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I Suck at Headlines

Best Sub Heading EverI saw one of the best headlines (actually, it’s the sub-head) EVER -->
on FaceBook the other day for an article in The Ulster Gazette about the price of a rail system (Over £100M!) The sub head is, of course, an extended pun on Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s hip, it’s funny and it works. DAMN!

It does violate one of the rules of headlines – that they be short. There’s a similar rule in comedy – the longer the joke, the stronger the punch line has to be. This sub head overcomes that rule. Each line of the subhead builds the joke. The payoff is HUGE.

Which brings home the fact that I suck at writing headlines. And email subject lines for that matter. A headline should convey what your article (or blog post or whatever) is about, intrigue the reader and draw them in. Many times you can do this by asking a question. The famous example is the Psychology Today headline that asked “Do you close the bathroom door when you are home alone?” Can’t remember the most common answer; I can remember that their subscriptions skyrocketed.

I really, really hate headlines (and subject lines for that matter) that lead you in one direction and then don’t deliver. If you want to piss off your followers, that would be a quick way to do it. I recently read an article on Huffington Post where the title had nothing to do with the article. (No, it wasn’t a Kim Kardashian side-boob article. They always deliver the goods on that one.) The comments blazed and the author of the article apologized profusely explaining that he did not write the title. Any merit the article had was negated by the misleading title.

If you can’t be intriguing, if you can’t be hilarious and you can’t think of a GREAT headline, do this:

1. Keep it short
2. Convey the main point of what the article is about
3. Convey that point in terms of how it will benefit the reader (Please Note: This post headline does not do this. Yes, I am a risk taker.)

There are “headline generating” programs that you can get. But you pretty much end up with canned headlines. “5 Easy Ways to…” or “Ninja Secrets for…” Blah, Blah, Blah. I think the general public is getting more sophisticated when it comes to sales copy and screaming headlines. Maybe I’m an optimist but then again, the National Enquirer’s circulation has been in steady decline since 2010, so there is hope. I think people are over-marketed. They are growing skeptical. The sales page headlines that worked so well in 2006, with promises of the secret to quick wealth have been seen too many times. People still respond to hype -- you can trick people into buying your stuff. But if you need to trick people into buying your stuff, maybe you should re-think what you are doing with your life.

Honor your client base by treating them as intelligent human beings. It’s a radical concept, I know. But for businesses whose target market is NOT the lowest common denominator, respect for your client base is a pretty good place to start and maintain the relationship.

Yes, you want a strong headline. Yes, it’s important. But you can try too hard. Many times keeping it simple, original and honest will work better than an over-the-top headline that immediately turns the reader off. Try it. Less hype. More honesty. Because this is real life, not a fantasy.

·

Recently I heard what might be the worst commercial for a grocery store EVER. If ever a commercial was designed to make me retract my stance on truth in advertising, this was it. I was listening to the radio (driving, of course – does anyone listen to the radio at home anymore?) when a commercial for Publix Grocery Stores came on. It went something like this:

“Walmart does not always have the lowest prices. Blah blah Buy One Get One Free blah, blah. In fact, with careful planning, you can sometimes save money shopping at Publix.”

I have to say, once I reassured myself that **yes – I did just HEAR that ** I was underwhelmed. First of all, the ad agency must have created this ad as a joke, a final flipping of the bird to their client’s demand for honesty and a low-key approach. I mean, they couldn't have been serious when they pitched this ad to Publix. But here’s the amazing thing. Someone in the marketing department at Publix listened to that ad and said, “Hey! Great! This will have them knocking down our doors.”

Kudos to Publix for deciding to take on Walmart head to head. But if you’re going to do that, let’s have some fun, dontcha think? Here’s my ad for Publix:

Cue Mayberry RFD theme.
Folksy male V.O.:

“Ya know, there’s a reason why there’s no website called PeopleofPublix.com. Our aisles are not clogged with society’s misfits – people with their boobs hanging out, sometimes in the front, sometimes in the back, kids showing more ass crack than an elephant (who at least tries to cover it with its tail) or just plain people whose meds are not balanced and haven’t been for some time. In fact, most of the people who shop here look a lot like you and me. Most of them shower on a regular basis. Posted on every door is a notice telling you that shirt and shoes are required to shop here. It’s a grocery store where people buy food that they will ingest. Frankly, we don’t think that asking our customers to respect minimum health standards is such a stretch.

Our prices might be a little higher on some items, a little lower on others. And while Walmart might be a great place to pick up a shop vac or some extra rounds of ammo for the family barbecue this weekend, do you really want to buy your food there? We don’t blame you. Publix. Where shopping won’t make you want to gouge your own eyes out.”

Truth in advertising: Not as boring as it sounds.

· · ·

Measuring Success

Success or FailureSomeone asked in one of my groups if a book “qualified” as a failure if it didn't sell. And, he asked, what makes a book a bestseller anyway?

I had a book that broke the Amazon/Kindle bestsellers' list in a couple of subcategories. It stayed “on the charts” for a couple of days, then faded in sales and rankings. But I would definitely say it was NOT a bestseller. I think I sold about 30 copies. (No reflection on you, my faithful friends and readers -- definitely a reflection on my lack of marketing effort.)

Here’s the background: Last summer, I put together a little ebook collection of 21 of my marketing tips (yes, the ones you can get for free, each week by signing up for them on this site). I use it as a lead generator to help bring people to my site and get “my name out there.” In short, it’s a marketing tool.

It was an “unintentional” bestseller. I was in my Kindle back office one day and noticed that the ebook had never been published. Yes, I uploaded it and did everything I was supposed to do… except hit the publish button. (Brilliant, I know.) So I hit publish, then made a FaceBook post about it. Then I decided, what the hell, I’ll announce it’s up there on Twitter, too. How’s that for marketing genius?

Then a friend reposted on FaceBook and Twitter and Google + and maybe even on Pinterest. And another friend. So I posted it in a Kindle publishing group and a couple of my FaceBook marketing groups. And I sold a few copies and then for fun I checked the stats. I had broken into the bestsellers list in a category (actually several, but I didn't know how that category stuff worked at the time and I'm still fuzzy on it). So I posted that I was on the bestseller list and more people bought and spread the world. (There’s a marketing lesson in that sentence, isn't there? Hint. Hint.)

Eventually I got to around #30 or so on a couple of the categories.

Was that book a success?

In some ways, yes. I guess now I can say I am an Amazon or Kindle “Best Selling Author!” but I would feel pretty cheesy saying that. Thirty copies is not exactly setting the world on fire. I think I made about $20 or so on the book so I can’t really say it was a financial success. Did it create some buzz and some publicity for me? Yes, it did. So that’s a partial success. It's all relative. Success is partially measured by how close you come to achieving your goal. In this case, it was a very small partial success.

But here’s a different kind of success. I wrote a free (giveaway) ebook for one of my clients to use as a marketing tool to sell his course. It converted at a great ratio (over 50%) but it didn't get seen by many people. So, it was a great success in its conversion ratio, but not in the total number of sales. HOWEVER...

He sent the free ebook out to a person who was interested in his course on private lending. The man didn’t buy his course. He asked for an appointment with my client to find out more about how he ran his business. That meeting led to him investing a couple of million dollars with my client.

Is that a success?

It was not the end result my client thought he was looking for. It was a result that came out of left field and brought him something that was, as he would say, “more better” than selling a $700 home study course. In terms of dollars in the door for his business, which was his goal in creating the initial course, it was a rousing success.

Success is relative. Sometimes success is partial, fractional.

Failure is relative and fractional, too. Put aside all those uplifting, motivational memes that flood social media feeds. (Because really, when you've had your ass handed to you, do you really care that Edison went through 10,000 light bulbs?) Sometimes failing tells you that you are in the wrong business. Sometimes it tells you that you have to change your approach or you will assuredly fail again. Sometimes it really is complete and total rejection and the marketplace has spoken.

More often, failure is a sign that something needs to be tweaked. That’s where being able to track and measure comes in. How many people actually visited your site? How many people stayed for more than 15 seconds? What search terms did they use to find you? Did they spend five minutes reading your sales page and not even give you their name and email address? Did they give you their name and email address, but not buy?

It’s harder to track how many people saw your book on Amazon, read about it and said, “Pass.” But you can measure how much marketing you did of your book. You can look over what groups you posted in, what social media sites, whether or not it was shared. You can see if people watched your YouTube video on the book or how many people are searching on your name specifically. You can certainly measure how many books were sold.

So was the book a failure or a success? Is your marketing working or not? Failure gives you insight and a foothold that can lead you to a future, perhaps different success. But all in all, full-on, unmitigated, absolute success is more better.

·

Aluminum Foil Phrases

Man Wearing Tin Foil Hat -- NOT Steve!

Man Wearing Tin Foil Hat -- NOT Steve!

There are some phrases that are the literary equivalent of biting into aluminum foil. Most writers have their pet peeves when it comes to certain aspects of the language. (Yes, it’s nitpicky and elitist, but that’s why we’re writers.) Misplaced and misused apostrophes spring to mind. I recently revoked a client’s right to use a semi-colon again. EVER. (“You are not allowed to use semi-colons. Eventually, yes, you might randomly place one where it actually belongs, but with global warming, I don't think we will live to see the day.”)

I started thinking about this because of a comment my friend, master juggler and uber-funny man Steve Russell posted on Facebook the other day. (Find Steve and his equally talented wife Kobi at SteveRussellJuggles) Here’s what Steve posted:

I was writing some copy for a website of an illusionist, recently. I was encouraged to "think outside the box." Two thoughts on that: 1. If, in 2013, you are still using that phrase, YOU ARE STILL INSIDE THE BOX! and 2. Do you realize the irony, given what an illusionist does for a living?

After I stopped laughing (hard to do when you’re around Steve), I thought how much the phrase “outside the box” irritated me. As does “paradigm shift.”

The phrases, once “cutting edge” (another phrase on its way out if not already gone) are “old school” (a phrase that needs to go) now. They scream 1980s (no apostrophe, thank you) management seminar.

Yet they are instantly recognizable. They carry more meaning than just the mere words. When someone says “outside the box” we know instantly that they want something creative, striking, inspired and innovative. A paradigm shift infers such a major change that things will never be the same or looked at in the same way again.

Words and phrases can be charged – filled with meaning that conjures up emotion and experiences. When I give talks on copywriting, I go through various words copywriters use to elicit responses from men and women. And yes, I can always count on big laughs when I flash the phrase “private members forum” on the screen.

But there comes a time when words lose their oomph. (Oomph is a word that will never lose its oomph, by the way.) Over-use and incorrect use wear a phrase out. It loses its meaning and therefore its power. While clients may still ask that you create something that is “out of the box” if you use the phrase (or any of the other tired phrases) in your copy, you are doing them a disservice.

It’s lazy.

I can write long page sales copy all day long (usually while watching NCIS re-runs) that incorporates all the phrases and facets that marketers want to see on their sites. I could charge big money for it. But I don’t. (Proof that I am a complete IDIOT.)

If you are writing copy for yourself or others, maybe you should use all those phrases. People still respond to them. They are known to work. But it gives me a bad feeling in my stomach.

Words are precious to me. I like the way they sound. I like their rhythm. (A very cool word, rhythm. Look! No vowel in that second syllable!) I like that they can mean more than one thing. I think they should be honored and respected.

I also think they should be played with. Come up with new combinations. Create new meanings. Words are meant to communicate, to convey information and emotion and to connect humans with each other.

So the next time a client asks you to think “outside the box,” slam him with it. Rupture the atmosphere, bamboozle reality, cupcake the deal. Most will, of course, come back and ask you for something that looks like everything else that is already out there, i.e., inside the box. But every so often, you will find someone who goes with it, who gets it. And at that point, you will be able to stand and point and say, “That day, I used words well.”

· · · · ·

Article MarketingUsing articles to drive traffic to your website was a win/win marketing concept at its best.  You submitted articles to content directories, publishers picked up free articles and in return, they ran your author’s bio with your article, adding to your credibility and driving targeted traffic back to your website or offline business.  But then article marketing fell into disfavor. The Great Google decided articles weren’t all that important in providing the information that people wanted.  It (GASP!) changed its algorithms and articles didn’t skew as high in the organic searches.

Well, everything old is new again, ain’t it? Once again, the great internet wheel of fortune has completed its turn and articles are ranking higher again.  But with a little different twist.  Google has gotten smarter, refined its algorithms and now is tying together content with the authors of that content.  In short, Google has managed to find a way to rank the value of the content you provide, make connections among all your published web content and evaluate this information. Your “grade” will affect your page rank.  Tie it all up in a big bow, and Google calls it “Author Rank.”

What does this mean to you? It means that if you provide high-quality, useful content, through articles, blog posts or any web content, your information is going to come up higher in Google search than someone who is merely “phoning it in” i.e., putting out a series of superficial, low-quality articles.  Original content will be rewarded. Those who were merely gaming the system will be thrown into the Google dungeon.

The best part of this is that Author Rank is still being rolled out. It’s in testing stages and that means you can get a jump on your competition by creating a library of high-quality articles NOW.

A FaceBook friend, Steve Eason, posted a great guide to setting yourself up to take advantage of author rank.  Click this link to get a jumpstart.

http://www.ingeniousinternetincome.com/your-guide-to-setting-up-google-authorship-markup/

If you want to learn more about how you can use article marketing in your business, tune in to my webinar on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 at 9:00 pm Eastern.  I’ll be talking about how article marketing works, how to come up with topics that people are searching for, easy ways to write articles and fill you in on Author Rank.  You can register by clicking this link:

http://www2.onlinemeetingnow.com/register/?id=0e735bcba4

Here are just a few of the topics the webinar will cover:

  • What is Article Marketing?
  • Article Marketing Strategies -- Using the Google Keyword Tool and Spoking Your Articles
  • Easy Ways to Write Articles

I'll also post a link during the webinar with a list of sites to show you where to submit articles.

If you haven't been using article marketing as part of your business marketing mix, now is the perfect time to put this ball into play.

 

· · · · ·

promote yourselfIt’s so very hard to promote yourself. I mean, you know, if you weren’t raised by wolves. Most of us were taught not to brag. The phrases “blow your own horn” or “sing your own praises” are used derisively, usually for good reason.

I am friends with a lot of marketers, coaches, gurus, whatever and I understand the need to promote yourself to prospects and clients. But mostly I am seeing how NOT to promote yourself.  Here’s a recent Facebook post:

“It's been an amazing day of discovery & realization for me. It's so moving to be an inspiration & to know I've helped others just by being.”

Can you say narcissistic?  Because that’s the word two of my marketing friends came up with when I sent over that post and asked what they thought.  The “ewwww” factor was pretty huge on that one.

Here’s a post where a guy basically tells people he’s an a-hole:

“It's a little creepy when people I don't know recognize me and approach me in public places. Did I do something wrong to misinform people that I'm approachable and pleasant? I guess it's better than being actively stalked.”

If you’re actively marketing and promoting yourself, people are going to recognize you. That’s kind of the goal. In fact, he’s incredibly pleased that he was approached, then turns around and is ungracious enough to complain about it. Who does he think he’s fooling? If you were following this guy, would you ever walk up to him and introduce yourself after reading this?  Would you bother keeping him on your “friends” list? But I've "talked" with him. He's a nice guy. He was pleased that he got recognized, wanted to tell people, but didn't really feel comfortable just saying that. So, he blew it off, pretending to not like it.  And that path didn't serve him very well at all.

So how do you get the message out that you are good at what you do without sounding like a blowhard?

Here’s one way to do it and with it, a moment of truth: This blog post was inspired by a series of Facebook posts I saw today. One of my friends, Yvonne Charneskey (http://vonhenry.com/ ) posted a series of videos that her company had done for various clients, about three or four examples. Her last post of the series said: “As you can see, we can help you with a variety of video formats. Video puts a face to your words and makes you more believable and trustworthy. People do business with those they know, trust and like...”  That is a benefit statement, not a chest-thumping “look how wonderful we are.”

She also did something else with that series of videos. Outside of showing the high quality of her work, she spotlighted her clients to an audience (her Facebook friends) that may not have known about these people and companies.  That’s a bonus for her clients, which is a pretty nice thing to do.

There’s no call to action in her post but this is social media.  Social media has everyone walking a tightrope – trying to promote themselves and what they do without looking like they are promoting themselves or what they do. Could she have added a “light” call to action. Yes. But it is implied. If you need video done and done well, talk to Yvonne and her husband Hank.

What have you done for your clients that you can use to showcase what you do and how you can help others? I know a carpet cleaner who posts before and after pictures. An artist who shows her work in progress. A running coach that posts his students’ times and successes. There’s a way for you to showcase your talent on social media without being heavy-handed.  Give it some thought and then put it out there.

 

· · · ·

On Selling False Hope

A while back I wrote a manual for a client.   He asked me what I would charge to create a sales page for him.  Copywriters charge a lot of money for sales pages.  Some of those copywriters are worth the money and some aren’t. But the truth is, unless you can drive traffic to the sales page, it doesn’t matter how good the copy is.

I told him I didn’t do sales copy for anyone other than myself. I won’t make promises that my magic words are going to bring in thousands of sales and millions of dollars. There’s a science to writing sales page copy. Good copywriters spend time researching the target market’s buying process, taking pains to ensure that the copy covers all the touch points for various buying types, crafting the right hooks to intrigue the buyer into pressing that “Add to Cart” button.

Sometimes, in spite of the copywriter’s best efforts, the product doesn’t go. The page doesn’t convert.  Or, more often, the page doesn’t get enough traffic to determine whether or not the copy is doing its job. You can SEO a page from here to eternity but if the niche is crowded or has big players, the page may not crack the first page of Google without strong marketing support from other quarters.

I am more honest with clients than I should be sometimes. Many copywriters would have charged an arm and a leg (including a backend cut of product sales) and have written copy that was … shall we say… less than fresh. I can write that kind of copy. All day long with my eyes closed.  I don’t.  So my client went off to find a copywriter for his sales page.

That was over six months ago.  He popped back up (as my favorite clients do) about two weeks ago. He said that the person writing his sales page had dropped the ball and wanted to know if I had any recommendations. I know he is on a budget. I know he needs to get this thing off the ground. I know he’s probably been ripped off. I offered to do it at a cut-rate price.

After a little bit of back and forth, we finally got down to the real nub.  He asked me, “Do you think this product is viable? I want to know if I will make my money back.”

Again, I was more honest with him than a good businessperson should be. I told him that the sales page alone won’t sell his manual. That it would take marketing efforts such as talking to groups, email marketing, social media, etc. etc. etc.

Yes, he is looking for reassurance. Yes, he has a pretty good product that has an easily targeted market. And yes, my sales page copy will convert prospects to buyers. But at the end of the day, there are no guarantees. There are no magic words. There’s just probability and rolling the dice to see how that all plays out.

I would love to tell him that YES! He will definitely make his money back.  But as I said to him, anyone who flat out declares that you definitely will have the sales numbers you need is selling soap.  And that’s where the toughest part for any entrepreneur comes in. At some point, you have to roll the dice, take the chance, close your eyes and jump. Sometimes you win. Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, you lose. But you’ll never know until you put yourself out there. Something I recommend wholeheartedly.

And, shameless plug:  I'm re-playing my webinar "Marketing in 4 Hours a Week" this Tuesday night.  If you want some ideas on how to market your business in a time-efficient and effective  manner, tune in.  Register here:   Marketing in 4

 
Barbara Grassey
 

· · · ·

You're in business. You've sent emails. In fact, you send email after email.  Are you tracking your email open rate?

One of my clients emailed me with the question, “How can I get people to open my emails?”  She was looking for tips to make her subject line more enticing.  She had recently sent an email to her list of 527 subscribers and had 124 opens.  That’s an open rate of 23.5%.   

A "good" or average open rate for an email is 15 - 30%.  Her open rate is within range. But it could be better. In her niche, health, the average open rate is higher, in the 30 – 40% range. Here's an article I found with open rate info:

Average Email Open Rates

Her particular email was announcing a local event. Because her list is national, her open rate was probably lower than usual – her subscribers know where she is located.  But event emails are not a one-shot deal. For an event (seminar, get together, webinar) you really have to hit people at least 3 times with emails because they either miss the email, or don't have time to open and look the first time they see it or think they will go back and open it "later on" (which is why I have over 1,000 emails sitting in one of my accounts).

People are in a time crunch these days. One thing I have seen work is a subject line that says -- "This will take less than a minute" (or 30 seconds) and I've also seen something like that in the first line of an email: “This email will only take you about 2 minutes to read but will blah blah blah -- some benefit to you.”

People also respond to FUN.  So, if you’re doing an email series, have at least one of the emails have something about fun or pleasure in the title.  Analysts (marketing and psycho) say people are more motivated by avoiding pain (2.5 times more likely to move away from pain) than moving towards pleasure, but in my experience people go for instant pleasure if the ensuing pain is 1) not that painful and 2) far enough away in time, i.e., “Eating cake will make me fat and isn’t good for me.  I don't want to be fat but that's the result of MANY pieces of cake and this one piece of cake won't make me instantaneously fat so I'll have it."

Do I have a study to back me up on that? No. But I do have whoopie pies and ice cream in my kitchen. And if you take a look around you, you will probably see the results of people making that choice. On a daily basis…   So, give people a little pleasure in your subject line mix.

The same day my client emailed me with that question, I also got this email with a free offer for an email marketing tip ebook from Icontact, an autoresponder company:

10 Rules for Successful Email Marketing

I’m not sure how long it’s going to be available.  It looks like an affiliate link (not mine, probably for whoever runs WebProNews, the company that sent me the email) so you will most probably be put on a list. This particular opt in is especially intrusive – Icontact has put this ebook out and is offering a free trial of their services with it.  (Complete disclosure: I gave them valid information except for my phone number – I can delete emails; phone calls are just freakin annoying.) My attitude on this is if I get tired of the emails or find they are not helpful, I’ll just unsubscribe. But I’m always open to new sources of info.  (Hmmm.  I think I feel another blog post coming on about information gathered for opt ins.)

I know I sound like a broken record sometimes (OK, most of the time) but the best way to get people to listen to you, whether you are sending emails, writing blogs posts, doing videos or posting on social media, is to put out good information. People search the internet for information. Yes, they buy things over the internet, but first and foremost, they want information. The best thing you can do is make sure the information you give is relevant, helpful and applicable.  The importance of the subject line goes down as people get to know, like and trust you and your information. However, if your list is constantly growing, people are in various stages of their relationship with you. The stronger you can make your subject lines, the more likely people are to open your emails and from there, develop a stronger relationship with you.  But don’t let it torment you. They can’t all be diamonds. Better to get the email out than to sit and agonize over the subject line.

 
Barbara Grassey

· · · ·

Don't want to read?  Click below for Audio

Use Different Formats for Your Marketing Messages Audio

I received an email from a marketer with a subject line that was interesting enough to get me to open it up.  That is a major hurdle.  Even though I have cut down on the number of lists that I subscribe to, I still get over 100 emails a day and the first thing I do is go down the list and delete emails I am not going to bother with.  I bet you do the same thing.  (This is where you say, “But never with your emails, Barbara.” Yes. Of course and thank you.)

So, I clicked on the email, prepared to give him some of my time and hopefully get a bit of information in return.  But when I opened the email, I was directed to a link to a podcast.  Now, that is really cool for people who learn by listening, but I’m a reader.  In fact, I’m a pretty fast reader and even faster when I am skimming something to pick out the information I want and move on.  I can’t do that with audio or video. (Though I have clever friends who will run a video at 2x speed and slow it down at the good parts. I will leave it up to you to imagine what the good parts are.)  Frustrated, I closed out the email and deleted it.  I was interested in the information only to the extent that it took me little to no effort to get it. Had my interest level been higher, I may have gone on through to the podcast.

But for those people who learn by listening, the podcast was probably a welcome change in a sea of printed material. Different people like to learn in different ways -- some by watching, some by listening or reading or actually doing. We all tend to put out information in the way that we prefer to receive it. But we’re shutting off a large part of our marketing reach.

While I didn’t listen to the podcast, I may have learned a better lesson from that marketer’s email. It pointed out what I’m NOT doing – I need to offer my blog posts with a
couple of options – podcast or video along with the written word. Do I need to do every one like that? No.  But it might be nice for my readers if I break it up a bit.

If you’re like me and don’t like to be seen on camera (Really – change out of my shorts and t-shirt and put on make-up for a five minute video?), you can do Camtasia style videos.  (Try the freebie version for short videos using JingProject.)  Or just record what you’ve written using your computer or a digital recorder.  You may not want to read it word for word.  You may add in or take out a line or two.  And it may take you more than one “take” to get what you want.  If you normally do video or audio messages, then have them transcribed and give people the option to read instead of watch or listen.

The next time you sit down to write a blog post or send an email to your list or create a marketing piece, add another dimension to your marketing.  I’ll guarantee that your information will be heard and seen by a wider range of prospects and clients.  And, don’t forget to cross-post your message on YouTube and other video sites, article submission directories and podcast sites.

 

 

· ·

Who’s Zoomin’ Who?

Get a 1,000 followers in a day!
Get 20,000 followers in a week!
Be on the first page of Google!
Sell 3,000 books on Kindle in 7 days!

 

I don’t know why anyone goes to a job anymore since making millions on the internet is so easy you can do it in your sleep just by pressing a button.

What?  Oh?  You can’t?  It’s a little tougher than that?

Really?

The above are the headlines that make me crazy.  I sit there and say, “I’m not pulling numbers like that. What am I doing wrong?”

Two separate articles and the latest Google algorithm update went a long way towards making me feel better.

The Google update knocked a lot of people off the front page of search listings. One strategy in particular – backlinking -- back-fired big-time.  (I love alliteration.)   I remember when that strategy came out. I had a friend who had tried an SEO backlinking technique that had totally screwed his rankings. Then someone came out with a big SEO backlinking “System” and everyone jumped on the bandwagon.  I was ignored when I posted in a marketing group that the system wouldn’t work.  In fact, I wrote a blog post about it (http://themarketingword.com/marketing/you-cant-game-google/).  But all the SEO guys knew better than I did.  A month later, BAM. The Google hammer came down. The latest Google algorithm change popped one of my websites up to the first page. It is a website that has fresh, original content. No gimmicky SEO anything. Go figure.

About a month ago, the BBC broke the news that Facebook had over 83 million fake accounts – about 8.7% of its population. (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19093078)  This affects the dollar value of Facebook’s advertising.  But it also calls into question some of those strategies that promise to add 1,000 or more “Likes” to your fan page. They may “really, really like” you, but do “they” actually exist?

Then, about a week ago, it was revealed that many of the high-profile Twitter accounts – those social media rock stars with massive followings – were purchasing their followers, not attracting them with their message or even getting followers who, well… actually followed. (http://site-reference.com/articles/high-profile-tweeters-busted-for-purchasing-twitter-followers/) There are thousands of inactive Twitter accounts.  Having these “followers” doesn’t do anything to bring in business.

It comes down to the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  And I hate that. I wish there was an easier way to let people know that I put out quality work and I care about whether or not what I do helps my clients.  But it just ain’t that way.

Marketing, online and offline, is damn hard work.  Or maybe I should say marketing ethically is damn hard work.  But in other ways, it is very, very easy.  Create strong content. Give value. Deliver on what you promise. Work consistently towards your goals. Most of all, interact with your clients -- on social media, in real life, through your emails.  Just because the world is using more technology to market and to buy doesn’t mean that the personal touch, a real relationship, is obsolete.  In fact, it is even more necessary now than ever before.

It doesn’t make any sense to go skyrocketing up in numbers – followers or Google rankings or fake five star Amazon ratings -- if it is all going to get taken away from you.  Build your business for the long term.  It’s sometimes frustrating.  You feel like everyone else is zooming past you. But a solid business will take care of you long after all the “rock stars” have fallen off the map. And the relationships that you build, the real relationships, will create a successful life that no impersonal, automated business could ever produce.

 

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