Blogging & Your Business Day 4: Free Advice From the Experts

Everyone loves free advice. That’s why you’re here, right? We dig down and get the best advice from our panel on blogging and your business success.

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Give Us Some Great Blog Advice.

Tammy Munson: Remember that having a blog is just another tool in your marketing toolkit you also need to use a variety to really make an impact. Don’t just depend on your blog to do it all for you!

Liz Strauss: If you’re not blogging, you’re missing a major opportunity. However, it easy to get caught up in blogging for other bloggers so stop each morning and remember the people you want to reach.

Vikram Rajan: Nobody cares what you know, until they know how much you care.

Dawud Miracle: Write about what you love. Forget monetizing and money-making initially and just write about what you love. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to build a business or increase your income through your blog. Just write about what you love. I’ve said it three times on purpose. When you put your knowledge of a topic together with your passion, amazing things can happen in the blogosphere.

Blogging & Your Business Day 3: Who Does The Blogging?

Once you start blogging, you’ll find it can take a lot of time if you don’t do it right. Many bloggers hire writers to write some posts, and some use guest bloggers to help them. Let’s ask our panel who does the blogging.

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Are you the business owner AND blogger, or do you have an employee write the blog?

Dawud Miracle: I am a solopreneur, so I own my business and I do the work of my business. I do outsource mundane tasks, but mostly I do all the work. If you phone me for a consultation, for instance, I’ll be the one who answers the phone and you calls you back. If you send me an email, I’ll be the one receiving, reading and replying. I’m very hands-on with my clients and really like it that way. I have plan to include guest bloggers in the future, but I’m the one behind my blog.

Blogging & Your Business Day 2: Growing Your Business & Your Blog

Today, I’d like to talk about how a business can grow through a blog. Is it directly measurable? Do bloggers get contacted by potential clients? Some bloggers even forsake their prior business due to the overwhelming success of their blogs providing revenue. Read on to find out what our panel has to say about growing your business and your blog.

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1. What kind of growth has your business seen since your blog’s inception?
2. Has your blog become more lucrative than your business? How do you balance the two?

Kevin Eikenberry
1. Our business has continued to grow and the number of qualified leads we receive from our entire online effort continues to grow. I can’t attribute all of that to blogging, but I know that the blog has played a significant part in our search engine rankings on some key terms for us.

Blogging & Your Business Day 1: Promoting Your Business Through Your Blog

So it begins! The purpose of this week long forum is to answer questions readers might have about why blogs are an important tool for businesses today. They’re inexpensive to start, and just take a little love and cultivation, much like a garden. Today, there are over 15.5 million blogs, and many people deliberately seek out a business’s blog. If you don’t have one, you might be missing valuable customers.

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Let’s get started. Each day I’ll post a few questions, and the answers from the Blogging & Your Business panel. At the end of each post, you can learn about one of the panel members (you’ll meet them all throughout the week). PLEASE add to the conversation, ask questions, and comment!

How do you focus on promoting your business through your blog?

This is something I don’t do too aggressively, so I was eager to see what the panel had to say.

Tammy Munson: Thru posts that reflect my expertise, tips, suggestions, etc.

No Longer a Mother in Denial

 

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I’m ready to come clean. I’ve been feeling guilty for quite a while, but I’m ready to tell the world.

I work from home. And I am a mom. But I am not a work-from-home-mom. My son goes to daycare while I work.

There. I said it.

In this world of accessibility, a trend has developed of mothers working from home so that they can spend time with their children. It may work for some, but not for me. My son is two, which means that he is the center of his world, and doesn’t let me get anything done if he is at home with me. It’s hard to run a marketing firm when Elmo and Dora are my biggest (non-paying) clients.

Work From Home? Don’t Sweat It

I recently was interviewed about my home-based business for a local news program. I realize how many people are probably envious that I get to work from home. I wish I could say it’s not as great as it seems, but I’d be lying.

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I love working from home. I don’t miss the commute or the stress of finding a parking spot. I have no difficulty separating work and family life. I simply ignore the piles of laundry until I close up shop and can focus on my family duties.

Operating my marketing company out of my home keeps my costs low. I don’t have to pay for leasing office space or the utilities that come with it. I don’t have any full-time employees, so benefits and 401Ks aren’t in my vocabulary.

Home-based businesses are on the rise, as more companies realize the cost savings advantages of outsourcing work to home-based companies. If you can dream it, you can do it from home.   Here are some tips for starting your own home-based business:

Your Marketing Sucks Because You are Afraid to Talk About Your Accomplishments

Being shy doesn’t help you market your business. To get people’s attention, you need to know the following.

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1. The media doesn’t have a radar that tells them when you do something amazing, like launch a new website. You have to TELL them! Television and radio stations, websites and newspapers are always looking for the latest story. That just might be you. Although you might not think writing a book is newsworthy, others might, and telling the world is a great way to sell books (or whatever product you sell).

2. The more places you are, the more likely you are to generate sales. Say, for example, this is your first encounter with me, Susan Payton, Marketing Blog Guru. But then you’re on ideamarketers.com and you find one of my articles on marketing and entrepreneurs. Then you search for “Orlando marketing firm” and there is my company, Egg Marketing & Public Relations. There are also articles and press releases about me and my book. People start to take notice when they see you or your company multiple times. They think, “this is someone worth paying attention to.”

Advertising That Works (or Rather, Doesn’t): Cultural Sensitivity

You may have seen this Intel ad recently. It leaves a big question mark hanging over my head. I have to assume that such a big corporation wouldn't deliberately make a racist comment in advertising that likely cost several hundred thousand dollars. But what else are we to make of the subservient black men bowing down to the self-satisfied white man?

Old Marketing vs Marketing 2.0

I just read a great blog post by Mike Smock that lays “old marketing” and “new marketing” side by side. When you see them in comparison, it’s really amazing how the marketing world is changing. Here’s a quick list of descriptions of “old” and “new,” or as I call it: Marketing 2.0:

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“Old” Marketing

  • Advertisers had control
  • Results-driven
  • Billboards, phone book ads, magazine ads
  • Expensive
  • Long-term investments meant you might spend $20,000 before you realized it wasn’t working

More Networking For Your Business

Bet I can make you cringe with just one word. Watch:

Networking.

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You felt a knot in your stomach, didn’t you? Believe me, I understand. I was once the shy little girl who hid from everyone. The last place I wanted to be was in a room full of strangers. Getting out of your comfort zone can be extremely difficult, especially if there’s no one forcing you to do so (I “luckily” have a husband that pushes me further than I would go myself).

But networking isn’t as scary as it seems. Just remember: everyone there feels exactly as unsure and unconfident as you do, despite what it seems from the outside.

Baby Steps

If you’re not sure about jumping into an evening event in your town, start small. There are hundreds of networking groups online that fill virtually every niche.

5 Ideas to Help your Sales Staff Maximize their Training

I know that when you hire sales staff, who often have a short shelf life, you want to get them out into the field as soon as possible. But here’s why that’s a bad idea: sales people who are poorly trained will not only NOT make you instant sales, they may also damage your company permanently. If a salesperson isn’t properly trained in both your product and your marketing strategy, they will be unprepared to answer questions or present your product smoothly.

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So if they’re salespeople, why should they know what the marketing department is doing? Here’s why.

  • Sales and marketing are intertwined. It’s often hard to see where one ends and another begins. Sales staff carry marketing material and give marketing presentations. Marketing material is designed to sell products or services.

  • Sales staff represent your company. Sometimes a salesperson is all a potential client sees of your company. Therefore it’s essential that not only they put forward a professional face (in dress, manner, and actions), but also that they understand the product in every way possible.
  • Having strengths in marketing makes salespeople stronger. It’s always good for an employee to have a decent understanding of other areas of a business. Salespeople definitely need to understand your company’s marketing strategy. It will make them stronger at selling in the long run.

5 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Marketing

Is it safe to assume that your marketing strategy sucks since you’re reading this article about how to improve your marketing? You have one advantage over the competition: you’re reading this blog. As a business owner, I know it’s hard to stay on top of so many things, but don’t let your marketing homework slip by. It might be a bigger mistake than crimping your hair or tight rolling your jeans was in high school!

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There is so much information available today. Too much, in fact. How can you weed through the plethora of websites to find what is relevant to your business without wasting all of your time? Here are 5 tips to get you the Clif’s Notes on marketing quickly.

1. Get Help. If you have an assistant or a staff member who can keep on top of marketing trends, consider yourself lucky. Because your time is valuable (you probably have a pricetag in mind for what an hour of your time is worth), it’s always better to offload the work to someone whose pricetag is cheaper. An assistant may spend 5 hours gathering information, which might cost, say, $50, whereas it might have taken you longer and cost more.

2. Find What Works and Stick With it. Deciding to improve your marketing requires time. Don’t waste time flitting from one resource to another. If you find a few magazines, websites, books or newsletters that provide the content you need, use them. Bookmark them and refer to them often.