Category Archives: Blogging & Email

How to Blog: New Lessons at Take Control of Your Internet Marketing

New video lessons on blogging have been added to the Take Control of Your Internet Marketing training. These lessons are part of Module Four, Take Control of Your Message and Build Your Authority.

 Blogging is a vital part of an internet marketing strategy for four reasons:

Dave Coverly cartoon on blogging1. People, potential customers, are using the internet to research before they buy.

A well optimized blog will give those potential customers the information they’re looking for to make a buying decision. If the product or service they are seeking, your product or service, is linked to your blog, you’ve increased your chance to make that sale.

2. People, potential customers, learn to trust the businesses that give them the best information about the product or service they are researching.

You build your authority as a knowledgeable and trustworthy business owner by giving good, detailed information about what you do or sell.

Business owners not familiar with the philosophy behind blogging and content marketing might worry that they will lose business by giving too much away free. They may be concerned that by teaching a skill they sell, people will do it themselves rather than buying their services! The reality is, that doesn’t happen. We’ll show you examples in the training videos.

3. Blogging helps to build a relationship with the people who find your information and blogging style useful and interesting.

Internet marketing is all about attracting and building a relationship with people who are or could become your customers. You’ll discover in these blogging lessons how useful all the work is that you have done in past modules.

You will be using the work you did in Module Two to identify and profile your Perfect Customer. You will easily integrate a blog into the website you created in Module Three. You will see how valuable this new tool is in expanding the relationships you started with your work to show up on review sites and local business pages in Module One.

You’ll begin to see first hand how all these pieces fit together to create a comprehensive internet marketing strategy.

4. Blogging is an easy way to keep the content on your website fresh for search engines.

Google loves blogs. Blogging shows Google and the other search engines that you have a regularly managed and updated website. A well optimized blog post is individually indexed, giving you another doorway into your website. Each new post gives you an additional way to attract visitors – potential customers.

The lessons are designed to make it simple and doable to accomplish something that many people find difficult – writing 300 to 500 words on a single topic.

I stress 300 to 500 words to help you think of this as a short writing effort, but many of you will get started blogging and find you have much more to say! You might even find that like me, you love blogging!

I show you a way to pick your topic and write your headline that will make the actual writing much easier. You’ll know exactly what you want to cover and how to rapidly churn out an interesting, informative post.

Then you’ll be reminded of the the formatting techniques taught in Module Three, this time focusing on capturing the attention of a skimming blog reader.

“Why wait for this important information until Module Four?” you might ask.

As those of you who are members have discovered, going through the video lessons is building your competence as a master internet marketer.

  • You have seen immediate results from your work in Module One.
  • You accomplished some of the vital preparatory work of targeting your customer and building some internet competence in Module Two.
  • You created and populated your home base, the centerpiece of your internet strategy in Module Three.
  • And now, in Module Four we’re expanding and refining your skills by focusing on ways to enhance the relationships you’ve created in past lessons.

And, you’ve still had time for all the other demands on a small local business owner!

 

Cartoon by Dave Coverly at Speedbump.com

 

 

How to Blog When You Hate to Write

I went to our Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce Christmas party last night and was struck by the number of people who were taking photos using their smartphones.

Santa Claus and Mrs. ClausEveryone has one, and the ease of snapping photos and short videos means that everything is getting recorded. NOTE: Dunsmuir’s own Santa and Mrs. Santa in the photo to the right. I doubt if the North Pole could do better! Dunsmuir is FUN!

And research on what types of information captures the most attention shows that people want to see those photos and videos!!

If words are not your thing, blog using your images and videos.

If you need to do a little cropping or color editing on a photo, go to IPiccy. This free photo editing website is so easy to use, you’ll be editing like a pro in minutes. Upload your photo and try some of the tools in the palette to the left and across the top. If you don’t like what you see, click “cancel” and start over.

The best place to store your video clips is YouTube.

I won’t spend time in this post talking about the SEO benefits of video, but when you consider that the YouTube search engine is the second largest on the web, it makes sense to store your business related videos on a YouTube brand channel.

To create your brand channel, go to Create a New Channel.

Then, go to How to Set Up a Brand Channel to learn all the steps for setting up a brand channel similar to the Gap Channel. 

Your video may need titles and editing. Remember that short videos – I mean 30 seconds to 2 minutes – that tell a good story are the ones that go viral. Use iMovie on Macs or Windows Movie Maker to edit your videos. There’s a learning curve for each of these, but go for it! Videos are becoming essential.

How to blog using your videos and photos

Embed your video right into your blog post. YouTube shows you how to embed a video. Be sure that you paste the html code snippet into the HTML screen rather than the rich text formatting screen you use to write a post. You can toggle back and forth between the two screens using the “visual” and “HTML” tabs at the top of the formatting screen.

A fun, short video may stand alone without additional content. Give the post a good name and use the opportunity to provide watchers with links to more information, other blog posts and your sales page. Always, always give your readers (watchers) a way to take action.

Upload your photos to a blog post using the “add media”  or “Upload/Insert” button at the top of your WordPress rich text formatting box.

As with video, don’t forget to include links, encouraging happy viewers to take action that builds your relationship with them and leads to sales.

 

 

Do Your Loyal Customers Feel Appreciated?

I spent lots of time revaluating Facebook, and many of you may be rethinking the time you spend on social media.

 Check out Should Businesses Be Relying on Facebook For Customers?

What do you do instead? What do you do with all the time you save by not regularly posting cheery little things on your Facebook business page?

Refocus your efforts on your customers, the ones who actually pay your bills.

blogging prescriptionIt costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing loyal customer. Yet, we tend to take those loyal customers for granted.

Rather than using our valuable time to nurture that existing relationship, we count it good, and turn our attention to racking up more new customers who we hope will somehow magically become loyal customers.

Loyal customers are created through constant attention by us. We communicate with them about sales and new things we have that they might be interested in. We update them, sharing news and tips. We remember their names.

For the average small local business, staying in touch with loyal customers may be something you THINK you already do. You talk to your customers when they come in, and perhaps greet them when you see them on the street. You send out nice Christmas cards once a year, and maybe tuck a print newsletter in with a bill.

But everything is changing. Your loyal customer is probably also a Connected Customer. Learn more about Generation C – the Connected Customer from Brian Solis over at Altimeter Group.

Those loyal customers are hearing about your competitors from friends – yes, social media is where he or she goes to connect with friends and hear about their lives, where they go, where they shop and what they like.

They are getting enticements to shop elsewhere every time they turn on their computers! Your annual Christmas greeting is getting lost in the din of constant digital information!

Your loyal customers are being enticed away by better connected competitors!

Recapture the eyes and ears of your loyal customers through email and blogging.

Email is the best way for you to stay directly connected with loyal customers. Use it to update them about sales, give them special loyal customer deals and share news about your business. If you are respectful, not filling their email box with spammy advertising, they’ll be happy to receive updates. Remember, these people are loyal!

If you missed my previous post on email, check out Email Marketing: a Friendly Note That Generates Sales

Blogging scares people. It feels a bit like those term papers everyone hated writing in high school and college.

But blogs are different. You’re writing about something you love – your business. You are writing about what you know – all the things that your business can do to help make your loyal customer’s life better.

I don’t know of a small local business owner that couldn’t write a book about what they do. That’s your blog – each chapter is a post!

When I start working with a new blogging client, I ask them to write down 52 individual, specific things that they help people with, or that they do in their business that customers are interested in.

You’re going to be surprised at how easy it is to think of 52 things that you do.

Then, divide it up into categories. If you are a restaurant, you might have a bunch of recipes, a number of cooking techniques that people need to know to be good cooks, like chopping and parboiling, table décor and food shopping.

You now have what you need to write a weekly blog post that will thrill your loyal customers for a whole year, improve the SEO of your website and bring in new customers as well. It’s win – win – win.

In our trainings we’ll help you from idea generation to formatting, and of course walk you through the writing process. But once you’ve picked the topics, half the work is done!

So as we approach a new year, perhaps the best resolution you could make is to stay in better touch with your loyal customers. Thanks to the internet, it’s actually easy.

 

Photo on Flickr by Udo Herzog

 

Email Marketing: a Friendly Note That Generates Sales

email is dead headstoneAbout every 6 months there is a wave of supposedly authoritative blog posts declaring that email marketing is dead. It’s curious because, how do these bloggers broadcast their pronouncements?? Via email!!

What’s a business owner supposed to do about email marketing??

Use it.

Email is a way for you to communicate with customers who have said that they want to hear from you. They ask to be on your mailing list. They sign up on your website to receive notices from you. Email isn’t like junk mail. It is something your customers have asked for.

Not using email is like ignoring a customer who has come into your business eager to talk and ask questions! You don’t know where that conversation will lead, but you know it’s important. It might lead to a sale.

And if you don’t have that conversation, if you ignore that customer, you can bet the odds change to favor No Sale.

If you look at email as another way to have a conversation with a prospective customer, you will probably produce effective email content.

  • You’ll address issues that help solve your customers’ problems.
  • You’ll highlight interesting things about your business and your industry.
  • You’ll announce important events and sales.
  • You’ll make your emails fairly short and sweet.
  • You’ll announce what the email is about in the subject line and make sure  your name or your business name is on the “from” line.

You’ll follow these email marketing best practices because as a small local business owner you’re used to respecting your customer’s time and serving his or her needs.

With that in mind, the reason to use email marketing is to generate sales and build your customer base.

If you don’t have an active email marketing program going yet, don’t panic. It’s important, but not earth shattering if you haven’t gotten around to it.

Our goal here at Take Control is to train you to implement the most important internet marketing tasks first. And the goal of this blog is to help you do what you’re already doing just a little better.

Here are several blog posts from my blog RuralTourismMarketing.com that talk about email marketing:

Rural Tourism Marketing Tip: Gather Email Addresses For Later Use

Write Effective Newsletters Your Customers Can’t Wait to Open

A Small Business Secret to Success Revealed. Great Customer Service and Email

 

Photo on Flickr by cambodia4kidsorg