Tag Archives: small business

3 Ways Copywriting Skills Can Help Your Sales

Can Copywriting Skills Improve Your Sales?

How many sales are you missing out on today? If you’re a small business person, chances are you’re not communicating as much as you could. You need copywriting skills. Not only will you communicate more clearly, you’ll communicate more. Just about every business has a mailing list; few businesses do anything with the list.

Let’s look at three ways you can use copywriting skills to help your sales.

1. You Can Grab Those Sales You’re Missing.

We mentioned your mailing list. Today, send out an email message to your list. Tell the people who want to hear from you about a new promotion you’re running. You can tell them anything you like; as long as you communicate.

Again: your customers want to hear from you, otherwise you wouldn’t have their email address. Send something.

2. You Can Create Fresh Copy to Win YOUR Customers.

If you’re using your suppliers’ copy, you’re missing out on sales. When you use the same copy all the other distributors are using, your customers are buying from the business which sells the products the cheapest.

You know your products, and you know your customers. Tell your customers stories about how other customers in their area use the products. Give them a reason to buy from you.

3. You Can Make the Most of Social Media: Have You Discovered Pinterest?

Social media isn’t sales. A copywriter’s mindset will stand you in good stead however. Pinterest makes sales, for example:

Yet another study, this one by Shopify, found that orders driven by Pinterest are substantially larger than those produced by Facebook or Twitter. In fact, at $80 per order, Pinterest even tops Google and Amazon.

Dip your toes into social media today; copywriting skills give you the confidence you need.

Check out our Copywriting Master Class, if you haven’t done so already.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Twitter Traffic Trick: Get Two Links In Your Profile

Twitter traffic

Here’s a wonderful Twitter traffic trick. Did you know that you can add TWO links to your Twitter profile?

Amy Porterfield’s shared a How to Get More Leads on Twitter video, which shows you how to enter your two links.

If you’re using Twitter, you’ll instantly be able to get double the benefit from your traffic. As Amy suggests, use the other link to send traffic to an opt-in page; give your followers something special.

I’ll be implementing this Twitter traffic tip asap. Very clever.

Need a social media solution for your business? If you’re not getting value from social media, contact me. 

 

Social Media Sanity For Bloggers: Plan, Think, (and Write Fast)

Social Media Sanity For Bloggers: Plan, Think, (and Write Fast)

Social media is becoming essential for small businesses, but it’s a challenge, because it takes time. You can make the most of your time with a little planning, thinking, and finding tools to help you to write faster.

Your blog is the hub of your activities, so if you’re new to social media marketing, and don’t have a blog, set one up now.

Once your blog is set up, you need a smidgen of SEO know-how. Here’s an excellent primer on SEO for Blog Posts; be aware of “long tail” keywords:

Long-tail keywords are phrases that are usually 3 or more words. People who use these keywords usually have a good idea of what they’re looking for. There are also far less people searching these terms overall.

Next, create a list of keywords for your industry. Look at competitors’ blogs – you can usually see which keywords they’re targeting. Also, do a Google.com search for your industry, and look at the keywords people are using for Pay Per Click advertising. (The Google ads on the right side and top of the results pages.)

1. Planning.

Planning’s essential. You plan your business, and your overall marketing, and you need to plan your social media content creation too. If you’re not using Trello, give it a try. It’s an excellent planning tool for blogging and social media.

Start by deciding what results you want from your social media activities. Traffic is good, but conversions are better. Aim for conversions.

2. Thinking.

Planning and thinking go together. Keep your planning documents together, so that you can review your planning once a week, or once a month.

Social media and blogging can’t work in isolation. Integrate them into your business and marketing activities:

Make sure you direct people from social media to your website and make your website client friendly. Make sure you post different ways for people to get a hold of you. A contact us page, online promotions, online forms. Make sure people know who the CEO is and provide bios of your executive team.

3. Writing faster.

Blog writing can be a challenge.

Start by creating a check list for blogging, and as I recommended in that article, use an editorial calendar.

Vital tip: get creative with your writing. You don’t need to be sitting at your computer.

Here’s an Evernote/ Siri dictation strategy I’ve tried, and will be using going forward:

2) Open up a new note and type a quick outline.

Next, you open up a new note and start typing. To stay on point, I outlined what I generally wanted to say in the post before starting.

3) Click the microphone button to begin recording. Then, start speaking!

If you’re using WordPress, try the excellent WordPress Mobile apps. You can blog anywhere you choose. (Now you can blog while waiting for a meeting to start.)

Social media does take time. However, with a little planning, thinking and some tools to help you to write, you can boost your small business, even if you only have a few minutes a day.

 If you need help blogging your small business… contact me.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Easy Websites For Small Business: Get Online Fast With Adobe Muse

Adobe Muse theme: Muse Shop

Adobe Muse Template

You’ve got a small business, but you don’t have a website. Many small businesses don’t. But what if your competitors do? You need to stay competitive.

Not worry, if you need to get a website FAST, there are many ways you can do it yourself. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at some of them.

We’ll start by looking at Adobe Muse. Muse is an HTML editor which helps you to create wonderful websites, without writing any code. Adobe has lots of videos to get you started creating with Muse. If you can use a word processor, you can use Muse.

The benefits of Muse: start with a blank slate, or a template design

With Muse, you can start your website with a completely blank slate if you wish. Just drag elements like images, menus, text and and contact forms wherever you like on the page. Muse uses the print page metaphor, which everyone understands. Web coders don’t like this, but you’re not a coder. You’re trying to run a business.

If you know exactly what you want on your new website, you’ll love the blank slate option. On the other hand, maybe you need some inspiration. If you do, you can give the blank slate a miss, and opt for a Muse template. In the image above, you can see a template called Muse Shop at ThemeForest. It’s ideal if you want to… Um, set up a shop. ;-)

You’re not restricted to online store templates, of course. You’ll find many Muse templates at ThemeForest, for just about any website you can imagine. The themes are all under $20; with live previews, and screen shots, so you can get an idea of how the theme will look.

If you want a “responsive” theme, that is, a theme that looks good in Web browsers as well as devices, check out these 75 responsive themes.

Adobe Creative Cloud hosts your Muse website for free, or upgrade

You get “free” Muse websites with your Adobe Creative Cloud membership; you need the membership to use Muse. However, Adobe has other options, with Adobe Business Catalyst:

Adobe Business Catalyst offers flexible site plans that cater to any client’ s needs. From simple content management in our webBasics plan, through to a fully featured online business with our webCommerce plan, we’ve got you covered.

Maybe you don’t need a website

Do you even need a website? That depends. You may not. Yesterday, we talked about Selz, which lets you create an online store, without a website. You can interact with customers on social media, and sell via Selz. You can even embed your Selz store into a Facebook page.

However, if you’ve decided that you need a website, check out Adobe Muse.

Adobe Muse Beginners’ Video

Here’s an excellent video from Terry White to help you to get started with Muse.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Last Week on the Blog: Google+, Image Marketing, Blogging and More

lastweekonblog500

Here’s a quick roundup of some of last week’s posts. If you haven’t discovered image marketing, these posts will help.

Get Started on Google+: 5 Easy Image Marketing Tips

Image marketing is the hot trend of 2013. Gooogle+ LOVES images, so if you haven’t explored all the image uploading and editing options, get started.

Blogging? Get Inspired by Pinterest, Every Day

Clients are always asking me for content ideas. Often, I’ll recommend Pinterest.

Tip: explore secret boards. You can use secret boards to brainstorm projects, collect material, as reminders, as idea collectors, for your clients, and for upcoming projects.

Small Business Marketing Made Easy: 5 Free Ideas

Looking for free or low-cost marketing ideas? Think about your business first. What interests do your customers have? Market to them where they congregate. These 5 ideas will work for you.

Social Media Kickstart: Top Five Tips for Pinterest Marketing

Looking for new marketing opportunities? Consider Pinterest. This social media website is fast-growing, and addictive. It’s image-focused, so it’s perfect for advertising.

The site’s easy to use, so it won’t take long to get up to speed on how it works, and on how you can best use it for your business.

Blogging: 5 Fast Ways to Get More Business Via Your Blog

Is your blog getting business for you?

While there are many benefits to creating and maintaining a blog (credibility, find-ability, trust), few businesses bite the bullet and commit to getting business via their blog.

Let’s look at how you can put your blog to work.

Hope you enjoyed last week’s posts.

Contact me if you’d like me to cover something specifically for you.
, and on Twitter: @angee

Pinterest For Business: 5 Ways to Lure Customers Today

Pinterest

Pinterest

No small business owner has enough time for marketing — and we surely don’t have time for bleeding edge marketing, which may or may not work. Therefore few small biz owners are paying as much attention to Pinterest as they could.

Pinterest’s a recent entry into the social media landscape. Essentially, it’s an image sharing site. If you’re thinking, “yeah, as if I have time to play around posting pretty pictures”, consider that:

• Launched March, 2010, Pinterest has grown 4000% in the last six months.
• It has 17 million users a month and is the 60th most visited site in the U.S.
• Pinterest drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn — combined.

To get up to speed fast, Wikipedia gives you the gist.

Interested yet?

A recent article in Forbes stated:

Realizing that you could be using Pinterest to engage with your online audience is a far different thing from knowing how. And even knowing how is sometimes a far cry from knowing how to best engage with them.

OK, you’re interested. But how do you get customers from the site?

5 Ways to Lure Customers on Pinterest

Here are five ways to consider.

1. Pin images from your website and blog

We’ve discussed image marketing. Have at it. You’ve got images, so post them onto boards on Pinterest. You can join Pinterest as a business. The site offers many different tools for business, so that you can monitor and measure engagement.

Pinterest Success Stories

 

Pinterest Business Success Stories

No images? Grab your cell phone camera, and start snapping. You don’t need to hire a photographer.  Home-made images are not only fine, but also seem more credible to viewers.

2. Pin your videos and presentations

Here’s your chance to make the most of the content you already have — post your presentations and videos onto your business boards.

Since you can share boards, ask your customers to pin too — create boards they can use.

3. What do you wish your customers knew? Pin it

I’m sure you’ve got Frequently Asked Questions on your website. You’ve got Support and Help pages too. Who reads them? That’s right — very few people.

Make all your helpful info more palatable when you pin it. Create graphics like infographics, and how-to images. (And videos.)

4. Pin fun items — make your brand stand out

Pinterest suggests:

Show what inspires you

Instead of just showing off your products, show what inspires them. Create boards for the ideas, places, people and moods behind your brand.

Getting any ideas yet? Of course you are. The point is, make your boards entertaining.

5. More fun: create contests on Pinterest

Pinterest users love contests. Who doesn’t?

Hubspot shared 8 Real-Life Examples of Engaging Pinterest Contests:

… when it comes to contests, Pinterest is a rule hater’s dream network. In fact, it wasn’t until Pinterest launched business accounts recently that the social network even had a set of official rules or guidelines for running contests, and it’s definitely one of the more flexible social networks in this respect.

Contests are easy to set up, and they drive engagement.

So there you have it. Five ways to lure customers using Pinterest. Although Pinterest won’t work for all businesses, chances are good that it will work for yours.

If you need help setting up Pinterest for your business, get in touch.

 

Get Productive: 5 Simple Steps to To Do List Mastery

To Do List

Although working from home has its benefits (no commute, for one), it also has pitfalls. I’m coaching an entrepreneur who’s getting a new business off the ground. She’s pregnant, so she’s uncomfortable with morning sickness which she says is more like “all day sickness”, and is coping with a toddler as well.

Before we started working together, Sylvia was frazzled. Her To Do List was getting longer. For various reasons, she couldn’t put off the launch of her business. She had to find a way to manage everything that needed to be done.

The following simple steps have helped her to feel in charge again.

1. Morning Review: what’s today’s headline act?

This process, creating a Daily Log, has helped me, so I recommended the process to Sylvia:

As soon as I hit my computer each morning, I create a new Daily Log note in my Journal notebook in Evernote. Whenever I think of it — every hour or so — I note the time, and what I’ve been doing.

Sylvia picked ONE task per day, which absolutely had to be done. That task was her “headline act”. If the task looked as if it would take longer than half an hour, she chunked it down, so that it had a number of sub-tasks. She could do these easily, working around whatever else was happening. (Taking little Ben to day care, errands, phone calls, etc.)

On the other hand, if she needed to attend a meeting, and that was her headline act, she created a solid block of time. For example, if the meeting was scheduled for 11 AM, with 30 minutes traveling time, she blocked off the entire morning, and lunch, for the meeting.

By giving herself lots of time, Sylvia could attend meetings feeling calm and relaxed. She could also focus on the meeting’s agenda. (See #4.)

2. Clear your email’s Inbox (and close it)

If a response will take fewer than two minutes, respond. Otherwise, turn each message into a task and add it to your calendar program.

Can someone else handle the query? Forward the message to them.

You’ll have some messages which don’t need a response. Add these to a “Read Later” folder.

Once you’ve handled your messages, close your email client.

Sylvia found that checking her email twice a day was enough. Without the distraction, she got more done.

3. Burn out the undergrowth (eliminate or delegate)

To Do Lists always grow. Trim them back every day if you can. Can you eliminate or delegate tasks? Do it.

4. Always have an agenda

Your headline act is your agenda for the day. Everything you do should have agenda, or goal. Glue a little sticky note onto your computer monitor: “Why am I doing this?” Create another note to stick onto your car’s dashboard.

The stickies will remind you that you only need to do something if you have a reason for doing it. This eliminates lots of time-wasting activities.

For example, if someone calls you to chat in the middle of your work day, you’ll be reminded that there’s no agenda, so you can call them later.

5. Sunset Review: your DONE list

Review what you’ve done at the close of the business day. Reschedule anything you need to reschedule.

Be proud of today’s achievements. Tomorrow is another day.

Sylvia’s found these five steps useful; try them.

Image

Press Releases: Not just For SEO

Press release

Have you been using press releases for your business? For a time, they were out of fashion, because Google’s Matt Cutts discounted their value for search engine optimization (SEO).

However, apparently they are still worthwhile for SEO. If you choose to use them for that. This article reports:

… we showed one case where Google not only discovers the links within typical press releases but uses the anchor text for ranking purposes.

One ranking might not make a case for their value, but SEO benefits, while pleasant, are far from the only use to which you can put press releases.

I call press releases “the gift that keeps on giving.” Here’s what else they can do for you:

* They get your company’s name in front of your customers;

* They’re “free” content for your website;

* They’re an ongoing resource for people who arrive at your website, without knowing anything about you. Create a “media” or “newsroom” section of your website, just for press announcements and news releases;

* They let you put your point of view;

* They give you credibility.

In this article, I encouraged you to make the most of your press releases in various ways, including:

* Offer your news release in PDF form, for easy downloading;

* Offer a short report, or additional information. If you’re promoting a new product, add a report on the research you’ve done, your testing procedures, or anything else which seems relevant. Once you’ve got someone’s attention, and they’re reading your release, make the most of their interest.

Press releases can be extremely valuable. They’re not an instant fix for marketing woes, but if you’re not using them, consider it. Not only can they bring traffic to your website, they can encourage your visitors to linger — some of them will buy from you.

photo credit: BrittneyBush via photopin cc

Your Micro-Business: Clever, Free Social Media Marketing Ideas

Baby

Looking for clever ideas to promote your micro-business? If you’re a sole trader, or own a small company, it’s hard to take your business to the next level. You don’t want to splash out on advertising without being sure of a return.

Read this article for some very clever ways to use social media sites like Pinterest to get followers and attention, Will Social Spur Sales for This Mom’s Small Business?:

“Hold a ‘Pin it to Win it’ contest on Pinterest. By the time Lynch had offered her suggestions, Ismail had created a Pinterest page for JumpSac. At the time of this writing, there was nothing on it. Lynch suggests JumpSac pin a photo of its best-selling product and then ask users to repin it for a chance to win the item.”

Build your own social media ecosystem

We’ve talked about image marketing before. Like Pinterest, Springpad’s a real boon to image marketers. Business owners have little time, so using Pinterest and Springpad makes sense. It takes seconds to pin something onto a Pinterest board, ditto to “spring” something onto Springpad.

Here’s a tip. Social media is inexpensive advertising. It’s not free, because it takes time. However, if you set up a workflow, in which you repurpose the same content onto several sites, you can set up your own little social media marketing ecosystem:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Springpad
  • Google+
  • Tumblr

(Make sure that your images link to appropriate pages on your website.)

Choose any three of the above; there’s no need to go crazy. :-) Vary the text content slightly. The images can stay the same.

The key to making this work for your business is consistency, over time. It’s much better to post one piece of content to your ecosystem once a week, than it is to post six pieces, and then let never use your social media accounts again.

Small Business Blogging: Get Value From Your Content-Creation Buck

Blogging for Dollars

Content creation is a hassle; I hear you. It’s a hassle for everyone, writers included. :-)

I’ve been running a series on my freelance writing blog on writing and selling PLR. Those ideas will help you if you’re looking for ideas for content for your small business blog.

Let’s say you’ve been cracking the whip, and someone in your organization, or someone you’ve hired, is busily creating content for your blog. Happy days, right?

NO… creating content is just the start. You need readers too. Some of those readers will eventually become customers. Readers who are already customers will consider their next purchase from you.

Let’s put that aside for the moment, and assume that not only are you creating worthwhile content, you’re also promoting that content.

How do you get more VALUE from that content?

Get more value from your content-creation buck

With some of my clients, I’ve found that once content goes onto their blog, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Everyone in the organization sighs with relief, and forgets about it. That’s a shame. It took time and money to create that content, so you need to get value from it.

Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Just because it’s there, it doesn’t mean it’s visible

Every blogger has the same problem: how to show off content which has fallen off the front page of the blog. Visitors arrive at your site every day, who would find value in that content, if only it were visible.

There are various ways to get attention to older content.

Consider:

* WordPress plugins. If you’re using WordPress, there are many plugins which show related content, as well as content in various categories. There are even plugins which will tweet older content, so explore WordPress Plugins.

* Compilation posts. You can create compilation posts on any topic you covered on your blog, as well as updates — “posts you may have missed”, or “this time last year”.

Use your blog’s content in newsletters and email updates

Few businesses send out regular mailings. Let your customers know when there’s new content on your blog. Every mailing you send out doesn’t need to be promotional. Provide links to your blog, as well as to your website.

The people on your mailing list don’t visit your blog every day — they may not even know you have a blog. This is a waste of your content.

My favorite garden center does a wonderful job of letting the customers on their mailing list know when there’s new content available. I love my garden, and get excited whenever I receive a mailing from them. Of course, after I get a mailing I schedule a visit to the garden center on the weekend. I’m sure that their regular mailings mean that I shop with them ten times a year, rather than once or twice.

Your content is valuable — make the most of it.