Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Morning Marketeer, Want a high traffic business blog? Then give them something to traffic for!

Intelligent conversation is a great way to get prospective customers to take a look at what you do. A good business blog can help here!

The first things first, a blog is a publishing platform for a lot of things, that well dreamed out first book, a talkcast or blog, a product, an idea but it will only thrive when it is frequently updated with fresh interesting content, in the vernacular, good stuff! Marie Antoinette flippantly said of the hungry masses, “Let them eat cake,” however if you want a high traffic business blog, you had better give them meat and potatoes.

Business blogs are a form of conversation marketing. What is conversation marketing? This is what Wikipedia;s unsourced article says> “Conversational Marketing is the engagement of social media by a corporation to promote their product or brand. It differs from traditional forms of "customer touch" because the company may enter into an online dialogue which is stored publicly in a forum or blog”

Conversational marketing may be a new buzzword in internet marketing but it’s been around for a long time. Providing informational and how to brochures to augement your marketing has been around a long time with things lik, “How to keep your new automible in great running order.” How to get the best performance out of your air conditioner. Simply talking about how great your company or product is won't do it, though.

Here are some suggestions for a great business blog- Product and service details
- How-to videos
- Product tips and tricks
- Customer success stories
- News and announcements
- Articles about complementary products
- Recipes
- Requests for feedback from customers
- Things to look out for when shopping for products or services like your own
- When I owned Patriot Limousine, Ltd. I sent out a flier to schools about things a parent should look for in a limousine company for prom night. It got rave reviews and lots of business. If I owned a limousine company today it would be the number one post on my blog for prom and semi-formal season.

Keep in mind that blogging requires a substantial time commitment. Luckily, there are plenty of small agencies and freelancers that can help you with setting everything up. Actually I do a training for companies called Web 2.0 Guerilla Branding Training, where I teach companies about using talkcasts, blogs and social media to create branding on the internet. I also have a cd product that will introduce you to this topic, you can contact me monday or I still use the blogger address because I want my clients to know how easy what I am teaching them is.

Before going down the business blogging path , I would carefully look at all my current sales and marketing programs that are already effective and see if I couldn't improve elements of those before venturing out into the blogosphere—this is a tremendous time commitment to keep fresh content and a blog out there which you do not update or react to comments on your blogposts can really do you more harm than good.

To blog effectively, think from your customers' perspective. Firstly, search the Web for the kinds of websites and blogs that they might be visiting already. Visit technorati, search by category and find out what the most popular business blogs in your niche are doing.
"You can may even offer to contribute to those blogs, and sometimes take out some banner advertising rather than start your own if you are an entrepreneur in a time crucnch.

Connect to your existing website: you will make your existing Web site more attractive to search engines by linking it to your blog. Always try to link to high traffic synergistic but non-compeitive sites also. Remember the idea is to get business for yourself and not direct it to others.

Jazz it up for audience and search engines! People expect to get information quickly online. A how-to video clip would be great for moving your blog and Web site up to the top of search engine results, but you should keep the video's length between 30 seconds and one minute. This is called social proof videos. They can also be testimonials. This also helps your search engine optimization.

Many business owners start a business blog because they think they have to. It is important to understand, that you CAN have an authentic, successfully maintained and trafficked blog even if your topic isn’t as web savvy as the blogosphere itself. We understand that business owners aren’t necessarily captivating writers. But tere are some things that you can do to “good enough” and that’s all it takes. If you are in an industrial or seemingly uncreative business, never fear blogosphere because good info doesn’t always have to be tech savvy.

Because Industrial business owners are experts in their industrial businesses, it’s important that they understand the mystery behind the blogosphere and have a plan
of sorts for their blogs.

In my Web 2.0 Guerilla Branding Training I teach clients that a blog is a great internet branding and search engine ranking tool.
But a tricked out blog without traffic is useless, and the most effective way to gain traffic is to earn it. This is the principle of attraction above promotion. Remember that the goal here is to attract links by becoming a resource. As in all marketing you need to figure out some things about your “perfect” client or customer. What kind of information would benefit them? What kind of info do you have to share that would be of interest. Plan your message, and stick to it. Write in a way that appeals to your audience. Don’t surprise them with Beethoven when you have started them off with Led Zepelin. Keep it real and consistent.
Yes, you want links but not just for links sake, you want complementary, synergistic links.

Links s the point where business bloggers get confused and often give up. . For a blog to really take off, it needs links. In order to get them you’ve got to focus on form as well as content. To achieve things like getting hits on Digg or Stumbled Upon and in order to get your blog on other blog rolls and in social bookmarks, you must convey your content in a unique, web savvy way. Put videos on your blog.

Tell a story! Check out previous Monday Morning Marketeers like “Episode 48: Telling Your Technology Story” or Episode 11, Branding with Creative Story Telling. and EPISODE10 - Brand Your Uniqueness with Your Strenghts For other great ideas also check out: EPISODE9 - Create Your Own Brand, there are more story telling ideas here. If you are really a novice, check out Episode 7—Branding, What is it?

Ridethe coat tails of other news stories and events. If you are a Green company and there is a Rootz, Green City Music Festival, plug into it somehow (there was just one in Pittsburgh.) In this case you could talk about how the Festival used to be called the Smoky City Festival until Green Companies like yourself started working their magic.

Be Prepared for Commitment—put it on your calendar to blog.
An unmaintained blog that says, last post 14 days or 30 days with unattended comments on your posts is worse than no blog at all.
Pimp out your blog with ping backs, widgets and other techno stuff that is not as hard as you think it is.

Bloggers fail to note is that a blog can be optimized much in the same fashion as a website, but with a few blog - specific twists:
- Host your business blog on it’s own domain
- Name your categories after targeted key phrases
- Provide ping backs and internal links to other blog posts, and to your website.- -
- Use heading and formatting tags for important phrases within your post.
A Successfull Business Blog Requires Participication and Promotion.
If you want community to embrace you, you must first embrace the community.
- Post comments on other blogs (Search technorati for posts relating to topics you’ve written about. Cross reference! Start a dialogue!) Always, always add your tag line to your comments in case others want to find you.
- Add blogs to your blog roll (share traffic)
- Research the best blog directories, and submit your blog to all of them. (Be availble)
- Link to your blog in your email signature, and print the domain on your advertizing materials
- Submit your posts as articles at free article directory sites. Link back to your blog and to your website.
- Visit,—these are good sites for pinging your blog and RSS syndication.

Focus! Focus! Focus!
Remember your purpose is give your audience meat and potatoes in stead of cake.. Getting lost in promotion and optimization can sometimes mean less time spent providing good content to your audience, which by now you should know is the back bone of blogging success. Set yourself up with your blog as a credible expert and the traffic will flow to you and so will business.
Calls to Action
• Niche market to a specific audience
• Plan what effect your message should have on your audience
• Menu: Meat and Potatoes—valuable, usable content
• Attract links from your niche audience by being that good
• Focus on Form (for your web savvy linkers)
• Commitment: Be consisten in your posts
• Optimize—I no longer put up recipes on, did it once and destroyed the focus of my blog.-
• Particpiate and Promote –stick your Web 2.0 hand out and embrace the community, get involved, react to other blogs in your niche, join relevant social networking sites
• Focus on good content and positive messaging
This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information: © Joanne Quinn-Smith, Monday Morning Marketeer 412-628-5048
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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Monday Morning Marketeer, Get Customers to Love Your Biz Using Web 2.0 Tools and Old Fashioned Relationships

Get Customers to Love Your Biz Using Web 2.0 Tools and Old Fashioned Relationships

Web 2.0, ain’t it great. I even do a training called Web 2.0 Guerilla Branding Training. Everywhere we go online these days, we read all about it. Unfortunately, the marketplace is overwhelmed with experts who forget one thing. Just as faith without works is dead, high tech without high touch is a recipe for disaster.
When the online marketing community t realized that the internet could be manipulated to make it interactive and used as a marketing platform, ergo Web 2.0, on line and other companies began to manipulate it into mass marketing. They took a new style of media marketing and turned it into the old style of mass media radio and TV tactics that people have grown to love to hate like interruption-style marketing in the form of spam and splogs.

What’s a splog?
splogs, are artificially created weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliated websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. inauthentic text or merely stolen from other websites. These blogs usually contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator which are often disreputable or otherwise useless websites.
What’s spam? Spam (electronic), unsolicited or undesired bulk electronic messages

None of these tactics builds relationships with people that'll turn them into lifelong, raving fans for you, your product or service. Bill Gates said back in 1995 that the on line companies who combine high tech and high touch will dominate. Web 2.0 is all about people, participation and persuasion. Forget just one of them, and you'll be forgotten about as quickly as your prospect deletes your well planned e-mail or long sales letter intended to persuade.

The bottom line is people will always prefer to buy from those they know, love and trust, like their family and friends. Their loyalty to their family and friends outweighs any kind of differentiation in the marketplace. If you are sincere about building relationships with Web 2.0 you can convert visitors to family and friends by building relationships.

Turning a Visitor into Friend A visitor is someone who finds your blog or podcast through a search, an article or by chance. Understand that if this visitor comes to you through a Google ad or other Web 2.0 type mass marketing they may already be forewarned about you. But if your visitor comes to you through an article, a podcast, a referral, then she will be more receptive to your message. She has come because she wants to learn more. If you provide authentic content with good information then she will be persuaded to subscribe to your list which is your ultimate goal, your ultimate on line relationship builder. She will subscribe because she wants to learn more. When this happens you now have a visitor who feels at home with you and just like your neighbor will come knocking unexpectedly because she feels comfortable with you, so keep your coffee pot on or keep your newsletters and your web site well stocked with fresh, useful information.

Friend to Family (or Customer)

Family is what your visitor becomes the moment she buys from you. Now it's your job to keep her in the family. Well if she’s a close friend or neighbor, you know what you do, you keep the type of sweetener she likes in her coffee and some of those wonderful sweet rolls that she likes. In other words, you make sure that your customer service to her starts the minute that she buys. When your friends become your family, if you take good care of them, they can’t live without you, your product or service, and they buy from you again and again.
Customer to Raving Fan
Herein lays the secret of extended success. When your customer grows to depend on you for whatever she needs, wants and desires--and tells all her friends and family about you, your product and service--you've got yourself a loyal customer for life. A loyal customer over a period of years, what’s that worth to you multiplied by the number of people she sends to you.
When forming these relationships, you must observe the standard rules of courtship and nothing does that like new media in the Web 2.0 world.
New Media Builds, Friends, Family and Raving Fans

Do you really think the phone companies are idiots, the old MCI, Verizon—they all have their version of friends and family networks? In an overcrowded marketplace, there are loads of people out there that need and want friends. They are being inundated with spam but no hint of someone asking for real friendship. Now all of a sudden you enter their world with an offer to “Be My Friend” from a social networking site and the day is looking brighter. Everybody wants to be someone’s friend. It goes way back to not wanting to be picked last for the playground games. When you enter someone’s computer from a social networking site, she sees your smiling face looking right at her from your page your message reaches her very core. She feels instantly connected to you. Mary immediately subscribes to your blog or podcast and becomes one of your regular viewers, watching your show every week to hear what you have to say. All of a sudden one day she buys from you and then she refers a friend and you have a raving fan or two. Why? Because you stuck your Web 2.0 hand out and said, “Hi, I’m the Monday Morning Marketeer and I not only want to be your friend but I want to give you some free tips every Monday on how to help you jump start your business.”

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information: © Joanne Quinn-Smith, Monday Morning Marketeer 412-628-5048 Listen at:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday Morning Marketeer, Telling Your Technology Story--You Don't Have to Be a Techno Geek

Episode 48 Telling Your Technology Story: You Don’t Have to be a techno Geek!

One of the things that I learned from doing the Techno Granny show is that people love to hear about technology. It’s not only a favorite topic but no one wants to be left out. Also there are still a lot of people who don’t understand all of the fancy techno geek words. So take a lesson from the Monday Morning Marketeer, also known as Techno Granny in pseudo technology circles: tell your story so your grandmother can understand.

Write your story in simple terms, don’t be embarrassed for it to read like a children’s book. Big words and technology savvy stuff may impress the technologically savvy, but are they your target?

If you consistently tell good stories, and give information that is easily understandable, you will garner a much larger audience and your customers will not find it a chore to listen to you.
A comment was made that they like listening to my Techno Granny show because I act real dumb when I am interviewing my guest who is either people who use the technology and are conversant with it or are experts? I am not trying to impress listeners with my knowledge but to get knowledge out of the experts that will help my listeners.

The same information applies to all kinds of story telling: So what makes a good story?

First of all: Is it a good story?
Second: Is it appropriate to your audience?
Third: Will it hold your audiences attention?
Fourth: Is it easy to understand?
Fifth: Is it fun, even geekdom can be funny?

There is always more than one way to tell your story. Remember: Making mistakes comes with the territory. Capture their attention and make them want to listen.

What kinds of technology stories do you have to tell?

Information about your programs and services: I like to start off any story with a humorous or at least semi humorous dilemma. For instance I tell my cell phone story when I am educating audiences about Web 2.0 and how the paradigm shift from mass media, interruptive marketing is not that great.

Educate groups and committees: whether it is working groups, non profits, employees, business associates or customers—make it interesting, try a bold headline that makes them want to read more. This is extreme but when I wanted people to listen to my Techno Granny Show on Blogging and I knew a lot of my listeners did not quite understand, I wanted them to know it was okay that they didn’t understand so they would listen in? So I titled the episode, Blogging—is that a Country Dance? When I did an episode on Blue Tooth Technology—the title was Blue Tooth: Do I need a dentist or a college degree? Be creative!

Notifications: –Let me know the difference in how this sounds? “Using Web 2.0 to Promote Your Business or “Using Web 2.0 to Get People to Love Your Biz?”

Communication challenges:

Is good communication a priority? Well, with all of the e-mail out there and blogs and the fact that in the information age communication is super pervasive, the answer is that it is a SUPER PRIORITY. Now that communication is so pervasive, people will just not accept poor communication, which includes misspelling if it’s written and poor grammar
Also using too much information is not a good thing. (don’t require scrolling because your customers won’t read it)

Appropriate level of technical details: Don’t use jargon; keep technical info to a minimum; provide a link to more information since people who want technical info will seek it out.

Communication Solutions:

Be simple and direct. Shorter stories are usually easier to write.
Make sure the story and it’s language are appropriate to your audience
How important is IT to the story? Establish what is need to know versus nice to know. How much technology needs to be in the story? Just because you’re an IT professional doesn’t mean you need to load your story up with technology details. You don’t need to impress people even if you are not an IT person with your knowledge of technology. Sometimes less is more and simple is better.
Accentuate the positive. Don’t need to say email will be down because you are replacing an antiquated, out of warranty server. Tell them “we are installing a new, improved state of the art e-mail server for your convenience. Make your message benefit based-- tell them the benefit they will recognize as a result of the service. You will get more consideration and understanding if they see a meaningful improvement following an inconvenience.
Keep a positive focus; do not be overly apologetic.
Use multiple channels for sharing information. One story is often not enough; may need to tell it multiple times or different stories to different audiences. Share your story in different formats, e mail, newsletter, post card, fax, (often ignored with the advent of e-mail—don’t!)
Good communication is everyone’s responsibility.

Framework of your communication for technology challenges which are going to happen because it’s a good day when technology works.
If it’s a technology challenge:

We know there is a problem.
We have a solution.
Here’s when we will fix it.
Here’s what you need to do
Here’s where to go for more information

Here are your resources to help you:
1. Colleagues: at home and other institutions
2. Your customers
Try communications on a few of them to see how it works before you send it.

Proactive suggestions for technology stories:

Take opportunities to make your customers look good for instance when one of your customers starts a newsletter, sets up Face Book or My Space or starts their own Social Networking Group. How about telling their stories briefly as an addendum to your story?

How about starting a Student Advisory Board—get some students to sign on with you as advisors and meet with them monthly during the semester. Students are always looking to update their resumes and being on an advisory board makes him look good. Ask t hem what are the IT issues they think are important and want to talk about this year? Don’t want just the folks who are IT knowledgeable to give you input.

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information: © Joanne Quinn-Smith, Monday Morning Marketeer 412-628-5048 Listen at: