“Make the prospect a more informed buyer with content.” - Robert Simon
Often times I hear small business owners say that they need to educate their clients and perspective clients about their products and services. This usually takes place over the phone or an in-office visit. Occasionally they may have some of this information on their website.
Using your online presence to educate clients is an excellent way to answer some of their questions up front. Your content, and the methods you use to deliver your content, will help education your audience and help them in their decision making process.
Social media platforms are a great place to share valuable information with your audience. They are already on social media, so you are meeting them where they are.
The information must provide value to them. Share a 25 page industry report will not provide the value that they are looking for on social media, but an infographic outlining important points from that article would catch their attention.
I'm sure you know that video is one of the best ways to grab someones attention online. People will scroll past text on social media, but video may pique their interest and pull them in.
Video content does not have to be complicated. It doesn't even have to be produced professionally. In fact, some studies show that people prefer "raw" video shot from a cell phone camera.
If you have valuable tips or tricks that would benefit your audience, a quick 30 second video could be the way to reach them.
Much like video, people can be intimidated by the idea of blogging. Having a regular blog on your website can help educate your audience and help you stand out as an industry leader.
Blogs don't have to be long. In fact, Seth Godin is famous for blogging short posts every day.
Email marketing is different from your regular email. Email is sending timely messages to clients, customers, vendors, etc. Email marketing is sending our carefully created and curated content to your audience on a regular basis to help add value and to help promote your business.
Email is your Gmail or Outlook account. Email marketing is Constant Contact or MailChimp.
There was a time when people thought that email marketing was "dead," but there has been a resurgence of email marketing in recent years.
Email marketing is a way to educate your audience by adding value to their inbox. If someone has signed up for your email list, they WANT to hear from you. They want valuable content.
These are just a few examples of how to educate your audience online. If you develop a plan, you can easily implement these suggestions and many more.
Know what you want to communicate to your audience, then craft a plan on how you want to reach them.
As always, McArdle Media is here to help. We can devise a plan to reach your target audience, with the correct message, using the best platforms. The education you provide to your audience will be useful for them and set you up for success.
If you’ve ever looked at another entrepreneur and wondered how they manage to get it all done, the answer might surprise you.
They’ve got good systems.
It’s true. The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.
No matter what business you’re in and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemized approach will help you:
The Magic of Templates
How many times do you answer email from potential clients? What about responding to customer complaints? Or communicating with your clients online?
All of these tasks and more become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be repurposed for specific cases/people. Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client or help desk, or you can use software such as Text Expander (for Mac) or Phrase Express (for Windows). You might even create a template document in Dropbox or Google Drive to house all your templates for easier access.
While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email and even sales.
Checklists Prevent Mistakes
It might seem counterintuitive, but when you perform the same tasks over and over again, it’s easy to miss a critical step. You might think you paid your affiliates this month—you might even remember doing it—only to look back and see it was never completed.
But when you implement checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task.
You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.
One of my favorite books, The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, “shows what the simple idea of the checklist reveals about the complexity of our lives and how we can deal with it.”
Templates and checklists turn smart business owners into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. The next time you answer an email you’ve answered before, save your response. The next time you set up a new product in your shopping cart or create a new opt-in page, take the time to record the steps. These documents will make future projects easier and faster to complete, and best of all, you can hand them off to your assistant or marketing team to do instead.
If you want help creating and/or implementing templates and checklists for your marketing, contact us. We are happy to help your business systemize your marketing efforts.
When it comes to leveraging your time, automation is the sharpest tool in your toolbox. It allows you to get more done in less time, and to smoothly move people through your funnel.
For many small business owners, though, the one area that’s often overlooked is your website.
Use Your Blog to Build Your Mailing List
Like any smart business owner, you likely have opt-in forms on your website. They’re in the sidebar or maybe the footer, and you might have a pop-up to capture attention as visitors are about to leave.
But do you have a solid call to action at the end of your blog posts? When a new reader is finished consuming your posts, she’s primed to learn more. Give her the opportunity by offering an opt-in at the end of each post.
Even better, make it a logical next step by creating a related offer for each post. Called a content upgrade, these offers typically consist of a simple checklist or worksheet, and capture attention by providing even more information about a topic they’re already interested in.
Keep Them Reading With Related Links
How often do you revisit old blog posts to link to newer content? This is an important maintenance job that will help provide visitors with the information they’re looking for by linking related posts together.
Not only is this strategy good for keeping visitors on your site, but Google approves as well. Posts that link to each other encourage search engine bots to crawl your site more thoroughly, and help boost the rankings of your most relevant posts.
Make the Best of Your Download Pages
Whether you’re giving away a free report or paid product, your download pages can pull double-duty by offering visitors a “what’s next” option. For free download pages, a related, low-cost product is best. It gives readers the chance to learn more about you with a small investment.
For paid products, consider offering a complementary product instead. If you’re protecting your download pages with a membership script such as Customer Hub, you can even offer upsells based on what they already own, making the choice even easier for them.
And if you’re using a double-opt-in mailing list, make use of that confirmation page, too! That’s the perfect place for a quick upsell or an invitation to join you on Facebook, a webinar, etc.
Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow on your website: Whenever a reader lands on a page, he/she should be offered the next logical step. When you write your blog posts or create your download pages, keep that in mind, and your funnel will practically fill itself.
And in following my own advice 😉, don't forget that McArdle Media is here to help with your social media and digital marketing needs. We can do a website audit and make suggestions on things you can change to optimize your page. Contact us to learn more.
Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing ever used. It’s still more effective than social media marketing, pay per click marketing, and other forms of marketing available to use today. Any rumors to the contrary are wrong. Forbes, CopyBlogger.com, and Hubspot all agree that email marketing is still highly effective.
Attract the Right Sign Ups for Your List
You do not have to have a large list to make money. A smaller, more targeted list can be better than a huge list without a target audience. Build your list with smart campaigns that attract only your ideal customer. If your free gift offer isn’t interesting to anyone but your perfect client, that’s a good start.
Use Double Opt-in Lists
SPAM laws in many countries like the UK, USA, and Canada should be followed. They are mostly the same but if you market internationally, follow the ones that are most strict just to be on the safe side. Getting double opt-in agreements is your best bet to avoid issues with SPAM. In addition, sending only relevant information to your audience will help too.
Segment Your Audience
You don’t want to have people on a list that promotes product A when they’ve already bought it. Instead, you want them to be on list B now so that you can promote product B to them. Your email software can be set up to do this automatically. This action alone can help you avoid problems with customers getting bothered by your emails. It will also up the likelihood of your audience buying your next product.
Keep Relevant Information Flowing
When someone signs up for a list it’s because they’re interested in getting the information for which they signed up. If you don’t send them information on a regular basis that is relevant they’re not going to be very responsive. But, if you do send them what they’re looking to get, you’ll be surprised at how positive the email list experience will be, for you and your audience.
Point Your Audience to Helpful Information
In addition to promoting your own products and services it’s also helpful to your list to point them toward information and products or services that they need that you don’t create. You can become a needed and trusted resource for your email list members. As they get to know you and trust you, they’re going to be more likely to accept the helpful information that you provide.
Remind Your Audience about Your Blog
A good use of your email list is to remind them about the messages on your blog. Introducing a new blog post within an email message is a great way to ensure that your readers get the information they need about you, your products and services as well as the affiliate programs you support.
Write Effective Interesting Headlines
Don’t be too cleaver with your headlines. People get angry when a headline is deceptive and dishonest. Be direct about what’s inside so that when they open it and read it they develop even more trust for you based off the fact the headline matched the message. The more direct you are, the more honest you are; the more effective your email marketing messages will be.
Remember the Call to Action
Like blog posts, every email message you send to your audience should include a call to action (CTA) of some kind. Whether its buy now, read this blog post, or share with your friends include something for your audience to do. If you don’t tell them what to do or ask them to do something there is a high chance they will do nothing.
Collect & Test Your Metrics
Nothing is ever done without the numbers. Try different headlines, and different CTAs to see what gets the best results. Which headlines are opened more often? Which CTA’s were answered? How many people purchased X product upon your recommendation? How many people are responding to your questions and surveys? If you know this information you can use it to improve your email marketing campaigns.
Finally, repeat everything that works. When you find a winning way to run your email campaigns, keep repeating it for different products and services because you’ll get better email marketing results.
Constant Contact is a robust email marketing software the allows businesses to easily market to their customers with easy to use drag-and-drop email templates. You can easily import customer data from spreadsheets or email clients, such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook.
Constant Contact offers a free trial offer to give you the chance to try out the software without a long-term commitment.
Click here to learn more about Constant Contact.
One way to have a larger impact with your online marketing efforts is to ramp up your exposure. Exposure means that more people start to get to know you as an expert. You have seen it happen on TV when a new show is coming – teasers, sneak peeks and little bits of information come out about the show. Becoming known as an expert in your niche is a lot like that. A little sneak peak at a time will go far in pushing you toward expert status. It’s a fabulous way to make a big impact quickly. People listen to experts, sign up for their lists, and wait with bated breath for their next offering.
Some ways to start getting more exposure are:
Participating in these activities and anything else that you can think of that will increase your exposure will help you gain expert status a lot faster than if you did nothing. Be sure to take your time with each addition to your roster. You want to give each new venture plenty of time to work before adding more to your schedule.
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." -Benjamin Franklin
You have a great product or service to promote but you’re not sure where to start. The best place to start is with creating a marketing plan.
A marketing plan includes:
Then it includes deciding what marketing channels you’ll use as well as what methods you’ll use to penetrate those channels.
You’ll need a separate marketing plan for each channel:
Each type of marketing you plan to do needs its own plan and it will likely include more than one of the channels above. For instance, if you have a contest you may use many of the other ways to promote the contest, which is really to promote a particular product or service. You may write blog posts about the contests, social media updates about the contest, mention the contest in a webinar, and so forth.
Don’t just think about the marketing plan, actually put it in writing. It can be just one page. For instance, let’s write a marketing plan for your 12 week course on “How to Create a Widget”.
Put these actions into a calendar, such as Google Calendar, or a calendar you made in MS Excel, so that you know exactly what day you will do each thing that you’ve decided to do. Be very specific with your calendar so that you can easily go to each day and do the tasks listed and / or hand them off to a contractor. The more carefully you plan each step of your marketing plan the more likely it is to get the results that you want.
When you think about this clearly, you see that planning your marketing in advance supercharges your chances for marketing success.
McArdle Media can help you develop a well-rounded digital marketing plan in alignment with your business and sales goals. Contact us today to learn more.
You can ask 100 people why they HATE sales and they invariably come back with the same answer:
IT FEELS SLEAZY, IT FEELS SLIMEY, IT FEELS TOO SALESY.
Promoting products and services online is a great way to earn money. There are many different products and services out there to promote, and you’ve likely created your own, but in order to get them in front of the right clients at the right time, you will have to promote them.
Chose top notch products, use them first, and be honest about them. When you create something of your own, make it the best you are capable of making it. As long as you are completely honest about the products and services you promote, you should not have any issues with product promotion.
Create Top Notch Products and Services
Anything you do starts with the products that you create and the services you offer. If your product or service is not top notch you will feel bad about trying to get people to buy it because you will not feel honest or good about it. Instead of doing that, create a real honest to goodness product or service that solves problems for your audience in a way that no one else can. If you do that you’re going to feel great about promoting it to others in multiple ways, because you’ll be proud of it.
Find & Use Other Peoples Products Prior to Promotion
If you promote other people’s products or services, it’s important to try out at least a few of the products and services put out by that business. Unless you try it out you will have no idea whether the products are as good as they say they are. More than likely if you try a couple and they are of high quality you can be safe to promote the other products and / or services from that business. The truth is you’re just going to feel better if you know what the products are like before you promote them.
Be Honest About Every Product
If you are always honest about every product or service that you promote, focusing on the problems it solves for your audience you’ll never go wrong. The blog posts you write, the sales pages that you create, everything is designed to promote the solutions the product provides. If you can remember to focus on solutions, you’ll write honest promotional materials about each product or service and feel good about it.
Under Promise and Over Deliver
TV advertising often focuses on something called “puffery” and that is actually an acceptable thing to do in advertising.
“This is The BEST Widget you’ll Ever Need” That is puffery.
You really don’t know if it’s the best widget but you say that because right now you believe it to be true. Lying would be something like, “You’ll Lose 100 lbs. in 1 Month” using our product. You know that’s impossible so to say so would be lying. Instead, create marketing and advertising that tells the truth about your product or service so that when they receive it, they’re blown away by how awesome it is.
Creating and promoting products and services that you know to be effective will not require you to do anything sleazy. In fact, when you know about products that can help your audience, not promoting them would be much worse.
If you want to learn more about how to promote your products and/or services online, McArdle Media would love to help you. Each marketing we develop for clients is custom created to meet the needs of the business in alignment with the business and sales goals.
We can take to stress out of online marketing and get you in front of the right audience in the right place at the right time. We've done it for our clients and we can do it for you too.
Contact Us to learn more.
If you want to be successful at digital marketing, there are several things you can do to increase your chances. The first is to sit down and think about everything that needs to be done in your business to make it a success. After product discovery and / or creation; marketing needs to be at the top of that list. Marketing sometimes can be left to the wind. But, if you really want to be successful, you have to place a high priority on it.
We also know that digital marketing can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve broken down our tips into 4 weeks. These bite size chunks will help you move your marketing plan forward without the stress.
Week One – Planning Ahead
One of the most important things you can do to ensure marketing success is to plan in advance what you will be marketing and the different ways in which you will do so for any given product or service. It’s not a “one and done” proposition. It takes a few weeks to get the message out and get people to answer your calls to action. They’ll need to see them in multiple ways. Create a separate plan for each product and marketing channel.
Week Two – Email Marketing
Arguably the most important way to earn money, practically on demand, is to build a healthy email list full of hungry prospects. Make it your goal to fill your list so that you can market your products and services repeatedly to your audience in a more direct way. Create ongoing campaigns for your auto responder segmented by where, when and how a prospect signs up for your list. If you know in advance what you will write about on your blogs, social media and in email marketing, you’ll be more successful.
Using a product like Constant Contact can make the email marketing process easy and helps you track your results.
Week Three – Smart Promotion Tactics
You’ve likely read a lot about promotional tactics but some of what you read just doesn’t feel right. The fact is you don’t have to resort to sleazy tactics to succeed at online promotion and sales. You can market your products and services with integrity and pride because all the products and services you create are exactly what you claim they are. No marketing “puffery” required. When you are proud of your products and services you can promote them on social media, within blog posts, and in email and feel great about it. There is never a reason to feel guilty about making money from your products and services when they are of high quality.
Week Four – Getting Exposure
Even if your business is 100 percent online, getting exposure may require that you step outside of your comfort zone and start using other mediums such as:
Planning out what you will do each week, then simply repeating it every time you have a new product or service will help you become more successful than you ever thought possible. If you play your cards right, the truth is, increasing your profits is simply a few weeks away.
Don’t forget, McArdle Media is here to help. The world of digital marketing can be daunting, but we can work with your business to craft and implement a digital marketing plan that is right for you.
Time. There never seems to be enough of it.
As a small business owner your time is precious. Here are some easy time-saving social media tips to help you free up time from your digital marketing and get you back to YOUR business.
1. Automate. Automate. Automate.
Do you have time to spend hours each day posting to your social media accounts? Probably not. The best way to free up your time on a daily basis is to set up and utilize an automated scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite. With these programs, you can schedule social media posts ahead of time and free up time from your day-to-day operations.
Remember the old Ronco tagline “Set it and forget it?” With these programs, you can select an image or link to post, schedule the time and date to post, select which social media platform(s) to post to, and the scheduling tool will do the rest. Set it and forget it.
You will still want to check on your social media platforms on a regular basis in order to communicate with your audience and reply to their questions/comments, but your content can be scheduled ahead of time allowing you to focus on your audience and your business.
2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
When it comes to social media content, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Though it is important to create your own branded content, your audience will also be interested in shared content from other sources as well. That’s where curated content comes in.
So what is curated content? This is content that you see online that you would like to share with your audience, but that is not your own uniquely created content.
Let’s say there is an expert in your field who posts an excellent blog post on their website. Sharing this type of content with your audience allows you to give your audience the information they are looking for and lets them know that you are keeping your finger on the pulse of your industry. They will look to you as an authority in your field.
Just remember, when you curate content, you need to give credit to the original creator.
Check out this HootSuite article, “The Complete Guide to Content Curation: Tools, Tips, Ideas” for more information about curated content.
3. Create Evergreen Content
Do you remember learning about evergreen trees and plants in your elementary science class? It was so amazing to learn that there are plants and trees that keep their leaves all year long.
Evergreen content is content that is relevant all year long.
Evergreen content can come in the form of social media images, blog posts, videos, etc. The idea is that you create the content once and can re-use or repurpose it for future use.
For example, if you are a bakery, you could write a blog post about baking traditions and baking as a family. This type of post could be shared during various holidays throughout the year.
Perhaps you own a specialty running store. You could write a blog post about preparing for races and re-share the blog post throughout the year when major races are planned in your area.
Of course, you still want to create seasonal content, but evergreen content will save you time, and may also give you a jumping off point to create your seasonal content as well.
Social Media is Here to Stay, and You NEED it for Your Business
Love it or hate it, social media plays a major role in our society. People look to social media to learn about businesses, including your business. It is important to have an active social media presence for your business.
For many business owners, they know how to use social media and know the tips and tricks to save time but they are still overwhelmed. We understand. You didn’t go into business to be on social media all day, right?
If you are looking for help with your social media and digital marketing needs, McArdle Media, LLC is here to help. We would love to learn more about your business, your business goals, and create and implement a social media and digital marketing strategy to help you grow your business.
But more specifically, it takes a lot of time to be on social media and to do it right. You’re likely already stretching yourself too thin, don’t add to it by being on a social media platform that will not benefit you, and where your audience is likely not going to be in the first place.
So you may be wondering, “which platform is right for me?”
There are many questions to ask about your business, your customers, and what you are trying to accomplish with your online marketing.
Check out this article from Sprout Social, “The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing” with a breakdown of each popular social media site and how they are used.
And don’t forget, McArdle Media, LLC is here to help. We can help you by:
We want you to succeed and to be able to focus on YOUR business, not your social media.