy and with everything going on in America right now it was a real PLEASURE to find so many people who are excited about their work and what they can do to help thier families and their clients AND the economy!!!

Mary and I were energized to be there and are ON FIRE to work with as many small businesses as possible after hearing all the great ideas they have!!!!

Weird Stuff….Small Business Owners Who Don’t Want More Business

I have never understood business owners who don’t want more business. Now I am not talking about doubling their staff or making them increase their inventories by 50% – just easy tips for more business!!!

I had pizza on Thursday at my friend John’s pizza parlor (Nick’s Pizza on 19 in Palm Harbor) and I suggested he put up a sign saying add garlic knots for $3.00. Everybody likes garlic knots, right? Well come to find out John doesn’t like garlic knots. You have to cut the dough, twist it up, add the parmesan and herbs and then not forget to take them out of the oven.

The royal pain of garlic knots not withstanding, he didn’t want to add salads or garlic bread or anything else to your order for a couple of bucks more profit. He likes to sell just pizza. Not fancy California pizza, just cheese or pepperoni. (I am a fan favorite because I get two PLAIN slices with a soda!)

This amazes me. He has done all the work to get customers in the door which is the hard part and doesn’t want to make a couple of extra bucks on each person. Weird!

What do you have in your business that you can throw in to get more money from people who are already doing business with you? If you are selling products, figure out something to value add and then suggest that to each customer. If you are a service provider, provide extra services. If you are a realtor, take a page out of Brian Buffini’s book and ask EVERYONE you talk to if they know anyone else who is looking to buy or sell a home right now.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities to help your customers more with something that will add to their experience of working with you and everyone wins!!!!

Niche Marketing – Business Writing, Ink.

So it was a great day in marketing! I spent some time with a wonderful woman today figuring out what her business model would look like and helping to pick a name and position for that business. I thought you might like to see what the process looks like!

Focusing On Her Goals – We spent some time looking at what kinds of work she would like to do. She wants to do writing projects for businesses (go figure with a name like Business Writing, Ink.) including documenting systems, blog content, technical or how to manuals and other specific writing assignments. We figured out that she DOES NOT want to write for consumers, no resumes or other end user type documents.

Brainstorming Names – We then hit the thesaurus to try and figure out words that would convey her message. We looked at “composing” as in composing documents and thought that we could maybe incorporate a musical theme. We looked at write and pen and script and ink. When we got to ink we had a revelation! Ink sounds like Inc. for incorporated. It was a very exciting time for us because when we paired that with Business Writing it sounded like a winner! Then we found that http://www.businesswritingink.com AND http://www.BusinessWritingInc.com were both available. I felt that it was important to find a url that would be creative enough to be interesting, but also to be able to point the correct spelling to the main site in case someone was sounding out the business name.

Logo Design – Now that we had a name we looked for images that would convey the writing aspect of the name. We checked out pen looking brackets, a document scroll and a couple of different kinds of inkwells. As of now the final inkwell has not been established, but I like the one below the best! We also looked for a font that would convey an old world look but was still creative. Below is the final look that we finished today. There may be some tweaking to do yet but it should be something like this:

Business Writing Ink Logo

What I love about this logo is the punctuation and how it makes total sense with the business that she is in. The fun part is that it is technically correct, but also helps to make humans recognize that Ink. represents Inc. in this example.

We finished a couple of more housekeeping issues like registering the urls and setting up her email address. We will be working on getting her blog / website set up soon and then she should be off to the races! Like I said to start – a very good day in marketing!

Niche Marketing and Customer Service Go Hand In Hand

Niche marketing and customer service are vital to building your small business marketing brand. Having a niche makes your ALL of your marketing marketing efforts easier.

If something does not fit in with what your marketing focus is, just don’t do it. If your brand is being a high end boutique, do not advertise in the penny shopper. If your focus is being THE source for beads, hold workshops at your store where people who like to bead can gather (and buy).

The easiest example of  this to me is the difference between the customer service provided by Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. In Clearwater, where I buy coffee, we have 2 Dunkin Donuts and numerous Starbucks. I would NEVER go to Dunkin Donuts if I did not have to get coffee for my friend.

Starbucks is nice. They make your coffee EXACTLY the way that you want. They go in the back to get you rice krispy treats if they are out in the front. They even get your coffee if you order it small, medium or large instead of the tall, venti or whatever the other one is. They thank you and give you change and it takes about 2 minutes. I don’t know that I have ever seen an ad for Starbucks. There is not a spokesperson because EVERYONE is a spokesperson.

THEIR BRAND is to provide exceptional customer service within the coffee niche.

On the other hand, Dunkin Donuts is painful. They ask you 3 times what you ordered. They give you the wrong thing. Their lines are horrendous and their product offerings are so varied that people sometimes have to drive around and park so that they have time to make their beverage. Rachel Ray is their spokesman. I see lots of ads with her in them and I LIKE Rachel Ray. Liking her is NOT enough to combat the pain of having to drive up to Dunkin Donuts! Fire her, stop making ads and train your people to produce a donut and a cup of coffee, with a smile, in less than 10 minutes!

THEIR BRAND is to provide a variety of confections, not care about customer service and have coffee as an add on product

As a small business owner, make sure your brand and your customer service represent the true goals of your company. Look at your processes with a fresh eye and see if there are things you can fix. If you would like to find out more about niche marketing we have a number of posts that you might like too!

Dear Rachel, you seem like a very bright girl who is doing okay for herself. I am sorry that part of my plan includes firing you. I will buy 2 of your magazines to make up for it!