How To Engage In Content Marketing Like the Big Boys Do

Here’s a terrific opportunity to educate your customers in a big way and at the same time show your expertise. Write an eBook on your specialty. This doesn’t have to be the size of a novel, it just has to be rich enough to cover what’s important for them to know. It gives you the opportunity to put any myths to bed as well. If a customer takes your eBook, you then have their undivided attention. They are actively seeking the information you are providing. Ebooks are great because not only are they typically a quick read, you also have the ability to put live links in place to bring in other resources for them to enjoy. Maybe send them to your website for more information.

If you move into eBooks you are actively participating in content marketing. This type of marketing is hugely influential online right now. Content marketing is massively desirable to the search engines. Ebooks are fresh valuable content. You can use it in so many ways. If you’re trying to grow your list, you can use it as an email harvester. Offer it to customers who give up their email to possess it. You can use it to influence the way people view you. It shows your authenticity. I try at every turn to show customers what I know and how it can help them.

Once you write one eBook, I can assure you, you’ll write more. There’s a large payoff, when people care about what you say. We all have an audience, most of us are unaware. Take the benefit of a doubt and try one small eBook. Email it to all your existing customers. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. It will show your thought leadership. They will appreciate the education. Many I’m betting assume what you do or at the very least under estimate the full extent of your services. Consider an eBook for each service. Develop it into a series.

If you also do public speaking having an eBook, to draw attention to, gives your listening audience a reason to visit your website. Direct them to a landing page where they can get your latest eBook for FREE. On the front end make it look like the cover of a book. The graphic and message should resonate with whom your speaking. If you get enough ebooks together over time, you could put them all together and do a hardcopy book. I call my book of tips – “101 Branding Tips.” I refer to it as my 114 page brochure. (http://www.edroachbrand.com/) it’s unconventional but is always well received. As content marketing suggests, it’s all about valuable information that customers are looking for. It all follows the mantra of give before you get. NEVER use this platform to sell directly. As you write your content, try your best to not write an ad. It’s tempting, but i suggest you resist the urge. Once you first experience the reaction to authoring content, it’s value will be apparent. 

Business Research Reports Free Now, $399 Later

We received news of these reports a few days ago and wanted to put the word out so you can take advantage of these business research reports by Aberdeen Group. The reports covers a wide variety of topics.

We’ve been told these are time sensitive offers, many of them expire July 30th. After that, they are sold for $399. So this is your chance to really save big and get your hands on some solid research data. Some of the topics you can expect to find are:

For a full listing of all the available research reports, visit TradePub. Remember to do so before July 30th so you don’t miss out.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure, view our policy.

Create Loyalty & Confidence With Your Website

Customer confidence is imperative for small business owners. The more confidence your customer has in you and your business, the more loyal they become. Confident customers make repeat purchases and repeat visits.

Confident customers also tell others about your website products or services.

They spread the word.

Here’s how to generate customer confidence into your website.

Quality Content

One of the best ways to communicate your strength in your industry and give your customers confidence is to write quality content. Quality content positions you as a credible and trusted source of information.

It won’t come up until your customer is ready to make a purchase however a secure transaction with an SSL certificate is important. It shows customers you value their business and respect their privacy and security.

Testimonials

Customer testimonials are social proof. They tell your visitors that you have followed through on your claims and promises. Post testimonials on your landing page and where appropriate throughout your website.

Certifications and Associations

Any certifications or associations you belong to will also ad credibility to you and your website. They help increase customer confidence when they know you belong to other business organizations. For example, a BBB,  Better Business Bureau, certification can be the difference between a purchase and a click away.

Contact Information

Including your name, address, email and phone number helps people feel reassured that you’re not only a real business, they can get a hold of you if they need to. Place the information on your home page, in the footer is fine. And consider including a “contact” button or page to make your information easy to find.

Use your About page to tell people who you are and help your visitors get to know you. As a small business owner, who you are is often your strongest asset. Tell them your story.

How long have you been in this business?

What made you get into it?

Why do you enjoy it?

People like to buy from real people.

What is your experience?

FAQ/Customer Service

Make sure you have an easy to use customer service system including a FAQ page. When people have questions, they tend to trust those who present the answers up front or make it really easy to find the answers.

Policies and procedures. In this day and age transparency is essential. Make sure all of your policies and procedures are 100% communicated and up front. This can be communicated with autoresponders when people sign up for your list or buy your product. However, you can also make sure to communicate on your website itself.

For example, if you have a subscription form, you can have a link in that form to your privacy policy.
Establishing customer confidence on your website is an important strategy.

Take a look at your website from your visitor’s perspective.

Are you doing everything you can to ensure they have confidence and trust in you?

5 Tips To Magnetize Your Brand

Do you have a magnetic brand — what efforts are you doing to develop a brand that truly draws people to you and your company?

A magnetic brand is a brand that attracts people. Think about the brand’s you’re familiar with and attracted to.

What makes them magnetic?

Chances are they portray a certain image that you like to associate with. As a small business, you can take this theory and run with it to develop a magnetic brand for your business.

Here’s How to Develop a Magnetic Brand

#1 What is your personality?

Most small businesses would do well to brand their business to their personality. For example, if you’re a straight shooter then brand your business that way. If you’re fun loving, then develop a brand around that. And if you’re a serious sort, then use that. Branding your business around your personality makes it much easier to send a consistent and solid brand message. And you’ll be working with people you can easily communicate with and relate to. It’s much easier than trying to build a brand that isn’t you.

#2 Build your brand around your customer’s needs and wants too.

For example, if your business is about cancer insurance and you’re a sarcastic individual, the two many not go hand in hand. Consider the feeling and brand image your customers need to trust you and connect with you.

#3 Embrace colors and images that support your personality and the brand voice your customer’s need and be consistent when presenting them.

Use your logo, colors and graphics consistently throughout your web content, marketing materials and communications. Create a theme and an image you want to portray and stick to it so prospects and customers can begin to recognize you.


#4 Interact.

Get out online and participate in the world wide web. The more your audience sees you the more powerful your brand becomes. Experts say that people need at least three exposures to a brand before they remember it, which means you need to be out interacting online with your prospects and customers to make sure they know you. Use social media to facilitate the process.

This is what makes social media such a powerful tool. Three positive interactions with a prospect create brand recognition and social media opens you and your company up to thousands of potential prospects.

#5 Focus on what your brand does best.

If you try to be all things to all people, you’ll end up being nothing to everyone. Be unique and focus on your USP, Unique Selling Proposition. Differentiate your brand around your strengths and your personality. Determine what your brand stands for, and deliver on your promise.

Building a magnetic brand takes time, focus and consistency. Decide what your message and your brand is going to be. Make sure it fits with your personality and your target audience and cultivate your brand in everything you do. Be active online, participate in social networking and media, communicate your brand in your messages and activities and focus on giving your audience what they need and want.

Small Business – Why Not BIG Business?

When it comes to competition, there are definitely a few tricks and tactics a small business can employ to look big. Why would you want to do that?  Size tends to instill confidence in consumers; if you’re big then you must be successful, right?  Well we won’t delve into that argument but what we can show you is how to make a small business look big online.

Change your sole proprietorship to an LLC

This is a minor change that can make a big difference. Your company name shows up in your online signature, your communications, and on your website and people notice. LLC stands for Limited Liability Corporation.

Get a good logo designed for your business

Branding and company identity are important to the success of any business and this singularly simple tool will help you create an image.

Make sure your website is clean and polished

A well designed website radiates professionalism. There are a lot of messy and unprofessional websites out there and then there are amazing websites that are clean, easy to navigate and jam packed with valuable content and resources.

Content!

Create a presence online with content. Be an active participant in content marketing. Make sure you have a wealth of up to date and valuable content on your website and network with other complimentary websites to provide content for them. Comment on notable industry blogs and offer value. When your company is all over the web, contributing to your industry, you look successful.

Outsource

This is particularly useful if you outsource your virtual help and/or your bookkeeping and accounting help. You can give them names like “project manager” “customer service manager” “accounting department” and sound like you have a warehouse filled with cubicles and happy employees when in fact you have a few wonderful contractors who make you look good.

Upgrade your contact information

[email protected] doesn’t make you look like you’re from a big company. Most hosting package come with email addresses, use them. [email protected] looks much better. And the same goes for your telephone number. You can get a toll free number for a small fee each month – vanity numbers cost a little more but they can provide an image of size – 1-800-call-now!

Automate

Automate your phone service and your customer service with easy tools. Phones can be automated with a virtual assistant or by using a system like OneBox which screens, answers, and forwards calls automatically based on your preferences and settings. Autoresponder services, live chat and other automated assistance help customers and prospects get their questions answered quickly and it provides an image of size and responsibility.

There are many tactics you can use to make your small business appear like a fortune 500 company. However, remember to always take your customer in mind when making these decisions and taking these steps. If it enhances the user experience then great, if not, perhaps reconsider. It is, after all, all about your customer.

Outsourcing — Enough To Remove Yourself Completely

Today I interviewed Tyrone Shum from Mass Outsource — actually it was my first video interview and it was pretty cool. I know I’ll do more of these because it is nice to see who you are talking with.

(The video will be posted here at the blog shortly)

We discussed outsourcing and how he used it to push himself into a 6 figure income within 6 months.  I know — it sounds hard to believe, but I’ve come to realize that with the internet, anything is possible!

Tyrone outsources to the Phillipines and that caught my interest mainly because I own a business on the INTERNET so it really is worldwide.  So why not explore to other countries? Maybe you have thoughts on that yourself?

I’ll be able to post the interview here shortly along with a review of his program — for now I’ve put together some outsourcing tips for you.

Outsourcing can be a stressful process. You need help and you need to trust someone to take care of certain tasks, but you’re not sure how to find the right one. Relax, take a deep breath and know that outsourcing is all it’s cracked up to be. Outsourcing can be one of the best business decisions you ever make if you follow the golden rules of outsourcing.

Always trust your instincts

If you’re not connecting with a potential contractor or something just feels off, trust your instincts. If you feel that a non-disclosure and a work for hire agreement is a good idea, get one signed.

(Tyrone has this as a free download on his resources page)

If you think the contractor can handle everything you can throw at them and then some, hire them! Your instincts are one of your best assets; use them to help you outsource successfully.

Always test with a small project

One of the best ways to develop a solid relationship with an outsource provider is to start small. This accomplishes many things, all of them good. When you start with a small project, it takes the pressure off of the both of you to get it right the first time. It gives you both time to develop a relationship and it gives you time to learn a system. Communication is essential and sometimes it takes a small project to work out the kinks.

A smaller project helps you test the skills of your new provider too. It helps you make sure you’ve hired the right person to help you grow your business.

Always tell your provider exactly what you need them to do

Don’t make them assume or guess. Provide as much information as possible. One great way to accomplish this is to create a blueprint or a system so your new contractor knows exactly what to do and what is expected of them. Additionally, if your contractor is doing something for you that you don’t know how to do, then ask them to create a manual for you. This can make a huge difference if something happens to your contractor and you need someone to step in and pick up where they left off.

Check references

Always check references if you’re considering working with a new person and if they have samples or a portfolio, take a look at these too. You’re hiring someone; make sure they’re the right person for the job you need.

Understand that there’s a learning curve for both of you and allow time to grow together gradually

Depending on the tasks you’re outsourcing, there can be a significant learning curve for some of them. It’s important to go into a business relationship with the understanding that there is a learning curve for both of you. You’re learning how to work together and your contractor may be learning how you like to have things done. Be patient. If this is someone you’re going to potentially working with for a long time, it’s good to give you both some time to figure it all out.

Outsourcing is a good business decision if you take your time, trust your instincts and follow good hiring practices and procedures. Even in the 9-5 world, people new on the job are given a couple weeks to settle in and the same may hold true for your new contractor.

Here’s What I’ve Been Watching Over the Last Day or So

Tyrone covers a big range about outsourcing inside his videos, I think you’ll agree that there is a lot covered here.  I was happy to see that it’s easy to get started since it’s step by step.

Here are the Videos:

  1. Why You Should Outsource Your Work
  2. Hiring Contractors or Virtual Staff
  3. How to Get Full Time Help
  4. Finding Candidates from Onlinejobs.ph
  5. Contact Candidates
  6. Hiring People to Work Full Time
  7. How to Pay your Staff
  8. Paying Using Xoom
  9. What Work To Give Your Staff
  10. How To Manage Your Virtual Staff

Along with a bunch of compelling videos — If you’re wanting to get started right away, there are free documents Tyrone has readily available for you now.

  • Getting Started Guide
  • Sample Invoice
  • Employee Non-Disclosure Agreement
  • Independent Contractor Agreement

>> You can check out Tyrone’s program along with the free documents he has available that is you can download right away.  I’ve actually gone through his videos now and have some things to implement myself.

Oh.. and I almost forgot there’s a really good report that I actually read all the way through. I was surprised because I don’t usually like the free stuff but it was very good content.

I’d love to hear if you’ve started outsourcing yet and what your experience has been.

Facebook Fan Page – A Quick Before & After

Recently I created a Fan page (I wish it was called “connect” instead) and I shared an article here about it.

Well little did I know that Nola Cooper from Classic Creations Design awarded me with a brand new, shiny,  fun (can you tell I like it?) Facebook Fan Page.

It amazes me how much just one graphic can change the mood of your business. It went from kind of boring to something fun and professional.

Here’s the Before:

Here’s the After:

I think it’s obvious how much nicer the second one is.  I’ve already noticed that I enjoy visiting it to post more often myself because it just “feels” super nice.

This will show you how good Nola is and how much she “gets” me.  All I said was, “do something nice that you think looks good, just make sure my logo is in there and maybe a laptop picture.”  That was it! I was so happy and it amazes me how much of my own personality is inside the picture itself.  I love “professional” stuff because I like to be professional at all times too.

Won’t you join me over at the Fan page?

I’m trying to think of creative ways to get more interaction.

Any ideas?

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