It’s no surprise that digital marketing is on the rise, beating out print and other static platforms. That’s why traditional media is working overtime to influence their target audiences online and start a healthy conversation. The beginner all the way through to the expert knows that you have to engage before you start the buying process. LKT (like, know, trust) will always rule.

For small business owners, digital marketing doesn’t have to be rocket science, but you should at least have a strategy. Just like going to the moon, you hopefully wouldn’t launch without a plan. Trial and error works at NASA and when you’re building your online brand.

Here’s a Preview of 5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2018 [Hint, they’re here already)

  • Take a look at the way Google explains Micro Moments, where a customer expects brands to cater to their needs via their mobile phones.
  • Plain and simple, customers have a love affair with video. A combination of high quality video content as well as interfacing with more informal Facebook Live. Video captures attention and attracts eyeballs/buyers. Get on the wagon if you’re not already.
  • Native ads are beating out interruptive ads. There’s a growing frustration over pop-up ads. But, for some reason, customers don’t seem to mind content that just happens to show up, be it advertorials, sponsor ads or recommendations placed right in front of them.
  • Bring on more dynamic content and websites, and please make it personalized! Invest in content developers who are skilled and savvy to satisfy existing customers and attract prospects by word of mouth.
  • Nurture a team of influencers who will be your brand advocates. One happy customer tells another and TADA! you’ve started a snowball effect. To quicken the effort, and if budget allows, hire a celebrity, YouTube star or industry blogger to speak on your behalf. Money talks and people listen, if they’re aligned.

If you’re an expert in your field, you know how important it is to stay up to date with what’s going on.  But, it’s not always easy because there’s so much information out there. As a recovering perfectionist, I limit myself to a few hours a week reading, browsing online and skimming headlines.

This Week’s Info About Audio Tools to Record, Transcribe and Save Time:

  1. Don’t want to pay for transcription services? Check out this cool Dictation tool that allows you to record from your computer microphone, save and copy text.  Google Docs Voice Typing may also be a favorite as it records your voice in up to 43 languages. Available in Chrome browsers.
  2. Afraid to miss something? Meet Cogi. Use this voice recording app to records conversations, important meetings and ah-ha moments to share and get feedback from team members. Plus, keep all the information in one place.  Available as a freemium version and paid version.
  3. Are you the next Voice star? The Parrot app lets you record, play and share your voice, even songs for your next big audition. You can use it as a dictation device, record phone conversations with the Pro version, and it’s all in HD. Check out TheParrotApp for details.
  4. Like to record your next Skype call? You can, with these tools. Amolto, Callnote Premium, and Ecamm call recorder. Prices vary from free, to 30-day test trials and purchase with lifetime updates.  Worth a look if you want to record audio and/or video on Skype.
  5. Need professional audio editing? You can pay zippo or look at a couple of affordable audio solutions with a sampling of these easy to use productivity tools. Audacity, WavePad and Adobe Audition, which you can try out with a free trial.  My advice is always the same.  Try before you buy.

One of the reasons I love helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and experts is because of what you say when you’re true to yourself. When nobody’s looking and there’s no judgement, you peel away layers of should haves and perceived mistakes. In the trust zone, there’s nothing to hide and everything to gain.

Part of my work (and joy) is asking the right questions to find out what’s at your core.  What you really want to do and why. That’s where you discover your inner beauty and authentic sexiness.  The essence of you.

In marketing and PR, that’s your sweet spot. The you we want to capture, position and promote. That’s the brand we want to nurture, develop and showcase. It’s also the brand that’s aligned with who you are – and where you’ll always have integrity. That’s where you find the money flow.

Many of us have repeated real-life and imagined sad sack stories of past failures. They’re probably not true, they’re certainly not now, so why waste valuable time thinking about it?

Truth is, you are the real deal, the big kahuna.  Those that should be attracted to you (in business and in life) will be, for the right reason. Clients, prospects, partners and friends. They’ll like you, love you and sometimes leave you. Hint: it’s always about them, not you.

  1. It’s exhausting to be someone you’re not and try to remember who you’re supposed to be. If you’re an actor, you’ll find this easy to do. If you’ve chosen other work as an entrepreneur, business owner, expert or professional, it may be more difficult. You don’t have to read a script to know who you are.
  2. You’re living life according to your true core values. You are who you are, and without a manufactured front you’re quite appealing, aka sexy. If you know anything about energy, there’s a sparkle to those that are true to themselves.  Some call it certainty, knowingness or being grounded. Certainty is confidence in my book, and that’s sexy. Passion is always a plus.
  3. We’re taught to be perfect in everything we do, and in doing so, we often pretend. When we truly relax in our head and bodies, our fight or flight responses shut down. When we’re able to stop pretending and just be, it’s very inviting and welcoming. Yes, it’s being vulnerable, but that’s sexy too.
  4. Give up caring what others think. It takes some practice, but it’s actually quite invigorating and often a huge burden off your shoulders. Do the best you can, and call it a day. We’re humans. We make mistakes, say stupid things and do brilliant work, not all at the same time. There’s a certain charisma when you’re comfortable with yourself. Almost automatically, confidence and charisma knock at the door.

Being sexy is a mindset. Authenticity is a choice. Blend both together and you’ve got some big-time attraction going on.

Listen to your sexy self to grow your business. It works.

We all know that using an email signature is a sure-fire way to promote your brand for free. You have the freedom and flexibility to promote whatever you like — an upcoming event, a new chapter in a book or your social media channels.

But, are you taking advantage of the signature space when you send emails from your mobile phone? The one that might read like this:  Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

To make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck, customize your email signature in settings and align it with your brand so people can be reminded of who you are and what you do.

Happy to share a resource from Constant Contact about  125 Links to Make You a Better Marketer. It’s all about email marketing best practices and worth a look.

Every week, I’m setting up new clients with marketing campaigns and helping them with their design, because email marketing works – and design does make an impact – if you use it right! And, staying in touch with customers brings in business.

If you’d like me to look at any of your email campaigns or take a test drive with a free trial of Constant Contact for 60 days, please reach out. I’m happy to schedule a complimentary session to see what your goals are.

In full transparency, I also get a small commission depending on the size of your list, but you can also use a free service which won’t have all the bells and whistles – and so much more.

All in all, email marketing works.

Tiny Business Habits to Help You Make More Money

Do you slow down in the summer working on your business? To some extent, we all do, but there are some tiny business habits that will make your small business more money.

Read KC Agu’s article in Entrepreneur.com and pick which habit you’ll commit to this week. The list has 5 items and it’s not daunting. In fact, it makes perfect sense!

I’m going for #2: Track just one major business metric daily.

It’s already given me clarity in forecasting for next quarter.  I could tell you to up your PR and marketing efforts and answer HARO 3 times a week, but you already knew that.

Every savvy business owner knows that a combination of offline and online marketing strategies work to increase visibility, customer loyalty and sales. But, many don’t think about guerilla marketing.  In simple terms, it’s getting in front of your target audience, up close and personal.

Guerilla Marketing is About Being Creative

  • Think about promotional tactics as a way to build brand awareness. Find your target market at events, big Meetups and create a buzz on the street or at an industry event. Engage!
  • Develop a well thought plan for creative and execution. What are your goals? Best location(s)? Right offer? And, have you hired the right staff to carry out the mission from start to finish?
  • Think about Graffiti art on buildings, sidewalks or empty storefront windows. Interesting or funny build outs. Unusual creative in likely spots. Be bold, but ask for permission first.
  • Consider Geo-Fencing, which uses your smart phone’s GPS to offer deals in targeted locations. Snapchat has Geofilters which features location specific marketing and Instagram launched Story Search for hashtags and locations.
  • Create a program that works hand in hand with your current marketing campaign. Think pop-up stores, free samples, branded promo items. I once held Make Money Mondays at Starbucks in the Greater Boston area where I was the PR Pop Up!
  • And finally, be a happy marketer, not an annoying one. In your face is so much different than up close and personal! It’s all about building relationships that last.

 

MIT Sloan grads are among the smartest in the world, and I’m fortunate to be friends with one who’s promoting an app for a European company. He describes it as a fascinating project, but he’s also encountered challenges with a super niche audience. Does that help or hinder his efforts? Although I could recommend at least 50 ways to get free publicity and online mention, there are also best practices recommended from the app world.

App Happy?  Get insight from these articles:

Simple Tips to Get Your App Indexed, Ranked and Installed by SearchEngineLand.com

25 Creative Ways to Promote Your App for Free by Entrepreneur.com

How to Market Your Mobile App by Kissmetrics.com

Whether you’re working full-time, part-time or own your own business, chances are you’ll be involved at some point with helping a non-profit.  If you are, getting exposure can make or break an event or fundraising activities. Getting free or almost free PR and marketing isn’t impossible, no matter what nay sayers might tell you.

Here’s a List of 10 Ways to Extend Your Non-Profit’s PR and Marketing Dollars

  1. Find Agencies Who Do Pro Bono Work. Find out who knows who in your organization and ask if there’s anyone with advertising or PR ties.  You may have an opportunity to get some free work – even if it’s with a smart intern who’s being supervised.
  2. See Who’s Advertising on Digital Billboards. There’s always a chance that digital advertisers have extra ad space that they’re willing to donate. If your cause is compelling enough or dear to their hearts, your message could be seen on high traffic billboards. Never ask, never know.
  3. Check out Google Grants. I’m not an expert on Google Grants, but what I’ve read sounds interesting, especially if your charity qualifies for a $10,000 in-kind AdWords campaign every month. Read the fine print to know the rules and what you’re committing to.
  4. Consider Crowd Funding. Crowdfunding may be an option for your charity, but you never know until you take a closer look. It’s another way to fundraise from outside your regular community in a more global way. Pulling on heart strings still applies.
  5. Write Press Releases Once a Month. Keep the media up to date with news about your charity. Press releases can be sent to journalists, a PR distribution service — paid or free, as well as to sponsors and partners. Use the link to promote your cause on emails and for supporting information when you’re creating a pitch.
  6. Build a Media Contact List. Research reporters who are covering your topic or local area to see if they’re interested in a feature story. Building a media list can be as simple as creating an excel spread sheet and including all pertinent contact information. Be sure to update the list on a regular basis to stay current.
  7. Approach bloggers who may be interested in your story.  Use Google to research top bloggers to share your story, and/or think about guest blogging for other sites. Practice your story telling and pitch in advance to make sure it’s short, sweet and to the point.  Ask yourself, why readers will care about your cause. That’s what an editor wants to know.
  8. Contact Marketing and PR Departments at Local Universities. Would a non-profit campaign like yours be a project a University may be interested in? Make a few calls or send an email or two. You may gain an intern and a few tweethearts.
  9. Organize Local Events Not Just Fundraisers. Hosting local events where you’re not asking for money will give you an opportunity to share your message, share the love and hopefully, share some of the work! Find people who are committed, like-minded and are influencers in their own right. Hate to recruit? Reframe your thinking. It’s multi-level marketing with a heart!
  10. Speak and Talk Up Your Charity. If you are your brand wherever you go, you’re also a brand ambassador for your cause. Tell the world to change the world. Speak on behalf of your charity whenever you get a chance and build a network who cares.

Lastly, you’ll always want to make a list of PWLY and PWBIY. People who love you and people who believe in you. Be sure that you have their full contact information to stay in touch and thank them often. These key supporters are your raving fans.

Show them the love and they’ll return it.

Last week I talked about Digital Marketing Trends for 2017. Becoming more instant, conversational in key words, voice activated, uber local and focused on niche target audiences. Hashtags. Data driven.

Not sure how to take advantage of these digital trends? Check out these 5 ways to build your brand:

  1. Turn your smartphone into your own media channel. Capture an event on Facebook Live, or better yet, “You Go Live.” Be transparent in the moment and let your audience, friends and followers see where you are and what you’re up to. Building a fan base is not about hiding. It’s about engaging. 80% sharing, 20% promoting. Don’t forget about a (CTA) call to action.
  2. #Hashtags. Hashtags connect like-minded audiences. They’re brilliantly used by big brands and little brands to inform, inspire, motivate and sell. Not convinced? Look at Instagram. It’s a wildly popular personal and business platform that’s hashtag crazy and instant. Same with Twitter. Share your photos, thoughts, quotes, videos and story behind the scenes – and in front of the camera.
  3. Get really local. For all that you may hate about Facebook, there’s a lot to love. Consider Facebook advertising to get leads, grow your list, create a funnel. Want to reach 25-40 year-old women who speak French and live thirty miles from Belmont, MA? Oh, and that have a combined household income of $100,000+? Invest 20 minutes and start a campaign. Spend as much or as little as you like. You will be amazed.
  4. Create keywords (and Adwords) as you would a conversation, especially with voice activated systems in place. Honda Dealership near here. Thai food in Boston. Christmas Tree Lighting this Saturday. Test to see what works and monitor often. Don’t be afraid to change things up. Tweak as you like, but make note of all your tweaks!
  5. It’s no surprise that digital marketing budgets are growing leaps and bounds. In fact, in the next few years corporate America may spend up to 25% of their marketing budget on digital marketing.  But, only if it’s working. How do you find out? Split tests. Consistency. Data. ROI. Numbers. Run yours and see what’s working, or not.