How to Avoid Iffy Language in Your Marketing Calls-to-action

If your ideal client has finally found you - your website, your blog, your social profiles - you want to be strong and confident with your calls-to-action. I've written before about 'just' and 'feel free' and other wishy-washy language. It doesn't serve you well. Here's a short checklist you can use to evaluate your CTAs before publishing: Be specific. Assume you have what they want. Make it easy for them to get it. Appeal to emotions. Talk about results first. Make it about the reader's wants and needs, not yours. Whether it's an email to a colleague, a newsletter, a blog post, a landing page, or a social media post, these best practices all apply. If you've been struggling to write effective CTAs, run a trial with this checklist and see what happens. Click to Tweet this Article

The Truth About Magic Bullets

There are no 3-easy-steps to becoming a millionaire. If magic bullets and passive income really existed, we'd ALL be sitting around enjoying the view from our yachts.Cambridge Dictionary defines a 'magic bullet' as "a quick and simple solution to a difficult problem". None of the major dictionaries offer a definition for 'passive income'.These are marketing myths. They will cost you more money than you'll make. Or you will give up doing the work that is your expertise to spend your time doing marketing work.It's nice to dream but then get back to work.PS: There are no unicorns in real life either.Click to Tweet this Article

Sudden Appearances and Why They May Not Work

Have you noticed a sudden flurry of emails recently? Here are a few examples I've received:The nail technician who I haven't heard from since before the pandemic suddenly shows up telling me she's open for appointments. But not a word earlier about the interruption of service.The leadership consultant who I also haven't heard from since before the pandemic shows up with a newsy, here's-what's-been-happening-in-my-world email that didn't even ask how I'm doing. This was followed by an email every two days to promote her new program.And then, there are those people who have been collecting email addresses via online forms for years but have never sent a newsletter... until now. I've been hearing from people I'd long forgotten about.It's not suddenly a good idea to be sending newsletters! It's been a good idea for a long time.Respect your subscribers. Realize they are real people. Have an ongoing relationship with them. Give them something …

Basic Set-up for a Lead Magnet

Recently several small business owners have asked me about how to set up a lead magnet to encourage more subscriptions to their newsletter. Here are instructions for you DIYers.
First, prepare your lead magnet - the thing that you're giving away. It should be something of value to your target market.
Next, you'll prepare two pages on your website: a landing page where people can sign up for your newsletter (this may or may not be on your website menu)a redirect page ("Thanks for signing up" page) where people will receive your lead magnet (this should not be on your menu and you'll want to discourage search engines from finding this page)Let's do your redirect page first. Create the page and name it something like 'thanks' or 'download' or... it doesn't really matter what you call it. If you're using WordPress, you can set it to discourage search engines. On this page, you'll place the item you're giving away. It might be a .pdf f…

The Bottom Line About Newsletter Bottoms

There seems to be some thinking that getting people to read to the bottom of a newsletter is a most desirous goal. And, if getting people to read to the bottom (read the whole newsletter) is so important, isn't putting the really good stuff at the bottom the best way to make that happen?
The short answer is that it doesn't matter. Oh, the placement of content matters but whether someone reads to the bottom doesn't... at all. If you think it does, you are thinking about your newsletter strategy all wrong.
It's all about your reader finding value in opening your newsletter. That value might be in the form of useful information or it might be interesting reading or both. And it definitely shouldn't be hidden away at the bottom. In fact, it should be immediately obvious.
Having readers discover value in hearing from you regularly is the goal. It doesn't matter how much they read. Your readers aren't thinking, "I have to read through all this other stuff befor…

Testing Theories: Marketing Experimentation

Advice is one thing but thought and research are still necessary.
Theory is another thing (I'm all for it) but experimentation is where the rubber hits the road (and many other analogies).
Now is a good time to try new things and figure out what works. It's the time to really consider what we want to spend our time doing. Maybe it's the time to give something up and see if it makes a difference. Or perhaps it's the time to dig deep and see what can be accomplished with more effort.
Like many of you, my business development plans got interrupted by a world pandemic at the beginning of March. Also like you, it caused me to think more creatively about my approach to sales and how I would spend my time. So I dug deep and eventually I arrived at: I'm going to have more conversations. (It was a no-brainer; I love to talk about small business marketing. What a great experiment!) Next came my go-to "how?" After that, it became fun to come up with ideas to create mor…

Watching, Learning and Stopping

A client recently wrote in her newsletter about how reducing her social media presence over the past few months hasn't impacted her sales results. Here's what Natasha said: As the weeks and months fall away, it's glaringly obvious to me how I can let go of social media marketing, no matter how reluctant I feel about doing that. While social media serves its purpose for branding, researching, and relationship building, my business isn't suffering from a current lack of participation on certain platforms. Phew. Something OFF the list for a change. Since Natasha shared that, I've been paying attention to a lot of things I do and questioning whether they're benefitting my business. And so, I'm doing a little experimentation to see what happens. What can I stop doing that isn't contributing to my bottom line?
How about you?
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That was a Great Conversation But...

Imagine you've just gotten off the phone from a lively conversation with a prospect that lasted an hour. Your purpose in having the call was to build a new business relationship or build on an established one. You both discovered you have much in common and had lots to talk about. What was expected to be a half-hour call became a delightful chat that extended to an hour. You hang up feeling really good about the personal connection you made and pat yourself on the back.
Then reality strikes. You check your calendar and realize you're now behind schedule. Your other planned work for the day has been compromised and you'll have to work a longer day or bump something to tomorrow. "That's OK," you think, "It was time well spent."
But wait, it's not about you.
The person you were speaking with undoubtedly feels the same way. Even though they enjoyed the conversation, now they are also struggling to fulfill their commitments and maintain their work sched…

What First, How Second

Buying or subscribing to a software application is never the solution to a problem. But it can certainly be part of the solution... or not.
It's all about the process. An app can help streamline a process. Likewise, it can overcomplicate a process. It's all in the way you use it.
Finding the right app or apps is important but mapping out the desired process flow should always come first. It's only after we've designed our process - and know our desired result - that we look for "an app for that".
When mapping out your processes, start with the way the process currently flows. Draw it on paper or list it as steps in a text file. Then, suspend reality temporarily and map out what the most efficient workflow looks like. Describe the steps that you want to happen - the "what". Yes, you'll need to consider the "how" but don't limit yourself at this point.
It's easy for me the recommend this approach; I've seen it work many times. I …

How Planning for Failure Can Help Ensure You Don't Fail

We all want things we're working on to be successful. Nobody ever plans to fail... but wait, planning for failure can be a useful exercise.
The term 'premortem' comes to us from the field of project management. According to the Harvard Business Review:
"A premortem is the hypothetical opposite of a postmortem. A postmortem in a medical setting allows health professionals and the family to learn what caused a patient’s death. [...] A premortem in a business setting comes at the beginning of a project rather than the end so that the project can be improved rather than autopsied."

Instead of considering what might go wrong, you 'pretend' your initiative has already failed. Then you brainstorm to come up with all the possible reasons for the failure. This gives you the perspective of hindsight, which works differently than foresight. And you can see that this also ties into risk.
A simple example might be when I decide to make a special offer. The obvious failure…

Too Many Items, Not Enough Action

pivot - purge - plan - prepare - postpone
The P words are overtaking our business lives in recent months!
To make all those P's happen, we also have long to-do lists... longer now than usual. I know this because I've had chats with many small business owners over the past couple of months.
Long to-do lists can be very stressful! What I know for sure is that there is no particular solution that works for everyone. (But, oh my, if someone could figure that out, they'd get super rich!)
Change can suck - while doing the changing - even if we know our current practices leave a lot to be desired. It probably means trying different things and adapting new work habits. And habits are not easily broken; new ones are even harder to start.
There are thousands (millions?) of apps and systems that can help us but actually doing the tracking of action items usually becomes an action item in itself.
I'm not about to recommend something you should try... but I am going to give you something…

Working Alone Doesn't Have To Be Lonely

Sometimes I take things for granted. For instance, while many have been adapting to working alone, I've been happy as a pig in sh*t. You might think this is because I've been working at home for 15 years, so I'm used to it. Sure, that's part of it. But... I don't always work alone even though I'm at home.
A recent comment in MyRevenueRoom reminded me that working at home has never been lonely for me. And it's because of the telephone.
One of my best friends lives in rural Saskatchewan. We used to work for the same company, me in Toronto and Danielle in Regina. Our 25-year friendship has always been based on phone calls.
Now we both do marketing work from home, sometimes collaborating, and we continue to talk (sometimes for hours) almost every day. And we're not just chit-chatting (although there's some of that) - we work together as if we share an office.
Danielle might say, "What do you think of this idea?" and I might say, "What if you …

Should You Be Concerned with SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been low on my own priority list throughout the 15 years I've been marketing my own services. Yes, I freely admit I've been mostly ignoring it while doing just the basics.

This may seem like a blatant disregard for something that's portrayed more and more frequently as essential. It's actually been a strategic decision for my business... not an oversight. Why?

SEO is complicated, time-consuming and expensive. It's a skill I've never desired to acquire. It's technical and behind-the-scenes, whereas I like doing work that can be seen (and yes, sometimes admired). Hiring help for SEO would be a big expense.

The goal of SEO is generally to attract strangers. Over the years, I've wasted time with a few 'tire kickers'. Those are people who have stumbled across my website, know nothing about my experience or the quality of my work, and have focused on price comparisons. I have never competed on price - my pricing is …

Find Gems in Your Sent Mail

Perhaps you're wondering, "What the heck am I going to write about this week?" Look no further than your Sent mailbox.

Over the past month or so, I've answered a lot of questions by email. I bet you have, too. Have you considered that, if one person has a question, many others likely have that same question?

Maybe you replied with a 'how-to' or an opinion or a bit of free advice. Maybe you supplied resources to help someone find their own answers. All of these gems can be turned into a blog post or a series of posts even.

If you're uncertain about reorganizing and rewriting your emailed messages, you might try a writing template from my Quick & Easy Content Creation Workbook. You'll be done in no time.

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Social-Media-Friendly Blogging

You've just finished editing (and proofing!) your latest blog post. You pause for a mental happy dance, then you click Publish. Ahh.

And now the rest of the work starts. Because, of course, you need to let people know about this new useful and interesting article you've just laboured over.

You'll want to share your new article out on your social media feeds multiple times, especially when it's new, and then tapering off over the coming months. And to be efficient about it, you'll want to schedule all of those posts now.

So let's start writing the text for those social media posts. What will tease people into clicking and reading? (I'm not talking about lying; teasing is good marketing.)

You can write your teaser from scratch. But the fastest thing is to do is to copy text snippets directly from your blog post.

That is usually what I do for my own posts. And it's often when I realize I could have done a better writing job. I could have written an introd…