Happy New Year …
It is day 3 of 365 days … what have you achieved so far? Are you keeping track of what you actually do each day? Are you still on a break, gearing up for a Monday beginning? Have you given any thought to what you might do differently online? Or have you decided that what you are doing is just fine?
In short where are you as you enter 2019? And is this different than the beginning of your 2018? Do you remember?
In the world of online marketing there have been some realizations for 2019 that warm my heart. Content and messaging are taking much more of a front row seat. And as many of you know… helping you know what to say, when, where, how and to who has always been one of my priorities. It has always puzzled me how trainings tell you to post here, use this resource, show up so many times per day, etc. BUT stop short when it comes to helping you know what to say and how! And as it turns out, now in 2019 the conclusion is that what you say is KEY. Finally they have caught up with me.
What has been discovered is that ads, and blindly throwing “content” out there just to be seen and hoping that it sticks has not worked all that well. If activity was generated at all, it was not productive activity.
WHAT WILL HELP YOU AND WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR 2019:
Your online communications are key. Your success with online activity will be how you attract and connect, serve and support, i.e. focus on your buyers … from pre-need to post purchase. To know what those conversations are you must get to know your buyers beyond their immediate needs but also all the elements of the lifestyle they live in that seeds the needs for your solutions. You must bring awareness to your business, generate interest that builds trust and a deeper interest that leads to an agreement that delivers full satisfaction , i.e. new, repeat and referral business!
Here is what is being shared as thoughts & advice for 2019 from some google searched sources:
- Too many marketers forget the importance of listening to audience members in the engagement equation. Social listening involves analyzing specific conversations, phrases, and other details on your brand’s and even competitors’ social-media pages, and it’s a growing component of competitive social strategies.
- Rather than just glancing at posts and making your best guesses, social listening allows you to identify patterns and collect meaningful interpretations of their data. Using these interpretations to your advantage can greatly benefit your marketing campaigns in the future and give you an edge over other brands that are using social to blast their message instead of engaging followers.
- Realize that consumers judge you, in part, on the basis of your content, and that they tend to stay more loyal to brands that are more consistently helpful and relevant in their content.
- Your content needs to bridge the gulf between what you want to accomplish (brand identity and authority, increased visibility, sales!) and the hopes, dreams, wants, needs, desires, fears, etc. of your prospects.
- Think sophisticated, multi-dimensional, organic storytelling.
And then what not to bring over from 2018 …
- 2018 was a year in which so much that has been proven to be successful was passed by as people moved to new ideas and tactics. We’re not talking about the tech led “spray and pray” rampage. We’re talking about lack of understanding of the customer’s business, willingness to let automated systems build rapport with prospects instead of a salesperson, micromanagement that hinders salespersons performance, dependence on activity metrics regardless of results, lack of real selling skills training, lack of understanding on how all communication channels work together, all that kind of stuff.
- What doesn’t work – advocating posting louder, more, every day, every minute. That leads to a situation where “time-spent” can easily overwhelm value received, and leads to burn-out and addiction. Others have started using ghost writers to pound out content which is just generic enough to be plausible and uninteresting. Yuck.
Are you doing any of the above? Time to come up with some authentic content and messaging that is all about your buyers and In your delivery format, promotes and support YOU! Time to know your buyers and everything about them and how you can match your business and your personal business brand to your content and your messaging.
Create “real life” value with your content and messaging. Create it from thoughts that relate to why you are passionate about what your do, how you serve your clients, how you are being their hero and the joy and plus you bring to their lives. Create all your content and messaging from that perspective!
Happy New Year!
Good Business is Good Communications …
Here’s to your success via online communications!
Happy New Year ….
It’s the time for new beginnings, new ideas, new doors to open! AND .. a good time to be reminded of how to “open & begin” all our communications. All it takes is to remember one basic principle under which some basic techniques can be applied. It will make all the difference in your communications success or failure.
What is the one basic principle? “It’s not about you.” Remember that and you’ll be off to a great start. People are in their own heads and when “new” dialogue and/or information arrives in front of them, they often first want to know what’s in it for “them.” If you approach the openings of all your communications with this in mind you are immediately way ahead in securing a connection.
What are some techniques to use in your opening conversations?
- Never open with the use of “I” – “We” – “Our” — Doing so just puts you in the way of your readers (listeners) connecting with your message. Communicate and connect directly with your recipient’s mindset. Get out of the way!
- Do open with your point! Don’t make people read an entire sentence without knowing your point of the message. Many people won’t hang around that long. Set the stage immediately! It can be as simple as Heads Up! to set a stage for attention and then begin your next sentence with your point. Maybe you want to title it in the opening, i.e. Want to lower your taxes? It works the same as email subject lines .. the first 4-5 words can mean your message gets read or NOT!
- Talk about results! People are not interested in what you offer unless it is going to get them what they are really after. Again.. what’s in it for them. Realize that you are just a “how” for getting what they want. ……………………………………………… Here’s just a quick tip for answering the question, “what do you do?” Reply with asking if they or someone they know ever needs _________ (fill in the blank with the result that people get via your products & services). Then continue by saying you make that happen. Try it .. you’ll get much better reaction than if you start describing what you “do” .. again, tell them what they will get!Here’s just a quick tip for answering the question, “what do you do?” Reply with asking if they or someone they know ever needs _________ (fill in the blank with the result that people get via your products & services). Then continue by saying you make that happen. Try it .. you’ll get much better reaction than if you start describing what you “do” .. again, tell them what they will get!
- Share the news of the day in the specific “world” you share with your buyers. This is a great way to open conversations that attract new contacts without being salesy. Also great for attracting your buyers via social media or blogging. For example if you provide financial consulting you might talk about the news of the day that relates to financial concerns. Or if you sell cars, talk about something going on in the auto industry .. maybe the new electric Mercedes-Benz!! Providing engaging conversation of this type without ANY mention of what you do OR your products and services will attract people who are currently suspects and who will become prospects because at some point, they will have needs that are a result of these “interests” ..this piece of the world that you have in common.
There are more techniques that will be specific to your personality, the specifics of your engagement, and the who and when of your conversations. HOWEVER .. if you always just remember the one basic principle that “IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU” you will always begin and and all of the above on the right foot and maximize your chances of success.
Here’s to your success via making connections . …
|You probably have found yourself thinking, at least once, about how great it would be to outsource your social networking. Yes? It’s a tempting thought prior to really knowing all that awaits you via social networking.
When you think about social networking as just one more “to do” it’s natural to want someone else to take it on as though it’s a chore! But when you think AGAIN, and learn that social networking is:
Can you really call this a chore? I hope not because social networking is your BUSINESS! Hopefully this is exciting to you and reason to want to dive into your own social networkign. If not or if you need more to think about, here are 9 more reasons NOT to outsource your social networking:
What are your thoughts now? Hopefully you can see how you just DON”t want to outsource your social networking.
Here’s to your success via making connections!
“I don’t have time for social networking!”
It’s really easy to say, right? People agree with you so it seems to be an excuse that you can feel is legitimate.
The sad truth is that many who say “I don’t have time for social networking” have never even tried it! I hope that’s not you. It may have been cool in the beginning but now it is just hurting yourself not to participate in social networking.
Let me ask you this ~ Do you have time to get dressed in the morning? Do you have time to stop and have a cup of coffee in the morning? Social networking works the same way.
Now if getting dressed every morning means starting from scratch and going through everything in your closet, thinking about what you wore in the previous days and what you are going to do that day and THEN choosing what to wear only to find out that something needs to be ironed, or is in the wash, or at the cleaners … .all before your actually get dressed and are ready for the day…. you probably would NOT have time to get dressed every morning. Don’t you think?
Social networking is the same. You can’t log in and then start wondering what you are going to say, be distracted by other people’s posts while you think of what to say, finally come up with your messaging and then go look for a photo to add with it, etc. etc. etc. If this is what your are doing , you are right. You don’t have time for social networking!!! And the sad part is, if you do all of the above with no significance .. other than to show up with a post for the day .. you will not have any positive resultsl!
Some of the “truths” about social networking include:
- Social networking can be done successfully in less than 10 minutes per day.
- Success comes from consistency not quantity.
- Social networking posts are meant to be snipits … not long articles!
- Having a purpose for each and every post enables you to be time efficient.
- Allocating an hour or less per week to plan your postings gives you time!
- and there are more! Join us on Let’s Connect LIVE! to talk about them.
There is ALWAYS time for tasks that make sense and that contribute to your success. The first step is identifying your BIG WHY for social networking. Once you have that you can break all your activity into steps, each with their own purpose It won’t be long before you will be making lots ot time for your social networking. Trust me!
Here’s to your success making connections!
Now that you’ve made a client persona or two ( per our last blog post), let’s talk about matching your buying personas to the voice of your brand and why it is important. Let’s look at some of the pieces:
- Client personas, as talked about last week, are representations of your primary types of clients. You can form them from grouping shared demographics, as appropriate .. maybe age, sex, income, etc. You can also categorize them by behavior such as style, interests, activities, etc. Maybe you end up combining both of these in some way. For my client personas I grouped types of buyers by buying behavior and all associated specifics. Let me share their names with you!
– ► Enthused & Open to Learn: Enthusistic Elizabeth and Eric
– ► Price Sensitive: Frugal Fran & Frugal Fred
– ► Lack Of Trust In Online Mktg: Doubting Donna & Doubting Don
– ► Those that “get it”: Ready Rita & Ready Richard
Personalizing my client personas makes it sooooo much easier to create targeted communications to each one of my personas.
- Your Brand and its voice!
Brands are complex … and brands are much more than just your logo and your colors Brands are a “live” reflection of your values, policies, self-image, style, manners, what you stand for and believe in. Your brand can be made of multiple values, i.e. a belief in excellent customer service, high quality products, and a great work environment, etc. Emphasizing the right portion of your brand to each of your client personas is important. Diffrent aspects of your brand will resonate more than other aspects of the same brand because people and client personas place value on different things.
- The Two Together
At a presentation given last week on the future direction of digital marketing, it was stated that a brand will be defined by its community. This current direction is referred to as “brand communities.” A brand community is a group of caring and connected consumers organized around the lifestyle, activities, and ethics of the brand.. There is engagement and bonding! Your brand is part of the consumer experience!
Some thoughts to ponder about brand communities.
► A brand community is a business strategy.
► A brand community exists to serve the people in it.
► Engineer the community and the brand will be strong.
All of the above comes about by creating matches and engagement between the different benefits and values of your brand with your individual client personas. Know which benefit is most important to each persona. Having clarity for both will maximize your engagement and communications …. thus creating a shared truth that evolves vs begin thrown out from a central point. It all just “is!” within the people you have gathered together. Exciting!
- The Role Of CRM, Customer Relationship Management
The demographics you grouped together to create your client personas become part of what we refer to as CRM .. Customer Relationship Management. The individual identifiers that go into a CRM system of any level of sophistication determine how we speak, our tone, and what we say, contributing to the most effective engagement between your brand and your client personas!! You can say it helps you create the voice of your brand.
Going forward we’ll be talking more about CRM but for now just know that your brand and “everything” is dynamic. Your brand is “alive” and its strength depends upon how strong your attraction, connection and engagment is between your different types of buyers and the elements of your brand that are best matched to them. it grows organically into something bigger than just you marketing your products and services.
A strong brand community increases customer loyalty, lowers marketing costs, and generates tons of ideas to grow the business. Through commitment, engagement, and support you’ll see some fantastic returns.
How does all this apply to you? In every way! Even if your business is just “you” … you’ve heard the term of wearing multiple hats. This is another form of that. AND as a solopreneur you are in full control. It’s the perfect time to implement the structure you will need to support the flexibility and flow you want to generate.
Here’s to your success via making connections .
Sorting your prospects and buyers into their “whys” for using your offerings enables you to create “personas” for your types of clients. How many different types do you have? AND what are the specific conversations you must create to attract, connect, engage and convert them as they go through the steps of the buying journey.
One persona you create may be very focused upon the details of your product. Another may be more interested in the service that comes with doing business with you and for that reason alone they don’t have deep concern about the products. And so on ….
It can be eye-opening when you stop and start realizing the different “whys” your current buyers have for using what you sell. The ideas for attracting future business become much wider in scope… usually going way beyond the products and services themselves.
You also realize how you must change your voice as you engage with eah persona .. .just like you do with humans. This realization makes it a requirement and fun to add a personality to each persona and also give each persona a name! Personalize them as much as you can because each one is who you are going to start having conversations with as you go forward with your marketing strategies and acitivities.
Here is a quick image I put together with a very simple depiction of 3 personas and hopefully it is obvious as to how the marketing conversations could vary per persona. The product is a type of children’s food.
Once your personas are created and named, you are going to create a process … a buyer journey … for each of your personas. Start with how they find out about you, at the early awareness stage that I always refer to as “attract” … and move on to what will make a connection, and then what information do you need to create engagement from each connection and then what do they need to know in order to buy from you. You should also include what happens after the sale to make sure this persona will be a repeat customer and/or referral.
Give it a try! It can be eye opening!
Here’s to your success via “making connections! ”
Content is the name of the game in the online mktg arena currently. Original content. So how does that work? Well …. it’s made up of what you offer, your clients, and the ‘world” that both reside in! AND if you stick with me, the rest of this year my focus ( with a couple of side detours) will be on helping you know how to implement some great CRM, i.e. Customer Relationship Management within your business and of course making sure you know why!
So this week, let me ask you, ” how well do you know your clients?”
Hopefully you are all becoming aware of the need to know your client’s “why” for buying your products and services. Because, as many of you already know, what you offer is the HOW for your clients to get what they really want. This is why you must know their WHY for looking at your offerings, in order to maximize “your” success with your marketing . messaging.
There is still more to know about your clients! Just for fun pick 10 of your current clients. Quickly write down what they buy from you and if they buy more than one item, list all that they buy. Then sort them by age, sex, size (if appropriate) color, price, where they live, any interests that you know and any other ways to categorize them. Now let me ask you:
- Do you see any obvious patterns that allow you to place them In different groupings?
- Do you see conversations that could occur within each group that would be targeted just for each group?
Hopefully you wil be able to form some groupings working with just 10 clients. If not use a larger test group. You may have just one single offer, so pick the date they bought their items as a primary category (just for fun) and also the personal criteria listed above.
Amazing insight is gained when you do this and lots of ideas emerge for conversations that will make strong connections and build relationships. For example:
- Multiple product/service purchases, just by themselves, provide ideas for successful up-selling to those who are single buyers.
- Multiple product/service purchases provide ideas for bundled packages and for promotions!
- Age similarities open up targeted conversations around age. Bring your offerings into these conversations… lead buyers to you.
- All similar demographics of interests, sex, age etc provide ideas for targeted conversations. Lots of ideas for conversations in which you can bring your offerings to your buyers vs having the conversation be about your offerings.
- Locations that are shared by clients provide ideas for promotions based around events, weather, local holidays/celebrations etc.
Bottom line .. creativity excels! Relationship building is effective and based upon real happenings! You achieve success in your own right BUT guess what? You also are shining much brighter than your competition. (assuming they are not also doing this! )
Know thy clients! Your clients want you to know some stuff. It shows you care if you use the information correctly and applied in a relationship building style.
If this all sounds good, continue with more than just 10 of your clients. Just use a piece of paper or excel. I’ll be going over other options in the coming weeks. For now simply lay it out and LOOK at what you find! See what you DISCOVER that has been sitting right there waiting for you to use for your growing success! Let me know some of your “wows” in a comment or tow … would love to know.
Here’s to your success via “making connections!”
Online communications are very private moments between readers and senders. Lots can happen in these private moments .. good and bad! So why not maximize what you can gain during these moments? Acquire what I refer to as the “easy” points! Keep your relationships strong and growing … no steps backwards
Here are some bad habits to stay away from when using email!
- Leaving your email subject line blank!
Let people know what your message is about. Maybe they want to open it immediately and maybe they don’t. Make it convenient for “them” not yourself.
- Using just your first name by itself in the “from” field of your email.
Unless you are Oprah, it confuses people. They may think it is from another Mary they know and then find out otherwise. It’s irritating. Just now knowing who it is from at all can create a grumble or two from readers.
- Sending a message that opens with you telling them they made spelling errors.
I know … you think you are doing a good deed. But picture this: Someone has worked hard on an article and sent it out finally with a message of inspiration. They send it our to all and you reply with ” I found typos in your first 2 paragraphs …. ” and say NOTHING about the article! Ouch! The advice for this scenario is what should be applied when giving any type of criticism. Open your message with something good. Then share that there are a few items they might want to correct. You will not strengthen many relationships by starting out what they did wrong.
- Beginning a communication to someone you don’t know with Hey!
Hey or Hey there has become quite popular. But you are taking a chance when you begin a communication with “hey” to people you don’t know. It can be taken as far too casual a greeting. That you are assuming a stance you don’t have. You can appear to be disrespectful and careless. Also snobbish! Assuming? Think you get the picture .. it is a risky thing to do.
- Putting your message in your email subject line.
Even if it is a short message people anticipate that there is something inside your email. …so they look, and then they scroll down and look some more. At some point they decide there is no message and they go back to read your subject line. All very annoying! And time consuming. Grumble Grumble! It may be more convenient for YOU to put the message in the subject line but it isn’t more convenient for the recipient.
Hope these help keep you out of trouble! Share any that you have in the comments below! Thanks!
Here we are at the beginning of February! How are you doing?
I just came out of a meeting in which we continue to plan “ahead” for what we “will” do, “want” to do, “should” do, etc. It repeats itself each and every time we meet and everyone, for some reason, walks out of the meeting feeling like something got accomplished. Really?
Can any of you relate? Does it resemble a pattern of behavior you see around you?
When I paused to reflect on this, I thought about myself. Even though I classify myself as a doer, there are times when I find “other’ things to do to justify my feelings of accomplishment vs what I really had originally intended. End result is that I don’t get to what I “want” to do, “should” do or thought I “would” do!
Last time I experienced this I caught myself and asked, “what is my purpose today?” I recited it to myself in very clear terms. Having implemented this several times now, it is working for me. It get me clear, on track and dive in and “do it.” My purpose is achieved.
If any of what I am sharing hits home with you … recite your purpose for your day, your task, your meeting, etc out loud … get yourself on track and DO IT!
Is it to …write a blog? Make 10 calls a day? Redo your website?. Learn how to be in control of LinkedIn? Create content? Be in charge of your social media resources? Know how to use your social media resources? Make new connections online?
Time goes by too fast. 2016 went by in a flash. Make each and every moment of 2017 serve your PURPOSE for the year. DO IT!
Isn’t it great when you have a captive audience? When your listeners hang on to every word you say as you speak to a group or even just a single individual! There are some people who experience this magic every time they speak. You can probably think of a few right now who always have people stop and listen to every word they say.
The good news is that it doesn’t always require “magic” to experience this yourself. There are multiple ways to go about experiencing a captive audience. As you begin to implement one or several of the available “ways” you’ll start seeing an increase in your connectivity. Slowly but surely … you’ll experience a captive audience all the time!
One specific way to begin obtaining a “captive audience” is to use the structure of a story in “all” your communications. Stories have a successful track record from everyone’s childhood to adulthood in making us stop and listen. When someone says, “let me tell you a story,” you can almost feel a shift in your “being” as you go into a more relaxed mode. You sit back and listen, and “connect!”
So what is it about stories? What do stories do? First they get your attention, directing you away from where you are. Then something happens as the story unfolds. Lastly closure is provided. Each segment flows to the next. AND within each segment, each sentence connects and flows to the next as do each of the words used in each sentence … bringing you into the “tide” of the story, and keeping you there (via the structure) until the ending!
When a story ends, you walk away with a complete A-Z communication that via its completeness has been listened to and heard. The pieces “connect & flow” AND MOST IMPORTANTLY the “communication” is remembered because of the “closure” that is used. How often, when asked to describe a book or a movie, do you maybe get fuzzy on the pieces of the “happening” but you can always share how it ends …right?
The story structure works wonderfully, as you would expect, when telling an actual story and/or when putting your marketing message into a story scenario. BUT ALSO, the story structure works wonderfully in ALL types of communications.
Lets break down the structure of a story as you might implement it in ALL types of communications:
Openings are used to catch attention, set the stage, get your listeners & readers in sync, get your listeners & readers positioned & ready to hear the next part of your communication.Openings can vary in style:
Simple: ATTENTION! HEADS UP! PICTURE THIS!
Targeting: Are You A 45+ Year Old Runner?
Introduction: A love of soccer is sweeping the USA!!!
Actual Story Telling: A Financial Planning client came into my office today. His pain was great and his stress level high!
- SOMETHING HAPPENS!
From the stage that is set in the opening, a message is shared. The message might be:
A simple announcement.
Sharing of information.
Making a point.
An actual story
Closure provides completeness, an ending … something that is required by our human DNA. We look for it in everything we do, from eating dessert, to knowing the answer to a mystery, to getting over a loved one’s death, to finishing a book, to graduating from schools ,… we thrive on having “closure & completeness!”
When you provide closure, even in the simplest of communication it is like dotting the “i” and crossing the “t.” If you don’t provide it, you can get by without it. People usually know what you mean or fill in their own closure, BUT it is so much stronger and you make a much more cleaner “complete” connection when you do dot the “i” & cross the “t.”Adding closure to all your business communications, short & long will add that extra glue for connecting to and captivating your audiences.Closure can be of several types with each type, in one way or another, summarizing & delivering the WHY of your communications. Some of the types are:
Simple Statement: See You There!
Call To Action: Buy Now!
Emotion: Cheers & Joy!
Direct WHY: To Your HEALTH!
A Result: They lived happily ever after.
Use the structure of a story in ALL your communications, short & long. Here is a short communication shown with partial use of a story structure and then with complete use of the story structure:
- With partial story structure – using Opening & Message only.
Greetings! Have a wonderful day.
This can work, i.e you can get by with this. Does it captivate?
- With complete story structure – adding a “closure” with the WHY.
Greetings! Have a wonderful day. You deserve it.
Quietly say both of these greeting to yourself as though you are receiving them from someone else and see if you experience an extra “bond” when (the why) “you deserve it” is added at the end. Specifically including the “why” … not assuming it .. provides immediate clarity for “connecting!” AND I ask you, which greeting “captivates” you more?
There are so many ways to apply the story structure to your business communications for having captive audiences. Turning your marketing messages into stories is an obvious and very KEY way. Structuring “ALL” your communications around the story structure is a bigger way that will enable you to tremendously increase your connectivity with all audiences both online AND offline.
If you are catching on to what I am sharing, start creating your communications with the story structure and let me know the differences you experience. This post will be here for a long while. Just come back and comment.
If you are not quite comfortable with how you would start using the story structure, I invite you to schedule a private workshop with me for assistance. We can customize a workshop specific to your business and your learning needs. Your email or phone call is welcomed. 310-306-1453 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In today’s business world, making less than “complete” connections with your audiences is almost equal to making no connections. There is just too much information out there. You can’t afford to be lost in the crowd. You must know how to “captivate” will all your communications.
Join me in saying, “YES” To Having Captive Audiences!
About me: I’m your “go-to” for knowing how to create effective online communications that will attract, connect, engage and convert online prospects into buyers. Also the creator of my signature “Content Mktg Power Workshop.” Added value: 20+ years in corporate voice & data sales & marketing plus 15 years as an entrepreneur. I “get” you!
Stay in touch via my weekly “Keep Your Business Growing” emails, click here. Visit my website and ask for a complimentary consultation .http://www.todaysway.net/complimentary-consultation/