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August 18, 2016

My Business Revolution: Intentional Marketing

No, it’s not a typo.  I am not resolving to do anything during in my business.  You see, a resolution is a promise or a pledge.  That’s for wimps.  We all know what happens to resolutions.  After about a month those good intentions go straight down the toilet.

I don’t have good intentions.  Instead, I started the New Year with a revolution – a transformation, a reform, a change.  Like so many others, I fall into the traps of (A) being a control freak over my business and (B) marketing sporadically as it comes to mind.  However, I began to change my marketing focus and it has made a huge difference.  A 27 percent increase in revenue to be exact.

So, rather than declare my good intentions about marketing, I’m making a solid change – a total transformation – in how I promote my web copywriting services, Amazon product description services, professional speaking/onsite training and my training products.

Setting a Goal(s)

Starting at the end, I set a goal – an end result.  Asking myself the question, “How much do I want to make by Dec. 31?” was my launching point.  From there, I divided the amount by 12 to set my monthly goals.

If you’re doing list-building, decide how many new subscribers you want by [fill in the date] and divide by 12 to get your monthly goal.  The same for lead generation or any other area you want to make progress in.

Yes, you can absolutely have multiple goals, but I’d suggest you concentrate on one if this is your first time developing and implementing a marketing plan.

Creating a Plan

With regard for what I am or am not able to personally do (as far as implementation goes), I began looking at what I already had in place as far as marketing my business goes.

These are the three basics for practically any business, regardless of whether it is B2B, B2C or both.  I already had all these in place, but made a more intentional effort about using them.

1. Building an E-mail List  – Marketing 101 says it is significantly easier to get sales from those who know and trust you  than it is from people you’ve just been introduced to.  Whether you have an eCommerce site, an Amazon business or a veterinary practice, it is crucial that you stay in contact with your prospects and customers. I had done the bare minimum with my list building for years.  My transformation was to take purposeful steps to build my list including:

  • Creating and testing new offers for people who subscribe to my newsletter.
  • Driving traffic to specifically-created landing pages that had subscriber forms via social media, content marketing, joint ventures and other means.
  • Offering benefits to subscribers (such as the ability to enter a monthly drawing to win a web page review or something else).

You don’t have to create a newsletter.  You could offer weekly/monthly specials or discounts.  Perhaps your customers would like to get a list of industry-related articles you’ve read over the last month.  You might provide tips or send the answers to questions you’ve received over a period of time.  The possibilities are endless.  The point is that you give those on your list quality content that interests them so they stay connected.

If you aren’t creating a list, start one today.

This is the single most fundamental step in online marketing that can have the biggest impact on your bottom line, in my opinion. 

It is also one of the few ways to create a marketing process that YOU control – not Google, not Facebook, not Amazon… you.  Nobody can suddenly change an algorithm or policy and wreck everything you’ve worked to accomplish.

2. Social Media Marketing – Social media is a much more intimate way to build customer relationships.  It’s a soft approach to generating leads.  It also helps boost your search engine rankings.

In years past, I’d just let my Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Linked In followers and more build naturally.  Then I discovered there were easy and extremely affordable ways to run promoted posts, do contests and more to get followers. I’m now using these methods on a regular basis to grow my following.

3. Search Engine Optimization – People get confused about SEO and rightfully so.  It is always changing and there are numerous pieces to the puzzle that all have to work simultaneously to see results.  While it’s getting harder and harder to get good search engine rankings, there are still steps you can take to help your pages show higher on Google, Bing and other engines.

Of course, there is more that can be (and should be) included, but these are the absolute must-haves.

Get the Help You Need

As an entrepreneur, I (like most others) suffer from the mistaken belief that my fingers have to touch every part of my business.  Simply not true.  In fact, to create and implement my marketing plan over the last year, I’ve had to face the reality that I cannot (and should not) do everything myself.

I am not technically qualified to do everything that needs to be done with my marketing plan and, by trying to learn to do everything myself, I’m wasting time and money.  Being technically challenged has also previously stopped me from taking on marketing projects I wanted to do, but didn’t know how to implement. Not any more.  I use a virtual assistant (VA) to do what I can’t/don’t want to. Now it all gets done.

The Tools I Use to Make it Happen

  • List Building and E-mail Marketing – I use Aweber for this.  I’ve made the rounds through several list management service providers over the years and I think Aweber is the best.
  • Social Media Management – I’ve tried both Hootsuite and Buffer.  I like Hootsuite much better.  It has more features I use and greater flexibility.
  • Splurgy – A great tool (with a free option) for running contests that use social mentions, likes and more as entries.
  • SEO – I have two resources that can help you get a quick jump on optimizing your web pages for the engines.  One is a Kindle book (you can get free online readers for Kindle that will work on your PC, iPad, etc.) called SEO Flow: Creating a Steady Stream of Rankings & Conversions. The other is my Writing With Keywords video course.
  • Virtual Assistant – There isn’t enough time in the day and, by turning over tasks that I am not qualified to do or just don’t want to do, I have been able to make more money.

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Karon Thackston is president of Marketing Words Copywriting Agency helping Amazon sellers, eCommerce site owners and content marketers rank higher, convert better and make more sales.

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