Category Archives: Marketing

The Trouble With Getting Your Friends, Family & Local People To View Your Blogs

A few days ago, myself and the rest of the Live Google Hangout Crew decided to discuss the topic of blogging for local folks and businesses and the issues we all seem to have in getting those people to even take a look at what we write. This isn’t a new topic for me actually, as I talked about it first in 2009 when I wrote a post leading with If You Can’t Get Your Family And Friends To Subscribe… and again in 2011 when I asked Why Aren’t You Well Known Where You Live?

This one is a little different and yet the overall theme is the same. I always make the recommendation to businesses that if they want to increase their SEO and the potential for doing more business online that having a blog can do wonders for each. Just being a player gives you a great boost in local search, which is a great thing, but do those people read your stuff, and if not why not?

I tend to want to look at my own sites, and I’m going to share statistics on two of them. And of course there’s the video at the end of this post where we talked about it all, and the other site I’m going to talk about is mentioned in the video.

For I’m Just Sharing, the last month’s stats show that there were 32 visits from what I’d call the local area, which includes Rochester, which is about 75 miles away. If I only include the Syracuse area I have to remove 11 visits. That’s pretty poor if you ask me. New York state is my highest volume state, and the majority of visitors come from New York City, but that’s not quite local. I consider this my flagship blog, even if it’s not my highest ranked blog anymore (that now goes to my finance blog; how about that?). Now, I have to admit that I’m not sure how many local people might be subscribing to the feed, and via the feed this is my most read blog, so it’s possible the number is much higher. But since I can’t confirm that I’ll stick with Google Analytics for now.

My other blog is called Syracuse Wiki, and it’s my local blog. It’s not a highly visited blog, but I don’t write a lot of posts on it because I only write when I do or see something where I can capture pictures regarding local events. In a way I can’t gripe all that much because the visitors on that blog are 54% local, but I have thought that blog would attract way more people because it talks about local topics. And I do market it on Twitter, but I have to admit not many other places.

This brings us back to the original issue and why it’s a problem. If you’re running a local business and you’re trying to get local people interested in what you do, what can you do to advertise yourself and get local business? On the video I offer suggestions to companies that sell products, which includes coupons and lots of pictures, and even advertising the blogs in their stores so people can keep up with new things they offer.

But what about those of us who offer services, who don’t have offices outside of our homes or even if we do, we don’t own the space and thus are more limited with some of our banner advertising, if you will? Is there a way we can target our blogs so that it attracts local traffic and thus local business?

And what about our friends and family members? One’s best advocates are always those close to us, but if we can’t get them engaged then can we legitimately hope to engage our community, no matter what we do?

I’d like to know what you think. I’d also like you to check out the video where Sheryl Lock of Fuzzy Wuzzy Anipals (yeah, that’s right! lol) offered a lot of good stuff last Sunday, and maybe it can help me and some of you. At the very least it’ll get you thinking; there’s never anything wrong with that.


 

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Would You Recommend Something Unethical For Money?

Before I forget, I want to let you know that I wrote a guest post on a blog called Marcie Writes, which works well since the owner is Marcie Hill. It’s titled 5 Steps Towards Blogging Integrity and I think it’s a very good post, not necessarily because I wrote it but because I wrote a guest post for someone who asked for it and I wanted to make sure it would be really good. That’s how guest posting is supposed to work when you ask people if you can write a guest post for them or if they ask you; always give your best. In its own way it segues into today’s topic.

A Man Without His Word Means Nothing
Catherine Rankovic via Compfight

How many of you have heard of something called “payday loans“? If you haven’t, the concept is that if you need money and know you’re getting paid on Friday, if you will, but it’s Wednesday, you can go to an establishment, take out money now, then pay it back on Friday at a “nominal” interest rate.

To some people it sounds like a great way to get an advance on their pay, but the way I see it, and if you follow the link above you’ll see more reasoning, it’s a scam perpetrated against those without a lot of financial acumen and can lead to both untold debt and dangers people aren’t ready for. It’s people allowing themselves to be taken advantage of, with interest rates that can skyrocket at a moment’s notice and, in some cases, being charged daily, and eventually leave a person not being able to keep up and, well, leaving bankruptcy as a final decision to make if they’re not able to pay off the entire amount immediately.

Yes, I think this is unethical, and I’m not the only one. The Federal government is now investigating mainstream banks that are participating in this, including many that were bailed out by the government back in 2009. Eventually they may get to everyone, but this shows that they’re concerned enough to worry about it.

It’s under this belief in ethics that I was dismayed when I came across a post some weeks ago by someone I usually think is pretty cool, Zac Johnson, who wrote a post titled Is It Time You Started Looking At Promoting Pay Day Loans? In the article, he talks about how it’s one of the fastest growing programs in the world and how some affiliate marketers might want to think about hopping on the bandwagon financially, even though there’s a “slight” disclaimer near the end of the article: “No matter what your personal opinions are on pay days loans and whether they are ethical or not, you need to think of the situation from an advertising stand point.”

I’m sorry, but I personally disagree. The statement alone proves that even Zac knew there was an ethical standard being crossed when he wrote it, and he talked about it in a positive way anyway. There are a lot of people going to dog fighting matches or watching videos of the clubbing of baby seals; would you promote that in positive ways if they were making lots of money?

Along the lines of when I asked the question What Will You Do For More Followers, I ask just what will you do for money? If you truly believed payday loans were the greatest thing on planet Earth and decided to promote it, that’s one thing; if you know up front that there’s an unethical component to it, are you going to do it just because it might pay well? If racism paid well would you promote it if it didn’t fit in with your morality? What about child porn, videos of death, cruelty to animals, etc?

There may be things you find unethical that you’ll complain to someone else about that doesn’t find it unethical. In that case it’s more on you than on the other person. But if you know it’s unethical and you promote it anyway, or the other person knows or believes its unethical and promotes it anyway, what does that say about your commitment to principles? Is making a buck, no matter how much it is, really worth your self respect, let alone the respect of others?

I know what I think; what say you?
 

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Social Media Marketing Has Its Limits

This past weekend I went to a local seminar on motivation. I don’t get to things like this all that often, but every once in a while it’s a good thing to go hear someone else talk on a subject that you also talk about because, when all is said and done, even those who motivate others sometimes need a bit of motivation as well.

It wasn’t a bad turnout, but the group was very diverse, to the point that I’m not exactly sure the presenters got who they hoped to get to come. Still, it was an interesting day, and I got out of it what I think I needed to get out of it. I knew one of the presenters, and had seen enough pictures of the other presenter that I felt I knew her as well.

During the seminar, when it was my turn to speak the lady that I knew threw out a statement saying that maybe I hide behind my social media activities when it comes to doing business. I agreed with her on that, although in my mind I was thinking how I have so many more connections through social media than I do live. But she continued by saying that we should talk after the seminar and I quickly agreed.

When it was over she and I walked across the street to a park and sat down on one of the stone benches. She then told me that out of all the people that had shown up, I was the only one that had come because of social media. She had put out the event on Facebook, and out of the nine people that said they were coming, I was the only one that actually did. Everybody else who was in the room was the result of either a book signing that she did or came because of a couple presentations she had put on locally and mentioned it.

In one way I was shocked, but in another way I wasn’t. I ran into the same thing last year when I tried to promote a local four hour seminar that I was going to put on. I reached out to all of my social media contacts, and I reached out to an overwhelming majority of other people through e-mail. In the end, I had to cancel because I only had one person who had signed up for.

At the same time, there was another event last Friday I found out about that was being held at a hotel about 10 minutes away from me. The guy who worked at the hotel had put it up on Facebook, but really hadn’t invited anybody. So I went through the process of inviting a great number of people who I knew lived in the area, many of whom I knew wouldn’t be able to come but I wanted to give them the opportunity. Just by doing that at least 9 or 10 people showed up that wouldn’t have if I hadn’t reached out to them on Facebook.

Still, her point was valid. Even though social media is the fastest growing medium for people to connect with each other, there’s still something about face-to-face communications that seems to help to encourage people to interact more with you. It might be because, though social media is easy to say something to make someone feel good, just as it’s easy for people to say bad things because they’re hidden, they can say something and not have to follow through. In being truthful, I hadn’t decided I was going to the seminar until the Monday before, even though I had known about it for three weeks. I had put a “maybe”, which is mainly a noncommittal way of saying no, before changing my mind.

Social media marketing is definitely an important thing that all of us need to get used to. But at this point in the decade it’s still not strong enough to really get people juiced up to do anything. You might be able to get people to come to your website, or to read an article or blog post you’ve written, but getting them to take action is still going to be really tough to do. We all need to acknowledge that in order to figure out ways of getting people’s attention, especially if we have as an intention the hopes that we will possibly generate some kind of income from our actions.

How do you see your social media marketing initiatives going?
 

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How Do You Market Your Products?

Today I’m asking the question more than offering suggestions because I think that sometimes we learn from each other, rather than from one person. And trust me, the last thing I should be offering advice on is selling products.

This is a question specific to products, not services. I mainly provide services but I have some products, as well as belong to some affiliate programs that allow me to offer products. I’m going to tell you what I do and then leave the rest open for you to share with everyone else. And yes, to the right there is one of the products I market, which is also to the left but looking much different than what I shared in 2010. Chick on it to take a look; trust me, it’s not a hard sell. 🙂

Actually, that’s one of the ways I market products on this particular blog. Sometimes the image I have to the right in my posts is actually an advertisement for something. Most of the time no, but if it’s a specific product or even a painting it’s probably a product. Sometimes I probably should mention that it’s a product because putting a painting in is almost like putting an image in, so I should say “selling on Imagekind” or something like that; I’ll need to work on that.

Obviously from my sidebars you know that I market products that way. However, I keep asking myself if it’s really marketing just sitting there. I may write specifically about my products once a year, if that often, and that’s for all my blogs.

Every once in awhile I toss out a product link on Twitter. Those don’t get much traffic but you never know who’s watching, right? I’ve never done it on LinkedIn or Google+, but when I created my business page on Facebook I advertised my products early on; haven’t mentioned any of them since.

I have one website which is mainly geared towards marketing my affiliate programs, which is kind of my version of a directory. It’s called Services and Stuff, and I’ve made few sales over the years from it, but I’ve also not marketed it all that well. It takes a lot of maintenance that I don’t always have time for because you know how affiliates are; here today, gone tomorrow.

Finally, every once in awhile I write a review about something, or a post that mentions something, and I include a link to the product. Most of the time I don’t mention that it’s a link to a product, but long time visitors know that if a link is underlined in blue that leads to a product, whereas most of the time my links are just a burgundy color without a line.

That’s all I do; trust me, it’s not very effective. I don’t have a list because, as I always ask, what the heck would I push to anyone with a list? Now, I do have a newsletter for my business which I guess one could say is an email list, and it has links to my products on it with every issue, so maybe that’s another way I market, ineffectively of course. lol

Your turn; what do you do, and how effective is it?
 

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Real Marketing – Twitter

In the continuing series on what I’m calling “real marketing” I’m going to tackle Twitter, but first I’d like to alert you to another brief interview I did on Monique Neeley’s blog where she talks about “social style”, and I guess I have one so I hope you check that out.

I tell a lot of people that Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I like it because at any time of the day or night I can go there and talk and probably get someone to talk back to me. That doesn’t happen anywhere else, not even on Facebook with its nearly 900 million participants. It’s a lot of fun but can it really be used in a business marketing plan?

The kneejerk response is “yes”. When one puts a bit more thought into it the response modifies itself to “depends”. I tend to think that too many people have the wrong idea on how to use Twitter for business marketing purposes, and even though I don’t use it properly, I do know how to use it and which businesses would benefit most from it.

For instance, if you’re a business that sells products, you could probably do well on Twitter if people like your products. For instance, if you’re a local business that sells jewelry, and you have a following, you can easily market to those people by highlighting new jewelry, posting sales, and responding to comments anyone makes about your store or your products. If you worked in conjunction with Four Square you could probably increase your business by offering special deals to those people who have both that and Twitter.

What I tend to see more often than not, however, are folks that send out link after link after link, sometimes theirs, sometimes links from others, and never really talk to anyone. Sorry, but “thanx for the RT” isn’t communicating with others; it’s just a waste of time and adds to all the blather that many of us hate. Frankly, I don’t think that’s the best business model either, especially for small or independent businesses like mine.

To me, if one is going to market on Twitter, there has to be a mix of marketing and conversation. I think I fail in that I talk a lot, to almost anyone, but rarely is it about business. True, I’ve had some great connections, and I’m ecstatic to be connected to two of my favorite “old skool” babes, those being Mariel Hemingway and Kathy Ireland (both of whom started following me first and actually talk to me; gush!), I know that I’ll probably never do business with them.

Why is that? At a certain point, if you’re marketing on Twitter you have to aim towards a specific audience. My having only one Twitter account leaves a lot to be desired, and as I’ve said before, I’m not about to start splitting everything up now. If I were starting all over again I’d think seriously about it, and I probably would recommend it to people that offer more than one type of thing, which I do.

Also, I’m coming to believe that one might need to be willing to use more automation, something else I barely used, only using it to send out my first blog post for each of my blogs and that’s that. I’ve always felt like it would be disingenuous to post a link if I wasn’t actually online at the time to respond to someone and I’m starting to rethink that a little bit. I’m fairly available throughout the day, even late into the night, and I’m recognizing that maybe the way to maximize my messages is to get some automated help. One might need to get their own message out multiple times a day; how many is up to them.

One other way of trying to market on Twitter is to follow certain hashtags here and there. You might not find anything to comment on but every once in awhile you do, and sometimes you might even create one in your particular niche. I see so many people abusing hashtags with stupid stuff or things that aren’t within their realm; who wants to see that all day long? It’s rare that I retweet something and keep the hashtag in it; I learned a long time ago after reposting a political tweet that you never know who you’re inviting to contact you and potentially give you grief. Anyway, I temporarily follow hashtags like #healthcare, #seo, #socialmedia, see if there’s any action, and then get out.

There are many other things one can do, and things one shouldn’t do, but I think I got my main point across, which is that for some businesses Twitter would be a great way for them to market themselves, and for others some consideration needs to be taken as to just what they’re trying to do there.
 

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