Here’s another fun way that I know my client’s marketing is working – after I rank a client in the search engines for a very competitive term, I start getting phone calls like this from my competitors wanting to “borrow” my client’s popularity…
“Hi, this is John Anderson with BEEP, and we’re the attorney-focused web marketing group. And, the reason I’m calling is I’m seeking relevant links for my attorney clients so I was hoping if you could possibly do relevant links exchange, uh, since we’re only focused on the attorneys and law firms of our marketing so and I hope you understand the link building which helps us to drive traffic and all that. So if you are open to this arrangement you can reach me at BEEP and you have a great day, bye.”
I’m pretty sure if they really knew that I do this professionally (attorney marketing ) they wouldn’t have left the message – but it’s comforting to be unknowingly promoted by the competition, LOL!
Listen, marketing is something EVERY business owner needs to do to stay successful. If you have the time, then learn all you can about making your business easy to find for your clients, and take action – even if it isn’t perfect. If you need help promoting YOUR organization, you can reach me here.
Local marketing can be a challenge, especially if you’re entrenched in traditional thinking on the subject. All too often, I’m approached by frustrated business owners that just aren’t getting results because they’re doing “what they’ve been told” – spending hundreds on “Yellow” or other flavors of directories, television, radio, newspaper ads, etc., etc.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that – and if it works for you, then by all means keep doing it. But quite often my clients haven’t realized that their customers have changed the way they do business – which means that WE have to change the way we attract THEM.
It’s been a long-time practice to boost your website traffic and ranking by building links from relevant websites to your site. With all of the Google updates over the past few years, you might be wondering if you should bother with link building at all. Here’s what Website Magazine says:
CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT
The creation of quality, relevant content is the cornerstone of any link building program. Content can be created both on your website or as a separate piece that lives off your website. The more people like the content, the more they will read it and share it – musts to drive links and traffic. Content does not have to be text, although in some cases text is preferred. Content can be photographs, video, infographics, ebooks – the list goes on.
With the information that passes on the Internet, it is hard to decipher what is the best information. Companies need to lead in the ‘expert’ arena. By providing a consistent voice on topics appropriate to your company – via content, social media, PR – it will help distinguish the content you produce and help the chances of your content being shared.
So, are YOU creating content? Would you even know where to start? I know many business owners that don’t think they have the skill, creativity, time, etc., to do it – but it really doesn’t have to take a lot of that to do a passable job. Want to know how? Let’s talk.
Ever thought you could be involved in a conversation with Ashton Kutcher, Jon Stewart, or Miley Cyrus? What about some of your industry’s rock stars? Well, you can, through social media. Tools like Twitter and Facebook make it easy to connect with the stars and the experts on a person-to-person level. Here’s how:
Get on their radar. Read their blog. See what they’re writing about. Retweet their tweets, comment on their Facebook page, and link to their content. The goal is not to become a stalker, but to let them know you’re out there, and you’re more than just a fanboy or fangirl. (If you feel a little stalker-ish, remember that they’re posting their content in a public forum, for public consumption.
Add value. Leave insightful blog comments that expand on the topic. Write your own blog post and link back to theirs. Create a video response. Let them know about your experiences and results using the methods or techniques they’ve taught.
Ask a question. Give them something to respond to! Ask a question that shows you understand their topic, and that you’ve followed their information streams. Don’t make it too personal, but make it unusual – something that you haven’t seen answered elsewhere, but something other followers might wonder about, too.
Don’t get offended. With tens, and sometimes hundreds, of thousands of followers, chances are that your question is one of dozens they’ll receive. If yours doesn’t get answered, don’t get hurt feelings. It’s purely a matter of volume, not anything personal against you.
Rinse and repeat. Keep at it – the longer you work at establishing the relationship, the more familiar your name will seem. If your question isn’t answered the first time you ask it, post it again. Try a few times, and then move on and ask another.
Give before you ask. If you’re hoping to establish a relationship with someone in your industry as a potential joint venture partner, or because you want to guest post on their blog, then you have some more work to do. The top dogs in different niches receive dozens of requests for help. Stand out from the crowd of favor-seekers by doing something for THEM first.
Getting noticed by the stars in Hollywood, or in your industry, is possible. But rather than sending a fan letter via post and waiting months for a reply, cut through the red tape and go directly to the source via social media. It will save you time, and save yourself a postage stamp.
As an entrepreneur, time is your most precious asset. It’s the one resource you cannot beg, borrow, steal or replace. While some people are thinking of social media as a sinkhole for losing hours and days, smart business people know they can leverage their networks for a variety of business-related purposes. Hopefully, this series has given you some ideas for saving yourself time, money, and effort.
In an earlier article in this series, we covered using your social media networks to get informal opinions from your followers and friends. Now, let’s cover how to solicit more structured input. There are a number of ways to create and post “official” polls or surveys, none of which involve getting a paper survey printed, and sending it out via snail mail to your followers. Here are some options that are much faster and less expensive:
Google Docs. Create a simple survey in Google Docs (docs.google.com) and get your results in spreadsheet format – for free! You can even brand the survey with your own colors and logo.
Survey Monkey. If you want to email out your survey, check with Survey Monkey at http://surveymonkey.com. You can create surveys quickly and easily, and aggregate answers from up to 100 respondents for free. Get more surveys and more answers for a small monthly fee.
Facebook Polls. Facebook makes it really easy to add polls or surveys to your Facebook profile or page. Just go to http://facebook.com/survey to be walked through the free process.
WordPress Widgets. There are a number of WordPress widgets and plug-ins that can be added easily to your WordPress blog or website. Check out WP-Polls, Poll Code, Snap Poll, and Vizu.
Polls are perfect for the following circumstances:
You want to increase engagement among your followers. Polls are a perfect way to gather information and use it to further discussion. Most people don’t just want to weigh in with their position; they want to discuss it, too! If you need a reminder, consider all the Facebook posturing in support of your friends’ political candidate of choice.
You want to use current events to spark conversation. Does your audience think the latest Google search algorithm changes will affect their business? Do your blog readers agree with the experts’ national college football rankings? Ask them, and you’ll establish yourself as an expert by hosting the conversation.
You want input from your followers and volume of responses is more important than speed. If you are in the process of developing a new product, you can find out if people would prefer an audio, video, written, or multimedia product. If you’re thinking of visiting a few cities on tour, you can see where your pockets of fans reside.
You want to gather demographic information about your followers. Want to know how often your followers golf, how much money they spend on equipment, and what their biggest challenges are? A survey is a great way to solicit that type of information.
Make a choice: Would you rather spend the December holidays with your crazy Uncle Bob the roadkill taxidermist attached to your hip, or spend the afternoon trying to troubleshoot your computer modem by phone with your cable company? If you’re like most people, you’d ask Bob to pull out the photos of the lifelike armadillos. Let’s face it; these days, customer support can be a pain in the rear, not to mention a huge time suck.
Thank goodness, you can turn to your social network to help you out. Here’s how:
Tweet first. There are a number of major companies, including Zappos.com and Comcast, who have customer service reps following twitter streams and searching for their brand name in search of unhappy customers. If you can post your issue in 140 characters or less, go for it! Hint: make sure you use the company name – spelled correctly – in your tweet, and employ hashtags where warranted. In other words: “My #HP OfficeJet 5600 won’t print from my MacBook Pro. Anyone have any ideas?
Take it to Facebook. Many companies have branded Facebook pages where you’ll receive a personalized response within hours, or even minutes. That way you can go about your business instead of sitting on the phone, frantically working your way through the automated telephone tree. Hint: Post a message on their wall rather than trying to contact them via Facebook message. The public aspect of your plea for help will ignite a faster response.
Try their website. Bypass the 800 number and email in favor of a live chat. You can get a live person immediately (or within a minute or two) instead of playing hurry up and wait on the phone. Live chat not available? Try the email contact form. You may have to wait 24 hours for a response, but you can use that time productively.
Record a video. If all else fails, record a video and post it to YouTube. You never know what a visual plea for help, or a bad review, will do for cutting through the red tape. Be calm, though, and leave room for a response; if all you do is spazz out, they’ll just write you off as a nut.
Record a screenshot or screen video to demonstrate your issue. I’ve found this to be tremendously helpful, especially with software issues. Nothing is more frustrating than to describe your problem and hear “well, it works on our end”. The video evidence often reveals what the true problem is. Use a tool like Jing which can save your captured video and gives you a hyperlink you can share on social media.
The key here is to take control of your own time rather than letting someone else determine your destiny. Don’t let “them” tell you that you must sit on hold for 45 minutes before you get a living, breathing person to listen to your problems. Save time and take it online.
"As a small business owner, I knew how critical visibility on the web was, but didn't know where to start. Ken Ivey at MidTN Technology worked with me to upgrade my website... and taught me many ways I could get my business noticed on the internet - that I didn't know existed. I fully recommend MidTN Technology for not only the expertise, but also for the personal service and professionalism."