Thursday, January 31, 2008
What are the keys to the kingdom we call success? They can be broken down into seven different concepts.
1. The Desire to Change.
It sounds simple enough. In reality it is not as simple as it sounds. We all have dreams and aspirations that we think about, perhaps we even talk about them. But when it comes right down to it, how many actually are willing to change? Fear sets it - What if it doesn't work? What if I fail? When these ugly creatures creep in, most people lose the desire to change. In order to succeed at anything in life - including business you MUST have the desire to change. Change what? Sometimes it is as simple as changing our mindset; yet other times it is more drastic change in careers or lifestyle.
2. Willingness and Open mind
Willingness is the key to many aspects of change. In order to succeed you must have the willingness to try new things on and see how they fit. You have to have the open mind ideology. Try someone else's ideas on. No one is an expert in all things. The willingness to have an open mind and listen to new ideas is the lock in which the key of change goes.
If change is the key and willingness is the lock you have to turn the key to open the door. Action must follow suit. But not all action is wise. The caveat here is to take proper action.
The action we have to take must be in sound business decisions. In order to have anything succeed you must look at all aspects and take them into considerations before taking any action. This ultimately will save many heartaches.
How do you know what a sound decision is - knowledge. Spend the time obtaining the knowledge surrounding your decision. Talk to others that have experience in what you are attempting to do. Find out what actions they took and what actions worked. Read everything you can about the venue you are pursuing. Don't take just one person's opinion. Especially just your own.
6. Tools and Support
Where do you find the knowledge? Use the tools at your fingertips. Books, the internet, other business owners, your local Chamber of Commerce, the SBA, and friends. There are many tools in this day and age that can help support you and assist you in obtaining knowledge. Use them.
More business and even relationships fail because of attitude. If you do not have the proper attitude in making any decision, seeking out any tool or learning any new skill, you will have a much more difficult time in succeeding. Attitude is Everything. Positive attitude gives you the desire to change, the hope to change, the dream to change, and the willingness to take the action to succeed.
The only person that limits your chances of success in a new venture is you yourself. Developing these few basic skills that build upon one another like a ladder is not always easy but it is very simple. Simple enough that even the most inexperienced person can become a visionary in the world of business. As they say, the sky is the limit. Which rainbow are you shooting for - the one reflecting in the mud puddle or the one that crosses the horizon?
They all have one thing in common. They don't just present a brand name and price. They apply it to a personal reason why it would benefit you. Whatever they are selling, whether it is a product or a service, they show you how and why you need to have it.
Breaking the copy down, the first key is to get a hook. A hook is what draws a person into even picking up the print copy in the first place. Think about it, how do you decide which email to open? What words catch your eye? You are the customer you need to sell to first. Before I got into free lance copy editing full time, no one knew my name. I had no resume or clips to share. So I had to come up with a way to get my foot in the door. What did that - my query letter. I wrote a letter to sell me to me. Why would I hire me, why would I trust me, and how am I different than every other person out there sending in a query letter. I got the hook with the first line of the query letter.
But what kept them reading to the end of the letter? The second key is giving a personal benefit. What will the product or service do for them? How will it directly benefit them? Will it make life easier, simpler, or just better? Saying something is a good value will not work by itself. Lots of things on the market today are a good value. To stand out in today's media blitzed world, it has to be personal to the intended market.
Finally, you need to close the deal. You need to call your consumer to take action. The action needs to be simple and easy to do. A call, an email, a double click on a button - anything that is non-complicated. Then remind them of the benefit before calling to action a second time. You need to repeat the call to action at least twice. It is a proven fact that repetition strengthens and confirms. So repeating both the benefit and the call to action confirms in the mind of the consumer that yes I want this or better yet, yes I need this.
There is no big secret to great copy writing that costs $49.99. Mailing lists to intended consumers will pay you nothing in return unless the copy is great. Anyone can write great copy with enough patience and practice. Remember - Hook (opening statements), line (personal benefit), and sinker (call to action). Remember the simple analogy of hook, line, and sinker and you will start to produce a higher quality copy and with practice - amazing copy.
1. Why is a blog important to your business?
2. Why do you want to go into the blogging world?
3. What is it that you want from blogging?
Before getting knee deep into an Internet blogging of any kind, you should have written down the answers to these three questions. Sure we have all heard publicity is a good thing, but is all publicity a good thing?
I have seen more business' come and go over the years that I can not even keep count. So what is so important about blogging? No matter what type of business you plan to get into or are already in, if you want to be successful you need to have a solid marketing plan. Not just some sugar coated piece of paper to wave around and attract flies with, a well thought out marketing plan can let you look at where you are starting and where you want to go. Even more importantly what steps you need to take in order to get there.
Getting started is really the hardest part of writing your own blog. The three questions above are the basis for a business blog for marketing. Let's reverse the order and start with number 3. What is it that you want to achieve from blogging? If you don't know, then your ideas are just a pie in the sky dream. If you are just beginning , think about the things that you are passionate about in your business. Why do you believe in the product or services that you are selling? What aspect got you into the business
Find a niche that you have some passion for and use it to your advantage. No company is more successful than one who's Owner is passionate about what they sell or offer. Who is your product or service for, who is your audience? Who is going to buy your product or services? Why are they going to buy from you verse some other company? Spend some time surfing the internet to find out who the competition would be, what are you selling that they are not, is there a need for something else that you found in your search? Write the answers to all these questions down and you will be well on your way to creating your business blog.
Point 2, why do you want to go into the blogging world in the first place? What is it that attracts you to the idea? How can you bring something to the blogging world that perhaps your competition has not thought of? Is there some unique sales vehicle that you can think of? Write down what your particular assets are in business. Where do you lack and where are you proficient?
Point 1, why is a blog important to your business? Consider the positives and negatives on not seeing your customers face to face. Can you market yourself over the Internet as well as you can in person? Can you generate enthusiasm for your product or service through words and pictures? Here is the real kicker that causes more bloggers to fail. How are your potential clients going to find you? What marketing strategies are you going to employ to ensure your product/service is not just out there in cyberspace floating around?
So now you know the basics of what you want to say and why. Until then, happy blogging.
The one place you want to see Traffic
Traffic usually conjures up thoughts of wasted hours, frustration and road rage. However, when traffic is spoken of regarding your website, the more traffic the better. Right? Not necessarily so. Traffic is the number of visitors to your web site. It can still produce frustration, wasted hours and web rage if the visitors are just that - visitors. The key to traffic is getting qualified traffic to your site. What does that mean exactly? Visitors are classified in two ways:
Visitors that just pop in and look but are not truly interested in what you are offering - in marketing this is called unqualified lead
The second is qualified leads - this is potential customers/clients that are looking for what you are offering
The ideal traffic is all bullet two - people looking to buy what you are selling. Whether that is a product or service. So the real question is how do you generate traffic that is qualified leads to your web site? Well the old fashioned, easy way is to buy a lead mailing list. Lots of money and no guaranteed results.
That being said, what are some other proven track record ways to generate traffic to your site?
In everything that your write or produce from emails to generic marketing information needs to have your website address on it. You are your best marketing tool. Every email produced and sent from my desk, personal or otherwise has a signature line that shows my website address. This is sometimes known as viral marketing. Personally, I refer to it as shameless marketing.
Every website can be a marketing tool or it can be a traffic jam. You want to ensure that your website is easily loaded with more text than fancy images. Web crawlers like Google can not identify those fancy images, but they do recognize key words. I try to ensure that every page of my own website has a "symbolic" key word in the text of the page. This ensures that when the crawlers come to visit as they do, it will be identified.
If your business is selling widgets for kazoo's for example, you want to make sure that every page of your web contains a keyword to do with kazoo's. Another easy and FREE idea is to offer something to your "valued" customers. Perhaps some free music to play on their kazoo.
Find out which groups are on the web for kazoo players and join them. Don't join every group there is, but join the groups that would want your services or products and become active in them. Post answers to questions in the forums. The most important concept here - Join and Post Intelligently.
There are a lot of FREE places to advertise your product and/or services. For example Craig's List. This is a site where you can advertise anything from a product for sale to a service offered. It is totally free. The key here is to be as creative as possible with your headline. Hook people from the very start.
Like this one for example. Write an article that is relative to your product or service and submit it for publication. Not only will it drive traffic to your website, it will also give you name reorganization which is priceless. The key here is to write copy that is useful, concise and user friendly. I have read many articles that go on and on but say absolutely nothing. Don't sell your company in the copy, sell your knowledge. The product and service can be sold through the resource box (see above.)
These are just a few of the ideas that can be used to generate web traffic.
A few crucial reminders.
On the internet or in print, your words are your face. Make them count. Don't write a sloppy copy and expect the consumer to think well of your so called professional company.
Use key words through out your copy but not every other word. Ensure that the copy makes sense. Don't add key words that are un related.
Search engines or web crawlers like no more than 300 - 400 words per page. Follow the word count game and see your site rise to the top of search engine lists much faster.
Remember anything you write or do is for the client not for you. Keep clients focused on the product or service.
Link your site only to relevant sites. Don't link to every site possible.
I wish you hours of traffic jams in 2008.
Some guidelines to follow when looking to hire a free lance writer to write advertising copy for you:
1. Ask for Clips. Clips are not free articles they posted to an online Ezine. Clips are paid articles, direct marketing copy, or print newspaper/magazine articles. If the free lancer does not have clips to provide to you (many don't as many advertising projects are written as ghost writer projects), ask for a speculative ad on your product or service. It will give you an idea of their writing style and turn around time.
2. Are they an expert in their field? If you are hiring a former Ad executive gone free lancer - expect the pricing to be equivalent with experience.
3. What rights are you paying for? If it is a ghost writing project, expect to pay higher rates. Remember if the project is ghost writing, the free lance writer does not get a clip, byline, or royalty payments for the project. Payment is up front. Pricing will vary with the rights that you are purchasing. Be sure to be clear what you are paying for.
4. What are you providing the free lancer with? How much research is necessary for the freelancer to do to create the advertising project for you?
5. Does the price include distribution, printing, mailing or drop off? All of these expenses will be taken into consideration when you are looking for a free lance rate.
There are many things that play into consideration when comparing free lance writing rates. As the saying goes, "you usually get what you pay for". Be sure to know what you are paying for. Don't assume. There are several websites that offer generic rates for free lance rates in various venues including advertising, technical, medical and ghost writing. Taking the time to do a quick search may pay off in the long run. There are also a number of online sites that you can hire a free lancer through. Some of these sites actually interview and test the providers for the buyers. It is always an option.