Email Marketing: Is Email List Building Still Worth It?

Build a following and fuel them up

Build a following and fuel them upFor years  now, marketing experts have said that to grow a business, you need to build a mailing list.

We hear advice like: “The money is in the list”.  It comes from marketing giants like Dan Kennedy, Copyblogger’s Brian Clark, and others.

Is this still true? Other smart people will tell you that email is passe, old hat, or even dead and you don’t need an email list to succeed: [Read more…]

Blogging VS Using a Content Marketing Strategy

The backbone of Content Marketing is the marketing funnel.  Unfortunately, the marketing funnel is often misunderstood:

The problem: Many business websites post updates as if we can turn strangers to callers on their first visit.

Difference between blogging and content marketingThis graphic shows a common state of confusion about how web marketing funnels work. The left side shows what happens with the mistaken idea that content alone will get calls. People are naturally defensive toward a sales pitch. But often we post our offers as if our words can overcome resistance from the visitor before you’ve build trust. It runs on hope. You post content, and hope people will see it, and hope they call.

The solution: Turn strangers into followers first – and informed prospects second.

The right side shows what happens with a well-designed content strategy. The funnel opens with a call to action. This action is the most likely thing a self-interested prospect would do – such as get some free information by email. Next, follow-up messages continue to offer help. You continue to give access to information with the goal of helping future clients understand their problem and their options better. How do you do this? Through every channel that you and your target client both use.

A well planned content marketing funnel is designed to serve your business goals – and the prospect’s goals to find valuable support.

Use content as a means to connect with a self-selected list of followers. Your followers learn your value, and you learn who is interacting with your valuable content. By learning more about who your best visitors are, you can tailor ongoing outreach to identify sales-ready leads and lower defenses enough to have a meaningful conversation.

Do you have good success getting visitors to contact you on the first visit? Do you have a way to tell how often visitors come to your website? Would you like to continue looking at this topic with together? If so, subscribe to the blog and get the next update automatically.

Play mp3s on any web page with Google Gadgets players

Got .mp3s?

Say you’re stashing your .mp3 files on box.net Dropbox, or Google Drive, or on your own web host.

And you want a quick way to allow visitors to play these files on your website. You just want to copy and paste a few lines of code – no plugins, no software, no fuss.

What you want is to embed an mp3 player. Something you can use like Google’s embeddable movie player (YouTube).

Turns out, Google offers a page full of embeddable mp3 players. Visit the Google Gadgets page and search for mp3 player, or just go here for the mp3 player list.

Hints andtips for using Google’s mp3 Gadget

As a quick demo, I scrolled down the list and chose the gadget listed at:
Use Google Audio Player to play mp3 file. Advance by step of 5 secondes” [their typo, not mine :) ].

There’s a button under that entry: add to your webpage

You fill in the form. NOTE: Replace their title with your own, or you’ll have to live with the typo in the demo title. It’s supposed to show you a preview, but that didn’t work for me. Try it anyway: fill in the form and click the button to get your code. I’ve copied and pasted my code for the player above.

Despite the preview glitch it works.

Yep. (This is a recording of “Steve’s Groove” written by a wonderful guitarist Tom Liddle, and featuring Steve Olson of the Bob Schwartz Quartet on drums, and yours truly on the keyboard).

Ready to try one? Post your link in comments.

10 Dos and Don’ts for Naming Your Local Business

When you start a local business, nothing is more important than being easy to find in your area.

When it comes to your website, the name you choose has an important job in making you more visible on the street and online.

Your Name Matters for Your Visibility

Google and other search engines, look at the domain name — or web address — of your site when ranking results for searchers.  It’s not the only factor in how visible you are online, but it’s important to how relevant you look to people searching in your area.

Your city or town name is almost always part of a search term when people are looking for nearby services.  So search engine and people both tend to rate businesses matching the town name higher, all other things being equal.

10 Tips for Choosing a Local Business Domain Name

Here are 10 tips for choosing a domain name to help position you well in front of people looking for what you do locally:

  1. Do include the name of your location in your domain name
  2. Do make your name distinctive
    • Don’t settle for using hyphens to make yours different from a close competitor. Avoid hyphens in general. Be altogether different.
    • Choose something easy to remember by sound or with simple easy words
    • Consider acronyms or abbreviations – they can work: for example, FaifaxVADentistry.com uses the 2-letter state abbreviation.
    •  Consider using numbers in your name. While experts disagree, a street number, a number with special meaning can work. There are millions of design businesses, for example, yet this name sticks out in my mind: 1LoudRoar.com.
  3. Come up with several options.  If you have trouble coming up with ideas, brainstorm with friends.
  4. Keep trying – don’t believe that there’s only one good name. There are simply good ideas that take longer than others. Some excellent names will come in time. Give it a few days, even a week or two.
  5. Run your best ideas by someone who knows marketing and is not a friend. Friends really can’t be objective. Get feedback from trusted business colleagues, an online forum like Startup Nation, a closed membership group or a local business networking group
  6. Don’t try to include every concept in your business name. Focus on your location and your business area, result or promise you deliver.
  7. Keep it short. A name not longer than 15 characters (before the .com) is ideal.  If you have to go longer, try to minimize the length of your name. You can’t register a name over 67 characters – and I hope you don’t come close.
  8. Make it easy to say and hear correctly.
  9. Use a .com extension – don’t use .net or .co. According to MOZ (the search engine experts formerly known as SEOMOZ), extensions like .co or or .info often indicate spammers
  10. Once you have a domain name for your blog – use it for email as well, for instance,  yourname@ [yourbusiness.com] That way people learn your business name. Don’t give out your gmail.com or aol.com or yahoo.com address for business.  It’s not professional.

It may require some effort to come up with a business name that’s an asset to your business. But it’s time well spent – using a name you have to change later is a whole new set of issues. And you’d rather be growing your business.

Is Your Website Helping You Grow?

What is the most frustrating thing about your website?

That’s the question I’m asking this week.

I’m asking everyone I know – I’ve asked clients, each person subscribing to my blog, and you.

So why is “what’s frustrating about your website?” such an important question?

Knowing Where To Focus is Half the Battle

The most successful online businesses show us that answering the biggest concerns your people have is at the root of success with your website. As Greg Habstritt said in Commit Slowly, Complete Fully, the first step toward success is knowing who you’re in business to serve.

Do you agree with this? In order to serve your clients and prospects well, it’s really important to understand where they’re coming from and what need, frustration or change they’re looking to make. I believe it.

Feeling stuck?

My mission is to help you in running a website that’s an asset to your business and has you doing MORE of what you love. Do you ever feel like keeping your business website going is more trouble than it’s worth? Do you ever feel like it gets in the way of, what you’re ‘put here to do’ or what’s the most fulfilling work for you?

If your website is helping you grow like gangbusters – great. If you’re like me, you’re making some progress but seeing a lot of potential still to reach.

I admit – my biggest frustration today as I write this is blogging. I know from experience that new content brings in new visitors. But until now, I only write posts when I ‘steal time’ from something else.

My answer to myself is to dedicate the first 30 minutes each workday to write for my blog.

But your biggest concern might be different.

What Is Your Main Website Concern Today?

Could it be one of these?

  • How do I get more traffic?
  • How do I use WordPress to sell my services?
  • How to I get more visitors?
  • What can I say to rise above the noise and get people tuning in?
  • What should I put on my site next?

The reason I want to know is: to focus my work on what you most want to know NOW. There are so many things a website CAN do. But knowing what to do NEXT is often the biggest challenge of all.

I want to help you make your website into something that helps you grow. You know that a website can be a great way to communicate and connect with the people you can truly help, and who’d love to work with you.

Focus helps us all move forward. So, take a minute and help yourself in the comments below. When you think of your business website right now, what is the one thing that bothers you most? Just put the first thing that comes to mind. There’s no better way to move forward than to focus on one thing. What website issue would you like to face today?

Help yourself grow - pick one website frustration you want to focus on, and share it in the comments.