Are you sometimes bewildered about where to turn to learn about marketing your business? What follows is a short story (I promise) about my own transition from a traditional marketer to an on-line marketer, that I hope will benefit you.
When I was a little girl (yes, it was many decades ago) my mother bought our family a complete set of Encyclopedia Britiannica books. It was a huge investment at that time and she had to forego other necessities to do it. She taught me how to use these books and I'm eternally grateful that she did. The books provided many happy hours of reading and became the foundation of my life-long love of learning. Unfortunately, I don't still have that set of books. Fortunately, I have found a new treasure to replace them - the Internet. And it's become my new BFF (best friend forever).
My absolute favourite use of the Internet is to make it be my institute of higher learning that I was unable to attend previously, for a variety of life-interruption reasons. Now, there is no excuse for not being able to learn whatever I choose to add to my existing knowledge and skills.
Marketing strategies and skills are one great example. There is more than enough information available for just a few keystrokes. Just "Google" whatever you want and it shall be delivered faster than the speed of light! Another technological marvel I love is my Kindle book reader. I can locate a Marketing book on the Internet that I want to read, and download it to my laptop or Kindle in under 60 seconds.
My latest Marketing book find is by David Meerman Scott, titled "The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly" (whew, that's one long title). I found it through reading Scott's blog and bought the e-book version it for my Kindle through Amazon. You can also order it in hard copy.
I highly recommend this book (I have no affiliation or connection with the author) to any business-to-business or business-to-consumer marketer interested in learning the new best practices for marketing on the Internet.
Meerman Scott's book is truly the only book you need to read about on-line marketing. It covers the theory as well as practical recommendations for social networking, blogs, news releases, podcasts, and videos. Of course, you can read other books on these topics. But, if you only have budget for one marketing book, this is the one to buy. Other books will only tell you the same things in a different wrapper.
I do feel obliged to warn you. On-line marketing is no easy fix for whatever ails your business' bottom line. It is the worst of all four-letter words - WORK! But, that being said, it goes a long way towards making up for being hard work, because it is affordable by even the smallest of small businesses. There can be a long learning curve if you are not computer savvy. And, even if you are computer and marketing savvy, the "new rules" of on-line marketing will take some getting used to. Especially so, if you have relied on traditional marketing methods up to now (such as print, broadcast, cold calling, and trade shows).
Meerman Scott's book shines a new light on these now polarized strategies. Traditional marketing is considered "push" marketing, where you push your message out to the general public, whether they want it or not (he calls it "interruption marketing"). He advocates a totally opposite approach - "pull" marketing where you pull specific target customers into your circle of influence by providing compelling content which meets THEIR needs (not yours).
If you are serious about becoming a successful on-line marketer, I recommend you read Meerman Scott's book and follow his advice. Unfortunately, the old rules of marketing are now about as relevant as my mother's beloved set of Encyclopedia Britannica. As Bob Dylan says, "The times, they are a changin'".
You are invited to comment on this blog post, or any of my other posts. Agree? Or disagree? - let's start a conversation!
|The Angus Edge - Spring, 2012
I am very appreciative that The Angus Edge has signed on to carry my syndicated marketing column, “Top Ten NO COST or LOW COST Marketing Tools for your Cattle Business”, beginning with their Spring issue. The Angus Edge is the official publications of the Saskatchewan Angus Association. They join Horse Country Magazine and the Simmental Focus in carrying the ten installments in this “Top Ten” series.
Since this marketing series has proven to be of interest, I’m planning on combining all 10 installments into one document and then offering it FOR FREE to registered blog subscribers.
Watch this blog space for an announcement that the document is available to download in the near future.
I would welcome any other publications which might be interested in carrying this syndicated column in their magazines. Just contact me and we can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Are you faced with an obstacle, feeling overwhelmed, or struggling with indecision? Well, I’ve been there, done that. And, I’m hoping that my own public confession below may inspire you to evaluate your progress towards your business goals. And, if I may be so bold, I’ll recommend six timely tips for GETTING UNSTUCK.
It’s long past time for this wannabe blogger to admit a significant “mea culpa”. I have not been practicing what I preach. – not attending to business. Why is that? For the past year, I put everything else as a higher priority than posting to my marketing blog. I frequently promised myself I’d get around to it later, once I completed all my other client and volunteer commitments. After all, they should really come first before my own business needs. Right? Where did that come from?
Reviewing my blog today, it was painfully evident that a year has come and gone and I haven’t gotten around to posting on it at all. Shame on me! So, with this first post in over a year, I’d like to recommend the book that gave me my long overdue wake up call, “Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Build Reputation, and Earn Trust”. Authors, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, applied a much needed virtual kick to my backside by pointing out my wrong thinking. For more about Chris Brogan, visit his website Human Business Works . Julien Smith can be found at his website http://juliensmith.com
Earning “Trust” all over again….
“Trust Agents” brought home that my blog readers deserve much more. In order to meet my objective that readers benefit from my blog, the book reminded me, in no uncertain terms. that I must respect readers’ time and intelligence by providing quality content on a consistent basis. From this point on, my blog will be my top priority. I am recommitting to posting at least weekly.
Since I have not as yet finished reading the “Trust Agents” book (a bestseller on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Amazon Top 100 lists) I will save a full review for a future post. But, as you can see, this book has already had such an impact on me, that I dropped everything else on my “to do” list to get back on track and took the following actions:
Six steps to your reboot:
#1 – OK accept that “stuff” happens – forgive yourself (i.e. you’re only human like the rest of us)
#2 – Re-establish contact with whatever motivates you – a mentor, a book, a movie, music, a blog.
#3 – Pick a project that excites and challenges you, and then create a plan to implement it
#4 – Make your new plan public (share on Facebook or tell your family) so you have to live up to it
#5 – Break your new plan down into manageable steps so it doesn’t overwhelm you
#6 – Start at step one and “just do it”. And then “just do it” again for each subsequent step.
Congratulations, like me, you’re unstuck and rebuilding momentum!
Coming up with the idea for a Marketing Tips Blog …
In 2010, I wrestled with the idea of starting a web log (blog). I’ve been a freelance writer since 1997, published in a a variety of well-respected light and heavy horse magazines across North America. I felt this demonstrated I had the writing skills necessary to deliver blog posts on a regular basis. So, I reviewed my knowledge base for an appropriate topic to blog about, which would be of interest and a benefit to readers.
My website design customers are mainly good friends in the horse and cattle business, who asked for my help in promoting and marketing their operations. It seemed logical that a Marketing Tools/Tips blog could be useful and a natural fit with my web design business. Together with my clients, we discovered what many people don’t realize; that it is not enough to just create a website. (This is also known as the Field of Dreams mentality, or “If you build it, they will come” which only works in the movies!). Websites actually need supporting marketing strategies to drive new and returning traffic to the site.
Coming up with an idea for a syndicated marketing tips column …
As a result of understanding that website owners also need supporting marketing strategies, I began a syndicated column “Top Ten Low Cost or No Cost Marketing Tools/Tips”. This column is currently running in two industry magazines, Horse Country Magazine and Simmental Focus magazine. I appreciate very much being given this opportunity by my colleagues Linda Hazelwood and Lois Gould, who are the publishers and editors of these two well-respected magazines. (All 10 installments of this syndicated column will be published as separate posts in this blog, as they are published in the two magazines. This post will appear at the top of all my blog posts until all 10 of the installments have been published and posted. Click here for Installment #1)
My own experience as a marketing/website design consultant was validated by Linda and Lois, regarding many people involved in the horse and cattle industry. Although they are experts in their own livestock operations, they are also recognizing the need to reach out for information about improving their marketing efforts in a tough economy.
An unlimited supply of good Marketing blogs are available on the Internet, some of which are sophisticated enough to benefit Fortune 500 companies. I have recently done research looking for marketing blogs which apply specifically to livestock producers, especially horse and cattle breeders. I did not find any, in spite of the apparent need. I decided to seize the opportunity and create a “niche” blog to meet the needs of this under served-segment of the blog target market. In other words, I am taking my own marketing advise (i.e. find a niche market and fill it).
Combining the two marketing ideas …
Generic marketing plans, tools, tips and strategies provided on many marketing blogs are applicable to almost any business. However, sometimes a little help can be beneficial for interpreting how these one-size-fits-all recipes can be applied to the livestock industry. Since I speak the lingo (cowboy), I aspire to be the interpreter/translator for my friends in the horse and cattle industry, as well as those who are suppliers of goods and services to this industry.
Dedicating the new blog …
Therefore, this Marketing Tips blog is dedicated specifically to this under-served segment of the industry. I pledge to identify marketing tools, tips, plans and strategies, including the use of Internet Marketing and Social Networks, to help enhance business opportunities and improve the financial positions of Canadian horse and cattle breeders.
Tell me what you’d like to see covered in this blog …
While I have a number of ideas about what needs to be covered, I really want and need to be sure that I’m listening to readers and meeting your
needs. Please comment on this blog post and let me know what YOU
want to hear about? What are your
most pressing or urgent needs? If you don’t want to publicly comment in this blog, please feel free to email me privately
with your comments and/or suggestions
In my January 11, 2011 post, Web 2.0 marketing opportunities, I offered to be your tour guide for some of the major features offered by this marvelous technology. I listed six features represented by the acronym SLATES: Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extensions and Signals. Previous posts dealt with Signals (RSS – really simple syndication), Extensions and Tags. In this week’s post we’ll deal with the feature called Authoring,
Most of us think of an author, as someone who writes original content, and that is of course, correct. Authoring, in the Web 2.0 sense, refers to a community of authors who “contribute their content, extending, undoing and redoing each other’s work.”
So, what’s the big deal about authoring?..
Three very significant examples not usually thought of as authoring are (in no particular order):
#1.Wikipedia, which describes itself as “a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikipedia Foundation. Its 17 million articles (over 3.5 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site.Wikipedia has become the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet, ranking around seventh among all websites on (the search engine) Alexa, and having 365 million readers.”
#2. Blogs (a contraction of the words web logs), are the means through which blog owners author a post and blog readers author comments back to those original posts, As a result, blog contents build up over time and provide a community of perspectives.
#3. Microblogs are the means through which authors place messages on websites such as Twitter, which enables “its users to send and read messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user’s profile page.”
These three examples of authoring provide individual authors with the opportunity to use this major feature of Web 2.0 technology to their marketing advantage.
Please feel free to subscribe to this blog by clicking on the symbol in the upper left hand corner where it reads, “Subscribe To … (RSS orange icon) Posts”. Or simply, click the link in the upper left hand column to become a “follower. Then you won’t miss any of my future posts regarding Web 2.0 marketing opportunities.
As always, you are invited to contribute your comments, critiques, or suggestions to improve this post and blog.
In my previous post, Web 2.0 marketing opportunities, I offered to be your tour guide for some of the major features offered by this marvelous technology. I listed six features represented by the acronym SLATES: Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extensions and Signals. Let’s start in reverse order with Signals – The use of syndication technology such as RSS to notify users of content changes.” RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. When I first heard the term I liked the sound of “really simple” but the syndication part? Not so much!…
Remember “Dear Abby”?…
As a freelance writer for the print media, I understand “old school” syndication. Consider “Dear Abby”, written by Abigail Van Buren, whose common sense advice column was syndicated in numerous, perhaps hundreds of newspapers across North America, becoming a household name. Abby wrote only one column, but she received compensation from many newspapers. A pretty good gig, if you ask me. Abby’s column, founded in 1959, is a still a good gig, carried on today by her daughter.
Back to the future…
Once upon a time, newspapers were delivered by subscription to your front door by your neighbourhood newspaper boy/girl. Today, Wikipedia tells us:
“An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, plus metadata (I’ll cover this in a future blog post on Tags) such as publishing dates and authorship. Web feeds benefit publishers (bloggers) by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers (followers) who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using (free) software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader”, or “aggregator”, which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based.
You got all that, right? What it really means is that RSS delivers, by subscription, blog posts into your email reader, in real time.
But, what’s in this for me?…
Just like newspapers, blogs can include advertising targeted to their readership. This is where the Web 2.0 marketing opportunities come in. You were beginning to wonder about that, weren’t you? As the Chief Marketing Officer of your business, you can profit from these advertising opportunities in several ways:
1) You can make an arrangement with an existing blogger, one who has a substantial following, to purchase advertising space on his/her site. As the blogger distributes his/her valued content, your advertising messages tag along on your behalf. Kinda like “old school” newspapers did!
2) You can start your own blog, build a substantial following, and include your own marketing messages in each of your blog posts. However, you need to be subtle about this, as blogs are not well received when used as electronic substitutes for direct mailers – blogs are expected to provide useful information to readers.
3) If you have your own blog, you can sell advertising space on your site to another (usually complimentary) business. Google AdSense is a free program that empowers online publishers to earn revenue by displaying relevant ads on a wide variety of online content, including: site search results, websites, and mobile web pages. AdSense provides targeted text and image ads on your blog. Google automatically chooses which ads to show, based on your blog content, and takes care of any ad updates on your behalf. You earn money each time one of your site visitors view or click on these ads.
4) If you have your own blog, and a substantial following, you can join Google’s Affiliate Network. With this program, you choose which advertiser’s links, images and/or ad copy appear on your blog or website. However, you are required to do the updating of text and ads, perhaps on a daily basis. Affiliate marketers receive a commission or percentage of the sale of items purchased by means of a “click through link” activated by visitors to your site. For example, your blog post contains a review of a recently published book which has a click through link to Amazon.com back to that book. At that point, if your site visitors buy that book you will receive a commission or percentage of sales. Neat, huh? (It is recommended that your blog contains a disclosure of your Affiliate marketing relationship, as opposed to letting your blog followers assume you are an independent book reviewer. It’s just the right thing to do!)
Don’t be intimidated by Web 2.0. It’s providing new and better marketing opportunities for those brave souls not hung up on “The good old days”. The good old days were never this good!
This is the symbol which indicates you can subscribe to an RSS feed. Please feel free to subscribe to this blog by clicking on the symbol in the upper left hand corner where it reads, “Subscribe To … (RSS orange icon) Posts”. Then you won’t miss any of my future posts regarding Web 2.0 marketing opportunities.
As always, you are invited to comment/contribute your thoughts and ideas to improve this blog post.