1st Steps in Setting up a Website

I’ve got a friend whose about to get his website underway. He asked me what his first steps should be. Mind you his website name is his name, and he knows his niche. Also we set up WordPress on his domain, so we’re past that as well. Basically he wanted to know what the 1st steps in setting up a website were – in terms of content.

Determining what to write

The first thing I did was make a keyword research video for him to watch  (which I posted at our free forum http://freeweeklymastermind.com/webinars  So I asked him to watch the video and use the information to put together a map of keywords he’s going to go after with his website. Starting with the big picture. . . you really want to figure out what you’re about.  If you’re at this stage, start by asking yourself what you want your “tabs” to be on the website.

Since this is a branding site, in which he’s trying to prove his expert status and get hired, he’s going to have some pretty common tabs. To start he’s going to need something like an “about me” page, a “contact me” page and perhaps a testimonials or past projects page. You don’t have to have these things – but people look for these things. Sometimes it’s good to give them what they’re looking for. [Read more…]

Posies Cafe Groupon Problem

Today I was forwarded an article about the Posies Cafe Groupon Problem. Their blog post examined the effect their Groupon decision made to their bottom line. The story is quite sad, I must say but certainly a learning moment for the cafe folks.

I can’t get a good feel for what Jessie, the owner of the cafe, was thinking when he chose to use Groupon as a method of customer acquisition. His article talks about the value of the network, reaching new people and a bit about how much money they would make or lose from each coupon used. However, he left out the important parts like the lifetime value of a customer.  He didn’t discuss his viable customer acquisition cost. And most importantly he didn’t reveal what their plans were for the traffic once it arrived at their doorstop.

As we discuss regularly here in posts like “How to use Groupon for your business”, these are really the most important parts of any advertising campaign. They can be broken down into 3 important categories: [Read more…]

Savvy Blogging Summit “Take-aways”

The Savvy Blogging Summit was a journey into a parallel world. I walk away wondering how the world of niche internet marketing, its rules, guidelines, lessons and monetization are so vastly different than the world of professional bloggers. How can I spend an equal amount of time on the internet, building websites, writing content and in social media and come away with starkly different insight into what works?

And the answer lies in the similarity among the differences. . . CONTENT, COMMUNITY and COMMITMENT TO QUALITY

So I thought I’d share some of the nuggets I gained from the Savvy Bloggers themselves.

Lessons from Amy Clark

Amy Clark is the dream of a professional blogger. There are others, of course, but who wouldn’t love all the media respect and attention that is cleverly highlighted on her Twitter background image? Her ability to connect with people through the written word has landed her spots on Martha Stewart, CBS and the New York Times (among others). Unlike the millions of media dollars that have made Nicholas Sparks a success, Amy Clark’s rise has been organic and driven by intuitively written content.

So I paid attention when she spoke because success breeds success. The trail she blazes leaves clues as to what’s respected, revered and admired by those around her. Her session covered freelance writing, sponsored posts, being a brand ambassador, spokeperson roles, media kits and some lessons on how to charge for what you do.

For me the nugget wasn’t the stats, facts or numbers. It was her insight into what a company looks for in a representative before they even contact you. I believe she said “Act like a spokesperson” now if you want to ever be a spokesperson later. Companies want stellar examples when they choose people to represent them. They want someone who’s active in the social media sphere. They’ll shy away if their able to find times you’ve made your compromising moments public. I’d paraphrase and say be a squeaky clean expert who’s created a community of trust.

Amy Clark is a professional in every sense.

Nuggets from Maria Bailey of MomTalkRadio

I was amazed at how many things Maria Bailey is involved with. There are so many things that you’d be silly to wonder why companies hire her. And that itself is the lesson.

Maria made it clear that companies value what you do, what you’ve done online and off. So don’t hide it. And don’t make them guess what you’re special interests happen to be. If you’re a triathlete – you’ll do more harm to yourself not putting that out there than if you let people know. That may be the one thing that rings true with someone considering you.

While I don’t focus my content on “moms” as a specific target, I thought Maria’s insights into what motivates them to be interesting. She listed 5 motivators

  • Saving Time
  • Finding Value
  • Family, Health and Safety
  • Child Enrichment
  • Balance

If you haven’t studied these for your audience, how can you expect to connect with them on the emotional level that turns into reader loyalty, community and connection?

Graphic Design Fundamentals of Joy Miller

I was excited to attend Joy’s presentation on graphic design because it’s one of the skills I’m not spectacular with. I will admit that my desire to dive right into Illustrator techniques left me disappointed within the first 5 minutes. BUT that disappointment was driven by a lack of patience and understanding of what I really to needed to know first. (Thus describes every husband who leaves the instruction manual in the box before starting to drill holes and screw things together)

Not having had a design class before, I’d say what little work I’d done was based on images I’d seen and tried to emulate. Joy Miller broke down everything I like about design into 5 easy-to-learn steps that can be applied anytime you do graphic design work. Prior to this seminar, I hadn’t considered there were design “themes” that could be identified, labeled and applied to other projects- so I’m quite happy to have learned that.

Despite Joy Miller’s teaching, I’m not confident I’ll be able to produce the kinds of beautiful works she produced as mere examples. I think I’ll be able to make much better headers, buttons, and graphic images – but I’m not positive they’ll ever look like hers. Joy Miller’s got a flair for design and creativity that I’m not sure is able to be taught.

Nevertheless, I learned what I needed to learn and am thankful that we didn’t dive directly into Illustrator. It turns out I didn’t need to learn what “this button” and “that button” do – I needed solid fundamentals that don’t come in software tutorials.  (Perhaps that’s the reason I make 86 runs to Home Depot on the weekends. . . if only I’d taken the time to learn the fundmentals first).

P.S. The Savvy Blogging Summit was a successful event for me.  Similar to the NAMS Workshop in Atlanta, there is an aire of goodwill and knowledge here. This conference is not a pitch-fest, not cluttered with products to buy – rather it’s a weekend of collective devotion to the better good. Don’t be on the fence, register for next year’s early!

P.P.S. I’ll be detailing more of the marketing insights I gained from the Summit in my Weekly Notes below.

The #SavvyBlogging Summit Rocks

The Savvy Blogging Summit crew really knows how to impress. My “ideas” file from this event is already 15 pages deep and I’ve only been here two hours. Everything from the name tags to the e-mails to the registration table is top notch. And to top it off, I was surprised to hear that they even took the time to come visit this site before I arrived. Very cool.

Instead of leaving you in the dark, I’ll share with you what’s in my “cool ideas from the Savvy Blogging Summit” folder so far.  To start I made a screen shot of the page on the Savvy Blogging.com that lists all the conference attendees with their “logo” or “image”. What a cool way to start networking before you even get here.

I’m sure you know I write the NAMS Action Guide for the NAMS Workshop in Atlanta and am always on the lookout for conference ideas. Not only did they send out “how to get prepared” e-mails, but they also had entire blog posts on topics like “5 Ways to Make the Most out of a Blog Conference”.  If you’re paying attention at all, as an attendee, you’ve got to be thankful for all the great tips.

From their sponsor / partners point of view, the Savvy folks do a great job of promoting them. I got a fun e-mail about ShopAtHome.com and a meet and greet they were having. In a few minutes I’m going to one with the Escalate Network, another partner. Just a great way to highlight the sponsor / partners.

I often talk about the Ladder of Value that you have to put together for your clients. The idea of the ladder being mapping out your client’s journey from where they are today to where they want to be. To best understand this concept, look at how a college is laid out. English 101 is first, then Creative Writing, then Writing Analysis and finally Editorial Writing. Colleges move kids from knowing nothing to knowing everything they need to be graduated with that degree and ready for the work place. They are in the business of helping students achieve their goals.

From a business perspective you should think this way, too. How do I get my customers to the place they want to be? Well, here we are in Day 1 of the Savvy Blogging Summit and we’re about to get professional headshots done, courtesy of BlogFrog, ShortandHat.com and Smile Generation. Why is that important? As customers of this Summit our goal is to become better bloggers. Personal branding is part of that as well. We all have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. . .  and professional headshots give us that little extra to improve our own profiles and online image. That’s value! and is why people come back year after year to this conference. That’s a gift from Savvy that helps us on our journey up the ladder.

My hat is off to the Savvy Blogging crew!  I look forward to a great weekend.

Don’t join the “follow us on Twitter” heat wave.

Arghh. . . Don’t just follow us on Twitter. . .

I got a 5K flyer in the mail yesterday, and the Twitter/Facebook logo duo caught my eye immediately. That’s probably strange to you, but I see them everywhere – and most of the time I take pictures of them or clip them out and put them in my ‘workshops example folder’. Don't Follow Us On Twitter

So the entire flyer was about a 5K race coming up. Great imagery, cool logo and art. Then they had the date, race starting times and the “Register at Active.com” statement. And then to finish up the flyer, the footer including the host organization’s mission statement and the Twitter/Facebook duo.

I didn’t include an image of the flyer itself. It’s a local event for charity and I really just thought they didn’t need to hear this at this point. But I’ll tell you this is a perfect lesson in Marketing that I think all small businesses should heed.

To be blunt “Nobody wants to follow you”. Or me. Or anyone else for that matter. We want information. We want discourse, tips, strategies, etc. . . We just don’t want to follow you on Twitter for the hell of it. That’s no incentive whatsoever.  And I have “liked” so many companies with poor Facebook pages, I’m not inclined to visit too many more.

On the flipside, their Facebook page is 1000% better than most. They’ve got actual social interaction going on. They’ve got videos of people talking about their race last year, race maps, updates on training run times and practice race days. Just great stuff. It’s too bad their flyer doesn’t say that.

On top of that, they ask you to register at Active.com right on the flyer, when they could easily have had you get the link to the Active registration page on their Facebook page. In fact, their fan page is so good, I bet it would even improve their conversion rate over the Active.com order page.

1 more missed opportunity.

So my charge to you is: Don’t ask anyone to follow your business on Twitter. Don’t set up a fan page on Facebook and don’t put that “Follow us on Facebook” sign on your company invoices. Nope. Resist. Don’t do it. In fact, don’t even start a social media strategy unless you know what you’re going to do.

The 5K folks had a great plan in mind for their Facebook page. They should have said, “Get up to date information about the race, get registered for door prizes and hear what past participants have had to say about the race – all on our Facebook page. Also, become a fan and then get all the Registration Information.”

How many more fans would a race of 700 people get to their page with that marketing plan?  With only a week to go – they have 114 fans. That’s 586 fans shy of the number who registered directly through Active.com.

I would encourage you to jump over to this Social Media Examiner article where they interviewed the folks at Intel about how they manage their Facebook page. You can see here how important it is to have an objective – and how to drive people there using that objective.

Don’t ask people to “follow you on Twitter” – give them a reason.

How to get Speeches

I did a short, impromptu call with Thomas Landstreet today. Tom is a professional money managers who uses speeches as both an income source and as a way to get new clients. I thought he’d have some relevant advice to give.

[Read more…]