Archive for the ‘Blog Marketing’ Category

Does Your Business Have the Personality of a Carrot?

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Message from Michelle

September already–I can hardly believe it. My schedule is already filled with networking events, birthday parties, and fall festivals. On top of that, there’s completing client work and implementing my own marketing plan.

It’s easy to get busy. It’s too easy to get caught up in the doing. This issue of Sumèr’s Secrets is about slowing down–taking a break from the doing–and taking the time to look long and hard at your company’s brand message.

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Feature Article:

Does Your Business Have the Personality of a Carrot?

You might not think so, but do your prospective customers? If you want to achieve online business success and attract more clients, you must step outside of your usual realm of thinking and view your company from an outsider’s perspective. From the perspective of your target market.

Too many times businesses either neglect their brand message or don’t project it accurately. When this happens, a brand image is easily misconstrued and it can have a devastating effect on your business.

Don’t let your prospects think your company is comparable to a carrot–orange is out of style.

Here are some tips for making sure an accurate brand image is shining through in all that you do:

Step 1: Take inventory. Review your company vision and mission, what types of products / services you offer, what sets you apart from your competition, where your products / services are sold, and all the details about your target market.

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to take a hard look at how you are projecting your business message. Take out a piece of paper, and answer the following questions as honestly as you can.

  1. Is your message accurate and consistent on your website, your blog, and social media sites?
  2. Are your vision and mission expressed in your messaging?
  3. Are you speaking to your target audience or at them?
  4. Would you purchase a product / service from your company based on what you see from your marketing materials?

You may be surprised to find that your message is boring–extremely boring. Or you simply aren’t conveying an accurate message.

Step 2: Don’t feel down about Step 1–your findings do not mean your company is boring or unorganized or incompetent. It simply means your marketing message is not clear and accurate. Every business should regularly analyze how they’re projecting their brand personality and message.

Step 3: Ask friends, family, and colleagues if they would purchase from you based on your current marketing message. Make sure to ask people who will give you an unbiased opinion. If anyone says that he or she would not purchase from you, ask why. Perhaps your web copy does not project the correct business image, and you lose prospective customers who visit your site. Maybe your website design is jumbled and difficult for viewers to navigate through. Perhaps your website lacks a strong call to action or is simply boring.

Step 4: Now that you know where your website and other marketing materials need improvement, it’s time to revamp them and inject some brand personality. Whether you need web design work, a professional web copywriter, a blog marketing expert, or a social media guru, it’s important to find the right one who can provide you with the results you desire. Don’t hire just anyone. Do your research.

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Brand Message Global Positioning System: Locate Your Brand Message from A – Z

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Your brand message is present everywhere. In fact, it’s all around you—in reality and virtually. That’s not meant to scare you though; this isn’t the Matrix—I promise. But, if you want to ensure your business message is working for your company, you need to know where it is and what it looks like to others. If you neglect your brand message appearance in certain areas, you may be losing a huge audience. Imagine all of the prospective clients you can attract if your brand message is accurate and strong in every area where it’s present.

Where does your brand message appear?

A business card: Many times a business card is what reminds prospects to call you. If you don’t have a professional-looking business card that projects an accurate brand message, your card might as well go in the garbage.

Blog appearance: An organized sidebar, constantly updated content, and contact information that is easy to find are crucial if you want prospects returning to your blog—or for that matter, even reading it. A sloppy-looking blog that isn’t updated shows to prospects that your business must be the same way. Don’t let them think this.

Comments you leave on other blogs: Offer constructive comments that add to the conversation. A nasty response isn’t going to attract anyone.

Digg: Increase your friend base and add valuable information to the conversation. Digg other people’s articles and blogs—not just your own.

Email signature and content: Be professional, and be sure to include your name, website, and contact information in your email signature. Avoid using a long-drawn-out signature that has lots of colored fonts. This is overkill.

Facebook: This is a viral social media platform, so whatever you say can go a long way. Be sure you are projecting your brand image appropriately and accurately.

Graphic design (on both print collateral and online): Bad graphic design elements could be projecting an inaccurate brand image for your company. Make sure you use graphics that drive the prospect to take action, that are in line with your brand image, and that don’t look cheap.

Homepage: Your website homepage should invite the prospect to search deeper into your website and learn more about your company and the products / services you offer. And it only has 3 – 5 seconds to do this, so make it count. Industry discussion forums: Provide valuable information to the discussion. No one likes a Debbie Downer so avoid unconstructive criticism.

Industry discussion forums: Provide valuable information to the discussion. No one likes a Debbie Downer so avoid nonconstructive criticism.

Jpeg: Whether you’re using Facebook, your blog, Twitter, or Flickr to post your photos, they should be clear and crisp, appropriate, and of interest to your followers.

Knol: Chronicle morsels of interesting industry information on Google Knol. A Knol is “a unit of knowledge.” Knol online platform allows you to share your expertise and increase exposure.

Logo design: This is the physical image behind your company. Make sure it illustrates your brand image correctly.

Media outlets (both on- and offline): Bad PR can give you a bad reputation. Search through the web, or sign up for Google Alerts for your company and see what others are saying about it.

Networking events (both on- and offline): Listen to what everyone has to say. Don’t talk about yourself every moment. Learning about what others have to say is more important in building relationships than talking about yourself. And since the whole point of networking events is to build relationships, listening is key.

Online marketing campaigns: Everywhere you place your name both on- and offline, has a direct correlation to your company. Your message needs to reflect your brand image.

Physical appearance: Always look professional and well put-together. Even when you’re taking out your trash, you should look tidy—neighbors and people who drive or walk by could be potential customers or prospective business partners.

Q & A participation on LinkedIn: Q & A is one of LinkedIn’s greatest features. It allows you to ask questions to others in your industry and answer questions others have asked.

Reddit: This social bookmarking site allows people to rate blogs, links, and articles. Check Reddit frequently to see what others are saying.

Stumbleupon: Increase your friend base and add valuable information to the conversation. Bookmark other people’s articles and blogs—not just your own.

Teleseminars (thought I was going to say Twitter, didn’t you?): Interact with prospects, and share your expertise on teleseminars. They provide the perfect opportunity for positioning yourself as an expert. Just make sure you have a well-written and valuable script that projects an accurate brand message.

User-friendly website: When viewers can’t properly navigate through your website, they become frustrated and move on to a website that they can navigate through. Don’t lose customers to a difficult-to-use website.

Video content on YouTube: Your video should reinforce your brand, not hinder it. A poorly made video—whether it be bad quality, muffled sound, or flat-out pointless—reflects your brand image.

Website copy: Bad web copy not only impedes your ability to rank high in search engine results pages, but it also projects a bad image of your company. This is not what you want.

X stands for the unknown: You aren’t ever going to be able to know every last place your business message is present. Remember that online marketing is viral—it can be difficult to find all the thousands of connections between your website and others. This is where Google Alerts comes in handy. Signing up for Google Alerts for your company is an excellent way to track connections that fall through the cracks. It sends you updates on where your company name has been found across the Internet.

Yahoo! Bookmarking: People are bookmarking you, so watch what you say.

Z . . . I’ve got nothing. Any suggestions?

Why We Love Google Wonder Wheel

Friday, September 4th, 2009

When you’re at a loss for words and have nowhere to turn for the perfect blog topics, Google Wonder Wheel is there for inspiration. This highly effective tool brings the topics to you. All you have to do is type in a keyword and related words pop up. Click a related word for even more related words and continue until you find the perfect word that inspires your next blog topic. View the tutorial below for details on how to use this wonderful wheel:

Goodbye, Memo—Hello, Social Media

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Once upon a time, the dreaded memo was a popular way to communicate with the business workforce. It’s safe to say sending out a memo was a gamble. Perhaps half of the employees briefly skimmed, and the other half asked the skimmers what the memo was about. This one-way communication tool appears to be highly endangered, if not extinct.

If you’re looking to find a free and easy-to-use online communication tool for your employees to be motivated and engaged, social media sites are excellent platforms. Not only are social media sites being used by businesses as a website marketing and promotion tool, but they’ve also proven quite successful with fostering interaction among the workforce.

In a survey conducted by the International Association of Business Communicators and Buck Consultants, researchers studied how businesses are keeping employees engaged and productive through communication.

Communication is one of the most vital components in keeping businesses thriving and successful. Without proper communication from all members of a company workforce, it’s extremely difficult to keep a solid business structure from crumbling.

The IABC and Buck Consultants’ survey took a deeper look into what type of vehicles businesses use to communicate with their employees and keep them motivated to achieve company goals. Guess what? The memo wasn’t one of them.

Of the 1,500 survey participants, 79 percent say they use social media to communicate with employees and facilitate result-oriented behavior, compared to 75 percent who say they use email to communicate. Blogs take the top spot in social media popularity with 47 percent of participants using blogs as their main social media tool at work.

Using blogs to communicate is an excellent way to encourage employees to comment and read other employees’ comments. This type of communication is collaborative and engages readers, since it’s usually a more informal approach than a memo. Brief chunks of information on a blog can be digested easier and facilitate more conversation and interaction among the workforce than a long, formalized memo.

Other social media sites currently being used among business employees are Twitter, Yammer, and Facebook. Twitter at 21 percent, is the runner-up to blogs.

If you’re using social media sites for your website marketing and promotion, try using it for communication among employees. If it works for website marketing and promotion, it might just work for bringing your workforce closer together and more motivated.

5 Tips To Increase Traffic to Your Website

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Increasing targeted traffic to your website can cost a small fortune. But it doesn’t have to if you know the right tips, tools, and strategies to get a significant amount of targeted traffic that you need right now. 

·       Post comments on blogs, forums, and discussion boards related to your target market. It would be highly beneficial for you to join a discussion board / forum related to your industry in order to post comments, get consumer feedback, and be introduced to new industry information you may not already know. Posting relevant and helpful comments can increase your credibility and lure more readers to your website link. After every comment, include a link to your blog or website to increase targeted traffic.

·       Social bookmarking is a great way to increase targeted traffic. Bookmarking your online articles and website on a site, such as Digg, under specific categories allows you to reach out to your target market. It permits you to share your web content with others and allows them to vote on its content. If it becomes popular among viewers, it will be voted to the front page of the bookmarking site and be viewed by thousands of potential clients.

·       Utilizing RSS feed and email lists allows you to reach subscribers interested in what your company has to offer. RSS feed and emails are similar since they’re both sent to subscribers, providing them with updated information. RSS feed makes it easy for subscribers to be alerted immediately and allows them to click on the link to your website. Using these combined marketing strategies will increase your client base and will likely ensure an increase in visits to your website.

·       Exchange links with others to increase targeted traffic. If your link can be found on a handful of sites, it can dramatically increase the number of clients visiting your site.

·       Online Article Directories allow you to place niche-oriented articles into specific categories. Your target audience is more likely to be searching for articles in a specific category. For example, if your real estate company writes an article for and submits it under the Real Estate category, you’ll receive viewers who are specifically searching for Real Estate articles. This will eliminate viewers who are not in your specific target market.

For more helpful tips on marketing in economic crisis and to learn about our many marketing services, visit Michelle Salater Writing and Editorial, LLC.

How Blog Commenting Can Make Your Business Successful

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Blogging is an excellent way to get thousands of potential customers, increase website traffic, and boost company credibility. One thing many bloggers don’t realize is the importance of commenting on other blogs. This is an excellent way to get inbound links to your site, gaining you more potential customers. Commenting on blogs is a powerful networking tool in the internet community and should not be overlooked.

Your comments should . . .

·       Add value and your expertise to what is being said in the blog.

·       Give positive feedback. Don’t be a Debbie-Downer, even if you disagree with what the author is saying. It’s important to give constructive criticism.  

·       Peak the interest of the author and other viewers. Authors who are intrigued by your comment may want to visit your blog and comment themselves. This creates even more clicks to your site.

·       Contain links to similar pieces you may have written about the subject. 

·       Be relevant to the blog topic. Make sure you’re on a site where your target market would visit and be interested in what you have to say, relevant to the topic of the blog. People may get frustrated if they click on a link that is not relevant to the topic, possibly creating a poor image of your company in the client’s mind.

·       Have a link to your email and website below comments you make. When people viewing the blogs see comments below that intrigue them, there is always the potential for them to click on these links to view your site or send an email your way.

Visit Michelle Salater Writing and Editorial, LLC, for more marketing tips and view our many writing services.

5 Ways a Blog Can Help Your SEO Efforts

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

1. Search engines hone in on the most relevant information to your search. What’s more relevant than an up-to-date blog with a focused topic? Constantly updating your blog will enhance your site rankings.

2. It’s all about the links. Let’s say someone found your blog in a simple search for a particular topic. Now that they’re on your blog, they have the option of clicking on various links. Links to your main blog page, specific pages on your website, and other links you provide work to your benefit. Links can also be embedded into the written content on your blogs, peaking interest in the viewer.

3. Keyword placement is critical in attracting viewers to your blog. Keywords that are focused on your target market will provide the greatest benefits. A set of the same three or four keywords can be placed strategically in the title, links, categories, and body of a blog. Don’t use generalized keywords or words that you think will attract a general crowd. Why? Because general searches won’t necessarily get you sales. Attract a specific target market with profitable keywords. Your goal is to get a high conversion rate from your visitors. This won’t happen if you generalize your target market. Know your target market and get specific with your keywords.

4. The right keywords can get your blog inbound links from other higher-ranking sites. Inbound links are links from other websites or blogs that go directly to yours. Viewers who see your blog link on other sites may be interested in checking out your site as well.

5. Posting your blogs on social bookmarking sites will also increase your company’s exposure. Popular blogs and articles are ranked and, in turn, can get your blog tons of views per day. The relevancy of topics on these sites also helps increase your search engine rankings.