Archive Monthly Archives: January 2019

3 ways to personalize your marketing

The ONE piece of junk mail I read this week…

Cute puppy, relevant news, and my name’s on the front page… #personalizedmarketing

I’m not a customer of Geico. But their latest snail mail advertisement caught my eye. Ninety-nine percent of the time all such mail hits the trash immediately. So I set out to analyze my own response. Why did I bother opening and reading this?

  1. My name caught my eye. Sure, I’ve seen this trick before. They pulled my name off of some list. Added me to their ad campaign. At least they used my name. I’ve recently had daily LinkedIn connection requests. Guess what? They hit the junk mail bin almost immediately. Ninety-nine percent never personalize a message. So why should I bother connecting?
  2. Cute pet photos are eye candy if you’re a pet lover. According to a recent APPA National Pet Owner’s survey, 68% of Americans own a pet. Geico hedged their bets pretty accurately. Most of us like pets. Knowing some basic facts about your target market is a great place to start personalizing your outreach.
  3. Right now if you have a friend in the federal government, you know their personal budget has taken a hit in January. Relevant news for the target market. I’m not a federal employee, but I have several friends affected by the recent government shut down. Either share news that affects your target market or at least sympathize with their problems.

All it takes is a few minutes of your time to do a little research and personalize your marketing or networking efforts. #goldenrulemarketing

So I’d be delighted to hear from you on LinkedIn, but if you do reach out, please tell me what we may share in common and why we should connect, okay? I promise to do the same for you.

3 lessons from Gillette for content marketing

marketing cat 
LOVE it? HATE it?

Marketing hit the news this week with a whiff of aftershave. Shaving? Controversial? That male rite of passage that often starts around 12 years old? I remember my brothers’ sudden interest in shaving apparatus and the creams and lotions that accompany it. New smells from the bathroom!

Now everyone’s talking about shaving. At least for the moment in certain contexts. We’ll come back to this thought.

CNN for business reports crowding in the men’s razor market. According to CNN, the new controversial Gillette shaving commercial was spawned because Gillette had to do something to stand out. They’re re-branding due to the fierce competition in their market. True and true.

CBS chimed in with their own take. So have thousands of other people. I first noticed the buzz on my LinkedIn feed this morning. A fellow marketer put up the YouTube ad link and posted a question. Love it? Hate it? Within an hour 65 comments had been posted! Being curious as a marketer, I skimmed all 65.

Here’s a link to the Gillette ad that’s generating so much buzz about life, marketing, and especially #metoo.

Lesson 1: Good marketing starts a conversation.

Gillette sparked a conversation. Look who’s talking! Major news sources are. Social media is. Your friends and coworkers are. You can’t reach clients without talking to them in some way, shape, or form.

Lesson 2: Good marketing tries to step into the shoes of the target audience.

Someone in Gillette’s marketing department has been researching their clients’ challenges. When you find you’re in a hot mess, you appreciate someone who’s willing to step in it with you. Misery still loves company. Bullying. The #metoo movement which has been shaking things up for fathers, grandfathers, bosses, and co-workers. Love it or hate it, you ignore this issue at your own peril.

Lesson 3: Good marketing focuses on the power of ONE. One big idea.

Gillette’s marketing is short and sweet: We Believe: The Best Men Can Be. It ties into their tagline -The Best Men Can Get. I have formed my own opinions on this topic. I’m sure you have, too. Nevertheless, if Gillette had tried to also include something about the controversial wall or the environment, they would’ve lost their audience’s attention. Too many ideas confuse. You confuse, you lose. I’m betting Gillette is on the right track for more sales this quarter!

Take a page from Expert Secrets. Throw out ONE marketing hook at a time.

Do you need help with storytelling that starts a conversation? Need clarity finding your audience’s challenges or pain points? What about content marketing that focuses on ONE big idea, ONE hook at a time? Let’s do some powerful business brainstorming today. Or just throw the idea at me, and I’ll run with it for you!

#contentmarketing #goldenrulemarketing #marketing #freelancemarketingwriter

12 Ways to Make {sweet} Lemonade As A Small Business Owner {or how to juice up your business mindset}

I’m an old hand at lemonade stands. Maybe that’s where my gritty business mindset was born. Hot, humid South Carolina summers in “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” with several busy siblings — it’s prime recipe for an age-old kid-preneur business plan — a lemonade stand. Ours stood under a giant mossy oak tree.

Fast forward twenty years. My cutie-pie, blueberry-eyed daughter with long blond braids wanted some pocket money one summer. Without scrubbing Mom’s windows, sigh. Selling lemonade seemed SO much more exciting — until she spent hours in the humid shade of a tree with very few sales.

This time of year, you might be dreaming of sunny summer days with a hint of lemon in your sparkling water and LOTS of clients in 2109. You’re planning and getting your business in order. Or making a valiant effort?

2018 was a tough year for small business owners wiped out by the fires in California or the hurricane damage and flooding in Florida. Maybe it was a tough 2018 for you due to personal losses.

Personal loss and tragedy can be especially hard to work through when you run a small business and don’t have the perks of paid time off to recover and refocus. How can you bring your A-game to your business when your mindset is out of kilter?

I can relate. I’ve been hands-on caring for an immediate family member recovering from stroke and cancer. Then there was the sudden, unexpected cross-country move of another close family member, as well as two not-at-fault car accidents this year. I’ve felt like I could barely come up for air before the next wave washed over my head.

Yet somehow, I’ve been blessed with some sweet, sweet lemonade. I’ve worked with wonderful clients this year. I’ve interviewed and written about some amazing humans that inspire me to tiptoe in their GIANT footsteps. Their accomplishments are such a dose of positivity that I tell myself: Pick yo-self up! Shake it off! Move it, lady!

I had some help! Looking back on 2018, I made a list of a dozen favorite tools and tips for inspiration that helped me keep moving and not drown in a sea of lemonade. If sharing these can help you persevere in your business or even in a stinky job, well, I’d love to pay it forward right here.

3 Books That Inspired Me in Business and Life.

Just three, folks! Anyone can do this. I read more books than these on a personal growth level, but these three really applied to my business mindset.

1.) Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins was my top favorite business book. I bought in on a flash sale off of Amazon, and read it on my Kindle app on the go. If you’re on the verge of quitting on your talents — don’t!

Read this book first. Please. We’re not factory machines. You’re not a cog in a wheel. You have unique gifts and talents to use for the good of others and your own paycheck. “A laborer is worth of his hire.”

2.) Eat That Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time by Brian Tracy. I so needed this book. By the way, Michael Hyatt and Brian Tracy must share ideas. They both talk about getting your BIG THREE out of the way first thing each day.

Writing down my BIG THREE each day has been a huge benefit to my productivity and a boost to my morale and mindset. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. Whew! I did it. This is only one of 21 wonderful tips that make total sense when your life doesn’t.

( If you’re thinking I’m hooked on the number three, you might be right. The artist side of me knows that a good composition often consists of groups of three.)

3. ) Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson. Entrepreneur extraordinaire, Russell Brunson has helped internet businesses catapult with his SAAS-type offering at ClickFunnels. I’m still on the fringes, figuring this out, but I can say I’ve talked to two people personally whose small businesses have grown exponentially by using ClickFunnels.

One thing Russell has inspired me to do is to be authentic in my business. Like today. I’m telling a bit of my story, because I’m a human interested in helping other humans. He didn’t quit, either, when his story got very tough. Lotsa lemonade to be sipped while reading Russell’s story.

3 Podcasts that Motivated and Kept the Wheels Turning In My Brain (cause business mindset matters).

Photo by Daniel Brunsteiner on Unsplash

Personal challenges can suck the brain cells right out of you. You get a sucker-punch in the gut, and yet somehow you have to get on stage with your business and perform. That’s when nothing in life makes sense, right? So here are my podcasts of brain restoration in the order of MY personal favorites.

Ed Gandia of hits it out of the park with practical, useful topics for business writers. However, often his topics overlap and apply to any small business owner — such as a podcast on health insurance for freelancers. Or how about a podcast on using LinkedIn to grow your business? Ed’s been podcasting for a while. With a wealth of topics to choose from, you can choose ones that interest you and apply to your business. Check out the link below. You’re welcome, too!

I was first introduced to Michael Stelzner after reading his book on writing white papers. Very, very B2B!

So imagine my surprise when I found out Stelzner now heads up Social Media Marketing World conference and offers his expertise at His podcast is chock-full of interviews with experts on the ever changing world of — you guessed it — social media marketing! Cause pretty much every single business is on social media now. You need this shot in the arm!

Since I’m a business writer, the next podcast is my cuppa tea. Steve Slaunwhite is an excellent teacher on all things practical for business writing. Maybe you want to handle more of your own business writing? Check out his short, informative podcasts!

3 of MY Favorite Facebook Business Groups of 2018

Now, to be clear, I’m biased. I’m a business WOMAN. I’m also a writer. So I’ll forgive you if you tune me out here.

However, my top favorite FB group is run by a woman, the inspiring Julie Christine Stoian, but many men are in this group: Living the Laptop Life: A Group for Online Service Providers and Marketers.

Such a plethora of amazing professionals hang out here and help one another. Plus, you get to drop a link to your business on Mondays and Fridays (with a $50 offer that can lead to MUCH better money). It’s been good for business, folks. If you don’t get a bite, keep throwing out different hooks, a.k.a, Russell Brunson.

I was so delighted to find The Freelance Content Marketing Writer group on FB. Jennifer Goforth Gregory has a good thing going here. Though the job postings have not yet hit “gold” for me, I’ve gotten answers to business questions.

Writers let down their hair and ask for advice about tough clients or prospective gigs and pricing questions. The professional insights are just what the doctor ordered to ramp up my business mindset. It’s a good, safe place to go when business from home gets tough or lonely.

For networking purposes, I’ve been pleased with Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs FB group. I haven’t really done a lot on this group, but I find the quotes to be inspiring, as well as the large group of women working from home.

3 More Tips for Squeezing Lemonade When You Have a Bucket of Lemons

  1. Hire a coach or business mentor. If you’re stranded beside the highway, you call a tow truck. So why not hire a professional to help you get “unstuck” in your business? Business mindset is tough! The hardest part is finding a good one, right? That’s where a Facebook group could be of service. For example, dozens of coaches hang out in Living the Laptop Life. Post a few “I’m stuck” questions. See who bites. Go bold and ask for recommendations.
  2. Take an online class. I’ve taken a few good ones from Hubspot. They offer some great marketing advice. Even better, I’m in the

    Here’s to raising our glasses of lemonade and welcoming 2019! Because when life gets tough, the lemonade you make tastes that much sweeter!

    I have a few openings to work with quality, caring professional service providers. I can help you attract and connect with your clients through regular blog posts, email newsletters, or a THAT ebook download you need. Maybe you need a refresh on your web copy? Let’s make some sweet lemonade with your content marketing! Call me or email for your free initial phone consult.

    Julia 443-362-8789