Category Archives for Marketing

Finding your marketing voice

Finding a Professional Voice for Your Content Marketing

Content marketing consists of creating a lot of different types of content, then promoting it on all your online real estate via many means such as social sharing, pay-per-click marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and more. Content marketing is a really great way to get the word out about your products and services in a natural, organic way. But, it’s important to figure out what your point of view is so that you can create a coherent and professional voice for your content marketing.

Figure Out Your Core Values

What is it that you want to say to the world? What is it that you feel is important? Do you want your business to be a beacon of light to your audience, shining down on them, creating joy and happiness? Do you want your business to be a wake-up call and teach lessons for your audience? What do you want your audience to think about when they think of your brand?

Get to Know Your Audience

Marketing is all about what’s in it for them, not what’s in it for you. If you can remember that, for every piece of content you create, you’ll be half way there. Every story you tell - be it through an article you write, a video, or a press release – should all be focused with the audience in mind. The best way to do that is truly understand who your audience is by studying them and immersing yourself in everything there is to know about them. How you speak to your audience will be directly related to how well you know them.

Identify the Value You Offer Your Audience

Depending on your products or service, there is some value that you are offering such as more time, less worry, or another intrinsic value. Your value might be tangible as well, but usually your value lies in how you solve your audience’s problems and issues. For instance, a breath mint company isn’t selling candy; they are selling fresh breath.

Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

How are you going to stand out from the crowd? One of the ways to do that is to decide how you’ll express your values to your audience. How will you deliver the goods and services that you’ve promised? How will you provide more time, more health, more of whatever value your company offers while also sticking to and expressing your core values?

Decide If Your Voice Is Casual or Formal

Once you combine all of the above, you will need to decide if your audience will respond better to a casual or formal voice (or someplace in between). How you speak to your audience is a very important factor in determining if they will understand your message.

Determine Acceptable Lingo and Terms

Once you’ve decided whether your voice is casual or formal or someplace in the middle, you can come up with the type of terms and lingo you’ll use throughout your content marketing, regardless of format. For example: Formal - “I would like to inform you about a sale we are having during Memorial Weekend.” Casual – "Hey y’all! Check out my Memorial Weekend price cuts!”

Create Documentation as a Guide

Whether you’ll be creating all the content yourself, or getting help, creating documentation to guide you through the process will help. Be specific about which font to use. Write down the type of words you want to use, too. The terminology, lingo and jargon is important because it will mean something to your audience and help you get your message across in a way it will produce the results you desire.

Don’t Try to Be Someone You’re Not

The worst thing you can do as you’re creating and developing your voice is to try to be someone you’re not. If you are not generally formal, don’t even try to be formal. If you’d feel fake being casual, don’t do it. Be yourself. If you’ve chosen your audience well, it will be easy for you to be who you are and market to them in a successful way using content.

Content marketing is the most effective form of marketing today, bar none. Finding your voice will help make everything easier. You’ll be able to not only create content easier, you’ll also have a guide to help keep it consistent across all marketing channels.

Finding your professional voice for your content marketing doesn’t require that you become someone you’re not. It requires that you learn more about who you are, what your business stands for, and who your audience is. That can only make everything more effective.

Eight Ways to Stretch Your Marketing Budget

Eight Ways to Stretch Your Marketing Budget

The more you can stretch your marketing budget, the more marketing you can get done. And the more marketing you get done, the more customers you’re going to have. You have to get the word out about your business and find creative ways to create buzz. The following eight ways can help you stretch your marketing budget.

Attract Affiliate Marketers

Simply give them a percentage of sales, some graphics, and marketing information and let other people promote your products and services for you. You can have an entire legion of people out there promoting and selling your products just for a percentage.

Content Marketing Is Still King

There is no way around it - creating educational, informative, compelling content for your audience is still one of the very best ways to get the word out about your product. You can create the content yourself, hire a ghostwriter, and use private label rights (PLR) content. The cost is not expensive when you consider the results of your efforts.

Email Marketing Is Not Dead

You should still be building your email list. Work on moving people from social media and your blog to sign up for your email list. Ensure that you get them to double opt-in to avoid SPAM law issues. Marketing to people with permission is the most effective form of marketing there is.

Collaborate with Others

Working temporarily with others in a joint venture agreement on one project can help you expand your market for other products and services that you offer, too. Sharing resources will stretch your marketing budget exponentially.

Offer Free Work in Exchange for Exposure

Find high-ranking blogs and websites that need content and offer original to spec content in exchange for your byline and bio. Not only will this increase your authority, but it will also help get the word out about your products fast.

Build Relationships

You already have contacts and customers, so you need to pay close attention to them. It’s a lot less expensive to keep a customer than to get a new one. Get close to the customers you have to help develop a sense of loyalty.

Get Published

Write an eBook and publish it on Kindle about your main topic of expertise. You can give it away free on Kindle to build up the sales numbers, and then charge for it later. The point of the book is to get your name out there as an expert.

Get Your Customers to Promote You

Ask your customers to give you testimonials on LinkedIn, YouTube, and more that you can use to promote your business. Have a contest; the best video gets some free products or services. Give them a title, some guidelines, and let them go for it.

Stretch your marketing budget with these creative ideas so that you can get the word out about your products and your business.

Customer Profiling

What is Customer Profiling?

Creating customer profiles is something all serious business owners do before they develop their marketing plans. It involves studying their target audience in such a way that they can create audience personas to direct their marketing. A persona is a picture of a particular audience of one, a typical person who might be in your target audience as described and defined down to their sex, income status, education, and more.

Customer profiling is an important way that you can improve your marketing so that it is more effective in capturing precisely the right person who is ready, willing, and able to purchase what you're offering. Without customer profiling, you're just guessing at what marketing efforts will work. This guessing can cause you to waste a lot of time, money, and effort, which is unacceptable these days.

You have many tools at the ready to help you study your target audience. Try these important steps to help you with your customer profiling efforts.

Determine Who You Want Your Customer to Be

If you don't have a product yet, it's easier to choose your audience, figure out what they need, and then provide solutions to them. But, if you already have a product or service, it's important to figure out who you want to use those products and services, and hopefully, they also need them.

Segment Your Customers into Sub-Groups - Try to Create at Least Three to Five

Every product has many subsets of users, and you need to figure out who yours are. That way, you can design different campaigns for each subgroup. You will want, for your first marketing campaign, to choose the largest and most likely buyers from your segments that you choose during your customer profiling exercise.

Create a Questionnaire for Each Subgroup

If you could ask them anything, what would you ask? Of course, ask the normal demographic questions but add in specifics to the questionnaire. Keep it short (about 4 to 8 questions) so that they don't get tired or bored. And be specific about your questions so that the group can be specific about their answers.

Get the Questions to Each Group through Social Media

Once you create your survey using either Google Docs or something like SurveyMonkey, send them to your audience via social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and so forth. Ask people you know to share your survey with specific people.

Get the Questions to Each Group through Whatever Means Necessary

If your audience often shops at your local mall, you can stand there and get them to answer your survey. For instance, if your audience is women between the ages of 22 and 30 who have kids, approach women who look as if they fit that group. Even if you want to reach these women online, getting answers from them in person will help you with your online marketing efforts.

Determine the Top Two Most Important Subgroups

Once you get some answers, determine which subgroup you'd most like to have as your clients or customers and start creating marketing plans that match their answers, needs, and concerns. You don't necessarily want to choose the largest of the subgroups but use an educated way to determine which are more likely to buy. A small group who will buy is much better than a larger group who won't buy.

Create Marketing Plans Based on Those Two Subgroups

Start working on your marketing plans. You should know how to reach them, what their problems are, and how you can solve them. By providing solutions in your marketing program, mixing up the marketing channels you use to reach this audience, and by being aware of who your audience is, you'll succeed.

Knowing the most likely people to buy from you is part of customer profiling. Through your study, you should be able to create now simple customer personas that you will now use to craft all your marketing programs - be they copywriting, videos, social media marketing, print ads, or others. They will all start with what you know about your customer, and who you want your customer to be.

Customer Profiling Tools to Streamline Your Process

Customer Profiling Tools to Streamline Your Process

Profiling your customers is an essential method of gathering information to help you better serve them. You'll not only be able to create more targeted marketing materials, but you will also be able to develop better products and services as well as improve the offerings you currently have.

Nothing can improve sales more than enhancing your current customers' experiences with your company. If you practice customer profiling correctly, they will think you are reading their mind, but they will not feel exploited since you will keep all their information only for your purposes.

The things you need to know about your customer are:

  • Family situation
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Cultural background
  • Purchasing habits
  • Shopping behavior

Getting this information is important and will help you serve your clients better. Fortunately, today, there are many tools you can use to help you get to know your customers better.

Geared toward small businesses that want to know their clients and customers more, Batchbook helps keep all the information organized so that you don't have to rely on memory. Since it's cloud-based, your team can work with Batchbook from any location with multiple devices with just an internet connection.

This is also a customer relationship management (CRM) cloud-based software that offers a lot of information and helps with building relationships. Insightly focuses on building relationships so that you can better profile your current customers, as well as gather information that will help you market to potential customers.

Gain a complete depiction of customers, measure, compare, and study a large amount of data, including consumer preferences, demographics, behavior, and more with Turn. As you gain valuable insights into your customers, you'll be able to retain more, thus saving on marketing dollars.

An easy to use and cloud-based customer support software that helps you get better insights into your customers' behavior. Help Scout helps you collaborate, build relationships, and form opinions about your customers.

Using survey software will be very useful to let you collect material from your current customers that will help you in identifying a lot of valuable information, so that you can provide good solutions to your clients and create better marketing material for prospects.

Since a current customer is worth, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, up to ten times as much as their first purchase, it will benefit you to collect as much information as you can about your customers. The collection and analyzing this information is imperative.

By getting to know your customers better through customer profiling, you will also be able to serve current customers at a higher level, as well as target new customers in a better way. Customer profiling provides a competitive advantage that cannot be gained in any other way. 

Blogging with Integrity

Build an online business you can be proud of...

There is a movement to "Blog with Integrity," which is a basic standard bloggers should follow.

Be Honest

If you aren't earning a million dollars yet, don't tell people that you are. It's okay to admit that you're learning to and struggling. If you have a food blog and didn't try a particular recipe, don't say you did. The best way to ensure that your audience trusts you is to be trustworthy and honest about everything you say.

Don't Plagiarize

Some people still don't understand what plagiarism is. If you aren't sure and don't assume that you know, please read more about what plagiarism is. It's simply not okay to use other people's work without asking, crediting, and paying for the privilege. That includes photographs, artwork, blog posts, articles on the news, and so forth. When you write something or have it written, run it through a plagiarism checker like Copyscape or Grammarly.

Don't Spam Anyone

Many blogs are often sent automatically to email subscribers. Be sure to use a double opt-in form for newsletter subscribers and explain that they will receive blog updates. Monitor the comments on your blog for spam to help protect your visitors from those who would harm them.

Disclose Financial Relationships

If you have been paid to provide a particular review, or you will receive income if your readers click through to buy something from a particular review, it is important that you disclose it openly. There is nothing wrong with earning money on your blog, and there is no reason to hide it. Disclose everything and be transparent.

Be Willing to Admit Mistakes

It happens. You try out a product or service and love it, but maybe you didn't dig deep enough and did not realize they had terrible customer service or were unscrupulous in other ways. It's okay to come out and say so later and admit that you made a mistake. The more open you are about your imperfections, the more people will trust you.

Be Respectful

Even if you are calling out another blogger or business owner about something you disagree with, it is important to do so in a professional, respectful manner. There is never a reason to be nasty or rude to anyone. If someone makes a comment you do not like on your blog, remember - people are watching to see how you will react. Keep it respectful even when others don't.

Allow Contrary Comments and Feedback

Receiving criticism is hard. It can hurt very badly and for some of us, even make us cry. But, it's important to allow disagreements and contrary opinions on your comment streams. Delete spam, but let other people have their views; it won't take away from yours.

Take Responsibility

If you've recommended a product that turned out to be a dud, and the owners of the product will not stand up and do what's right, it's up to you to do something to make it better. Take responsibility for your words, too. If you said something wrong, or that was taken wrong, step back and admit your part in any problems. Whether your blog is written by you only, or a ghost writer or you have rewritten PLR on the blog, it's your responsibility to fact check, check for plagiarism and ensure the truth of all the content you distribute.

Even if you don't want to sign the pledge, there is something to be said about blogging with integrity. The main point being that you will feel good about your business, you'll be proud to tell people what you do, and you'll feel good about every penny you earn and every piece of content that you put out into the world.

How to Market to Those with Short Attention Spans 

How to Market to Those with Short Attention Spans 

They say that the attention span of the public, when it comes to grabbing their attention, is only eight seconds. The problem with short attention spans and content marketing is that usually, it takes more than eight seconds for the user to click through to the content and start reading. But, there are ways to fight back and conquer marketing to people with short attention spans – which is nearly everyone.

If you only have eight seconds, that means you have to greatly shorten whatever it is that you are doing to market to your audience, or you need to do something new every eight seconds to grab their attention again. That’s why some public speakers can speak for over an hour and keep the audience’s attention while others put everyone to sleep after the first eight seconds. Which type of marketer are you?

Boil It All Down

* What are your objectives? – What is the overarching thing that your business needs to accomplish? You can include an objective from each sector of your business.

* What are your goals? – Describe in concrete terms what the above means in terms of measurable results.

* What are your strategies? – Describe for each of the goals, in one or two points, what will be done to meet the objectives.

* How will you measure results? – Describe, using the goals, how you’ll measure those results. What tools will be used, and when will it be done?

Try to answer each question in only one or two sentences. The idea is to keep it short, succinct and to the point. If you can’t keep it to the point now, it will be hard for you to do so when you’re creating your marketing campaign.

Things to Remember

* You can focus on one objective at a time.

* You can focus on one goal at a time.

* You can choose one strategy at a time.

You can make a list of each and create a series of advertisements that all fit together to answer the first list of objectives and goals that you created, all in seven- or eight-second increments. But, start with just one. Get one completed, launched, and measured before moving on to the next. In this way, you can ensure that you are on the right track and gauge how you’re keeping the attention of your audience by the metrics you are choosing to measure, which are based on your clear and specific goals.

Once you have everything spelled out, it will be a lot easier to follow and succeed in marketing to people with short attention spans. You’re going to find that using this method will help market to all sorts of people, whether they have short attention spans or not. It’s probably better to assume that 99.9 percent of your audience has a short attention span and work from there.

How to Make Your Email Messages More Memorable

How to Make Your Email Messages More Memorable

To create memorable email marketing messages, it’s important to focus on your audience while also aiming to promote your products and/or services in a way that appeals to them. You want them to remember you after they close the email, especially if they choose not to click through to answer your call to action. How to create those memorable messages is as easy as following these eight tips.

1. Never Forget the Welcome Email – Every new series and every new sign-up to your autoresponder should receive a welcome message or a message that explains the coming series. This will let your audience know that they succeeded in signing up, or that a new series is starting on a list they have been a member of for some time. It’s a nice thing to do that will excite your audience and make them feel as if you are thinking of their needs.

2. Always Tell Your Audience What to Expect – It’s important to explain to your audience about what to expect. This can be within your welcome message, or it can be in a message following the welcome message. Explain to them that they’ll get a new message every week or every two weeks or every day – whatever you’ve decided – and how important it is that they read the messages. It’s a good time as well to invite them to offer feedback to you about the messages and information you’re sharing with them.

3. Explain to Your Audience Who You Are – They want to know who you are and why you are the one to share knowledge with them. What makes you special? Don’t brag, but do tell them why you are the one who can help them with their problems. Share awards you’ve won, publications you’re created, and certification and education you’ve completed. Include life experience that got you to where you are now and how that experience can help them.

4. Use Simple, Direct Language – Avoid using lots of big words when expressing deep thoughts or hard to understand concepts. Choosing the simplest language will make your message more memorable and understandable to your audience. Using words that are too complicated and too big will bore them to death, even if your audience is full of geniuses. Be direct and to the point and avoid being long-winded, and you’ll get better responses.

5. One Idea at a Time – Each email message should encompass one idea at a time so as not to confuse the audience about what you want them to do. Having more than one or two CTAs can also confuse your audience and leave them wondering what to do. You want each message to stand on its own in such a way that there is no doubt about what you expect your audience to do.

6. Create a Good Catchword or Phrase – When you think of different known brands and commercials, they come up with super simple catchwords and phrases that you can’t forget. A really memorable one is “Life’s messy, clean it up!” That’s so simple, yet most of us know this came from the company Bissell™. If you can create something like this and use it as your sign off, they’ll remember your brand better.

7. Timing Is Everything – Each audience is different, so at first, you’ll need to test different times to send the messages to your audience. Each autoresponder service has some stats that they will share with you which you can use as an initial guideline about when to send messages. But, you should use A/B testing to ensure that you are sending messages at the right time.

8. Create Heartfelt Messages – Depending on your audience, sometimes sending really heartfelt messages that help you get closer to your audience will make them feel closer to you and more attached to you. Be careful not to overshare and make people uncomfortable, but sharing your journey of homeless to successful six-figure online business is perfectly acceptable.

Creating memorable email messages can take some testing and tweaking, but trying one or all of the tips in this list can help bring you a lot closer to making all your email marketing messages more memorable.

What Is Multi-Channel Marketing?

Put simply, multi-channel marketing is getting the message out about your products and services through many different methods. The goal of multi-channel marketing is to get the information into the hands of as many of your audience as possible. How many channels you use will depend on the ways in which you sell your products as well as where your audience is located.

The different ways you can market and sell products today include:

* Retail
* Web paged
* Social media
* Mobile commerce
* Call centers
* Catalogs (online and off)
* And more…

The benefits of multi-channel marketing are many, the main one being that your audience can interact with and buy from you in numerous ways depending on where they are when they choose to buy. In order to take advantage of the many ways to sell something, it’s important that you inform your consumer through many different ways, as well as sell to them in many different ways.

Getting the message to your audience requires a multi-pronged effort using various marketing channels.

You may want to use a combination of:

* Mobile advertising
* Website advertising
* Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
* Content marketing (SEM)
* Newsletter ads
* Social Media ads
* Email marketing
* TV ads
* Print ads
* And more…

For example, the process might look like this:

A lead sees a PPC advertisement on Facebook regarding a free webinar that you’re having in the next seven days regarding a topic they’re interested in. They click through and sign up for the free webinar. This triggers your email marketing software to send them pre-formatted and created information on a periodic basis, as well as signs them up to come to the free webinar.

Via email they learn about all the different products you offer, and are reminded to attend the webinar. At the webinar they listen to the information you promised and are given a link to buy the promotional items you mention in the webinar. They click through to buy, and are then prompted to give more information such as their snail mail address, email address or whatever other information you’d like to be able to contact them through. Each step pushes/pulls your lead, then customer, through your product funnel - one thing leading to the next.

But, you have other entry points too, not just the Facebook advertisement. You keep your blog populated with regular and informative articles and information about your niche in which the calls to action point to your products and/or services and, of course, prompts them to sign up for your email newsletter. In addition, perhaps you guest blog post regularly too. The link within your bio at the end of the blog posts points your audience to more information.

Each thing works with the other and independently as well, thus forming many different channels that all lead to the same or variations of the information you want your audience to know about.

Social Media Consultant

​An in-demand job or work-at-home career, the social media consultant might be known under different names such as social media specialist, social media manager, and others. However, typically consultants will tell a business what they need to do rather than perform the tasks themselves. A social media consultant might also have a staff that works with them to do the tasks that need to be done.

Skills a Social Media Consultant Needs

* Good organization skills – If you work for several clients, you’ll need a system in place to help you keep everything organized. Consider using a system like Basecamp to help you keep each client as well as contractors organized.

* Excellent communicators – The ability to communicate with a wide variety of people from your clients who may not speak “social media” to contractors that you hire to do the work, will be necessary to make everything run smoothly.

* Understanding of social media technology – It's imperative to stay on the cutting edge of social media technology in terms of social media itself, as well as the apps that make it easier to use. Plus, understanding the intricacies of each network helps, too.

* Knowledge of online marketing – While a general knowledge of marketing is essential to success as a social media consultant, having a particular understanding of social media marketing will get you far.

* Experience in creating or having created SEO content – Content makes the internet go round, and it’s no different for social media marketing. In fact, a good social media consultant understands that website content is crucial to social media marketing.

* Superior leadership skills – A consultant typically does not perform much of the work themselves. Instead they design, organize, systemize and lead others to do the work necessary to run social media campaigns.

* A good understanding of marketing metrics
– There are many tools that need to be used in order to test whether or not the strategy you’re using is working. You will need to be able to prove to your clients that what you want to do is working.

* Cross-channel marketing knowledge – Social media marketing is about using many different channels to get the message out about a business. Learning about different channels, including new ones, will keep you on the cutting edge of social media marketing.

How to Get Started as a Social Media Consultant

If you have some or all of these skills, you can get started by setting up a website to promote your new business. Set a good example of how good your business knowledge is by being an example of what a social media marketing consultant does. Perform social media marketing consulting with your own business first.

* Set up a website
– If you can’t do it yourself, have a professional set up one for you. Your website is your calling card and a demonstration of how good you are at the job you want to do for others.

* Set up your social media accounts – Once again, your social media accounts are necessary to demonstrate to everyone how great you are at social media consultations. If your accounts and information aren’t top-notch, they won’t realize how much they need you.

* Create awesome social media content – The content you create is essential to your social media presence. Create, or have created, content for your social media accounts that get you noticed by the people you want to hire you.

* Develop great images that go with content
– Locate or have created images that go with the social media content that will enhance your message. Today, people are very visual and will be more likely to contact you for business if your message is clear.

* Find an internship or education – You’ll need experience, and sometimes you might have to do some free work or low-cost work to make a name for yourself. Contact local non-profits that you want to help with their social media campaigns.

* Gather testimonials from satisfied people – As you work with people as an intern, volunteer or for low fees, collect testimonials to add to your website so that you can attract the high value clients you need to make this business work.

If you set up your systems and everything in such a way as to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and understanding of social media marketing and what a social media consultant can do for someone, you will be in high demand.

Writing for Pay

Earning a living working from home is a great way to be able to work around your children’s schedules or to simply leave the rat race early. Writing has always been a good way to work from home to earn money. But today, there are more ways than ever to start a business writing for pay.

The type of writing you do depends on your interests. You can:

* Start a Money-Making Blog – Choose a niche and blog about it until you get a large enough audience, then start promoting advertisements and affiliate products on the blog. This method might take a while but it can be quite lucrative.

* Write Online Content for Website Owners
– Many website owners hire ghostwriters to write online content for them. Usually the writing is around 500 to 1500 words long about a particular niche. The pay can be low depending on your niche, but a smart writer can make a good hourly rate.

* Write and Publish Books – Writing books hasn’t changed for many years but publishing has. If you write a book, you can easily self-publish online today using Kindle Direct Publishing. All that’s left is marketing your work.

* Create Manuals and Other Technical Information – Technical writers are in high demand; you can be charged with writing how to information to use software, apps, and more. If you’re good at taking technical information and making it understandable to normal people, you can charge good rates.

* Start a Private Label Rights Website – Private label rights or PLR means that other people can use the written information as their own if they make certain changes to it to make it their own. You can write about a particular niche, and then let many people buy the same work over and over again for a low rate. Volume sales makes up for the low price.

* Become a Copywriter – This is a specific type of writing that involves understanding how to write to sell something. Copywriters write sales page information, advertisements, tag lines, mission statements and content designed to sell.

* Write Press Releases
– Often costing hundreds of dollars per press release, a press release writer needs to understand how to write information in a particular format that hooks the news organization and the reader in enough to learn the story behind the information.

* Resume | Social Media Profile | PR – People are looking for jobs and they need help perfecting resumes, social media profiles like LinkedIn profiles, and writing PR to promote their business.

The niches are truly endless. Not only can you do any and all of the above - when you write for pay you can also choose the audience for whom you want to write. Choosing your audience is a really important when you want to write for others. It can inform your topic as well as how much money you can make doing it. Writing for pay can be very lucrative and is a great way to make money working from home.