The Secrets to Successful Social Media Marketing

Gas StationPerhaps the most important ‘Five W’s’ journalists are always taught to ask questions about, are Who and Where? This is especially true where Social media is concerned – because of entrepreneurs’ basic misunderstanding about their marketing. The concept of your product or service being known by as many possible purchasers as possible is a very worthy target. The thought that there are so many people on line, that there is a probability that many more people will see your marketing appears to be a logical step. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Imagine that you are a Gas station in a small, rural village. You aren’t on a highway, or even a major busy road. The vast majority of your business comes from locals when they pass your pumps. The marketing you do is face-to-face with the same people every week. Looking at the prospect of running a gas station on a busy down-town street in a city, you salivate at the thought of the heavy traffic that will pass your station every hour of every day. You believe that, because there are more cars, there will be more business. This is wrong. You think that you can market the same way. This also is wrong. You don’t have time to talk to drivers as you used to. They are impatient to get back on the road. Your marketing now has to be seen from a distance, and your prospects are strangers. How can you stop them gassing up close to home, and see you on their way through the rush hour? Has your clientele changed? Are they now truck drivers?

Who and Where changes your business marketing, and online Social Media Marketing offers you a multi-pronged approach to do this. Unfortunately this goes right over a lot of people’s heads. Most Entrepreneurs have been taught that everything they do surrounding their business should be about marketing and advertising. How can you take this thought process and translate it to social media, and Who are you actually marketing to? The locals in the cars you usually see, or a constant stream of strangers in trucks?

Firstly, remove the bulletin board mentality from your social media efforts. This is not about advertising or one-line promotion. Social media is about building relationships! If you want to blog, a successful blogger not only shares good information but they also reciprocate and communicate well with others. This same kind of interaction should also take place at other networks as well whether it is WhatsApp?, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. Here, even if you are a company, you are saying things that people want to hear, and you want to attract the right kind of people. These are those that understand and want to hear your message, will pass it on to others. Likewise, you have to be interested in them, and want to read and share their ideas and messages. So, now you know what you are promoting and how, who are the people you are talking to?

Firstly, identify exactly who your customer or client is, then focus exclusively on them. Then take a closer look at the other community members that you are close to, and identify those contacts as someone you would like to get closer to in a business sense. In order for your marketing to work, you need to determine exactly who you want to provide products or services to. These people are your insiders. They are the ones you need to focus all your time and effort on. They are the people you need to have in mind, whenever you make a marketing decision. Don’t think of trying to please all of the people, all of the time, but hone your messages down to those that would be interested, and those that interest you. If someone doesn’t live close to your gas station, or who need your gas when they are passing your station, then why are you talking to them? It’s great if they are receiving your messages from a trusted contact of theirs, but their relationship is different to yours.

So, use your prospect’s language, and write with them in mind. Study what matters to them, and ‘be where they are’. If you know problems that they are experiencing, how did you – or would you – get over them? Most of all become an expert in your field to all of these people. They will all become contacts, if you do, and your creative online writing will make you more attractive. They will look forward to what you are writing, and help you share that message. It’s a massively more effective way to grow your business than the vague alternative that most of your competition is doing.

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Top Ten Twitter Tips

My-Top-10-Twitter-Tips-for-BloggersBeginners to Social Marketing often overlook Twitter, dismissing it as too ‘short hand’. This is wrong on a number of levels. For instance, if you can teach yourself to cut down on your marketing verbiage to the point where you are promoting your message in 280 characters, you are on the way to making your own one-line slogans for branding purposes; a very important – and marketable – talent. However, Twitter is also a great way to connect with other businesses, followers and industries that you are involved with.  It’s an excellent way to engage audiences about upcoming promotions and events, in a ‘headline’ kind of way, and colour your observations. You should, therefore optimize the way that you utilize this tool, and be ready to use it in various ways to make everything an introduction that leads readers to a deeper meaning via an attached document. Here are the Top 10 tips to bear in mind when you want to use Twitter to spread your message:

  1. it’s not ‘All Business’. Tweet daily, if you wish, but it’s not all about you. It’s about your prospect marketplace, and it’s about people. As a rule of thumb, tweet about your business about one-third of the time. For the rest, talk about you, your people, share informative information: Give before you take. The more you interact with others, the more you will gain from your Twitter experience, and your prospects.
  2. Keep your tweets upbeat and informative. Everyone is online to escape their day.
  3. When is it too much? If you are tweeting multiple times per day (and you will find lots of material to do so within a few days.), know when you are going overboard. A sudden drop in interaction will show you where you are going wrong.
  4. Jump on Relevant Trending Topics. A simple way to get started is to join in on trending topics. Take a look at the trending topics on Twitter, which typically have an accompanying hashtags. Then join in on the conversations when it’s relevant.
  5. Be an Industry Resource. Show that you are an expert in your field, by sharing popular information from other sources. Your followers will appreciate your expertise more than note who your competitor’s tweets come from.
  6. Use Analytics. Your Twitter account comes with its own analytics display, so get accustomed to checking this to find the most popular tweets, and note how you can grow your interactions to other subjects.
  7. Don’t copy what other brands are doing. The major business plus of Social Media is that you can tell your own stories. Don’t get lazy and simply copy what another business is doing because it gets lots of likes and re-tweets. Let these successes inspire you to tell your own message to differentiate you from others.
  8. Be You. Just like the last point, don’t try to be something you are not and make sure your marketplace understands what you are saying. See the chart below fromSprout Social for frequent negative reviews about what Brands do to turn people off. Be open, positive, don’t try to entertain, and don’t be too ‘inside’ with jargon and slang.graph-annoying-actions@2x-19. Be Professional. This is a business marketing avenue. By all means connect your own twitter feed to your Businesses, and highlight your people but don’t turn it into a personal account. Work-Life balance works online, too. You are here to talk about your business, not your own life.

    10. Remember that everything you tweet is public! Think first, and if you have the slightest worry about your content – don’t do it. Don’t get into arguments, and remember the old saying about polite conversation: It doesn’t involve politics, religion, or sexuality.

Twitter is very simple to use, and is an extremely fast, immediate way to find people, and engage them in conversations.  Unlike Facebook, every person with a Twitter profile is public and reachable.   The possibilities are really endless.  You can use Twitter to reach out to people you admire, show appreciation for a service you use, connect with people you’re attending an event with or just start the conversation yourself!  You will soon get into the swing of multiple tweets per day, and you’ll soon see how those 280 characters will do wonders for your business messaging.

How to spend your Social Budget.

socialmediabudgetThey say you learn something new every day…How about a new Business oxymoron: A Social Media Budget? In most companies, it simply doesn’t exist. They expect Fans, Followers, Likes and Pins to fall from the sky. However, it isn’t that simple.

The ‘plus’ of being visible on Social Media is that visitors choose to look at your posts, meaning it is their decision to do so, and they aren’t being sold to do it. This leads to more trust in your business. To do this, however, takes investment in either time or funds in order to be this open to everyone.

But, how should a social media budget be spent, if they have one? You do not want to spend hard earned money, simply to get ‘vanity metrics’, or fast-to-disappear trends. Let’s start with not doing something that is all too prevalent: Taking the HIPPO’s opinion: The HIPPO (highest paid person’s opinion), is also (usually) the least knowledgeable and furthest away from the front-lines. If you need ammunition to curb the HIPPO, try these ideas:

One of the best ways to successfully grow a social network is to funnel people from existing sources. This could mean your existing website traffic or e-mail database – wherever you have contacts.  Or it could simply mean your existing, off line contacts (i.e. customers that come to your business). You will need a ‘base’ of contacts in order to attract more. Don’t forget your work colleagues, and existing customers – these are fans of yours. The larger base you can call on, the more possible contacts you can add in the shortest time.

Now, make sure that your Call To Action is strong enough.

Concentrate on one message, and one call to action for prospects to follow. Large corporations and big ad agencies do this all the time on commercials. Next time you’re interrupted during your favorite television show, count how many commercials show a Facebook icon, and nothing else. No Facebook page URL, no direct call-to-action, and no reason or incentive to actually get-off-the-couch and take action. All they’re doing is promoting Facebook.

If you have customers that enjoy being in your store, give them a reason to return to it with your Call to Action. Have them experience something they enjoy, and cull their contact details from them. In turn, they will pass this information on, automatically funneling both themselves and those that come after them into your system: A ‘hearer’ of your business, becomes a follower to learn more, then a visitor to your experience, then a ‘passer on information’ to others that, in turn become hearers, and so on….

It takes approximately seven times longer or seven times the introductions to acquire new followers – something that HIPPOS usually forget. Better to keep in touch with those that you have already, and invite them to join your promotional network, helping others to be introduced. If you have a social media budget, in either funds or time, use it to show your present fans multiple aspects of your experience, and let them bring more in.

Make Sure your Voice is Heard.

silver desk microphone

Photo by Dids on Pexels.com

I have a wonderful surprise for you: My voice!

I recently guested on Andy Curry’s Podcast: “Crazy, Cheap Marketing: Innovative Marketing Tactics For Instant Growth.” and spoke about small business digital marketing including, social media marketing, blogging, community outreach and customer retention.

Andy’s approach to marketing a ‘neighborhood business’ was forged by running his own Hardware store for over 30 years. He offers in- the- trenches, first-hand knowledge of the pitfalls of marketing and the best use of advertising dollars for all businesses.

A few years ago, he started sharing this knowledge online via a web blog, a matching podcast and, more recently, books. He invites marketers, educators, business owners and other specialists to speak about different aspects of marketing that any entrepreneur can do to promote their business better, most of which are ‘crazy cheap’. I heartily recommend signing up for his podcasts and newsletters for free, and gain some expert knowledge on your business’ growth.

Although the main topic of our conversation was about Business blogging, a couple of other points of interest that have come up since the interview’s publication: I had the opportunity to ‘plug’ this blog, and had a link added to the website itself. The result has been the third-best month of readership figures since I began this blog. I also picked up more followers – in fact my total is now almost 30% bigger than it was in December 2018!

I have written before about the ‘waterfall’ effect of good marketing, and the above is a great example of this: More opportunities to talk about your business leads to more interest in your other marketing, which leads to more ‘fans’ that want to learn more. Additionally, people have learned something more about me as a business owner. My Voice is a give-away to my background. Despite spending over 30 years in North America, I never added to my birth dialect, so now I get lots of comments along the lines of: “I never knew you were English!”

This not only shows interest as me as a marketing expert, it also highlights interest in me as an authentic person – something that this blog has constantly highlighted as a ‘must do’ for any small business looking to grow.

Here is the direct link to the Podcast, so enjoy 25 minutes of marketing tips, and I do recommend you listen to some more interviews on the website for great tips on how to expand your digital footprint, turn more prospects in customers and make those customers evangelists for your business to others.

Of course, you can also start searching for opportunities to speak on behalf of your own specialty and business, creating your own waterfall effect of interest, growing both your name and your business!

You haven’t got just One Audience, so why treat them like you do?

segmentation2How do you approach your e-mail inbox every day? What do you save, read, or delete without looking?

Chances are that if you aren’t being enticed by e-mail subject lines, or author’s name, you won’t be opening that e-mail. If that’s true for you, why wouldn’t it be true for your e-mail marketing? If you are not communicating with both Customers and Prospects on an ongoing, successful basis, you aren’t getting through to them. Once you have an automated system in place to keep in touch with the life-blood of your business, don’t take for granted that it will work. You still have to put the work in to ensure that what you are writing is being read.

While you have read a lot about the power of glistening copy that sticks in people’s minds, sometimes the message you are sending out simply isn’t being read. If the gross amount of sales you are making thanks to automated e-mail communication, do not equal the amount you are paying for it, it still isn’t worth it: Start looking closer at your audience, and ensuring that they open that e-mail, at least. How? Segment your audience into handy groups that you can send a more personalized message to – not just by ensuring that it is a personalized e-mail greeting, but that the message itself is more attractive to them, personally. So, how can you achieve the Holy Grail of branding: Mass personalization? By segmenting your audience into different groups based on more direct information that you have about them.

Look at what social media successfully does: It ensures that you, personally, are being addressed.  Social Media platforms have discovered that getting sales messages that align with all of the interests you have noted in the past is the best way for them to sell their client’s goods and services. Perhaps you, in your own way, you can do this too. It is the same with your e-mail opening habits, and all of your customers and prospects. How can you achieve this? Here are five easy points to point you in the right direction:

  1. By Persona. 
What are their professional responsibilities, job description, department, and which demographic they inhabit? Ask yourself what is it in your message that they would feel attracted to?
  2. By historical Buying Patterns and Frequency
. You can actually increase your followers by offering special terms, or offers. You don’t want to make your sales arguments about budget, but perhaps you can do it by size, payment schedule, geographic location? Find out who has bought what and when in the past, and tailor your messages to refer to these past purchases at the time and rate their sales’ history denotes. Any kind of feedback you receive will give you more information on past customers, so what do you want to find out, and how can you tie that in to what and when was purchased before?
  3. By Geography. Get accustomed to finding out what happens where? Every area has different holidays, or perhaps different, predictive weather patterns. Show your customers and prospects that you know them, and offer items especially aimed at them. Of course, this will also take a little extra work, but the rewards will be worth it.
  4. By Industry or Vertical. If you are a B2B seller, what do these contacts want at what times of year? Do they have a purchasing and sales cycle? Do their past purchases, or even growth pattern, conform to a predictive pattern? Similarly with business verticals: Are they buying something small, or huge? You can deliver personalised messages based on their contact data. Get into their conversations just before you know they are buying and when.
  5. By Channel Usage. For those of us branding in a B2C marketplace, HOW do people like to interact with you, mobile, social, or E-mail? At times of the day, week, or year? Once again, you can pre-empt their purchasing patterns with the right message at the right time, to the right people – via the right delivery channel.

The more you learn about your customers, the more successful you will be in ensuring that your message gets through, and the next one will be eagerly awaited. Of course, this kind of detective work is not only fun, you may learn way more about the intricacies of your own product or service array, and how you can get even more focused messages out. It will take some testing, nothing is perfect out of the box, but when you segment your audience and talk directly to them, your marketing will be way more successful.

But I don’t know how to write ‘Copy’ – Part Two

best copywriting

Thanks to ABC Copywriting for the Perfect Pic !

Following the feedback I received after publishing Part One of “How To Write Copy”, I thought it best to get back to it as soon as possible, and offer another list of tips. These may be a little more advanced than the original list I offered but, according to the messages I have received, many of you have already made it through the first list – or perhaps you use those guidelines on a daily basis already. Whatever the reason, here are some more points to ponder. Of course, as always, have fun with it! You can always tell the Sales Copy that was fun to come up with – it shines in the prose. See if you can have fun with these ideas:

  1. Overwhelm with Testimonials.

Why does Social Marketing work? Because people see what their friends like, and that makes them want to try it, too. They trust other user’s advice. So get as many testimonials as you can: The more specific, of course, the more convincing. In short, deliver proof that your claim is for real.

  1. Remove the Risk!

Give a guarantee that something works. Less than 2% of your customers will ever ask for their money back, so offering a guarantee is a safe risk. We have all seen the thirty day challenge, when most customers are so busy, they don’t remember to ask for their refund. The fact that you are offering to pay their money back makes you successful.

  1. Ask for the Order.

Too much copy these days never asks anyone to buy anything. Sales copy should SELL, so remember your target point. What do you want them to do: Buy, sign up, or subscribe? Ask the reader to do it! Use a coupon as a way to signal readers that you want their business and to remind yourself to always ask for the order (or at least to ask people to contact you or remember you).

  1. Use Magic Words.

There are certain words which have been proven to help get attention. If you just string these words together, they sound like fluff. But weave them into your sentences, along with your facts, and they become powerful:

Announcing, astonishing, exciting, exclusive, fantastic, fascinating, first, free, guaranteed, incredible, initial, improved, love, limited offer, powerful, phenomenal, revealing, revolutionary, special, successful, super, time-sensitive, unique, urgent, wonderful, you, breakthrough, introducing, new, and how-to.

And consider the connotations of the words you use: workshop sounds like hard work while seminar sounds easier. Read sounds hard while look over sounds easy. Write sounds difficult while jot down sounds easy. Be aware of the psychological implications of the words and phrases you use. How words sound and look are just as important as what they mean.

  1. Get Pumped Up!

Show your excitement for your product: If you aren’t pumped up about it, why not? Enthusiasm sells. This should be important to you. Look at successful TV Ads, and how actors portray everyday essential products with such glee and excitement. It works for viewers that instinctively like these people more, because of how they look, and what they say. Your copy should act the same way.

  1. Rewrite and Test Ruthlessly.

Test. Test. Test. A change of one word can increase response 250%. Most copy isn’t written in one day, it is a work in progress. You have to write, rewrite, edit, rewrite, test, and test again. And record how business looks with each ad. Run two concurrently, so that you can A/B test.

Just as all fish aren’t attracted by the same bait, there is no single Ad that works for everyone. You should educate yourself on what works for you, when, and keep on testing.

  1. State a Believable Deadline.

Most people won’t take any immediate action unless there is a sound reason to do so. Deadlines help, as long as your deadline sounds credible. Don’t put multiple dates into an ad or offer, either. It will confuse your audience. Be wary about what you want the reader to do and stick to that one thing, Make it easier for them to do!

  1. Instantaneous Satisfaction!

Everything should be nearly instantaneous because we want instant gratification. Toll-free numbers and e-mail addresses help. If you’re marketing on the Web, include a link or a “Buy Now” button that makes it easy for your readers to order. If it’s easy for them to hit a button, it’s easy for them to enjoy your product faster. Is this your product?

  1. Sincerity Sells.

Don’t offer fluff, mislead, or lie to your prospects. Tell them the truth. While rarely done, it actually helps sales to admit a weakness or a fault. Tell the truth in a fascinating way, as a story or a moral. People like to be entertained, but keep it honest and useful, and they will love you for it.

  1. Copy your copy from the Best.

What are your favorite ads? Why? Look at them from a distance, and try to figure out what hit’s your buttons. The fact is, these ads were designed to do just that so they are working. Why not copy them in the terms of the points above, and see how your product looks in others’ eyes?

BONUS TIP: The Easiest Way to Write Anything

After you have decided what you want to accomplish with your writing, and you have completed your research, then write in 33-minute non-stop blasts. Then take a 10-minute breather, do some push-ups, get some air, dance, drink some coffee. Then write in another 33-minute spurt. This helps your left and right sides of your brain work in harmony. It’s true – compare the results of the two ‘spurts’ and they will appear different!

It’s Never Too Late to Start your Blogging Empire.

blog-new-blog-ideas-for-business-websiteA recent LinkedIn article asked: ‘Are you thinking of starting a blog? Don’t!’ Why? Because there are so many online today, it’s going to be almost impossible to make any kind of mark. How many? The figures are truly mind-blowing. According to Website Designer, The U.S. alone has over 30 million bloggers in 2018, which captures almost 30 percent of the market. To give some perspective, the next biggest blogging country is the UK with 7 percent of the world’s bloggers. That means there are over 60 Million blogs now online from the rest of the World! Why are they still popular?

People blog about their passions: Pets, clothes, movie gossip, and recipes. Their popularity is due to the passion of the writer, not for the genre they are written about. If you are blogging about your business, your customers, your community, and ensure that your passion for your subject comes out, your readership that have been looking for the information you give out specifically, will continue to read your words, because of the feelings they are written with. If you are excited about an idea, you really want to find others that share your passion. Be that writer.

Look at the amount of Fortune 500 companies, high street mega-chains, and Big Box retailers that have blogs on their websites. From a business point of view, everyone is doing it, so therefore it must show value to companies that have ‘bean counters’ for every single cent moving through the company. I wonder if these accounting geniuses have worked out that it is the passion that works and not so much the items headlined for sales? According to this research, business owners see a 126 percent increase in lead generation if they blog about their industry.

But are there still guidelines to follow among this written-word universe out there? There are, so if your passion requires some guidelines, consider these 2018 blogging facts:

The average blog post length is 1,050 words, and the average word count of top ranked content in Google is between 1,140-1285 words. Longer, in-depth blog posts generate 9x more leads than short ones however, the median average time spent reading an article is 37 seconds, so make that first paragraph count – especially as the average blog post takes 3 hours 16 minutes to write! Did you know that Blog titles with 6-13 words get the most consistent amount of traffic and hits?

However, your blogging work is never a waste of time. Consider that Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI, and Companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get nearly 3.5x more traffic than those that publish 0-4 monthly.

It is usually the planning of posts that many writers don’t fashion into their blogging, and having no forward plan about what they are writing means they will soon drop out of regular posting. The majority of these blogs haven’t had a post in the last three months, many in the last six, and almost 20% in the year immediately following their last post. If you are looking forward to a post as a reader, you will soon lose interest if you haven’t seen a post in a few months. I wonder how many posts start off with: “I know that it has been a while since my last post…” Too late – your readership have moved on.

Blogging will always have a future but remember that it isn’t your content as much as the feelings that it is written with. It is the writing that brings people back, sets you apart from others, both in your niche, and the Blogosphere as a whole. It isn’t the act of blogging that is at question, only your passion, content and frequency. Make your feelings ‘long’, and tour Wordsmith skills ‘short’. Use the above 2018 facts to fashion your posts for 2019, and post at least once per week. To completely disagree with LinkedIn – ‘DO!’