business blog

Is what I’m doing online worth the time I’m investing?

build a successful online presence

Creating a successful online presence requires a lot of work and a lot of content. It can be overwhelming and figuring out if what you’re doing is actually working can be really hard. 

In my experience, people's unrealistic expectations are the main cause of discouragement when it comes to their social media use. People get upset that more people aren’t opening their newsletters, that more people aren’t commenting on their Facebook updates or that more people aren’t viewing their blog posts. But here’s the thing... success doesn’t need to come in thousands of page views or dozens of comments, and it definitely isn’t instantaneous.

The slow build of consistency

Social media and online marketing rarely result in immediate sales and even more rarely does a post go viral. You need to think of social media as an opportunity to prove your expertise and your credibility, and building those things take time. 

We have a really valuable client who followed our content and read our weekly newsletters for two years before signing on with us. That may not be the ideal or the norm, but it shows that consistently sharing content and providing value kept us top of mind until they were ready to work with us.  

Think of the content that you're putting online as a way to build your reputation, make it easier to find you online, as well as giving your audience opportunities to work with you through clear calls to action and demonstrations of what you do and how you can help them. 

Quality over quantity

I know “quality over quantity” is one of those things that you hear constantly and is everywhere nowadays, but it’s true. You can have a small email list and only a few hundred likes on Facebook, but if those people are people who really want to know what it is that you’re doing and selling, they can convert just as well as someone who has tens of thousands of disinterested people on their lists.

Did you know that the average open rate for marketing emails is only 15-25%?

Are you wondering if you’re getting a decent amount of traffic on your web site? Like this article says, the key isn’t so much what your number is, but how well you’re doing by benchmarking against yourself.  Are your numbers steadily increasing? Are they decreasing? What seems to work well? Do more of that. 

Have a plan

Knowing why you're doing what you're doing and how to do it well is key to success in online marketing. It's why we are always 'harping' about having a plan and why we try to offer you all kinds of ways to learn how to use the tools well to increase your opportunity for success.

Want to learn more about blogging? Join us next week on Thursday, April 2nd at 1 p.m. EST for a free webinar all about blogging. During this free webinar, we will give you valuable tips to get you started right, so that the time you spend online IS well worth it. Reserve your spot by clicking HERE.


You have more to say than you realize

Show me what you've got to say - I bet it's really good!

Show me what you've got to say - I bet it's really good!

There's a common piece of advice given by big name marketers that says you should only write when you have something to say. It's meant to be applied everywhere - your blog, your newsletter, and social networks. In theory, it makes sense: Don't overload/bore/waste your audience's time with content that you share just to have content to share.

For a small business, with a small audience, that's trying to build up engagement, this is not good advice. Here's why:

1) It requires a critical mass of engaged followers/subscribers.

The marketers who say this have all done their time, building up a good sized audience that trusts their expertise. They have loyal followings that look for their content and interact with it when it comes. As a small business owner, it takes time to build that kind of relationship with your audience. To remain successful with a "write when you have something to say" strategy, you need a critical mass following you. Can your business grow if 50% of your followers convert to paying customers? Depending on the size of your audience and what you do, many can say yes to that. The reality is that most businesses won't convert nearly that many people. So, how many people would it take to build your business to the level you want to reach? Now, you'll likely have to grow an audience that is at least 20 times that size (or more!). That's why it's important that you know that when content isn't delivered regularly, your audience will not grow consistently or as fast.

2) Credibility starts with visibility.

The point of posting content regularly is to keep your business and expert content top of mind with your audience. If they don't see or hear from you on a regular basis, they can't learn to trust what you have to say. Whether you're sending a newsletter, writing a blog post, or posting to social media, each of those touch points is an opportunity to provide value that builds your credibility as an expert in your field. As your audience sees the information you share, they will respond in various ways: by filtering it out or ignoring it, reading it, taking some kind of action - like, comment, share, tweet, or apply it to their work. Each of these responses is important - some can be measured and give valuable insight to you for future content. Stay visible with your content by delivering consistent 

3) You have more to say than you realize.

Has anyone ever said, "There's a reason we have two ears and one mouth," to you? Human nature is that we like to talk and some people need a gentle reminder that listening is important too. It's a rare person who truly doesn't like or want to talk. Posting content without thought or for the sake of putting something out there isn't valuable to you or anyone else. But if you think about the interactions you have with your customers and clients each day, how many times did you find you had nothing to say to them? What about associates? 

On January 13, 2015, Lara and I are leading a Content Mindset Workshop that will help you see how much content you truly have. Whether you've been creating content for many years or you're just starting out, we have some exciting plans for this day that will help you look at the creation of content from a different angle. We're going to spend time teaching about various types of content, and tools and tactics that can help you create more effective content. You'll walk away at the end of day with content to use for your business. We strongly believe that you have more to say and this workshop is designed to draw those things out of you - for the benefit of your audience and your business.

Join us - I promise you won't regret it!

Case Study : Sara McConnell Photography

I’ve known Sara since before she started her photography business and watched as she fell naturally into the world of social media.  Since starting her business she has done amazing things to grow her business using social media… particularly with the use of her blog, Twitter and Facebook. And on a personal note, Sara is the one who took the stellar headshots of me features on this blog :)

About Sara’s business:

Sara McConnell Photography provides on-location and studio portrait sessions in Ottawa, Ontario, combining traditional portraiture with candid photojournalism.  I specialize in breastfeeding, child, couple, family, maternity, portrait, and newborn photography.

How actively involved are you in social media to promote your business?

Since I went into business in November 2010 I have actively used different social media channels to promote my business.  When I first got involved in social media in the spring of 2010 it was with the intent of connecting with other parents and bloggers in the Ottawa community; at the time, I wasn’t planning to go into business for myself.  When I launched my company last year I found an incredibly supportive network of people through Twitter and Facebook who were actively involved in sharing the news of my business venture.

On a daily basis I use my business blog, Facebook, and Twitter to interact with different communities of people around Ottawa.  On my blog I share images from sessions, promotions or contests, as well as posts (‘Around Town’) about places I’ve visited in Ottawa with my family.  Facebook has been a great way to quickly and easily share sneak peeks from recent sessions as well as solicit feedback from people about favourite places to take pictures, favourite props etc.  I also have a personal project, 365:Brothers, where I take a photo of my two boys together everyday for a year. I’ve been posting these images on Facebook and I love hearing from others about which of the photos are their favourites.

What has been the most successful tool in getting you more exposure or clients?

I’ve had equal success with my blog, Facebook, and Twitter when it comes to connecting with clients.  Clients will often forward the blog post link from the session sneak peak to friends and family and I often receive emails 24-48 hours after a post has gone live from individuals interested in booking sessions.  Clients whose images have been posted on Facebook often share the picture with others and enquiries about sessions often start with “A friend on Facebook…”.  What has surprised me the most is the number of people who have contacted me through Twitter about my services.  Over the course of the day I will tweet anywhere from 2-5 links or comments specific to my business but my account is mainly used for personal purposes and the majority of people who contact me have interacted with me related to some other topic (parenting, running etc) and not photography.

What would you tell other business owners about the value of using social media for their business?

Being an entrepreneur and working from home can be an isolating experience but thanks to the connections I’ve made through Twitter and Facebook I have a support system of other Ottawa-based entrepreneurs.  I have working relationships with several Ottawa businesses, which we cross promote using different social media channels, and I also have a support system that I can turn to when I’m faced with a challenge.

Sara has a contest (closes September 15) where you could win a Fall mini-session and also has a special promotion for her Fall mini-sessions.  If you’re looking for some great Fall/Holiday shots and you’re in the Ottawa area, I definitely recommend you check her out!

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