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Why Narrow Target Marketing Means More Sales

Why Narrow Target Marketing Means More Sales

It seems counter-intuitive, but narrow target marketing means more sales.  Here’s a great post by Tim Donnelly explaining why.

How to Narrow Your Target Market

Companies that try to be all things to all customers are sure to fail. Here’s a business guide from Inc.com on how to focus on your target market.

By Tim Donnelly

 

Inc.com Contributor@TimDonnelly

 

 

30 COMMENTS

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Huge, profitable companies like Walmart and Amazon didn’t start as the all-encompassing retailers we know today. Each debuted with a very specific focus that helped them find and nurture a strong customer base. Walmart originally catered to shoppers in rural areas where there was a dearth of options for low-cost goods; Amazon famously limited itself to just books for years before expanding into selling everything from DVDs to motorcycle gear.

The process of finding a target market and narrowing your company’s focus to appeal to it directly often trips up new businesses, who find it difficult to turn down business opportunities when they arise. But trying to be all things to all people is a sure way to fail in the marketplace. Business experts offer up these tips to narrowing your target market:

The Dangers of Being Unfocused

Whatever market you’re in, you’ve likely got a lot of competition and static standing between you and the consumer. Narrowing your focus to one specific demographic or slice of the marketplace gives potential customers a reason to notice you in the rest of the fray.

“If you’re not differentiating yourself in the marketplace, what happens is the consumer looks at price as being the motivator,” says Susan Friedmann, author of the books Riches in Niches and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing. “And they look at the cheapest.”

If you don’t know specifically which customers you are speaking to, you are actually speaking to no one, says Tammy Lenski, a business mediation expert (https://lenski.com/) who has advised clients about successful business through target marketing.

“The big danger is that without a target market, it’s like standing in a park shouting in the wind,” she says. “When you have a target market, its like standing in a park and talking to a specific group of people.”

That means you can’t be afraid to exclude certain types of consumer from your marketing or to target your advertising at small groups. Some customers will feel left out, but those are the sacrifices necessary for a successful business, says Greg Head, founder and CEO of New Avenue, a strategic marketing firm.

“Focus requires exclusion,” he says. “If you’re selling everything, you actually mean nothing in the marketplace. Exclusion is fundamental to target markets.”‘

Dig Deeper: Why a Clear Focus is Essential to Success

Become an Expert in one Area

One way to hone in on a specific sector is to become an established resource in one area. Starbucks, for example, is able to charge premium prices for its coffee even though it also sells pastries, tea, and accessories, because it has positioned the company as an authority on good coffee.

“If you’re an expert in your field, people will pay the price tag on whatever product and service you offer,” Friedmann says.

You can build up credibility by offering information for free through your company’s website or blog: things like tips, industry information, or niche data that will help consumers think of you as a reliable expert in that area, she says.

“Your credibility comes with giving away information,” she says. “If this is the value I’m getting for free, what will I get if I pay for it?”

Entrepreneurs who do this successfully often start by following their passion, Friedmann says. She recalled a massage therapist who loved cycling and found a successful practice traveling with bike tours.

“If you can marry your passion with your profession, that’s a really strong niche market,” she says.

Dig Deeper: Taking a Niche Brand Mainstream

Do the Market Research

Experts give several methods for whittling down the vast expanse of the market to find your ideal target.

John Jantsch, creator of the Duct Tape Marketing System and Duct Tape Marketing Consulting Network, which trains and licenses small business marketing consultants, recommends a simple formula to identify who makes an ideal client: he ranks customers by profitability.

“In that step alone, they start identifying work they have taken or would take that they shouldn’t be taking,” Jantsch says.

Then he looks for clients that are already referring more business your way.

“They’re referring business to you because they’re having a great experience,” he says. “They’re happy, they’re beyond satisfied and that’s why they’re referring business.”

Friedmann says recommends looking for growth markets to identify burgeoning new areas that may not be claimed by existing businesses.

Lenski says some clients find their niche first by focusing on the areas in which they already have a strong interest, or by looking at markets that already know about you and your services. Then, look for areas of the marketplace where a gaping need exists that you can fill with your company’s services.

Dig Deeper: How to Use Internet Market Research Tools

Tweak your Marketing

As simple as it sounds, the name of your company is crucial when narrowing your market.

“I believe your name should say what you do,” Friedmann says. “Using your own personal name, unless you’re like Madonna, isn’t going to cut it. It doesn’t mean anything to anybody.”

Words such as “branding coach” or “entertainment law” in your official business title help consumers quickly understand what you’re all about.

Friedmann even created a new word to describe her focus: “nichepreneur.”

You may have to change your branding strategy or marketing efforts to clarify your mission. Once you find your target, you’ll definitely want to alter your advertising efforts to go after the places and media you use to generate new business.

“It’s not just an advertisement that you do. It actually has to become part of everything you do,” Head says.

Your marketing needs to highlight the specialization, which improves credibility, Head says.

“You’ve got to be perceived as the best at something,” he says.

Then, once you’ve identified that base, use it to improve the business through things like social media and interactive marketing to find out more about what the customers are looking for, Lenski says.

“You’ve got to essentially engage that market. It’s a two-way conversation,” she says. “That’s really where having a target market pays off.”

Dig Deeper: 10 Marketing Musts

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If you’d like to see more from Tammy Lenski, who is quoted above,  to go to her website at https://lenski.com/.  She has some great blog entries worth reading.

5 Steps to Finding Your Ideal Target Customer

5 Steps to Finding Your Ideal Target Customer

When you start a new business, finding your ideal target customer is one of your biggest challenges.  Here’s a great post from John Jantsch telling you how.

How to Discover Your Perfect Target Customer in 5 Steps

By John Jantsch

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One of the most important elements of a marketing strategy is the development of an ideal target customer profile. Effectively understand who makes an ideal customer allows you to build your entire business, message, product, services, sales and support around attracting and serving this narrowly defined customer group.

Image See-ming Lee SML via Flickr CC

When working with businesses that have an established customer base I can generally identify their ideal customer by finding the common characteristics found in their most profitable clients that also refer them to others. I’ve written about this kind of ideal client discovery here.

Today, however, I want to address the needs of the start-up or business with very little customer experience. Finding and serving an ideal customer is equally important for a business just getting started and establishing a focus on discovering a narrowly defined ideal client from the very beginning will save months of wandering in the dark trying to be all things to all people.

The 5 steps below can put you the path to discovering your ideal target customer.

1) Start with the Smallest Market Possible – This may feel counterintuitive to many just starting a business, but you have to find a group of customers that think what you have to offer is special. When you’re just getting started you may have very little to offer and in many cases very few resources with which to make sufficient noise in a market for generic solutions.

Your key is to find a very narrow group, with very specific demographics or a very specific problem or need and create raving fans out of this group. You can always expand your reach after you gain traction, but you can also become a big player in this smaller market as you grow.

2) Create an Initial Value Hypothesis – In the step above I mentioned the idea of finding a narrow group that finds what you have to offer special. Of course, this implies that you do indeed have something to offer that is special.

You must create a “why us” value proposition and use that as you hypothesis for why us. If this is starting to sound a little like science that’s because it is. You must always stay in test and refine mode in order to move forward.

Many people get caught up in trying to execute their business plan when the fact of the matter is the market doesn’t care about your business plan. The only thing that matters is what you discover and apply out there in the lab beyond your office.

3) Get reality in Discovery Test Sessions – Established, thriving businesses have the ability to learn a great deal every day from customer interaction. Since start-ups don’t have any customer interaction they have to create ways to test their theories initially and on the fly.

The key to both making and affirming your initial assumptions is to set-up what I call Discovery Test Sessions with prospects that might easily fit into your initial smallest market group. These are essentially staged one on one meetings.

This can be a little tricky since you have no relationship with said prospect. I often find that there are industry or trade groups that may contain your initial target market and by joining these you may have an easier time gaining access to this group.

Another possible option is to offer free sample products or beta test relationships to those willing to provide you with agreed upon feedback.

The main thing is that you start talking to prospects about what they need, what they think, what works, what doesn’t and what don’t have now. This is how you evolve your business, your features and your assumptions based on serving a narrowly defined target.

4) Draw an Ideal Customer Sketch – Once you’ve trotted out your hypothesis and tested it with your narrow group, you’ve got to go to work on discovering and defining everything you can about your ideal target group.

Some of this information will be commonly understood, such as demographics, but much of it will be discovered in your test sessions and though some additional research in more behavioral oriented places such as social media.

This is a great time to start your CRM thinking by building custom profiles that include much richer information than most people capture. I wrote about the new breed of CRM that is making this easier to do than ever.

5) Add Strategy Model Components – the final step is to apply this new ideal customer approach to other elements of your strategy.

The thing is, when you discover your initial ideal client it should impact the thinking about your basic business model and overall business strategy. All great business models are customer focused and now that you have a picture of this customer it’s time to consider how this alters the other aspects of your business.

Consider now how this discovery might impact your offerings, your revenue streams, distribution channels and even pricing.

Consider how you can reach this market, who you can partner with and what resources you either have or need to have in order to make an impact in this market.

I can tell you that my experience suggests that you’re never really done with this exercise. As your business evolves, as you learn and grow, this model will evolve as well, but perhaps the continual process of discovery is just as important as what you discover.

If you want to see more articles on small business success, sign up for my email series in the right hand column

 

Is Blogging Dead? Maybe Not!

Is Blogging Dead? Maybe Not!

We know that blogging is critical to small business, yet we hear that blogging is dead.  Well, maybe not.  Here is a great post by Gary Vaynerchuk explaining why.

THE ONE THING GURUS ALWAYS GET WRONG ABOUT BLOGGING

Gary Vaynerchuk

 

by GARY VAYNERCHUK

 @garyvee

1 year ago · 4 min read

Starting a blog has never been easier and here is where to start a blog: Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Medium. Now, I know what you’re saying — “Those aren’t blogs”. Actually, they are. Any social media platform can be treated like a blog because that is where people are listening.

Currently, many “marketing gurus” will preach that blogging is dead, that it’s over, and that the personal blog has failed.

I want to point out just how wrong they are.

Blogging is now the establishment itself. Start a blog on any social media platform and engage your audience.

WHERE TO START A BLOG

Think about it: if you have a website and are putting out content on it, like I always talk about, you are blogging. Twitter was flat-out known as a micro-blogging platform and now we have new platforms like Medium that point very strongly to being a blogging platform.

I would even argue that Instagram is a form of blogging in itself; A visual diary for your life. Or, Snapchat serving as a blogging platform built around the promise of content taking 10 seconds or less to consume.

So no, blogging is not dead. It’s as alive as ever. Blogging has simply morphed and changed into a much broader category where blog creation, and the question to where you should be starting a blog, is very different. A stand alone independent website run on a wordpress blog or something similar isn’t required anymore. My advice would be to just start putting out native content on the platforms that make most sense for you and start engaging with those who you think should see it.

But here is the problem and reason some internet marketers might say that blogging is dead: people who are still blogging in the traditional way, by posting to their personal website, don’t know how to get people to come see what they are writing. Nobody is working hard enough to master the art of SEO, or Facebook dark posts, or Pinterest, or storytelling on snapchat or anything else that can drive to your page.

WHY BLOG: THE IMPORTANCE OF A PERSONAL BLOG

If you write a blog, social media needs to be the gateway drug to your content and site.

Social networks, specifically Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, should be treated as the stepping stones of content to drive to the aforementioned “home,” whether that’s a blog or media site or whatever.

What has happened is that the attention graph is shifting. I talk about the attention graph as essentially where people’s attention is right at this very moment; where can you meet them to direct them your page. People’s willingness to jump somewhere to consume content is certainly not down, but their willingness to leave the platform they are already engaging on (Facebook, Twitter) is. To get them to click, you have to be smart. Really smart.

This is why every website today is testing headlines. You need to do the same. Don’t abandon the traditional blogging format; instead, test like crazy on social media and understand what drives your users, what your users care about. And make sure your content is really good once you get someone to click it or else consumers are going to be pretty upset they clicked at all and will hesitate to do so ever again.

MY BLOG

Personal blogs or websites offer something that social will never have: the very fact that you control it. That personal blog or website will be impervious to any changes on other platforms. Your blog or website is a platform that you control, allowing you to decide the amount and frequency of content output.

In a world of “rented” social media space, that is valuable. I’ve seen people shout and scream about the death of blogging while on Twitter, a social blogging site which they’re posting content to every day. People need to reevaluate the context they use the word blog in, and understand the insane amount of blogging platforms that exist in today’s world. Each has their own value and may or may not speak to what you’re looking to accomplish. Find your value and go all in.

Check out some of my guides to using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram here:

– 3 Ultra Effective Tactics You Should Use Now

– How to Turn Your Company Into a Content Empire

– The Big Difference Between Twitter and Instagram

– Optimize Your Facebook Presence With These 5 Easy Steps

Fill out the form on the right to recieve future emails and a free report.

 

10 Reasons a Small Business Blog is Worth it

10 Reasons a Small Business Blog is Worth it

As small business owners we wonder whether blogging is worth the time and effort.  After all, our days are filled with enough activity as it is.  Here’s a great post by Jeff Charles giving you 10 great reasons why you need to do this.

10 Important Reasons to Work Seriously On Your Small Business Blog

Jul 19, 2016 by Jeff Charles In Marketing Tips 2

 


10 Important Reasons to Work Seriously On Your Small Business Blog

 

How the heck do they do it?

You know who I’m talking about. I’m talking about those successful small business entrepreneurs who get tons of business and engagement online.

Sure, they hustle just as much as you do. They attend the same networking events. But there’s a difference.

They seem to have much more business than you do. They’re closing more deals. They’re generating more leads through their website.

So what’s the difference between you and them?

They’re probably blogging. They’re probably using their small business blog to build an online audience that is engaged with their brand.

If you’re a small business entrepreneur or solopreneur, you have probably heard of content marketing, right? No doubt you’ve heard of the importance of creating valuable content for your website. But maybe you haven’t taken that first step yet.

A small business blog is one of the most-used and effective content marketing tools at your disposal. Simply put, if you’re not blogging, you’re leaving money on the table.

Here’s some stats for you:

  • Marketers that use blogs get 67 percent more leads than those who don’t.
  • 81 percent of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs.
  • Companies that blog have 97 percent more inbound links.
  • 61 percent of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.
  • 60 percent of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to consider how you’re connecting with your audience. Since you might not have the huge marketing budget of a mega-corporation, you will have to use other means to build and connect with your audience.

One of the best ways to do this is by blogging. It’s been shown to be highly effective at generating quality leads for your business.

Many business owners overlook the potential rewards that blogging can provide. But you’re a savvy entrepreneur, so you’re not going to make this mistake, are you?

This post is going to give you ten benefits that a small business blog can provide for your business. When you read through this post, you will learn various ways you can use your blog to generate more business, earn more credibility and make it easier for prospects to find you online.

Why You Should Have a Small Business Blog

1. Market Research

Having a blog with many articles allows you to more effectively understand what your audience really wants. From the back end of your site, you can spy on what pages people are viewing the most, and this gives you an idea of where their interest lies. When you know what types of content perform the best, you know what types of content to continue to create.

Also, you can use your blog to request feedback from your audience. If you have an engaged following, it’s very likely that they will be happy to answer the questions you have.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As you probably know, there’s not much of a point to having a killer website if nobody can find it. One of the biggest keys to getting more traffic is making sure that people will find your site when they use search engines. As a  matter of fact, search engines are the no. 1 driver of traffic to content websites! SEO is something that you can’t ignore if you want to have a viable online presence.

The more relevant content you have on your website, the more likely it will be that you will rank for certain keywords. This is where a small business blog comes in. Consistently publishing high-quality content on your blog will do wonders for your search engine optimization efforts.

When you produce useful content, Google’s algorithms will rank your site higher. Over time, your site will make its way to the front page of search results. Not only that, but when people read high-quality content, they’re more likely to link back to it. Earning quality backlinks from other high-authority blogs will do wonders for your SEO efforts.

3. Customer Engagement

Engagement is immensely important for any online business. It’s not enough to just create great content. You also need to interact with your audience as much as you can. You can’t have any success by just talking at your audience. You need to have ongoing conversations with them. It will help you know your audience better. It will help your audience know you better.

That’s what you want.

If you enable comments on your small business blog, you can discuss topics and get feedback directly. This can tell you a lot about your customer base. Not only that. It shows your audience that you are interested in interacting with them. This will increase loyalty and help you form a deeper connection with your audience.

4. Communicating Your Mission

One of the most important components of effective branding is purpose. Connecting with your audience means embracing a unique brand perspective that can give your audience something they can connect with on an emotional level.

This is where blogging comes in.

Your blog is a place where you can communicate your brand purpose. This is important because establishing a strong brand is an important part of encouraging customer loyalty. When you communicate a brand purpose that goes beyond what you sell, it helps you stand out from your competition.

For example, if you are a business that sells vegan meat substitutes, you can express your brand’s purpose by posting animal welfare material on your site. This shows your audience that your company is focused on something more than just making money.

5. Communicating With Customers

If there’s something going on with your service — for example, there will be a planned outage or lack of availability — you don’t have to keep your clients in the dark. Having a centralized place to post announcements is extremely important because people don’t always read their email.

6. You Can Offer Promotional Material

A small business blog is also a great place to offer occasional promotions. If you already have an engaged audience that consumes your content, they will be able to see what discounts or promotions you are offering. It’s a great way to keep your customer base informed.

Sure, you can spread your coupons around Facebook, but it’s better to get into the habit of compelling your audience to visit you at your own site, especially if it’s an ecommerce site. Keep them coming back for more by posting your promotions on your blog.

Here’s a caveat: you don’t want to overdo this. While blogs can be great for offering promotions, it shouldn’t be used solely for this purpose. Most of your content should focus on offering informational value to your readers. If you only post promotional content, your audience will not continue to visit your blog.

7. Showing Your Human Side

People want to know that there are actual human beings behind the business that they buy from. Post some personal stories and talk to your customers through your blog.

This is an opportunity for you to let your personality shine through. When you’re writing blog posts, don’t smack your reader in the head with a bunch of “corporatespeak.” Nobody wants to read that. No really, they don’t!

It’s much better to write in an informal style that people can relate to. When it comes to blogging, it’s not just about what you say, it’s about how you say it.

8. You Can Become a Source of Value

The key to effective blogging is providing value. Nobody is going to read your content unless they get something out of it, right?

If you want to build influence, you have to be valuable. You can do this by providing helpful information to your readers through your blog.

Arjun Reddy, the founder of Super Baby, builds credibility with his website’s “resources” section by giving actionable tips to his visitors.

“Our visitors are parents who are looking for fun ways to help their children become smarter. The advice we give in our resources section is designed to provide helpful parenting tips for our readers.”

The reason Reddy is enjoying success is because he’s providing value up front. When you do this, you show your potential clients that you are valuable to them. That’s why content marketing works. When you’re creating content, you should be asking yourself what your reader is going to get out of that particular piece of content. Each piece of content should be designed to inform, educate, or entertain. If possible, you should do all three!

9. Networking!

When you have built an audience and gained some notoriety, it can attract other entrepreneurs to you. For an entrepreneur, networking is important, isn’t it?

If you’re able to grow your readership effectively, you will gain more credibility. This will attract other influencers in your niche. You never know who might be paying attention right?

This could lead to other opportunities for your business. You might be able to take advantage of the key relationships that you form through your small business blog.

10. Building Credibility

Having a small business blog gives you a presence in your niche. A blog is a record of quality value and experience that you are bringing to your audience. This will give you instant “street cred” when someone finds your content.

Lissette Palencia, CEO of Sleeping Angels has built a steady stream of clientele by using her blog to provide valuable information to her website’s visitors.

“As you can guess, when you run a nanny agency, your clients are parents who are concerned about the safety of their children. They want to do the research first. When they visit our website, they find tons of valuable information that helps them make the right decision for their family. Not only does it inform them, it makes them more comfortable with doing business us.”

This is essential for your business. Your blog is a tool that you can use to establish credibility in the minds of your potential clients. Prospects will read your content and gain value from it. Then, they will become far more willing to buy from you because you have already given them a significant benefit through your blog.

Conclusion

Here’s the thing. If you’re looking to expand your online presence, you need to be creating high-quality content on a consistent basis. A blog is one of the best ways to do this.

These are just a few reasons to keep a blog if you’re an entrepreneur, but there are much more. Just remember that anything that can bring value to your audience is something that you should consider adding to your business.

If you’d like to see more on this and other topics for small business owners, just sign up for my emails by filling in the form in the right hand column.

Why You Can’t be Without Social Media Marketing!

Why You Can’t be Without Social Media Marketing!

Many small business owners question whether or not using social media is worth the time and effort.  Here’s a great post from The Content Factory explaining why you can’t be without it.

16 Reasons Why Your Business NEEDS Social Media Marketing

 

Did you know that social media marketing has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing? Or that 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form? No matter what you sell and who you sell it to, using social media as a marketing tool can help you grow your brand and pad your wallet.

At this point in the game, not having an active social media presence is kind of like pulling out a flip phone at a business meeting and then not understanding why your boss keeps giving Brad all the new accounts.

But some people still own flip phones, and some people dig in their heels and say, what is social media marketing going to do for me? Do I really need it? Yes. Yes you do — and here are some of the most compelling reasons why:

The Importance of Social Media for Web Traffic

 

1. Social media posts can be used to drive targeted traffic. Creating a new page on your site is like taking a really great selfie. You want the world to see it and bask in its brilliance, but you don’t want to beg for attention (or worse, pay for it). That’s why for selfies and landing pages, well-placed social media posts can make all the difference. We’ve seen a single link on Reddit drive over 20,000 visitors in one weekend and links submitted to StumbleUpon can take a page that was consistently earning a handful of visitors a day and increase that number to hundreds. Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on that?

2. Using social media for business boosts your site’s SEO. Search engine crawlers know which pages are consistently earning traffic and which are just floating out there, forgotten and ignored. A killer content strategy for SEO is the most important part of earning top spots in search engine rankings, but driving traffic to your optimized pages will cause them to climb much faster in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Quick case study: Astroglide is one of TCF’s clients, and in less than a year we got the website to rank in the top 100 SERPs for 15,000 new keywords – as a result, traffic to the website has increased dramatically. A solid and consistent presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social channels was a BIG part of that success.

Social Media is THE BEST Tool to Connect with (and Learn from!) Consumers & Industry Leaders

 

3. If you’re doing it right, social media will lead to real relationship building. Part of what makes things like Twitter and Instagram marketing so cool is the interaction you get to have with your customer base — you can read their tweets and status updates to get insights into their daily lives (and maybe adjust your marketing strategy as a result). What products are they buying and why? What are they doing on the weekend? What kind of posts do they love to share, and from what websites?

You can also use social media as a tool for connecting with complementary, non-competing businesses, thought leaders and tastemakers in your space, as well as journalists who cover your industry. Sometimes, becoming besties starts with a simple retweet.

Of course it doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile. When we saw that our client Astroglide was mentioned on The Celebrity Name Game by Rick Fox, we quickly jumped on the opportunity to create a gif and mention both accounts on Twitter. This resulted in interaction not just from Rick Fox, but from the Celebrity Name Game account as well!

4. Users are receptive to your messages. People view Twitter and Facebook as social networks, not marketing machines. As a result, they’re less likely to see what you post as an advertisement and will be more likely to hear what you have to say. This translates to serious web traffic when you link to your site and posts that market themselves as your friends and followers share what you’ve posted.

5. Social media ads allow targeting and retargeting. One of the reasons social media is important is because of the highly customizable nature of social media ads. Facebook ads, for example, allow you to target users by things like location, education level, industry and even purchase history and the pages they’ve liked. You also have to the option to install a Facebook pixel on your site and use it to retarget the users who visit you — these people are far more likely to convert into solid leads and sales!

6. Social media can help you get noticed at events, and even generate earned media coverage. Whether your business is sponsoring a charity fundraiser or attending a major trade show, there’s no better way to leverage your presence than with the help of social media. In fact, we once sent a tweetduring CES that lead to a client getting a feature article written about them in Wired magazine (check out our guide to marketing your business at trade shows and events to learn how you can achieve similar results).

The Importance of Social Media Marketing for Brand Image

 

7. You can respond to problems immediately. If there’s a problem with your product or service, you want to know about it right away. With the feedback you get in the process of social media marketing, you’ll be the first to know when there are issues – and you can take steps to resolve them right away. Studyafter study has shown that consumers appreciate companies that respond to customer complaints (and don’t hesitate to rant online to anyone who will listen when companies don’t take the time to make things right).

8. A strong social media presence builds brand loyalty. A report published by Texas Tech University found that brands with active social media profiles have more loyal customers. It’s easy to imagine why: when you’re engaging and interacting on social media (not just tossing your posts out onto the web hoping someone will stumble upon them) you become less like a corporation and more like what you truly are — a unified group of people who share a vision.

The Right Social Media Marketing Strategy Can Help You Slay the Competition

 

9. Your competition is getting social, so you should too. Did you know that 91% of brands are using more than one social media platform? This isn’t something you want to fall behind the competition on, because it’s much harder (and more expensive) to play catch up than it is to get in on the game early. If your competitors get to your potential customers first, they’ll earn their loyalty and you’ll have a hard time winning them over. If you’re active and engaging on a variety of networks, you can gain those friends and followers first and your competition will be playing catch up instead of the other way around.

10. The social media marketing arena is a (fairly) level playing field.Some brands may have bigger ad budgets than others, but all companies start off on pretty equal footing when it comes to social media marketing. The people and brands who thrive and go viral in are those with the most clever, attention grabbing tactics (and the most ridiculous gifs) and the most useful, link worthy content. In short, they’re providing value to their target audience while also showing personality and being entertaining. If you want to get lots of traffic and really increase your sales online, you’re going to have to outwit, outnetwork and outwrite your competition while offering superior products and customer service. Isn’t that what business is all about, anyway?

11. When it comes to newsjacking, social media is king. Sometimes your brand is mentioned on a cable TV show. Sometimes it’s not, but you know just how to slide your product into the story to aim the spotlight in your direction. Facebook, Twitter and even Reddit marketing give you a front row seat to the news that’s becoming viral right as it’s happening. Jump in at just the right time and you’ll earn some major media attention — and that’s something you just can’t do with a traditional ad campaign.

The Importance of Social Media Marketing for Sales and ROI

 

12. Social media marketing will get you more sales. Did you know that 70% of business-to-consumer marketers have acquired customers through Facebook? Or that 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions?

Not surprisingly, when you stay in front of your customer base, they’re more likely to buy from you when they need the products you sell. Social media marketing doesn’t just keep your company’s name in front of potential buyers, but it also gives you the opportunity to constantly give them incentives to buy. Try sharing coupon codes, with a unique code for each social channel – you may be surprised at which social network drives the most sales.

13. You’ll find customers you didn’t know existed. If you set up streams to follow keywords in Twitter (Hootsuite makes this simple), you can find people who are looking for the products you sell and direct them to your site. Using Twitter for marketing is great that way – telling people who want your products how to get them from your company is just an @ away.

14. Customers you didn’t know existed will find (and buy from) you. In the process of marketing with Facebook, you’ll probably join a ton of groups related to your products, industry and customer base. By posting links in these groups, you’ll help influence customers to check out your site. Answering questions on Quora is another option. Post a link today, and two weeks/months/years later you might see a sale from it.

You Can’t Beat the Price (or ROI) of Social Media

 

15. You heard that right — it’s free. How can you argue with that? If you handle your own social media management, running a social networking campaign is as cheap as it gets. If you hire a social media management or online PR agency (like us), it will cost around $3,000-$7,000 per month, but it’ll be an investment that you’ll be likely to see a return on. If you’re intimidated by interacting with people online or your writing skills leave something to be desired, hiring an online PR agency is definitely the way to go. Posting poorly written content or conveying the wrong kind of messages on social networking sites can seriously affect your digital PR presence.

16. The ROI on social media ads is unbeatable. The average cost per click on Google Adwords is between $1 and $2 and depending on the keyword targeted, you can end up paying $50 or more for a single click. Through targeted boosted post, we’ve been able to send traffic via Facebook and Pinterest for as little as $0.12 per click. Why pay ten or twenty times as much for each visit when social media ads make earning that traffic quick and easy?

Simply put, social media marketing is part of doing business in the new millennium. If your business isn’t already active on social networking sites, now is the time to start.

Why is Social Media Important?

Why is social media important to businesses? Because your brand doesn’t really exist online if you’re not represented across all social channels – and regularly interacting with your followers, journalists who cover your industry, thought leaders and tastemakers, etc.

Here’s one very important reason you may not have considered — it’s fun! Hosting a Twitter chat to celebrate a new product launch, getting your geek on while you A/B test Facebook ads, or sharing pop-culture polls for your followers to weigh in on — these are all activities that build brand awareness, boost web traffic and lead to loyal customers. But unlike many traditional marketing tactics with the same goals, these tasks are actually fun in addition to driving real value for your company.

Are you ready to rocket ahead of your competitors and take the social media world by storm? Want to see your search engine rankings climb and your traffic soar? Pull out that flip phone and give us call. We’ll get you on the path to success.

 

Click on “Like” this page to see more articles like this.

Here’s Why Blogging is Important for Small Business

Here’s Why Blogging is Important for Small Business

As small business owners we hear a lot about things like blogging and social media.  Our first reaction usually is “I don’t have time for that.”  I encourage you to think again.  Here’s a great post explaining why blogging is very important for small business.

September 30, 2015 // 8:00 AM

Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing

Written by Corey Wainwright | @Corey_bos

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I had a co-worker email me the other day asking for a blog post about the benefits of business blogging.

“It’s for a friend,” she said.

Sure it was.

I told her I’d shoot over one of our up-to-date blog posts about why businesses should blog and … I couldn’t find one. Whoops. Quite the meta mistake.

Download our free guide to business blogging here for even more reasons why you should blog, and how to get started.

So I’m doing it now. If you’re trying to explain one of the core tenets of inbound — business blogging — to your boss, a coworker, your mom at Thanksgiving, whomever, then send them this post. I hope it helps.

The Benefits of Business Blogs for Marketing

First, if you don’t know what a business blog is, this post, “What Is Business Blogging? [FAQs]” should get you up-to-date.

On the same page? Cool. Let’s move on to why you should use blogging as a marketing tactic.

1) It helps drive traffic to your website.

Raise your hand if you want more website visitors. Yeah, me too.

Now think about the ways people find your website:

  • They could type your name right in to their browser, but that’s an audience you already have. They know who you are, you’re on their radar, and that doesn’t help you get more traffic on top of what you’re already getting.
  • You could pay for traffic by buying an email list (don’t you dare!), blasting them, and hoping some people open and click through on the emails. But that’s expensive and, you know, illegal.
  • You could pay for traffic by placing tons of paid ads, which isn’t illegal, but still quite expensive. And the second you run out of money, your traffic stops coming, too.

So, how can you drive any traffic? In short: bloggingsocial media, and search engines. Here’s how it works.

Think about how many pages there are on your website. Probably not a ton, right? And think about how often you update those pages. Probably not that often, right? (How often can you really update your About Us page, you know?)

Well, blogging helps solve both of those problems.

Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search. We’ll get into more of the benefits of blogging on your SEO a bit later, but it’s also one more cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and they should be checking in frequently to see what new content to surface.

Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet.

Blog content also helps keep your social media presence going — instead of asking your social media manager to come up with brand new original content for social media (or creating that content yourself), your blog can serve as that repository of content. You’re strengthening your social reach with blog content and driving new website visitors to your blog via your social channels. Quite a symbiotic relationship, if I do say so myself.

So, the first benefit of blogging? It helps drive new traffic to your website and works closely with search engines and social media to do that.

blogging-inbound

2) It helps convert that traffic into leads.

Now that you have traffic coming to your website through your blog, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into leads.

Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. The way this works is really simple: Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post.

Often, these calls-to-action lead to things like free ebooks, free whitepapers, free fact sheets, free webinars, free trials … basically, any content asset for which someone would be willing to exchange their information. To be super clear for anyone unfamiliar with how traffic-to-lead conversions work, it’s as simple as this:

  • Visitor comes to website
  • Visitor sees call-to-action for a free offer
  • Visitor clicks call-to-action and gets to a landing page, which contains a form for them to fill in with their information
  • Visitor fills out form, submits information, and receives the free offer

If you scroll down in this blog post, you’ll see a call-to-action button. In fact, 99.9% of the blog posts we publish have call-to-action buttons … and yours should, too. That is how you turn that traffic coming to your blog into leads for your sales team.

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Note: Not every reader of your blog will become a lead. That’s okay. No one converts 100% of the people who read their blog into leads. Just get blogging, put calls-to-action on every blog post, set a visitor-to-lead conversion rate benchmark for yourselfand strive to improve that each month.

3) It helps establish authority.

The best business blogs answer common questions their leads and customers have. If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes. This is a particularly handy tool for Sales and Service professionals.

Can you imagine the impact of sending an educational blog post you wrote to clear things up for a confused customer? Or how many more deals a salesperson could close if their leads discovered blog content written by their salesperson?

“Establishing authority” is a fluffy metric — certainly not as concrete as traffic and leads, but it’s pretty powerful stuff. And if you need to tie the impact of blogging to a less fluffy metric, consider measuring it the same way you measure sales enablement. Because at the end of the day, that’s what many of your blog posts are. Think about the sales enablement opportunities blogging presents:

  • If prospects find answers to their common questions via blog posts written by people at your company, they’re much more likely to come into the sales process trusting what you have to say because you’ve helped them in the past — even before they were interested in purchasing anything from you.
  • Prospects that have been reading your blog posts will typically enter the sales process more educated on your place in the market, your industry, and what you have to offer. That makes for a far more productive sales conversation than one held between two relative strangers.
  • Salespeople who encounter specific questions that require in-depth explanation or a documented answer can pull from an archive of blog posts. Not only do these blog posts help move the sales process along more swiftly than if a sales rep had to create the assets from scratch, but the salesperson is further positioned as a helpful resource to their prospect.

4) It drives long-term results.

You know what would be cool? If any of the following things helped you drive site traffic and generate new leads:

  • Trip to Hawaii
  • Going to the gym
  • Sleeping

Good news, though! That’s what blogging does — largely through search engines. Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you sit down for an hour and write and publish a blog post today. Let’s say that blog post gets you 100 views and 10 leads. You get another 50 views and 5 leads tomorrow as a few more people find it on social media and some of your subscribers get caught up on their email and RSS. But after a couple days, most of the fanfare from that post dies down and you’ve netted 150 views and 15 leads.

It’s not done.

That blog post is now ranking in search engines. That means for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic and leads from that blog post. So while it may feel like day one or bust, in reality, blogging acts more like this:

blogging_compounding_returns-1-1

So while you’re hitting your snooze alarm, surfing in Hawaii, and pumping iron, you’re also driving traffic and leads. The effort you put in yesterday can turn into hundreds of thousands of views and leads in the future.

In fact, about 70% of the traffic each month on this very blog comes from posts that weren’t published in the current month. They come from old posts. Same goes for the leads generated in a current month — about 90% of the leads we generate every month come from blog posts that were published in previous months. Sometimes years ago.

We call these types of blog posts “compounding” posts. Not every blog post will fit into this category, but the more evergreen blog posts you write, the more likely it is that you’ll land on one of those compounding blog posts. In our own research, we’ve found that about 1 in every 10 blog posts end up being compounding blog posts.

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To me (and hopefully to you), this demonstrates the scalability of business blogging. While you might not see immediate results, over time, you’ll be able to count on a predictable amount of traffic and leads for your business without any additional resource investment — the work to generate that traffic and those leads is already done.

If you’d like to learn more about the long-term impact of blogging and how to reap even more benefits from the blog posts that are ranking in organic search for your business, check out this blog post, “The Blogging Tactic No One Is Talking About: Optimizing the Past”.

Secondary Benefits of Business Blogging

There are other reasons businesses might want to blog, but I think they’re smaller and stray from the core benefits of blogging.

For instance, I love to use our blog to test out big campaigns on the cheap — before we invest a lot of money and time into their creation. I also love to use our blog to help understand our persona better. And while this shouldn’t be their primary use, blogs also become great outlets through with marketers can communicate other PR-type important information — things like product releases or event information. It’s certainly easier to get attention for more company-focused initiatives if you’ve built up your own audience on your own property, as opposed to pitching your story to journalists and hoping one of them bites.

These are all great side effects or uses of a business blog, but they’re secondary benefits to me.

If you’re looking to start a business blog or get more investment for one you’ve already started, the reasons above are a great place to start arguing your case.

Are you already well underway when it comes to business blogging? Just starting out? Share your thoughts on business blogging below and what you’re looking to get out of it.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Duct Tape Marketing-A Book Review

Duct Tape Marketing-A Book Review

Today I am reviewing Duct Tape Marketing, The Worlds Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide, by John Jantsch.  (© 2006 by John Jantsch All rights reserved. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.)

As small business owners, we must recognize, like it or not, we are in the marketing business.  When you’re starting out, it’s hard to know what to do or when to do it.  In Duct Tape Marketing, author John Jantsch gives solid advice on building marketing plans that work.

In Part 1 of the book, Jantsch describes in detail how to build a sticky marketing system designed to help your prospects know you better and like you more.  There is sound practical advice on building a core message, creating marketing materials, and building a web site without breaking the bank.

In Part 2 there is sound advice on using various types of media, from ordinary print and direct mail, up to and including the internet. Here you can find ways to generate leads, turn leads into prospects, prospects into client, and clients into partners.

Part 3 concludes the book describing how to take what works for you and then do more of it.

The only fault I could find this book, was that it left me with the impression that you needed to do it all in order to succeed.  I feel, in reality, you should pick one or two things most suited to your situation, and pound away at those for a while before moving on.

That said, I still found this book to be an excellent guide for anyone who is a small business owner and particularly anyone who is considering starting a small business.

If you want to order this book now, just click on the link below the book jacket image to get it from Powell’s Book Store in Portland.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Powell’s Affiliate.)

Click here to purchase this great book from Powell’s

How to Create Engaging Content

How to Create Engaging Content

If you are using your blog to promote your business, what is your biggest challenge?  Writing content people want to read.  

It’s not easy.  Here is a post giving some great tips on engaging content creation.  

HOW TO WRITE ENGAGING CONTENT THAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO READ
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December 24, 2013

Categories: Publications

With the state of search in the content basket, we have to provide well-written, engaging content for people in our niche. Think about The Huffington Post or Wired, or even Seth Godin’s blog. What is it about them that makes people go there, day after day, to read the content?

Does the thought scare you? It shouldn’t. You don’t have to be Seth or Arianna to have a willing audience. You just have to write more than pap. You need to teach people, entertain them, or give them something important to think about. There’s news, events, and even other blog posts to help you figure out something to write.

Writing or deciding what I’m going to write about has never been a problem for me because there is just so much information out there to pull from! You just have to know where to find it.

In this article, I’d like to give you some of my tactics and then, some resources where you can find ideas for creating content and making it sing!

Build Your Arsenal of Info

I use Outlook for email, but I’m sure you can set up folders in your mail program, no matter what you’re using to receive and read your email.  I have subscribed to a number of blogs and newsletters in the SEO niche, and every time one of those emails come in, it automatically goes into a folder I call “Grist.” Yes, for my mill. When I need to write an article and an idea doesn’t just pop into my head, I have a TON of information to fall back on.

I also start reading blogs, which I do anyway, to keep up with SEO changes. Reading alone has always given me something to write. Have you heard about AllTop.com? It’s a content aggregator, and with it, you can designate blogs you read regularly and have them all on one page at the same time, along with recent posts. If you click the link, you’ll come to my personal AllTop page, which has lots of tech, SEO and other stuff that will interest anyone who’s doing business online. Try it!

Make Your Content Worth Reading

content1We’ve already established that not all content is created equally, and I further discussed that in an article I wrote last month in “7 Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid.”  You need to craft each article with care and enough engaging information to make readers read through to the end. If you don’t do that and just writing for search engines, you won’t succeed. If you’re not writing content that people want to share, don’t bother.

Seriously.

So, you need some stuff to pump it up. Here are some tactics that I use to make my articles more readable:

Statistics

Statistics are great! People love to see stats about things they’re interested in and (at least, I think so) that’s partly why infographics have become so popular. Think about the last one you saw, and I guarantee there’s at least one interesting statistic in it.

Where can you get stats?

Easy.

HubSpot gave us All the Marketing Statistics You Need. This compilation of stats from data sites around the Web is amazing. Did you know that worldwide, we conduct 131 billion searches per month on the Web? According to ComScore in 2010, we did. I’m betting it’s a much larger figure now that tablets and smartphones are so available. Be sure the statistic you want to use reflects the current situation.

But notice two things about the statistic. First, I told you where to find it, and second, I told you where it came from and when. These are important for your credibility. You could make up any old statistic, so until you prove where it came from and assure yourself and your readers that it’s a solid stat, why include it at all?

If you click through to the page above, you’ll notice that Hubspot gathered statistics, not just from ComScore, but from Marketing Sherpa, eMarketer, and other known and respected sites, as well. Just don’t forget to tell readers that though you got the stat from one site, that it was provided by another.  Don’t trust sources that aren’t solid, either.  Known and trusted sites are the only ones you should pull statistics from.

Quotations

Quotes from people who are respected in your niche are great. Just be really sure they said what you’re quoting. I wrote a biography of Gloria Steinem several years ago, and she’s still quoted as saying, “A woman needs a man a like fish needs a bicycle,” but she never said it. Don’t put words into other people’s mouths! Not everything you read online is true, either. Remember that.

So, how do you prove things that people say?

Get at least two reliable sources. And sometimes, if the quote is controversial for example, get three. You can be sued for liable, even if you think nobody is reading your stuff. Famous people have searches done on their brand all the time. Just be sure you’re giving credit where credit is due.

content2Where to find quotes?

I’d suggest finding quote in articles written by the person you want to quote, since there are so many online now.  Just about every famous person who has ever existed has something you can quote from. Seriously. You’d be amazed at how many primary source documents there are online these days. That means, diaries, government records, papal bulls, letters, and so much, much more. Find those things and you know you’re golden. If you’re using primary source documentation, you don’t need to look for another source. Just as you won’t, if you’re quoting an article on a very reliable website.

For example, if I quoted Richard Branson from an article he wrote (or had ghost written) on LinkedIn, I wouldn’t worry about finding corroboration. But if I’m reading a biography on a personal blog about Richard Branson, I’d have to find other information that matches what I found to assure its veracity.

And please, please, please, don’t trust Wikipedia. It’s a great place for general research, but for honest-to-goodness journalistic purpose, not so much.

You can pick up a bunch of early American history primary source documents at Constitution.org, for example. You never know when a quote from George Washington or Patrick Henry might suit your needs, even if you’re writing about doing business online.

Try Google books, too. I just found an old book with a bunch of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s letters in it. (You’ll see why I was looking for those in a minute.)

Anecdotes

content3Anecdotes are always engaging. I used one above to tell you about Gloria Steinem. But an anecdote can be about anyone, known or unknown. It can be you or someone other than you that you tell a short story about. People love stories and that’s why copywriting embraces storytelling. It’s engaging, and if you tell a great story, people will want to keep reading your work until the end.

There are stories abound online. You can find a good collection at Listverse.com, but just type “famous anecdotes” into a search query box and you’ll find tons of them. Or read TextsFromLastNight.com and quote someone anonymously. Like this, “You’re right. I woke up today with my ugly sweater still on and no pants. I’d say it was a successful night.”  This doesn’t need corroboration because it was entered by the person who wrote it. Not an academic anecdote, but pretty funny.

Another story I found while researching a book about famous composers years back related to Tchaikovsky, one of the greatest. Apparently, he tried to drown himself because of an unhappy marriage to a woman, when he was more drawn to men. He was also prone to “nerves,” as he called them. So, he waded into the Volga River, which he hoped would give him pneumonia and cause him to die. His plan didn’t work, though he did suffer a nervous breakdown. Poor dude. If only he knew how beloved his music would become. Not a funny story, but I’m guessing you didn’t know that about the man. Am I right?

So, there: a sentence, one paragraph, a little story… and people feel happy they read your stuff.

Don’t Hit Submit Right Away

Now, you have a killer article that teaches people something, right? It helps them solve a problem in their niche, and it’s engaging because you took the time to fill in some really solid details.

But wait! Don’t hit the submit button yet!

Allow your work to percolate for at least a few hours (a whole day is better). Then, go back and see if what you wrote makes sense, if you might have used some better word choices or your phrases could be more fluid, and try to look at it like a stranger. With the world moving so fast and with all there is to do, see if you’d spend the time. Then, read the article aloud and see how it will “sound” in someone else’s head.

When you do this, you will have a MUCH better article.

Throwing things out there willy-nilly with bad grammar and spelling, and that’s not very readable won’t help you. Spiders are watching.

Give them a great show. They’ll not only read what you’ve written… they’ll come back for more!

Author bio:

Pat Marcello is the President of MagnaSites.com, a full service digital marketing company. She also taught writing for five years for the Institute of Children’s Literature and has had 10 books published in four languages. Read her last article “How to Be an SEO in 2014” here.

Need to Write Engaging Content? Here’s 12 Tips

Need to Write Engaging Content? Here’s 12 Tips

So, you’re a small business owner.  And, you’ve got a blog (or an E newsletter).  Congratulations. 

Then you wake up and realize you have just added content writer to your job description.  How are you going to add fresh content in every post? 

Here’s a post with 12 tips to get you started. 

12 Tips For Writing Engaging Content For Readers

Are you not getting any readership?

Why?

Because your content is not engaging!

In this post I’ll tell you 12 Tips For Writing Engaging Content For Readers. So read from top to toe! 😉

12 Tips For Writing Engaging Content For Readers

After reading your posts, your audience should feel like hanging around to ask questions, agree, disagree and see what else you’ve got to say. After all, we’re talking potential long term relationships here. Try these 12 Tips For Writing Engaging Content For Readers and you’re halfway towards bagging that customer.

Tips For Writing Engaging Content For Readers!

1. Pose Engaging Questions

At the end of a post, pose a brain-stimulating question. Make them ponder, make them wonder and churn those grey cells to figure out what you want. The idea is to put your site and business fully into your reader’s head so that they come back for more. One of the best ways to achieve this is by stimulating their thought process.

2. Put Out An Ethical Conundrum

Do you feel celebrities are doing good by adopting children from poor African countries? Should those children be taken away from their families just because they can have a better quality of life in the US? That’s an ethical conundrum right there. Put something like that out there in your post and motivate your readers to comment and argue amongst themselves.

3. Get Them To Offer Tips To Solve Something

It could be a problem that you’re facing, or something your customer is facing. It doesn’t matter. Write a post about it and open the door to your readers to contribute 5 unique tips each to combat the issue. In fact, make it a contest; publicly credit the reader with the best tips on your blog so that everyone can see.

4. Open The Door To Sharing

Share a personal problem you’ve experienced in a post and explain how you handled it. Then ask your readers to share how they would handle a similar situation. If you can get them to submit their thoughts in about 400 words or so, that’s a blog post you can use. With just one move, you manage to engage your readers plus get blog posts out of it.

Read : Top 10 Best Social Sharing Plugins For WordPress

5. Share Half A Story And Ask For Projected Outcomes

This is a spin-off from the old college game of spin the tale. Write a post detailing a problematic business or personal situation without detailing the final outcome. Ask your readers to contribute ideas for possible outcomes.  You can suggest some ideas from your side to motivate them along.

6. Start With An Engaging Opener

Your post opening should engage the reader from the word go. Remember, your readers can get all kinds of facts online. They don’t want another fact-spewing post. They want something that’ll ignite their curiosity, motivate their thought process and get them engaged. Make your opener funny, insightful, poky, witty and outrageous if need be.

 7. Make The Content Graphically Vivid

Paint a picture with your words, and draw people into the scene you’re painting. You don’t need to have Pulitzer-worthy authoring skills to do this. Just write in your speaking voice, as though you’re chatting up to your mates at the bar. Throw some adjectives and invectives in (watch out – no profanity!). Throw in some cultural flavor that reflects your background.

Read :  Short Length Post Vs Length Posts – What’s Best?

8. Use The Active Voice

Long, droning passive voice sentences are okay for legal docs and long procedural guides. When it comes to your blog post, keep the voice active. Your reader must be able to relate to the information you’re presenting in a live sense. The purpose will be totally defeated if your blog reads like old prose.

9. Use The First And Second Grammatical Person

It’s your blog; you’re talking to your readers – what’s with the third person? No more ‘they’ and ‘them’ and stuff. Write directly to your audience using first and second person only. This makes your reader feel closer to you and creates a virtual bond of familiarity.

10. Be Direct

Use active verbs instead of inactive verbs to deliver a direct, immediate and energetic impact. Instead of, “I was thinking how to address your issue”, write, “I am thinking about how to address your issue”. The difference is the directness of the tone and also the direct action mode.

11. Play With Words

There are many ways of writing what you want to say and it’s in your hands. For example, instead of saying, “I cannot put up with their holier than thou attitude anymore”, say “If I put up with their holier-than-thou attitude anymore, I’ll just call me a cow and be done with it”. I am sure you can come up with something funnier and more engaging.

12. Provide A Conclusion

Let’s face it; no one has tons of time to read every line of every post. Encapsulate the essence of your article in a short conclusion to help out these busy people. Your conclusion should ideally tie up your points together and provide a short glimpse of what the article is all about.

Read : 4 Reasons Your Blog Will Never Grow!

Over To you!

5 Simple Questions That Drive Repeat Business

5 Simple Questions That Drive Repeat Business

I admit it.  I am becoming obsessed by the challenge of creating “High Touch” in a world dominated by “High Tech”.  

Here’s what we know.  People buy from people they know and trust.

You can use the internet to attract people.  Then it’s up to you to get to know them.

Here’s a short post with 5 great questions you must know the answers to if you are win loyal, repeat clients and customers.

Delivering Happiness Takes High Touch, Not High Tech

Happiness is more than just a state of mind and Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, is on a mission to prove it. I had the privilege of seeing Tony speak for The American Marketing Association and after two pages of notes I examined his philosophy and realized why the businesses he’s managed have been so abundantly successful.

Even if I wasn’t quite sure about this “happiness speak” (which I am, of course, being the happy, cheesy person that I am) Tony would have received my full attention if for no other reason than the fact that he sold a business to Microsoft at the age of 24 for $265 million.

In our high-tech world we are trained to shift further and further away from live, in person interaction but doing so hurts us in the end. We have email, text messaging, social media, videos, assistants, project managers and on and on, each removing us from the core customer experience. Tony spoke about their customer call center, and how there are no “time limits” for each order, and that the record for their longest customer service call was 7 hours!

How different would your business look if you were able to authentically touch and connect with more people? In the Zappos model the telephone is key. There are no scripts, no upselling, a 365 day return policy and they’ll even recommend their competitor when they can’t fill a need themselves! Wow!

Here are the 5 key questions that they use to evaluate the customer experience:

1) What do customer expect?

2) What do customer actually experience?

3) What emotions do customers feel

4) What stories do they tell their friends?

5) How can your culture create more stories and memories?

It took a year for Tony and his team to determine their core values.Amongst them are humility, embracing and driving change, creating fun, creativity, adventure, the pursuit of growth and learning, positivity and passion. Each of these things helps them to deliver the wow factor. A company’s brand and culture are two sides of the same coin. As you look at the list above do you feel motivated, frustrated or disappointed?