black and white image of old TVs, speakers, and records with a lonely Elvis in the center

Social Media for the Rest of Us

“I’m not worthy”
“My opinion doesn’t matter”
“I’m not like other people”
“I’m just shy”
“Social media exposes too much”
“I don’t look/think/feel like everyone else here”

Any of those things resonate with you?

Social media has a lot of layers. To some people, it’s a big ol’ party. They are out, sharing everything from morning to night.

Instagram their breakfast burrito? Facebook Live their wardrobe? Check their boss on LinkedIn? Chat, comment, check-in, snap…Some people’s lives truly are lived online. Everything is an open book, shared, commented on, liked, and upvoted.

That’s not me.

For a very long time, I used Facebook in “lurking” mode. Reading comments by high school friends. Keeping up with old neighbors from afar. I was quite content to observe and not report.

I suspect that there are a lot of people like me.

But I also suspect that many people long to be part of the bigger social conversation – but don’t feel like they belong. They are not sure. Uncertain. Vulnerable. Maybe even fear that people on social would reject them…if they only knew.

If they only knew that I am not as successful as I appear.
If they figure out that I’m not as smart as they think.
If anyone guesses that I’m different.
I can’t let down my guard because…
I have to fake it because that is what everyone expects.
I am different…but I can’t share that.

Social is often the highlight reel of people’s lives. You see the bright, shiny, pretty, perfect part of their lives. You don’t see the struggle with weight that’s behind the swim suit shot. You miss the uncertainty that’s under the congratulations on a win. You don’t hear the vulnerability in feeling that they are not like everyone else – but that has to stay secret. Not wanting to disagree because of what people might think.

I’m here to tell you that everyone feels this way. Yup. Even the Kardashians of the world feel vulnerable, different, not-great, fake, dumb, unsuccessful, imperfect, fat, skinny, out of control, uncertain, loser….I could go on. But you get the picture.

You are not alone.

So what does all this have to do with business?

Even the “big guys” are not as successful, shiny, and happy as they appear. Even the Tony Robbins of the world are only seen in their highlight reel. You don’t see the behind-the-scenes struggle of running their business.

It is human nature to want to present the best side of ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that. Where it can become toxic is when we start comparing our imperfect reality with the perfect, edited highlight reels of everyone else.

I am telling you to wipe the perfection right out of your head.

It’s okay to be different, only half as successful, a few pounds over your ideal weight, stressed from doing it all, uncertain, imperfect. Because that is the true reality for everyone. That is the behind-the-scenes reality that you don’t see…but it’s there. Own that.

What you have to say is still valuable and worthy – even if you don’t feel that way.

I want you to truly believe that your point of view – imperfect, different, left-field, overweight, indecisive, bad-hair day, exhausted, stressed, uncertain – is valuable. In fact it is more valuable than all the buffed, polished, edited, highlight reels.

Different is the thing that sparks the conversation. That makes it valuable, vulnerable, real, connected.

Be willing to admit that you don’t have all the answers and ask for help. There are lots of people waiting with the answers. Be willing to admit that you’re struggling with something personal or in your business. Most people will react with kindness and a (virtual) outstretched hand.

Will there be mean people? Of course. Just like your offline life, there are always going to be people so entrenched in hurting or belittling or making someone feel less because it is their only way to feel important. And just like in your offline life, you have to let your anger and fear go and give them the grace that they are unable to give themselves.

So if you’re online talking up how successful your business is when the reality is that you’re struggling to stay afloat, ask for help, advice, support. There is someone out there who might have that one thing that will make the difference.

Tell Your Story to Stand Out In a Crowded Market

 

10 Steps to Tell Your Story and Stand Out in a Crowded Market

Storytelling gives you a unique opportunity to create a memorable impression when you tailor content, delivery, method, and message to connect with clients – and stand out in your market

There is an art to using stories to connect, convince, and create raving fans. Just like your favorite TV show or book, the way the writer hooks you in is to first attract your attention, then they create a connection.

After they have you, the story moves forward, adding details and layers to keep you engaged. Then, an end, a kicker, a delightful, sad, earth-shattering, matter-of-fact event that brings satisfaction.

People are hard-wired to listen to stories.

There was probably a caveman version of “A guy walks into a bar…”

Stories are a way of sharing. We share our experiences. Facebook, LinkedIn and social media sites are filled with ways that we share our great – and lousy – experiences.

Brands tell stories, too.

A restaurant might tell the story of its founder coming from Italy and working three jobs to save up to build a backyard brick oven because he was hungry for the pizza this mama made in the old country. How he went from baking pies for the neighbors to a 6-chain restaurant that still makes the best a-pizza in the region.

The restaurant website shows photos of the young founder standing in his backyard and behind the counter of his first hole-in-the-wall pizza place – and Instagram photos posted by current customers.

A candy company proudly boasts of still using the same taffy machine that it bought in 1920. They put the machine right in the window along the boardwalk to show off – and a YouTube video of old home movies showing the taffy machine at work in the 1950’s and 1960’s,

Clothing companies that manufacture in America can tell stories about making heritage designs or cutting edge fashion on Pinterest boards. Car companies talk about luxury and reliability. Stories about founding or traditions or cutting-edge technology on industry blogs.

Real Estate agents could talk about what got them into the business – and their passion for connecting clients with the right home. They can post video tours of their neighborhoods so clients can get the feel of a place. Facebook allows them to connect and answer questions. Tell the story of making a house a home.

Ready to get started?

Let’s look at the 10-step method to stand out in a crowded market.

“Go where the money is…and go there often.”
Willie Sutton, bank robber, 1901-1980
Step One: Define Your Goal

Goal: Turn Lead Into Sales. Increase brand awareness to increase sales.

You won’t get where you’re going unless you have a goal

Let’s say you’re a Real Estate agent. You have a long-term goal of increasing sales (doesn’t everyone?) . Before you plunge into your marketing, take some time to do a business audit and review.

  • How are you going to let your buyer know that you are THE EXPERT in your area? That you know which neighborhoods are great for commuters and which are home to the best coffee shops and bars?
  • What do you want to achieve? Increase your long-term leads? Get some listings immediately? Sell a house that’s been on the market a little too long? Be very specific.
  • If you have more than one goal, put them in a priority order. It’s much easier to focus and be clear when you are working on a single goal.
  • What does success look like? 20% increase in foot traffic? Two more listings monthly? Adding 50 people to your client list? Be very specific.
  • How fast do you want/need to achieve your goal? Want versus need are two different things – and can mean different things to your time/money budget. Set out a timeline for achieving your goal.
  • Do you have a deadline looming? Is your market seasonal? New housing development coming on the market? How does this effect your goal and timeline?

Just like Harry Potter’s quest to vanquish the evil Lord Voldemort, the best stories must have a goal that is achieved in telling the story.

Here is a link to more about SMART planning.

Step Two: Describe Your Customer

For our fictional Real Estate agent, let’s profile our potential customer…

BUYERS

  • Want to be close to transit and shopping.
  • Want access to amenities like gyms and restaurants.
  • May have some challenges around student loan debt.
  • Needs to be close to work.
  • Doesn’t want to “overpay” for the right house
  • Stressed about lack of inventory.
  • May feel overwhelmed by the process.

SELLERS

  • Want to balance preparing the house to show well while not spending a lot of money.
  • May have emotional ties to their home.
  • May be moving because of work or family needs.
  • May be looking at school data to help them decide.
  • Wants a fast, easy, clean closing
  • Wants to get as much money as possible

Everyone – and every brand –
has a story to tell –
but you need to tell the right story to the right audience.

Your marketing probably revealed some additional demographics that help you describe your ideal customer: 30-55, income between $100,000 and $350,000, etc., etc.

All that goes into the sauce to help you tell your story.

Step Three: What Problem Do You Solve?

Here is where you begin to make the deep connection with your customer. Step One set out your goal. Step Two had you define who your product is for. Step Three takes you into the WHY.

Why does your customer choose to work with you over a competitor?

  • Are you quicker, better, cheaper, more desirable than alternatives?
  • Will you make the process as stress-free as possible?
  • Do you take away pain, embarrassment, social consequences?
  • Are you thought of the THE EXPERT in your area, with insider knowledge and the best advice?
  • Do you have a track record of getting the house sold? Of finding the right house for your buyer?

What is your customer’s problem – and how are you UNIQUELY able to solve it?

The keyword in that sentence is UNIQUE. Take time to really figure out your UNIQUE selling proposition (USP in marketing terms).

This is the heart of your story…

Once you really understand the problem that your customer is trying to solve, figure out how you can solve it better – and then work on building your brand story around that solution.

State the problem. Feel the pain. Use your UNIQUE ability to solve the problem.

Step Four: Gather Your Assets

Make a list of EVERYTHING you have related to your company.

Founder’s story.

Did you grow up in a family of Real Estate agents? Work your way through college selling houses? Have you spent your career working with builders to create houses that meet the specific needs of your market?

No better way for buyers and sellers to connect than understanding what drove YOU to become a Real Estate agent.

Customer testimonials and reviews.

There is a LOT of research around social proof. People don’t actually have to personally know a reviewer – buyers will assign a lot of trust to a stranger IF they think that the stranger has nothing to gain from a great review.

If you have been in the business for years – and perhaps worked with clients on multiple transactions, ASK for a testimonial. Most people are happy and flattered.

Market research.

If you don’t already know who your ideal customer is – time to find out. Reach out to your existing customers. If they’re local, take them for coffee or hold an open house. Not local? Engage on social media.

Start the conversation and get to know them. And then figure out the common threads.

Step Five: Figure out the WHERE

Social Media: There is lots of demographic info available that will point you to best places to reach your audience. Young males? Head over to YouTube. Females of all ages? Pinterest. Is your product or service photo-worthy? Get thee to Instagram.

For Real Estate agents, I recommend focussing on Facebook for immediate results. With billions of users worldwide, you can find your audience in your specific geographic area and create engagement.

Blogs/websites: Are there sites which attract your demographic? Audiophiles have review sites. Tech enthusiasts have sites that cater to both broad and narrow subjects. Fashion? Food? Travel? Whatever your customer is interested in, there are sites that feed their passion.

For Real Estate agents, think about all things home related. Builders, aspirational room designs, movers, attorneys – they are all connections to your clients.

Where does your customer hang out?
What blogs do they read?
Who do they follow on Twitter or Instagram?

Conventions/events/trade shows: Do you sell a B2B (business to business) product that benefits from a hands-on demo? Is your product the next big thing at Comic-Con or CES?

If you’re a Real Estate agent, would a booth at a home show be a way to meet your customer? What about a local, town-oriented event for sponsorship?

Partnership/Complementary business: Is there a natural fit with a related business? Are you the peanut butter to another product’s jelly? Is there a mutually beneficial relationship that will make both of you new customers and money? Joint venture? Partnership?

For Real Estate agents, local movers, home builders, attorneys, interior decorators, home improvement contractors, and relocation companies could all be good sources of mutual referrals.

Step Six: Be a BIG FISH in ONE (or maybe two) bowls…um…platforms

Based on what you’ve done in Steps 1 – 5, select one social outlets. If you are really trying to jump-start your business and you have lots of time (and maybe some money for marketing) you can pick TWO. No more.

Based on Willie Sutton’s advice, “go where the money” and customers are.

It’s tempting to want to jump into a lot of areas. How hard can it be to get going on LinkedIn and Instagram and Facebook and start sending out press releases? You figure that more is better when you’re trying to get traction.

And there is the temptation to focus on social media because it’s free, and everything else costs money.

Yes and no.

Even though a lot of social media is “free”, I liken it to getting a car rolling up a hill. Not impossible, but it does take some effort.

Understand that, like getting that car rolling, the first few months are going to take up a lot of resources to keep up with an active presence. The worst thing you can do is be starting and stopping. Whatever momentum you got, you lose when you aren’t consistent.

Go deep on one (or two) social platforms. Post, engage, search out your audience and build your credibility.

Don’t overlook something that will cost you money in the short term if it really is the best place to connect with your ideal customer. Yes, this means social ads.

Create a rich environment with engaged users. Better to be fully committed and successful with two and then expand as you gain attention – and customers.

Remember…this is only a start.
Create a rich environment with content and interactions.
Give yourself a little time to make connections.
Then leverage those connections and add new media outlets one at time.

Social Strategy:

  • Select your social platform(s0 based on where your ideal client hangs out – not where you or your peers hang out.
  • Fill out the profiles completely. Add user photos, bios, profiles, links – whatever they will let you add to beef up your presence.
  • EVERYTHING on any social presence links back to your website “start here” page.
  • Create a business page and/or group and cross-post content from your website to your social accounts to seed the page with content.
  • Join 2-3 groups where your ideal customers hang out and you can be helpful. Post content, answer questions, and be helpful. Always include a link back to your “start here” page.
  • Add a tab/form to sign up for your email list (see Step Five – Email Marketing).
  • Scrub your “drunk with friends” and “kitty playing the piano” posts. Once you engage, you want people to take you seriously.

Here are some social media templates and cheat sheets to get you started.

Step Seven: Craft your story for the platform

Now that you know your customer, know where to find them, and have identified the two areas you’re going to focus on to start, it’s time to map out HOW you’re going to tell your WHY story.

What do you need to tell stories in these outlets? Video, photos, testimonials? Do you already have enough that really tell your story or do you need to create them?

Focus on the HOW and WHY of telling the story.

Be brutally honest here – but also be willing to take a fresh look at what you already have.

  • Can materials be rewritten or repackaged? Can they be combined in different ways?
  • Your goal: use the medium (social media, website postings, video) to create stories that connect.

Some examples:

  • Use YouTube to give a video tour of your neighborhood so prospective buyers get an inside look
  • Pinterest could have boards where you post customer’s before and after photos of prepping a house for sale.
  • Instagram might feature updates of what is new to the market.

Bottom line: using the specifics of the media and the platform, craft the story you want to tell.

Step Eight: Create Content. Lots of Content.

So…let’s recap here.

You have defined your goal. You know who you want to reach and the most likely places to find them. You have picked two story venues to write for and you’ve started to suss out the best way to use these venues to connect.

Now comes the fun part. You begin.

By selecting your story venues, you may spark different ideas about content and production.

If video is part of your storytelling, consider if you will use animation, slide share, video, photos, or some combination. Do you already have these assets or do you need to produce them?

Build your story around your goals (Step One). If you are trying to raise brand awareness, focus on stories that don’t sell directly – founders stories, how-we-do-it, testimonials, tours, and background. Remember your goal is to get people liking and talking about your company.

Go long.
Be consistent and be helpful. Give before you expect to get.
Post a lot.

Get a calendar and add content regularly. Google rewards ranking positions for frequent relevant content.

How often? While there are some variations across industries, research shows that you should be adding new content at least 3-5 times a week.

Google also rewards for quality of content. That in-depth piece on market conditions and forecasts will help your ranking.

Create content that is about your brand – but that also speaks to the larger topic.

BIG SECRET REVEALED: Google also rewards for content from other quality sources that you reference. Example: Let’s say you read a piece in an industry blog about a new environmentally sound way of refinishing floors, you can comment, excerpt, and link to that piece. You get rewarded not only for adding content but linking to a quality source.

Step Nine: Keep the conversation going. Season with social proof.

Whether on you website, social media, or any other venue, keep adding stories. Make the conversation richer. Comment, reply, add details. Post new photos. Add a video comment.

Add social proof.

Open up reviews. Data shows that people will trust perfect strangers who talk about your products. If you have a good product, be brave enough to let the good and the bad fall together. While people trust strangers, they trust the overall reviews when they feel that the reviewers have nothing to gain and are posting honest opinions.

When users comment or ask questions – respond! If one user is asking, many other users might be wondering the same thing.

There is a strong temptation to delete less flattering comments. And yes, there will always be Internet trolls whose sole purpose in life is to try and pick a fight. Defuse what you can, delete anything defamatory or ugly, and let the rest of your customers see the transparency of your process.

Don’t wall yourself off from customers. Be honest, Treat it as a conversation not a confrontation.

Step Ten: Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

When I tell clients that this last step is the hardest, they rarely believe me.

“We’ve done the hard work. We have a system.” And most of the time they do.

But after a couple of months, maybe a week or two slides by without content. You don’t assign someone to take over videotaping customer testimonials after Chris leaves the company. You get busy and a month goes by without posting or commenting on Facebook.

That’s why you have to plan.

Create an editorial calendar for the year. You know your business cycles and industry events. Build your stories and conversations around them. This is not an overnight quick-fix. It usually takes at least 6 months to see any uptick in customer inquiries and sales. Plan the work and work the plan. It will bring success.

Now here’s another helping of secret sauce

Plan for spontaneous opportunities to tell your story.

If there attention is on something that is a natural fit for what you do (news about the effectiveness of music while learning plus your wireless speaker business = opportunity to tell your story) then jump in and create content to piggyback on the wave of attention.

virtual elevator pitch

(Virtual) Elevator Pitch Your Way to Anyone Using email or social media

Just read a great article about successful entrepreneurs who bootstrapped their way to success using email outreach. This got me thinking about how you could apply these tips more broadly – and recreate a virtual elevator pitch only via email but through social media.

If you had 30 seconds in an elevator with your dream ask, how would you approach them?

Tip 1: Use a compelling, irresistible, gotta-read-this subject line or headline that your intended reader simply can’t ignore.

Get to the point – you really do have limited real estate and time to connect – but make it something that your audience can’t resist.

My additional tip: Segment, segment, segment! What’s important to one reader or group of readers may be vastly different than another. Make your virtual elevator pitch directly to your specific audience.

Example: you are a real estate agent.

A buyer has different needs than a seller. An investment buyer has different criteria than a home buyer. A commercial leasing company has different markets than a residential leasing company. Segment and micro-target your subject line to appeal to that reader.

Understand that a successful virtual elevator pitch will intrigue your prospect – and demonstrate that you understand them.

Tip 2: Ask for advice – who doesn’t want to feel like an expert?

Make it very specific, and targeted exactly to their experience and market.

My additional tip: Understand that you DON’T know it all – but you can find someone else does. Make your virtual elevator pitch to their particular experience.

The more you can niche down the ask for advice to the particular area that the person is known for, the better your chance at success.

If you’re looking for help with a funding decision, ask advice from someone know for putting together or advising on these types of deals. And make the ask specific: don’t ask a VC a general question that you could Google, instead ask them why they chose A over B and whether that makes sense in this situation. This flatters them in two ways: first, you are showing that you understand their very special area of knowledge; second, you did enough research to ask a very specific question.

People LIKE being flattered and asked for advice, but only when it feels like you did the legwork to understand their particular expertise – and your ask is for help they can quickly deliver.

 

Tip 3: Ask for something it’s hard to say no to – get them saying yes to small things.

Sell people on the idea of helping before they actually have to do something.

My additional tip: Understand the magnitude of what you’re asking – and get small wins. Make your virtual elevator pitch easy to say yes to.

Let’s say you are trying to understand the feasibility of a new product. Asking people to take a 2-3 question survey that takes one minute or less AND gives them something (access to results, a report based on the results, early view of a solution) is an easier ask than a 10-minute commitment.

If your pitch is for a survey is to fix a common pain or uncover a better way to do something, you have a better chance. (This assumes that you ALSO followed Tip 1 and Tip 2 and precisely targeted your ask,)

Tip 4: Follow up – no one buys on the first ask.

If you followed Tip 1 – 3, now it’s time to REALLY make things happen: follow up.

My additional tip: Keep making your virtual elevator pitch – but don’t be a pest. 

It’s likely that your subject receives dozens or even hundreds of emails a day. Seeing your name, your well-crafted subject line (which is hard to say no to) DRAMATICALLY increases your chance of them responding.

Check this before you hit send (again):

  • You micro-targeted your audience and have an irresistible subject line
  • You’re writing very specifically
  • You asked for something that’s hard to say no to

Now it’s time for the magic: Follow. Up.

While the money may be in the list, you don’t build the list without persistence. Your pitch should focus on a small win and then build the relationship.

Tip 5: Make the email what you promised in the subject line or headline

My additional tip: (Over)deliver what you promised in the subject line. Once they open your virtual elevator pitch, make it more than worth their time.

Make it:

  • Short: better chance of a response until you’ve built an actual relationship
  • Targeted: specific ask that fits who they are and their expertise
  • Easy to say yes: don’t expect them to do your work – make it a no-brainer for them to help with
  • Amazing: it should be something that appeals directly to why you reached out to them in the first place

Now go write THAT email or social media post and let me know your successful virtual elevator pitch.

 

 

11 overlooked ways to turn leads into sales

11 Overlooked Ways to Turn Leads Into Sales

People buy from people…people they know, like and trust.

Smart entrepreneurs know that customers want to know more about YOU before they buy from you.

To stand out as an authority, a resume or LinkedIn profile is simply not enough. You need a cross-platform marketing approach to demonstrate to your customers your knowledge, your trustworthiness, and how you conduct business. You need to build your personal, professional brand.

And you need to do this while still running your business

Learn more about work-smarter methods to build and cultivate your brand – your “know, like, and trust factor” – without turning marketing into a full-time job.
TURN LEADS INTO SALES.

Tip #1: Use consistent visuals, graphics, and head shots

Visuals register with the brain first – so the first thing a consumer should see is a consistent brand look.

Brand EVERYTHING the same way. Think of Coca Cola or Apple. They look very different – Coke’s red, swoopy logo versus Apple’s Zen bluish silver website. Both are successful. Both send a consistent visual message that goes on all their content. You would never confuse one for the other.

Take a lesson from the big dogs: there should be no confusion about who created the content. Your business name, logo, tagline, and colors should register quickly with the user. Have a GREAT head shot taken – it’s worth hiring a pro for this – and use is EVERYWHERE.

Super-bonus tip: make sure that your logo and name are clickable – and check it on a mobile site to make sure that it does not scale down to the unreadable.

Extra Super-bonus tip: Your logo can simply be your name. Text logos are simple to create with any graphics program. Look at my logo shown at the top of the page. Just text.

Tip #2: Go big in 2 or 3 social marketing channels

Choose your marketing channels based on where most of your customers are already hanging out.

There are lots of demographic studies about age, sex, ethnicity, income, and even intent around marketing channels. What is a marketing channel? Facebook, your blog, LinkedIn, Instagram, guest posting on industry blogs, Snap, Periscope, Pinterest, and YouTube are all examples.

Don’t forget traditional marketing channels

TV, radio, print, and industry publications are an overlooked way to attention and authority. Well-written articles on a closely related topic are often welcomed – and get you in front of your target audience without the pressure of a sales call.

Once you have a track record (and maybe some help), add more channels – one at a time. But make a splash in your chosen ponds first.

Tip #3: Half of all internet traffic is now mobile – is your content?

You spend time (and maybe money) getting people interested in you and what you’re selling. Make sure that whatever content you create is frustration-free across all
devices.

You only have a couple of seconds before a visitor decides to stay and view or bounce away from your content – maybe forever. You got them to your content, don’t chase them off because they have to pinch and scroll.

Mobile accounts for 50%+ of all Internet traffic. Try Google’s free Mobile-Friendly test site to make sure that your content, including all graphics, are easily viewable.

Super-bonus tip: use buttons for important clickable links in your mobile content. It can be frustrating to tap-tap-tap on a text link that just won’t connect with your
fingertip.

Tip #4:  Be the (wo)man with the SMART plan

“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin

A marketing and sales plan does not have to be complicated – but it does need to be written – and it needs to be SMART.

Specific – define the goal (new leads, increase in sales)
Measurable – define the quantity (65 leads, 8% sales increase)
Assignable – define who is responsible for exact tasks
Realistic – is the plan realistic? 8% yes – 800% no
Time – set out t timeline for completion – with milestones

Once a week: Review your progress and pick out the ONE THING you want to accomplish next week.

Once a month: Review your progress on weekly goals. Pick out the FOUR WEEKLY THINGS you will do next month.

Once a quarter: Review your progress on monthly goals. Pick out the THREE MONTHLY THINGS you will do next quarter.

Once a year: Review your progress on quarterly goals. Pick out the FOUR QUARTERLY THINGS you will do next quarter.

Tip #5: Ask your audience what they want to know

As Homer Simpson would say “D’oh!”

What better way to deliver EXACTLY what your customers want, and build your “know, like, and trust: factor than by answering the questions that your customers are asking?

Spend your time in your chosen social marketing channels reading what your clients are talking about, answer the question, and refer back to your site.

Ask yourself the following: What posts get the greatest response? Are people confused, opinionated, passionate? That is a sign that you should be creating content around this.

Super-bonus tip: pose questions on social media. “If you were buying (your product), what is the one thing it must have?” “What is the one thing that would keep you from buying (your product)?”

You will get a lot of nonsense answers, but you will also glean some insight into how your customers think.

Tip #6: Promote your content

If you are creating content around your customers questions and needs, it’s time to go back to these same places and talk about solutions to their problems.

Find discussions around your topic, answer the question, and post a response with a link back to your content, telling readers that you have even more on the topic.

Super-bonus tip: add (new) visuals. Graphics or videos increase engagement but up to 200%. There are lots of tools and free websites sites that let you create fast graphics that will make your content stand out.

Extra Super-bonus tip: Participate in the conversation. When someone posts an answer, respond. Comment, ask a follow up question, post a resource. Be engaged.

This does two things: keeps the conversation at the top of the flow (recent active posts generally stay near the top of most social media feeds) and increases your social engagement –which Google rewards.

Tip #7: Content does not have to be original – but it has to be good and relevant

Curated content (content that you have found and passed along) can be just as powerful as original content – with a couple of rules.

First – only use curated content that is really good, reflects your personal and business standards, and adds to the conversation you are having with your customers.

Second – add your commentary or review. Read the content and glean out the relevant facts for your readers. As an expert, tell them why it’s important. Highlight key parts for the skimmers in your audience.

Third – attribute the content to its original creator. No stealing or plagiarizing. Email the original creator to let them know that you are sharing their content. You might get a shout-out from them and access to a whole new audience.

Super-bonus tip: automate your content curation by setting up Google Alerts and Feedly.

Tip #8: Make sure your digital footprints all lead home

Any time you create content, your readers should have an immediate way to click back to your site.

Guest posting? Add a bio section to the post with an invitation to learn more about whatever you just posted about – preferably a link to another specific, related piece of content. (AND add a great head shot – one that you use across all channels)

Should you have a website? While not absolutely necessary, a website gives you a place where YOU control how content is presented AND gives you a place where
you can be intentional about building your audience and your marketing plan. READ MORE IN THIS POST

Super-bonus tip: Create a custom bio for your social media – and refresh it at least twice a year (quarterly is better). Even better, have a couple of custom bios precisely tailored to different audiences.

Tip #9: Create a gotta-have-it-now reason to click over to your site in the form of a
lead magnet.

Lead magnets don’t have to be long or difficult to create.

The best lead magnets solve a specific problem that your business solves for them. The upside? People who click on the lead magnet are self-selecting as your target market. Win-win.

Super-bonus tip: Try different lead magnets for different audiences. Test your results.

Extra-super-bonus tip: Repackage your most popular content. Take three blog posts and make a short eBook. Distill the points in a post down to a cheat sheet. Add visuals and your branding. Eureka! You have a (nearly) ready-made lead magnet.

Tip #10: Create a landing page – or six.

If all your visitors arrive at your home page, you are asking them to figure out what you want them to do next.

Yeah…how is that working out for you – and your customers?

Now imagine you can custom-tailor the experience for your visitors and deliver tailored content rather than a bewildering set of options?

You can when you send them to a landing pages.

While you won’t create a landing page for every piece of brand content, you probably have themes or client audiences that are distinct enough that you can build landing pages around their visit.

Super-bonus tip: Track where your visitors are coming from – and how they engage. Double down on what works.

Tip #11: Take names (and email addresses)

You’re in business to make money, right?

And having a bunch of potential customers to contact who have already expressed interest in you would be fabulous, right?

If you’re nodding along and saying yeah to those questions, then it’s time to step into the wonderful world of email marketing.

Email isn’t scary. I have a Jumpstart Email video series coming up that explains the setup and tips using a free version of Mailchimp and a guide that helps you get started. Sign up on my email list. Seats for the training will be limited; my subscribers get first chance to register!

Super-bonus tip: Tip #9 suggests creating a landing page.
Add an opt-in box and gather email addresses. And watch
your customer lead list grow.