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. https://youtu.be/koPmuEyP3a0
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.
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.
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!
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! firstname.lastname@example.org
#contentmarketing #goldenrulemarketing #marketing #freelancemarketingwriter
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.
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.
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 www.b2blauncher.com 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 www.social mediaexaminer.com. 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!
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. https://www.facebook.com/groups/FreelanceCMW/
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. https://www.facebook.com/groups/womenbizowners/
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 email@example.com
It’s a CRAZY noisy world.
We’re constantly bombarded with marketing. Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. YouTube.
If you’re a professional service provider dead-set on doing your best for your clients, it doesn’t seem fair that the biggest, loudest, flashiest voices get the “worm”. (You know, “the early bird gets the worm”).
Maybe you only have five seconds or less to capture your target audience online.
Or maybe not. Maybe that climb to the top will take T.I.M.E!
My take? Perhaps great marketing for quality service providers is a combination of the five-second rule AND the story of the tortoise and the hare.
If you’ve never heard this Aesop’s fable, here’s my five second version: It’s the ultimate practical joke in the Animal Kingdom. Everyone knows the outcome, right?
The race is set between the flashy, fast-talking, handsome Hare and a slow-moving, heavy Tortoise. BANG! They’re off.
Hare prances, dances for his audience, and zips off at lightning speed, leaving Tortoise to eat his dust. Once he’s far enough ahead, he decides to take a short snooze.
Tortoise crawls along lifting one cumbersome, heavy leg at a time. He never stops moving slowly but surely.
Along the way, he passes the sleeping Hare but does not pause until he crosses the finish line!
The Animal Kingdom gasps then raucously applauds, waking up Hare.
“Slow and steady wins the race.”
Ever heard that line before? I’ve repeated this hundreds of times as an educator, encouraging my students to persist, to keep climbing, to take one small step at a time.
Content marketing needs both elements — pizazz and persistence.
Why do I call it “persistence marketing”? Most content marketing is effective as a steady drip. You have to show up regularly to build confidence and trust. We’ve seen more than one shop in town end up closing due to irregular hours.
How will you add pizazz and persistence to your content marketing plans today?
I offer a free 30 minute content strategy session for new clients only where I look at your business online and discuss ways to improve your copy or content marketing. Julia, at your service! Call 443-362-8789.
Let’s start with a basic question. What is your business mission statement? If you’re reading this article and your bottom line is your biggest WHY for your business, read no farther.
It’s okay with me. This article is not for you. However, if happy, healthier clients are your focus (along with that necessary bottom line), then you’re in tune with patient-centered care.
According to this article in Catalyst (https://catalyst.nejm.org), how you make your clients feel is an important part of quality care.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) also lists patient-centered care as one of six markers of quality health care. In fact, all six goals could be summed up by saying, “Do your best for each client. ”
How many of us actually look forward to picking up the phone and calling a doctor, dentist, or other wellness provider? Ladies, how about getting the man in your life to schedule his own appointments? Is it like pulling teeth? Healthcare is a very emotional and personal experience for most clients.
While you as the wellness provider bear most of the responsibility for safe and effective care, your office staff will make or break patient-centered care with a tough-as-nails or a sour lemon approach.
Your “gatekeepers” should embody all that is wonderful about your wellness practice.
If you’re as healthy as a horse, you can’t understand your clients. You need to hire a secret “quality control” agent to discover how it feels for your new potential to phone or walk in the front door of your practice.
Don’t hire your best friend. Don’t even hire an acquaintance. Hire someone who has a sick loved one and experiences doctor’s offices ALL the time. Have them call your office at different times with “new patient” questions. Pick the busiest times. Here are a few suggestions — keeping it simple is great!
Why? I can’t give one good reason to use their services after I read their website. It’s such shame, because I know most businesses care about delivering a great quality service or product.
Fuzzy, unclear web copy is like getting the wrong prescription in your new glasses — you can’t see and those glasses will collect dust!
Your potential client wants to know ONE thing — what’s in it for me? Before you can answer their burning questions, you need to answer this question : WHO is your ideal potential client?
What do your current clients look like? Are they your ideal clients?
Small town? Big city?
Deep pockets or tight budget?
Most importantly, what are their specific needs or “pain points” that you can solve?
This is called creating your ideal client avatar. Flesh in as many juicy details as you can.
Young urban professional. Gen X, Y, Z or Millenial? Married? Kids? Home-owner or renter? Sports car or SUV owners? Both, hopefully!
Now hang this up in front of your eyeballs and talk out loud.
Write as you talk. This is time to put on your “Super Business-Person” cape. What would you love to tell your ideal client?
Here’s a brief sample of how this works for me:
My ideal client: a successful business owner or professional service firm/provider who already understands the importance of marketing content and is willing to pay accordingly. They have a budget set aside for marketing. Bing!
They want words that shine, client success stories, warm email marketing, regular blog posts, and web copy “makeovers”.
They let me talk to their clients for them, but will jump on the phone to tell me the latest and greatest about their business. They take pride in their work.
My ideal clients are successful and know they need to delegate their content marketing.
Writing about themselves is hard — sometimes painfully so.
Having an objective outside set of eyes and voice for their business brings much-needed clarity to their business voice.
It’s the power of brainstorming or a mini-mastermind session.
Finding time to create quality content is also painful for them.
Maximizing their time and business productivity is their Mount Everest. It’s a constant challenging climb to the peak!
When they get home, they want to leave work behind, take those weekend trips with family or friends, and let their content do the work while they play! (SUV owners for family trips, and sports car owners for fun, right?)
They “get” it. Words sell for them.
Get talking! Hone your core business message. Ask your fellow business friends: Do you understand clearly what I do?
Ask them about their business. Find out what makes them shine.In this process you may discover more about your own business.
Next, write like you talk. Write a paragraph. Shrink that paragraph into one short sentence that describes your business in a nutshell. This is your core business offer or message.
Do they state their core offer clearly? What do you offer that is different and unique from theirs?
I recently researched the eye doctor I’ve used for the past four years. The online reviews were dismal! I wasn’t surprised.
I asked questions of his staff. They don’t perform quality control checks on their newly-prescribed glasses. If their lab makes a mistake, no one cares unless the client complains.
When I called a local competitor, I was blown away by how much warmer and friendlier they are on the phone. I would switch eye doctors in a heartbeat if my insurance allowed based on this fact alone.
Maybe you’re small but super-helpful! Get some great client success stories online, pronto!
Make a list of all the search terms your competitors rank for. This is one way to find out what your ideal clients are looking for.
Be sure to include these key words in your online marketing content. Your clients can find you and your SEO will improve!
As you talk out loud, write things down. Look at your client avatar and talk.
Selling insurance, for example? Talk to the hard-working couple just making ends meet. How would their world crumble if either one was killed in an accident with no insurance to cover burial expenses let alone living expenses?
Provide a simple survey for your current clients. Ask them what problems sent them your way.
What are their biggest challenges?
Did your business provide the solutions they were looking for? If not, why?
This survey can be sent in email or as a simple form in your business office.
Some doctors’ offices are using an iPad or a touch screen at the checkout desk for their clients to provide feedback.
The fast food industry has been doing surveys on receipts for a while. It’s an effective information gathering tool.
Get your clients talking to you!
Even a small act of generosity can create connections with potential clients.
After all, our clients all share one thing in common — what’s in this for me?
Feel free to print and share this little guide, by the way!
If you’d rather just pay someone and get your business content written clearly and promptly, I’ll be happy to “talk” to your clients for you.
Everyone and their momma needs some good news. It’s a bad news world most every day. If you don’t tune it out you go around feeling like you drank a belly-ful of lemonade without any sweetener!
I’ve met and interacted with some of them on their blogs, LinkedIn pages, and Facebook pages. Guess what? I’ve even listened to their advice. And it works. In an impossible year, my business has moved slowly forward. The odds have definitely not been in my favor.
I want to share. I’m taking a page from their books. In fact, some of my friends have already been the, ahem, beneficiaries of my free, unsolicited advice. Sorry about that, guys! But you know that I care about you if I share my good news, right?
The best news is this: these business-builders share freely. Yes, they offer high end services. But they’re always giving away good, actionable advice for free. So I made a list of expert business-building mentors I think you should link up with and follow. Only buy what you can afford. Definitely glean from their wisdom.
In particular, four of these individuals have responded to me personally.
Where do they find the time? Ah, ask Michael Hyatt that question. I’m still working on my personal productivity levels. Work/life balance, too.
Obviously, these folks are not the only voices of business humanity. The human, personal touch is how many small businesses survive and, hello, THRIVE! If you shop local, you see this more often.
“If you want to be more successful, be more human in how you market to and engage with your target audience.” John Nemo
My private piano practice has survived and thrived in a very small town, because I’m “that fun, friendly” piano teacher.
I listen and communicate with a broad spectrum of people and age groups day after day, year after year — people just like your clients. We’re a bedroom community of Annapolis, D.C., and Baltimore. Literally all walks of life live here.
Most notably, I don’t verbally “bite” kids or wallop their knuckles when they miss a note. (Um, yes, I’ve heard the stories from parents who quit piano lessons for that very reason. Yikes! The “good old days”, anyone?) I listen to my student’s struggles and find ways to help them succeed, targeted help for their needs.
Listening and learning about your business is my top priority.
Your business content will receive the same loving care and warm communication that I give to all my clients. I’ll even write your email communications for you! Do I hear a sigh of relief?
Maybe you already have a well-established clientele. But what business doesn’t need to grow? LinkedIn can become a powerful networking and growth tool. Here’s why.
While Facebook is still a bigger pond with 800 million plus users, LinkedIn is very much a mega pool to fish from for helpful business connections. With a clearly defined professional profile, your ideal clients can also locate you. Since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016, it’s also bound to continue growing as a professional networking pool.
Generally they don’t post about their personal feelings or what they ate for lunch! If you join LinkedIn groups, you can learn about the latest business best practices. Or, you can share your business expertise on topics.
Let’s talk about Facebook for a minute. I avoided it for years, personally, because I saw all the online drama that people choose to post. Reading the comments sections of many news articles, and even personal posts will make your stomach turn.
Yuck! It can also easily become a major source of personal information gathering for friends or foes. Basically, unless you are super careful with your settings and the groups you participate in (which can change overnight from private to public), it’s a massive “people-stalking network.”
That being said, I’m not advocating ignoring Facebook advertising.
I just think a business will need to exercise greater caution to keep their noses clean on Facebook. Once I had to disable my comments on my business page because some troll decided to have fun on my page.
It’s certainly a platform for “people drama”. By the same token, I’ve done a great deal of profitable learning and connecting in Facebook business groups and forums. I’ve gotten more likes and shares on this platform thus far.
You can post relevant business articles. If you are a creative, you can post samples of your work in slideshare.
In short, you have a platform, a way to build credibilty, and a huge networking tool!
Seriously, the Alexa ratings for LinkedIn lists it as the 10th most popular website in the US. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/linkedin.com.
Globally, LinkedIn rates 22nd as of the writing of this article. Either way, these statistics mean that it’s a massive search engine that can be used to showcase your successful products or services. It’s also a publicly traded company. #LNKD
Better than a comment section, your business profile can receive professional recommendations from those you have served well. Unlike Yelp, you have some control over what is posted there, too. A real name and face on these recommendations adds to your business credibility. This builds the “know, like, and trust” factor which is every marketer’s goal.
Professional practices and networking, huge pool of potential clients, and a way to be taken seriously in your market — have I convinced you yet? Let’s get your LinkedIn growing.
Be sure to put your best foot forward with a professional headshot, client-facing profile, and professional connections.
It did grab your attention, right? Now is the time to grab your favorite writing tool or dictation app and do a brain dump.
What went well for your business this year? What areas need some love? What specific steps can you take to improve your business this year? Goal-setting, anyone?
To help with this process, I’m highly recommending a free download from Michael Hyatt. You can get this by visiting http://www.bestyearever.me
The free ebook is called:
Achieve What Matters in 2017: 8 Strategies Super-Successful People Are Using Now to Accomplish More This Year.
I hope to reread this before 2017 begins. I have some huge goals this year. I may post a few of them just to hold my feet to the fire. Not today, though! This post is for you.
Everyone, every business needs a website! Just look around. Every handyman’s van, every delivery truck, every service vehicle almost without exception has a website listed on it. Just because you have one doesn’t mean it’s a good one, though.
Short sentences. White space. Uncluttered webpage. Not a huge bunch of ads and affiliate links.
Your massive list of credentials may be impressive. Ask yourself this question. Does it focus clearly on how you can help your client succeed with their business needs? If, so, good. It’s okay to state what you’re good at if it helps others. If not, cut it down to what matters most to your client.
Your web visitors need a clear nudge to try out your product or services. The digital marketplace is noisy and crowded. Your website needs to be warm, friendly, and inviting. You also need a compelling reason for them to click and try what you have to offer.
Folks are looking for social proof these days. Ever read Amazon reviews before you buy? Recently we tried out the auto maintenance services of a local shop because of the awesome reviews!
Make sure you highlight happy clients or character references on your website. Consider hiring someone to ghostwrite these so you don’t have a sloppy success story that fails to showcase your best business solutions!
If you sell a more complex product or service, an in-depth case study or success story complete with a professional interview by a writer will grab your client’s attention. Reviews are great, but a success story clearly focused on your business solution is even better.
This year I spoke to a highly frustrated business co-owner of a consulting service. Her partner had hired a marketing manager who wrote web copy that was full of errors and wildly disorganized.
I had to ask, what exactly is it that you do, after reading their website.
The same held true of the marketing materials and business emails being distributed. Their target market is highly skilled professionals! Epic business fail! This consultant firm was in serious need of a second set of eyes.
Maybe your website looks sharp. However, fresh web copy could boost your web traffic and SEO. Your content copywriter may even suggest a new marketing theme or strategy. Two pairs of eyes are better than one.
Oops! That is my business goal, too. Let the cat out of the bag, didn’t I?
Providing free, helpful information through a blog or an email newsletter is a great way for your target audience to get to know you.
The consistent “drip effect” is a proven marketing strategy.
Along the way you may find yourself reaping the kindness you have sowed by gaining new clients.
Offer a reward system for loyal customers. The small gifts are a surprisingly effective way of saying thank you. This could be an extra product or an extra service. Serve the extra five minutes, say, as the extra mile.
Take the heat gracefully. Mistakes and misunderstandings happen. Figure out a fair way to compensate your client. This is far less costly than “reverse referrals”.
Simply say the words “thank you for your business”. In a world of constant negativity, these words are a day-brightener when spoken warmly and sincerely.
Take a page from Chick-fil-a. Little things like, my pleasure, create a crowd of loyal fans.
Thank you for reading this, by the way.
Perhaps you already have a grateful fan club? Spotlight your happy client stories to breed a circle of gratitude!
Now that’s a smell that’s warm, spicy, and very attractive.