How many times a day do you check your email?

I check my email about 100 times a day, though I know that may be inefficient and more than most.

The point is that most people check their email regularly and if you can get your message into someone’s inbox you get direct access to that person. Whether they read your newsletter then becomes a matter of choice (do I read it or do I delete it?) as opposed to chance, which is what other social networks provide unless special notifications are turned on.

Three years ago I ran one of my first social media strategy workshops and I had a photographer attend. During the workshop we had a lengthy conversation about how a newsletter would be a good tool for her to use in her business. She hated the idea. She hated getting newsletters and didn’t understand why she should send something to her clients that she would never want to get?

The answer I gave her is that not everyone feels the way she does and giving people the option to get content the way that they want is important. She decided to give it a go and her monthly newsletter is now one of her biggest sales generators.

She’s not alone. So many people don’t want to send newsletters because they don’t like getting them. But the key is to do it right. If you do, you’ll get huge value out of your newsletter.

Give value

Nobody wants to sign up for a regular sales pitch or at least, not many people do. When you’re planning your newsletter, make sure that you have a plan for creating value for your audience.

What does your audience want? What do they need? How can you provide that for them?

For us, we share free tips and tricks on how to use social media for business. For others, it could be discounts and coupons, it could be first access to programs or products, or it could be information sharing on how to get better at the things that audience cares about. 

Really think about who you’re talking to and what they would like to get. If you aren’t sure what they’d like, ask a few people and start there. 

Be consistent

When people expect to receive your newsletter and know what is likely to be in the newsletter they are more likely to open it to see what’s inside. Make sure that you send your newsletter at a regular interval. Once a week is a great amount, but if you can’t manage that, start with once every two weeks or once a month. 

Tell people about it

People won’t sign up for your newsletter if you don’t ask them to and tell them what the value that you’ve already decided that newsletter will have will be.

Make sure to have a lot of opportunities for people to sign up for your newsletter – on your web site, on your Facebook page, when you’re at live events. And don’t forget to include the why:

  • “For first access to our latest programs;” 
  • “For special deals on our products and services;”
  • “For free information on the best ways to create a happy life.”

Whatever it is that you’re doing, don’t expect people to come up and ask you to be on your list, tell them they need to be there with a reason they can’t turn down.

Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment and tell me what you offer and how you convince people to sign up for your newsletter or share an example of a newsletter you get and what convinced you to sign up for it. And if you haven’t yet signed up for OUR newsletter, you really should! We provide free tips and tricks to help you use social media to grow your business online AND you’ll get a free copy of our Daily Social Media Checklist!

Why your business should have a Facebook Page (not a Profile)

Which is the right way to promote a business?Recently Lara wrote a post giving some advice around whether business owners should promote their business through their personal profiles. Ultimately, we feel that decision is one that can be very different from one person to the next - just as how we all use social networks and what we share is different. Some business owners like to keep their profiles personal and private. Others supplement their networking efforts by extending it to their personal profile. There isn’t really a right or wrong answer if you’re comfortable with your choice.

Someone who shared our post made the comment that they don’t ever recommend it. I was curious as to why, so I asked. Their response was that the personal profile doesn’t have insights, ads or third-party apps. Very sensible reasons if the post was about using a personal profile exclusively to promote a business on Facebook. Just as there was some confusion about what Lara was writing about, there is some confusion around what is best for businesses. 

Facebook Personal Profiles

Personal profiles (or personal accounts) are designed for individuals and require reciprocity. If I send you a friend request and you accept, we see content from each other (assuming we aren’t using any privacy filters). If you decline my friend request, I see nothing of yours and you see nothing of mine (unless it’s public). The idea is that if we are “friends”, we know each other well enough to connect and share our lives with each other through Facebook. 


There is an exception to Facebook’s rule of reciprocity: following. This feature was introduced about two years ago and was originally called subscribe. It allows non-friends to follow public updates for any individual that has the feature activated. If you follow me, you can see anything I post publicly in your timeline, but I can’t see anything of yours. Some higher profile individuals actually deleted or stopped using their Facebook Pages after this feature was released.

Facebook Pages

Back in 2007, Facebook opened up to the world at large. Personal profiles were the only thing available, but businesses were already starting to see the value of all these people that were held captive by pokes and wall posts. The answer to this problem was Pages. They were a way for businesses to acquire an unlimited fan base and gave the fans access to the page without allowing the page to see personal details of its fans. It was a win-win situation for everybody.

(Who else remembers becoming a fan of “sleeping in” or “the cold side of the pillow”? Those were the good old days when life was a tad simpler and there was no EdgeRank.)

Businesses should not have Profiles

Personal profiles are for people. Facebook has even specified in its terms of service that: “You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.”

That’s the biggest reason we advise against businesses using Profiles. Facebook has the right to take your Profile (or Page) down, which means you lose everything you’ve worked to do. Here are some other reasons: 

  • Page Insights show the data behind the performance of every post you publish so you know what time is best to post and what types of posts are getting more engagement from your audience. 
  • Pages allow the option of running ads to extend your reach. 
  • Finally, Pages allow admins to install third-party apps for newsletter signups, contests and numerous other purposes.

Since Facebook has implemented EdgeRank and limits what we see, I’ve seen many page admins talk about switching to a profile or a group so people definitely see their content. However, notifications are easily turned off in groups and I won’t friend an entity that uses a Personal Profile. And EdgeRank affects Personal Profiles in the same way that it affects content from Pages.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: if you have a business that you want to promote on Facebook, you should set up a business Page for it because that’s how Facebook says it needs to be. And also because you can control and see so much more than you can with just a profile. You can still share content from you business Page to your personal profile (if you’re comfortable doing so) too!

Do you know any businesses that are using a personal profile? How do you feel about that?

Small Business Resources: Let's Talk Prices

Figuring out what to charge for a product or service is one of those tasks that can be overwhelming.  Where do you start?  Do you charge $95, $97, $99 or $100?

We’ve come across quite a few different articles, posts and resources that talk about the psychology behind people’s buying habits that are really fascinating and that’s what we’re going to share with you in this month’s Small Business Resources.

Social Triggers

Derek Halpern has a lot of really great content when it comes to pricing, but this is one video that really struck us as helpful.  Check it out and then watch a few other videos by Halpern.  Lots of great insight.

Conversion XL

This is a LONG article, but it has a lot of really great information. It goes into all kinds of different pricing experiments and their outcomes.  

It brings up the same point the Derek Halpern does in the video above, as well as some other great information about people often not going with the cheapest option, about how pay what you wish pricing can work, the importance of anchoring.

( I’d love to hear if you try any of your own experiments or what you think would be worth trying in the comments!)

Do you have any great resources that have helped you figure out how to price your products?  Leave a comment and share them with us!

Is giving away your expertise for free a bad idea?

I was having a chat with a client recently who isn’t a social media user. They willingly admitted that they don’t really understand it or how on earth a business can make money by spending time posting to social channels.

We were on the phone, so they couldn’t see my big grin - I knew I could help! No, I wasn’t seeing dollar signs dancing all around. What I saw was an opportunity for this business to achieve greater success and I would get the opportunity to have a small role in that!

In order to give this client some insight on how it could work, I began to throw out scenarios that applied to their business. 

  • You can share tips on how to do _______________. That’s something that individuals can do themselves and they probably don’t even realize or know how.
  • Write up some information on ______________ way of doing _____________. Include some pointers for who such a method would work best and maybe caution against it if there are those it wouldn’t work for.
  • Answer the common questions your clients ask.
  • Write up the reasons you would recommend or not recommend something. 

See what’s happening? There’s enormous value to the audience in these types of content. There is helpful advice, concrete learning, best practices and questions answered. 

Won’t it hurt my business to give away so much information?

That’s highly unlikely. 

I have a personal and extremely amateur interest in photography. I subscribe to a couple of photography blogs like Fstoppers and Digital Photography School and a couple of others. I also know quite a few professional photographers. While some people may follow the pros and gain some insights and then launch their own business, most will not.

If I want professional photos of my family, I will call up one of the many pros that I know and book a session. Partially because I don’t have the eye of a pro, but also because people aren’t really my favourite photography subjects.

Here are a few other examples: 

  • A real estate agent that shares tips for prepping a house for sale isn’t going to lose business, because the real value is in the contacts, knowing the market and being able to market the house in appropriate places - not to mention good advice about pricing.
  • A graphic designer that shares good graphic design principles and samples isn’t going to lose business because let’s face it: most people are terrified of opening up graphic design software.
  • A consultant/coach that shares how to do things they specialize in isn’t going to lose business because the time it takes someone to catch up to their level of knowledge is prohibitive to getting real work done.

This is how expertise works. We hone in on an area, learn as much as we can, work with that knowledge and then we start that cycle all over again. Social media can be a vessel for you to showcase your expertise in practical ways that build trust, awareness, and eventually new clients.

Even if you share how-to content that you offer as a service in your business, that is proof of your abilities. The DIY crowd was going to do it themselves anyway and they can find out how from others in your industry that are sharing on social channels. Your market? The ones you want as customers? They need your help because they don’t have the time and other resources to do it themselves.

Can you name a business(es) that has become successful by sharing its knowledge and expertise?

Making a case for Google+

For many small business owners, staying on top of social media can be challenging at times so the thought of adding one more social network to the mix may seem like a daunting task. However, the benefits of having a Google+ business page and community may outweigh the drawbacks of having to set one up (which really isn’t that hard anyway).

Google+ is owned by Google, so what happens on G+ can actually impact your standing in search engine ranking and improve your search engine optimization (SEO). The reason for this is that Google gives a great deal of weight to the social behaviors and recommendations from your connections on Google+, especially at the local level.  In fact, Google treats Google+ pages as regular sites. You can check this out yourself by doing a search and see what pages come up. Often, information from G+ pages is ranked higher than other, non-Google sites.

As a small business, having a Google+ Business page and working to increase your connections (circles), by sharing reviews, posting YouTube video, images and posts, you can actually increase your visibility in search results. Another bonus is that by analyzing those in your circles, Google will be able gather more and more targeted information about what your customers are looking for. Google will incorporate recommended and shared sites from people you are connected to on G+, which can go a long way in ensuring that their friends and circles will be more likely to find your business in a search.

For your customer, this is a good thing. It means that they may actually be presented with search results that not only are they more interested in but with endorsements from trusted friends and colleagues who have vouched for the business/product/place etc. 

Let’s look at it this way.  Say you do a search for the best local restaurant.  In your search results, you see that your friend has shared a great review of the restaurant and vouches for the restaurant’s cleanliness. Can you think of better validation than the endorsement from a trusted friend? 

By creating a page and reaching out to other G+ pages to increase visibility and connections, you will not only help establish yourself in the local community where you do business but you can engage with other, complementary businesses to become a local referral source. Using reviews, +1’s and discussions on group pages, you will be able to continue to build your community, and your brand.

So, what are you waiting for? Go claim your spot on Google+! We’d love to connect with you. We could even Hangout!