Wayne Gretsky the renowned hockey player was once asked for the ‘secret’ for his success.  His reply?  “Other players go to where the puck is now.  I go to where the puck is going to be”.

Anticipation . . . determining where the thinking is going
In marketing, the same principle applies. You want to engage with prospective clients where they are going (to be) in their thinking about what you do . . . i.e. ‘the conversation’ just as Gretsky did with the hockey puck.

Keywords . . . the key to being where your prospects are going to be
While outbound marketing tactics — cold calls, mass media advertising, etc. are still viable, inbound marketing — being found by prospects when they’re seeking information about what you do — is growing rapidly as a critical component of effective marketing.

Being Found . . . is your first step
Once someone finds you online, thanks to your keyword-relevant content and a Google search, you want to invite them to get what they want — useful, relevant information on the topic of interest — from your blog or website.  That means a landing page offering a whitepaper, report, etc. in exchange for their contact information — which you can use to cultivate a relationship that may lead, sooner or later, to a new client relationship.

KEY POINT:
Be there . . . whenever your prospects’ are thinking about what you do

In Marketing, there’s an expression for content that converts unknown website visitors into known ‘people of interest’ — ‘bait-piece’.  Yep.  Just like putting ‘bait’ on a hook when you were fishing as a kid — it attracts people who are interested in what you do . . . and invites them to take an action you want.

Every Client Starts Somewhere . . .
In marketing, especially online marketing, you want a prospect to ‘raise their hand’ and tell you who they are.  Why?  So you can begin or more deeply develop a marketing dialog with them that provides the information and creates the opportunity needed to turn a casual visitor into a paying client.

The Ultimate Bait-piece . . . is Yours For The Asking
Kip Bodnar over at HubSpot — the leader in online, inbound marketing services (did I mention we’re a reseller for them, too?) has just released the ultimate ‘bait-piece’ on the topic of how to create e-books that attract traffic to your website and generate leads you can develop into productive and profitable clients.

DOWNLOAD Kip’s e-book . . . just click the image in this post.  See?  This really works!

KEY POINT:
You catch more visitors with ‘bait’ than without it . . . and an e-book is great bait!

You know of facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Biznik and that there are (literally!) hundreds of social media sites and networks.

You are also likely to have a ‘profile’ on them, too.  But, do you know . . . WHY?

Check out this 2 minute, 35 second video for a very compelling answer!

All the social networks do is help you become “part of the conversation” . . . that’s happening in the heads of your prospects and key people . . . right now.

There’s a real shift in the way marketing is being done in 2011.

Outbound Marketing = ‘Old School’
Some marketers advocate what is called “Interruption” marketing — because your marketing messages are interrupting the attention of people who may (rebuttable presumption!!) be interested in hearing about you and your products and services.

Inbound Marketing = ‘New School’
In contrast, thanks to the proliferation of online social media — not just social networking sites — it’s very possible to engage with people on a topic and at a time when they’re interested in what you do or could do . . . for them — i.e. ‘NO Interruptions!”

Which Is Better?
Both kinds of marketing have their place.  Like life, few things are pure black or pure white.

Outbound marketing . . . cold calling, direct mailings, advertising on mass media, etc. are still valid for many businesses.  But, the shift is underway in how big a role and how much of a value the ‘Old School’ ways may be for companies like yours in the future.

Inbound marketing . . . using your blog with relevant and quality content to attract interested ‘eyeballs’ to your site, offering whitepapers, videos, etc. to motivate visitors to identify themselves to you and give you permission to cultivate a relationship with them, over time, until they are ready to make a buying decision . . . is growing in stature, importance, value and acceptance.

KEY POINT:
The world of marketing is changing . . . and the digital world is the ‘sandbox’ you want to be playing in! 

Think of ‘Sticky Notes’ and you probably think of the “3 M” corporation where that office staple was first invented.  But today’s post is not about yellow notepads.  Instead, the 3 M’s of this post serve as reminders of what is truly a basic and highly effective marketing formula . . .

M . . . Market 
Effective marketing requires that you know who you’re seeking and who, in this day and age of social media, might be seeking you!  More marketing is flawed from the beginning because there’s no clarity about WHO you’re seeking to attract — at least at first.

M . . . Message 
Regardless of the medium you use, effective communication always involves a message that resonates with the market member you’re seeking to attract.  Generally, this means speaking more about the issues that concern your prospect and less about the features and benefits of your service.

M . . . Movement
Assuming your message captures the attention — and interest — of the person/s you’re seeking to attract to you, you must invite ACTION!  In fact, it’s called a ‘Call To Action’ for just that reason. This means an offer of some kind.  And in the case of a service, your best offer involves useful information in exchange for someone’s permission to begin a cultivating conversation so you can become the ‘preferred provider’ you want to be.

KEY POINT:
Marketing can be complex or simple.  Just remember the “3M” approach and you’ll keep it simple and . . . highly effective, too.

 

CONVERSION
Once your activity with social media attracts people to you . . . via your blog posts, your tweets, facebook fan page updates, etc. one of your goals must be to convert them from an unknown visitor into a recognized person or fan.  Why?  Because if you don’t learn who cares to engage in a conversation with you, it’s going to be difficult for you to sustain an ongoing connection, isn’t it?

Also, unless someone reveals who they are to you, they also aren’t giving you permission to engage with them.  If nothing else, remember this . . . “Permission = Attention”.  If someone isn’t telling you who they are, they aren’t likely to sustain their attention on what you’re saying online.  You need something to do this . . . it’s called an OFFER OF VALUE . . . and valued CONTENT (e.g. a ‘whitepaper’) works great for doing this!

COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS
Call them fans or followers, the real value of social media is the creation and maintenance of a community of people who care to hear what you’re saying online and who (presumably) care about what you do in your business.

Finding and keeping a group of engaged fans . . . via facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social media is an effective way to market your business and an efficient way to grow it, too.  Why?  As your follower or fan-base grows, you’re being exposed to their network connections too.  If you have 1,000 fans on facebook and each averages 50 fans of their own, you’re being exposed to 50,000 people — with each post and a simple click of your mouse.  That . . . is why your community is such a valuable asset.

KEY POINT:
Learning who ‘knows’ and ‘likes’ you and then building a relationship of ‘trust’ with them . . . is truly priceless marketing! 

CURATION
Nick Unsworth, a local social media expert, speaks of content ‘curation’.  This means finding and sharing ‘refined’ information your desired audience wants to know about.

This could be as simple as creating a tweet on Twitter that references an article you know your people will find useful and . . . likely to share with their networks.  That’s just one way to grow your awareness and attraction factor considerably; there are many other options and that’s why being clear about your goals is so important to using social media effectively and efficiently.

CONVERSATION
Look, it’s called ‘social’ media for a reason!  Traditional marketing (i.e. advertising) was, necessarily, a one-way rather than a two-way conversation with prospects. Social media invites you to engage in a ‘dialog’ or ‘conversation’ with your prospects, clients and centers-of-influence.  And social media is perfect for that.

A blog not only invites people to engage in the conversation with you, it also provides the basis for helping interested people to find you in the first place!

KEY POINT:
Quality content invites and sustains an ongoing conversation!

Social Media is the topic of a business meeting we’re hosting tonight.  So I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned are some keys to using social media to build profitable relationships.

Actually, there are six of them . . .

  • Intention . . . means to have goals for doing ‘social media’ in the first place
  • Content . . . is ‘king’ in the digital world; the bait that attracts attention for you
  • Curation . . . is the ‘distillation’ of data into interesting and useful information
  • Conversation . . . means to engage with your visitors, fans and others who ‘like’ you
  • Conversion . . . not always a transaction, but a degree of deeper connection with you
  • Community . . . a following of people who ‘know, like and trust’ you . . . PRICELESS

In the coming days, we’ll take a closer look at each point.  Why?  To help you use social media to build profitable relationships for your business or practice.

KEY POINT:
Social media is a KEY media you want to use in your marketing 

MAN ON PHONE

Ever wonder about the frequency of your posts and the potency of your blog?

Technorati, the search engine and directory has indexed over 1,000,000 blogs and is a recognized authority on the subject of blogs and blogging.

The More Often You Post, The Better
Technorati found that the more frequently you post on your blog and the longer you’ve been blogging the greater the ‘authority’ or potency you have.

Authority means you’re more likely to be picked up in searches and Google will be your friend in the organic search world.

KEY POINT:
Frequency of posts and longevity of your blog is a potent combination that builds your authority as a blogger

Google, the internet information mogul, is getting a lot of press lately.  It’s latest creation, Google+ is still in beta and early prognosticators are suggesting it poses a competitive alternative to facebook and LinkedIn.  Perhaps that’s why it is attracting a lot of attention.  Not all nice.

I’m not a Google zealot nor am I a detractor. But I do recognize the enormous player they are in the online information dissemination business. For that reason, I looked at their TOS and Code of Conduct to see, for myself, what may (or, may not) be a source of concern as many allege these days.

Google’s TOS (Terms of Service) says:
“You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.” I’m no lawyer, but that’s pretty darned clear that content providers are recognized as retaining their rights by Google. It then goes on to state:
By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”

At first glance the ‘You give Google license to reproduce . . .” seems disconcerting. BUT . . . if you look at the last sentence, it provides a rationale . . . and a reasonable explanation: This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services”.

While I appreciate the concern people have upon hearing, ‘You grant Google a license to reproduce, adapt, modify, etc.” I don’t think it’s part of a Machiavellian plot to rule the content of the people (you and me) who make the Google service possible.

Finally, and this is more pragmatic than anything else . . .

KEY POINT:
“If not Google, Who?”