Category Archives: Marketing Article

Goals + Action Plan = A Game Changer For Your Business!

There are only a few weeks left this year…how’s your business doing?  Are your sales where you want them to be?  Have you reached the goals you set for yourself (you do set goals, don’t you)?

Autumn is a time for change.  It’s a great time to evaluate what you’ve accomplished so far and what changes need to be made moving forward.

Too many people wait.  They wait to create new products. They wait to add new services.  They wait to change.

And just what are they waiting for?  The “magic date” when they believe it’s the ideal time to make changes – January 1st – because that’s tradition…it’s how it’s always been done.

Stop waiting.  Take action now!

January 1st is full of good intentions.  But if you want to take a proactive step to lift your business to a new level, why on earth would you wait any longer?  January 1st is just another day on the calendar!

So, take a moment right now and schedule time to evaluate your business, decide where you want to be a year from now, and set goals to make it all happen.

Evaluate your business over the past year. 

  • Did you accomplish everything you set out to do?
  • Did you create the new offerings you intended?  If not, why?
  • Review your income and expenses for the past year.  Break it down by each service and/or product to see which have been the most profitable and which didn’t pan out the way you expected.
  • Did your income match your projections?
  • Did you attract free publicity?

Now take a hard look at where you’d like to see your business 12 months from now. 

  • What would you like your business to look like?
  • What are your financial goals?
  • What do you have to do differently each month to meet those goals – increase offerings or find more clients?

Create goals and take action to ensure you get there.

  • Get clear on “why” you want to achieve your goals.
  • Break down your goals into tangible tasks.
  • Assign a date for the completion of each task.
  • Transfer those dates into your calendar.
  • Work with a coach or mentor to help you along the way and keep you accountable.

Remember…if you don’t change anything, you can’t expect to see different results one year from now.

“Success in any endeavor does not happen by accident. Rather, it’s a result of deliberate decisions, conscious effort, and immense persistence…all directed at specific goals.” ~Gary Ryan Blair

5 Tips to Find Article Ideas

Have you ever struggled to come up with yet another inspiring topic to write about in your ezine, on your blog, or to post to the various article marketing sites to help promote your business?

You’ve heard it before – content is king – so you want to make your articles meaningful.  Here are 5 tips you can use to make sure your readers are interested in what you have to say.

1. Steal Your Story
I don’t mean the words that others use – steal their ideas!  Create a Swipe File and include all the great articles, headlines, words and phrases that you find in print magazines and newspapers and online.  Once you begin looking what others are writing about, your head will be spinning with ideas for your own take on the topic.

2. Case Studies
This is your opportunity to write about the fabulous work you do – and the results your clients have gained. A Case Study tells an engaging story that pulls your audience into your work, without selling.

3. Interview People
Who do you want to connect with?  Who do you admire? Who do you want to stay in touch with without sounding like another sales call?  Come up with a few questions (keep them simple) and your article is based on the answers…and you may learn a few things in the process.

4.  Write a Review
What’s new in your industry?  New products? New resources?  What do you like about it?  What don’t you like and why? This type of article shows you’re keeping up on the latest trends.

5.  Listen to Your Readers
What questions do you hear from your clients over and over? What’s important to your readers? If you don’t know, ask.  It can be as simple as doing a quick email survey to some of your top clients…or jotting down the questions you hear during your sales call (and put them in your Swipe file).

Making Time For Business Growth

If you want to grow your business, you have to do things differently – that means changing the “habits” you’ve created along the way that have kept you where you are today.

For years, I knew I wanted to write an ebook to sell online, but I kept putting it off as client work always came first.  I never found the time to write my own book, until I decided to make the time.

What new programs, products, workshops, etc. do you want to create…but haven’t gotten around to yet?  Or perhaps, you’re struggling to stay on top of your daily work – and can’t even consider adding more to the mix.  But think of it this way, if you want to get ahead, it’s up to you to make the necessary changes that get you ahead.

Here are a few time management tips to get you headed in the right direction:

1.  Record everything you do in a day. Then take a look at how much time has been spent without producing results (precious time wasted) and what tasks could be delegated (your bookkeeping, for example, or administration tasks).

2.  Get a one year “at a glance” calendar that you can tack to the wall.  I love the write on/wipe off calendars available at Staples.  Schedule your holidays first, then your bigger activities.  I mark off days I’ll spend copywriting for large projects, speaking engagements, workshops, etc. so when a new client calls, I can easily see when I’m available for the next big assignment.

3.  Take time late Friday afternoon or first thing Monday morning to plan the week ahead.  Schedule your week into tasks that:

a. Earns money (client work – approximately 60% of your time).
b. Makes money (client attraction – networking, blogging, marketing, creating new products, programs, etc.).
c. Gives back – approximately 10% of your time.

4.  Use to-do lists and a workable day planner to schedule the week.  Be sure to include time for interruptions because you know they will happen.

5.  Know what you want to achieve before starting each task.  If it’s to write a blog post in the next 60 minutes, be sure you have the concept for the article ready to go.  Keep a list of sample articles on hand for inspiration.

6.  Create deadlines and meet them.  This may take discipline but it helps to get the job done.  Once I set a deadline to write my ebook, I became my own client and scheduled new customers accordingly.

7.  Focus. Focus. Focus.  Multi-tasking does not work. Turn off the phone and email and get the task at hand done.  Schedule time between tasks to catch up on calls and email.

8.  Learn to say “NO.”  It’s easier than you think and can be so liberating.  And remember, just as you do not have to give an explanation as to why you CAN to do something, you do not have to give an explanation as to why you choose not to.

6 Tips To Land A Story About You In The Media

Many entrepreneurs and business owners believe that summer is the typical holiday season when most people avoid newspapers and business magazines.  “Everyone is away so it’s not the time to send a media release out to editors and radio/television producers.”

They’re wrong.  In fact, last week I sent out a media release for a client and within two minutes (seriously, it was 2 minutes), I had 3 emails/calls looking to do a story on my client!

This is the perfect time to take advantage of other people’s incorrect notions and get you and your business in the news!

Editors are always hungry for “good” stories – any time of the year.  They need to fill space…and if they aren’t receiving the typical number of media releases during the summer months (or at other holiday times) this is your opportunity to stand out and grab their attention.

But you have to do a few things to grab their attention and hook their interest.  Here are a few hints to help you land a story.

  1. Make it newsworthy. You need a great story hook that is of interest to editors and their audience.  Why would anyone want to read the story?  What’s different?  How does your story affect the community?
  2. Keep to one theme or point. You may be offering many services, but what is the one you want in the news today.  (Remember, you can write another media release later.)
  3. Send it out to appropriate media.  There is no use sending out a media release about your wellness coaching practice to the editor of a home building magazine (unless you slant it about creating a home office when building a new house).
  4. Write a great media release.  A media release is written differently than an article and there is a specific format to use. If you’re not sure how to do this, do your research so you don’t look like an amateur
  5. Follow up.  Things happen…emails get misdirected, faxes get lost.  Make sure your media release was received and ask if they have any questions.  Do not ask if they are going to do a story about you.
  6. When a story comes out in the media about you, buy many copies and send them to all your clients and prospects that are away on holidays.

10 Strategies for Networking & Connecting

One of the most powerful ways to meet new customers and/or get referrals for new business is still the old fashioned way – face to face networking. For many, attending a formal networking event – or even a casual meet up – it’s out of their comfort zone…and that’s a good thing. Because when you get out of your comfort zone the magic begins.

Networking does not mean selling – and that is where many entrepreneurs fail. They think they need to promote, promote, promote and hand out dozens of business cards at each networking meeting. Don’t do it! (In fact, you should never hand out your business card unless you’re asked for one.)

Your goal should be to make a connection and begin to build a relationship…and that doesn’t happen over night. Networking is not a one-night stand. It takes time. Here are 10 strategies to help make it easier and more effective to connect – and more importantly, make a long lasting, good impression.

Strategy #1: Be friendly. People do business with people they like and trust. People who smile are more attractive than people who don’t. Smiling sets the tone for others. How often do you smile?

Strategy #2: Project a confident self-image. The way you dress, and that’s everything from your hair to your shoes including your handshake, is an indicator of who you are. Your first impression is what sticks, and unfortunately, it’s not always accurate.

Strategy #3: Eye contact. Look the other person in the eye as you speak. Direct eye contact shows you’re attentive, supportive, truthful, honest. A good rule is to maintain it at least 80% of the time. (There’s nothing worse at a networking event when you’re trying to talk with someone and he keeps looking over your shoulder at who else has entered the room. It does not lead to a good connection.)

Strategy #4: Maintain a positive mental attitude. Do you look for the good in every situation? Do you think it’s partly sunny or partly cloudy? Your positive attitude will breed positive responses and positive results. Being positive will make you more enjoyable to be around.

Strategy #5: Make connections with a single focus – that of simply making the connection. Forget the agenda, whatever it may be. Your first step is always to seek friendship and acceptance…not on making a sale.

Strategy #6: Give value. The strength of relationships is built by giving value to others, not facts about you. Give leads, referrals, and connections that can lead business to others. Be a resource for others, not just another salesperson.

Strategy #7: Be genuinely interested in others. Ask questions so you can get to know other people better. You’re not trying to qualify them for a sale, but you want to learn from them.

Strategy #8: Relax. Notice how you communicate with your good friends. Do you communicate differently with business people? You probably do. Pretend your customers are your best friends. Your conversation will be more relaxed, truthful, and less manipulative.

Strategy #9: Discover what you have in common quickly. Find common ground and you always have something to talk about. Think about the things you love to do, places you’ve traveled, where you went to school, and where you grew up. If you can find a link with the other person, you’ve turned a casual connection into a personal one.

Strategy #10: Stay in touch. This can have more impact and be more valuable than making the initial connection.

3 Strategies for Managing Your Time

Time management is a huge issue for entrepreneurs. There’s always “one more thing” that must be looked at before you can tackle the real work. If you answer your emails now, you promise yourself you’ll get to work on the “big” project…but somehow, the small things take over and the day is gone – and you end up feeling you haven’t accomplished anything significant. Sound familiar?

This happened to me all too often in the past. I felt if I could clear the decks of the small stuff, I could get to the important things – the “must get done today” list – without distraction. But I’d soon realize it was late in the afternoon and I wasn’t feeling as creative as I should be to tackle a new project…and I was left feeling like I didn’t really get my work done…so guilt would set in.

Here are 3 things you can put into action immediately so you can manage your time effectively, get your work done, and feel great about what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day.

Make a second list. Yes, you’ve written everything in your calendar/day planner so you know what has to be done. Take that long list and write out (on a separate paper) the top 2 or 3 items you must achieve before the end of the day – and work them. Or maybe it’s only 1 major thing you need to complete – do it first.

Change your email settings. You’ve heard it before…don’t leave your email running all day – instead schedule time to check messages – and that goes for social media as well. If this is impossible to do (and that’s a mindset issue), turn off the chime sound letting you know a new message has arrived (if you’ve seen the movie UP, this is the “squirrel”). You’re in charge here…you can answer emails on your time schedule – not someone else’s.

Schedule one hour per day for your business. Set time either before your “official” work day begins, over lunch, a 3:00 break or whatever time works for you – to work ON your business. Instead of struggling to put your ezine together, finalize a new product, network, or simply grow your business, give yourself a gift of one hour each day to work on this – faithfully. You will be amazed at how your business will grow by making this one simple change to your day.

These three strategies will not only help you to manage your time more efficiently, but you’ll become less stressed…and end up with more money at the end of the day.

5 Things You Need to Know Before Hiring a Copywriter

Are you looking to update the content on your Web site, generate free publicity with a media release, or create a new brochure? Or perhaps you want to create a simple, yet effective marketing letter to help get your foot in the door.

You may have tried writing promotional material about yourself in the past and realized how long it takes – after all, it’s not as important as managing employees, right? It seems that when you have to write about yourself or your business, it always takes a back burner to other pressing issues…but don’t let that happen. Your business is at stake!

Hiring a professional copywriter makes the work painless. In fact, a copywriter brings a different perspective to your business – and can communicate your message in a compelling manner that attracts attention. But before rushing into hiring the friend of a friend your pal recommended, there are five things you need to know before making a decision.

#1 Know what you want to accomplish. Be clear on who your target market is (that is, who is your ideal client), what is unique about your business, and what are the keys points you want to present.
#2 Ensure the writer has written for the “medium” you are using. A freelance writer who only writes articles may not understand the intricacies of writing for the Web. Proficiency with the medium is more important than experience writing for your industry.
#3 Ask for references and contact them. Reviewing samples may not be enough. Talk to clients to ensure their deadlines and communication needs were met.
#4 Set a realistic schedule. Rush jobs can be expensive – and may not portray the professionalism you’re looking for. Allow time for revisions.
#5 Get it in writing. A simple written agreement ensures both parties understand what is required, the deadlines, and associated costs. And be prepared to pay a deposit up front.

4 Steps To Generate New Profits In Your Business

When you looked over your past accomplishments from last year (and hopefully you have reviewed your accomplishments over the past 12 months) did you notice there were some things that didn’t get done? Maybe you kept putting them off even though you knew it would help to grow your business.

This could be hosting a Webinar to attract new prospects, writing an ebook, creating a new workshop or program, or whatever “dream” has been in your head but has never seen the light of day.

Often, we let our clients get in the way of our business growth. Yes…you read that correctly. We let our paying clients get in the way of progress.

“But Sue,” you say…”my clients pay the bills…I need to look after my clients.” And yes, that is true as well…and that is where planning and time management comes into play.

When I have a firm deadline, I work faster and more efficiently. I thrive under pressure. That may not be true for you, so you may have to adjust your scheduling accordingly, but if you follow these four steps, you will turn your dreams into reality and attract more clients…and increase your sales quickly.

Step 1: Make a decision. Decide that now is the time to create that ebook, that Webinar, that new coaching program…or whatever it is you’ve been putting off. Decide what you’re going to deliver, how you’re going to deliver it, and when.

Step 2: What’s the takeaway? What is the end result your clients get when they finish working with you, reading the ebook, listening in, etc.? In other words, what’s the purpose for doing this – in your client’s perspective? When you understand the value your client’s will get, you’ll be motivated to get it out there to help them.

Step 3: Create a list of benefits and begin marketing. Make these benefits tangible…make them real. When prospects read your message, they should understand how this will improve their life, make their job easier, etc. In other words, what’s in it for them?

Step 4: Create your new program, product, or service. That’s right…this step comes at the end. Believe me, when you have a firm deadline and paid customers waiting for delivery, you’ll do everything it takes to deliver – without letting other customers get in the way. In other words, you’ll get it done! And if for some reason it doesn’t sell, you have not wasted time creating something no one wants. However, you may want to go back and check your marketing message to make sure it was strong enough to convey why people would want it.

Yes, you can work with existing customers while creating new ventures and attracting more clients when you have a clear strategy in place. Make 2017 the year you achieve all the goals you set out to do.

5 Ways You May Be Giving Away Your Power In A Sales Conversation

There are a lot of considerations that go into pricing your products and services, including the value you offer, your expertise, and what your market will bear. And when you know you’re priced right and prospects show great interest – but you’re struggling to make a sale, it could come down to your Sales Conversation.

The words you say – or don’t say – could be the reason they walk away or look for help elsewhere. Read on to ensure you’re not making these mistakes.

#1. Going into too much detail. If you go on and on about the process you use to get the results your prospects are looking for, you’re going to overwhelm them. They’ll think there is too much work involved. Make it easy…skip how you do whatever it is you do (I call it your magic), and share the outcome – the benefits they’ll receive from working with you.

#2. Not offering the right program to your prospect. There is nothing that shows you haven’t listened more than trying to “sell” something your prospect doesn’t want or need. Be sure to listen intently on what it is they are really looking for and offer the right solution that fits that need. And if it is not working with you, be up front and let them know…they’ll respect you more for it.

#3. Giving too many options. When you give too many choices, you’re leading the way to confusion…and a confused mind always says no.

#4. Not making an offer. Think about this one…have you had a sales conversation and not asked for the sale? Just sayin’.

#5. Being wishy-washy. When you sound vague about what the next step will be, what their outcome will be, or any number of other things during the sales conversation, you’ll come across as “less than knowledgeable.” People want to work with someone they can trust – and your confidence helps build that trust.

Where To Find Inspiration To Promote Your Brand

When I begin working on content for new clients, I do what every competent copywriter does and I check out the competition’s Web sites. And recently, when I was talking with a graphic designer, I discovered she does the same thing. This is not to copy or steal ideas – instead, it’s a great launching point for something new and different. Sometimes, one word will give me an idea for a new slant than what I had been considering.

Do this yourself. Check out your competition, both locally and internationally. Search for similar businesses in a variety of cities globally to spark new ideas for how you see yourself. See what they’re selling and what they’re saying about their offerings. How are they standing out from all the others?

The last thing you want to do is sound (or look) like everyone else. You want your brand to shine – to stand out. And you may be surprised and how many other businesses within your industry do not take the time to stand apart. I always find this process fascinating and I’m continually astounded at the number of boring Web sites that say the same thing. Often, they repeat the same meaningless platitudes:

  • Exceptional customer service.
  • On time delivery.
  • We care.
  • Our customers are our priority.
  • Best price.

You know what I’m talking about…and if you have any of these overused clichés in your content, delete them now. Instead, talk about what makes your products and services so special or how you put your customers first.

Share the answer to the big question: “Why you?”

  • What’s your story?
  • How does your story relate to what you’re selling?
  • What makes you different from everyone else?
  • What do you deliver that know one else does?

When you write the content for your Web site, be sure to connect with your prospect. Take the first steps to establishing a relationship – tell a story. When you share YOUR story, the competition won’t be able to come close to copying you because no one else can share the same story.