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Online FREE, the new Tchochtke

Dog vs Man Danceoff

To view video, click on link below

Henry Ford once said, “The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.” In today’s inbound marketing terms, this could be the new Holy Grail. Business owners successful at providing the right balance of online FREE content and services are most likely to entice and solidify their customers. This strategy is called a pull strategy and means you are pulling customers, not pushing them to buy your product or service.

Yes, I said FREE content and services. Free, as in no cost. Zip, Zilch, Nada, No dinaro. You all know where I’m going with this, don’t you? Here’s my short list:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linked In
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • YouTube
  • WordPress.com
  • Yelp
  • Webinars
  • e-books
  • surveys
  • data charts
  • content (blogs)
  • Farmville
  • Mafia Wars

You get the idea. In 2011 terms, they’re the new tchotchke.

We spend countless hours online; checking this, reading that, playing those favorite free games and watching dog-vs-man-danceoff.htm.

It’s easy to understand why WE do this, but why are THEY, a.k.a. businesses, doing it? Why is this happening? Why would businesses give it all away for free?

It’s all in the Pull Strategy

As businesses move from Old School marketing methods like advertising to Inbound Marketing there is a change from push to pull. Instead of pushing a message, social media can pull customers to your business. The heart of this new successful strategy focuses on understanding the behaviors of today’s consumer. The online world is being developed as a “warm and fuzzy” place where businesses offer free advice, content, services, and games; and come together in a sense of community. It is where people go first for consumer information, and increasingly where they make a purchase, and begin to advocate for a product, service, business, or brand they like.

This pull strategy proves to be much more effective than the traditional push approach. Why? Because who doesn’t like free stuff?

How about you? You can continue to receive this blog FREE by clicking on ‘By Email’ in the top right corner of this page and subscribing to the Social Energizer blog. Feedburner will have you decode a scrambled word and then click on a link they send to your email. That’s all there is to it.

Know Your Customer’s Customer

customers

Attribution to Christine Jump (Flickr)

One of the basic principles of customer satisfaction is to understand and know your customer’s customer. It is something so simple, and yet sometimes, marketing professionals overlook this. Instead they create campaigns that fit the marketing person’s profile or fancy better than they do the customer or the customer’s customer.

Whether you’re selling to a company that makes and sells stuff or selling to Moms whose main customers are her three kids, you need to recognize who the customer’s customer is. If you want to create compelling programs and assess if they are on target, then knowing your customer’s customer is the most important key to successful marketing.

Clients, the ones who pay you directly, gain a new appreciation for the professionals who do their homework in this manner. It is the most generous compliment for a client to discover that you, in fact, took the time and effort to understand what they are doing and most of all, who they are doing it for: their customers.

In online marketing terms, the customer’s customer is an extension of a Buyer Persona. As social media marketing becomes more integral to the sales process, you will see this become more critical, but I wonder how many will really ‘get it’. Relating to people, even those called consumers, is not a science, but an art, backed by a strong genuine interest in helping people and truly satisfying their wishes.

As we take up the challenge of determining how to align with customers using new media, we need to reclaim the basics we learned so long ago. Learn about your customer’s customer, get to know them, spend some time talking to them or better yet, joking and laughing with them. As you build this awareness, you also build awareness of the direction your business should take to better connect with your consumer and satisfy their needs and interests for your products and/or services. Doing this well results in relationships that can last a lifetime.

10 Easy Tips for Better Blogging

Crunch time? Does it always seem like you are wondering what to write? How do you build buzz needed to pull people to your site? Here are 10 Easy Tips for Better Blogging.

Blog ideas

No doubt about it, blogging takes time and dedication. The pay-off comes when you find a good-size community that interacts with your site regularly and when you notice your website and blog are steadily gaining in the battle of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rankings.

Here are ten tips that can help keep copy flowing smoothly.

  1. Write an article that is easy to read and over 300 words long. Find at least 2 images that fit with your topic.
  2. Pick topics that focus on things your customers often ask or are interested in. Keep a blog calendar that shows what you’ve posted and in which categories. Use it as a quick reference to keep your blog balanced
  3. Use the scheduling tool, like this wordpress example, to automate posting at consistent days and times
    blog scheduler
  4. Use an RSS feed to bring news that you can use as material for creating your blog
  5. Going to an event? Shoot a video, interview some folks, and post on your blog
  6. Interview customers for your blog
  7. Grab some company data and turn it into an interesting story
  8. Share a lesson you’ve learned
  9. Save interesting emails and use for blog fodder
  10. Use your signature line, with your blog’s link, in forums you visit to entice people to your site
  11. Use these easy tips to keep your ideas fresh and your content flowing

Still need help with your blog? Even with these tips, do you find the whole thing overwhelming? Maybe you need help getting your site up and running. Give me a call. We have affordable plans that will fit into every Social Media budget.

(updated Dec 2014)

Merry Christmas, What’s Your Social Message?

The Holidays are here! A busy time of year, full of shopping, gifting, celebrating and gathering. It is also a time of reflection. Time to ask yourself. What’s important? Am I doing the right thing? With social media impacting our lives more and more daily, it’s a good idea to dig deep to be sure you’re well grounded. To be sure that your social message is the message you can live by. A social message that you want to live with.

One of the best reads can be found by following the link below. This is a good time of year to take an accounting on your actions, including your online persona. Is it one you’re proud of? Are you doing the right things, both on and offline?

Merry Christmas, everyone. May the New Year bring peace and happiness for all. 

-Lynn

Fireplace

NADINE STAIR

An 85 year-old woman wrote this by the name of Nadine Stair. Some of you may have come across it before.

She writes:

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d dare to make more mistakes the next time.

I’d relax, I’d limber up, I’d be sillier than I had been this time, I’d take fewer things seriously, I’d take more chances and I’d take more trips.

I’d climb more mountains and I’d swim more rivers.

I’d eat more ice cream and eat less beans.

I might have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

I’m one of those people who lives sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments, but if I had to do over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments one after the other instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t go anywhere without a thermometer, hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute.  If I had it to do over again, I’d travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live over, I’d start barefoot earlier in the Spring, I’d stay that way later in the Fall.  I’d go to more dances, ride more merry-go-rounds and pick more daisies.”

That’s the way it was said by Nadine Stair.

Don’t wait until you’re 85 years old.

Here’s a few more things to think/ponder about:

Trust people. Trust wasn’t put in your heart to stay, trust is only trust when you give it away.

Forget injuries, but never forget kindness.

Remember that nice guys don’t finish last. Nice guys finish best.

Practice the Golden Rule (and the Golden Rule doesn’t mean that the people that have all the money, make all the rules).

The most effective relationship with any person is an honest relationship.

‘Please’ and Thank you’ are the most powerful tools you have – you don’t have to wear a skirt to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

Nobody ever failed by being decent – and you grow taller when you stretch to help the other guy.

Love life and use processes – don’t love processes and use life.

Don’t worry about failing. Failure is the fertilizer for success and success is really failure turned inside out. Even the best hitter in baseball fails seven times out of 10. Thomas Edison failed 12,000 times before he invented the light bulb. You learn more when you lose than when you win.

Don’t quit. You’re not finished when you lose, you’re only finished when you quit – you cannot fail without your consent.

Remember SW, (Sometimes you win, sometimes you won’t, so what!) A winning attitude is far more important than winning – winning is fleeting and fickle – but a winning attitude endures.

When you’ve done your level best, you’re a champion – and you really learn more when you lose than when you win.

Be enthusiastic, persevere, be passionate in task, bounce back and I’ll see you at the top.

Hang on to your dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that can’t fly.

And finally, love what you do and love what you are.

(Edited and reposted – Dec 2014)

10 Steps to a New Business

Train Tracks

Have you dreamed of owning your own business, but don’t know where to start? Have you started planning for your new business, but keep wondering if you’ve forgotten anything important? Check out the basic steps below to be sure you’re on the right track.

Evaluate and Develop Your Business Concept

1. Do you feel passionate about this idea? Will it be something you can do every day –- and night?

2. Jot out a quick break-even analysis. Can you make money at what you’re planning to do?

3. Figure out how you can pay for it, until it pays for itself and then makes money. Determine best and worst case scenarios.

Structure Your Business

4. What type of business will you form?

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • LLC
  • C Corporation
  • S Corporation

5. Who will be your key employees, partners and vendors? What value do they add that you don’t have?

Brand It

6. Determine the name of your business. Start with a brainstorm session, then research your top 5-10 names for trademark and online domain availability.

7. Register your name and trademarks.

8. Determine your brand identity. If your brand were a person, who would it be? What does it stand for? How does it speak? Your brand is more than your logo and name, by answering these questions, and more, you will begin to identify your brand and its persona.

Set Up Your Business Systems

9. Obtain Insurance. Determine what liabilities are most relevant and insure for them.

10. Set Up Your Books. Find an accountant or bookkeeper that can periodically check your business situation, methods and prepare your taxes.

There’s more, but these are the top ten things that need to happen, to give your business a sound start.  This is a basic list, but you would be surprised at how many people, and companies, skip some or all of these steps.

If you find yourself overwhelmed, give me a call. Many of these steps can be readily achieved and will build the foundation for a strong business. Your strong business.


Even Santa likes Social Media

It’s got to be good if Santa likes it. The phenomenon of social media continues into a Christmas-decorated living room near you. Social media are now part of celebrating Santa’s annual visit to children near and far.Santa

Mashable has just posted “9 Ways to Connect With Santa on the Web” so kids can get in touch with Old Saint Nick. Services range from Santa emails to tracking his sleigh in the skies as he delivers presents around the globe. It’s just one more instance of how Social Media pervades our private lives and provides businesses with ways of engaging their customers.

In the true spirit of Christmas giving, most of these services are free and can be found at http://www.emailSanta.com/.

And what do you give in exchange? Your gift is personal contact information and permission to market to you and your little ones.

YouTube Rewind 2010 – The Top 10 List in Links

Here’s the top watched YouTube video mashup from this year. There is no doubt about the power of video in social media… and it’s fun, too.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFnXm6cjGwU&w=640&h=390]

Could your video go viral?

Viral videos are what many business people dream of when beginning their Inbound Marketing strategy, sometimes with unrealistic expectations. Ensuring that a video of yours goes viral is impossible, but understanding their makeup, allows you to set it up for the possibility. By their nature, viral videos follow the pattern of a rapid increase of views, a couple of days with a very high number of views, and then a gentle decrease that can generate many daily views for a long period of time. Not surprisingly, the comments on these videos run pretty much the same pattern, engaging people at very high levels.

In case, you missed any of these during the year, pick a link to follow the full version now. My favorite is “This Too Shall Pass OK Go”. I love Rube Goldberg machines even more than the Old Spice guy.

Top 10  (in order, by most watched)

#1: Bed Intruder Song – http://bit.ly/hM9GKI
#2: Tik Tok Kesha Parody – http://bit.ly/gGkGDE
#3: Greyson Chance ‘Paparazzi’ – http://bit.ly/gDDvut
#4: Annoying Orange Wazzup – http://bit.ly/hBT1cm
#5: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (Old Spice)- http://bit.ly/dDXy35
#6: Giant Double Rainbow – http://bit.ly/hpKOQo
#7: This Too Shall Pass OK Go – http://bit.ly/gdMRgr
#8: The Twilight Saga Eclipse Trailer – http://bit.ly/fEq0iG
#9: Jimmy Surprises Bieber Fan – http://bit.ly/i4QqGH
#10: Gymkhana Three, Part 2 – http://bit.ly/gnBZws

Top 10  (in order, by appearance in the mashup)

• The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (Old Spice)- http://bit.ly/dDXy35
• Giant Double Rainbow – http://bit.ly/hpKOQ
• The Twilight Saga Eclipse Trailer – http://bit.ly/fEq0iG
• Jimmy Surprises Bieber Fan – http://bit.ly/i4QqGH
• Gymkhana Three, Part 2 – http://bit.ly/gnBZws
• Annoying Orange Wazzup – http://bit.ly/hBT1cm
• Bed Intruder Song – http://bit.ly/hM9GKI
• Tik Tok Kesha Parody – http://bit.ly/gGkGDE
• Greyson Chance ‘Paparazzi’ – http://bit.ly/gDDvut
• This Too Shall Pass OK Go – http://bit.ly/gdMRgr

Do videos fit into your marketing mix? Give me a call to find out if they could.

What is RSS and How it is Addictive

The typical definition for the initials RSS is “Really Simple Syndication”. This is simRss Feed Iconply a method of broadcasting your blog or other frequently updated content across the internet or, by subscribing, following multiple sites with one easy tool.

By supplying an RSS feed, readers of your blog can quickly and easily access your blog in an RSS reader, like Google Reader, without the need to navigate to your blog whenever they want to see a new posting. The importance of this is it makes it easy for readers who are interested in your blog to know when it is updated and read the new content without actually visiting your blog.

Refer to this Wikipedia article for a more in-depth description of RSS feeds.

How is it addictive? Right now, I’m following about 20 blogs daily. No more click, search, scan, click search scan. Just sit back, scan the headlines, and choose whichever ones strike my fancy and blog away. That is addictive stuff for bloggers and business people like me.

Do you need an RSS feed? Who would you subscribe to? Your favorite blogger, a prospective client, your competition?

First Steps to Successful Inbound Marketing

So, you’ve watched Socialnomics with Eric Qualman and now you ‘get it’.

Haven’t seen it yet? Here it is again.

Now, you’re ready to begin the first steps to successful Inbound Marketing. Because traditional marketing will never be the same. It will no longer get you ‘there’. If you want to move your business forward, then you will need to focus on what you’re doing online. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Own Your Own Website
There is nothing more important than owning your own website. It’s your basecamp. The place that all your social media efforts revolve around. The place where all your communications should originate from -and end up at.

Location, location, location!
Now more than ever location matters. Whether it’s a busy street corner or a hard to find hole in the wall, getting your spot on the map right is vital. My recommendation is first things, first. Can people find you? If you’re a restaurant, hotel or auto repair shop, then start by registering your address and details on Google Places. This will literally, put you on the map.

Google Places http://www.google.com/help/places/index.html

Get Found
Make it easy for others to find your website (you do have a website, right?) by adding it to these most popular search engines, as listed below. Yes, all of them. This will allow the search engines to find you without waiting for them to ‘crawl’ your site. Being proactive on this is a good thing.Socialnomics

Google – http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
Bing- http://www.bing.com/webmaster/SubmitSitePage.aspx
Yahoo! Local – http://listings.local.yahoo.com/
Yelp! http://www.yelp.com/business?country=US

Consider these:
__Craigslist- http://yourcity.craigslist.org/
__Here is a link where you can submit your site to MANY places:
http://www.locallytype.com/pages/submit.htm

Next steps
For all businesses, the top things that you need to do is establish a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and start a blog. For hospitality businesses, include TripAdvisor in that equation. Put it at the top of the list.
I’ll cover those in future articles. Stay tuned!

Strategy Problems? Six ways to know if your business is failing.

Surrounded by dumb asses? This is a great article explaining the “dumb ass syndrome” otherwise stated as ‘not understanding why you’re successful or unsuccessful’ by Dave Logan of BNet.Warning!

A summary of the steps are:

1. Recognize how common the dumb ass syndrome is in the world of business.

2. Ask yourself the question: “Do you know-really know-why you are getting the results you’re getting?”

3. Do the opposite of what comes natural.

4. Look for many causes.

5. Run low-risk experiments to test your explanations.

6. Allow for the fact that most people are victims of the dumb ass syndrome.

Was this useful? What type of articles help you most?