Friday, December 30, 2011

Why Blog For Your Business?

Blogging for Businesses is probably the easiest way to move your chains up the SEO path. I  feel that it is the easiest and most organic thing that you can do to increase search engine optimization (moving you up in Google) for your business. A blog best explained is micro website that gives you a chance to provide new updated content about your business quickly and easily. Its not that I am not a fan of websites or web designers because that would be silly, I just like adding a blog component to your website to modernize the whole update process.

In my opinion, humble as it is, there should not be a website around without a blog component. These blogs can be made to look exactly like your website and as you provide new content that gives the web more things to pick up and list under you when you are searched online. You can write original content or you can share articles that are in your field that would be of interest to your client base. (Don't forget to credit your source). Or you can do a little bit of both like I am here. 

I have known my friend Mike Wolpert of Social Jumpstart  for over a decade when we both worked in radio together. He has moved on to bigger and better things in sunny CA and I am happy to be able to follow all of his awesomeness. He does a lot of cool multimedia stuff like educational training videos and a television show. I really liked what he had to say about Blogging for your Business and wanted to share his You Tube. Enjoy and take notes, because I sure did!



Little Blog Dress loves to show businesses how blogging can help their internet presence. Maintaining a blog constantly is easy, but it takes dedication. If you are interested in growing your web presence organically online, or you have always wanted to have a blog and don't know where to begin contact us so we can show you how!
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Enhance Your Overall Social Media

Any given day you can look on the internet and get smart tips from "experts" such as myself. Although they mostly say the same thing, I like these tips from Mantra....especially number 3 which I feel is the most imperative one!

Here are five important tips that will enhance your overall social media marketing experiences:
Source

1. Create a landing page. A landing page is a one-page website that offers your visitors a quick peek at you and your small business before they are “overwhelmed” by your business website. In addition, successful landing pages offer visitors a valuable free offer in exchange for their name and email address. Landing pages are crucial to business success because they allow prospects to connect with you on a more personal level, quickly highlight the benefits of doing business with you and give your prospects a small taste of what your small business is all about.

2. Set up complete profiles on your social networks. If you want your marketing efforts to work, make sure that your social media profiles are complete. If prospects land on your profile page and it doesn’t have a picture and contains sparse information, they aren’t likely to feel any connection with you. You should provide as much information about yourself as possible. Remember, people want to get to know you, so give them what they’re looking for.

3. Participate; don’t push. When marketing on social media platforms, always keep in mind the 80/20 rule. You should spend 80% of your time sharing, answering questions and interacting with others and only 20% of your time promoting  your small business. If you stick to this rule, you’ll be viewed as a true participant as opposed to a pushy salesperson.

4. Be consistent. Social media marketing is all about consistency.It’s extremely important that prospective clients see you on a regular basis. Exposure is the key to gaining your client’s trust and eventual business. So, get on those sites and interact on a daily basis.

5. Create a daily schedule. If you don’t have a schedule, it won’t take long before you’re sucked into the “social media black hole.” Determine how much time you have to devote to your social media marketing and stick to it. If you only have 30-minutes each day, then only utilize three social networking sites and generate a strong presence on them. I like to use a timer (honestly!) to keep myself on track;when it beeps, I’m off to the next site.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Using Groupon For The Holidays

No secret that I am a big fan of Groupon. We have one here in the city that I live, which is odd because commonly we seem to get looked over in Daytona Beach for a lot. Most of the time we are not known for much more than formerly being the Spring Break Destination in MTV's heyday.

I like how it really works for most businesses if you have the manpower to see it through and the promotional sense to do something special for your Grouponers (is that even a word) when they come in your business to redeem. I have been excited to have worked on a number of Groupon campaigns for some of my clients and nearly all of them have had measurable success.

According to an article last month in the Huffington Post, Groupon is stepping up their A game and offering deluxe offers with Grouponicus which are amazing trips at a Groupon discount, Epic Deals like a a cooking class with Chef Todd English.

Even if you just wanted use Groupon for your holiday shopping, it isn't a bad idea. I am not a 1000 percent sure that this isn't what some may consider tacky but in today's economy, I think what is most important is that the thought now counts more than ever.

There is also ways to use Groupon to take your personal holiday budget a little further. For the most of obsessives of all that is compulsive, imagine my sheer glee when I found the Daily Dibs article on how you can have all the National deals emailed to you daily for you to peruse! This will make my Groupon rep very happy because it gives me an additional resource instead of bothering him..."Hey, John can you help me find the city that has the Barnes and Nobles Groupon? (best Groupon EVER)." There are ways using this resource to find a discount on your holiday cards, get a deal on canvassing that print you have been thinking about etc and maybe give you ideas for that hard to buy person all while saving at least 50% on the price,  Brilliant!

I also wanted to make mention that Groupon offers gift cards for the people on your list that like Groupon as much as I do. You can have them emailed or snail mailed or you can, a better choice I think, go to CVS or Target and get one physically. Definitely, this just became a part of gifts to buy for those people that are just really hard to get exactly what they want. Pin It

Year End Musings

As most people do, when the year comes to an end...I tend to get a tad whimsical looking at the year that is ending. What have I done right? What could I improve? What was a total waste of my time? Most people don't really focus on the right, they want to focus on what to change, and what (or who) to get rid of as the year ends.

Am I following the rules or making them up as I go along? Can I actually do that or am I just being a complete pompous individual by creating my own work environment? I preach I say who, I say when, I say how much...but is there a fine line? Should I never ever work with someone difficult just because I don't have to? Isn't that arrogant?  Will it make me broke? Should I take the hit (after Christmas of course) and rid myself of the random few that give me the most aggravation? The ones that I have to chase to pay, the ones that do not respect that it is not ok to call at 10p because he was "thinking" about something... Isn't that why I went into business for myself to not be aggravated or am I a fool to think that one can be stress and agro free in a work environment?

I learn every day what it is like to be in business for yourself and the different peaks and valleys that comes with it but these are the things that I am thinking of as the year comes to an end. I would really love your comments and your experiences below. Pin It

Friday, December 2, 2011

5 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

A lot of people do not really grab the concept of the importance of blogging. I promote it as a way to have constant movement for those SEO outlets to push you up towards the top of search engines. Read below at the best article from Marcus Sheridan (@thesaleslion) I have seen in a while on the importance of why everyone should have a blog component to their website.

Good thing you know JUST the person to help you maintain and manage it!

Does your business blog?

Have you been thinking it might be time to consider a blog, but aren’t sure (a) you can pull it off and (b) it will provide value?

Keep reading. This article will help you (or someone you know) understand the value of a business blog.

Is Google the Only Reason to Blog?

I have a question for you, and it’s a serious one: If you never garnered another single visitor to your company blog through search engine optimization (SEO), would you still have one?

For many, especially execs who don’t necessarily “get it” when it comes to content marketing, the answer would be, “No way!”

But for those persons and companies that have watched the magic of blogging and its effect beyond SEO, the answer would be a resounding, “Of course!”

That’s what this article is all about. There’s much more to having a company blog than just getting more visitors to your website because Google decided to send them there.

In fact, here are 5 other powerful reasons why you should be blogging, and I look forward to hearing what you would add in the comments section at the end.

#1: The Power of Team

Ever heard of HubSpot? The Boston-based company and all-in-one social media platform for small- and medium-sized businesses is one of the fastest-growing in the world, and considering Google just invested $32 million in the company, they seem to be on solid ground.

Although there are many reasons HubSpot is rocketing up the charts of the business world, one of the core components to their success model is the “team” feel of the company. Ranked two straight years as the #1 Best Place to Work by the Boston Business Journal, HubSpot allows EVERY single person in the company to produce content for the company blog. With over 300 employees, you can see why it’s nothing for them to post 3-5 articles on most days.

By allowing all employees to create content, companies like HubSpot have a constant flow of new names and ideas on their blog.
When it comes down to it, we, as humans, like to be part of a movement. We want to be part of a team. When all hands are on deck and each person is contributing to building the company’s content base, magic and momentum can truly happen, and all benefit together.

And keep in mind, this principle isn’t just for large companies. Whether you’re an army of 1, 5 or 500, working as a team to produce content can have a powerful effect on any company or organization.

#2: Blogging Sharpens Your Sword

Before I started teaching people about business and marketing, I was (and still partially am) a “pool guy.” That’s right, I own a company that builds in-ground swimming pools throughout Virginia and Maryland. Over the last 10 years I’ve had over 1000 in-home sales appointments.

Sales professionals constantly answer the same questions again and again. By writing out these answers, their ability to communicate with prospects and clients goes up exponentially.
Three years ago, when I embraced the power of content and started our company blog, I noticed many benefits. One of which was the fact that my sales presentations became much, much better. How so?

By creating 2 to 3 articles a week for my blog:

I was forced to stay up to date with every new technology in the industry.
I became much better at explaining things in a way the consumer could clearly understand. (In other words, I learned how to become a better teacher.)
I found that I seemed to have an answer for every question a customer could throw at me.
Simply put, writing a blog post is like practicing for a game. The more one practices, the better their skills, timing and overall play—which ultimately leads to more victories, or in this case, sales.

#3: You Become the Trust Agent

When it comes to blogging, the process of making sales is not nearly as complicated as we sometimes make it. Look at it this way:

Helpful Content = Trust

Trust = Leads

Leads = Sales

Do you remember your kindergarten teacher? (Yes, I know that was a long time ago, but try.)

How did he or she make you feel? Did you trust him/her?

Although there are many reasons why most of us love our earliest teachers, the biggest reason we respect and appreciate them so much is because they took the time to patiently teach us things in a way we could actually understand.

That’s right; they weren’t there to impress anyone, as their only goal was helping us understand.

When a company’s blog takes on this “kindergarten content” approach, they do everything in their power to answer consumer questions by seeing the world from the consumer’s point of view, not their own.

Once this occurs, walls of doubt are torn down and the trust level between the customer and the company immediately starts to go up.

Genuinely helpful articles, like this one above, will generate huge amounts of trust from consumers wanting to spend their money wisely.
And as I mentioned above, this trust will lead to more phone calls to your office, more forms filled out on your web page and eventually many more sales.

#4: Content is the Great Qualifier

Has your company ever gotten a lead that wasn’t exactly qualified or ready for your product/service? Chances are, if you’ve been in business for longer than a day, this has happened many, many times.

And when it comes to sales, the more time a sales department spends with unqualified leads, the less time they spend with qualified ones, which is obviously a very bad thing.

There are generally two types of consumers:

Price Shoppers: someone only focused on lowest price to make their buying decision
Value Shoppers: someone looking for a combination of product quality, customer service and reasonable pricing to make their buying decision
Ask any sales and marketing department which client they’d rather have and they’ll tell you “value.”

I mention this because with the advancement of the Internet, companies can now track behaviors of their leads when it comes to the content customers are viewing on their website.

For example, here are two leads my company has gotten in the last week. Which appears more prepared for a sales appointment?

Someone who has read 55 pages of your website.Someone who has read 3 pages of your website.
100 out of 100 will say the first one, as that particular person has shown not only are they a serious shopper, but they’re also very, very informed as to the company’s teachings and product doctrine. (BTW, if you’re not blogging, there’s a good chance your company website doesn’t even have 55 pages, so let’s get busy!)

Remember, the more pages a visitor reads on your website, the closer they are to making a buying decision with your company, so integrate your blog’s content into every aspect of your sales approach.

Also, if you’re not currently using a technology that allows you to track lead analytics, I’d strongly recommend it, as it can save your company thousands and thousands in saved time alone.

#5: The Power of the Blog Comment

Does your company blog allow for comments and promote discussion? If not, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to learn from readers and allow them to tell you exactly what they’re interested in.

Often businesses approach blogging from a very myopic and limited point of view, and simply don’t do a good job of seeing the world through the eyes of the consumer.

By promoting active discussion on your company blog and then truly listening to what is said, you will constantly get questions from individuals wanting to find out more, much of which can then be turned into another blog post.

As you might imagine, this cycle of “teach then listen” can become an ever-flowing content factory for any company that takes the time to do this the right way.

Also, the comment section of a blog is your great opportunity to build a community of passionate individuals who appreciate your company’s brand and mission, thereby becoming your greatest advocates, on- and offline.

Comments + Conversation = Passionate Community
Now It’s Your Turn

I’ve shown you 5 reasons (beyond SEO) why your company should have a blog. But I’ve also intentionally left out many others because I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter as well.

What do you think? Have you seen these 5 benefits within your company? Which one has made the most impact? Also, what would you add to the list?

Jump in, everyone! I love nothing more than discussing the power of great content, so please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments box below.


About the Author, Marcus Sheridan

Known for his boundless energy and enthusiasm, Marcus is a thought leader & popular social media speaker. Download his FREE 230-page Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy eBook. He's on Twitter @TheSalesLion Other posts by Marcus Sheridan » Pin It
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