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How a Business Clean-Up Can Bring Marketing Success

You know that feeling when warm weather comes and you want to open all the windows and doors and air the house out? Clean out closets and throw out the collected winter clutter?

It happens to most of us. A new season comes and we have the urge to purge (and clean).

But what about our business? Shouldn’t it get a renewed look and de-cluttering too?

When was the last time you took a day off? Yes… a whole day off *gasp* to do a little clean up on your business.

What Kind Of Cleaning?

There are two clean-up projects you should do once or twice a year.

The first one is more of a clutter buster.

Get rid of old files bogging down your computer.

Move your images and big files off your main computer and put them on an external storage drive. Look at your credit card statement and note any recurring business expenses that you don’t need. Those little $9.99 monthly programs and subscriptions add up.

Open up the virtual windows of your business

The second clean up project is a mental cleanup

A mental cleanup?

There is a tendency with entrepreneurs to forget why we are running a business.  By now you may have realized that running your own business is not easy. As a matter of fact is can be downright hard some days. Like – “I’m done with this” hard.

There’s a reason you keep going.  Why? Do you know the answer?

To (re)find it. It would be beneficial to take another day off! *gasp* TWO days off?!?

Yes! Another day off. To reconnect with your goals and vision. To remind yourself why you’re doing what you do.

Grab a fresh notebook and a brand new pen. Go somewhere that you can think and get away from the hustle and bustle for a few hours.

Ask yourself the following:

  1. What do you want to achieve, in business and in life?

Take a moment to think about what it is you want.  If you want to have a business that allows you to travel, are you structuring it to allow that? If you want to only work 30 hours a week, are the plans in place to do so? Do you have an income goal? Write down what you want your life (and business) to look like.

  1. What’s your secret sauce? What makes you stand out from your competition? What is something you do, that your customers or clients LOVE?

This is the magic of your business.  I’m guessing you have competition.  What do you do to make your business the best choice?

  1. What do they need to learn from you? What can your unique specialties do for them?

Once you get clear on your secret sauce, think about what your ideal customers want from you. When can you deliver this information to them? How do you think they want to get it?

  1. How are you reaching your existing clients? How are you reaching new clients?

What’s working? What’s not?

  1. Where does my best business come from?

If Facebook brings you the most business, focus most of your online marketing efforts there.

What Does This Have to Do With Marketing?

Everything.

It all flows together.

See you do have a vision of what you want your life to look like, but we get caught up in our day-to-day activities. We tell ourselves, “tomorrow, I’ll really hire that VA”,  “Next week, I’ll get started on social media”,  “Hopefully, by next year I’ll be able to work less hours if I can hustle now”.

Start to structure your business around the life you want now, then decide where you need to be productive. What needs to be more efficient? What type of support do you need?

Make your business work for you.

Focusing on what your secret sauce is, changes everything you do. This is how you stand out with your unique voice, perspective, and services. This is how your ideal client will find you. They’ll be drawn to you because you resonate with them.

Knowing what your magic is, allows you to write more freely, and promote your services with the right marketing copy and connect with your audience they way they need you to connect.

Once you start thinking about your marketing with your customer or client in mind, it doesn’t feel so hard. And you’ll have a clearer sense about where best to reach them.

You’ll notice that your blogs are getting read.  Your emails are getting opened. Your social media posts are getting likes and comments.  Why? Because you have cleaned out the stale marketing efforts that are no longer serving you. You have reminded yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you’ll remember what makes you stand out.

Now, open up your calendar and pick your two clean-up days, to.

  1. Clear out the clutter
  2. Set your one-on-one day with your business.

You’ve got this!

Having trouble with your clean up? Let’s schedule a “clarity call” so I can help you make way for marketing success!

How to be social in an unsocial world

Connecting with an audience that is avoiding social media.

If there is anything we’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that the online world seems a little less friendly.

Our social platforms are a firestorm of politics and fake news.

Are you stressed about connecting with an audience that is either:

  1. Busy debating politics, or 2. Avoiding social media?

I know a handful of people who have removed the FB app from their phones.  *gasp*

So now what?

As entrepreneurs, what are we supposed to do?  We’ve come to rely on social media to connect with our clients and fans.

Hope is not lost.

First, it’s important to remember a few things.

  1. You must think about who your audience is.  Are they even bothered by the current state of affairs? Are they still happily scrolling their Facebook or Twitter feed.
  1. Have you considered the social media platform you are on? Is your audience even on Facebook?  If you are in the B2B space, you may be better suited to focusing your marketing energy on LinkedIn.
  1. The volatile discussions taking place on social media are a clue into what people are thinking and feeling.  Rule #1 of talking to your ideal client is to know what keeps them up at night.  What are they worrying about and can you solve that problem? It may feel painful to read the discussions, but, it could be very beneficial to your business IF you can help or offer your expertise. Note:  I’m not saying to private message them and say “Hey, I saw you arguing with so and so; I’m a coach and can help you”.  I’m suggesting that you use the information as a way to tap into your audience’s minds. Then, blog, do a FB live, send an email blast sharing your valuable wisdom.


Here are some great ways to connect with your audience even if they are avoiding social media.

 

  1. Can you do a few live in-person lectures?

Before social media came along, this was one of the tried and true ways of reaching your audience.  It still is.  People more than ever would love to connect.

  • Reach out to a local co-working space.
  • Find out if they are looking for speakers.
  • Or rent one of their conference rooms.  Ask if they would promote your event to their list if you split the ticket sales.
  • Call you local library.  See how to get on their monthly events list.
  • Research local business groups that are a match to your products or services.

 

  1.  Do you have an email list that you aren’t leveraging?

If you have a list of subscribers that you haven’t emailed in a while, see if you can re-energize the relationship.

Warm up the list before selling or promoting to your subscribers. Otherwise,  you will see rapid “unsubscribes” if you start selling before saying hello.

Start by being honest with them.  “It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me.  I’m sorry about that.  I’ve been busy working on, (fill in the blank).  I’d love to hear how you are doing.  Yes, I read my emails, so if you respond I’ll get it”

Here are some other suggestions from Infusionsoft (an email marketing program) on warming up a cold list:

  • Make it personal
  • Remind them of how they opted in and why they should stay
  • Provide value
  • Follow general email best practices
  • Include a CTA (call-to-action)

Once you start to warm up the list again, make sure to stay consistent in engaging with them.  You may get some unsubscribes anyway, don’t worry.  Think of it as a way of cleaning house.  You only want subscribers that are aligned with what you do.

 

  1.  Blog

Blogging is a great way to showcase your expertise and engage with new customers or clients.  When you blog you can offer a ton of value.  Not sure where to start? Blogging When You Hate Writing (or You LOVE to Write But Don’t Have Time)

TIP:  Always have a CTA (call to action) in your blogs. Have the reader sign up for a resource guide that will go deeper than your blog content.  Ask them to join your Facebook group. Set-up a free consult call.  You get the idea.

Where to blog:

You can post a blog on your own website, but you’ll have to put some marketing efforts into promoting it.

You can also submit or post a blog to online sites:

Also, look at sites that your audience may be interested in.  See if those sites are looking for guest bloggers.

 

  1.  Dust off the rolodex (a rolo-what?)

Yes, remember those things that had everyone’s contact info, written down on paper cards?  Send your contacts a note.

Everyone loves getting a genuine and thoughtful card in the mail. It’s actually very rare these days to get something other than an email.

Let’s say you are a business coach and you’d like to add a few more clients.  Reach out to some past clients and see how they are doing.  Send them a card to let them know you are thinking about them.  Offer them a free check-in call.  No obligation, a quick hello.  Tell them you’d love to hear what they are up to.  Tell them how to connect with you—email or cell.

You may not want to do this for a lot of people but if you are willing to invest a little time and money this could make a big impact.

Try a service to do this: Send Out Cards – or Ink Cards (Ink Cards is an app, you can do it from your phone). Either one of these will handle the entire process for you.

 

  1.  Don’t give up on social media completely.  

Your customers and clients are still out there. They still need your help. They are a little overwhelmed right now. Put your thinking cap on and think about creative ways you can help them (free of charge). What can you offer to them that shows them that you care about them and you’re ready to step up?

Be a human talking to other humans.  Be genuine, be yourself and put out the best work possible.

Your true fans will really appreciate you re-connecting!

If you are feeling stalled and don’t know how best to get re-connected, let’s set up a clarity call and we’ll figure it out together.

Nancy

 

3 Super-Simple Marketing Planning Steps (and free templates)

 

Embrace simple and get it done. That’s the best advice I have when it comes to creating and executing your plan for marketing your business. While there are tons of ways to complicate this, there are a few easy steps to follow when “simple and done” are the goal. If you’ve been overwhelmed (and who hasn’t?) by all the options and to-do lists, you’re going to love this approach.

I promise.

Disclaimer: This process is super simple. That doesn’t mean it won’t take some focus and time. Put 30 minutes on your calendar at least once a week and make this a priority. Simple? Yes. Magic? No. At least, not yet.

Super-simple step one: Get your ideas out of your head. Many of us are idea machines. We think of so many things that we don’t know what to do first. If that’s you, then the first step is getting the ideas for your marketing out of your head and into a format you can refer to later and add to often.

Use the “Your Ideas” template if you’re a pen and paper person, or use your favorite app. The technology doesn’t matter.

If you fall into the “I have no ideas” category, then use your first 30 minutes to brainstorm.  Start here:

  • What would you love to tell people about your industry?
  • What are common myths or misconceptions that need busting or correcting?
  • The last time you were inspired—what did you do, and what happened next?
  • What have your learned from your clients/customers?
  • Where is the best way to meet/reach your ideal clients?
  • What events are strategic for you this year?
  • What trends are you loving/sick of?  

Super-simple step two: Create a plan. Since we’re not going to complicate this, I’ve made a “Your Year” template you can download and keep handy. Start filling in the months with events, promotions, and campaigns. Don’t forget any seasonal times that occur in your business.

Some of you may be thinking…

“That’s all fine and dandy, but I don’t have campaigns; I’m not sure what to promote, and don’t even get me started when it comes to events!”

I hear you. Since we’re all about simple, just start with the next month or quarter. Is it back-to-school time, or the snowy days of winter? What events are happening that drive activity? If you’re still stuck, just look at the next month and start there. Review your idea list and find something that resonates with you. Use that as your focus for the month. (If you are feeling extra organized, then you can go a step further by mapping out your weeks in detail using the “Your Month” template here.)

Super-simple step three: Now that you’ve got a focus, it’s time to execute. How do you reach your audience? By sharing information where they are. Showing up in their email, their Facebook feed, at events they attend, etc. Write a blog post, tape a video, record a podcast, attend an event, or even better, be the speaker at the event.

Hint: It’s not necessary to do everything. It is necessary to do one or two things really well – and BE CONSISTENT!

Do what’s natural and easy for you. Not a writer? Then use voice-to-text. Don’t let technology (or lack thereof) keep you from sharing the information with your audience. I know someone who launched an entire business writing advice in Facebook posts. It’s not my go-to recommendation, but if that’s all you’ve got right now, then use it!

Rinse and repeat. It really is that simple.

Like most things in life, it gets easier when you know how. It also becomes part of your daily flow if you schedule the time to get it done. If you need more customers, you can’t NOT do this. If you’ve got more clients than you can handle, then hire someone to do it for you.

Ready? Let’s go!

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How To Write a Blog Quickly

How To Write a Blog Quickly

Here’s some great advice from my friend Kate at Digital Marketing Momma...

Do you want to blog for your business, but can’t find the time to sit down and write?

Almost everyone I know who runs their own business struggles with the same thing. Writing content.

Challenges: 

  1. What to write about
  2. Finding time to write it
  3. Getting people to read it and share it

We all face this.  Even if you love to write, it can difficult!

I came across this post the other day from Huffington Post and I wanted to share why this type of content and blog strategy is brilliant and a great way to get content out there quickly.

This was posted on August 24, 2016.

Stephen Colbert Has Finally Figured Out Hillary Clinton’s Illness

Screenshot 2016-08-28 11.21.10

To date this post has been shared, 2.8k times and the actual youtube video that was posted by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert was viewed 1,232,310 times.   WOW!

Here’s what I love about this post. 

  1.  The author focused on a very trending, hot topic at the moment.  Hillary Clinton’s health during this wacky election.  This has been all over the news lately and all the media outlets are obsessing over it.  So, his choice of topic was spot on for what’s happening now.
  2. The content is obviously of interest since it’s being shared and “liked”.
  3. It probably didn’t take him that long to write it up.

Here’s how you can do this in your own business to post great content at lightening speed.  Hate to write? There are ways to make it not so awful!

First you need some inspiration to write about.

Step 1: Start by asking yourself these questions: 

  • Is there anything trending online that’s relevant to your audience? I use an amazing online tool to help me with this.  It’s called BuzzSumo.  Totally worth my monthly investment.  I use it every day!
  • Is there an upcoming event that your audience needs to know about?
  • Is there a product launch that could enhance your products or services that you offer?
  • Did a celebrity jump on board with an endorsement or cause that’s relevant to your business?

Step 2:  Go on YouTube and do a search for videos that will help/educate/anger/empower/ease/bring laughter to your audience.  

Do a search for your topic/industry/idea and see what shows up first.  Find a video that’s from a credible source.  TIP:  Don’t post a video by someone that could be considered your competitor… Just sayin’

Step 3:  Write a short, easy blog about the video.  

Tell your audience your thoughts on the video.  Give them your opinion.  It doesn’t have to be a novel.  Just tell them what you are thinking.  Add in your expertise and wisdom.  Tell them what to do with the content.  Share how it can benefit them.

Step 4:  Embed the Video on Your Blog Post.

Make sure to cite the source of the video and relevant content.  You can see I’ve done it in this post. Give credit where credit is due!  You could even go a step further and tag the author and media outlet in your own social media.

Now your turn . . . What’s the hardest part writing blog posts for you? Please share in the comments below. Also, if you need help with content creation or strategy, reach out.  We LOVE to come up with plans!

Content planning tips

Time for a Plan! What, Why and How of Content Planning

Do you find yourself scrambling every day, week, or month, trying to figure out content planning (i.e., what you are going to blog, post or email to your fans and customers)?

How would it feel if you had a schedule and system, where your content was all planned out – so that every day you and your team would know what was posting when? Awesome, right?

Say goodbye to stress and feeling guilty about neglected social media platforms and blogs. Say hello to organization for you and your audience in providing consistent valuable and engaging content that will leave your fans wanting and expecting more.

Let’s dig in to the WHAT, WHY and HOW of content planning:

WHAT is content planning?

Content planning – sometimes known as editorial planning or editorial calendar – is the system of planning out all of the your content (blog posts, promotions, campaigns, newsletters and social media posts) ideally in calendar format (or spreadsheet, or Word docs) so that you are constantly and consistently delivering valuable, timely information to your peeps.

For example, I try to blog at least once a month about something I’ve been working on with clients or something that I think needs explaining to my followers who are interested in learning more about online marketing and social media.

I then create a monthly newsletter to share the most recent blog post(s) and any other recent online marketing and social media news and trends as well as upcoming events. And for my “secret sauce” – try to include a playlist!

Typically, I plan this for the middle of the month, because I’m usually busy at the beginning of the month working on client work (their newsletters, etc.). Then, I share the blog/newsletter on all of my social media posts, for people who might not be on my email list.

Example of my typical content planning:

Example of content planning and scheduling for my blog

 

REPEAT!

That’s a very simplified version of my content planning and scheduling for my blog, newsletter and related promotional social media!

WHY should you plan your content?

The main reasons you should plan your content marketing are:

First, you will eliminate the stress of always feeling like you should be more to communicate with your ideal audience. Once you set up some sort of system, you can rest easy that you have a plan to make it happen.

Second, planning makes it easier for your team (admin, designer, web person) to support you. If you have your content planned out, then you can enlist the support of your team to potentially help with research, images, posts and scheduling, etc.  Heck, you may even be able to delegate the whole process. Many hands will make light work, especially when they are working with your new schedule.

Lastly, your audience will love, expect and come to rely on your regularly shared insights and expertise with your blog and newsletter delivery. With consistent content, you’ll become the teacher, adviser and coach constantly engaging and delighting your clients with valuable information that further establishes you as an expert in your field. 

HOW do you create your content plan?

First, decide what kind of content will you be creating, curating and sharing? – For some, it’s easier to think about what they want to say, share, teach, or promote. For example, you might have a series of “how-to” videos, timely tips blog posts, a project portfolio or seasonal promotion or campaign with a countdown. If you are stuck, I often tell clients to think about the top 10 questions that they get asked by their clients.

Related Reading: Blogging When You Hate to Write

Second, establish when will you be posting and sharing your content – While it’s important to consider how frequent your audience wants to hear from you, it’s equally if not more important to answer the question – how often can you/your team reliably and consistently deliver?

While many “experts” advise that weekly is the ideal frequency to stay in touch with your tribe, I advise starting with what feels like a manageable schedule. You are much better off to commit to a monthly schedule and consistently deliver for a year, than to dive into a weekly commitment and peter out after 2 months.

NINJA TIP – Batch your content if you can

Instead of writing a new blog every time you have one scheduled, consider writing them in batches. Why not bang out 3-4 blog posts then you would be done for the month or the quarter depending on your frequency.

The same can be said for social media content. You should consider posting at least a week’s worth of your social media in advance. This is particularly good for evergreen and/or promotional posts that aren’t tied to news and trending ideas. If you can schedule the bulk of your

SUPER NINJA TIP – Schedule your content

Most of your online marketing platforms like WordPress, MailChimp, Facebook and/or third party apps, like Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial, and CoSchedule all have super helpful scheduling features so you don’t feel tied to your computer when you need to post.

If you can plan and schedule your online content, it will become part of your business activities, instead of an afterthought that never happens.Click To Tweet

 

Sign up below to get your own free Content Calendar from me:

 

Please share in the comments below what your favorite tips, tricks and tools are for optimum blog and social media content planning. Or connect with me if you need some help planning your content calendar. Now get planning!