4 Blogging Tips for Marketing Online

Some people just get it. I recently met up with a new client, Carla Donnelly for lunch to discuss the promotion and marketing of her new blog. Carla is a Family Law attorney with the firm Gentile Horoho & Avalli, P.C. located in Pittsburgh. Her mission is clear-To provide clients with quality information and advice to empower them to make good decisions.

When I meet with clients or prospective clients, most agree that blogging can be an ideal way to increase the amount of traffic a website receives. They’ve researched the subject online well enough to understand that blogging can largely increase the amount of indexed pages and keyword usage on their website; allowing search engines to rank their site higher in search engine results.

What many do not realize, however, is that writing without a clear marketing objective is a waste of their precious time. Not Carla. Carla gets it. I asked her four questions. Spontaneously, mind you. While eating a delicious salmon salad at Bravos. I was expecting her to hesitate, replying with vague answers and unclear objectives. I was wrong. I couldn’t take notes fast enough. She was able to clearly identify her audience.

Carla explains,” I am speaking to future clients based on my ideal client profiles addressing their pain points and offer true guidance and help. I believe my future clients will have much of the same pain points as my past and current clients.  The concerns of those facing divorce and custody issues are universal and I wanted to address them in my own voice.”

Carla’s marketing objectives are clear.

Here are four basic questions to help you begin structuring your blog site strategy. Answer these as thoroughly as you can. Then begin your writing.

Who is your intended reader?

Describe your customer persona in as much detail as you can. Answer questions concerning:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Earnings
  • Family Size
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Frustrations

This list can go on for miles. You get my point. Be as detailed as possible, including as many factors as are relevant.

What are their pain points?

In other words, what problem does your ideal client currently face that you can help them solve? Write about it. Address and identify with their pain. Help them solve the problem that they are struggling with.  Carla’s list, in part, looked like this:

  • Fear of “Making it on my own”
  • Husband or wife earns substantially more than their spouse
  • School district-geography issues after divorce
  • Does she (when representing a woman) need to go back to work? What issues will she now face?
  • Is mediation a viable option?

What should the blog accomplish?

  • What is your blog’s objective? Write with the end in mind. Again, using Carla as our example:
  • Educate the audience. Answer their questions (broadly) and give them points to ponder that they may not have previously considered
  • Build trust. Blog should establish Carla as a trusted source of reliable and valuable information
  • Comfort the reader by showing authentic sincerity in a personal way. Communicate that they are not powerless; their legitimate needs and concerns can be resolved with good council.

What do you want the reader to do after he or she reads your blog? What action steps or call-to-action should they now take? (CTA)

Here are just a few options:

  • Call for a consultation/meeting
  • Newsletter Sign-Up to grow your email list
  • Gain followers on social media platforms

Writing a blog can be a waste of your precious time or part of an effective marketing campaign if you write with a clear marketing and advertising strategy.

Visit us online for a full list of our services or shop here for branded promotional products.

 

Advertisements

Say Cheeeeese!

It is imperative to have a good quality business photo for your website, LinkedIn profile, and articles you write for industry publications as well as to give it to journalists who request it. People who do business with you might want to see what you look like. Before you start with the excuses, let me be honest. Your selfie at the bar won’t cut it. Save it for your personal Instagram or Facebook account. If you are to be perceived as a professional, you need to hire a professional. Period. Think about it as an investment in your career. The cost need not break the bank. Here are a few quick tips to get the most out of your photo session:

  • Dress how your industry works. Are you an artist or a CPA? Needless to say, those in the art or advertising world may have a bit more creative freedom than say, an investment banker. The general rule of thumb from the pros is to dress classic, basic, and simple. This gives images longevity. Business casual is a broad definition and can include suit coats with informal shirts, polo shirts and tan pants, or turtle necks with jeans. However you define business casual, be sure to feel fabulous in your clothes, no matter the style!
  • Be yourself. Have fun, even. The key here is letting go. Look at the camera and imagine it is the face of someone you really care about and are comfortable with. Get creative with props, angles and your facial expressions. Show several sides of your personality. I loved the photo of myself (above) with my glasses because I was genuinely laughing. We were trying to get a serious headshot and I couldn’t pull it off. It ended up being one of my favorite shots. When you are comfy in your skin, you know it. The camera lens knows it. Your viewers know it. Be genuine. Always.

The creative adult is the child who survived. Show me your inner child.

  • What to wear tips for ladies. For headshots and professional photos in genera lavoid big prints and busy patterns. (Think grandma’s house dress). Oh, and your jewelry should not resemble “Gypsy Rose.” We want to see you, not your busy-ness. It’s fine to be fashionable but remember the picture is about your face not your soon- to-be-dated accessories or clothes. Also, keep in mind that different necklines will change the apparent shape of your face. Bring a variety of shirts or blouses to see what works best. No cleavage. No cleavage. No cleavage.
  • What to wear tips for guys. For a no-jacket casual look, bring colored shirts-ideally darker than your skin tone. The standard business look is still a suit jacket, dress shirt and tie, gentlemen. A casual business look is often a jacket and open dress shirt, shirt and tie, (no jacket), or dress shirt on its own. Quick note. A white dress shirt by itself is a bad idea. It just is. Trust me.
  • Tell the photographer how the photo will be used. Communicate your expectations and intentions for the picture, whether you plan on using it for your website, online marketing or print collateral. Be as clear as possible. Did you see some photos that you admire? Snap a screen shot and show your photographer what you like about it. The angle. The color. The pose. Whatever. If it is not appropriate, they’ll tell you.
  • Select and wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. We all have that go-to outfit we pull out of the closet when we want to feel our best. Don’t have one? Go shopping. Today. Make sure it fits your body and personality well. You’ll know it the second you try it on. If you have absolutely no clue in the fashion arena of your life, grab a friend, partner, or colleague who does. They’ll help.

 

Here’s to your success! Feel free to contact me if you need addtional help finding the right photographer.

Audrey Gotto

 

2 Reasons You Should Use Emojis in Brand Marketing

When it comes to communication, I’m an impatient person. Voicemail takes too long and email often requires too much effort. Like most people I know between the ages of 12 and 70, text messaging is the go-to method for communicating- with co-workers, friends, family and (sadly) the person in the next room. Enter the EMOJI.

“Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication. Brands should think about what their audience cares about.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and emojis are just the next evolution of communicating, sometimes even complex thoughts or emotions, with simple pictures.  Brands are recognizing the usefulness of the Emoji in online marketing communication.  Here are 2 reasons you should be using the cute smiley faces as a marketing tool.

1. Emojis can transcend  language barriers. A smiley face is universal, (you know this if you have ever traveled overseas) and now there are literally thousands of emojis that are gaining worldwide acceptance and allowing an entire generation to communicate across borders. A smile. A wink to a heart. The simplicity of these images breakdown linguistic obstacles, in turn, enhancing brand recognition and generating positive impressions. Marketing experts say emojis allow recipients to fully comprehend the intentions of the brand, no matter the worldwide location of the consumer.

2. Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication.When I see a brand using an emoji, I can instantly relate on a personal level to the conveyed emotional message of that brand. Most marketers understand that emotion is more effective than promotion by more than 2 to 1. Let’s face it. They’re cute. Who doesn’t like cute? O.K. Maybe Scrooge. Or Archie Bunker. But you get my drift. Most people are jaded to perfect PhotoShop images and slick online lead generation tactics.

How can emojis  be used in brand marketing? They can be incorporated into instant messaging applications, text, email, promotional products and social media messages to convey brand emotions. Developing your own emoji image can be a great way to extend your marketing reach to millennials. HubSpot has an Emojis for Dummies Translation Guide to help you get started. Transport the online experience into tangible residual marketing. Check out these great specific examples of national brands using Emoji Marketing from Ad Age to get your creative ideas flowing.

These branded emoji “Flingers” fly through the air with a flick of their tongue! The cute guys  (we have girl emojis too) are a fun new item that is sure to grab attention at your next function. They are part of Fina Promos emoji based product line. Why not run an Emoji contest? Think about using these guys as part of your next tradeshow giveaway, meeting, Facebook or newsletter sign-up gift. Take simplistic messaging to a whole new level!

All my best,

Audrey Gotto

 

4 Painless Ways to Encourage Online Reviews

Online business reviews can influence internet search engine results. This is crucial for small business owners wanting to increase local seo results. Search engines such as Google take into account how many times your business is mentioned in reviews. Your business getting alot of mentions usuually translates into appearing higher in search results than a business that isn’t reviewed  often. Research suggests that consumers generally trust peer recommendations more than they trust advertising.

A recent Nelson survey found that of 25,000 internet consumers from 50 countries 90% trusted recommendations from people they know, while 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online.

I’m not going to lie. Getting reviews is not always easy. In fact, I find it to be challenging for a number or reasons. 1.) Who has the time to find your review site, compose a review, and get it posted quickly? 2.) Some of your clients no doubt love you and your product but they just aren’t skilled writers. 3.) Transparency is always an issue. Have you ever read an online business review that just felt fake?  False reviews are tacky and will actually hurt your seo results.

That being said, here are 4 painless ways to encourage online reviews for your business:

  1. Encourage your customers to leave ratings and reviews of your business if they are satisfied with your work. Send them a simple email after a service is rendered, give them a flyer at checkout, a call to action on your website or a phone call or  direct text message. Don’t be shy. You’ve done a wonderful job. Asking for an endorsement is fine, as long as it is authentic.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don’t miss our updates! Subscribe here.
  2. Provide customers with a variety of sites to post reviews about you. For example, if you are asking for a review via email, send the appropriate links in the body of your message so that they can easily click on the site and get typing directly.  Instead of just providing links at the bottom of your email signature, why not kindly encourage and/or ask for a review? make this the SUBJECT OF YOUR EMAIL, not an afterthought or closing comment.
  3. Respond to Reviews. The Good. The Bad. And The Ugly. Be proactive about responding to all reviews. Say thank you. Say you’re sorry. Say something! If the comment is a postive one, thank the customer for their feedback and encourage them (by name if appropriate) to use your services again. If the post is negative, explain that you appreciate their honesty and ask the customer to get in contact with you about their concerns so you can address their problems directly. And do that. I love seeing when business owners show the negative posts and their susbsequent  tactful replies.  Through your replies, customers can get to know you  as an individual, not just ‘business x.’ Transparency and authenticity are gold in the business world.
  4. Never ever post false reviews. False reviews are eventually discovered. Because of their obvious generic transparency, you risk the chance of losing visibility in search engines. Worse yet, the visibility you do get will not be the kind you want. Exercise patience and be consistent with points 1-3 and eventually you will build a strong  business online review sampling.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto- Fina Promos

 

Linking Your Way to SEO Success

Links from your website to other related websites, and vice versa, play a role in your business’ local SEO visibility, because they help to establish the authenticity and credibility of your business. Without appearing “spammy” use these 5 action items in your website link strategy:

  • Consistently share links to your website via your Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, and encourage others to pass along the information as well. Speaking of links; Here’s a few of ours: Fina Promos Website  FinaPromos Facebook Page  I find myself struggling with this at times. But really, the next time you are sending off an email try and take a few seconds and include a link to a special blog post or article from one of your social sites or website that would help, entertain or amuse your recipients.
  • Include links to your website in email newsletters and other updates to customers. Posting a link back to your website on your LinkedIn and GooglePlus Page updates/posts can greatly increase your search engine optimization efforts. Again, without being a self-serving spammer, try to include your website link if it would actually be helpful to your associates or readers.                                                                             breastcancergirls
  • Host or sponsor local events, or provide discounts for neighborhood students, and then encourage neighborhood businesses, the local chamber of commerce, charity organizations and other partners to link to your website when talking about those activities. And don’t forget to return the favor.
  • Create a local directory of community resources including your favorite nearby restaurants, stores and cultural attractions, to provide an opportunity for you to link out to others (and for them to return the favor). Even consider starting a blog where you can talk about your business’ neighborhood and link to businesses and places of interest.
  • However, be sure that your link strategy is authentic in that you know who you are linking to and that they have relevance to your business. Also, do not create link schemes like spamming your business’ domain name on websites, forums or blog comments.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

How Social Media Helps SEO Rankings

Social media sites play a key role in local business’ visibility in search results. When a potential or current client Googles your business, (and believe me they will before deciding to do business with you) ideally, your business website should appear first, followed by social sites. The more proactive your social media strategy, the higher likelihood your pages will attract followers- and in turn, appear within search. Give it a try. Google your name or company name. Does your website appear first? Where do your social sites appear and in what order? I tried this with my company name – Fina Promos My website appears first followed by Fina Promos Google Plus Page, Fina Promos Facebook Page, Fina Promos LinkedIn Page, Fina Promos Pinterest,  My You Tube Page and finally my blog.

What can you (or you social media marketing partner) do to help your local (organic) SEO rankings? In two words- Engage Regularly!  Here are 5 action steps you can take to regularly engage with your online audience:

  • Develop a strong social media strategy  that includes engagement and follower goals like the one in this inforgraphic from Social Media Online Classes

 

SOCIAL-MEDIA-STRATEGY-Fina-Promos

  • Post updates on your new products or services offered. Can you feature a “product of the day, week, or month”  and highlight the benefits?
  • Create promotions or giveaways that require engagement from your audience. Everyone loves a chance to win a promotional product, branded gift or premium. Gift cards also make great promotions since they are easy to distribute and less bulky than larger gifts.  Give away a chance to win your product or service for free if this is possible
  • Highlight stories of relevence to your customers. Who is your target audience and what are their concerns? Posting about things happening in your city or town  puts you on the map with local rankings!
  • Engage on social media by responding to those reaching out to you via your social sites with questions or feedback on their orders.

I hope these few tips help  you see good results with your visibility online.

All my best,

Audrey Gotto-Fina Promos

 

 

5 Ways to Optimize Your Business Listings

Twitter Tips, Social Media Marketing

Achieving effective local search engine optimization for your business is like striking gold. In my last blogpost,  I suggested that we begin with properly optimiizing information that appears on your business website. Read article  Today, we will discuss an issue often overlooked by small business owners-How your business appears on websites and business listings.

One of the most effective ways to boost local SEO is to be consistent with your business listing information. Google and other search engines LOVE consistency. When your business is not listed, or worse yet, the information listed is incomplete or inaccurate, this can negatively effect your placements in search results. Here are 5 tips to help optimize your business listings:

  1. Search local listings websites like Facebook, Yelp, GooglePlus, YP, Yellowbook and TripAdvisor to be sure your business is actually listed. If not, be sure to claim those listings, and be consistent and acurate with your business name, phone number and address. If your business is listed as located on 6th St., use 6th St consistently, NOT Sixth Street. Make changes as neccessary and delete duplicate pages.
  2. Include videos, photos, your website URL and any other key information to make your listings attractive, interactive and informative. I get reaaly annoyed seeing the unprofessional looking “blue silhoette” in place of a photo or logo. Really. COMPLETE the listing.
  3.  Categorize your business properly. This greatly aids in properly optimizing your business website. If you happen to have relevant key words in your business name that helps. For example my company sells promo products. I choose the company name Fina Promos for that reason, and the domain name of finapromos.net
  4. Work with a “listings provider” such as Moz.com to automate the process for all local sites. Usually the price for this service is reasonable and worth your small investment in dollars compared to your large investment in time to care for this manually.
  5. Does your business have more than one location? Create a seperate listing for each location on your website to boost visibility of your brand and each of your stores or offices.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

If you’d like more promotional product ideas delivered to your mailbox twice monhly subscribe here.