How to Keep Your Blog Rolling Along

Have you ever wondered what the best ways are to keep that blog of yours rolling along?  We know we have!  It’s definitely a commitment and we’ve tried a combination of many different methods that we’d like to share with you.

1.  Obtain Material from Guest Bloggers:  Not only does this keep the blog fresh, but it also gives readers something different to think about.

2.  Hire Someone to Write Some Posts for You:  Crunched for time?  That’s why they have ghostwriters out there!  They’ll provide you with content (either in part or full) to minimize your time investment if it’s “one of those weeks”.

3.  Grab Some “Free Copy”:  There are plenty of sites that offer free articles as long as you don’t change the text and you properly attribute the copy to its source.

4.  Set up a Google Alert for Keywords:  You know you have industry keywords and items about which you blog on a regular basis.  So set up a Google alert (or dozens of them if you wish).  That way, you can find out what’s hot and share the links with blog visitors.

5.  Keep It Short!:  Your blog articles don’t have to be the length of a Tolstoy novel.  Sometimes, just a few sentences is all you need.

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FACEBOOK – What It Is, What It Isn’t

Once the realm of teens and young people to catch up with each other, Facebook has taken off beyond anyone’s expectations… except perhaps the founder of FB, Mark Zuckerberg.  Once businesses and professionals realized the power of the social media marketing networking tool, it really caught fire.

Today, there are 600+ million users on Facebook, some much more active than others.  And that makes it an attractive social media marketing locale for companies of all sizes.

The inherent problem, of course, is that like all social media marketing platforms, Facebook isn’t necessarily the end-all, be-all.  Sure, there are 600+ million people out there using it, but that doesn’t mean they’ll ever cross your path.  Nor does it mean that you will get them to “like” your business.

Facebook users are highly selective about which organizations’ pages they will “like”.  After all, by “liking” something, they’re essentially telling their FB friends, “Hey, I support this company and what it offers.”  This is the reason that, for many companies, it can be tough to get even 100 followers.

Another issue with FB as a social media marketing tool is that you have to have uber-creative, compelling content.  It’s not enough to talk about yourself or your business all the time; you have to give FB users a reason to keep coming back.  And that takes some serious marketing savvy.

So how do you overcome these problems?  Try the following ways as starting points:

1.  Have a plan:  Using Facebook for your social media marketing in a vacuum or “once in a while” just won’t work.  So you have to develop a plan for how you’re going to use it.

2.  Write Awesome Content:  If that’s not your forte, find someone who CAN write for FB.  Yes, you’ll pay to outsource this task, but if you choose well, your investment will pay for itself.

3.  Spread the Love:  Don’t make your FB page too self-congratulatory or self-absorbed.  If you’re only talking about you, you, you (or your business), it won’t be enough to get people to “like” your page.

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12 Reasons Why You Need A Business Plan

Inexperienced or foolish businesspeople will argue that their marketplace changes too abruptly for a business plan to be useful. But shrewd entrepreneurs will exclaim that’s simply not true!

Click here to get a break-down of 12 reasons why you need a business plan.

A business plan is an essential element of a successful business and sets the plan in motion so you may become a thriving entrepreneur.

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What Does Your Company Name Say About You?

Names can potentially tell us a lot about people.  They can tell us which TV shows a person’s mom and dad watched; they can give us a hint as to the decade in which the person grew up; and they can sometimes even provide clues as to the ethnic origins of the individual.

Company names can be similarly revealing.  They can deliberately (or unwittingly) give customers clues as to the organization’s heritage and direction.  Unfortunately, business names can also sometimes be misleading.  That’s why it’s so critical to choose a name wisely.

Whether you’re looking to create a new company or you want to essentially rebrand an existing one, it’s imperative to get help from a trained marketing professional.  He or she will be able to walk you through the scenarios regarding what your business’ possible names could “say” to the public.

For example, let’s suggest you want to open a coffee shop that serves quick, hot beverages to coffee freaks.  How about “Expresso” (a blend of the words “express” and “espresso”)?  Or perhaps “Caffiend” (caffeine + fiend).  Either of those could be contenders.  What you wouldn’t want to call your place is “Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe”; after all, a generic name like that one doesn’t necessarily give much info.

As a business owner, you must be very, very prudent about your moniker choices.  Even if you have to invest in working with a marketing agency, it’s worth every penny to know that your name will be telling consumers everything they need to know.

Now here’s a question for you:  What’s the worst company name you’ve ever heard?

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If You Were the Best…

This is just a quick exercise to get you thinking about how you can take your business to the next level.  I hope it provides you with some ideas!

If you were the best business in your field…

→ What kind of marketing would you do?  Where would you market?

→ How many clients would you realistically have?

→ What would your website look like?  How about your business cards?

→ What would your monthly income be?

→ How would you get new sales?

→ How would you handle “down” times?

→ What would your customer service philosophy look like?

→ What tasks would you outsource?

→ What would customers say about your organization?  What would competitors say?

→ What kind of community service would your business do?

→ How would your office space look?

→ What would a potential client’s first impression of your company be?

→ How would you approach every single day?

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10 Marketing Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make, part II

This is a continuation of our two-part series on marketing mistakes you cannot afford to make!

Marketing Mistake #6:  Getting stuck in a rut: If your website hasn’t had an ounce of redesign since 2002, it’s high time to get to work on it.  Same with your brochures, business cards, signage, etc.  The world has changed in the past 9 years… you’ll want to come along for the ride or risk being left behind.

Marketing Mistake #7:  Hating all new marketing tools:  We’ve seen this before and we’re sure you have, too – the business person who abhors anything new.  Rather than even trying something, he or she will berate it.  This is why some companies still have no web presences… and why many companies who had great products or services are no longer in existence.

Marketing Mistake #8:  Marketing materials that operate in bubbles and don’t cross-promote: Many businesses have a website that looks NOTHING like their business cards that look NOTHING like their brochures that look NOTHING like their billboard that…  Well, you get the point.  The problem?  There’s no cohesiveness in the organization’s marketing materials.  Everything is done in a “bubble” and no one bothers to talk.  This just makes for a scatter-shot approach… and an ineffective one at that.

Marketing Mistake #9:  Wanting results lickity-split: “Why isn’t our marketing working?”  We hear it over and over… and it’s usually during the first few weeks of a marketing campaign.  The truth is that marketing doesn’t work overnight.  It takes a while.  So sit back and relax; if you’ve done your homework, you’ll reap the rewards!

Marketing Mistake #10:  Not learning from your own mistakes:  And the final marketing mistake?  Not learning from your own mistakes, of course!  We all make them… and if we don’t use them as learning experiences, we’ll never see success!

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10 Marketing Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make, part I

Too many companies have made these marketing mistakes over the years… so there’s no reason that you should experience the pain of these types of errors!  Read over this list and repeat to yourself:  “I will NEVER do these!”

Marketing Mistake #1:  Not having a plan: This is a huge problem and one we see all the time.  Not having a marketing plan is like not having a map to a destination you’ve never seen before.  You know where you’re going but have no clue how to get there.  Think you’ll get lost?  We do.

Marketing Mistake #2:  Spending money on the wrong things:  It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement when someone tells you that you HAVE to get involved in one type of marketing or another.  But if you’re just constantly throwing money at marketing schemes that never seem to work… you basically are burning your cash.

Marketing Mistake #3:  Not spending enough money on the right things:  Just as some businesses spend too much money on things they don’t need, there are many businesses that will not spend enough on the marketing things that could help them.  If you’re a cheapskate, you may just find yourself looking for a job in the future instead of hiring others.

Marketing Mistake #4:  Trying to do it all:  You may not need a Twitter account.  You might not see a dime from a billboard campaign.  And radio?  Perhaps it’s not the best marketing tool for your company’s needs.  If you try to do it all, you’ll probably realize all-too-late that there were elements that could – and should – have been avoided.

Marketing Mistake #5:  Not listening to your audience: If your customer base hates your marketing methods, it’s not their fault that they “just don’t get it”… it’s your fault for not listening to them.  You really need to make sure that you are always keeping your clients in mind when determining what kinds of marketing to use.

Later this week, we’ll look at Marketing Mistakes #6-10…

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