I recently noticed that my twitter feed contains very few real people. Well, they are real people; they are just mechanically posting. I don’t want to read your “10 ways…” and I don’t care about the “What she did next will blow you away” tweets.
Content marketing as it is today is not the answer. Posting information is great. It is much appreciated. That is… if I even looked at it, if I need it.
Here is what I want from marketing: Engagement Marketing. Engagement Marketing is where the company wants to engage with its customers.
The other week, I experienced a great example of engagement marketing. I light-heartedly complained to our local weather girl through a re-tweet about the weather. She had tweeted, “No snow. Yay!”. Well wouldn’t you know it… it snowed. I was extremely excited when she retweeted my response to her about the snow. She engaged with me. It showed me that she is a real person, and that she actually cares about her audience and customers (at least THIS customer, and that’s all that matters).
Are you actively listening or just waiting to speak?
Let me give you an example of why the weather girl is doing it right. She always has good tweets… never fluff. “Radar looks pretty clear today. Get out and enjoy the day.” This is relevant to me because I am looking for that type of information. You never see posts like “5 sure-fire ways to determine if it is raining”. I couldn’t care less about that type of “info”. And when you see posts like that, it seems as if the poster couldn’t care less either. It is posted by some mechanical contraption that does it on a schedule. They wrote it 3 days ago and probably forgot that it’s even being posted now. The “set it and forget it” mentality has to end. Yet, that is all I see up and down my news feed every single day. Those who post only lists and articles don’t listen… they just talk. I am tired of being talked at.
Back to the weather girl– I have seen tweets from numerous weather folk saying something like “We are getting reports of nickel size hail on the north side. East side are you seeing any of that? #tornadosuck #funnelsareforbeerbongs”. Ok, I added the hashtags. But, you see the difference. They are wanting to hear from their customers.
Perhaps this works best locally. For example, maybe a local taco bell could ask followers “Hey 123 street way Taco Bell lovers, how do you like the new breakfast tacos? #Imusthave” I would engage with that company. They are wanting to engage with me.
The Social Media environment changes as quickly as SchizofrIndiana weather. Businesses must learn that customers are smarter now than ever before. The audience sees through all the social media shortcuts. They know when 99% of posts are all about these shortcuts. They “see” that business doesn’t really care about them, only the bottom line. Get your act together! Start engaging people as people and just maybe those people will become your customers.
Be a robot, and we will all skim over it and pass you by.
Posted in Tools
It has been a while since I last posted. With good reason. I have had a ton going on. Still going on in fact. It has been crazy and I love it.
It all started with the attitude that I had about corporate America. I have this feeling that in corporate America, though can be a great place to work, the pay increases come at staggeringly slow rate.
I entered into corporate America very much under employed. I was transferring skills, terrific skills they may be, from professional coaching to corporate desk job. Most companies weren’t drinking the cool-aid. So I took what I could get.
I had to.
As time passed I began to subtly present my ideas and the impact I could make. Once I was noticed I let it roll. And here is the most important part of the whole thing… I worked really hard, I did things way above my pay grade, I didn’t complain about money, I. Just. Worked.
I realized I was doing this for a while already and it was beginning to pay off. Not that I had to do less… that’s not the point.
If you don’t ever show competent work above your pay grade to those who matter then you are doomed to stay right where you are forever and eternity.
Employer is not going to say, “Hey, Mr. worker… I am going to give you double your salary. How’s that sound? And then… yeah… then we are going to hope that you have the skills to do the job well. Is that a good idea to you?”
Have you ever heard that before? Never. It doesn’t happen. But think of the logic behind this. I am worker #1 and I am paid a nice $10 hour pay to talk on the phone.
What would happen if you went out of your way to:
I am pretty sure that you are working very effectively at a pay grade much higher than your $10 an hour. Now your boss is thinking…. “Ya know… I really need to pay that worker #1 guy more. He does so much. Hey… there is that position that is coming up at the end of the month. I think it’s his.”
If you worked the business far above your pay grade then these conversations will happen. If they don’t get a different job. Don’t worry, you will have plenty to show for your efforts.
Don’t strive for a raise… Raises come too slowly. Strive for job change… one that pays better.
There is a right way and a wrong way. There is a good way and a bad way. There is efficient and inefficient. Which one are you? Here is a list of 7 techniques that you should implement to maximize your engagement with twitter users. It does take some planning. Get ready… Go!
I had a twitter conversation today with one of my favorite food trucks @theNYslice I told them that I was on my way… But here is the cool part, I confirmed there location in front of @holycowcupcakes. See how that works? When @theNYslice responded to me he mentioned me and @holycowcupcakes. Therefore @holycowcupcakes was mentioned to all of my followers as well as @theNYslice’s. So we were talking about @holycowcupcakes behind their back. Now hopefully @holycowcupcakes will join the conversation and mention us to all their followers. Do you follow?
2. I rule! I’m better then you are.
What do high school boys need. Besides sex. Competition. They need to show off their manliness or almost manliness. They need the opportunity to show that they are better then the next dude. It is interesting to see that many competitions get some major airtime. Some major play. Everyone gives it a try.
How does that translate? It is easy to set up a competition that spurs conversation. But it does take some effort. Here is an example. If you are a hair salon owner…have a competition on who submits a picture of the worst hair. Give the competition a week. At the conclusion declare a winner. But… You now have access to all the other people who submitted. Hit them up and get them in the salon. Genius if you ask me. (Be sure to use an interesting hashtag)
3. Beg the question.
4. Choices. Quick tweet …
5. Make them talk.
Posted in Tools
What is marketing? More importantly what is good marketing? And… probably more important than that is what is bad marketing?
What makes marketing expensive? Is it how much you spend? Some people would say yes. I disagree. I say expensive marketing is how much you waste.
How do you know if you are wasting your money?
To determine if you are wasting money ask yourself this question… “Am I bringing in more revenue then I am spending to get it?”
Sounds simple, right? I bet a lot of you couldn’t answer that question about your current marketing efforts. The primary reason for not knowing… you are missing key elements to your marketing.
Let us use our fictional grocery store as an example. Our store… “We Sell Food, inc.” below I will illustrate the key elements needed to have efficient marketing.
Key Element #1: Provide efficient opportunity – We Sell Food decides to do some marketing. They decide to take out an ad in the local newspaper. The entirety of the Ad says “Hello, We are We Sell Food. Thank you.” This is a very inefficient ad. There is no call to action. There is no opportunity to interact with We Sell Food. (That statement is not entirely true. People “see” the ad. That is interaction). Your ad must contain the opportunity for the customer to DO something. Which… leads to the next element.
Key Element #2: Track efficient interaction – Recently, I was looking at a coupon from the grocery store. I don’t remember what the coupon was for, but I used it. The coupon had a number on it, in fact, it was bar coded. When the cashier scans that bar code or types in that number, the grocery store tracks the number of coupons used (and probably the total dollar amount of the grocery bill of the person using it). With We Sell Food’s ad, there was no way to track the interaction. We could not track how many people “saw” the ad.
Key Element #3: Connection – Who are you interacting with? We Sell Food has loads (maybe) of people who “saw” the ad. But, were they able to interact and connect with the customer? There is no way for the customer to say “I see you” and for We Sell Food to say “I see you, too!”. Efficient marketing offers a way to connect with the customer and develope a long term relationship.
Key Element #4: Value of interactions and connections – Let me pose this question… Is it more valuable to a company for me, as a customer, to use a coupon (interaction) or provide my email address (interaction/connection)? I would argue that it could possibly depend. But, more than likely the email address is more valuable. Obtaining information that would allow We Sell Food to connect on a regular basis will be more valuable then the one time coupon use and NOT getting information to connect. It costs a lot of money to get a coupon in a customers hand and get them to use it. Once you obtain information to interact with them the cost to provide coupons and other advertisements/promotions goes waaaaayyyy down. Isn’t that what you want?
Key Element#5: Analyze results – I am amazed by how many companies don’t do this. Often they see a hand full of customers come in with coupons and they think “Hey, it worked!!” Well, not necessarily. Let’s say We Sell Food spent $3000 on the ad for a coupon to be circulated in a 1000 subscriber newspaper. They had 10 people use the coupon. The average bill was $30. So We Sell Food spent $3000 to get $300 worth of business. And besides, there are ways to make this more EFFICIENT. (Here are some tools that might help you analyse your results). I know that this is a drastic example, but I did it to show the importance of Analyzing results.
Posted in Tools
Praise the lord I have found salvation. Just kidding. But I will admit that this tool is one of my favorites and I just recently discovered it, well at least the power it has. This belongs in your arsenal of small business tools. This article by Matthew Woodward, Google Alerts Ninja is where I learned of the immense power of Google alerts. Though Google Alerts is powerful, it is not automated. You will be active in posting, commenting, and sharing the content you are alerted to.
Think Keywords. Think of all the important keywords, like we discussed previously. Now think of all the potential conversations that could be happening out on the internet. What blog posts are there? What forum is discussing this topic? What news items are being published? Imagine trying to locate all of that information so that you can engage. Most of your day would be spent searching (and not succeeding) for of those valuable gems. This would all be completed by Google Alerts. Input the parameters and Google Alert will send you an email of the instances on the internet where you can comment and share your small business. Let’s take this post for example. Keywords might be “small business tools”. I would set up alerts for blogs that have keywords “small business tools”. At a set interval I will get an email listing all the most important blogs with “small business tools” as keywords. This will then allow me to go directly to those sites (without having to search) and comment and possibly share this post in the comments section. This helps increase traffic to your site as well as increase backlinks with relevant keywords which improves your page position for those searches on the “search engine results page”. One of the small business tools that makes your life easier.
There are a couple of different tactics that you can employ to find opportunities for engagement.
That is a start. And it is extremely valuable. If you would like to view my list of small business tools everyone should use go here.
In addition, Sign up for my 6 week social media email training course today. This is “must have” information.
Posted in Tools
I discovered this long ago and revisited it today. It is absolutely amazing. I have verified my site with them as I suggest you should too.
Technorati is amazing. It is a blog directory. It is an extremely extensive blog directory. Here are some things that are great about it.
I will probably be spending quite a bit of time look through the following directory. You should too. This is the small business category on Technorati.
Posted in Tools
Engaging clients or prospects has become one of the most important aspects of small businesses today. It is essential to building brand/customer loyalty and social sharing (which I believe is the new word of mouth).
One of the most popular ways to engage clients and prospects is through the use of conference call software. Programs like Gotomeeting.com, webex.com, anymeeting.com or Join.me have become extremely popular in conferencing. These programs are all terrific but they can be costly. Me? I am a freebie fanatic. I will use any tool that I can that is free and can help my business. Enter… Google Hangouts.
Google Hangouts replaced Google talk and is one of the best, and easiest ways to have a conference. The main caveat though is that your market segment must have a Google account (everyone should have a Google account). Not really a huge obstacle.
It is very easy to create/begin a hangout. Hover over your home button on the left. You will see the drop down menu open up and the option of “Hangouts on Air”. Click that. That will take you to the feed of all the on-air hangouts.
On the top right hand side you will see a blue button “start a hangout on air”. click it. This will open up the Google Hangouts window.
Then you will see a dialog box pop up. Copy the url. This is the important part. This will be your gateway to your hangout or conference. Make sure your youtube and google+ pages are connected.
Now use the url to market your hangout.
Send it via text message to your phone list. Send it in an email to your customer list. Put a button on your website. Tweet it, facebook it, post it.
Here is what your customer or prospect will see when they follow your link.
Now be sure that you go in before everyone otherwise you could have a free for all in your hangout.
When marketing your link for your hangout be sure to have clear instructions about when they should go to the Hangouts.
You can use this hangout to do a number of things:
You can use this environment for just about anything.
I hope that this has proven to be useful. If you are wishing to see more from me subscribe to my newsletter. I do not ever overload your email inbox with junk. I send something out about once a month. There are some great articles about motivation, inspiration, education, and random spewings. Check it out and good luck!
Posted in Tools
There are many small business tools out there on the internet that are extremely powerful. One of the most powerful small business tools you can use is the Google Keyword Planner. This used to be known as the Google External Keyword Tool or some such name. I don’t even remember. Google went ahead and added the tool to it’s adwords interface (brilliant as far as I am concerned).
First, is your business Local, National, or Global? This is important so that you can use the tools effectively.
Are you surprised that I am listing this one as the #1 small business tools? I don’t think that this is the most important of the small business tools, but it is an important element in a powerful cocktail of tools. The Google Keyword Planner is the first place to start. What is it? Google Keyword Planner is intended to be used for “purchasing” keyword ads (Adwords) which is why they integrated it with Google Adwords. Small businesses use it to research Keywords they would like to bid on for their marketing. We will not be involved in purchasing or bidding on Adwords today.
Google Keyword Planner works like this. Google, the search engine, knows every search ever made. What was the search? Literally, what words were typed in. It even tracks misspelled words like goolge. Definitely an huge amount of data and google lets us use it for FREE. Small Businesses are mainly local businesses, they cater only to their city or surrounding areas. Let’s assume that is the situation with regards to your business. Consider this, you own a barber shop in smallville, OH. If you were to go to Google Keyword Planner and search “Barber Shops in smallville, OH”… The return will be some number of searches per month. This number is a global number (but I believe the default is the United States).
It is imperative that you list your zip code or city and state in your search if you only care about business locally. as with the example above if you searched “Barber Shops” the number of searches per month is 12,100. That is of no benefit to you or your business. Nor does researching “Barber Shops in Smallville, New Jersey” When your small business provides services to Smallville in Ohio.
Google Keyword Planner looks at the search data and provides this knowledge: The number of people searching for Keywords RELATING to your small business each month.
Posted in Tools
There are few small business tools as beneficial as the simple, yet, powerful feed reader or feed aggregator. I was just recently turned on to feed readers and I am sore from kicking myself. I should have been using these things for years. I don’t know what was wrong with me. But no more excuses (this will be a link someday).
Compiles or Aggregates your favorite blogs’ posts in an easy to read and navigate environment. So, instead of you saying… “Oh, I gotta go see what thebloggess.com has posted”, or “I must go comment on easyfood.tv cause it’s been awhile.” You can actually go to your feed reader, read the bloggess, laugh, go to easyfood.tv, make your comment, include your back-link, read a couple more, etc etc. Bam! Awesome. This should be one of your primary small business tools. There are a few reasons I love feed readers.
feedly.com is my favorite feed aggregator or feed reader. This one has proven it’s worth. (It’s free by the way). It is very simple and clean. It offers a couple of different color schemes for your own taste. You have the option for many different viewing styles. List view, thumbnail view etc. And a really cool feature of feedly is you can send an article to buffer for sharing. Read about buffer in a different article.
Digg Reader is also a great option. You can give a post a DIGG thumbs up right there in the reader and can share it on other social networks. I was a wee bit disappointed that you can only share to twitter and facebook. There are others you know DIGG. Get on board.
Newsblur.com is pretty extensive. There is a ton that you can do. The reader has a split screen that allows you to see the unread posts below and of course read the selected post above. You can sort by tags and categories like video, podcasts, etc. It is a bit overwhelming to me as feed aggregators go. There is a lot. You are only allowed 64 feeds and then it requires a membership of $24/year.
The old reader is a decent feed aggregator but it appears to lack in social sharing. It doesn’t appear that you can share with any social media sites at all. It seems like the old reader is trying to be it’s own social network. You can share your articles with others with the old reader. Not a big fan.
It really only gets worse from here.
To sum up. There are a lot of tools out there that you can use to get your favorite and most important interactions to came right to you. My favorite is Feedly. What’s your favorite?
Posted in Tools
There are a couple of business tools that ALL businesses should use in part or in its entirety. There is no excuse not to use these powerful tools. Below you will find a list of the best Small Business Tools that you can find to succeed.
First, you must decide is your business Local, National, or Global? This is important so that you can use the tools effectively.
I am pretty sure that most people would be surprised that I am listing this one as the #1 small business tools. Let me be clear, this is a VERY important tool but really it depends on where you are in the process. The Google Keyword Planner is the first place to start. What is it? Google Keyword Planner is primarily designed for the use of business in “purchasing” keyword ads (Adwords). It is a way for a business to determine what Keywords they want to buy for their marketing efforts. A business would type in a group of keywords that their business revolves around. There is benefit to purchasing keywords but that is NOT how we are going to use it now.
How does Google Keyword Planner work and how should a business implement this most essential of small business tools? – Google, the search engine, tracks every search plugged into the search box on any/all/every page across the internet. Obviously this is an immense amount of data and it is FREE for you to use. The data is also broken down into many different segments, specifically, Geographic.
Most Small Businesses are just local businesses, their market is only their local city or surrounding cities. Let’s say that is the case with your business. As an example, you own a hair salon in smalltown, us. Go to Google Keyword Planner and type in “Hair salon in smalltown, us”… The result will be a specific number of searches per month. That number could be 10,000 or 10 or zero. All of this information is valuable.
If you are only a local business then you MUST list your city or zip code or state. In the example above if I typed in “Hair Salons” the resulting number of searches per month is 49,500. This does me no good at all. Just as looking up search data for “Hair salons in smalltown California” does not help when my smalltown is in Kansas.
The information gathered from Google Keyword Planner tells you one thing: How many people per month are searching for Keywords RELATING to my small business.
This is one of those small business tools I have known about for quite sometime but never really knew how to make it powerful until recently. I just got a taste for the power of Google Alerts from this article Google Alerts Ninja. Keep in mind that when using Google Alerts you must take an active roll. You will be going out and posting, commenting, and sharing.
Think of the Keywords that relate to your small business as we discussed previously. Imagine the task of trying to find everyone who is talking about those keywords, everyone who is asking questions on blogs and forums, all the news articles published. You would spend all day searching (and probably not finding) any of those things. Google Alerts does that for you. Input the parameters and Google Alert will send you an email of the instances on the internet where you can comment and share your small business. Let’s take this post for example. Keywords might be “small business tools”. I would set up alerts for blogs that have keywords “small business tools”. At a set interval I will get an email listing all the most important blogs with “small business tools” as keywords. This will then allow me to go directly to those sites (without having to search) and comment and possibly share this post in the comments section. This helps increase traffic to your site as well as increase backlinks with relevant keywords which improves your page position for those searches on the “search engine results page”. One of the small business tools that makes your life easier.
Google Analytics is one of the most valuable tools that a small business has at its disposal. Analytics is simply the tracking of activity on your website. It gives you the who, what, when, where, and how.
If you use Google Analytics you can quantify your marketing efforts. You can see your weaknesses and strengths. You can identify where your emphasis should be. You can also set goals. For example, you can set a goal to have a visitor sign up for your newsletter. Analytics will track how may visitors converted on that goal. Great information. Probably the most important tool in your internet toolbox.
This is a little know tool that is extremely powerful, especially in a “Local” business environment. Open Site Explorer can show you how your site is doing in relation to your “industry”. The Open Site Explorer actually looks at all your inbound links and external links and measures the quality of those links in relation to your keywords. This will give your site an Authority rating. Your site Authority can be between 0 – 100. The higher your authority, the higher your position on “Search engine results pages”. The coolest feature to this tool is that you can compare up to 5 websites. So go to google and type in your keywords, ie “Hair Salons in Smalltown, KS”. This will bring up Google Places. Hopefully you are listed among the results. Choose a number of competitors website and add them into Open Site Explorer and you can do a side by side comparison of your site authority versus theirs. Extremely Powerful.
Posted in Tools