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Showing posts from 2020

The Truth About Magic Bullets

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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...

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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…

Newsletter Audit Checklist

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Whether you've been doing an email newsletter for a while or are just getting started, there are always ways to improve. Download our Newsletter Audit Checklist and use it to ensure both you and your readers get the most out of your email marketing efforts.

If you discover you'd like help with your email marketing efforts, fill out the Newsletter Planning worksheet here and book a call.

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The Biggest Mistake You Can Make in Your Small Business Newsletter

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It happened again today. I am blown away by how often I see this particular mistake.

I received an email newsletter from a business I wasn't familiar with. That's OK but I wanted to go to their website to investigate more. And there was not one link in that newsletter that went to their website!

Granted, there are times when you may not want to distract readers from another goal for your email. But a newsletter is definitely a place where you want to encourage click-throughs to your website.

There's a very direct correlation between the amount of text, the number of links available to click, and your click-rate - the more links, the more clicks.

There are many ways to insert links to your website into your small business newsletter. Here are a few suggestions.

Insert links behind images.

☺ Always insert a link to your Home page behind every iteration of your logo.
☺ If your photo appears in your newsletter, link it to your About page.
☺ Behind product/service images, link …

How to Start Building Your First Email List

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Like many things, list building seems pretty straight-forward... until you start. You may expect it to be tedious work of copy/pasting and spreadsheets and looking things up online. Yes, it likely involves some of that but I get asked a lot of questions about who and how.

Who can you add to your business email list? 
If you sell to consumers, you will need to request express consent to add contacts to your list who have not done business with you.

If you sell to business people, you can benefit from implied consent to build your initial list. There are three key requirements for implied consent:
1. The contact’s email address has been 'published conspicuously' and has no disclaimer that they do not accept commercial electronic messages.
2. The message you are sending is relevant to their job at the company they work for. (Example: You can email a university professor to sell her textbooks, but not clothes.)
3. There is an unsubscribe mechanism so the recipient can signal their …

Annoyed With All the COVID Emails? 3 Reasons to Communicate

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We're all getting inundated with COVID emails - yes - but I'm glad the companies I do business with are paying attention and communicating their plans. I need to know that my web host and other service providers are taking action to be able to continue to operate. I am glad that local restaurants (Finbars, for example) have staff volunteers willing to help those in need. I'm comforted to know that we're all paying attention.

During this time, most business owners are struggling with what to stop doing, what to start doing, and what to keep doing. Communication is more important now. Let's not stop but rather be mindful.

Here are 3 reasons why business owners need to keep communicating:

#1. To let your customers know you're running business-as-usual or... not. Many bricks-and-mortar businesses are closed, offering pick-up or delivery, or open for limited hours. Even people who work at home (like me) are susceptible to illness and need a back-up plan.

#2. To show …

What Are Your Small Business Blogging Goals?

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If your answer to the title of this post is "increase sales", you've got that part right. But you should also realize that there's no direct path from one to the other. You don't start a blog and immediately make more sales - although I sincerely wish it were so.

To help you stay focused on that path to increased sales, identifying a couple of content goals is essential. These are typical business blogging goals:

1. 'Touching' your customers, prospects and colleagues regularly
2. Building strong business relationships
3. Developing your reputation and sphere of influence
4. Sharing your valuable information, products, and services
5. Being seen as an expert
6. Growing your fans, followers and contact list
7. Keeping up with your competition
8. Increase website traffic via SEO

While you may think all of those things are desirable, they aren't all equally important to your business. The ones that are most important for you will depend on what type of b…

Try a Newsletter Full of Tidbits

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Tidbit is defined as "a small and particularly interesting item of gossip or information." (Just in case you're Canadian and were thinking about chocolate Timbits.)

The most successful newsletters I've seen are full of tidbits. A tidbit is short, delightful and easily digested (just like a Timbit). It makes the reader feel like they've instantly learned something. Or it tweaks their curiosity to want to know more about something. Or maybe it makes them laugh and lightens their day.

A newsletter full of tidbits also has a little something for everybody. A simple (and darn great) example of this is the newsletter I prep each month for the Nova Scotia SPCA - check out a recent newsletter issue here. Some pet owners only like dogs or only like cats - the newsletter as different articles about either or both. Some people are interested in pet health, others aren't. Some people want to read emotional success stories, others don't. Some shop at the SPCA Thrift S…

All of Your Words are Important

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But all of our marketing words are not important in every context. We have to pick and choose.

When I first started my business almost 15 years ago, I remember struggling with the distinction between features and benefits, and with talking about my potential clients' pain. Years later my collection of words and phrases has grown to include keywords, calls-to-action and testimonials. This month I've been working with The Phone Lady to develop a plan and process for prospecting... even more words!

It can be confusing to know... what are the best words to use when?

A website is a great example of seeing our words in action (or inaction as the case may be). It will contain features and benefits, pain points, broad and specific solutions, calls-to-action, keywords and testimonials. But we should never just toss them in somewhere and hope they'll work. Think alphabet soup.

We need to use our words appropriately to lead our visitors to take some action. It might be a small actio…

What Name Are You Using?

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This morning I deleted an email from a good friend and past client. I didn't realize it was from that wonderful lady because it didn't show up in my inbox from her name or her company's name. I only dug it out of my trash after deleting because the wording of the subject line seemed familiar.

42% of people check out the sender name when deciding whether to open an email.
- source: https://litmus.com/blog/6-shocking-myths-about-subject-lines

My own newsletters, my blog posts and my weekly event list all go out from my own name - Linda Daley - and have for years. I absolutely know that if I suddenly changed the sender name on my emails, to say Daley Progress, my open rate would drop significantly. This is an experiment I don't need or want to try.

Personal names often do better as far as email opens go but it can depend on how well you know your subscribers. More importantly, don't switch the sender name once you're well established. You want your subscribers to re…

Good Marketing Practices Wear Out

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Is this you... ?

When you watch TV, you can't wait for the ads. On YouTube, you let every ad play fully. You open your email inbox eagerly every morning, anticipating all the emails with this week's sales or next week's webinars. You read the newspaper for those big black and white ads. You check out every promotional link that Google places in your search results. You go for the ads first when you log into Facebook. You're entranced by the billboards on the Bedford Highway.

So, is this you? No? It's not anybody.

There is no one eagerly anticipating your sales pitches. (Your mother doesn't count.)

We keep on doing these things, even without an eager audience, because they work sometimes. That perfect timing, or perfect graphic, or perfect wording, sometimes gets people's attention. So we keep doing what works sometimes.

Eventually, though, what worked sometimes starts to work even less frequently. As more and more marketers adopt the same strategies, it'…

The Difference Between Editing and Proofing

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We often use the words editing and proofing interchangeably but there is a significant difference. If you're not aware of it, you could be failing at both. Editing is big picture or 'zoomed out'; proofing is detailed or 'zoomed in'.

Editing is about the overall structure and flow of the article. Are the introduction and conclusion supported by the content in between? Are the paragraphs organized well? Is it easy to read and digest? Are the sentences structured well? When you're reading something and you have to pause to reread a line - that's a signal that editing is needed.

Proofing is about grammar and spelling and punctuation. It's often about the little words, like 'of' instead of 'if'. And about missing words, like 'the' or 'an'. It's hard to proofread our own writing because our brains follow the same pattern as when we typed it. Reading out loud, or printing to proof with paper and pencil, are both good ways to …

Being Seen = Being Remembered

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Isn't it amazing that it's now so easy to keep in touch with people we met years ago? Social media has allowed me to reconnect with old friends and work colleagues from long before social media existed. (Yes, I'm that old.) It has also allowed me to stay connected with people I've met along my small business journey.

Many people have come and gone but I remember the ones I'm connected with because I "see" them sometimes on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn. But I don't see them all and I don't see all their posts. My life gets in the way and sometimes days or even weeks may go by with me paying little attention to social media. I bet this happens to you too.

Then there are the people I remember well, those who come to mind when I stumble upon an opportunity that might suit them. Those people are actively staying in touch with me in a way I can't ignore - by email. And I open my emailbox every single day... many times.

There is huge value in hav…

Does Your Writing Pass the $1-A-Word Test?

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Guest post by Neil Everton, Podium Media & Communications Coaching

If you are looking for a quick and certain way of giving your words more impact, look no further than your purse or wallet.

Take a look at the last thing you wrote. It doesn't matter if it's a letter, email, report, newsletter, web content or promo script.

Look at it with a critical eye, and with this question in mind: "Am I prepared to pay $1 for every word I've written?"

Go through the script slowly. Strike out every word that isn't working hard to convey meaning.

Make sure you use the active voice. 'The man opened the door' is active. 'The door was opened by the man' is passive (and two words longer than the active version). A $2 saving in one short sentence.

Look for any of those phrases that slip into our writing unbidden. 'It's my considered opinion' is $3 more expensive than 'I think'. 'At this moment in time' is a long-winded way of sayin…

Being Found vs. Getting Found

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Did you realize there's a difference between being found and getting found? The words suggest a subtle difference but, really, there's a huge distinction when it comes to online marketing. Many new and experienced small business owners make critical -- often costly -- mistakes by not understanding the difference.

I'll start with 'being found' because this is my own strategy (and my area of marketing expertise) so it'll be easier to explain. Also, I think you'll be able to appreciate the difference more when you read down to the 'getting found' description.

Being Found Someone searches for your name or the name of your company because they know you in some way or have heard about you.

These people already know something about you or your business. They have a perception that you might be able to solve their problem and they are looking for evidence. Hopefully, they are also looking for how to contact you.

In sales lingo, these are warm leads. In my …

What's Your Stumbling Block? Blogging Survey

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Ever since I wrote this article -- Where Do You Get Stuck? -- a couple of years ago, I've been on a mission to come up with solutions to content creation obstacles.
coming up with ideasadapting your ideas for writingstarting to writefinishing writingediting and proofingfinding or creating graphicskeywords and publishing Aside from talking about this a lot with small business owners, I've also been circulating a survey on my social media feeds. If I know where people most often get stuck, I know where to focus my problem-solving efforts.

Here are the survey results so far:


If you haven't yet responded to this survey, I'd sure appreciate it if you would -- it's only one question. You can click here to do that now.

If you're suffering from any of those first three obstacles, using writing templates will help enormously. You can get a workbook here that includes 15 templates.

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One Word for 2020

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I'm not sure what I was thinking when I decided on my one word for 2019. It was a week after my husband had told me he wanted to split up... and I chose EMBRACE as my guiding word for the coming year.

At the time, I had good intentions about business development, embracing and growing several different initiatives. Optimism is a good thing but, looking back... well, duh! It was more of a year of shedding: my 16-year marriage, my house and garden, and lots of things I'd accumulated.
It wasn't all bad -- I taught three 11-week courses, partnered in the second successful Social Media Day Halifax Conference, moved myself and clients to a new bulk email service provider, built nine websites, and supported clients with their ongoing marketing. But I didn't really embrace anything; in fact, I turned business away several times.
All is not lost. The word embrace has served me well for the last month of 2019. I'm settled in a new place with a lovely new office. I finally r…