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I Have a Website, What Else Should I be Doing Online 5

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Shama Kabani

Web and TV personality. Bestselling author. International Speaker. Award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global digital marketing firm. Shama is a bestselling author with her book –The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue. When not working directly with her clients or shooting her show, Shama travels the world speaking on business, entrepreneurship, and technology.

I Have a WebSite, What Else Should I be Doing Online 5

Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step towards dominating the internet. You have a website that is well-designed, well-functioning, and most importantly well converting. (Correct?) Now, let’s look at 3 things that you can do to continue to market online.

1)     Create Compelling Content. There is a lot of noise on the internet. Don’t add to it. That being said, people still turn to the web to research, learn, and buy. It used to be that the loudest merchant in the bazaar won. Today, it’s the merchant that provides the most value and really takes the time to educate the consumers. Don’t let your website sit idle. Continue to create and post content that will provide value to your visitors.

2)     Keep in Touch with ALL Visitors. Well, almost all. If you’ve ever watched the classic “You’ve Got Mail!” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, then you remember the excitement on their faces each time AOL announced “You’ve got mail!”  There can never be a remake of the movie. Why? Because no one is that excited to get email today. Not you, not me, and you guessed it…not your customers. That isn’t to say that email marketing is no longer efficient. But, that you need to give your visitors and prospects options. Perhaps they can join your email list. But, can they also like your page on Facebook? How about follow you on Twitter? Or, subscribe to your blog? Once someone lands on your website, make sure that they have plenty of ways to keep in touch with you. And, most importantly, you with them.

3)     Leverage people as the media. Also known as social media. Every single customer or client has the potential of becoming a champion or a critic. And, you have the power to sway them. Use websites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to build a community around your audience.

Your website is a crucial piece of the web marketing puzzle. But, it is just the start!

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

1 Tuesday Guest Stars

Here are your guest contributors for Tuesday’s edition of the Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Week iPad Giveaway.

Read each of the five posts that follow and click our entry form link to match the guest star with their post.

Brian Halligan

Brian Halligan is CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot, a marketing software company he co-founded four years ago to help businesses transform the way they market their products by “getting found” on the internet.  He is author of two books: Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead and Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.

Ann Handley

Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, which provides strategic and tactical marketing know-how for marketing and business professionals through a full range of online media. She writes for the MarketingProfs Daily Fix and is also a contributor to The Huffington Post. She is the co-author of the best selling book – Content Rules

Joe Pulizzi

Joe writes one of most popular content marketing blogs in the world. He is the co-author of Get Content Get Customers. Joe Speaks to large and small groups on marketing, publishing, social media, new journalism, personal branding and why he always wears orange. He is also the founder of Junta42, the Content Marketing Institute, SocialTract and a few others in the works.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media.  Brian built three successful offline businesses using online marketing techniques before switching to a producer model that involves building, monetizing, and occasionally selling online media properties. With Copyblogger Media, Brian seeks to empower online writers and content producers to command attention, create engagement, and influence people as powerful players in the new media revolution.

Janine Popick

Janine Popick is the CEO and co-founder of VerticalResponse (Inc. 5000 2006-2010), a leading self-service direct marketing provider to over 100,000 small businesses. Janine is VerticalResponse’s CEB (Chief Executive Blogger).   She is a columnist for Inc.com “Women in Business” and has been published in DM News as well featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, ClickZ, and B2B Magazine.

3 Okay, I'm Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 1

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Brian Halligan

Brian Halligan is CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot, a marketing software company he co-founded four years ago to help businesses transform the way they market their products by “getting found” on the internet. He is author of two books: Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead and Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 1

Let’s take a step back. First and foremost, is this content you’re creating remarkable? Does it offer something valuable? The first step toward getting eyeballs to view your content is to appeal to your target audience’s wants and needs. Are you delivering your points in an interesting way that makes it enjoyable to read/watch/listen to? You can create content day-in and day-out, but if it’s no good, people won’t be coming back to you for more.

Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s take a second look at the content you’re creating. Is it optimized for search engines? Did you use the right keywords that will draw in the types of readers you’re hoping to attract? If someone conducted a search in Google using a keyword by which you want to get found, would that person come across your content? Remember: the key to making your content visible in search engines is optimizing it.

Okay, so now you’ve got remarkable content that’s been well optimized to gain some traction in search engines. Are you promoting it? How are you promoting it? Be sure to share links to your content in social media. “But I don’t have any followers,” you say? Start building a following so your content has the potential to reach as many readers as possible. Add social media sharing buttons to your blog articles so people who read and like your content can easily share it with their followers. The great thing about social media is that your content is not only limited to the eyes of your followers, but can also reach the eyes of others’ followers.

Once you’ve got all that down, keep on creating! Regular content creation is the basis for any successful inbound marketing program. If you want to continue to get found online, you need to generate a constant flow of fresh, remarkable content. The good news is: inbound marketing success is relative to the size of your brain, not the size of your wallet, so the possibilities are endless!

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

3 Okay, I'm Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read it 3

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Brian built three successful offline businesses using online marketing techniques before switching to a producer model that involves building, monetizing, and occasionally selling online media properties. With Copyblogger Media, Brian seeks to empower online writers and content producers to command attention, create engagement, and influence people as powerful players in the new media revolution.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 3

Ever heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?”

Well, when it comes to creating effective online content, it’s not what you know, it’s what you know that you can teach others.

After that, it’s right back to who you know, same as always.

People Distribute Content

If you’re creating online content, you’ve got to get the word out about it for people to share it far and wide with others. And that process starts with good old-fashioned relationships.

It’s not called social media for nothing. Beyond the creation of content itself, online content distribution begins with key relationships with others in your subject matter arena.

It’s easier to establish these relationships than ever, thanks to social networks. And since social networks are where content sharing happens, it makes sense to begin making those relationships early on.

Help to be Helped

The key is to follow and be useful to people who are also producing content in your niche. Share their content and provide meaningful comments on their blog posts.

Your next step might be to offer to guest post for them, which provides them with vital content and provides you with exposure to their audience. You’ve now just gone from anonymous to a contributor with access – and that’s the beginning of a real world relationship that drives the virtual world as well.

Don’t view those who create content on the same topic as competitors. This is zero-sum thinking that usually has very little application in the wide-open marketplace of online ideas.

Complement, Don’t Compete

Think of your work as a complement to the content others create. You won’t be seen as a subject matter authority or a thought leader in your industry if you jealously guard your ideas from the so-called competition.

Be generous with your ideas and the relationships you form. You’ll find that your content spreads much farther and wider than it would otherwise.

And that’s the idea, right?

2 Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read it 4

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Joe Pulizzi

Joe writes one of most popular content marketing blogs in the world. He is the co-author of Get Content Get Customers. Joe Speaks to large and small groups on marketing, publishing, social media, new journalism, personal branding and why he always wears orange. He is also the founder of Junta42, the Content Marketing Institute, SocialTract and a few others in the works.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 4

Yes, it’s true.  All small businesses create content.  Nine in 10 small businesses develop content to drive marketing goals.

But since less than 50% of SMBs feel satisfied with their content marketing efforts, obviously there is a major disconnect.
Here are 10 reasons that may be true for you, and what you need to do about it.
1.          Lack of Content Goals. What’s the behavior you want to see as a result of the content you are creating?
2.          Your Content is about Everything. You have no niche. You create content on the entire industry.  What can you be the leading expert in? Focus.
3.        The Content is about YOU YOU YOU. Remember, your customers don’t care about you. Focus on your customers’ pain points and create content around that.
4.         Good Enough is not Good Enough. Your content is competing with everyone and everything, even traditional media companies.  Make your content unique, interesting, fun (if possible), multichannel and execute the crap out of it.
5.          Lack of a Content Calendar. Stop thinking from a campaign mentality. Content for your customers is a promise. Execute a content marketing editorial calendar.
6.          Not Leveraging Employees. Your employees are your content assets. Find the 10% of employees that are content creators and nurture that.
7.          People will Magically Engage in your Content. Your content isn’t good enough that the magic content fairies will find it and spread it around the internet. Find out where your customers are on the web and be active in those communities.
8.        Your Content Has No Chief Content Officer. Look at the great media brands like the Wall Street Journal. All of them have a chief editor that owns the content. Find your chief editor.
9.       No Content Experience. Most brands don’t, so get over it. FIX: Hire a journalist.
10.     You Don’t Have Support. Those brands that don’t have internal support for content marketing are 300% more likely to stink at content marketing. Do the previous nine steps and, as Matt Heinz says, “Don’t invent new metrics. Track more but report less. Focus on behaviors.”

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read it 5

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Ann Handley

Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, which provides strategic and tactical marketing know-how for marketing and business professionals through a full range of online media. She writes for the MarketingProfs Daily Fix and is also a contributor to The Huffington Post. She is the co-author of the best selling book – Content Rules

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 5

So you’ve done it: You’ve taken the plunge and launched a blog, or a YouTube channel, a regular radio show. You’re elated and energized; your boss is thrilled! This is really going to drive people to your door! You imagine yourself winning the employee of the year award; your colleagues will leave the best parking spot open for you just out of sheer gratitude for all you’ve done for the business!

But pretty soon reality sets in: Creating content is hard work. Finding great stories is like working the salt mines with a plastic spork and a beach pail; if your blog was a city, it would be a eerily quiet place with tumbleweeds blowing along vacant, dusty streets. Why doesn’t your blog have any comments?

My first question is this: Are you sure you’re producing the right kind of content?

The inherent tension is marketing is that businesses always want to talk about their products or services. Meanwhile, your customers only want to hear what their products or services will do for them. That seems like a simple idea, right? A no-brainer? Except most businesses are terrible at really grokking what that means: Share a resource or solve a problem for your customers, help them do their jobs better; don’t just talk about your stuff.

In other words, good content doesn’t try to sell. Rather, it creates value for your customers (or would-be customers) by positioning you as a reliable and valuable source of information. In other words, your content shares a resource, solves a problem, helps your customers do their jobs better, improves their lives, or makes them smarter, wittier, better-looking, taller, better-networked, cooler, more enlightened, and with better backhands, tighter asses, and cuter kids. In other words, it’s high value to your customers, in whatever way resonates best with them.

American Express does this really well with its OPEN Forum (openforum.com) website. OPEN Forum is a resource for small business owners, and the articles and videos and ideas there transcend American Express specifically. But it positions Amex as a trusted source. American Express sees the value of putting Content and Context before Selling.

So does Citrix: It’s Workshifting.com blog is a place where “workshifters,” or people who work outside of a traditional offices, can share ideas and just hang out. Citrix sells technology, but its content creates a resource and shares ideas with people who work in their jammies. It focuses on how people use the technology, right? Not the technology itself.

So ask this question first: Are you sure you’re producing the right kind of content? Or are you capable of doing better?

1 Monday Guest Stars

Here are your guest contributors for Monday’s edition of the Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Week iPad Giveaway.

Read each of the five posts that follow and click our entry form link to match the guest star with their post.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan consults and speaks professionally with Fortune 100 and 500 companies like PepsiCo, General Motors, Microsoft, and more, on the future of business communications, and social software technologies. He is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Trust Agents, and a featured monthly columnist at Entrepreneur Magazine. Chris’s blog, [chrisbrogan.com], is in the Top 5 of the Advertising Age Power150.

Mitch Joel

Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image — an award-winning Digital Marketing and Communications agency. His first book, Six Pixels of Separation, named after his successful Blog and Podcast is a business and marketing bestseller. Follow Mitch here: www.twistimage.com/blog.

Anita Campbell

Anita Campbell serves as CEO of Anita Campbell Associates Ltd, a woman-owned consulting firm helping companies and organizations reach the small business market.  She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Small Business Trends, an award-winning online publication.  She hosts Small Business Trends Radio, where she interviews other small business experts.

Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the president and founder of Palo Alto Software, founder of bplans.com, and a co-founder of Borland International, author of books and software on business planning, Stanford MBA, father of five, married 41 years.  His latest book is The Plan-As-You-Go-Business-Plan.  He can be found blogging at his main blog Planning Startups Stories.

Pamela Slim

Pamela Slim is a seasoned coach and writer who helps frustrated employees in corporate jobs break out and start their own business. Her blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation, is one of the top career and marketing blogs on the web.  She is also an author of Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur.

2 What is a Marketing Strategy and How Can I Get One 1

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.
Pamela Slim

Pamela Slim is a seasoned coach and writer who helps frustrated employees in corporate jobs break out and start their own business. Her blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation, is one of the top career and marketing blogs on the web. She is also an author of Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur.

What is a Marketing Strategy and How Do I Get One 1

Ask a new business owner what his marketing strategy is, and he will most likely say “sell as many products as possible to as many people as possible.”

While optimism is a good quality in an entrepreneur, this definition is a recipe for disaster. When you are unclear whom you are trying to reach, you will stumble from one marketing tactic to another, diving into Facebook with zeal one week, Tweeting like a fool the next, and, in a final act of desperation, pitch your friends and neighbors as if you were a teenager begging for a last-minute date to the prom.

An effective marketing strategy defines:

• the detailed profile of the ideal person you are trying to reach (age, profession, gender, race, income level, hobbies, political views, attitude)
• their hopes, fears, needs, desires, challenges and problems
• the particular places where they hang out in person or online
• the books, blogs, newspapers, magazines and trade publications they read
• the people and companies they most admire
• the tools they use to connect with others (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, professional associations, forums)
• the specific outcomes you are trying to achieve (establish trust, build followers or online presence, get referrals, sell products, recruit evangelists, attract partners)
• the metrics you will use to track progress

Once these components of the strategy are defined, you can create a tactical plan that outlines the specific activities you will engage in each week in order to achieve your outcomes.

A good marketing strategy leads to specific to-do lists like:

1. Contact 5 board members of the Atlanta Association of Gluten-Free Libertarian Physicians
2. Write guest post for the Gluten Free and Proud blog
3. Attend the Living Gluten Free lecture at the Atlanta Whole Foods Market

If all of this sounds like too much work, you could always revert back to the standard marketing practice of optimistic business owners: stare at your phone and pray it will ring.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

What is a Marketing Strategy and How Do I Get One 2

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the president and founder of Palo Alto Software, founder of bplans.com, and a co-founder of Borland International, author of books and software on business planning, Stanford MBA, father of five, married 41 years. His latest book is The Plan-As-You-Go-Business-Plan. He can be found blogging at his main blog Planning Startups Stories.

What is a Marketing Strategy and How Do I Get One 2

Years ago the marketing plan was a lot of Ps: price, place promotion, and so on. I prefer the Ms: market, message, medium, measurement, management. And you care about it because of the last M, money.

The market is about target markets. It’s like sculpture. You start with a big block of everything, and what makes it beautiful is what you take away. Michelangelo started with a block of marble and ended up with David. So for a restaurant, to take one example, if you try to appeal to everybody, you’re doomed. Instead, you target foodies, or families with young kids, or office workers. Not everybody. Food, service, location, and pricing optimize for specific target groups. Visualize and imagine your ideal target buyer.

The message should match the target market. Understand benefits. Don’t talk about quick and inexpensive if you’re targeting a high-end market. Understand what your benefits are — much more than features — and focus the message you want to deliver. The secret is to please and attract your special targets instead of promising everything to everybody.

The medium has to match both the market and the message. Don’t count on social media to reach retirees or mainstream television to reach urban intellectuals. Put your message where your market will find it.

Develop measurement to set your marketing goals so you can track and measure your progress. Look for numbers like sales, units, leads, presentations, page views, downloads, and conversion rates.

The management happens with the following up on the metrics. You track plan vs. actual results and look carefully at the difference. That leads to revisions and course corrections.

Which brings us to money, the reason why you want a marketing plan: better marketing planning means better marketing management which means more sales and managed, optimized marketing spending.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

What is a Marketing Strategy and How Do I Get One 3

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.
Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan consults and speaks professionally with Fortune 100 and 500 companies like PepsiCo, General Motors, Microsoft, and more, on the future of business communications, and social software technologies. He is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Trust Agents, and a featured monthly columnist at Entrepreneur Magazine. Chris’s blog, [chrisbrogan.com], is in the Top 5 of the Advertising Age Power150.

What is a Marketing Strategy and How Do I Get One 3

Marketing for small business is about satisfying wants. Most of us are lucky enough to be in the want business, not the need business. Marketing is connecting a buyer to a want. And strategy? Strategy is your approach. It’s how you get from where you are to where you’re going.

You have to answer six questions to write a simple marketing strategy:

WHO IS YOUR BUYER?

Write out the persona of your buyer: who she is, what her other challenges are besides the ones your product solves, what else she might need. Think like that all the time.

DO YOU HAVE ACCESS TO THAT BUYER?

How do you get to them? You can try to buy your way in with ads, you can set up your web presence to grow your way in, and you can use social media to communicate your way in. You need to get to your buyer, and you need to get to the plural, not the one.

WHAT DOES SHE WANT?

This is harder to answer than not. And no, your product isn’t the answer.

HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR BUYERS BUY?

Do they need more proof? Do they need special payment methods? Do they need guarantees? This is an oft-overlooked part of a marketing strategy.

HOW DO I REACH OUT?

Where and how will you connect with these buyers? Online? Social sites? It’s up to you.

HOW DO YOU GET REFERRALS?

Referrals are gold in most businesses. People don’t buy all the time, but they can refer every week. Make this part of every plan.

From here, you’ve got the bare bones to write a simple strategy. Test variations and grow from it. It’s how I do it.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here