When building a new website, what comes first: the contents or the container?
If you're building a new website for your business, chances are you're spending most of your time and creative energy focused on the wrong things. Are you guilty of of these mistakes? READ MORE
A dose of Al Reis
Most of whatever I learned about marketing that actually works came in one way or another from Al Reis and Jack Trout. I read all their books, attended their seminars and took their research and insights as the gospel. Here's a link to one of Al's most recent columns for Ad Age on how not to "overthink" the creation of a brand identity.
Truth Beats Creativity!
Facing today's marketing challenges takes one simple ingredient: the truth! The truth is more interesting than cliched ad copy. It's more credible than the 'telling and selling' most local businesses have been using for decades. Focalize Consulting, led by marketing expert Marty Gould, specializes in creating powerful, fact-based, customer-focused messaging and positioning strategies for online and traditional media. We have more than 25 years experience helping small businesses focus on differentiating from their competitors and mattering to their customers.
Content is Still King
Too many businesses feel they have to minimize and simplify their message, because they think their customers won't understand or aren't interested in the details of their business. WRONG! Today's customer-centric online marketing is driven by details.
Consumers surf the web in search of the information they need to make purchasing decisions. They're motivated by many more reasons than any business owner can account for. Simplifying your marketing message to a few hackneyed cliches in an attempt to broaden your company's appeal actually works in reverse. It prevents prospects from finding your message and making a connection. The more detailed and specific your online content, the more likely it will be of use to the people searching for that information. The more relevant your content is to a particular search request, the higher your website will be ranked on Google. The more external websites that link to your content, the higher your Google Page Rank. The more places your content appears (Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, articles, blogs, news releases, etc.), the better the chance your information will be seen and read. So, don't skimp on the details.
How Do You Manage Your Social Media?
Are you a blogger? Do you Tweet? Who manages your company Facebook page? Do you use LinkedIn? Are you syndicating articles? Publishing online news releases? Posting videos to You Tube? The list of social media sites is practically endless. It's easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer mass and volume of online communication options. Worse, it's even easier to be paralyzed by all those choices--and decide to do nothing.
In today's two-way, participant driven online world of continuous conversations, opting-out is simply not a realistic choice. The world will talk about you whether you participate or not, shaping the perceptions and decisions of prospects and current customers. You must be proactive and participate. Here are some easy steps to get started.
- Pick one place. Tackling social media is a lot like the old joke, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Better to focus on one site or type of social media and become proficient before adding on. If you're good at videos, start with creating a You Tube channel for your business. If you like to be spontaneous and to the point, head for Twitter and start building followers. Have a lot of friends already on Facebook? Leverage them by starting a page for your company, then ask your friends to "Like" the page and build a group of people who will be interested in your content.
- Do it regularly. Twitter and Facebook generally need to be fed on a daily basis. Blog posts can be once a week or maybe even twice a month. Whatever social media you utilize, make sure you do it on a consistent basis. Content gets old (and disappears) fast on social sites. Commit to a regular schedule.
- Speak with a personal voice. Don't present yourself as a business talking AT customers. Instead, engage in a more personal conversation with social media friends and fans. The company can be represented by a particular individual or by many people, all speaking from their personal perspective. The more voices the better. But make sure everyone who is a social media contributor at your business understands the goals and objectives of social media participation: to engage with customers and prospects.
- Always answer questions and comments. Monitor your social media sites for responses to posts and be ready to respond in a timely manner to requests, comments, questions and, especially, complaints. Don't fear them. Instead of just reacting defensively, acknowledge their point and respond honestly and effectively.
- Be interesting. The business owners who are best at social media focus first on posting things they know will be of interest to their followers. Some posts are business oriented. Others are personal. Some are inspirational. Find a niche of interest to you and delve deeply into it, whether or not it directly relates to what your business sells. Interesting content draws followers and gets passed along to others in the social media chain. You never know who will be a potential customer or why. You may make a connection through your shared interest in a topic, be it sports uniforms or recipes. It doesn't matter, as long as you're making connections.
- Monitor and track. Facebook has outstanding tools to track the traffic of your posts. Use the information to shape your message. See which types of posts get the most comments, the most likes, the most retweets, etc. You can change your strategy on the fly if something's not working and it won't cost you a dime, so don't be afraid to make changes based on the feedback you receive.
At Focalize Consulting, we teach our clients how to use social media to build relationships, friends, fans and loyal customers. We can even turnkey your social media strategy and execution, so you'll never have to worry about the technical issues related to posting, tweeting and blogging. Contact us at 888-224-9888 for more information on our full social media support services.