4 Factors Behind Marketing Failures

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure to be invited to do an ‘Ask The Experts’ call with Colleen Ferrary, President of Small Business USA. Colleen and her organization are dedicated to helping small business owners access resources that help them succeed.

On our call, we discussed a number of factors that both enable and dis-able the ability of a small business owner or solo-practitioner to be effective in their marketing.  I thought it would be timely and useful to share some of the highlights of our call with you, today.

Marketing Means

We began by talking about the role and definition of marketing.  While there are various ways to define this essential business growth function, I said I like one that’s fairly simple:  

“Marketing is a business function that reflects the decisions you make and actions you take, over time, to increase the quantity and improve the quality of opportunities where a sale can be made”

Marketing effectively, means you’ll be coming into contact with people who can best understand, value, desire and afford the beneficial difference you can create in their life on a predictable and regular basis.  And that spells S-U-C-C-E-S-S.

The Challenges You Face

Typically, if you’re a small business owner or sole-practitioner, marketing is a challenge. Why?  Because it sucks . . . resources away from other activities in your business where you’d prefer to use them.  Notably, there are four (4) factors that limit your ability to market your business, your products and your services as effectively as you’d like:

Time
You have all the time in the world.  24 hours per day.  So a lack of time isn’t the problem.  OK, what is?  Making choices on how to use your time that doesn’t help you your marketing, effectively or efficiently.  Too often, I see people who make bad choices on how to invest their time on marketing as well as other areas of their life.  Making better choices seems easy enough.  Until you realize there is an emotional payoff for the choices we make.  Yes, including the ‘bad’ ones.  Reframing the importance of marketing can help.  But this is a real issue.

Money
Business people often lament, “I can’t afford to spend money on marketing”.  Really?  Tell me, “Can you really afford not to market your business or practice?”  Unless you’re absolutely without a source of funds for marketing, this is not a good mantra.  Said often enough, you may actually believe it!  My suggestion . . . get in touch with WHY you want to market — the consequential benefits it will produce — and you’ll reframe this issue in a totally different and far more productive way.

Skills
This is probably one of the few legitimate reasons why people don’t market effectively.  You need to have an aptitude for marketing.  Not everyone does.  Maybe not even you.  But even if you have it, you need time to invest in learning how to do it effectively.  For these two reasons alone, having the requisite skill to do your own marketing isn’t something that’s safe to assume is always likely to happen.

Staff
If you’re a solo-practitioner, you have a number ‘hats’ to wear.  For that same reason, you will be most challenged by this factor.  You know the meaning of the saying, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to ME!”.  Your nemesis is, more than anything, time.  More precisely, it’s all the demands you have to do everything you must in the 24 hours a day you have to do it.  If you lack the skills to do your marketing, then you’re really in a tough spot to get your marketing done effectively and efficiently. If you lack both time and skill . . . get someone else to do your marketing activities for you . . . or, suffer the consequences.

If you have staff, they may be just as challenged to do your marketing –– for the reasons cited above.  First, they must have skills to market your business, products and services.  Second, they must have the time — in addition to what you’re already asking them to do — to do marketing on top of everything else.  Regardless of what your employees’ challenge may be, something has to give and usually, it’s not something you’ll like.

A Solution You May Like

If you’re a big company with lots of money (a sure-fire way to buy someone else’s TIME!) and staff (some of whom have some aptitude for marketing), then this won’t be of interest to you.

BUT . . . if you’re a time-starved solopreneur or self-employed advisor / planner / professional . . . this may be the best way to do marketing –– for you –– that is not only simple and effective but affordable and sustainable, as well. (How cool is that!)

istockphotoPAM

Say “Hello” to PAM — Personally Assisted Marketing

‘PAM’ is a marketing service that’s designed for you if you lack the time and possibly the skills you need to do your own marketing.

Because PAM is affordable, you don’t need to invest a lot of money to see meaningful and measurable results.  In fact, your marketing budget, large or small, is capable of generating a really nice ROI for you . . . in the hands of ‘PAM’.

 

How It Works

The power of PAM comes from a series of ‘touches’ . . . contacts made with people who are your prospects, clients and centers-of-influence.  Most of these are done FOR you . . . by a VMA (Virtual Marketing Assistant) who is assigned to handle your marketing.

We’ve learned the #1 reason smaller firms, consultants and advisors find marketing so frustrating is that they’re trying to do it themselves.  Not good!

That’s why you want someone else — your VMA — to do most of the ‘heavy lifting’ your marketing requires.  This allows you to respond to marketing that puts people, with a PAIN or a PREFERRAL into contact with you on a regular basis.  That is ‘all good’ for your bottom-line!

The Eight (8) Touches PAM Makes For You

Since most of your clients are buying a relationship with you, PAM focuses on creating ‘touches’ that are personally meaningful to the people you’re cultivating for the lifetime value they offer you . . . either in the form of revenues and/or referrals.  These include:

Emails
PAM sends these to people who want to hear from you — i.e. 100% opt-in.  These emails are short, interesting and can be scanned in no more than 7 seconds.  We feature your photo and contact information prominently on each one.

PAM also does all the ‘work’ involved in creating these emails.  From researching, writing, releasing and reporting on what your people do after they receive them.  All you need to do is invite people to receive them from you.  PAM . . . does everything else!

This keeps you top-of-mind with people who can, sooner or later, buy from you or refer you to others who can.  They’re also designed to get people to ‘raise their hands’ and let you know they’d like to learn more about specific products or services you offer.  Sweet!

Phone Calls
Once a quarter, your VMA will make a ‘courtesy call’ to each person you’re cultivating.  The goal for each of these calls is to do three (3) things:

1.  remind them that you are thinking about them . . . in a fiduciary way . . . to ensure they’re doing well

2.  learn if they have a need that someone (an ‘Expert’) in your network may be able to help them address

3.  invite them to request a call or arrange a meeting with you, if they wish, to discuss a matter of importance . . . to them

Do you get a periodic call from the office of your doctor, dentist, accountant, coach, auto mechanic, remodeling contractor, etc.  Few do.  But the impression it makes — and the perception of ‘preference’ it generates — for you when you do this is . . . ‘priceless’.

Meet ‘N Greet Lunches
One of the best ways to reconnect with people who are ‘key’ to your practice or business — prospects, clients and centers-of-influence — is by breaking bread together.  Once or twice a month, PAM arranges for you to meet with 2 – 3 other people you’re actively cultivating.

You have to eat anyway, why not use the opportunity to strengthen relationships, introduce people who know you to one another.  In the process, you’ll discover needs and opportunities you can address.  Plus, ‘PAM’ takes care of everything — from contacting the restaurant (or, ordering the food to be delivered to you office), inviting and confirming the ‘guests’ and following-up afterwards.

Thinking of You Emails
Periodically, PAM will send a brief email to people you’re cultivating with one or two sentences.  Something like, “Dear Mike — I saw this post on Linkedin and thought you’d find it of interest.  Hope all’s well with you and yours.  Sincerely, Christine”

Sending these thought-full emails to your ‘special’ people on topics you know (and, tell PAM!) are important to them will make YOU far more valuable to them, as well.  Guaranteed!

Preferral Exchange Meetings
You know there are certain people in your business circles who have referred people to you in the past and likely would do so again in the future, right?  Well, do you plan to reconnect with them on a regular basis?  If not, PAM can help make that happen.

Once or twice a month — you choose — PAM will arrange for you to meet with people who are likely to introduce you to new people who are likely to understand, value, desire and afford your problem-solving services.  Of course, fair’s fair and this is an excellent opportunity for you to return the favor.

But the bottom-line is that, by doing this consistently and conscientiously, you’ll be regularly generating new people to talk with because of the influence and prestige of someone else who’s already established a ‘trusted advisor’ relationship with them.  Kind of makes your work a lot easier, doesn’t it?

Introductions to Your Experts
As PAM connects with your people each month, ‘needs’ will be learned and shared with you.  Many of these will not be needs for something you do.  But other people you know will be able to help.  When that’s the case, PAM will help you make an introduction of your contact and your expert.  This tends to delight three (3) people.

Your contact is delighted because you’ve helped them to identify and meet with someone they can trust — because they trust you, yes?  Your Expert is delighted because you’ve helped them to meet with a prospective client they might other never have known about.  And then there’s you.  You now have two (count’m 2!) more people in the world whose opinion of you has gone up a few points.  That’s called goodwill.  And goodwill turns into more revenues and referrals!

Items-of-Value
Staying-in-touch and top-of-mind with your key people is an important thing to do.  And, do regularly.  That’s why an item-of-value is so important.  This ‘touch’ needn’t be expensive.  But, it must be thoughtful.  It’s a tangible experience that reminds someone you’re cultivating that, “You’re important to me”.

These items are usually very simple, inexpensive and have a high utility value.  One of the more creative clients we’ve had the privilege to work with uses a solid milk-chocolate bar that shows their practice’s name and logo.  It doesn’t last long (DUH!), but the feeling it creates for our client and their firm is . . . priceless!

Handwritten Notes
Each month, PAM will remind you of certain individuals who should receive a handwritten note from you.  These are (mercifully) brief.  Why?  It’s not the message you write.  It’s the message you’re sending to someone you’re cultivating — “You’re important to me”.

The reason notes work so well is that in a high-tech world where it’s so easy to ‘like’ someone’s page on Facebook or ‘follow’ someone on Twitter, you have to give your personal attention and time to write a note and (snail) mail it to someone.  What your effort communicates, more than any words you may write on the card, is that the recipient is someone you regard, respect and value.  Get your people feeling that feeling on a regular basis and you won’t worry about any alleged competitors!

The Power of PAM: Synergy

As good as each of these ‘touches’ may be, the real power of the PAM service doesn’t come from using any one of them.  It comes from the synergy of combining all of them into a coherent and coordinated plan of action that is carried out consistently and diligently.

Your PAM plan is uniquely tailored to your needs and resources
For example, you may not want to have two Meet ‘N Greet lunches every month.  OK, just do one.  Or, you prefer your item of value to be a white paper — rather than a keychain calculator.  That’s fine.  You have a lot of latitude and options.

Regardless of your choices, just be sure the type and frequency of the PAM ‘touches’ your plan calls for are done consistently.  That’s why we assign a Virtual Marketing Assistant to you . . . to help you make sure your marketing activities  happen “according to plan”.

POINT:
Don’t Let Limiting Factors Hold Back Your Marketing and Your Success!  Get PAM working . . . for you!

Like this post?  Get our bi-weekly, one page INSIGHTS Client Letter!  It’s free.  Learn more by clicking here.

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Learn More About PAM — Personally Assisted Marketing
Complete the form below.  Mention ‘PAM’ in the comment box.

We’ll be in touch to discuss how it works and, more importantly, how it may be able to do what your previous marketing efforts haven’t done as well as you wanted.

Packaging Your Service (part 5)

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package

Constructing Your (Intangible Service) Package

Today, we’re going to delve into what packaging your service really demands. It may help if you keep  “The Pure Powder Skiing Escape” from the 1/8/2013 post in mind as we do this.

Building Your Package . . . Steps 3 – 4 of 9

In this post, I’m going to explain Steps 3 and 4 of the 9 steps shared in part 3.  With these insights, creating a ‘package’ for your service will become much much easier!

Step 3:  IDENTIFY . . . Specific PAIN/s of Your Ideal Client
As important as it is to have an ULTIMATE benefit or goal in mind, in this step you drill down a bit more and get a lot more specific about what issues, frustrations, concerns, irritations, etc. your service package might address.

When you consider your Ideal Client (remember, “Harry”?) you’ll quickly realize that he or she may want a ‘big’ beneficial outcome from you but that may require achieving several smaller component goals.  For example, a financial planner’s client may want to ‘retire with an income that supports a decent lifestyle’.  But making that bigger goal possible may require more specific goals to happen.  Such as:

•  Having a guaranteed income in the event a client is unable to work
•  Avoiding the catastrophic loss a long-term illness suggests
•  Tax planning to legally reduce taxes and maximize income
•  etc. etc.

Each of these ‘component’ goals suggest different ‘packages’ of applied expertise that, in total, contribute to producing the ultimate benefit a client desires — to retire with sufficient income to support a decent lifestyle.

POINT:
Build a package for EACH specific outcome that a client wants from you.

Step 4:  REFINE . . . Your BENEFIT for Specific Groups of Your Ideal Clients
In step 3 (above) you saw how an ‘ultimate’ benefit is actually made up of one or more ‘supporting’ benefits.  But when you consider specifically WHO you’re seeking to attract with your package, you’ll begin to see how each group of clients wants to enjoy your ultimate benefit . . . in their own unique way.

Remember the “Pure Powder Skiing Escape”?  That’s a specific package for a specific type of client — the corporate traveler who wants a ‘civilian’ holiday where skiing is the ‘main event’.

While the same level of amenities is still desired by the travel agency’s business traveler client, this package addresses how this same client wants to get away from it all on their vacation vs. a business trip.  If you go back and review what this business-traveler-on-vacation package offers, you’ll see it’s specific in WHAT it does but is still mindful of WHO is going to get to enjoy it.

In this step, you want to consider your Ideal Client and the Ultimate Benefit they want but . . . choose a specific benefit that contributes to that ultimate benefit and build your package to provide that outcome or result for your client.

POINT:
Every package is built to produce a specific benefit that contributes to and is supportive of the ultimate benefit a client is seeking from you and your problem-solving expertise.

Don’t want to wait?  Download the full Special Report . . . NOW!

PR Opportunities Are . . . Everywhere

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Whether you love the tragic-comedy Lifescapades of Lindsay Lohan or not, you have to admit that she’s getting a LOT of media coverage lately.

In fact, all that media coverage has not been lost on the good people at Goodyear Tire.  Yes, the people with the blimp.

Lindsay — You’ve Got Mail!
It seems that, following the recent episode in a NYC parking garage where Ms. Lohan allegedly hit a pedestrian while attempting to park her Porsche — and the media that went nuts like a bunch of sharks in a feeding frenzy, good old Goodyear has taken it upon itself to help save the world (or, at least make it better) by offering driving lessons to Lindsay and Amanda Byrnes.

OK, That’s Funny.  But Goodyear is Totally Serious!  
How serious?  Serious enough to send her publicist an actual letter in which they offer Lindsay FREE DRIVING LESSONS with a professional driver at the Goodyear headquarters.  And, oh yes, they guarantee there will be “no paparazzi allowed”.  You can read the actual letter by clicking here

Naturally, the letter does a nice job of promoting Goodyear’s local dealers and tire products.  (Why not, it’s THEIR letter, right?).

Listening for the BUZZ . . . Attracts the GREEN!
Goodyear’s PR people were smart to jump on this ‘current event’ (Linday’s notorious driving reputation) to raise Goodyear’s AWARENESS to a nice level using the very same media who were covering Linday’s latest lifescapades in the first place!

What’s Good for Goodyear Is Good for You, Too!
If you’re lucky enough to have an in-your-face media fiasco like Linday produces predictably and periodically, you have a readily available source of inspiration for a ‘newsy’ angle on which you can build a story for your brand, company, product or service.

When you do that, you are also likely to gain the attention of the media and all the good things — increased brand awareness and probably increased website traffic (to name just two things of many!) that go with that.

KEY POINT:
PR is a great way to raise the public’s awareness of your business and brand.  The secret to PR that doesn’t end up lining birdcages in Baltimore is to piggy-back off of some highly touted and visible event that everyone seems to know about and leverage that media coverage into a highly visible PR opportunity for you.

Exclusive . . . is Attractive

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There is a wise and seasoned professional colleague of mine . . . named Kyle Hunt.

Kyle’s based in Michigan and he’s the owner of Remodel Your Marketing.  He specializes in working exclusively with clients who are  in the remodeling business and related trades — painters, carpenters, builders, electricians . . . well, you get the idea.

Kyle is undoubtedly one of THE best marketing advisors to trades people that I know.

Kyle is someone who ‘Walks his Talk’.  He practices what he preaches to his clients.  And there’s great wisdom in how he does that.

One of the basic marketing objectives is to seek to be attractive . . . to the kind of people you want as clients.  And, of course, the corollary to that would be to know the kind of person you do NOT want to attract.  That suggests you should have an ‘Ideal Client Profile’.

Your Ideal Client Profile
Often, when we talk about a ‘profile’, we mean the demographic and psychographic factors that correlate highly with the kind of people who can best understand what we do, desire the benefits we offer, afford the fees we must charge and (sooner or later) buy what we offer.

This is NOT that kind of profile.

The profile I want to introduce to you now — and use Kyle’s own profile (below) as an excellent example — is more of a profile that allows your prospects to self-qualify or, self-DISqualify themselves as being viable candidates to work with you.

Below you can see the “7 Characteristics” that Kyle uses to help people determine if they might be a good ‘fit’ for Kyle and vice versa.

Knowing WHO you do NOT want to work with is as important as knowing who you do. Effective marketing honors the truth that . . . “You can’t be all things to all people”.

So Kyle brilliantly just ‘puts it out there’ for all to see and use to determine if they’re even QUALIFIED to be one of Kyle’s clients.

It’s not hubris to do this, it’s brilliance!

KEY POINT:
When you know who you want (or, don’t!) as a client . . . and can communicate that to others . . . you’re far more likely to end up with clients you’ll like! 

Skilled Expert or Valued Advisor?

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There’s such a DIFFERENCE!

Skilled Expert:  Going DEEP
Like most of us, you probably began your working career in some field — e.g. law, accounting, financial planning, etc. and developed a professional reputation and regard for ‘knowing your stuff’.  Expertise in your primary field is a foundation . . . on which to build your professional reputation and regard.  But it’s not enough if you aspire to build a long-term, trusted advisor relationship with your clients.

Valued Advisor:  Going WIDE
Building on the foundation of being really, really good at what you do — i.e. ‘solving problems for your clients’ —  you’ll next want to gain knowledge that is not directly applicable to the field of your primary expertise.

The primary value — to you — of gaining an education about topics outside of your primary expertise is so that you can see things from an entirely different perspective — unlike a skilled expert who ‘knows it all’ . . . and not much else.

An Example:  “Learning To Fly”
Some years ago I had the privilege of learning how to fly.  Fortunately, I also had the aptitude to do so effectively.  While not critical to my later work as an advisor to salespeople and managers in the financial services industry, my pilot training proved to be an ‘edge’ that other ‘equally skilled’ experts did not enjoy.

At one point, an agency manager I was working with asked me, “How will I know that my training of a producer on some skill was adequate?”  What he really wanted to know was, “When can I ‘stop worrying’ about my producer and ‘assume’ she’s developed the competency I’ve been training her to have?”.

It was a good question.  Fairly common, too.  Because of my earlier flight training, I recalled — and shared — what I learned on the day I ‘soloed’ my training aircraft.

Aviation Navigation and E-6 Flight Computer

It was a cold January day in New England.  Snow squalls were coming in from the west.  Grey, overcast day.  The kind you like to think about while you’re on a Caribbean cruise!

“Today’s your lucky day, Bill!”
My flight instructor had me doing the usual take-offs and landings (known as ‘touch-and-go’) in the airport’s landing pattern.  Nothing too eventful.  I felt I was doing OK.  “Make the next landing a ‘Full Stop’ . . .”  I wasn’t sure why.  I soon found out, though!

We taxied back to the hangar area.  My instructor opened the door and said, “Bill . . . you’re ready . . . do three take-offs and make a ‘full stop’ after each.  Taxi back to the active (runway) and do it again.  I’ll be watching you from the hangar . . . don’t worry, you’ll be fine.  Now GO!”  With that, he got out of the aircraft and walked off toward the hangar area.  I was not expecting that!  But I felt excited at the thought that today I would fly the aircraft all by myself.  Woo hoo!

The three take-offs and landings were (with one exception) ‘uneventful’ and (obviously) successful.  After my third landing I taxied back to the hangar area.  I got out of the aircraft and asked my instructor, “How did you know TODAY . . . was THE day to let me ‘go solo’?”

He told me, “Well, I sit in the right seat and I observe you.  I want to see if you’re able to hold a steady heading and altitude.  If you do, that’s evidence of your SKILL.  If you stop holding either one, I want to see if you notice.  If you do, that’s evidence of your AWARENESS.  Finally, I watch to see if you correct the situation by using the controls and power to restore your heading and altitude.  If you do, that’s evidence of your MASTERY.  Once I know that you can:

1.  make the aircraft do what it’s supposed to be doing,
2.  spot it when it’s not, and
3.  correct in a timely manner . . .

you really don’t need me to sit in the ‘right seat’ and today . . . you demonstrated all three factors so . . . I got out of your way of becoming the pilot I know you’re going to be”.

Wow!  That was brilliant.  I shared both that story as well as the lesson it taught me . . . with my agency client.  Technically speaking, learning to fly had ‘nothing’ to do with getting his producer to generate more revenues for the practice.

But it had a lot to do with helping my client become more effective as an agency manager whose success reflected the quality of skills his producers were learning from him –– just as my own piloting skills reflected my talented and caring flight instructor from many years before.

KEY POINT:
Go deep AND wide.  Deep = expertise in your primary field.  Wide = broadening experiences in other (often unrelated!) fields. You’ll be more of a Valued Advisor and . . . more difficult to replace!

Is Your Message … COMPELLING?

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The power of words . . . can move people to action.

You just have to say what you want to say . . . in a way that matters.

Like this:

Publish or Perish

In a recent article in the prestigious Harvard Business Review, David Edelman of McKinsey & Company argues that publishing a regular flow of quality, market-centric content has a funny way of generating a regular flow of revenues.  Of course, he warns, not to do so . . . is a choice made with potentially perilous consequences!

Four Ways To Publish Content

EDUCATION / ENTERTAINMENTSears posts cooking videos on Youtube, Macy’s and Target also have topical treatments (i.e. content, content and more content!) on topics they believe appeal to their market and will cause sales of their products.  Seems to be working!

PROBLEM-SOLVINGWilliams-Sonoma offers content on how to best choose food and wine, Home Depot offers DIY videos on all kinds of topics.

SOCIAL PROOFLL Bean hosts ‘stories’ from actual customers and many bloggers are being encouraged to create content about topics that lead readers to (DUH!) learn about and purchase products these firms offer for sale.

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING / MAINTAINING– perhaps the most challenging because it requires robust monitoring, ongoing analysis and immediate response.  This is also the most potent and measurable means of marketing.  Best example?  Amazon.com

KEY POINT:
We advocate the publishing model as a key to modern marketing for many reasons.  Here’s why — it works!  Try it.  You’ll like it, too! 

Getting More Traffic and Better Results

Yesterday, we talked about the value of creating remarkable content that Google loves and regards highly.

Quality content will definitely help you attract visitors to your website, blog or landing page.  But it’s only a start. Even the best content alone won’t increase revenues for you.

More Keys To Inbound Marketing Success
Inbound marketing is deemed effective when it does the following for you:

•  Attracts qualified visitors — aided largely by your remark-able content
•  Encourages them to engage and interact with you
•  Positions your company favorably against your competitors
•  Cultivates a relationship with you over time, and (should we ever forget!)
•  Generates revenues for you

Key 2: Encourage Engagement and Interaction  
Did you ever have a teacher who would call on you — at random: “Chris, what do YOU think about what Jane just said?”.  I have!  And it sure kept me on my toes in her class.  That’s what you want your visitors to do after following your content back to a post or landing page.

Some good ways to do this include:

•  Comments — allow and invite feedback from your readers to your blog posts
•  Polls & Surveys — invite voting on topics you can address — and post the results!
•  Video — short, focused ‘treatments’ build your reputation as an expert in your field
•  Audio — like video — remember: “short and sweet” . . . is hard to beat!
•  Whitepapers — focused content rendered into a ‘Report’ or ‘E-Book’ — very popular

Whenever possible, make your content relevant and download-able.  Why?  Because it helps you learn who’s been attracted to you and would like to get to know you better!  We call this ‘conversion’.  It’s why you have ‘landing pages’ where visitors can voluntarily (that’s key!) exchange their information for yours.

KEY POINT:
Attracting visitors with relevant and valued content is a good start . . . providing further options to engage with you helps boost your conversion rate (visitors / registrants) and THAT . . . fills your database of people who are getting to know, like and trust you.  From there, you can make offers, close sales and collect revenues . . . by design, not accident!  

Keys to Generating Traffic for Your Site

Attracting Traffic!
Apart from a possible narcissistic indulgence, you want to be found by people who are seeking the knowledge and expertise you have in great abundance. Afterall, if no one knows about you, how will they ever do business with you?  It’s not likely, is it?  That’s why you have (I hope!) a blog and write posts. That attracts qualified traffic (i.e. visitors) to your site from the Internet.

Your Credibility and Relevance
Being found by prospects for your business begins by Google seeing your site as a credible and relevant source of information you offer on the topic being searched.

Keyword-rich Content
One of the first keys to getting Google to show you to people who want to know what you know is to publish information that Google feels fits the search.

To do that, you must learn the keywords and phrases (AKA ‘long-tail’ keywords) people are using when they conduct an online search for the problem-solving information you have to offer.  There are several online tools that can help you here (e.g. Keyword Tracker).  A quick search on Google will reveal a number of resources on the topic.  Alternatively, HubSpot clients have this functionality seamlessly built-in to their sites — automatically.

Keyword-rich content starts with HEADLINES that are keyword-rich.  
Here are some examples of how one firm, HealthBridge — is creating relevant content to be presented favorably by Google.  Note how each headline reflects key words and phrases that are highly relevant to people who may require and/or provide in-home care for seniors:

KEY POINT:
Publishing Content Online — is a key to marketing effectively.  Content that attracts quality visitors (traffic) must be credible and relevant to the people you seek to attract. That means learning and using keywords in the headline of every post you publish.

Rules for Building Relationships Online

I get a daily email from HARO (Help A Reporter Out) — brainchild of Peter Shankman. HARO is a service that provides a venue for reporters and bloggers and sources of news and information to connect. It’s totally free and it’s made Shankman well-known and a hero to many of us who seek quality sources for our content.

Recently, he spoke at a blogging conference on how to build relationships online. He was a smashing success, holding the room spellbound for 90 minutes sharing his views on life as much as business. Here are 4 highlights from his talk:

Own It — whatever you do online with a project, share it.  Things won’t always go as you like.  It happens (or, something like that!).  Do your best to make things right.  To make things work.  And if you don’t or can’t . . . own it.  People will regard and respect you more than if you live in denial and seek to blame others for the situations you may find yourself in.

Be Relevant — building a base of fans requires that you offer what people want.  People don’t care about you.  They care about themselves.  If you honor that by offering what they want, they’ll give you what you seek — support and attention and loyalty.

Learn How To Communicate — people have all the time in the world as well as the attention span of a gnat!  If you want to attract and keep the attention of people, you must learn how to make your content not only relevant but rendered coherently as well.

Keep In Touch — it’s so easy to make connections online but it’s difficult to build them into relationships of substance.  Peter suggests making yourself uncomfortable.  “Call people and say, “Hi, how are you doing?”.  It’s going to be difficult.   But it’s also going to make you stand out.  In a good way.