August 22, 2014

The JigSaw Puzzle Method to Creating Your Business Plan

jigsaw-girlOver the past several months I’ve been sharing some of the basic concepts, strategies, and tactics you need to build a solid Internet Marketing foundation. I’ve also shared the best resources, tools, and information available. I’ve encouraged you. I’ve nagged you. Heck, I’ve even browbeaten a few of you!

And what have you done?

No, really, what have you done with this information?

As I write this we are heading into the Holiday Season here in the United States. Beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with New Year’s, this is a time where we gather with Family and Friends to celebrate all that is good in our lives. We look back on the previous year and gear up for the new one.

Don’t you think this is the perfect time?

If you’ve been thinking about expanding your online marketing or adding Internet based services to your bricks and mortar services, now’s the time to git ‘er done!

blue jigsaw piecesYea, I do know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking that while you have the puzzle pieces you just don’t know which one to pick up first.

My Mom taught me to start with the corners…

When I was a little girl I came down with Walking Pneumonia. Ever had it? Yea, you feel fine. You’re sick but you don’t really feel bad. And when you are in the 2nd grade, you can’t go to school because it’s contagious. So how do you keep a 7 year-old quiet but entertained? In the time before video games?

Yep – jigsaw puzzles.

And we’re going to follow the same steps my Mom taught me to assemble your business plan…

The Big Picture

world jigsawIn a perfect world…What will all this look like when you are finished?

  • What do you love to talk about more than anything?
  • What do you do that when you are working on it, you just don’t notice the time passing?
  • What would you do if you didn’t need to make money?
  • What do you know or do that would help people live better?
  • What lifestyle do you want? Home at 5:00? Work at home? A team of employees or freelancers? Or do you want to go solo?
  • Do you want a bricks and mortar business? An Internet-based business? A combination?

Don’t think about challenges and obstacles at this point. Just design your dream business.

Action Step: Write down the answers to these questions right now. No, not this weekend or when you get around to it, now (yea, this qualifies as browbeating).

The Four Corners…

1.Your Target Market – Who are your customers and what do they want?

It may sound counterintuitive to think of your customers before you know what your are going to sell them but humor me for a moment…

There are studies and stats and stories that tell of the downfall of businesses that created the product they wanted but didn’t stop to think if there were actually customers to buy it.

Go back over what you wrote down about your perfect business. How can you position it so that you are giving your potential clients and customers what they want?

What’s the main problem they have, that you believe you can solve?

2. Your Products and Services – What will you offer?

What’s your method to solving their problem?

 

  • Consulting/Coaching
  • eBook
  • eCourses
  • Online community/forum
  • Video or audio podcasts
  • Or?

Consider creating a really fast prototype. Something you can test and pivot as necessary. This is what Eric Reis calls a Minimum Viable Product.

Make it a quality product but don’t invest a ton of money on design or tech stuff. Float a pdf version of your eBook and see what the response is. If people love it, then you can reinvest some of your revenues back into it and “plus it up”. Or do a series of video demonstrations using your webcam and Windows Live Movie Maker. If your response is favorable then you can bring in the professionals and get really creative, like Derek Halpern at SocialTriggers.com does.

3. Your Marketing Plan – How will they find you?

OK, so now you know what you want to do and how you will offer it to your audience. But how will you find the people who will become your audience?

To me, this is where it gets really fun. I know some of you think I’m crazy, after all, this is where that four-letter-word S-E-L-L comes in. But when you know you have something that will help people live better, how can you not just want to shout it from the rooftops? Seriously!

A few ways to spread the word:

  • Website/Blog – do yourself a favor, use WordPress
  • Social Media – Remember, your don’t have to be everywhere all the time.
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) – If you want to invest money in addition to your time to build your audience
  • Joint Ventures – Partner with your 2nd Customers (complementary, not competitive businesses) and help each other out.
  • Referrals – Find your Raving Fan clients and ask them who they know that you can serve.

A bit of personal development here…

If you’re still feeling scared and intimidated by the sales and marketing process then examine your motives. Are you looking to make a fast buck? Or help people? If you honestly answered that you want to help people then maybe you need to gain a bit of confidence in your knowledge and skill set? Be a life-long learner and you’ve got that covered. You don’t have to know it all now. Because you do know more than your target market.

corner-piece4. Take Action – How will you make this happen?

You know what you want to do, who you want to do it for and how you’ll let them know about it. Now it’s time to hit the ground running, or at least a fast walk.

How do you do that?

Take an inventory. What tools, information, and resources do you already have? What are you missing?

Target Market

Do you need to do some market research?

Where do you think your market is? Are they on Facebook? Do a little eavesdropping on your competitors pages. What are they saying? What are they asking for?

Product Creation

You know what your market needs. How can you deliver your solution? 

Marketing Strategy

What methods will you use to spread the word to your target market?

What do you need to do to implement your strategy?

Money matters

It might seem strange that I have left this to the very end but I have a very good reason. You see, money just doesn’t matter.

No, wait! Don’t click away, bear with me a moment…

If you have something that a market wants, you can get it to them with practically zero investment. Just your time and resources you probably already have, like a computer and an internet connection. Invest sweat equity to start. Then reinvest some of your revenues to grow to the next level.

Whatever you do, please don’t let money be the thing that keeps you from serving those who need you.

So now we can talk about money (thanks for sticking around!)

Think about:

  • How you will make money?
  • Will you sell your product?
  • Will you use content marketing to bring in clients for a service-based business?
  • Will you use affiliate marketing?
  • Will you use Kindle publishing or an Ebay store?
  • Or?

Income – this is very difficult to project in the beginning so be very conservative. And in the beginning you might not be making any money at all. Maybe you are giving away really valuable content knowing that once your audience knows you and communicates what they need, you can offer higher-end paid products.

Expenses – List absolutely every expense you could possibly have and overestimate the cost. Break your list into two sections, wants and needs. If you are going for a totally Internet based business you should be able to bring your needs list down to:

  • computer
  • internet
  • electricity

All three of which you would probably be paying for anyway.

Funding – consider investors. Do you want to partner with someone? Maybe you could create a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. Then again, you could go whole-hog with venture capital funding. It really depends upon you, your personal preferences and your product or service.

I literally started with nothing. And I’m comfortably self-sufficient now. My only investments were sweat equity, a passion for learning, and dogged determination. If I can do it, so can you!

Next Actions

blue jigsawNow that we’ve got the four corners laid and we’ve filled in the sides of your Business Plan Puzzle, let’s fill it in.

Moral support

Share your dream with people you know will support you.
And don’t tell the dream-stealers!

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Measurement
  • Ask for honest feedback from your supporters and your market
  • Use Google Analytics to measure your website’s effectiveness
  • Use Google Alerts to monitor what people are sharing about you and your business

What does the future hold?

completed world puzzleAnd don’t stagnate. Markets change, philosophies change, you will change – everything changes. Grow with it! Believe me, it’s a lot more fun this way.

Some parting thoughts…

  • You are your USP (Unique Selling Position)
  • You are what sets you apart from your competition. At the end of the day, you may have the same education, philosophy, style, etc. as your competitors but what makes you unique is you. So get out there and be your best you. Because…
  • People aren’t buying a product or service. They are buying a better life. And you may be the one to help them. But you can’t help them if you don’t let them know you can help.

Now is the perfect time…

To take action!

Grab your keyboard or a notebook and pen. Right now. (Yep, more browbeating, but you know you love it.)

  1. Go through this article step-by-step and write down whatever comes to mind right now. Then let it sit for a bit. But not too long.
  2. Then go through what you wrote down and add new thoughts and delete stuff that doesn’t feel right. Let it sit a bit longer.
  3. Now create an Action Plan, complete with deadlines, that you will follow to either make your idea a reality or to take your existing business to the next level.

And if you’re feeling a bit intimidated by all this or maybe you are doubting your ability to do it, I recommend you check out this book:
Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance
by Jonathan Fields

And then share in the comments and let us know how you’re doing. We’d love to be your cheering section! Or if you would like some privacy, email me. Let us know if you have any questions, too.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please be sure to share them in the comments.

And don’t forget…

you can opt-in to receive my goodies here:


Please don’t worry – I promise I will never sell, give away, fold, spindle or mutilate your information!

Enjoy!

Sandra

Social Media Marketing – From Frustrating to FANtastic in 7 Steps

social-media

Are you trying to market your products and services with social media because you think you are “supposed to”? You’re not alone. And you are probably feeling very frustrated because you aren’t seeing results.

Let’s change that now…

Here are 7 Steps to Creating an Effective Social Media Strategy

1. Your Company Plan

Before you dive into Social Media, take a look at your company business plan. If you don’t have one already, then create it now. Before you go any further.

Don’t let this step overwhelm you. It doesn’t need to be a traditional business plan that focuses on getting venture capital funding, rather your goal is bring clarity to you and your team. Use the KISS (Keep It Super Simple) Principle here. Include:

  • planning puzzly piecesYour mission and history
  • Your business model
  • Your target market
  • Descriptions of your products and services
  • Outline your current marketing efforts

Now you know where your are so let’s think about where you want to go.

2. Create a Detailed Persona of Your Ideal Client

How old are they? Male or Female? Income? Location? Get as detailed as possible. Find a picture that represents her. Give her a name. Is your ideal client in her 50s? Then she was born in the late 50′s or early 60′s. A popular name back then was Sandy (I should know!). If your ideal client is male and in his 20′s then maybe his name is Justin?

ideal clientIf you are thinking, “This is really ridiculous!”, then I invite you to suspend judgement for a few minutes and give it a try. Outline everything you can about your ideal client: What are his hobbies? What is her income? Is he a father? Does she have a Special Needs Child? Is she fashion conscious? Does he love fast cars? Give this some thought and as we move forward you’ll see just how helpful this “ideal client profile” can be.

3. Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest – Oh MY!

In my experience, clients who are trying to be everywhere (on the internet) all the time, end up nowhere. In spite of what the Social Media Marketing “experts” tell you, not only is it not necessary to be everywhere all the time, it’s a recipe for failure. Pick two, maybe Social media iconsthree platforms and focus your efforts.

So, just how do you know where to best spend your time? Here’s where you pull out that ideal client persona you created in Step 2. Where does she hang out? Let’s say she’s a Stay-At-Home Mom of a Special Needs Child. I bet she’s on Facebook and maybe Pinterest. I doubt she’s on LinkedIn.

Or perhaps your ideal client is a Special Needs Professional. Maybe an attorney specializing in Special Needs Trusts and Conservatorships? LinkedIn is where you want to be and probably Twitter too. Yes, your ideal client is probably marketing on Facebook but that is where she is looking for clients. On LinkedIn she is focusing on making professional connections.

Be careful when using small, niche forums for marketing. Many people are there to support each other and don’t want to be sold to. Check the forum Terms of Service (TOS) carefully. If you still think it might be a good place to market, then “lurk and listen” for awhile. Once you get to know the personality and preferences of the group, then you can jump in.

And don’t forget YouTube. If you have information that can be demonstrated via video or you like public speaking better than writing (some people do, really!) then consider integrating YouTube into your plan. By the way, it is the second largest search engine. Considering that it is owned by Google, there’s excellent SEO (Search Engine Optimization) opportunity there!

Which brings us to Google+. Consider using Google+ even if your market isn’t there. Your market probably is using Google to search. Expect Google+ usage to become increasingly important in Google Search Engine Rankings. Go figure.

4. Define Specific Goals and Measure Your Effectiveness

Define Specific Goals:

measure-successDesign your Social Media goals to support your overall company goals. As with all goals, make them specific, actionable and measurable.

For example: Don’t just say you want more Facebook likes. Social Media is about engagement and you want to engage with your target market. Who are they? Think about how you want to use Social Media to reach them. 100 followers who are in your target market are much more powerful than 1000 who are not. We’ll talk about how to find your target market in the next step.

Focus on driving traffic from the Social Media platform to your site, not the other way around. Create goals to support that. So, you might set a goal to drive 100 new visitors to your site from Facebook per month. This would support a goal of increasing new visitors to your site by 25% per month.

Measure Your Effectiveness:

Keeping your goals in mind, analyze your efforts. Go beyond “vanity metrics” such as number of followers or likes. Look at the number of retweets and shares – and who did the retweeting and sharing. Are they reaching your target market? Measure the volume of traffic back to your site and conversion rates for opt-ins and sales. Your Social Media Marketing focus should be completely on driving traffic to your site and your Social Media ROI (Return On Investment) should be measured completely by conversions. If 100 new Facebook Likes from your target market support an increase of 25% in sales but 1000 Twitter followers who aren’t in your market don’t buy, what does that tell you?

Handshake5. Connect With Your Ideal Client

So, let’s say you determine that your target market is on Facebook. Help them find you by reaching out and engaging on complementary pages. A complementary page is one that shares at least a segment of your target market but is not in direct competition with you.

For example, if you are a Nutritionist specializing in helping Kids with Autism. Look for pages by other Special Needs Service Providers. Parents following Special Education Advisor might be interested in what you have to share. Like these pages (from your page) and then monitor them in your Newsfeed. Engage by making thoughtful comments but don’t promote yourself directly.

This will help you gain attention of new potential customers.

6. Content and Delivery

OK, you’ve got your goals and you know who and where your ideal clients are. Now what do you say to them and when should you say it? Here is how I do it for my sites and for most of my clients:

ShareContent Curation – Share interesting and helpful information from complementary (not competitive) resources. What interests your audience? What do they want to talk about? What are they searching for?

  • If Facebook is one of your platforms, share posts from complementary pages on your page. Not only will this help your community but it will also get you noticed by the Page Admin. who just might become an evangelist for your content, product or services.

Set up Google Alerts for appropriate keywords. Use Google Reader to monitor them or have alerts sent to your email. Choose 1 – 2 articles a day to share with your community. Plus it up by adding your own comments, insights and suggestions.

Promote Your Site – Once a day post something to directly drive traffic to your site. Don’t send them to your home page, at least not every time. Send traffic to your landing pages. For example, I periodically post, “You work on your business, I’ll work in it” and link to my Virtual Assistance Services landing page: http://www.eprovirtualassistance.com/services/#2

Let your old posts see the sun. Once a day post a link to an article from your archives. Newer readers haven’t seen them and older readers may have forgotten them.

Be sure to post more helpful information and resources than promotional stuff. I find that posting a couple of resources from my Google Alerts a day, one promotional post and one article from my archives is a good mix for most Social Media sites.

voice bubble7. Find Your Social Media Voice

Build your brand personality; be likeable so people want to spread the word about you. This won’t happen overnight and will continue to evolve as you go.

Be sure to speak with your target audience, not at them. Your focus should be on them, not you, your company or products/services. Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise and become their Trusted Advisor. Engage users by sharing direct, relevant and targeted information and resources.

Create buzz about your services. Social Media offers an excellent opportunity to create brand awareness that leads to community engagement which converts leads into prospects and prospects into customers and clients.

Now get out there and socialize!

social media socializingSocial Media, strategically used over time is the most powerful form of marketing and market research. It’s all about using new tools communicate on the Internet. Marketing and sales principles haven’t changed, we have just moved from face-to-face to the Internet. You need to know how to adapt the age-old principles to the new communication platform.

Remember, this is a marketing activity. And it’s just part of what you do. It’s no good marketing your company’s products/services if your infrastructure is falling apart and your products haven’t been updated since the printing press was invented. Then again, if you don’t tell anyone how you can help them, then they can’t buy. And their lives are not enriched and neither is yours.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please be sure to share them in the comments.

And don’t forget…

you can opt-in to receive my goodies here:


Please don’t worry – I promise I will never sell, give away, fold, spindle or mutilate your information!

Enjoy!

Sandra

The Simple 4-Step Process to Creating Valuable Blog Content

We’ve talked about Why a Blog Should be Your Marketing Cornerstone and The 3 Keys to Becoming the “Go To” Blog in your Niche; maybe it’s time to talk about how to create the actual content?

Yea, I thought so…here we go…

info with stick figureA little review…

Content Marketing  means “creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.”

So how do you create this valuable free content?

Start with Relevance. This might seem obvious but don’t take it for granted. What do you have to offer that prospective website visitors want to read? Share it in a way they can hear. Talk to them in their language about what is in their heart.

Keep in mind the words your prospective readers will use when they search for the information you offer. Yes, I’m talking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) here. You will need to add these words in your title and in your article. Just make sure it is also readable by us mere mortals.

WIIFM bunnyRadio WIIFM – What’s In It For Me

The Me is your Reader, by the way. Put yourself in their shoes as you go through these four steps:

1. The Problem
  • What are your clients and prospective client’s problems? Why do they need you?
  • Brainstorm a list of FAQs
  • Check your customer service inquiries, what problems do your customers have and what are your customers asking for?
  • Ask them. Use Survey Monkey to create a simple survey. You can use it as a blog post, send it to your email subscribers or both.

For example, I created this “Need to Know” Series based on the questions I get from clients, readers and my own questions when I was first getting started.

2. The Cause

What causes these problems?
Let’s take the problem of knowing you should be creating helpful content on a regular basis but not knowing how to do that. That’s a problem caused by lack of knowledge.

3. The Solution

What can your reader do to solve this problem? How can you help them? Establish your Value Proposition early in your article. Show the value of what you have to offer (information) and their need for it. Your solution must outweigh the hassle and cost ($ and/or time and effort). With the “Need to Know” Series I offer targeted, focused information; the solution to the problem caused by lack of knowledge.

4. Implementation

Give your readers an actionable next step, a clear Call To Action (CTA). It might be resources to solve their problem or an invitation increase their knowledge with a link to a sales page for your eBook or webinar series. It could be an invitation to opt-in to your eNewsletter.

Your Call To Action could also be an invitation to keep the conversation going by adding their own comments:

  • Ask a question
  • Be controversial or at least break a topic open for debate. Derek Halpern did a fabulous job with this in his article, The “Content is King” Myth Debunked
  • Leave part of the issue untouched, so you give them something to say.

Tip: Ask for minimal information on opt-in forms. If you can get by with just an email address, then do it. The more information you ask for, the fewer people will sign up. And do you really need their name at this point? I mean, if you are personalizing your salutations, will your audience recognize that it’s just automated? Most Internet users understand that you didn’t really send an email just to them. So consider asking only for their email address or make it clear that they are not required to enter their name. You’ll see your opt-ins increase.

Once you go through these four steps you’ll have the foundation for an article that offers value and…Now you are ready to write. Take the outline you have developed and draft your article, edit it, and proof it.

Then…

sky's the limitPlus it up!

Here are a few tips and tricks to polish your content:

  • Don’t just passively impart information. Keep in mind user experience, usability and performance of site.
  • Use an appropriate tone and consistent voice. For example, do you want to use a compassionate tone or do you want to sound like a used car salesman?
  • Add an image in every article. Images aren’t just to make your article pretty. They help to convey meaning and set the tone. For example, do you want to convey a sense of urgency or calm inspiration? Let your image reflect that. If your content piece is a long one, add more images.
  • Create an editorial calendar to help keep you focused and consistent. With consistency comes trust.
  • Infuse your personality into your writing. Other people are probably writing about the same thing you are. Let your personality set you apart.
  • One of the most important goals of Content Marketing is to foster a relationship with your readers so you are their “go-to” resource. You can do this by “writing to one person”. Who is your ideal customer? Describe her in detail and then write just to her, using her language. Don’t worry, you won’t be leaving any readers out but your writing will be more clear and tightly focused.
  • Write with a clear purpose. Do you want to inform? Inspire? Advocate?
  • Write in a conversational tone. Pretend you’re just sitting across the table from your reader, sharing a cup of coffee. How’s your mocha, by the way?
  • Use “you-ser” focused langage, don’t “we we” all over yourself. The legendary copywriter Eugene Schwartz said that the most frequently used word in your copy should be “you.”
  • People want a simple, trustworthy, streamlined experience. Be highly efficient, even minimalistic with your text and overall design. Keep sidebars, headers and footers “clean”.

The 4th Step in Action

It’s time for the implementation part of this article. I’ve given you a simple process to follow when you write your next article. So, grab pen and paper or your keyboard – or in my case, my iPad and a Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte – and start with number 1. Then go to number 2. Then 3. And finish with 4. You’ll have a pretty solid outline at that point so draft your article while it’s all clear in your mind. Then let it sit for a day or two. Go through and edit for clarity. Tighten up your writing so it’s concise. Let it sit for another day or two. Proof read it to catch anything that spell-check missed. Then run through the Plus it up! list.

And last but by no means least – get another pair of eyes! For me, that’s my daughter and ePro TeamMate, Elisabeth. She’s a great help to me because not only is she a good writer but she’s learning the stuff I’m writing about. Couldn’t do this without her. (Somehow I don’t think she’s going to edit out that last bit!)

Let me know in the comments how this process works for you. Did you tweak it to fit your own style? How? Did something click to make your writing easier? Or is it all clear as mud? Let me know so I have Step #1 for a future article!

And don’t forget…

you can opt-in to receive my goodies here:


Please don’t worry – I promise I will never sell, give away, fold, spindle or mutilate your information!

Enjoy!

Sandra

The 3 Keys to Becoming the “Go To” Blog in Your Niche

If you want traffic to your blog but don’t know where to start in getting it, this article is for you. Get a pen and paper ready, I’m giving you the place to start!

This article is based on a webinar Derek Halpern at Social Triggers recently held called How to Get Your First 5000 subscribers. The purpose was to promote one of his courses. It’s closed now but I urge you to check out his blog, his podcast and his videos. Good stuff. And when he re-opens his course, check it out. No, I’m not an affiliate, and I have not taken the course, but I am a huge fan of Derek’s work.success

There are 3 Keys to creating a successful blog. In fact, they are the keys to creating any successful business.

  1. Drive Traffic – and no, “if you build it they will come” is not a reliable method.
  2. Convert traffic to loyal subscribers and/or buyers – that’s the point of all this, right?
  3. Turn subscribers and customers into raving fans who promote you – which circles back to #1. Only it’s much more effective when the people driving the traffic are already your raving fans.strategy

How do you make this happen? With a well designed strategy (This is where you’ll need that pen and paper!):

Shape what people think of you

1. Use the same introduction everywhere – anytime you give a speech, do an interview or write a guest post

Do this right now: Write your introduction.

Mine? Oh, thanks for asking -
Sandra provides Marketing Support, Web Content, and Copywriting for small and Internet based businesses. She specializes in helping Special Needs Service Providers help Special Needs Families.
Add yours down in the comments!

2. Engineer expert status

Be super specific about the information you share and teach. Be memorable. Don’t be obnoxious but stand out from the crowd. Infuse your business with your personality. Have you ever seen one of Derek’s videos? I love them! Derek shares great information that I can take action on immediately. And he is anything but boring. He’s, well he’s Derek! (Note: you don’t have to be as high tech as Derek is, this is about your expertise and your personality, not your budget.)

Do this right now: Write a short, concise sentence that describes you and what is unique about you.

Mine? OK, here goes: I’m the Mom of a Special Needs Kid and an Internet Marketing Support Professional. I bring that unique perspective to help Special Needs Service Providers. Yea, OK, not so short and concise. Gotta work on that.

Do this right now:
Before you go any further, answer these questions on paper.

  • What do your ideal subscribers want?
  • What’s the main problem they have that you believe you can solve?
  • What’s your method to solving that problem?
  • What do you love to talk about more than anything?

Now combine your answers and you’ve got your mission, and your brand.

Be the top blog in your individual niche

For example, there are a lot of excellent blogs about Internet Marketing but they don’t focus on Special Needs Service Providers. They don’t use the same language as we do so it feels like they don’t “get us.” And this is important. There are many unique issues facing Special Needs Service Providers and it’s important that we receive information crafted in a way that makes sense for us; that is translated into our language.

Let’s drill down a bit here: Confidentiality and privacy is something all online businesses need to deal with. But Special Needs Service Providers operate in a world where these issues are front and center in all communications. And not only for the comfort and privacy concerns of their clients, but for legal compliance as well. So if a “general” Internet Marketing blog talks about how to craft a privacy policy, a Special Needs Service Provider may feel that this information doesn’t go far enough to satisfy HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations.magnifying glass and computer

How to turn new customers into repeat customers

Derek did an interesting experiment…

“He went to a local massage therapist and noticed he wasn’t asked for his email address and there was no loyalty program. Derek took that experience and turned it into a psychology + marketing article that’s applicable to everyone. Then he reached out to massage therapist communities and promote this article specifically to them…
…and it went viral.”

When you’re building your audience, don’t look at blogs that write about the same things as you. Start looking at what types of people you want to read your site. Figure out exactly who’s reading your blog and then find more of them. Derek contacted some massage therapists and shared his article; some of them liked it. He figured if they liked it more would like it so he targeted more of them.

Who are the “massage therapists” in your current audience? Go find more of them. Get in their heads by collecting data with these 3 strategies:

1. When people subscribe ask them “what are they struggling with?” to get their story.
2. Use short answer surveys to find interesting groups to target.
3. Encourage people to reply to your emails and share their stories. Use that info to find who else you should be looking for.

Derek gets his audience to tell him what they need so he can create content to help them. Content that also helps his larger audience.

Team originalStrategically focus on the market you want to attract

Derek calls this his Drafting Technique:

  1. Figure out what’s hot in the news right now
  2. See who’s writing about it
  3. Come up with a unique hook
  4. Email the content to the blogger/journalist who just covered that news.

A while back, I sorta did this, by accident, with an article I wrote: Traffic Geyser – A Cautionary Tale. I wanted to attract people who had either purchased Traffic Geyser and weren’t getting what they wanted out of it or those who were looking for the results Traffic Geyser offered. I didn’t promote the article directly to other bloggers but I still got a fair amount of attention. I can only imagine what would have happened if I had taken it just one step further.

Over the life of my blog here on ePro and on my other site, Our Special Families Village. I have done some of Derek’s ideas in a sort of haphazard way and had some success. I know that strategically implementing them with a focus plan would create a whole lot more success. Give them a try and let me know in the comments how it works for you!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please be sure to share them in the comments.

And don’t forget…

you can opt-in to receive my goodies here:


Please don’t worry – I promise I will never sell, give away, fold, spindle or mutilate your information!

Enjoy!

Sandra

Audience versus Influence – Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Working

I have noticed a proliferation of discussion posts on LinkedIn that go something like this:

“Let’s all post our Facebook pages here and go like each other’s pages.”

What a ridiculous waste of time. But more importantly, it can actually damage your reputation.

Let’s look a bit deeper at what happens when someone likes your page…

There are two ways to like a page. The most familiar and obvious way is from your personal profile. When you like a page from your personal profile, some of that pages posts will show up in your Newsfeed and your friends will see them. These likes are counted in the number of likes displayed on your page.

That’s great if the friends of those people are in your target market. Some of them will be but most of them won’t. For example, my target market for Our Special Families Village is people who have a Special Needs Family Member. Taking my own personal profile as an example, about 20% of my friends fall in my market. So posts from my page, that show up in my personal Newsfeed are of interest to only 20% of my friends.

Now let’s look at this from the perspective of your business page…

When a page likes your page, then some of your posts will show up in that page’s Newsfeed and the people who have liked that page will see them. These likes are not counted in the “like” count.

But they are far more valuable to you than likes from personal profiles!

Why? Because when you post on your page, some of those posts will show up in the Newsfeed of those pages. And the people who have liked those pages are more likely to be your target market.

205 people have liked Our Special Families Village and 112 pages have liked it.

According to Insights (Facebook’s analytics), more people find and like my page from the timelines of other pages. In other words, I have those 205 likes thanks to the 112. And I have the 112 page likes to thank for a much broader reach than the 205 likes can give me.

How to tell which pages like your pageLikes icon

1. Log into your page. Look in the upper left corner of the page just to the right of the “facebook” logo. There are three icons that are just a little darker than the background. The first one, the silhouette of two people is the one you want.

Click on it and you will see a drop down list of people who have liked your page. Click on “See All” at the bottom of that list. A window will pop up so you can scroll through and see everyone.

In the upper left corner you will see “People who like this” and a drop down arrowProfile likes

Click that arrow and you will see “Pages that like this”. Click on this to see the pages that like your page.Page like

What this really means…

When I post to my page it will show up in some of the Newsfeeds of people who have liked me. Some of their friends (in my case about 20%) will be in my target market.

Those same posts will show up in the Newsfeeds of some of the pages that have liked me. And the people who have liked those pages are 100% in my target market.

My Facebook Insights shows that the majority of my likes come from these pages.

How to get more pages to like your page

This is the easy part and, I think, the fun part.

Search Facebook for pages that are complementary to yours but not competition. These are also known as your “2nd Customer“. For example, Connie Hammer, Parent Coach for Autism might Like Lou Guiffre at LifeProtekt’s page because parents who need his services may also need hers and vice versa.

Some of LifePretekt’s posts will show up in Connie’s Newsfeed. She can then monitor those posts and like, comment and share those that she feels are helpful to her target market.

Liking posts is nice and you probably want to do more of this than commenting and sharing. It’s just a gentle “hello”.

When you comment on the post of another page, the biggest value comes from the attention you will get from the owner of the page. They will see your comment and now you have opened the door to a deeper connection.

When you share the post from another page you not only provide something valuable to those who have liked your page but you also gain the attention of that page’s owner. And again you create an opportunity for a deeper connection.

It’s the age old argument – quality vs quantity

What would you rather have? A bunch of people and pages, and their friends and audience, liking your page who will never want or need your services? Or, pages who offer complementary services to yours; pages whose “likers” are 100% in your target market?

If you find yourself with less quality and more quantity to start, don’t worry! A great way to turn that quantity into great quality is to reach out to your friends and family that like your page for support. They are there because they care about your business, so ask them for a favor. All they have to do is share your page with their friends. That way, you’re reaching more people who could be in your target market and could really benefit from your products and services.

Focus on quality first. And that will breed quantity.

It’s a force of nature…

My page is relatively new. I started the year growing it pretty steadily. But I spent much of the summer months refocusing and retooling my ePro Virtual Assistance business. As a result, I just wasn’t able to invest the time on Our Special Families Village that I had been. I wasn’t posting to Facebook as often either.

Something interesting happened…

In the months of May and June, 31 people liked my page (unfortunately, Insights does not show stats on pages). In July and August, 29 people liked my page. And my activity was maybe 10% of what it had been in May – June.May-JuneJuly-Aug

Moral(s) of the story

  • Less is more – focus on your target market not the mass market.
  • Serve your target market with valuable information that you gather from complementary pages. You’ll gain loyal followers that you can turn into raving fans.
  • Work work the contacts you have.
  • Like complimentary pages.
  • Like, comment and share their posts.
  • If they like your page, reach out and say thanks. And ask how you can help them.
  • It’s not the number of followers. It’s what you do with them.

In social media it often appears that when the marketers move in, the people move out. We’re already seeing that on Pinterest. Don’t be one of “those” marketers. As Mari Smith says, whether you market B2B or B2C, it’s really P2P – People to People.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please be sure to share them in the comments.

And don’t forget…

you can opt-in to receive my goodies here:


Please don’t worry – I promise I will never sell, give away, fold, spindle or mutilate your information!

Enjoy!

Sandra