It’s The Message, Not The Media, That Matters


message in a bottle

Message Is Not The Media

A Great Local Marketing Messaging Cuts Across All Media Channels
It’s tempting with all the new marketing channels created by the Internet to get caught up in the hype of the latest and greatest toy.  Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram, SnapChat seem like huge engines to get your local business notices.  No doubt, your social media toy is shiny and cool. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is talking about Facebook and Twitter. You cannot turn anywhere and miss the conversation about them.  But, those are the media channel from which you communicate.  The media is the means to get your message out, the way to interact.  Your MESSAGE is why they engage with you.

Without your strong relevant message and/or noteworthy activities like client successes or new products, it will not matter what media you choose for your marketing. Think of it like the news. While the news can be crazily sensational, it constantly piques your interest.  You can pique prospects’ interest if you have a great, interesting, compelling message.

In ancient times, storytellers told tales and lessons from ancestors.  The town crier delivered news of the day and messages from the leaders.  In some cultures, there were drums delivering information.  Stone tablets were another favorite from the Bible.  Then, we evolved to pen and paper.  That guy, Guttenberg, changed the whole world with a printing press, creating mass media nearly overnight.

Throughout the evolution of communication from the stone tablets, printing press to Internet-driven citizen journalists and content publishers, it’s the story, the substance, the essence that have mattered most to the recipient of the message.  The method (AKA as the media) of message delivery is not doubt a big deal.  While television networks, radio stations and networks, newspapers (until recently), printers and Internet companies are HUGE businesses, they only deliver news and messages created by others.

The Truth of Messaging

Your local business marketing message has to pique a prospect’s interest. They are not robots. They want to be excited. They are curious. They want to feel safe. Message matters because however a prospect encounters you, they want to know what you do, what you think and how your business can help them.

It is ESSENTIAL for a service-based companies to have a strong message. You have no product that your prospect can hold and they really, really have to trust you to buy from you

Think about your own experience. What’s the last thing you bought? How did it catch your eye? Why that product? Why not something else? Why are you spending your money there? Use that experience to think about what message “they” sold you on and use it to influence your message

Worried about scaring them with a “negative” message? Study after study shows that humans respond to problems better than goals. You won’t be negative or scary if you come from a genuine place of help.

3 Ways To Develop A Strong Message

Answer one of these questions. Write out your story. Cut it down to a few lines or just one. Tell that story to everyone.

  • What problems do you solve for your clients?
    • List them out
    • See if you can consolidate them into several major themes
    • Keep in mind that clients will pay for results.  So what results can you deliver?
  • What successes have your clients had from working with you?
    • Along the lines of results, what numbers or statistics did you clients achieve.
    • Think of what happened when they came to you, what you did and what happened from working with you.
    • You can deliver that story in about 3-5 lines.
  • What is the most passionate, core idea of your business? What motivates you?
    • You probably give free advice.  That’s your passion.
    • Your passion drives the free advice – a belief that everyone deserves….(fill in the blank)
    • What would you stand on a soap box and tell anyone who’ll listen about your profession.

With a strong message, you’ll find others responding to you and trying to help you because they understand you. After all, isn’t that what we all want? A little understanding.

120 Ways To Get Readers To Your Local Business Blog. Juice It Up!

Give your blog juice

Given the explosion of blogs and bloggers, you probably think you’re going to get lost in a churning sea of information.  That’s entirely possible.  But, there are some things you can to do pull your blog into the boat and save yourself from drowning or  getting lost at sea.

Why should you blog?  For local businesses it’s a surprisingly good way of adding “juice” to your website.  Google’s algorithm (the formula for delivering results) is constantly on the hunt for three things: 1) relevance, 2) freshness, and 3) connection.  When you blog, you do all of those, making it far more likely that your business will turn up in the highly coveted organic results.  Remember, Google wants  be the go-to search engine so they give you results that really match your query.  Then, the look for websites that are tended to.  A blog shows that you tend your website without you constantly having to update your other pages.  As far as connections go, the algorithm looks for social media connections and links.  Comments go along ways to.  See if you can solicit comments from some of your fans and remember to post your blog to your Facebook Fan Page.

In this infographic, that’s intended for new local business blogs, there’s great advice for both new and experienced bloggers to get discovered by Google.  Of course, Google isn’t the only search engine but it’s used by 70% – 80% of all users.  So it’s the 800-lb gorilla in the room.  It cannot be ignored.  Appealing to Google is the best way to juice up your blog.

 

120 Marketing Tactics for New Blogs

Infographic by Digital Philippines

Perfection Kills Marketing

 

business teamwork - business men making a puzzle

I’m as much a diehard practitioner of perfection as anyone.  I’ve got undone projects galore.  I’m always on the lookout for salvation, the perfect to-do list, a faster way to do organize papers, the most perfect, perfect marketing method, etc.  It’s EXHAUSTING.

Then, I read this from Mike Brooks’ article on Yahoo!Small Business’ website and I was freed.

Money loves speed

I love this statement. Coined by a long time friend of mine, I use it often.

What this means is that procrastination due to a desire for perfection is the enemy of action. And action is what breeds results.

Most people are so hung up on wanting to make whatever they are doing – a website, a blog post, a marketing piece – perfect that they never launch anything. Or it takes 10 times as long.

Mr. Brooks is right on.  Frequently, I tell my clients to just start marketing.  I will meet you where you are.  It’s time to do that for myself.  And, it’s time to take your local business’ marketing and just start executing.

If you have some things in place: products and/or services, know who your target or ideal clients are,  a vivid vision of your business and what you want to do.  You will also need to know what the results of your marketing might look like.

Then, get going.  Choose 3-5 marketing methods and attack them.

  • Offline Advertising
  • Online Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Telemarketing
  • Relationship marketing
  • Structured networking groups
  • Community marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Events
  • Passive marketing
  • Direct mail

Treat your marketing like a lab.  Experiment. Review. Retool.  Implement changes.  Start getting sales.

 

 

 

Create Your Small Business Blogging Plan in 30 Seconds or Less

 

Plan Your Blog Now

I’ve been trying to plot out my blogging plan for ages.  I have articles and ebooks on 100 Ways to Create Blog Content, Guest Posting for Success, etc.  Blah, blah, blah.  Once again, I’m always drinking from the firehose and stumbling around looking for direction.  It’s pretty maddening sometimes.

Then, today, the heavens opened and I found the BEAUTIFUL infographic below.  Aaah, the angels sang and the sky wept.  Maybe it was me, shedding a tear of joy!  It’s a really, really cool plan/formula to create a blogging calendar.  And, it leaves no mystery to how to do it.  You don’t need to reinvent the wheel with this amazing system from LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions Blog.

Marketing planning, no matter the size of your business, just gets tedious sometimes.  Creating plans with seemingly far away goals can overwhelm you.  Instead, if you are a local business owner, challenged with getting clients from the internet, see if this works for you.  Based on the idea of a well-balanced diet, LinkedIn neatly breaks down the steps to creating a small business blogging plan.

No longer be overwhelmed with tips and tricks on blogging.  Go tackle it.  I know I’m gonna give it a whirl!

The Blogging Food Groups: A Well-Balanced Diet of Content [INFOGRAPHIC] from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

Holiday Morning Treats

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake?  Yes, please.  Served this up at my blogging club this morning.  Was a huge hit and very, very tasty.  I’m exploring uses for pureed pumpkin.  You can never go wrong when the recipe says “cream together brown sugar and eggs.”

 

Pumpkin Coffee Cake for the Holidays 2013

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

Here’s the recipe.  Great for year-round morning meetings!

From Williams Sonoma

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel

Lighter than you would expect, with the rich flavor of pumpkin and spices, and a thick layer of crunchy brown sugar and pecan streusel, this coffee cake would make an ideal dish for the winter holidays or for a festive autumn brunch. Serve with big steaming cups of joe.

Ingredients:

For the streusel:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch of kosher salt

6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (see note below)

 

For the batter:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup sour cream

Baker’s Note:
For more pumpkin pie-like flavor add clove and allspice.

 

For the glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Baker’s Note:
1 tsp milk wasn’t enough.  Add milk until glaze is the consistency of syrup.  Use fork to splatter over coffee cake.

Directions:
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch cake pan with 3-inch sides.

To make the streusel, in a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Toss in the butter and, using 2 table knives or a pastry cutter, cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Alternatively, whir the ingredients in a food processor. Stir in the pecans. Set aside.

To make the batter, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the pumpkin puree and sour cream and mix with the spatula. Stir in the flour mixture. The batter will be quite thick.

Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter over the streusel and spread the thick batter as best you can. Top with the remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the sides from the pan and slide the cake onto the rack.

 

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Cut into thick wedges and serve. Makes one 9-inch coffee cake

 

Baker’s note: To toast pecans, preheat an oven to 325°F. Spread the nuts out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

 

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2011).

 

 

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  Isn’t that what your mom and dad told you?

I could probably retire if I had a $1 for every time I heard that growing up.  It came with an eyeroll from the kids and a smug look from my dad, the main culprit of quotes.

You know what?  He was right.  Shhh.  Don’t tell him.

What does this have to do with marketing?  EVERYTHING.  It’s really a struggle to get local small businesses to continue with advertising, try a technique again or stay with what’s becoming boring to them.  It’s even harder when something doesn’t seem to work.  Getting lousy results makes it hard to trust doing the same thing again.  Except the most successful businesses cared less about perfection and more about improving on mistakes.

Here’s a great infographic to remind us that “overnight” sensations are anything but.  Let’s stay encouraged that even the most successful tried again and again before perfection.

Success comes from failure