Archive for the 'Internet & Social Media Marketing' Category

How to Choose the Best Marketing Techniques

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“I’m going nuts,” one of my private clients emailed me last week. She continued, “There are so many marketing techniques, how in the world do I choose the best ones for my business, without making massive mistakes?”

Putting together your marketing plan and your marketing campaigns can be a daunting task. You hear rumors that a specific marketing technique is a “must” for your type of business, yet you wonder: Will it really bring the desired results before I run out of cash and patience?

There are over dozens internet marketing techniques and another 50 or more traditional marketing techniques. How do you choose among these 100+ possible marketing techniques to find the most powerful ones for your business? Here are some things to consider.

The Purpose of Marketing

First, let’s talk about the purposes of marketing. Knowing which goal you want for your marketing will help you choose the proper technique. There are thousands of books and websites on marketing, and by distilling them down to their core essence, we discover there are four primary purposes for marketing:

  • Brand Awareness – Helping your target audience to become aware of you and want to learn more about your services and products.
  • Lead Generation – Getting your target audience to request information and/or a sales conversation with you; also, for building a pre-sales relationship.
  • Brand Consideration – Your target audience is considering buying from you or at least has included you in their short list of possibilities, along with your competitors.
  • Direct Sales – Getting your target audience to purchase directly from you.

For example, you might use search engine advertising, like Google Adwords, for lead generation purposes, but it may be a poor choice for direct sales, especially if your target audience doesn’t purchase that way.

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing

Lurker Alert: The Art of Audience, Student and Mastermind Group Engagement

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Who are those people who attend your mastermind group or class but never talk (or who friend you on Facebook or Twitter, but never respond)? And how do you get them talking?

Back in the mid-90s when I first went online via CompuServe (remember those days??), we noticed that for every 1 person who was interacting in the message forum, another 10 were logging on and reading the message threads, but never interacting. Back then, we called them “lurkers” — people who didn’t participate actively in discussions.

Fast forward 20 years, and we find that Lurker Ratio of 10:1 still exists – in online message forums, in my video classes and webinars, in mastermind groups, and any other place where groups of people congregate offline and online.

In some places, especially Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other online social media forums, the lurker ratio is closer to 100:1 — for every 1 person who participates, there are 100 people just reading and absorbing the conversation.

There are a number of reasons why people don’t comment on Facebook or blogs: too busy, nothing to add, feeling shy. That’s what the “Like” button is for on Facebook: if you don’t want to leave a comment but you want to still let the folks know that you’re interested, you click the Like button.

Jakob Nielsen calls it Participation Inequality. I see it most often with “virtual” groups of people who meet online or through teleconference or video conference meetings.

But here is what I think is most important:

We ALL have something to add to a conversation — our feelings, our experiences, our knowledge, our questions. What comes from within counts for a lot with me. I love when people leave comments on my blog and when they interact in my classes.

And let’s face it: the whole point of a mastermind group is to brainstorm together, right? Conversation brings value.

In your business, you want to build connections and relationships with your customers, students, group members, and your entire audience. Being aware of the lurker ratio when you’re using social media for marketing — as well as in your classes, groups and online message forums — will help you gauge the quality of your connections and relationships.

For all types of classes and mastermind groups, here are some guidelines:

  1. In live, in-person classes and mastermind groups, the lurker ratio is much better. There’s something about being face-to-face in a sharing environment (especially with a good teacher or mastermind group Facilitator) that brings people out of their shells and encourages them to participate. In my live classes and groups, I’d say that for every 100 people who attend, 30-40 will be lurkers.
  2. The larger the group, the larger the lurker ratio. Social psychologists call this phenomenon social loafing.
  3. The longer the event, class or program, the lower the lurker ratio. (Sometimes it takes while to get people warmed up.)
  4. If you want high participation in your classes and mastermind groups, you have to build in interaction into your plan. Don’t wing it: plan it. Design discussion-starter questions that get the group talking within the first five minutes of every meeting.
  5. Pay attention to those who don’t ask questions or make comments. Call on them by name, or say, “Let’s hear from someone who hasn’t commented yet.”
  6. If your class or mastermind group includes an online message forum, set some rules. For instance, in some of my classes I’ve set this rule: each week all students must post one new message and reply to two messages that someone else has posted.

For social media engagement:

  1. Studies show that you get 65% more engagement if you post before noon, as compared to afternoons and evenings. My experience confirms this with my audience: they’re much more active in the morning on social media.
  2. Don’t just post thoughts, ask questions, too. Instead of simply saying, “Hard work yields results,” consider adding a question to that statement, like, “Do you find this to be true for yourself?” Invite responses and comments.
  3. Comment on other people’s posts. It’s a two-way street. If all you do is post your own articles and thoughts, but never respond to someone else’s blog posts and Facebook posts, why should they communicate with you? It’s all about building relationships.
  4. Engagement isn’t just commenting. Make sure you put links in your blog posts to other blog posts that are related. When someone reads a blog post and clicks on a link, that’s engagement, too.
  5. Respond back. When someone responds to your blog post or social media post, respond back and acknowledge it. They need to know you heard them.
  6. Let them see you. Too many small business owners hide behind their content. They post links to articles on Facebook and Twitter, but they never share any of their own story. I don’t mean those “I used to live in a box but now I live in a mansion” stories…I mean everyday stories about what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, what you’re reading or watching, and even what you’re eating. Give them a window into your personal life. Yes, you can keep most of your personal life as private as you like — telling them you made Chickpea Burgers for lunch isn’t an invasion of privacy, it just plain fun! 🙂

If your lurker ratio is still 100:1, take heart — it still means that for every one person who responds to your post, 100 are reading what you write!

These are just a few of the tips to get people to join the discussion. I’m sure you have your favorite ways of getting your audience involved, yes? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts!

P.S. If you’re a lurker, I’d love to hear from you. C’mon, fess up. Just one comment and you’ll be an official EX-lurker!  🙂

 

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Category: Creating, Marketing & Teaching Classes, Internet & Social Media Marketing, Running a Strong & Efficient Business, Start and Run a Mastermind Group

Is the Problem Traffic or Copywriting?

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I recently worked with a client who has a beautiful website. The graphics, layout and branding are perfect. So why wasn’t she getting more sales?

The first thing we needed to do was some detective work.

Why? Because we don’t know if her problem is that she’s not getting enough traffic to her website or if the problem is that the visitors aren’t converting because of poor copywriting, website design, etc.

Here’s How to be a Website Marketing Detective

First, you must have access to your website statistics. I always recommend that you have Google Analytics installed on your website. The statistics that come with your standard website hosting package are probably not strong enough to help you do the detective work.

Second, you have to know how to find, read and interpret those statistics.

This is just about the time that most people’s eyes glaze over, so let me short-cut the process for you and make it simple.

How Many Visitors Are You Getting Per Month?

In Google Analytics, look at the menu on the left side of the page. Find the section called “Audience” and open the menu, and then click on “Overview.”

How many visitors are you getting to your website? Is there an upward trend?

What I have discovered is that the concrete, exact numbers don’t matter as much as the direction they’re going.

Look at your visitor numbers over the course of several months. If the number of visitors is trending upwards, then you’re doing a good job with driving traffic to your site.

Also note that in some months, the visitor count may be down. Sometimes it’s because you’re not doing your marketing properly or consistently that month, and sometimes it’s because it’s a month when your audience traditionally is away from their computers or distracted with other things, like summertime months and big holidays months. So don’t make assumptions about your visitor traffic; get to know your audience and know when they’re most likely to be paying attention to your website and when they’re likely way on vacation or holidays.

Recent studies show that 79% of visitors who come to your website are not ready to buy. If you’re not getting enough traffic to your website, you won’t have enough people interested in buying from you.

Which Pages Are the Most Popular?

Now it’s time to figure out if your visitors are looking at the website pages you want them to look at.

Go back to the left-hand menu in Google Analytics and find the section called “Behavior.” Within that section, there is an area called “Site Content” which gives you information about how visitors are using your website. Go to the “All Pages” sub-area under “Site Content.”

Which pages are viewed most often? You can find this on the chart on the right-side of your screen once you select “All Pages.” (See example chart below.)

The two key statistics to review are:

How many Unique Page Views does each page get? You will see two numbers: Page Views and Unique Page Views. Why are there two numbers? Because Google Analytics counts every time the page if viewed, even if one visitor views the page two or three times. So in the example chart, you can see the What Is  a Mastermind Group page got viewed 9,015 times, but only 8,034 unique views. This means (roughly) that 981 people viewed the page twice. Unique Views gives you a more realistic guide to how many unique visitors viewed the page and is a more reliable number to watch.

How long are they staying on the page? In the same example, the average visitor viewed the What Is a Mastermind Group page for 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Why do we care? Because if it takes a visitor 3 minutes to read a page, and the average visitor is only on that page for 1 minute, it means they’re not reading your text! Here’s how you can tell how long it should take someone to read your page: Set a stop watch and read the page out loud to yourself, slowly. Because you’re used to seeing this text, you’re likely to skip over words and sentences. By reading it out loud, you are forcing your brain to re-see all the text.

What Results Are You Getting?

So now you know how many visitors are coming to your website, and which pages they’re viewing once they get there. Now look at your actual results.

  • How many sales are you making?
  • How many prospects are calling you to ask about your services?
  • Are they buying your products, classes and groups directly from your website?

Conversion Ratios

Let me give you a concrete example. In my client’s case, she got 113 people to visit her services page in the past month. She got three phone calls after people visited her website. Her conversion rate is 2.6% (3 divided by 113). Average website conversation rates are around 1%, so that means that her website copy is converting prospective clients into paying clients.

Because of this data we can conclude:

Her problem isn’t that she needs to re-write her website copy or design. Her problem is that she needs to drive more traffic to her website.

Conclusions for You

How can you know if you have a problem with driving traffic to your website, or if your problem is that your copywriting needs work? Do the math above.

  • If your conversion rate is less than 1%, then you need help with your copywriting or website design.
  • If people don’t stay on your pages long enough to read them, you need help with your copywriting or website design.
  • If the number of visitors you’re getting to your website is low, or if the trend is not on the rise, you need help with driving traffic to your website.

Note that if you’re driving traffic to your website through email marketing or social media marketing, and your audience is a devoted following, you conversation rates should be much higher than 1%.

Now that you know how to read these basic statistics on Google Analytics, you can take control of your marketing and make changes for the better!

Was This Helpful?

I know that statistics can be daunting. If this was helpful to you and you’d like me to show you more (simple) ways to get important data from Google Analytics and interpret it for your small business, please let me know in the comments section below. I love statistics because they let me play marketing detective and figure out what’s true in my business — and that’s how my business remains successful! I’m happy to write more blog posts like this if you want this type of information. 🙂

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Running a Strong & Efficient Business, Website Planning
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Booting Spammers Out of Your Mailing List

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I’ve noticed a trend lately: a lot of sign-ups to my mailing list from the same IP address. So I did a little research and lo-and-behold, it’s a “zombie” computer automatically signing up for ezines in order to steal the return address when you send the “thanks for signing up” autoresponder. (Those little stinkers!)

So, what do you do?

  • First, check to see if your ezine software captures the IP (internet protocol) address of people when they sign up.
  • Next, check for repeat IP addresses. I notice that these sign-ups are often in the “waiting for optin” list under, because they have no intention of opting-in.
  • Sometimes, however, there is an army of poorly paid people somewhere in the world who click on the opt-in links in emails for these spammers, so check your newly added email addresses on your list. It’s easy to find them: look for email addresses that don’t match the name they signed up under. For instance, the name is “Mary Jones” but the email address says georgesmith@xxxxxx.com. The email addresses are almost always from live.com, gmail.com, or yahoo.com because these are free email services. Yahoo seems to be the frontrunner in bad/zombie email addresses.
  • When you find a suspicious email address, copy it into Google to see if sites like www.cleantalk.org have blacklisted that email address.
  • Finally, I go back to my mailing system, and look for the place where I can block specific IP addresses or specific email addresses.

Voila! Now that zombie can’t sign up for my mailing list anymore!

It takes a little due diligence to keep your list clean, but it’s well worth it. And if your mailing list system won’t let you ban IP addresses, consider switching to a new one.

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing
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5 Smart Tips to Re-engage Inactive Customers

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Do you have people on your mailing list who don’t open your emails? Do you have connections on social media who don’t respond to your posts?

Consider creating a re-engagement campaign to reconnect with them. First, if you can, segment your list and target your re-engagement campaign only to those who are inactive. That will help you to focus your efforts. Then, create ways to reconnect with them and put the ideas into a campaign.

Here’s some tips:

  1. Ask them a question, especially the most straight-forward one: “Are you still interested in receiving my newsletters/tips?”
  2. Offer them a special discount.
  3. Send out a survey to find out what they’re up to and where they could use some help.
  4. Create a contest and invite them to play along.
  5. Write to them individually with a personalized email, or better yet, a real letter. (I still get excited when I get a letter in the mail with real handwriting!)

The extra effort you make to re-engage with your audience will reap huge rewards. And if they choose to unsubscribe from your list or disconnect from you on social media, be diplomatic and thankful. They might not be a prospective customer any more, but their friends and colleagues might.

Find out why they’re disengaged

Part of this process is to find out why they aren’t connecting with you. There’s two scenarios:

  1. They no longer need your service or product.
  2. They do need your service or product, but there’s something holding them back from connecting with you.

It could be that they’re too busy or distracted to read your marketing materials, or it could be that your marketing materials (including your content marketing) don’t interest them. Maybe they feel you’re emailing them too often (or not often enough!). By opening a dialogue with them, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your audience, which can trigger a smarter marketing plan.

 

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing

6 Copywriting Steps for Non-Copywriters

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It’s “back to basics” time, so let’s talk about copywriting your marketing materials! Here are the steps to any marketing copywriting, whether you are selling services or products.

In a previous blog post, I gave you some formulas you can use to write good headlines for your sales pages and newsletters. (If you didn’t see the post, you can still read it on my blog: 3 Headline Formulas for Non-Copywriters.)

Here are the basic six steps you’ll need:

First, know thy audience.

This sounds so familiar, right? But do you really know what it means and how to DO it? Before you begin writing, close your eyes and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Who are they? Specifically, who is your ideal customer? It’s important for you to spend some time thinking about them as real people, not a mass of humanity known as “my prospective customers.” They’re not a mass of faceless humans. They’re real people with real dreams and challenges.
  2. What do they want? This is no time to lack bravery. Do not take the simple way out and say something banal here, like, “They want to be happy,” or “They want to grow their business.” Instead, ask yourself what they specifically want. What are they trying to achieve in their personal and professional life? What problems get in their way? Where are they stuck?

Now, write a headline that promises to help them create the life they want, or helps them solve a problem.

You can read more about writing headlines here in this blog post. Remember, the whole purpose of writing a headline is to grab their attention.

Next, help them to get to know you and trust you by honestly talking about their dream or their challenges.

Give them some practical tips. Give them examples. Tell them a story about how you have been where they are, and/or how you helped others to create the life of their dreams. Above all, educate them so that they receive real value from you. This isn’t the place to fluff it up.

This next one is the hard part, the part where nearly everyone falls down: You have to make the offer.

You have to tell them what you are offering, and ask them to buy. Be clear and straight-forward here. Tell them the benefits of your product or service, exactly what they’ll get, the price, and how to buy. Answer any questions you think they might have about your product or service.

This is no place to be shy. If you don’t believe completely in what you are selling, why should your customer? You don’t need to be aggressive or manipulative; just tell them how you can help them and make an offer. Trust their own intelligence that they’ll know if it’s a good fit or not.

To help build your credibility, share testimonials from your satisfied customers.

Testimonials that tell how the customer benefitted from your product and service are best. It’s far better to have a testimonial that said, “I was able to create my lesson plan and teach my first class within one month of taking Karyn’s program,” than to have a testimonial that says, “Golly, Karyn is a great teacher.”

What were your customers able to DO after using your service or product? What outcomes and results did they get?

The final step is the Call To Action.

What action do you want them to take? Should they visit your website for more information? Should they click a button to buy the product or service? Should they call your office to schedule a time to talk? You have to tell them exactly what to do next so there is no confusion.

 

Copywriting is no mystery. There are some straight-forward formulas that work every time. But you have to be willing to ask for the sale.

Are you ready to try these copywriting steps in your own business? Where can you tweak your existing copywriting to make it more compelling?

I’d love to hear your copywriting stories, comments and questions! Share your stories in the comments below. 🙂

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing
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