Entries Tagged 'Marketing Monday' ↓

9 Reasons Why Blogs Are Great Marketing Tools

Marketing with a Blog

Today we’re starting the marketing with a blog series. If you didn’t grab the free eBook last week Marketing with a Blog, then be sure to download your copy now. The eBook is actually an outline for one of my most popular presentations, but this series will flesh out those points in the outline.

There are a number of reasons why blogs make great marketing tools, and today’s post will share nine of them.

1- Blogging expands your outreach

Back in the multi-level marketing heyday, one of the big concepts those companies promoted was the advantage of duplicating yourself. Since we can each only be in one place at a time, they taught that by developing a network of marketers, you could, in effect, reach dozens if not hundreds (depending on the size of your network) of prospects at one time. All you had to do was convince all your friends and family members to join your network. While it didn’t always work the way the circle-drawers hoped, it really is a great concept.

Expanding your reach by broadcasting your message to a multitude of leads at once can be attained through blogging. You write a blog post and promote it through your social media platforms and/or your email marketing list, and viola! – you’ve duplicated your marketing efforts in a matter of minutes. And you don’t have to irritate any of your friends and family members in the process!

2 – Blogging speaks directly to your audience

One of the big advantages to marketing with a blog is that it gives you a direct line of communication with your target audience. Today’s market is buyer-driven. Consumers are in control and they know it. And the trend is, the one who supplies the most useful, relevant, and easily accessible content – wins!

The thing that sets blogs apart from other content delivery platforms is that not only are you communicating TO your audience, you can receive feedback FROM them through the comments. True, some social media outlets have the back-and-forth communication capability, but a blog keeps all the comments on each post nested and neat so everyone who stops by can read them all in one handy place.

3 – Blogs are easy to set up and maintain

You can literally be blogging within a few minutes of setting up your domain hosting. Once you register your domain name and transfer it to your hosting company’s server, all you have to do is use the automatic script to load WordPress and start typing your first post. It’s that easy. You will probably want to upload a new theme and a few useful plugins, but seriously, it doesn’t take long at all to start a blog.

Maintenance takes a bit more work than setup. Outline an editorial calendar and start planning your posts. Then set aside a few minutes per day to monitor and respond to comments. Once you get your routine going, blog maintenance becomes a habit.

4 -Blogs level the playing field

Blogging has given the small business marketer the same advantage as the huge corporations with massive marketing budgets. Because content marketing, especially social content marketing, is the wave of the present and future, all that expensive in-your-face advertising that small businesses couldn’t afford is no longer necessary to get attention in the marketplace.

5 – Blogs are a great branding tool

Blogs are a great way to reinforce your brand by providing content that influences a memorable response in your target market. Branding takes time, focus, and consistency, which makes blogging a perfect platform to deliver your branding messages.

6 – Blogs establish you as an expert

If no other reason, this alone should explain the importance of marketing with a blog. The first few steps in market research include knowing your target audience, knowing your competition, and determining what makes YOUR company the one your target audience should do business with.

Positioning yourself as the area expert in your industry will create “top of mind” marketing in your audience. YOURS will be the first company that comes to mind when they need your products and/or services because you’ve kept them informed and proved that you know what you’re talking about through your blog.

7 – Blogs give your business a human touch

This is a lesson that was long in coming to many major corporations. And many of them lost business until they learned it. Just because someone is researching your product or service via the Internet doesn’t mean they want to feel as though they’re stuck in some automated maze like an impersonal phone answering system. People want to feel as though it’s important to you that they shop with you. Treat them that way and they’ll not only be loyal themselves, they’ll tell their friends about you. (Read: Yelp, Google, etc.)

8 – Blogs allow you to share fresh and exciting content

Blogging is one of the best ways to deliver content to consumers. Do your on-page optimization to make it easy to be found, share your content in the places your market hangs out online, and make it compelling so that it will attract more readers and shares.

If you’re wondering what exactly to blog about, check out last Thursday’s list of 63 types of content to create for your blog.

9 – Blogs are affordable

And I don’t mean free. If you have your business blog hosted on a free platform, get your own domain and hosting. Seriously. Nothing screams amateur like having the big orange B in the favicon slot of the browser or handing someone a business card with the word “blogspot” in your company’s domain name. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a free platform for your personal blog, but if you wish to be taken seriously as a professional, put forth a serious professional effort. (Rant over.)

Having a self-hosted blog typically runs about $5-15 per month, depending upon where you get it hosted and how large your blog is. Even if it’s a bit more than that, the return you get on your investment is excellent.

Tomorrow we’ll continue with part 2 of the blog maintenance checklist series. Hopefully today’s post has given you some tips you can use. We’ll continue next Marketing Monday with part 2 of Marketing with a Blog.

 

Are You Serving the Wrong Pages to Your Traffic?

Bowls of too hot, too cold and just right porridge.

We all remember Goldilocks, the little girl who, while traipsing through the forest, ran across a cottage belonging to the three bears. Hungry, she sampled some porridge, but the first two bowls weren’t right for her – one was too hot, the other too cold. Are your  guests feeling the same way when they land on your website?

Goldilocks was an uninvited guest, but even when someone pops onto our site, we want them to feel welcome and hope they stay a while. That’s why it’s important to serve the right page to the right traffic.

We talked Saturday about welcoming guests to your site, and today I want to go a step further and share about segmenting your traffic into different landing pages. It sounds complicated when I word it like that, but the concept is very simple. You just serve up what they’re looking for, and your page will be “just right” every time.

Basically, there are three types of traffic – organic, paid, and return.

Paid traffic comes to your site via an ad, whether it’s from Google AdWords, Facebook or some other social network, or a banner ad from another site. These are what sales people refer to as “warm” leads. They know when they land, they’re going to get some sort of offer or request for information. It doesn’t shock them – in fact, that’s why they came.

Return traffic comes to your site because either they directly typed in your URL or clicked a bookmark. But they can also come to your site via links in an email you’ve sent or they may delve deeper into your site and visit one of your landing pages from an internal link in one of your blog posts. Again, they have chosen to be there and aren’t surprised at all.

Organic traffic, on the other hand, may not have a clue what to expect when they click on the link from a search engine results page. They are curious, to be sure, but to save them from immediately clicking the back button, we need to make them feel welcome.

How is this done? Smart marketers tweak their landing pages and create one page for each type of traffic. In other words, you make a landing page for paid leads, which would contain less introductory content and can be a bit more “just the facts, ma’am.”

Your second landing page would re-welcome your regulars. They’re already comfortable at your site and know you, so you don’t have to emphasize the know-like-trust area of your offer so much. This is the link you’d use in an email. Perhaps you may even include a discounted pay button on this page for your loyal customers.

The final landing page, which you’ve optimized to attract search traffic, is where accidental tourists land. They know nothing about you (like your regulars) and may not be expecting an offer (like those who clicked on an ad). This page requires a bit more lead nurturing through letting them know why they’re here and what they can do here and how it will help solve the problem they came seeking a solution for.

The first two landing pages (paid and return) don’t even require SEO, because you’re driving direct traffic to them.

We’ll be winding down the landing pages series and moving on to something else in the next few days. Leave your questions and comments below.

Until the next time,

Happy Blogging!

Are you practicing monster truck marketing?

Monster Truck Marketing

More and more companies today are realizing that the “monster truck marketing” days have passed. Today’s consumer has taken control, and instead of rolling over potential customers with in-you-face marketing messages, the most effective way to market is now through solving your market’s problems by providing useful information.

One of the best ways to do this is by developing a lead capture system. This “system” contains several elements, and today we’ll go through the list of things necessary to capture and nurture leads. Then in future posts this month, we’ll discuss each element in greater details.

1 – An “irresistible offer” or “free bribe”

Once upon a time, you could get a prospect’s email address by simply asking for it. Now it’s common practice to give something free in exchange for their email address. This needs to be something relevant and valuable. Otherwise, most people won’t give up their email address.

2 – A lead-capture form

Once you’ve created your free offer, you’ll need a way to capture their contact information. You’ve probably seen (and even used) a form. These forms are generated using code provided by an auto-responder service, such as Aweber, Mail Chimp, or Get Response.

3 – Delivery of free offer via an auto-responder

Once you get your offer ready, you’ll create a download link for it and provide that link via your auto-responder. Some people put the download link in an email, some on a page within your website – either way works fine, but you need a reliable way to deliver your free offer or your audience will be frustrated and your online reputation will be damaged.

4 – Lead nurturing

Once you’ve delivered your free offer, it’s time to start building a relationship with your new leads via email messages. Don’t overkill your list with one offer after another. It’s best to start with 5-7 “Know-Like-Trust” emails that provide your audience with useful information about your industry. These should be delivered at a rate of about every 3-4 days and can be scheduled in your auto-responder.

After you’ve begun developing a relationship with your list and they have begun to know you, like you, and trust you, then you can start pitching useful and relevant products and/or services to them. It’s important to intersperse these promotions with more useful content. A good ratio is 7-10 information messages to one pitch.

 

 

 

Do you have a Skater Boy marketing mentality?

Skater boy

How many chances do you get to make a first impression? Last time I checked, it was still one. And if your blog represents you as a business professional of any type, you need to read this post. The Skater Boy marketing mentality only works for, well, skater boys. And possibly rock stars. So, if you’re in ANY other type of business, keep reading!

You may (or may not) remember the Avril Lavigne song “Skater Boy.” If you had teenagers (like I did) during the early part of this millennium, you’ve probably heard it. A few hundred times. The lesson learned from this song is, like it or not, people are judged from their appearances. Most people don’t feel comfortable being associated with someone who is perceived by others as an outcast.

Last week I was part of a team that presented a marketing seminar to about 90 Central Texas business owners. When I saw the list that included email addresses of attendees, my first thought was, “That’s it! I’m writing a blog post about this!”

What was it that prompted this post? I literally saw email addresses that went something like this (the email addresses used as examples here have been changed so as not to embarrass the owners) – DivaChild7802[at]Yahoo[dot]com, BadBoy97[at]aol[dot]com, ImmaGonnaGetcha[at]gmail[dot]com – names you wouldn’t want to repeat to your grandma, much less put on a business card!

Seriously.

And the domain names (for those who had their own website) weren’t much better. Of course, everyone’s email address wasn’t that bad, but well over 10 percent of them were. And even some of the email addresses that weren’t cause for blushing still lacked a professional sound. The problem is, these were BUSINESS professionals who owned SUCCESSFUL businesses in a large metro area.

So, what’s the solution? If you’re blogging for ANY business or professional purpose – such as promoting yourself as an author/speaker, selling products and/or services, or you’re running a business blog – get a professional email address. Period.

Here are a few tips:

  • My first suggestion is to NEVER use a Yahoo! email address for professional purposes. Why? It is (in my experience and that of many others I know) the most easily hacked email system. Whenever I start getting those spammy annoying emails from a friend who I know would never do that, I check and sure enough, they’re using Yahoo!. Objection: But I’ve used that Yahoo! address for years! (Probably since you were a teenager, right?) You can still check your old addy, but start promoting your new, professional one.
  • If you absolutely MUST use a free email provider, pick Gmail. For one, it has so many helpful features. But, avoid weird names with numbers or odd characters. Instead, use yourname[at] or yourbusinessname[at]gmail[dot]com.
  • My next suggestion – and this is really the preferred, most professional way – is to get a domain-based email address, such as yourname[at]yourdomainname[dot]com. You can also use info@ or mail@ or sales@ – the point is to use your domain name in your email address. I can’t count the number of times I’ve given my email address to someone who later told me they visited my website when they realized (from my email address) that I had my own domain. If you’re not sure how to do this, here’s a link to a previous post where I explained how to set up a domain-based email account.
  • And speaking of domains – if your professional blog is running on a free platform, what does that say about the seriousness of your business? Ten years ago, maybe even 5, that would have been okay, but not anymore. Today’s market is FAR too savvy. They can tell who is putting forth the effort and going the second mile. It’s too competitive out there to not take the extra time and effort (and yes, even a few dollars a month) to set yourself apart from the crowd by getting your own domain name, getting it hosted, and using it as the hub of your online presence.
  • Finally, if you DON’T have a website but you’re strictly using something like Facebook as your web presence (like another frightening percentage of those who attended the seminar were doing), remember you don’t OWN Facebook. You don’t have full control over what you can and can’t do on that site. I mean, you can’t even put a domain name in your cover image. It’s against their terms of service. (Or it was at the time of this post – Facebook changes constantly.) My point is, get your own domain and put forth a professional presence. If you don’t, trust me, your competitors will. And then what?

I know this was kind of a harsh post, but, like all those scoldings our parents gave us, it’s because they wanted the very best for us. And I want the very best for you. I want you to succeed in your business!

For the Skater Boy, the ending was a happy one. He’s rich and popular and on MTV and everything. But is he truly happy? I mean, he didn’t get the girl of his (high school) dreams. And all because he wore baggy pants. Don’t let something easy to fix ruin your chance at making a great first impression! The business world is FAR too competitive for that.

Article Marketing: Where Should You Submit Articles?

3d man sending email with catapult on white background

In the recent post, Article Marketing: 21 Tips to Help You Get Started, I suggested to set an article marketing goal of submitting 2-3 articles a week for two weeks to one directory, then add another directory, and follow that pattern until you’re submitting regularly to 5 directories. Today’s post will discuss which directories are best to submit to and why.

Before I list the top directories for article submissions, I want to share three important things to consider when choosing an article directory site:

  1. Link Value
  2. PageRank
  3. NoFollow Tags Continue reading →