4 Ways to get the Customers Attention

I don’t have to tell you how difficult it is to find and attract customers online. With millions and millions of businesses all vying for attention, the Internet has quickly turned into a very crowded place. But, believe it or not, there’s opportunity in all that clutter, and if you approach your marketing and visibility right, you can easily rise to the top.

However, it does require work and commitment. So, if you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and getting a little dirty, you’re in exactly the right place.

What I’ve found is the easiest way to get customers to pay attention to you is to have them WANT to pay attention to you. (Easier said than done, I know.) How do you do that?

Unique Customer Experience

Well, first off, never forget that your customers are real, live breathing people. I know, that sounds obvious. But, look at how dehumanizing our marketing language is:

  • Visitors to our website are “traffic.”
  • Prospects are “leads.” Some of them are “cold leads” and some are “warm leads.”
  • Our email subscriber list is often shortened to just “list.”
  • People who attend our events are referred to as “butts in seats.”
  • And so on.

These words strip the humanity away from our customers, which then makes it easier to focus on the results of our marketing activities, versus how they make our customers feel.

Now, does that mean I don’t believe in businesses having a good return on their investment? Absolutely not. I am a big believer in businesses making money and being profitable. I also believe if you treat your customers in the manner you would like to be treated, they’ll feel the difference and reward you with their attention.

Remembering the person behind the customer is just the beginning. To create an environment where your customers want to pay attention to you, it’s important to create an amazing and unique customer experience.

How do you do that? Well, what do your customers want? Other than a solution to what’s keeping them up at night (which is likely what you’re offering in your business).

They want what most humans want, which is to connect and feel a part of a community.

That’s one of the main reasons why social networking took off as it did. People have a deep need to connect and build relationships with other people. That need to connect is SO deep, it extends past other people to pets and even inanimate things, such as businesses.

So, the more you can create an environment that makes your customers feel connected and part of your community, the better. How do you do that? Here are four ways you can start.

1. Use Content to Connect

You’ve likely heard that content is king, especially online. One of the main reasons people use the Internet is to be educated, so tapping into that seems like a smart marketing strategy. Except … there’s a lot of content out there.

So, how do you make your content stand out from everyone else’s?

First, make sure your content is top quality. Don’t just phone it in. There’s already a ton of content out there that’s been phoned in, the Internet doesn’t need any more.

Second, make sure it’s content your customers really want. Get super clear what your ideal clients customers want to learn from you, and give it to them.

Third, present the content in a format your customers prefer. So, if your customers prefer watching videos, give them video content. If they prefer to read, give them written content. If they prefer pictures or infographics, do that.

However, it goes even deeper than that. Do your customers prefer a more formal style of learning or something more fun and light? Do they prefer lots of stories or a straight forward how-to piece?

Your customers will feel more connected to you if you’re giving them content they want in a format they prefer.

OK, so what if you sell a product? How do you create content that way?

Bulletproof Coffee has a huge blog where it shares a ton of content on different uses of its product (for instance, there’s an article as I’m writing this about how to use Bulletproof Coffee as a hair mask) as well as other lifestyle and exercise tips.

Part of Bulletproof Coffee’s brand is that it’s “good” for you, so therefore sharing content that helps you improve your health and life is a perfect fit.

If you sell a product, ask yourself what the end result of using your product is? What’s the big benefit your customers are getting? Can you create content around that?

Start there and see where that leads.

2. Use Entertainment to Connect

Business guru Dan Kennedy once said you can’t bore your customers into buying from you. In many cases, your customers are looking to be entertained — and if they can be entertained while getting the content they’re looking for, all the better.

There’s no question that being entertaining is easier for some people. If you’re naturally funny and can easily work humor into your content (and your customers are looking for the humor) then this is a natural. But even if you aren’t a comedian, you can still be entertaining.

How? By using stories.

Stories are the ultimate way to connect. As humans, we are naturally wired to respond to stories. In fact, the old fairy tales were actually morality lessons. The story was the sugar coating around the lesson.

Just telling your kids not to trust the strange woman in the forest likely won’t do much. Turning that woman into a witch who owns a gingerbread house and wants to eat them? That’s a lot more memorable.

So, where do you find stories, especially if you’re in a business that doesn’t lend itself to storytelling? You can always share stories about your life, especially if a story can illustrate a point.

For instance, I share a lot of stories around my journey as an entrepreneur. I’ve owned my own business since 1998. I started as a freelance copywriter, and eventually founded a copywriting company servicing clients all over the world.

When you share stories about your life, especially as it relates to your expertise, you’ll likely find your customers responding to you. Remember, they want to connect with you. Even if you’re just sharing stories about your children or your pets, it still brings a human element to your content. People can start to see the person behind the business.

You also can use stories from your clients or customers. These can double as testimonials for your offerings, which can make them even more powerful.

3. Connect Using Vulnerability and Your Personality

This one is a toughie. It took me a long time to get comfortable sharing my vulnerability. I thought my customers would only want to work with me if I was “perfect.” But that’s actually not the case.

Nobody is perfect, and if you come across too perfect, you risk not coming across as relatable. People want to know there’s a real person behind the business, and showing your vulnerability is a great way to do that.

In addition, when you show your vulnerability, you don’t seem so “far ahead” of your customers. Your customers may not believe your solution can actually help them, because you’re so much more of an expert than they are. Now, there are a couple of caveats with this.

First, make sure you don’t undercut your expertise. So, for instance, if you’re a coach, and you find yourself stuck in your own way one day, don’t talk about how you hired your own coach to get yourself unstuck (especially if that’s what you do for your clients). Your customers may decide they would rather hire your coach and not you.

Instead, in that situation, maybe share how you reconnected with your own system and got yourself unstuck. See the difference? (However, only share that if it’s true.)

Also, don’t share your vulnerability when you’re in the middle of your vulnerability. So, don’t talk about being stuck when you’re stuck. Talk about it after you’ve resolved it. If you talk about your vulnerability when you’re in process, it’s more difficult to keep your emotions out of it. (In other words, you risk coming across as defensive or defeated or some other emotion that will turn off your customers.)

People want to hear a resolution. They don’t want to hear about how you got stuck in something and are still stuck. They have enough things that aren’t resolved in their own lives — they don’t need to hear about yours.

Sharing your vulnerability is definitely a skill. When I first started doing it, I remember I got a private message from someone telling me they knew a great therapist if I wanted a recommendation. So … yeah. Not how I wanted to come across.

Anyway, all was not lost. People still continued to hire me, and I learned how to share my vulnerability without coming across like I needed therapy.

Now, if this is just too scary, then start small. Share your personality. Show the little foibles that make you you. Share from your life perspective. The more your customers can see your personality, the more they’ll feel connected with you.

So, this is all well and good if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, but what if you’re a bigger company?

Well, then what you can do is create a brand personality and interact with your clients that way.

Take Zappos, for instance. It sells shoes and clothes, and yet it has a fun brand “voice” that sends cheery and whimsical emails and newsletters that make you want to open and read its marketing materials.

If you sell a product, do some work around what sort of brand your customers want to interact with, and give them that.

4. Connect by Letting Them Interact With You

This is the most obvious one when you think about creating an environment where your customers can connect with you, but it’s amazing how many businesses overlook it.

Create ways for your customers to talk to you. Maybe you ask questions on social media or your blog (and respond to their comments). Maybe you provide a Facebook group or space where your customers can go to chat with you and other customers.

Maybe you create contests, such as having them post photos of themselves interacting with your product and tag you.

Be creative. How can you get your customers involved not only with your products and services, but also with your company? How can you position yourself as a trusted resource where your customers want to connect with you?

Lastly, remember that this is going to take some time.

Just because you go out and start a Facebook group doesn’t mean your customers will stream in and start interacting with you. Relationships take time. Trust takes time. Do the work, trust the process and give yourself time to let the magic happen. 

Points to write Leadership Articles

Thought leadership articles are one of the hardest forms of content marketing to get right. You need in-depth research, remarkable writing and impeccable style. But what even is a thought leader?

In short, a thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognised as an authority in a specialised field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.

1. Research

Thought leadership articles have to be based on solid industry knowledge, a good grasp of current trends and events and deep insight into a marketing persona’s potential problem or challenge. They need to be backed up by solid, objective data. They need skilful writing in order to weave in your company’s position and expertise without compromising credibility.

  • Start at the source. Scour your company intranet for documents, brochures or videos that could help. Devour and break down whatever you can find.
  • Ask an expert. Whether it’s a product expert from inside your company, a third party specialist or a happy customer, there is always someone out there who knows more than you. Interviews should be guided and informative conversations. Your role is to listen.
  • The site you can never cite. Wikipedia is fantastic for getting an overview of a person, a term or anything else. Of course you should never rely on it absolutely as a source, but start there.
  • Google News and Blog searches. Looking at what comes up in the headlines, and where in the world that topic is buzzing is a brilliant way to tap in to the heart of the current conversation. Start with Google News, then drill down into industry or interest-specific publications

2. Use your sources

  • Any direct quotes, or unique ideas that people have built a reputation or brand around should, of course be cited.
  • Any idea that has entered the general consciousness and is being talked about as part of a public discussion can be treated as such.
  • thought leadership article doesn’t want to be littered with footnotes so try to use examples, metaphors or synecdoche to explain an idea, rather than resorting to someone else’s words.
  • Consider if the attribution adds value for the reader or not and if you’re really stuck, cite as you would be cited
  • Do not steal other people’s work

3. Write with style

Consider which publications you want to emulate. Many clients refer to The Economist or the Financial Times as examples to follow. The Economist Style Guide is actually a pretty comprehensive guide to good business writing, and worth a read.

Bare in mind, however, that the reason these publications do so well is that they’re not all business. They inject some fizz and ginger and are playful with language sometimes. This excerpt from The Economist, for example, uses ‘schmoozing’ and ‘kyboshing’, but it doesn’t make it seem any less credible.

Along with his recent schmoozing of Algeria and Quatar, this threatens to exacerbate Europe’s energy insecurity, kyboshing the hope of importing large quantities of Central Asian gas without Russian involvement.

Be sure to keep your company tone of voice in mind, but be willing to bend it to the topic and audience at hand.

4. Put pen to paper

There are so many ways to write persuasive, authoritative, confident and convincing articles, but they all take practice. Writing long-form, editorial content is a hard-learned skill, but here are a few basic pointers to get you going in the right direction:

  • Read Donald Murray’s ‘Writing to Deadline’Or our 10-minute summary on Bad Language if you’re in a real rush. It’s a brilliant resource to get you thinking about the reader, interrogating your topic and crafting great headlines, ledes and kickers.
  • Speaking of which. Headlines have to attract. They need to make an enticing promise (that you can deliver on). Actionable, punchy and sometimes surprising are all good things to aim for.
  • Review the A-Z of better writing. This includes nuggets such as GrammarProofreadStory and Visualise. All are essential

5 Steps on How to Make Your Content Marketing Strategy Work

What Content Marketing Is?

It’s true, content marketing is hugging the spotlight recently. What really this exciting dynamo is basically a lovechild of traditional and digital marketing.

Being the younger sibling of other marketing efforts around, content marketing strategy contemplates the significance of creating truly engaging and great campaign that is hype-able.

As well as driving traffic to your site, content marketing is another way of sparking and inspiring people, especially your brand followers and prospects, to talk about your organization.

Content marketing options are here to stay. And the advantages for your company are immense in so many different ways.

Making your content inherently, however, shareable will benefit from gaining the support from the friend zone, namely social media, public relations and SEO strategies.

Is Content Marketing Just the Other Form of Branding?

Maybe not exactly so. But let’s find out by digging deeper.

As opposed to common notions that branding refers to the name of your company, the tagline and logo, it’s pretty safe to assume it’s a also one way that companies use to creating positive perception.

OK, here are other common definitions marketers ascribe to branding: a promise, an expectation of an experience.

But on a deeper look of it, the essence of brands can go beyond merely having the colors right or site design right.

The meaning of the brand is its very essence. Words have meanings as much as it also do matter.

If you are wondering how the Apple brand resonates, the secret did not lies from its logo or even its product design alone. But that heap of credits should go to the constant stream of Apple product reviews that blogs and online news sites publish on a regular basis.

Third-party party validation of the Apple brand communicated through third-party content and shares help built the brand over time. It’s sentiments and raves that people shared about Apple that created the meaning of that brand. Advertising from Apple aided in reinforcing the meaning.

So what’s that got to do with content marketing as the new branding?

As marketers, the challenge for us is to convince and influence people to talk about us or our client’s brand. That’s why we influence, convince them to generate content about our brands.

So for our subject brand, our task as marketers is to create an Apple-like experience where the brand’s meaning is derived from how our customers or prospects perceive us.

By publishing our own content, we inspire our customers with brand experiences and help shape conversation around our brand.

This same effort can be pursued through content marketing. It becomes imperative now to commit to an active role by publishing or propagating content worth talking about. In this game, abstaining can mean missed opportunity.

How to Make Content Marketing Strategy Work?

Brent Gleeson and Carrie Peterson wrote in “Savvy Marketing Mix = Social + PR + SEO” that there are five ways to achieve content marketing strategy success.

1. Set Clear Goals. The part we’ve already heard a lot of times but we need to pay attention. Ask questions that you’ll answer later on. Questions serve as guide in setting your goals. It is also at this stage to ask yourself what performance benchmarks you want to use in measuring overall success. Be specific with your goals. Is it direct sales you are after or new sign-ups? All these must be established and set before starting with anything.

2. Do Your Research. Keyword research is important and its role to get the best results from your content or campaign. Tap your SEO team to help identity specific keywords or areas of opportunity to drive traffic to the site. Find out from your social media and PR staff what content makes sense to promote based on your market’s demographic, industry trends. Be ready to spot upcoming potential PR opportunities. Now you can initiate brainstorming.

3. Create Great (Trackable) Content. Realize that it takes a lot of pain, sweat and blood to produce great content. To help you crack the best ones, use all available tools at your disposal. You can also leverage your team’s creative minds to help solve an issue or concern for your content marketing.

4. Build Your Web Network. Once you are ready with your content marketing options, start building the “web” where you’ll push out your content. In building your network, start identifying your target audience and understanding them better. Do you already know where they spend most of their time online? After knowing where they loiter, identify the influencers in the space. Tap bloggers, journalists or the savvy Tweeps to build your clout. Now, follow them with sincerity and follow their blogs. Engage in dialogues and adopt proper social etiquette. Once you earn their trust, there are hopes that your band of influencers will share your content with their followers.

5. Get The Word Out! It’s now time to make the world listen to your unique story. Keep in mind that content marketing must always stick to the facts, strategic and calculated. Leverage your social media to good use and tap the “web” of networks you’ve built for your outreach. Craft a pitch to the influencers. Make sure to match your pitch to the personality and followers of your influencers.That way, these people will naturally or volunteer to share your great content.

How about you, what’s your experience in integrating all the disciplines of social media, PR and SEO into your content marketing campaign?

Questions to Ask Your Web Design Company

Web Design Company

While many people set out to find a Web design Company that can create a website for their business, few understand that website design involves much more than aesthetics. By hiring a professional Web design company, you are choosing a business partner to create a website design that impresses its visitors with both its appearance and functionality.

Think of choosing a professional Web design company as you would a builder for your brick-and-mortar store – you want someone who has the experience, materials and tools necessary to get the job done right. When you’re ready to create a website for your business, there are several questions you need to ask your prospective Web design company before you begin:

Do you offer website design templates or customized website design?

While website design templates and customized website design can both be effective ways to create a website, the method you choose to use will depend on your online goals and your budget. A simple website with limited functionality requirements can easily be achieved with website design templates, while customized website design is typically necessary for more complex websites. Be specific when expressing your website design needs, and make sure that the professional Web design company can provide the services that your business needs.

How long until my website design is up and running?

Creating a website design is just like any other business project – a professional Web design company should provide a timeline and stick to it. Along with budget, your individual timing needs will often determine which Web design package choose.

Will you test my website design for cross-browser compatibility?

Visitors will view your website design from a variety of browsers, so you’ll need a professional Web design company to do cross-browser compatibility testing between the three most popular browsers – Internet Explorer, Mozilla® and Netscape®. By identifying and resolving issues before your website design reaches the Internet, your professional Web design company can help you make sure that your website reaches the largest audience possible.

Do you offer logo design?

Having a company logo can help you establish your identity, strengthen your brand and reinforce your credibility. Ask your Web hosting company if they can create a customized logo design for your website – and if they’ll provide that logo design in several file formats so you can keep your online presence and print marketing materials consistent. (Already have a logo design for your business? Ask your professional Web design company if it can be used in your website design.)

How often can I make changes to my website design?

A professional Web design company should know that changes are necessary to keep a website design fresh and, therefore, appealing to visitors and search engines. Ask your Web design company how often changes can be made — and how those changes will be implemented.

Can my website design support ecommerce?

If you are going to be selling products online – now or in the future – your professional Web design company must be able to support your ecommerce goals. Depending on your business, you may need a simple Pay Pal® button on your home page or a multi-functional ecommerce shopping cart.

Will my website design be search engine friendly?

Certain elements of website design can influence how the search engines will “react” when evaluating its content. Ask your professional Web design company if they use so-called “clean-coding” techniques such as semantic HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) when they create a website. Search engines view these techniques favorably, which may help to improve your rankings.

Will I get to speak to the web designer?

Website design should be a collaborative effort. When selecting a professional Web design company, make sure that you have the option of one-on-one interaction with your Web designer so that you can provide input and request revisions directly.

Choosing a professional Web design company doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. As you consider candidates, be sure to get answers to these important questions before deciding who will create a website design for your business.

Branding and Logo Design

Iconic of a Logo

The world’s most successful brands all have something in common: a logo so iconic with the ability to generate an immediate association between consumer and organization. And just like flags, the best logos exert an overwhelming impact on people. A logo is a defining source for a brand, an element that requires precise execution. Not only are logos visual manifestations of brands, they are also a vehicle that transmits the personality, values and traits that define a brand in a powerful, succinct and memorable way. Traits that may exist within our context and surroundings and that evoke experiences that reinforce our views on a specific matter — in some cases even implying a historical or cultural reference. Quite a task, huh?

Ideal Logo

Designer Paul Rand once said, “An ideal logo is simple, elegant, versatile, practical and unforgettable.” It may not be more than an insignia, but one that acquires significance through time thanks to encounters. And even though a logo may change throughout the years, it must strive to maintain within the mind of a customer its union with the concept that originally gave meaning to it. Or as Complex.com states, “The visual identity of a logo can make or break a brand in the eyes of a discerning consumer. Throughout a single company’s history, various logos serve as indicators of values, loyalty, and togetherness. ”

In his book “How Brands become Icons”, Douglas Holt says, “Academic research demonstrates that the extraordinary appeal of the most successful cultural products has been due to their mythic qualities. Over time, as the brand performs its myth, the audience eventually perceives that the myth resides in the brand’s makers – its name, its design elements and its logo. The brand becomes a symbol, an embodiment of that myth. So as customers drink, drive or wear the product, they experience a bit of the myth. In modern societies, the most influential myths address people’s identities. Iconic brands function like cultural activists, encouraging people to think differently about themselves.”

Essentials of Logo

According to designs, five essential logo design characteristics are: simplicity, originality, memorability, clarity and brandibility. Other factors such as uniqueness, union between the brand name and aesthetics, instantaneous and visceral understanding, timelessness and scalability are also factors to bear in mind.

Why your BUSINESS Needs a Website

Websites Work.

No matter what your business or profession, a website can generate business, promote goodwill among customers and prospects, and deliver strong marketing messages – whether your business is small, large or in-between, well-established or brand-new.

People use the Web in greater and greater numbers, more and more every day. Even if you are a completely local small business, service, contractor or consultant, odds are people have used search engines to look for your web site – and if you don’t have a web site… well, you get the picture.

Your business Web page delivers that picture to your customers and prospects, and does it 24/7/365.

Perhaps the most common misconception about business websites is that they must offer products for purchase, accept credit cards and process financial transactions, and so on. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

While ecommerce websites are increasingly popular, the vast majority of business websites are still information and communication rather than purchase-oriented. If your business offers products and services appropriate for retail sale over the Internet, then by all means you should consider an ecommerce website.

But if, like most businesses, your products and services aren’t intended for Internet sales, you still need a Web page of your own. And you can get one quickly and economically.

The first thing you will need is a Web hosting service – that’s the address of your business Web page, and the company that actually stores your business’s website on its computers and makes it available to Web users. Many Web hosting companies offer both domain and hosting services. Here are some things to consider as you build a website for your business:

Choosing a Domain Name

Ideally the address of your website will match the name of your business, such as ABC.com; in reality, many addresses are already taken. If that’s the case for you, give some thought to an original Web page address/name that reflects your business: ABCmytownname.com, perhaps, or something similar. Remember: your Web page address should deliver your business’s name as closely as possible, as well as being memorable and distinctive. Your website’s address is a marketing tool too.

Hiring a Web Hosting Service

Look for a Web hosting service that’s well-established and has a reputable history. Compare fees and determine what services and features are provided for that fee. Also, don’t forget the future – you will find that your business Web site can easily be expanded, updated, grown. Make sure your Web hosting service can accommodate changes and additions, quickly and economically.

Finally, choosing a full-featured service is smart. Does the Web hosting company also offer website creation and website software? What other features, services and products are available or included?

Creating a Website Design

Creating a website is simpler than you might think. Website creation and website software make building a website for your business almost as easy as creating and sending an email. Using website templates, website software lets you accomplish building a website quickly, efficiently, and for a very small price.

Custom website design costs more than making your own Web page, so you’ll want to be sure that both your goals for your business website and the capabilities of your Web designer justify the cost of having a custom website.