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Think back to the last time you attended a great public speaking event. What made it great? Often times you either learned something new, laughed till it hurt, or you were really inspired by the presentation.

Public Speakers have a tough job. They either give a  great presentation the audience welcomes and enjoys, or they are met with pin-drop silence. It’s an art and science that has hundreds of little techniques, but there is a common thread that runs through all great speeches that can be applied to writing great blog posts.

What do a great speech and a great post have in common? Purpose.

In public speaking there are 4 types of speeches: Informative, Persuasive, Entertaining, and Inspirational. Although a speech may have elements of each, most speeches fall in one of these categories. There is always a dominant purpose, or approach that the speaker uses to deliver value.

3 ways to deliver value to your readers

Blogging for blogging’s sake does not help your marketing efforts, it can make your content seem haphazard and unplanned. Instead focus on creating content that makes readers flock to your blog the same way they would flock to a presentation.

The cue small business owners and bloggers can take from public speaking is defining the primary purpose of your posts or content. Do you write to inform, entertain, or inspire?

Inform

“What will I learn from reading your post today?”
Informative blog posts teach readers something new. This does not necessarily mean your posts should just be “How To” guides. An informative post can include news that is relevant to your industry or the products you deliver, or even success strategies that users can benefit from. Thinking of your blog as either teaching readers something new, or expanding their knowledge base.

Marketing benefit: Readers learn something new from reading your content,  this will create loyalty and trust in your service or products.

Entertain

“What will I read that will lighten my day?”
Arguably every post should have some element of entertainment to it, but blogs that aim to entertain are focus more on brightening up a reader’s day by amusing them or even making them laugh out loud. Funny stories, anecdotes, or even pictures that brighten up your reader’s day help make your writing endearing.

Marketing Benefit: Think of Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” series, finding amusing or unconventional uses for your products is a great promotion tactic for your small business (remember blogging does not mean you can’t involve multimedia).

Inspire

“What can I read that will help me achieve my goals?”
This is helpful for businesses offering services such as personal life coaching, fashion retailers, cleaning services or marketing services. Inspirational posts can motivate readers by sharing powerful stories or giving fresh ideas that inspire action. Inspirational posts leave room for the reader to think about how to apply this wisdom or perspective in their lives.

Marketing benefit: You will inspire repeat visits, but also grow in your reader’s mind as a useful resource in the area.

Each of these approaches focus on the reader’s benefit and not on your product or company. A great speech delivers a benefit to the listener, just like a great post delivers a benefit to the reader.

Image credit Flickr-by TOM81115

This post is part of a series that will get published every Monday on Content Marketing or Blogging, follow me via Twitter or E-mail to receive your daily copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

Daisy Quaker is a freelance internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing and internet marketing strategy, find her on Twitter and Google+ and tell her what strategies work for your business.

This post is part of a series that will get published very Monday on Content Marketing or Blogging, follow me via Twitter or E-mail to receive your daily copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

Fresh Blogging Strategies for Business BlogsSo your business blog started off exciting but now you’re having trouble keeping it fresh? Or you’re pressed for time and the thought of staring at an empty page does not seem all that appealing? Perhaps you just want an easier way to keep your content fresh and regularly updated to increase readership.

These strategies will take 5 minutes to wade through and 10 minutes to carry out.

1. Narrow your blog content

It might be more enticing great to cover a wide range of topics, but narrowing what you are going to cover is actually liberating. The thought of writing about anything and everything can feel intimidating, knowing what range of topics you are going to specialize in, can help you brainstorm more topics to blog about.

2. Create a blog schedule

Plan ahead of time what topics you will write about on which posts or days. Posting everyday might be the ideal but not very realistic, and having sporadic content runs the threat of loosing some regular readers.
Having a schedule on specific days and topics you cover makes you more accountable. An even better idea is to come up with ideas for headlines, write them down and then figure out which days you will blog about them.

3. Throw in some multimedia

Switching between a written post and a video can help you get a break from writing every once in a while. This also changes the tempo of your blog, and can help you and your audience get a break from just reading your content.

I’d recommend keeping it 5-10 minutes long, with more emphasis on the 5 when you are starting out. Save your 20 minute posts for later when you have built a following.

4. Review news or articles that inspire you

Giving your readers a breakdown of industry news, or articles that inspire you can help take the pressure of having to create something new every time. Put together some news on your industry or business, that you read about over the course of the week, and tell your readers how it might affect them, or why it is relevant. Incorporating this into your schedule makes for easy writing and light reading.

5. Consider crafting an “Ask …” series

Advice columns are fun. Consider turning your FAQs into short blog posts. The appeal of advice columns is that readers are already seeking answers, and writing a response is a lot easier than coming up with topics that you hope will interest your readers.

6. Delegate or Outsource

Not enough time? Consider having a team member or savvy writer help you get the ball rolling on your business blog, contact me.

Image credit: Flickr-Selva

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By Daisy Quaker

This post is part of a series that will get published every Wednesday on E-mail marketing or social media, subscribe to this blog to receive your copy of how to and helpful small business online marketing guidance.

E-mail Maketing Basics-Small Business Internet MarketingIt will take you more than 5 minutes, but it will last you however long you want the campaign to run, and it will get opened and read. If you’re struggling with crafting e-mail for your small business marketing campaign, the buck stops here.

This is Email Marketing 101, basics to get you started in sending out emails that get read.

1. Pick email software

The simplest way to get started is to start on the right foot. Things to look out for when picking an email software is  the delivarability rate and features. There are a lot of email software services on the web, but three that I am familiar with and have heard great things about are: Aweber,  Constant Contact and Mailchimp.

In a nutshell: Aweber is among the best in the industry, plans start at about $19. ConstantContact is another great e-mail software provider, MailChimp is fun to use, and free for the first 2000 subscribers.

But before you pick read this post that compares the three services, pros, cons so you are better informed. Its important to start with a great software early on because if you have problems down the road switching can be difficult and you could loose all those hard-earned subscriptions.

2. Subject lines make or break you

Just like in writing for web posts, great headlines can entice someone to open your email or not.

Writing great email subject lines is somewhat of an art that you can craft and perfected over time. So pick carefully to communicate a value, emotion, time urgency and a benefit from opening your e-mail.

The goal of  the subject line is to get your e-mail opened and read.  Look out for an upcoming post on writing great email subject lines. In the meanwhile this post talks in detail about how to craft a great subject headline.

3. Give to receive

It’s the power of reciprocation. Great email market campaigns start by giving something of value whether it’s a free e-book, or a discount at your next purchase, you are simply giving the customer something they can use for subscribing to your list. It’s a great way to get people to subscribe to your email campaign.

Once they are subscribed keep track of your sales pitch e-mails. Provide useful content that your subscribers will care about in the first 3-4 email before pitching a service or product to them. After that keep varying with 2-3 useful posts before every sales pitch. It will give you an opportunity to sell your products, but also build a good relationship with your readers where they don’t feel harassed to just buy from your business. That way when you do pitch they are listening.

4. Create a series instead of one offer

Want to keep your readers listening?

Keep it short, and worthwhile of their time and attention. If you are writing great content on say keeping your home clean break it up into bite sized chunks. Say “12 Minutes to a Cleaner Home”, and have tasks that readers can complete weekly to become more organized, so when you do pitch your services say in the 3rd or fourth email they have built a trust that opening your emails deliver some value to their lives. (Read this post on creating a series instead of just one offer)

5. Whats in it for me?

When you do craft your offer communicate a value or benefit that goes beyond price. A really great way to set up your pitch is to offer something that complements all the free advice you’ve given. That way you already have your audiences interest, and they already know what they will benefit from using your product.

Happy emailing!

E-mail marketing is an art that takes time to master,to make our journey easier, perhaps you’d like a free consultation? Contact me and we can set-up a time to discuss your email marketing needs and how to meet your goals.

Don’t forget to subscribe to receive future posts to your inbox.

Image credit: Flickr-SocialMediaOnlineClasses

This post is part of a series on content marketing, which will be published every Monday.

Content Marketing-Small Business Marketing TacticSo you have a website that’s up and running for your small business and you want to build traffic, or you have some products or services you want to sell online and want a marketing plan that drives visitors to your site. Maybe  you’re just looking for a way to build a voice for your business, and create a brand online.

This is where content marketing comes in. What is content marketing?  It is basically a term applied to selling your products or services by first building trust with your audience by giving them free information, or valuable tools and resources catered around your service, to create a trust and bond with customers. As a result when you do sell, you have an audience ready to pay attention.

Sound weird?

It is a different way to build awareness about your company and products where unlike a TV or radio ad, where the audience just tolerates your message, you build a real interest and make your site a destination to solve their problems. Because of that, people become active listeners about your services and pay attention to your message.

The beauty in content marketing is that you build an audience that is responsive to your offerings so that you spring to mind when they are looking for services.

Why you should apply content marketing to your business

It’s free

Or relatively low-cost. A small business owner can spend a lot of money pouring into an advertisement that runs on tv/radio for a short period, or they can build a responsive audience through a successful content marketing strategy, that might mean a blog or newsletter service.

Builds an audience that listens

Content marketing works in a field of marketing called permission marketing. Unlike traditional advertising methods such as TV or radio ads, people give you their attention, instead of your message being seen as a disturbance. Your business builds that connection with customers that money can’t buy, so that if they are shopping around for services they know where to go.

Long term impact

Content marketing can help your business in the long run, especially for small businesses looking to grow. By building an audience that listens, shares and tells friends and family about this site, you grow in e-mail subscriptions or just site visits. This interest can outrun any interest built from TV or Radio advertising.

How to get started in content marketing

Write what you know

It’s the advice given to writers everywhere. But don’t write boring puff pieces about your business. Write information that is useful, and applicable to your audience. The idea is if you produce free, valuable content for your customers they will give you their attention and in the long-run their loyalty.

The posts or articles can vary with the interests and needs of your audience, whether its business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B).

If you already have a mailing list for your customers, then a great way to build initial traffic consider starting a newsletter that starts articles that continue on your blog.

And if blogging is not your cup of tea, consider creating more interactions through social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest by sharing helpful articles or news that people will find useful and engaging with your audience through those channels.

Got a question? Or need some help getting started? Contact me, and I can answer it through e-mail or in a future post, I’m all about making your life easier.

 

This is not a fair world we live in.

As a small business owner, one expects mountains, if you are to compete with the bog box stores, you are expected to give exceptional customer service, great prices, be flexible, reachable, deliver on quality, and provide choices, choices, choices.

All this could be setting yourself up for failure, don’t get it? Here’s an illustration: Continue Reading…