Category Archives: Marketing

Online Marketing, Blogging, Social Media… It’s All About Traffic

Let’s get the promotional stuff out of the way. In 2013, I was part of a group of 33 bloggers who was asked a question about how to increase blogger engagement. A few months ago I was part of another group of people that includes some fairly big names on a website called First Site Guide. We were all asked to give our 3 best blog monetization tips. I’m included with some fairly well known bloggers, few of whom know me; that’ll change one of these days (gotta have hope). Then about a month and a half ago I wrote in this space about trying to market my latest book on leadership titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy.

Freeways and Purple Buildings
Rick Hobson via Compfight

With all of that, you’d think I would know what I was doing. In a way I do, but in a way I don’t. Let me clarify that one. I know what I need to do to make more sales. I actually know what it takes to drive more traffic to my blog and my websites. After all these years, there’s lots of that kind of stuff I know.

However, what I wasn’t sure of was just how much more traffic I might need to make a dent in selling things online. You know, marketing online isn’t all that much different than real marketing, or offline marketing if you will. In both, it’s all about one or two things.

One, who you know that might be able to help you with things you’re not good at for the mutual benefit of both.

Two, the numbers, as in the more people you can reach, the more traffic you can drive, the better the opportunity you have to be somewhat successful.

The one thing I’ve never really known is just how many numbers you need online to make real sales. I have made a few sales over the years but, being more of a consultant offline than online, I’d never put together any numbers on my own.

Who did I get some numbers from? None other than my old buddy Lynn Terry of Click Newz. I asked her to take a look at the sales page for my book in her private Facebook group to see what I might be missing. She gave me some tips, then asked me how much traffic I’d had. I gave her the numbers and she said “That’s not nearly enough. You can’t make any real sales until you can get at least 3,000 to 10,000 people to your site.

In other words, it takes a lot of traffic, targeted or not, to make any real money online. And those numbers are pretty high.

Truth be told, the only numbers I can get are from Google Analytics, which are slightly suspect. My host, 1&1, doesn’t have Cpanel, which means I can’t look at any traffic figures from them unless I pay an extra fee; sigh. I don’t have a compelling reason to move to anyone else (so don’t even mention whose hosting your site because I’m not switching) because, no matter what people say, they’re as good as any other shared hosting company these days. For anyone who doesn’t believe me, just ask someone how many times Hostgator has gone down in the last couple of years and then ask me how many times 1&1 has gone down in the same period… to which I’d answer “none”.

Rushing to get home on Interstate 405
Matthew Rutledge via Compfight

I know an argument someone will make is “what about niche marketing and niched blogs. Whereas you have a better chance of attracting the people you’re trying to reach, it’s still about the numbers, about the traffic. My book was on leadership, so I reached out to people interested in leadership through my business blog, a couple of groups on LinkedIn concerning leadership, and my articles there on leadership. For me, the traffic wasn’t bad; for making sales, there just wasn’t close to being enough traffic.

Now, that doesn’t mean if you hit upon something that no one else is doing that you won’t make any money at all. What it means is if you’re hoping to make enough money to sustain yourself by selling things online, you need thousands of people stopping by who are interested in what you have to say, then in what you have to sell. Even if you know how to monetize your site, as my buddy Peter wrote in his post called The Truth About Blogging For Money, it’s about getting the right traffic, marketing the right thing, and touching the right nerves.

That’s mainly why I wrote 3 years ago that if you’re going to make any real money blogging you probably need to change your focus to “service” as opposed to product, even if you’re creating the product. Maybe if your product is teaching other people how to make money you’ll get some sales, or teaching almost anything with the right market. Otherwise, you need to decide whether you want to offer writing services, consulting services, training services, etc. That’s really what it’s all about.

Even Ryan Biddulph, who wrote the book and has the website about Blogging From Paradise, admits in the book (yes, I bought & read the book) that most of the money he makes is from freelance writing, although he’s starting to do well selling his books these days. Another famous guy, Darren Rowse, aka Problogger, became the first millionaire blogger by setting up forums and other sites with other marketers and becoming more of a comglomerate instead of purely blogging (selling photography equipment he wrote about didn’t hurt, as he made a lot of money that way, but it was the other stuff that took him over the top).

Let me be clear on this; all of that still takes a lot of traffic, but maybe not as much traffic to make enough money to live off if you pick the right thing you want to do that people will pay for. It’s something to be considered in any case. Give it some thought, and if you agree or disagree, let me know.
 

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Why It’s Hard To Do Business On LinkedIn

I have to admit that I have a love/dislike relationship with LinkedIn. It’s not the site’s fault; it’s all mine.

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Jo Chou via Compfight

I mean, I’m the guy who wrote a post talking about ways to use LinkedIn effectively. I’m the guy who wrote a post about marketing on LinkedIn. Heck, I’m the guy who recently wrote a post about writing articles on LinkedIn

It turns out that I’ve written 8 articles specifically about LinkedIn over all these years, and included the site in 96 articles in total. Not all of them have extolled its virtues because, like everything else, not everything is good there; not all the time anyway.

Still, you’d think that after all these years (I was one of the first 600,000 members there; they even send me a letter of thanks lol) I would have a handle on how it works, how to get business there, how to make true connections and the like.

You know what? I haven’t learned anything. Okay, that’s not quite true. I obviously have learned a lot. But I’ve never gotten any business via LinkedIn. I’ve never generated a single thing that would help me make any money. As I start to close in on my 14th year in business, I have to figure this out, and it’s better to do it sooner than later.

What’s the problem? Truthfully, I’m not quite sure.

It’s not that I don’t talk to people, because I have. It’s not that I haven’t had some nice conversations in the groups there because I have.

It’s that I get the wrong people connecting with me there. Rather, the wrong people who connect with me and then send me a message.

Y’all remember my post on Monday on blog commenting? Remember my very first point on that post, where I said “try reading the article?

That’s something it seems that no one who sends me something does… not read my articles, but not read my profile.

LI_profile

Maybe it’s me, either expecting too much or not wording my profile properly. Either way, the messages I get are either from people who want me to market their product or services as part of what I do, or want to sell me services that I can’t use because I’m a sole proprietor, which they’ve missed from reading my profile.

You know what else? At least half the people who write me put some derivation of the same title, which is “Business Proposition.” Wow, that’s inspiring isn’t it? And in the message they send, they don’t say anything except “I’d like to present a business proposition to you. When would you be available to talk?”

That’s kind of bold, pushy and in a way insulting isn’t it? Those messages always immediately raise the hackles on the back of my neck (linking to the definition for folks not familiar with that term like folks talking to me about MLM stuff (more definition stuff). You know, when they won’t tell you what it is but try to play on your emotions and give you all the platitudes about how much money you can make?

The issue for me is that I don’t want to be pushy. Truthfully, though I’m connected to nearly 1,000 people now (that’s a big jump in the last year), I’m not connected to any of the people I need to talk to that can use my services. Those of you who know me know that I offer lots of different types of services, but my biggest two are leadership and health care finance (linking to something you might not understand, but in case you’re interested…). Through this blog I offer writing services.

The folks I keep hoping to attract and those who can hire me for those types of services. Wouldn’t that be nice? Well, I don’t get those folks.

Instead, I get people who either want me to sell for them or want me to teach them what I know so they can progress without wanting to pay me for it. I used to give up a lot of my time in trying to teach people some of these things, which can get pretty technical, and I realized I was giving up a lot of time and not getting anything back.

Linkedin

Mambembe Arts & Crafts via Compfight

I offer lots of advice on this blog about a lot of things. I offer a lot of other advice on my business blog. I will talk to anyone about business in general, people who are thinking about going out on their own or young people who are graduating and would like a bit of advice here and there.

I don’t mind that kind of thing; heck, that’s who I was looking for when I first went into business on my own, and no one would talk to me. I’ve actually talked to some of those folks on LinkedIn, even locally; that’s been fun.

But business? Nope, nada, zip; not even a request for a speaking gig via LinkedIn.

My fault… all my fault.

What to do… hmmm…

For once, instead of giving advice, I’ll ask for some. My friend Peter says that sometimes we give so much information away in our posts that people aren’t sure what to comment on or what to say.

So, here’s your chance. How do you do LinkedIn? Have you been successful in getting any business there, and if so how did you do it? If you haven’t, what’s holding you back? If you’ve never used LinkedIn don’t even comment on this one; I’ll save you time and effort in saying “I don’t use LinkedIn…” I mean, after those words or anything similar, there’s no purpose in commenting this time around if you ask me.

Meanwhile, I’m going to be thinking about how to rewrite the beginning of my profile because that part must be deficient. At least parts of my page look pretty cool, if I say so myself. πŸ™‚
 

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Are You As Popular As You Think You Are?

Of course I’m starting this with a link to my latest book, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, because it leads into today’s topic. That and I’m hoping you’ll at least go check it out.

Picture 86
I’m so tired…

One of the things that got me to release the book when I did is that in many ways I have been enjoying and bit more popularity than I had been for a while. Once I started traveling for work, I stopped commenting on as many blogs as I had been previously, and even though I still spent a lot of time on Twitter, I’d start sharing my blog posts there or pretty much anywhere else. I had been sharing them on Facebook, but no one reads blog post on Facebook for the most part.

I’d also been writing articles on LinkedIn, and for the most part did in generating a lot of publicity as well. And, because I’d figured out new ways to get more attention on Facebook, I was thinking that it was time to strike while the iron was hot and releasing my new book. However, I didn’t just release it as a book, but as a package of goodies as I’ve mentioned previously.

I then went on a major marketing push in all these different places, which I wrote about a couple of articles ago. Truthfully, it’s not like I expected a whole bunch of sales. After all, my general belief was that it might only attract people who are already leaders of some kind in their job to think about purchasing it as an entire package is to adjust the book.

I figured that I might sell a few packages, and that a few people might take me up on my special coaching offer that’s listed on the package. In that instance I would’ve had to make a full bunch of sales just a couple of quick ones, and a cash wouldn’t be so bad in the long run.

You know what I discovered? I basically discovered I’m not as popular as I thought I was. Sure, the pages actually gotten a lot of visits, but nothing commensurate with the number I had thought might visit. And strangely enough, not all that many people from LinkedIn came by, and that was initially surprising based on how well I’ve been doing there.

That is, until I actually went back to look at things. Three weeks ago I had a post on their that had almost 700 readers. However, since that post it’s been hard to even get close to 100, and my last article I didn’t even reach 40 readers. Since I thought I had a formula that could get me a lot of readers, I have to admit that brought me down a little bit.

What Google Analytics tells me is that, for the book, the majority of traffic has come from Twitter. I only received one visitor from LinkedIn; isn’t that a shame? That’s from the social link that shown on Analytics. As it pertains to source, the majority of traffic has actually come via this blog; I’m not overly upset with that. Goodness, I got more traffic from Facebook than I did from LinkedIn, and I know those people aren’t even reading my blog posts.

By the way, an article I had written just a couple before the one they got almost 700 readers had 1,300 readers. So, I pretty much figured I had to be good enough to at least get one or two buyers that way.

It’s somewhat disappointing to realize you’re not as popular as you think you are. One would’ve thought that I would have been prepared for that one I look at the figures for this blog in general. At one point a few years ago I was ranked in the top 70,000 by Alexa, and now I’m sitting around 304,000.

At least half my visitors use to be returning visitors, and now that percentage is around 37%, which is still actually considered pretty good. However, after people from the United States the biggest group of people who are supposedly visiting the blogs are from Russia. Frankly I’m doubting that greatly, which makes me start to believe that may be I’m not even getting close to the visitors I think I’m getting, that instead it’s some kind of bots visiting the site and building up the numbers.

I don’t know. What I do know is that as a package the book didn’t sell, so tomorrow I will officially start selling it as a standalone product. It will be on the same page as the package so that people can make a decision as to which one they want once they see the pricing of it.

Once I officially launch it, I will be adding new marketing processes along with keeping the same marketing processes I did before in trying to get to by the book on its own, in .pdf form in case I haven’t mentioned it previously. And then we’ll see what happens, and I get to see if I really know anything about marketing or whether I’ve just been talking nonsense all these years; sniff! lol

How many of you have struggled with this idea of wondering how popular your blogs and websites are? I figure I might as will put the question out there and see what others have to say about it. Have a wonderful Thursday.

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The Early Marketing Of My Book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy

This is the second post in my mini promotional series about my latest book. This one was titled The Process Of Writing Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, and I think the title is self explanatory; I could be wrong though. πŸ™‚

Tim Lawson in front of Rocky Horror Show billboard in Singapore
Toby Simkin via Compfight

So, check that out, then come back and check out my latest book, being served on a silver platter with a lot of goodies, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy. This post is what I’ve done in marketing it to this point, and it hasn’t been easy. Y’all know I’ll be plugging that book for at least a couple of weeks don’t you? lol

If you do click on that link you know that’s my attempt at a squeeze or landing page. It was crucial that I create that before I started any marketing. Truthfully, I spent time trying to get it mobile friendly but that got irksome; I mentioned that last time.

Marketing started around 1:30 Tuesday morning when I wrote the blog post that was going to announce it first. I gave it the title of the book with the addendum my latest book is here to let people know it was a new book and not a rehashing of my previous book on leadership. I talked a little bit about the process of writing that book, which I followed up here on Wednesday; I’ll come back to that.

I knew the first post was going out around 9:30. I also knew it would hit Twitter with that title. I knew I wanted to advertise it multiple times on Twitter but I also knew that you can’t use the same exact words more than once every 12 or 24 hours; I’m not quite sure which one it is but I never take any chances.

I didn’t want to overdo it so I ended up creating 7 different phrases, some where I put the hashtag on the first word of the book, some where I added the word “leadership” with a hashtag afterwards, and a few with words either leading the title or after the title. You don’t have to do a lot since you only have 140 characters to keep the same message while making it different.

I wanted to space out my message every 2 hours, and that worked with what I’d created. But I wasn’t done and I knew I’d be adding some other things here and there in other spaces, but would still be able to add one more thing to Twitter.

Lists Of Note
Garrett Coakley via Compfight

Next on the list was writing an article on LinkedIn. I took a major chance and decided to make the title of the article the same as the title of the book, only I used “and” instead of “/”. Then I wrote an article talking about why leadership is easy for some people and hard for others. At the end of the article I wrote a short bio mentioning the book and adding my link. Not only that but I knew that my business blog goes to LinkedIn so I was hammering the name home. Savvy?

Next, I went to Facebook and added the sales link to my business page. I couldn’t add the link to the blog until it went live and I was scheduling the post on Facebook ahead of time. I mentioned when I added the link that I’d be adding the blog post about the book the next day. My intention there was to hope to build up a little bit of suspense, though I also know that few people from Facebook actually visit either of my blogs.

Later on, I decided to break ranks a little bit and put the link to the book on my personal page as well. I wasn’t sure that anyone would think about buying the book who’s in my personal space, but I figured they might be intrigued to see that I had put together a second book and might either look at it, like it or share it.

A few hours later I added the blog post to a group I’m in for local bloggers. I figured they might be intrigued a little bit also, but the site offers everyone who’s a part of it to share their blog posts there. I don’t do it all that often but I thought this was a day to do it.

I have two Google Plus pages, one that’s more personal and the other for my business. I added the blog post from my business blog to both pages and then I added the link to the book on my personal page and the community I run there called the Leadership Cafe. What I’m now realizing is that I didn’t add the link to the book on my business page, but I’m only connected to 10 people on that page, which I created so I could have a business video channel (which you don’t have to do now but did when I wanted the 2nd channel) so that’s not a big deal.

However, as I was adding the link to those pages I realized I was forgetting something… the video! I quickly made a short video using the Google Hangout way instead of doing it on my own computer. I did that because I thought it’d be easier to add annotations to it that would link to my blog and the book. Here’s that short video:
 


 
https://youtu.be/M5FZ__XXEck

I shared that video on both of my Google Plus channels. I’ve also added the link to that video to the other messages I’m posting on Twitter, along with the link to my LinkedIn article. That means I’m up to 10 messages I can rotate on Twitter. But there’s more. πŸ˜‰

Wednesday I wrote the first part of this two part series about the book, the process of writing Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, which mentions the name of the book in the link as you see, which gives me an 11th message. With this article I’ll have a 12th message; I keep hammering the title! I’ll be writing one more article on my business blog that mentions the book in the title in some fashion for next week; I’m just not sure what it’ll be at this moment.

This is my first real shot at marketing something a lot. The fear is that it might be the wrong topic. Some people think leadership books are kind of boring and dull; truthfully, a lot of them are. I’m not a “system” guy when it comes to leadership; I tell people what it is and I give straight advice, recommendations and tales that I know every leader’s going to have to deal with at some point.

So there you are, an idea of how social media marketing works. It takes a lot of work and a lot of repetition.

I hope you at least check out the link to the book, even if you’re not a buyer, and if you see anything from me mentioning the book, please share it; I’m not ashamed to ask that of you. lol If you think I’ve missed anything, let me know.
 

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Social Media Can’t Be Your Only Marketing

Often I talk about the need for businesses to get into social media so that they don’t get passed by because their competitors have gotten into the business. Whereas that’s true, what can’t be missed is that there must be a real world component to social media marketing.

The Other Cola (Peru)
Geraint Rowland via Compfight

For instance, say you make contact with someone because of your blog. Most probably they’re going to reach you by email or phone if you’ve remembered to add a contact page to your blog, or at least have a link to your business website, which should have contact information on it. This means that you’re following up with people in a more personal manner, whether it’s email or phone or, if you’re lucky, meeting someone in person.

I point this out because if your website or blog is so good that it actually does attract business, what you can’t take a chance on is that people are letdown by what they see once they’ve reached out to you. I don’t hide from anyone that I’m a one man operation, but some companies represent themselves as large corporations and suddenly find that they don’t have either the skills or resources to handle certain types of work that might come their way.

Another thing I’ve recommended businesses should do is follow both their business name and their industry on Twitter using hashtags. Many businesses have done this and have used the customer service potential to their benefit. However, what I’ve also seen is some companies using the opportunity to go on the attack rather than help their customers out, or reach out to a customer, answer the first query, then not follow up with any visible action.

Social media isn’t a game where business is concerned. Irk just one person, the wrong person, and you can believe that thousands will know about it soon enough. And when that happens, it’ll be hard for any business to follow up with all those other people to apologize, if it’s warranted, because they won’t know who they all are.

You can’t avoid social media because whether you like it or not, you’ll be pulled into it if you don’t act. It’s better if you make the decision to do it on your own. But be proactive across the board. Get it as right as you can. Your business will prosper and you’ll thank me later. πŸ˜‰
 

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