One of the extreme privileges I have in being a director at Digital Alberta is being able to see the extremely great work that digital media companies do here in Alberta, Canada. Truly world class stuff. Here is a sample. Enjoy.
1. Write blog articles on what your potential market is looking for
If you are looking for a job, pay attention to things (in the job description) that companies are looking for when they post employment opportunities.
If these are things that you have experience with, share freely your knowledge with your potential audience on your blog. They could be your next employer.
And please don\'t take this as "steal someone else's content from some other blog to demonstrate your experience". Anyone can do that! You still have to pass the interview, and people will know whether you know what you are talking about.
Show some finesse! Use the knowledge that you have combined with a particular situation that you've come across and show your *applied knowledge* to the problems that you solved.
2. Look on Internet forums to see what potential customers are saying
Look at what they are having trouble with; especially the ones that aren't getting any answers. They'll be looking.
Write a more informative solution than what is out there right now. Be exemplary.
Again, no stealing. You're a putz if you steal. All that says is that you know how to use copy and paste. Did I mention the word 'exemplary'?
Writing in general is not an art, it is a discipline. You can get better at it if you apply yourself.
3. Use Google Analytics to discover what people are *really* looking for on your site
Complete the strategies above, use ping-o-matic <link> and wait a few days, then plunk into GA.
Go to 'Traffic Sources', and look at the 'keywords' report.
Look at the keywords that people were searching for and found your site. Not everyone that reaches your site, is trying to solve the same problem. From the keywords listed, you should be able to find some other problems that people are trying to solve. Those could be your next blog posts.
When you start a blog you have to establish the audience whose attention you wish to capture. The focus should be on the topics that they are talking about.
Do all the regular things that you do to promote your blog or your website. And let people know that you are in on the conversation.
In the meantime, enjoy some movies from Arx Avari. The movies detail their process from going from storyboard, previz to final film. It is quite enjoyable!
I've been reading blog posts by Marshall Sandler, Chris Brogan, and Steve Hodson regarding promotion using social networking websites. And I can't agree more with what they say. I was originally going to put this post as part of my Top Ten Ways Or More To Ruin Your Business, and show how people are using social networking to grow their businesses. But I would have to be honest that the blog posts that I have mentioned really strike a chord with my own experience.
I've just started to experiment with social networking to promote my blogs and my business. I'm on Facebook and Linked In. I've joined a bunch of groups on each with like minded people, and I read the posts that people put up.
There are advantages for people who have a brand that people are interested in having a connection with. I've found Linked In and Facebook are very good for organizations who have events that they want to promote. Primarly because it offers a way to communicate to a select audience that is interested in the things that you do. Musicians and artists can promote shows and keep in contact with their fans. No need for an expensive mailout. Just do it on Facebook. The ability to connect with clients, friends and fans is wired into the application. All you need to do is develop something that your fans are genuinely interested in.
Linked In is a bit of a two headed hydra for me. A lot of the posts that are on groups and Questions and Answers section, are truly salespeople trying to get more sales for the business. 90% of the time if they have nothing to contribute freely to the people that they are selling to, they won't get any response. However, if you do have something to offer to people that is genuinely helpful or allows for other people to chime in about their business experiences, you might just have something there.
I've also found that there are people out there, that are very protective of their connections, yet at the same time want to connect with you and have all of yours. I find this to be disengenuous; are you connecting with me to form a 'connection' or do you just want all of my contacts? Despite the heralding of the new age of collaborative business sales development, there are still a slight taste of the old ways of selling.
The real trap with social networking is the feeling that you really have to subscribe to all these sites just to keep up with the techno-jones. More than 90% of the social networking sites that I've seen online I've never heard of. I can't imagine dedicating more time than I do already to promotion on all of those sites. It would be impossible to try to attempt to offer quality promotional content on all of them. I haven't even taken a look at Twitter, yet.
The real truth is you can't possibly connect with everyone. You really have to be focused in your efforts to network with like-minded people.
My wife and I visited the mall recently to upgrade my wife's cell phone plan, and get her a new phone. We had been to this particular cell phone kiosk four times during a two week period. The new phone we were interested in getting was either out of stock, or the computers weren't able to process our new contract that we were trying to sign on for. We had to inform the sales person that this was something that their manager should be aware of considering it was a stocking issue. We eventually got everything settled, but the process was extremely frustrating, and took a great deal of time out of both of our schedules.
It had me thinking about customer service and the current state of the economy in North America. People in both Canada and the United States are very weary of what is going on in our stock markets. We went by the local Linens N' Things store, to see that they were going out of business. When times are hard enough, how is it possible for a business to operate in such an irresponsible manner and expect to survive?
Here's what I came up with:
Do not provide any way for your customers to connect with a live customer service representative.
The best way to say 'not interested in your business' is to alienate the very people who provide word of mouth advertising for you. Put contact information up so that people may contact you when they are inquiring about your product or services. Use the web for creating FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) pages. Put pre-recorded messages on your phone service for common support questions. They are a great time saver for you, and convenient for the customer. But please – provide a place where people can reach a person to talk about all those other questions which aren't answered by a computer. Email, instant messaging, even Skype can provide convenient ways for you and your customers to form long lasting business relationships, without being tied down to a phone line. There are even companies that you can outsource your customer service to.
Increase your expenditures on traditional marketing and advertising in a ditch effort to gain new customers
Stats Canada reported that in 2006, an estimated 68.1% of Canadians have internet access in their homes. That's roughly 20 million potential customers. While the report also says that 99% of Canadians own at least one television, it is highly unlikely for a small business owner to be able to afford to create a national thirty second spot for every television network in Canada.
A focused web-based marketing strategy allows you to reach a global audience. A potential customer doesn't have to be up at 2 am in the morning to catch your infomercial or read the specific newspaper you placed your ad in. Your website is always available to them. As you grow more of a client base, you can keep in touch with them, through the use of an email newsletter that you can produce ever so often. You can add a layout to your email newsletter to have a professional look to it. Can you imagine the costs of creating the same newsletter using traditional print methods, and then having to mail them all around the world? Every couple of weeks? Is this cost effective? Certainly not.
Do not be diligent with your marketing or advertising strategies because you don't have the money or the time to promote your business.
Business is tight? No clients? You've taken the office doors off the frames to create some cheap office furniture for your employees? You feel that the most important thing is to focus on current clients because they are paying the bills and the salaries of your employees. You don't need to focus on the horizon because things are just fine as they are.
With the economy as uncertain as it is, can you trust that things will stay as they are? Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, once said that the only thing constant is change. An astute investment in your company's marketing is an investment to a secure financial future. You don't need to curb spending on marketing; you need to curb spending on unfocused solutions that cost you money and deliver poor results.
More in Part 2...