Archive for June, 2009

Think Facebook is only useful for finding old classmates and catching up with friends? Think MySpace is just for kids to share music? Think blogs are just online journals to share with the world what you’re eating, drinking or watching at this very moment? Then think again, because a new breed of savvy online marketers are using all of the above, and other social media, to quickly build a large online following, attract clients without spending a dime on advertising, and have a lot of fun doing so. So here are my top suggestions for making the most of social media.

You need a strategy First you'll want to determine how social media fits into your overall strategy. Do you want to build a list, drive traffic to a website, or both? Bear in mind that your overall results with social media will depend on your ability to convert that list or traffic into paying clients. To get best results, you'll want to think through your entire process, rather than just rely on social media as the €˜magic pill'.

Content is King There is one thing which is certain to garner you popularity in social media: content. If you can create content that people want to read; the kind that grabs attention, solve pressing problems, has a strong €˜pass-along'factor – that is the content which will get you a loyal audience on social media networks.

This is the kind of high value content which is in demand both in social media networks and on the web as a whole. Content is what people look to the internet for in the first place, after all. To drive traffic to your site using social media, you must have something that people want.

Give Before You Get Social media can be a highly effective relationship building tool, and as with any relationship, it is good to give before you get. Recommend resources, spotlight people you endorse.

Strike a balance between giving and self-promotion When you have new content on your site or that you have submitted to a directory, send out an email or message via the social network to let your readers know about it.
You'll alienate people if you are always selling, but at the other extreme people won't know about what you have to offer unless you tell them so find the balance between sharing valuable content and resources with self-promotion.

Allocate your resources wisely While there is no huge financial investment to get started with social media, it can suck up an awful lot of your time if you're not careful. And your time IS valuable. So get really clear on what you want to achieve and allocate your time accordingly. As your network grows you may even want to hire a social media assistant who can handle some of the routine activities, so you can focus on relationship building.

Have fun! Social media can be a fun way to promote your business, make valuable new contacts, even strike up joint ventures. If you're ready to jump onboard, come and join me at my fave social media site Twitter.

I’ve been writing my Client Magnets newsletter (also known as an e-zine) since February 2002. The first one went out to a handful of people – now it reaches more than 20,000.

The newsletter has played a critical part in the growth of my business. Maintaining regular contact with your prospects, and consistently providing value each time is a great relationship builder and €˜cementer'.

Anyway, I think every ‘Client Magnet’ needs their own newsletter, yet practically once a week I hear the following question: ‘How do you come up with something to write?’

So in this article, I'm sharing my favourite newsletter secrets:

1. Believe that you have something worth saying and worth reading. There is no one else in the world with your combination of skills, talent and experience. No one. You have something worth saying and worth hearing. The problem is that you probably underestimate the things that are easy for you because you think ‘That’s obvious’ to everyone else. Here’s a newsflash. It isn’t!

2. Find your unique voice
When I first started writing newsletters, I was trying to adopt an ‘expert’ tone, and I thought I had to come up with something really groundbreaking every week. It was agony! Each newsletter took me a day to write. When I realised that all I had to do was be myself, the writing process got MUCH easier. Now each article takes minutes, not hours.

3. Don’t try to please everybody.
A couple of years ago I came across some negative feedback about my newsletter on an online forum. It’s no understatement to say I was shattered.   For the next few newsletters I wrote, I noticed that I wasn’t writing alone. There was a negative critic in the corner ridiculing everything I wrote, pulling faces, and shaking her head in disagreement. I started analysing everything I wrote from ‘her’ point of view. Finally I realised that the attention I was putting on this critic was stopping me from paying attention to those people who were interested in what I have to say, and decided to write on regardless.

4. Answer questions.
I pay attention to the questions or issues that come up in coaching sessions, on training courses and teleseminars, or simply questions emailed to me. When I notice a common theme emerge, I respond to it.

5. Share your experience. From time to time I write about what’s happening in my own business - the good, the bad and the ugly. When I’m writing about the ‘bad and the ugly’ it takes courage to be that vulnerable in front of an audience. Yet I get an amazing response when I do. The amount of support that pours in is very touching. People seem to like hearing about the human side.   At the other extreme, I used to worry about writing about things that are going well. I was concerned that it would come across as bragging, or is alienating to people who are going through a more challenging time. But it's inspiring to hear about other people’s successes, especially to those people who have been part of this journey and actually watched my business grow.

6. Don’t write it.
Remember the purpose of the newsletter is a low cost way of staying in touch and sharing ideas with your prospects. No one says it has to be written. You could record an audio, or have a friend interview you on a subject, and then either get that transcribed, or simply upload the audio file to your website and email people a link to it.

7. Recognise that €˜writers block' has nothing to do with lack of time or ideas

And everything to do with a fear of really showing up in the world and sharing your gifts. To quote Marianne Williamson, ‘We ask ourselves, who am I to be gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be?’. When you commit to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ you will cut through writer’s block like a warm knife through butter. With every step you take, you dissolve a little bit more resistance. Just start from where you are.

At the end of last year, I surveyed my subscribers to find out what their biggest business challenges are. Over and over, the issue of finding new leads and prospects came up.

A very common mistake is over-dependence upon 1-2 sources of new client enquiries. No matter what business you are in, it is highly unlikely that any single source will deliver ALL the enquiries you need. Eg it’s much easier to find 100 methods that will bring in 1 client each than it is to find one jackpot source that delivers 100 new clients.

Take a close look at any established, successful business and I promise you they have MULTIPLE sources of incoming leads.

So one of the best things you can do to get more leads and prospects is to start compiling a list of where YOUR target clients are €˜hanging out'.

Ask yourself:

> Where do they congregate (online and offline)?

> What do they read?

> What workshops or seminars would they go to?

> What conferences/trade shows would they attend?

> Where do they network?

> Who else do they do business with?

> Which clubs, organisations or associations do they belong to?

> What newsletters would they read?

> Where could you find a roomful of these people?

> Who already list of these people?

Sometimes when I give this assignment, I hear things like – €˜Well I found this magazine, but it's really expensive to advertise', or €˜I approached them about speaking but they weren't interested.'

That's not the point. Those are separate obstacles that can be overcome LATER. For now, you just need to identify those places where your target audience is hanging out, then you can strategise about the best way to reach them.

Do it NOW! I remember struggling with this a few years ago until a wise man said to me, €˜Someone, somewhere ALREADY has a relationship with the people that you want to reach.' They're out there. It's up to YOU to find them.

You'll be surprised how a mastermind group can help you with this. In my own Marketing Mastermind group, several lead sources get swapped, shared and passed around.

Just start that list!

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