Where do your clients hang out?

If you know who your ideal clients are – the people that you really want to work with, who will love working with you – you need to think about where they hang out. When you know this, you can put your marketing messages in places where they will see them and respond to them. If you just splash your messages everywhere, your prospective clients will see them, but so will hundreds of other people that you don’t want to work with – most of your effort and money will be wasted. Putting your messages in places where your prospects won’t see them will waste your effort and money too.

For example, if you provide weight loss advice to people who want to get fitter and live a healthier lifestyle, leaving a brochure in a pub won’t bring you many enquiries – if any. You will have more success if you leave that same brochure in a doctor’s surgery.

If you specialize in helping women become more successful and assertive at work, promoting your business in magazines aimed at men will be a waste of time.

For ideal clients over a certain age, will they see your message on the internet? More and more people are going online, regardless of their age, but you still need to know where on the internet they spend time. What other products and services are they looking for? Which websites do they visit?

Where do your clients hang out? Write a list of everywhere your clients ‘could’ spend time and divide the list into the places they do hang out and the places don’t. Are you putting your marketing messages in the right places?

This is an exerpt from my new book about Marketing Planning, which will be published on 16 November 2011.  Pre-launch orders now being taken – click here to reserve your copy.

Advertisements

I can’t write a book – what would I write about?

Did you know that 95% of people who think about writing a book never get around to it? That’s a lot of unfulfilled dreams and ideas.

But did you know that writing a book is just about giving? This means that a book is about sharing your ideas and your advice; it’s about writing about what you know about.

I recently suggested to one of my clients that she should write a book. After she’d stopped laughing, she said, “What on earth would I write about and who would want to read it anyway?”

The client in question, Debbie, is a riding instructor who works with people and their own horses, helping them to develop better relationships. It’s not about teaching people to ride, but about helping her clients to train themselves and their horses to the next level of fitness and performance. It’s a bit like a sportsman having a coach who helps him with the next competition; or the business coach who helps her clients achieve greater success – whatever that might look like. A great deal of Debbie’s work is also based around the psychology of riding and how the way riders think affects the way they ride.

So to answer the first question – what do I write about? My suggestion to Debbie was that she writes about some of her clients and the training they’ve been through. She works with a huge range of people and horses, so I suggested a series of case studies to highlight different issues and the different – all successful – results they’ve achieved. Debbie actually enjoys writing, so that won’t be a problem; for people who don’t like writing, a series of case studies can easily be produced by interviewing people and transcribing the interviews.

And question two – who will want to read it? I asked Debbie how many happy clients she has, who would like to know more about training themselves and their horses. She has dozens and all of them would buy her book – especially if they’re signed! In addition, the number of horses in the UK is huge. (According to the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) survey of 2066 there were 1.35 million in the UK.) Take off of few for the people who own more than one horse; remove a few professional riders who have written their own books and you’re left with a vast number of ordinary people who love their horses, ride for fun and would love a book that can, practically, help them improve their riding and develop a better relationship with their horse – without spending a fortune on an expensive course or ‘horse whisperer’.

The good news is that having answered Debbie’s two concerns, she’s giving it a go and is going to write the book! We’re starting with a half day planning session at the end of September and once we’ve done that, I’ll write another blog to update you on progress. If you’re a horse rider who would like to read Debbie’s book, let me know! Once we have the outline, we’ll put details of the book onto her website at www.Gain-field.co.uk with details of how to order a pre-launch copy.

Is there a book in you? Do you know what you could write about and the ideas and advice that you could share? Even if you don’t have the answers to the questions, if you’d like to write a book, get in touch by leaving a comment and ask about our new Book Consultancy service.

Web-attractiveness isn’t necessarily good design

Alice

Reading through the LinkedIn Groups a question grabbed my attention. It was a lady who was obsessed with setting up a series of fancy designed monetized blogs. As well as wavering on which kind of blogging platform to use, she was very concerned about the design, as well as keen to start making money.

Unfortunately the thing about monetized blogs is that they take some time before they start to yield decent results. They need to be attractive to readers in order to build up a suitable following that would respond to the advertising, and they need to be visited regularly before there will be enough readers tempted to click on.

And web-attractiveness doesn’t mean a fancy template, it means good, varied, consistent and practical content. Plenty of websites have spent a fortune on the design, only to be sorely lacking in the information they contain, especially if it is out of date. Large corporates waste money thinking that by redesigning their website it will enhance its performance, but most visitors don’t notice, only caring about the information they need and want. OK, cleverly designed buttons that encourage a mouse-click may be successful, but what about the stuff they lead on to?

What makes a website or blog successful is good content, coupled with excellent navigation that guides the visitor in the right direction. Visitors should enjoy their experience, be easily gratified by finding what they are looking for, benefit from the information gleaned and be suitably impressed to bookmark, subscribe and regularly return for more.

When a visitor lands on your website or blog, they immediately want to establish this is the right kind of website they are looking for, without stopping to admire the fancy graphics and beautiful colours. A good design enables readers to immediately find what they want, and doesn’t hinder or distract them from their purpose. The overall result should be readable, legible, uncluttered and easy to use.

And the content should also encourage a desire to return, react to the call to actions and succumb to the sign up forms. Although an excellently written book may be read many times, it can’t compare to a blog that is regularly updated with new content, satisfying both its human readers as well as the search engine robots, who play such a necessary part in promoting your content throughout the web.

What does Naymz tell us about you?

Dianne

So people can follow you on Twitter, view your Linkedin profile, stay as your friend on Facebook, find out what you like to read by viewing your Delicious bookmarks, now what will Naymz tell us about you?

Naymz is a recent competitor to LinkedIn. Oh no, not another business network I hear you say, who needs another one, but it just might depend on what you “need”.

Naymz has about a million users.  It is much smaller than LinkedIn (at 55 million). It was launched to the public in June 2006.

There are two levels of joining:

  • Basic (Free to join)
  • Premium (which costs $4.95 per month)

Lets deal with the free Basic level .  You will need to set up your profile giving as much information about yourself as you  wish, create a password which you will need to use to login each time you use Naymz. 

Quoting from the site directly, with Naymz you can:

Online Professional Branding
Build your online professional brand by creating a profile page and publishing it on the web. We will optimise your profile so that its visible in the search engines, like Google and Yahoo. ………. ………………. ………………..

Exchange
Share ideas, questions, opportunities and statuses in real-time with your network and the whole Naymz community. Engage in discussion and help others in your network find solutions to specific problems. 

Connection Builder
Extend your network to meet new, reputable professionals who you can benefit from meeting and vice-versa. No introduction fees required and no limits on communication. You set your own communication settings.

RepScore Ecosystem
Invite your clients, colleagues and friends to vouch for your honesty, integrity and credibility through anonymous assessments. You’ve worked hard over the years to establish a good name and reputation, so we combine all feedback and publish a RepScore to your profile for the world to see.

Content Aggregation
Are you publishing your knowledge and expertise across the web in blogs and social networking sites? Link your blog to your Naymz account and syndicate your expertise to the Naymz community. You can also collect links to all of your online personae in one easy-to-find place. It’s like the table of contents to your online identity. 

Reputation Monitor
Keep an eye on what is being said about you online across various sources such as blogs, news sites, social networks and other online content with our real-time monitoring tool.

Job Board
Search for jobs by keyword and location, or let us suggest jobs based on your profile information. Looking to hire? We will let you post your jobs for $40 for 30 days and syndicate across our partner networks.

People Finder
Looking for old colleagues or classmates? Search more than 1 million professionals across 100s of countries. Also, if you’re a recruiter you can do quick searches for prospective hires for free!

Profile Analytics and Alerts
We guarantee that once you set up your profile, it will be found by recruiters, protential clients, colleagues and friends. When that happens we’ll provide you with some insight into when and how your profile was found.

Activity Feeds
Want to keep tabs on your professional contacts? With activity feeds we’ll provide you with updates when a contact updates their profile, posts an Exchange, updates their blog, etc. It’s a great way to stay in tune with the activities of those in your professional network.

Custom Profile Themes
Select one of several custom profile themes that matches your personal style and character and publish it to your business card section of the profile page.

Some of the best things about naymz.com is the fact that it allows you connect to anyone on the network without any restrictions.  It allows you to do micro-blogging (much like Twitter), have a reputation score for your niche (your Repscore is based on a system of points).  Members earn points by filling in profile details and connecting with other members.  Members with high point scores get benefits that include free Google ads – sponsored links.  It allows you to bring all your social media and networking profiles together all in one place.

Naymz philosophy is “A good professional reputation is the key to effectively networking with other professionals.”

Worth giving it a go? Let us know how you get on?

Why you shouldn’t neglect your blog

Alice

All the excitement of creating or building a blog, the newness of it all, can be quite short lived. Many would-be writers avidly start their blog with great gusto and go through the settings and themes to get the ‘look’ they want, vowing to contribute posts regularly every week.

But the reality is different. My boss asked me to design a banner for one of her clients’ WordPress.com blog, and taking a quick look at the existing content I noticed that the style and subject matter were good, lively and readable, but he hadn’t posted since May. All that frenzied activity for the first month had quickly fizzled out, the enthusiasm had drained away, and a poor, neglected blog that appeared to have great potential languished before me on my computer screen.

This is the plight of so many blogs out there (the same is with Twitter accounts and other social networking profiles). A blog with no content might as well be a cheese sandwich! These self-editable websites are carefully designed to attract the search engines and their spiders, and thrive on consistently produced new material stuffed full of keywords and links that are so appetising to the internet bots who constantly roam looking for something to index. To forgot to regularly update them is as sad and unthinkable as getting a new puppy and then forgetting to look after him properly!

The adage “blogs are not just for Christmas, they are for life” may be scary, but this needn’t be so. If you are as diligent and full of enthusiasm as you need to be to make your business a success, then you need to do some sort of social networking activity, and a blog is an easy (and it is easy) example.  If you can’t write well, hire someone who can – there are lots of good ghost-bloggers out there who will do a good job. Even so, I’m sure whatever you write will be suitable towards promoting your business the way you want to. After all, who else knows your business better than you?

That is what the blog’s content should contain – all about you and your business.  Don’t submit irrelevant material like you find on Twitter, instead write about what you know. You must be a fountain of information and expertise about your industry, so why not share it with your existing and potential customers? Use your blog as somewhere you could record everything you think is important for your customers to know, a point of reference that can be fed into your social networking accounts, back-up links to affirm your points of view, a place to hold your latest revelations, fantastic ideas for the future, past successes with great clients, scintillating information that your clients would really benefit from…

So don’t neglect your poor old blog!  He needs visiting, reassuring, feeding – remember, he’s hungry for your knowledge!

Why it’s important how your blog looks

Alice

I read a lot of blogs, and this means I get to see a lot of blog designs.

Usually I’m tempted to go to these blogs because the headline or permalink, which entices me through clever wording and a subject matter that interests me. But on arrival, I am influenced terribly by how the blog looks, and not necessarily by the content it contains.

What puts me off? First, a dark background, with white or very pale text. If books are printed on white pages, why should blogs and websites be any different? I find it very difficult to focus on light words on an oppressive surface, especially if it is extremely busy.

Added to this, sometimes the text is extremely small. (There again, if the text is too big, it can look amateurish.) Not everyone is gifted with 20/20 vision, so why should there be the need to cram everything into a small space? If there is a lot to read, maybe serialising your blogs into smaller chunks is easier for your readers, and gives them an excuse to return to read the remainder.

Clear navigation is paramount, with page links obviously presented to encourage visitors to venture further into the site. If a visitor has to hunt for any aspect or feature of your blog or website, then, in my opinion, the designer has failed. Themes that have the sidebar as a footer are totally missing the point, as if readers are going to pan down deliberately to find out the blog’s additional material and links.

One particular blog I visited yesterday had all the borders of the blog in orange dots! The header or banner had spaced-out text with no image, whereas all imagery were countless numbers of affiliated and other advertising. The sidebars were wide, whereas the main column for the posts was extraordinarily narrow, so that the post was drawn out and therefore very difficult to read. The colour scheme seemed an afterthought, if there was one, and the layout prevented reading rather than encouraged it.

Of course, what I think is a good blog theme is purely subjective, as everybody has a different idea of what works and what looks nice. Many people like black to play an integral part of their blog’s design, narrow blogs are obviously different and draw attention to themselves, blocked in backgrounds seem to be more interesting than boring white ones, large and irrelevant imagery seem to be attractive and a total disregard for colour doesn’t matter at all.

So what are your opinions on blog theme designs?