The small business podcast that brings you tips, tricks and techniques to grow your small business through digital marketing. Plus inspiring interviews with other business owners who share their stories from successes to struggles.
Cyber Tip - Holiday Marketing
Well here we are again, the holidays are about to go into full swing. Actually to me it feels like we skipped Thanksgiving and went straight to Christmas. I admit, I've been listening to Christmas music and watching the Hallmark Channel since the beginning of November. Guilty. This time of year seems to go by in such a rush and I find myself "trying" to slow down and enjoy it a bit more. So the whole feeling of moving past Thanksgiving might be a little self-induced. Sigh.
So that said, what are your holiday marketing plans? We don't need charts and graphs to know that this is by far the biggest shopping season of the year. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday... and by the looks of it, Black Friday started a week early this year. (Justifies my Christmas music in November habit...)
You should have your marketing strategy in place by now, but in case you're running behind, I've gathered up a few tips so that you don't miss the opportunity to reach out to your clients and prospective customers.
Holiday Email Marketing You know how I feel about the importance of email marketing. If you don't, you haven't been listening! It's by far the easiest and most effective way to reach your audience.
Now there are a lot of what I'd call "micro-strategies" in managing that email campaign and the list(s) that go with it. The reason I call them micro-strategies is not to diminish the importance of them, but rather because many of you don't even have an email strategy. I don't want to overwhelm you with some of the more advanced options available when you don't even have an email list to begin with. Your eyes will glaze over and that will be the end of it. We'll have none of that!
So I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty email campaign tactics here (drop me a note if you want to learn more though!), but here are a few advanced email campaign strategies to consider once you've got that list going:
List segmentation with differing offers Sale Previews Countdown Timers Email Automation vs Behavioral Triggers Basic Holiday Email Marketing Ideas
Ok now the basics. We've got this!
Share information about upcoming sales, promotions or specials Post your holiday hours and availability Gift ideas Upcoming local events Thank them for their business - ALWAYS thank you customers for their business! Wish your followers Happy Holidays (or Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, New Years - whatever is appropriate) Purely my opinion here, but don't overthink the political correctness of whichever holiday you're wishing happiness for. Let's focus on spreading some gratitude, joy and kindness. I am not offended if you wish me a Happy Hanukkah (especially if you come bearing latkes!) and my Jewish friends have no issue with me wishing them a Merry Christmas. The point of the season is peace and love. Let it start with us.
Social Media for the Holidays Which social media channel do you find works best for you? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest...? If you're anything like me, you're probably finding it a bit overwhelming to keep up with them all. But that said, one or two of them are probably better and more effective channels for you than the others. Part of it depends on your business and part of it depends on your followers. Well chat about that at another time.
So given that we're already busy (read overwhelmed) with family dinners, shopping, increased workload and traffic, let's narrow down just a couple of social media channels to focus on. We want to enjoy this time of year too, right? It's why I start in November. Just sayin'.
Create posts (images and video), like your email messages, that speak to your audience and promote your offer. Which of your products or services do you think they'd be most interested in? Shoes (that would be me), massage (ok also me), electronics, holiday-themed gifts... Get it out there. Use relevant hashtags lik
Starting Over and Killing It with Christi Vogt
Christi Vogt #3
Christi Vogt lost her business overnight, but instead of simply giving up, she decided to go after her dreams of helping make a difference in the longevity of peoples’ lives and successfully launched a business of her own. Christi is no stranger to educating herself on her passions and has figured out a way to blend her purpose with making money. Discover how she is helping people live longer, is building a tribe, and what her best network marketing tips are!
Don’t fight the universe. Be open to what possibilities are out there!
What we’re talking about
- Learning To Not Give Up
- The Benefits of LifeVantage
- Christi’s Best Network Marketing Tips
Learning To Not Give Up
Christi was enjoying running her own business with a partner when literally overnight it all ended and she was left with nothing. Instead of giving up on the dream of owning a business or helping others, Christi went out and started researching what was out there for her. She educated herself by reading books and finding ways to grow both personally and professionally. All of this led her to creating a business of her own and helping others do the same.
The Benefits of LifeVantage
Christi has always worked with people to help them with their skincare problems and as time progressed she saw a correlation between skin issues and stress. She read The China Study and found that cellular oxidation creates inflammation which is caused by stress and the only way to neutralize that is through antioxidants which can be found in plant-based nutrition. Christi discovered LifeVantage and how it offers all of these benefits and many more.
Christi’s Best Network Marketing Tips
Network marketing is truly all about finding your “why”, but there are many more tips and tools that Christi has to offer when it comes to learning how to succeed in network marketing. She says you need to be ok hearing “no” while also maintaining a firm belief in your product, yourself and the network marketing industry itself. You have to find your passion and not simply be in it for the money because you will not be setting yourself up for success. Christi’s focus is on making human connections by networking and in-person meetings.
In the end, the quality of life matters most.
The China Study
Go Pro by Eric Worre
Story Your Way To Success by Kindra Hall
Lifespan by David Sinclair
“How To Live Longer Better” Time Magazine
30:55 (54 sec CV) – Most everybody has some type of health concern, you know they’re not feeling well, lack of energy, lack of sleep and what are most people doing? They’re purchasing vitamins and supplements and herbs and oils and lotions and potions and over the counter pain medication and sleep aids and energy drinks. It’s sad to me because most of these things have no regulations, there’s no backing it. We don’t even know what’s in a lot of these vitamins and supplements and a lot of studies are showing that these multi vitamins, especially you’re antioxidant vitamins like A, C & E are doing more harm to your body than good. So people have just been searching and nothing’s helping, disease is on the rise, so it’s actually really going back to the basics.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much money you have, we all have the same concerns. CV Don’t fight the universe. Be open to what possibilities are out there. LB I’m so grateful that I made the decision to design my life. CV Always be growing yourself, personally and professionally. CV If you’re motivated by money, it’s not going to work. You have to find your passion. CV In the end, the quality of life matters most.
Get Off the Couch and Go with George Crezee
George Crezee #2
George Crezee is the co-host of Aging and Awesome, founder of Get Off The Couch And Go and one of the most inspirational and motivational people you will encounter. George is on a mission to share with others how you should get up and get going, no matter what age you are. He surrounds himself with positive people and is not only a great friend to all, but a creative at heart and someone who is working to change the world.
Today is the day to start working towards your goal…just put one foot in front of the other!
What we’re talking about
- Get Off The Couch And Go
- 50 Sporting Events In 24 Hours
- Aging And Awesome TV Show
Get Off The Couch And Go
George created Get Off The Couch And Go over 15 years ago and interviews the oldest athletes at events or the one who has overcome the most challenges. One of his favorite interviews was during a cross country ski race in which he came upon a 79 year old racer. Not only was she cross country skiing at 79, but she was doing it blind. Get Off The Couch And Go showcases how at any age, anything is possible…all you have to do is try.
50 Sporting Events In 24 Hours
George likes to do everything big and when his birthday comes around, it’s no exception. For George’s 65th birthday he set out to do 50 sporting events in 24 hours starting with skiing at 3:15am and ending after 11pm with a decathlon. Others referred to it as “the day of insanity,” but it was really a day of inspiration and sharing the message that there are no excuses not to get moving.
Aging And Awesome TV Show
As luck would have it, George was discovered by the Reno based TV show, Aging and Awesome and is now a co-host. Aging and Awesome may be a show about older generations, but younger viewers are watching to get educated about their parents. George is covering everything from Alzheimer’s to dating in your 80’s and everything in between.
What’s stopping you from starting today?
Episode 1: Just Start
Get Off The Couch And Go
Studio Crezee Website
Studio Crezee Instagram
Aging And Awesome
THIS EPISODE’S SPONSOR
KBHR 93.3 FM
4:34 (32 sec GC) – Basically the whole ideas was to motivate others to get up and get moving. The way society is now these days, it’s so easy to be overburdened with business and family and work and so I’ve gone out as a self-proclaimed journalist and I will do sporting events, but then I, my main goal is to interview generally the oldest male, oldest female or somebody with some particular disabilities that it amazes us that they overcome to do this event. So that’s the premise of the site.
24:50 (42 sec GC) - You know what’s really great about it is that it is not just about athletic activities that I talk about on there. We talk about everything you can imagine, from Alzheimers to incontinence to when you’re 80 years old and you want to start dating, what do yu do? And so it’s really interesting for me to be involved in a lot of these discussions, but it’s such a good thing to get the message out and we’re finding a lot of our viewers are actually not that old, but their father and mother are still alive and now that’s kind of giving them a little bit of a window of information to where their parents are heading and it gives them insight to what to expect and what to prepare for.
This guy did everything right and it made me realize if he passed away from cancer, what are the rest of us doing to make ourselves be healthy? GC It took a village to make what we called “the day of insanity” event happen. LB Right now is the time to start. Today. Put one foot in front of the other and start going after that dream you have. Open that door of intimidation and you’ll be surprised at what you can do with yourself. Believe in yourself and hang out with people that are positive. If they’re negative, move
Cyber Tip: Improve Your Website for Voice Search
Voice search is going to do nothing but increase in the coming years. How often have you found yourself saying “Hey Siri” or “Alexa find me…”? That’s voice search. If you have any doubt about the importance of ranking for voice searches, check out my post “Voice Search and Why It Matters to your SEO Strategy“.
So how can we tune up or optimize our websites so that Siri and Alexa, and ultimately our potential customers, can find us? Let’s start with the reminder that Google is looking for sites that deliver a better customer experience. Are you serving up what your potential customers are asking for? And is your website delivering that content quickly? Here are some tips to help you identify ways to improve your website’s visibility:
Make Sure Your Website Loads Quickly Google likes speed! Google voice search will favor sites that load quickly. Make sure your site does the following:
Works well on mobile devices (ie is responsive) Serves optimized images (ie don’t load large images!) Utilizes website caching Uses minimal plugins Write The Way You Speak A user is likely to speak a search phrase differently than they would typing one. Think about how you would search for the closest restaurant. When you type it you might write “restaurants close to me”. But when you say it, you’re more likely to say “Where are the restaurants near me that are open now?”
There are some great tools out there for helping you convert your keywords into questions. Check out Answer the Public for starters.
I typed in “optimize website”. Some of the questions that came back were:
how can you optimize website how to optimize website for mobile how to optimize website loading speed how to optimize website images So you can see that what we type is quite different from how we speak. Be conscious about how you write your content. Longer is generally better. Experts recommend page content to be between 1850 and 2500 words.
Utilize FAQs Rethink your content to flow better with voice search. Consider adding FAQ pages or blocks of content into every major section of your site to better deliver your message.
Informational intent (guides, how-tos, etc.) Navigational intent (store locations, services, press releases, customer service info) Transactional intent (videos, product information, comparisons, product stories) *Source: Search Engine Journal/Benu Aggarwal of Milestone Internet
Featured Blocks of Content or Snippets Featured blocks of content or snippets are a great way for Google to identify content that we want to deliver to our potential readers. A featured snippet is basically a quick or summary answer from a web page. Google currently reads out featured snippets when answering voice search queries.
To optimize your content for an identifiable featured snippet, include a concise summary of your main content above the fold under 29 words. Sections that use H-tags, lists, and bullet points are easily readable by Google and thus perform well. Keep the following guidelines in mind when writing:
Answer specific questions Answer questions concisely Write engaging and interesting copy Another option is to utilize Schema or Structured Data Markup. This is a bit more technical so instead of me trying to explain it here, I’ll direct you to the expert, Neil Patel. He’s got a great article on using Schema.
Focus on Local Searches Nearly a quarter of voice searches are looking for location-based content. This may not apply to your type of business but if it does, try adding phrases like “near me”.
Make sure that your Google My Business page is up to date. Review your content, hours of operation and location information. You might also put a bit of time into building your Google reviews. I know that’s helped to boost my local business inquiries quite a bit.
Conclusion Voice search optimization is still on the rise so stay ahead of the curve on th
Cyber Tip: Survive the Next Economic Downturn
It’s not if, it’s when…
No, I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer here, I’m just being realistic. For those of us with small businesses, an economic downturn or recession can hit us hard, some to the point of being business-ending.
I managed to (barely) survive the last recession as a small business owner by the grace of supportive parents, which isn’t easy to admit at this age, learning to do a lot of things for myself, and scaling back… way back. If I had $10 in my checking account at the end of the month, I was doing well.
And not only was I struggling, so were my clients. And you know what that means… if they’re struggling to keep the lights on, they’re going to scale back with you. And then you’re going to struggle to keep the lights on. A vicious cycle indeed.
I bring this up because it feels like we’ve gone back to comfortable. Splurging more here, spending more there. I know because I’ve found myself doing it too. Ten years ago my Sirius satellite radio was one of the first things to go; now I’m like – oh I have to have that. How soon we forget.
So I’m not suggesting that you start shutting off all of those “must-haves”, that really are extras, I’m just saying it’s time to start positioning ourselves for less than favorable economic times. And I’m right there with you, I need to do the same with my business so that I can continue to not just survive but thrive.
A few of the things that I did ten years ago out of pure necessity: Cut back on every extra subscription, monthly payment or dues that you possibly can. At minimum, prioritize them so if the time comes, you’re not grasping for straws wondering where to start. Make Google and YouTube your best friends if they aren’t already. Be prepared to learn some things for yourself, whether it be repairing an appliance or fixing broken code on your website. I did it and so can you. Repair bills, no matter what they’re for, get expensive quickly. Besides, problem solving is a great skill to have on your resume. Build your network. Make a point to meet people, and tell every one what you’re doing. Consider bartering for services with other professionals. My Pilates teacher and I swapped website work for workouts. She got a great website and I got into the best shape of my life! A few things to start doing now: Dave Ramsey school of money. Get rid of debt, build the emergency fund and build the long-term fund. Yep, I need to do this too. Interestingly enough, some “experts” are saying to increase credit lines to prepare for a downturn. It’s far easier to get financing or credit when you don’t need it. I get the idea, but the notion of opening up the opportunity to increase debt is a scary one for me. Do what’s right for you and your business there… Rethink monthly expenses. Are you paying “a little extra” for products and/or services that you don’t necessarily need or use? Business software is one of the first things that comes to mind. Be mindful of the hiring process. If you have employees, or are considering adding additional people to the workforce, remember that a downturn affects them as well. What if you have to lay someone off or scale back their hours? The extra person in the office right now would probably be a great help but are they going to be one of the non-essential expenses that you have to cut? Because that person isn’t a line item you know… Diversify your client base. Do you rely mostly on income from a few clients? What would happen if that amount was cut in half? Or went away completely? Spread the wealth as they say. Consider targeting some smaller-scale clients from different industries to reduce overall risk. Build your network. Yes I’m repeating myself. Build your network of followers and communicate and engage with them. Stay in contact with email marketing, social media and above all, personal communication. Don’t be the person or company that they forget about – or
Cyber Tip: Tools to Grow Your Email List
So hopefully I've convinced you of the importance of email marketing. If not, please read my article Email Marketing - Yes You Need to Do It!
An Email Address is an Asset Your email list is an asset, something that all of those social media followers are not. Email is a tried and true way to stay connected with your clients and prospects.
I'm a big fan of soliciting email addresses from my website visitors, as you can probably tell. My goal is to create content that my readers enjoy and find meaningful, and keep them coming back for more. The best way to do that is to subscribe to my monthly newsletter where I highlight the content that I've recently created. You've already subscribed, right? Here let me help:
One thing about an email address, everyone wants to get their hands on it. It's not just a commodity but a thing of value and you need to treat it as such. A lot of marketers now offer a discount or a freebie in exchange for an email address. It's a great way to encourage someone to sign up for an email list. Again, think of it as an asset.
I'm not going to get into the "incentive to sign up" topic here, but I am going to share a great tool for making simple forms for your website that will be sure to increase your sign up rates.
Utilize Email Capture Forms on Your Website Using a high-converting email capture form combined with targeting and behavior automation will dramatically help you boost conversions and grow your email list. I'm integrating OptinMonster forms into my website for exactly that reason. OptinMonster helps to convert website visitors into subscribers and ultimately customers.
OptinMonster's features include:
Beautiful forms that are proven to convert Personalized messages based on user behavior Referrer detection that shows targeted messages based on where user is coming from Exit-Intent Technology Lightbox Popup Drag N Drop Builder Retargeting Seamless integration with Constant Contact, MailChimp, Hubspot and email providers Plus Insights that help you to fine-tune your lead generation strategy I love these guys and it's so easy to use. Check out OptinMonster today and let's get going with that email list of yours!
I can help you with your email marketing strategy. From navigating email marketing providers and developing content down to setting up and integrating subscription forms into your website. And to make it easy, check out this free trial being offered by Constant Contact!
To learn more about how to manage your marketing strategies, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me!
Laura Nowak Brown
aka The West Coast Cyber Chick