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Posts by Jen

How to Make a Marketing Plan for the Rest of the Year

How to Make a Marketing Plan for the Rest of the Year

By on Jun 28, 2017 in Business Management | 0 comments

Yeah for summer finally being here. Barbecues, beaches, sailing and sun. It’s a great time to relax and recharge, which is vital to your business success. And, it’s a great time to do a mid-year check in on all those fantastic plans you set up in the beginning of the year. As you’re scheduling vacation and Friday afternoons out of the office, schedule some time to work on your business. My colleague Tara Gearheart at TMedia Consulting offers these tips to help with strengthening your marketing efforts for the second half of the year. 1. Analyze the past: The old English Proverb “You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been” reigns true in every stage of life but today we’re talking specifically marketing stages. How has 2017 been so far? Are you hitting your lead and sales goals? 2. Do a content refresh: Update your content inventory with fresh material. Make sure you include timely revisions to previous content. What may have been a great new marketing trend in January might be proven not to work in July. 3. Check your sales and marketing alignment: We talk all the time about the importance of communication between sales and marketing and it’s true. Make sure both teams are aligned for success. 4. Evaluate your progress: If you were graded for your marketing work, what grade would you give yourself at this point in the year? Do the activities you have planned for the second half of the year still make sense? Be honest, then make the changes needed. 5. Make an action plan for the second half of the year: So you’ve analyzed the past, outlined your content refresh, checked in with sales and evaluated your progress over the last 6 months. It’s time to put all of these findings to work and create an action plan for the next 6 months. The first half of the year flew by and before you know it, we’ll be ringing in the new year. This means there’s no time like the present to improve your marketing efforts. Take the stress out of your social media and online marketing planning with Make Your Mark for Online Marketing Success. This online eight-week course that will transform your business...

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What is a Pain Point and Why Does it Matter?

What is a Pain Point and Why Does it Matter?

By on Jun 20, 2017 in Blog Writing, Communication Strategy, Social Media Writing | 0 comments

It’s important in business to understand what your customer wants, but it’s even more important to understand why. What are the underlying needs, issues, concerns or problems that are driving people to seek out a particular product or service? Knowing the answers will help you create better content for your blog and social media. In the marketing world, these are often referred to as “pain points.” The idea is that the customer is seeking a product or service to solve some sort of pain that they may or may not be aware of. I don’t like the negative connotation of pain, so I prefer to refer to them as “deepest desires.” Here’s why they matter to you: As a provider, the more you understand why people need or desire what you offer, the better you can tailor your product or service to meet that need or desire. This applies to developing content as well. Knowing what drives people will help you to find the messages and words that will connect with them. Suppose you clean houses. Why do people hire someone to clean their house? The obvious answer is that they don’t want to do it themselves. But why? Is it because they don’t like to clean? Then you want to talk with them about how you can take that job off their hands. Or, is it because they’re so busy? Then talk about how much time you can save them. But there’s more. Why is having a clean house important to them? Do they a greater sense of peace when their home is clean? Or do they want to avoid being harassed by an in-law? Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Should you be talking about how you can relieve stress or how you can help your customer impress the visitors? Now, dig deeper. What’s important to them about how the product or service is delivered? Scheduling? Cost? Style? When you know the answer, you can talk in terms of how you will address their issues. They will see how you will solve their problem. How to uncover the deepest desires: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think through the buying process from their perspective. Ask...

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How to Find the Best Day and Time for Blogging

How to Find the Best Day and Time for Blogging

By on May 23, 2017 in Blog Writing | 1 comment

Most people think successful blogging is about writing, but that’s only part of it. It’s really about decision making. What are you going to write about? How are you going to write it? And finally, when will you post it? Should it go up first thing Monday morning so people can start their week right? Or is Friday afternoon better because they’re winding down? Maybe Wednesday morning as a mid-week boost? Not surprisingly, this issue has been studied a lot. The results offer a good starting point. For instance, the highest percentage of visitors read blogs in the morning, according to Hubspot’s Dan Zarella (@danzarella) and searchengineland.com (@senginland) as detailed in a comprehensive Kissmetrics infographic. Armed with this info, you’re  ready to go? Right? Not exactly. If you post at the high-volume reading times, the stats say you will have access to more readers. But, everyone else reading the numbers will be posting then too so you will have more competition. In fact, you’re more likely to get engagement and shares during the off-peak times, according to a study by TrackMaven. There’s another problem with the stats. They’re based on a wide range of blogs and readers, not yours. They can give you a general picture, but they aren’t telling you what your ideal readers are doing. To get a more specific answer, you’ll need to do some background work. Who is your ideal reader? What are that person’s lifestyles and habits? When does he or she have free time? When is he or she most likely to be at a computer? When is he or she most likely to read your blog? Here are some ways to get better info: Ask Talk to your ideal readers and find out what they want. Put up a survey on your blog or social media. Experiment Once you’ve got a general sense of when might be good, try posting blogs at various times and watch the readership level. Do this a few times to eliminate variable such as one post topic being of particular interest. Promote your blog This is a way to eliminate some of the guess work. You can push out your blog through your newsletter and your social...

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What Will You Do When You Hit Your Heartbreak Hill in Business?

What Will You Do When You Hit Your Heartbreak Hill in Business?

By on Apr 21, 2017 in Business Management | 0 comments

As someone from the other side of the city, I’m not always clear where on the route of the Boston Marathon I am. I drive until I hit the road blocks then I park and walk toward the cheering crowds. But there was no doubt where we were this past Monday. You could see it on the runners’ faces contorted with a mixture of disbelief, dismay and determination. We were on the infamous Heart Break Hill. At this point, the runners had already covered 20 miles, the last few of which had been nothing but up and down. It was hot and many were exhausted digging deep for a final push, in as much as six miles can be considered a mere push. As a runner and a business owner, I know that look. I have no aspirations of running a marathon, but I run short races and I have run a few half marathons. And I’ve seen that look on the faces of my business colleagues. In business, as in the Boston Marathon, hills are inevitable. You must go up to go down. There is a key difference, of course. In business they’re unpredictable. There’s no route to study. You just have to be prepared for what comes. Still, what I’ve learned about running hills applies to business. Get the Right Mindset The hills are hard. You can hate them or love them. Embrace them. Label the challenges that come your way as a good thing. They can make you stronger. They can separate you from the crowd. They can take you places you can’t get any other way. The view from the top is fantastic. Keep this in mind as you are going up. Use Your Vision When I’m running up hills, I envision myself flying or floating. With each step, I’m free from the earth. Yes, it’s a little silly, but it makes me feel lighter and gets my mind off the pain and effort of the climb. In business, picture yourself being on top of whatever needs to get done. You have to develop trust in your own abilities. Remember that the hill won’t last. It may feel like it won’t ever end, and in...

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How to Get a Headshot that Says 1,000 Words

By on Apr 14, 2017 in Communication Strategy | 1 comment

It seemed like a simple request from my client. She wanted a serious headshot and one that showed the lighter side for her website. But how often is it simple when it comes to photos? My last headshot was taken more than two years ago when I had shorter hair. In the one before that, I had almost curly hair and fewer worries. Neither fit her goal. Besides, they were no longer quite accurate, which means they aren’t quite authentic. And went it comes to online marketing, authenticity matters. I know that a headshot is a powerful tool. It shows people who you are and helps to convince them that they should do business with you, or at least consider the possibility. It matters as much, and maybe more, as your words. With that in mind, I was feeling a bit stressed out. After all, this would represent me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and my website among other places. And, based on past experiences, it will be there quite a while. What should I wear? How should I pose? Where should I have it taken? I wanted something natural and fun yet somewhat serious. I wanted a photo that says this person will get the work done and make sure everyone has a good time doing it. No pressure, of course. I turned to headshot guru John Munson, owner of Beacon Photography for guidance. He offered some suggestions to keep in mind whether you’re having a friend take the photo or hiring a pro. Here are the Don’ts: Wear narrow stripes and large bright prints. They will be distracting and draw attention from your beautiful face. Don’t wear large pieces of jewelry, unless that’s your typical style. The focus should be on you more than your accessories. Crossing your arms tightly across your chest. This sends a “stay away” signal. Arms down at the sides is generally the most flattering pose. Here are the Dos: Think about the image you want to project and the audience you want to attract. Friendly? Serious? Competent? Wear clothes that represent the image you want to portray. If you run a serious professional business, dress in formal attire. But nix the tie...

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