Magically, we're just about to reach 2012 -- end of the world by some estimates. (Mayan Calendar and all.) But maybe, as some people suggest ... it's just the end of the world as we know it. And as the entire business world goes online and we turn from "real" to "digital," maybe they're right.
Surprisingly, though, a lot of small businesses still don't have a website. A website. Wow. It is 2012 after all. Or, you know ... their website is awful, and they probably know it. Now, if you have nothing online to sell yourself, are you really expecting future success? Or are you playing a lovely game of "passive-aggressive" with yourself? I don't know why I'm not succeeding. I'm trying so hard! I've done what I can to make it easy and affordable for you to get online if you're not already. Please consider this important update if it's needed.
But now let's talk about social marketing. Are you on Linked In, Facebook, or Twitter with your business? Do you know that they are EASY to sign up for, and spending just a little time each week talking about something you know about -- your business -- is a free way to attract legitimate interest in your business. Are you making use of this?
(Ok ... you're not just talking about YOUR BUSINESS. You're talking about things related to it. You build credibility in that field, and therefore attract the right kind of attention to your business.)
There are ways to automate content on your social networks too. And this is useful for the consistency and quality it offers. But no one else has your unique perspective on your industry (even if it's just how to make a great pizza), and it's good to offer that from time to time. And certainly to engage in online conversation with anyone asking questions. Be there for them and start to build the trust and even the FRIENDSHIP that can yield long-term business.
The more I observe the world, the more I feel that every bit of it is communication. So no wonder they say this is the crux of a good marriage. It's also the crux of any relationship, and that includes the relationship between your business and other businesses and clients or customers.
I often talk about how this is really all forms of communication, from the obvious -- commercials, display ads, direct mail, websites, etc. -- to the non-obvious like bills and phone messages and even business systems -- yeah, how you do things is like body language, and affects the customer experience. This is why I so urgently want to help small businesses get help when they need it: I see what they're doing; I know they can do better; and I know that it can help their bottom line.
Of course it's important that communication be genuine, and what's appropriate for one business definitely isn't for another. How I dress every day as a writer -- jeans and a fleece or flannel in the winter -- just doesn't work for a corporate lawyer because how we dress is part of our communication. (One good reason for me to not be a corporate lawyer.)
So you need to find the language that's right for your business. But when you know what your language is, make sure you don't slur. What I mean is, be genuine, but be easy to understand by your audience. Don't misspell unless that's part of the shtick. Having a "raw" video doesn't mean having terrible editing for the video. Running an expensive display ad that's jammed with text to the point that people can't read it ... well, what good is that doing you?
You see, the whole world is communication. But communication is a two-way street. Remember your audience and how your message will be received.
While I'll keep using this blog to share my own tools, tips, and insights to help your business thrive, I realized that the most valuable content I can give you just might be real-life, hands-on feedback about YOUR writing or design needs.
So I'm throwing the doors open here to a service on this blog that could be worth hundreds of dollars to you as an individual business -- send me a writing or design project you're working on, and if you give me permission to feature a "before and after" on the blog for others to benefit from, I'll offer personalized feedback. It can be anonymous, or we can showcase who you really are and perhaps attract others to your business through this blog.
Maybe I take your current business card or display ad and show a new version you could consider; or part of your direct mail piece with headline and opening variations. Anything you need a hand on with specific thoughts for improvement that, in turn, will be useful for others to see as well. I'll look for a variety of business types to help as many people as possible through this blog. So please ... let's tackle something together and see what we can turn it into.
Want us writing or designing your next ad for free? We will if your next ad is done via text message! Here's how it works:
We've joined a new mobile marketing program where advertisers can reach an audience targeted by location, age, gender, and interests. And you reach them by text message -- something people typically read immediately, and that reaches people about 3 times more than e-mails do.
These people are paid to receive these text messages, so they're eager to hear from you! And because we earn a referral for introducing your business to the program, we can afford to write your text with you, or even design your MMS message so you're sending a graphic instead.
You only pay for those you want to reach, targeted the way you like. So if you want to get started with mobile marketing today, this is a great approach. Join here and then talk to us about helping with your ad!
We kind of like this one -- our new free blog writing service. You need content to help build your search engine rankings, and we love to provide custom, quality content. We'll put together a top-notch entry for your blog when you give us permission to include a link to one of our websites in the body text. It's a great win-win scenario!