101 Tips for Using Your Website and Other Online Tools to Market Your Business

The internet is quickly becoming the #1 way people gather information. If your internet presence is lacking, you may be missing out. We will discuss messaging, using your website, and other internet marketing tools like search engines, social media, PPCs, and directories.

Planning

  1. Set goals: What are you hoping to accomplish? More fans, interactions, e-mail addresses, are you looking to become an industry leader?
  2. Create a plan: Just like any business project, to ensure success you need a flushed out plan
  3. Create a timeline: Determine reasonable mile markers, set due dates, and celebrate accomplishments
  4. Create a schedule: Use your schedule to ensure you make your deadlines
  5. Assign responsibilities: Although much of the online marketing campaign may be high level delegate where possible to ensure work gets completed
  6. Assign accountability: This should be a third party that will hold you to your word, a business coach, advisor, or partner are ideal

Messaging

  1. Define audience(s): The internet allows you to interact with individual audiences, be sure you communicate with each audience in the appropriate way.
  2. Define needs: No one cares about what you sell, they want to know how you solve their problems
  3. Keyword research: Don’t go with your gut! Research what people are looking for and find niches where you can compete
  4. Educate: Provide free information to your target audience to help them solve their problems and make good decisions
  5. Entertain: Make your products, services, company, self fun; Example Will It Blend? http://www.willitblend.com
  6. Engage: Engage in existing conversations or start your own, but don’t “sell”

Integrate

  1. Website: Once you have established your social media venues be sure to have links from your website
  2. Social Media: Your Profiles and Posts should link back to your website and blogs
  3. Blogs: should link to your website and other social media venues
  4. Video: When you create a video, post it to You Tube (a popular search engine), embed it in your websites and blogs, and create posts that link back to it
  5. Optimization: Optimize ALL your venues not just your website
  6. Directories: Find local and niche directories and be sure to use all venues if possible
  7. Advertising: Be sure ads point back to your websites, blogs, and indicates your Social Media when possible
  8. Mobile: Be sure phone numbers are in traditional text format so they are will automatically dial
  9. e-mail Signature: All e-mails should easily allow recipients to find more information
  10. Print: Be sure your online marketing is supported by your offline marketing, QR codes make it easy find information, most people expect to see an URL, and the social media logos
  11. Interactions: Different people want to receive information in a form they are comfortable with, be sure to provide multiple options for interactions

To learn about the other 78 tips visit me at the 2011 COSE Small Business Conference Wednesday, October 19th from 10:15-11:15 am!

Natalie Morris

Internet Marketing Specialist 

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Keeping Up

So if anyone read my last post, it was about keeping up with blogging, and social media in general. I talked about some of my excuses – lack of time – and some of my motivations – it brings me business. Now I’ll let you know what I have done so far, and I hope it helps you to keep up.

I went to my Google Calendar (www.google.com/calendar)  and put a place holder into each Monday to Blog. Now honestly I have done this in the past and it didn’t work, so this time I took one more step. I added what the blog should be about. Nothing graphic, that required thinking just broad like today I am blogging about Social Media. With that little bit of guidance I was able to focus on a subject and that made it easier to just go with it.

Here’s a hint on picking a topic: My pain is your pain.

My “pain” is keeping up with my social media, and I figured if I was having that pain, than there’s a pretty good chance that there’s someone else out there that is having the same pain as me. So why not offer my insights as to what worked for me, and hopefully it will work for you too.

Have a terrific day,

Natalie

http://www.morrismc.com

Professional Social Media Marketing

Social Media has evolved dramatically from when I first got into it. When it started it was all about building relationships – one by one. It was a networking tool akin to face to face networking, the only difference was it was virtual.

The draw was “it’s free!” Who needs an expensive print marketing campaign if you can do more by yourself using these great tools. The good news is it’s true, they are free, and you can do a lot of the work yourself. The bad news is so is print marketing, you can use Word to create a brochure, you can find free clip art online, write the content yourself, then print it off you office color printer. But you don’t do you? Why not? Because it looks cheap, it doesn’t look professional, because you don’t have the expertise to create a compelling image and message. You know that to create a good print campaign you need professional designers, marketers, and printers.

Unfortunately Social Media is turning into the same thing. If you want your company’s Social Media presence to look professional then you need a professional.

I actually came to this realization for myself a few weeks back. Not that I need someone to come up with a plan for me. I have that under control, but I need someone to make the updates for me, I need someone to be responsible to making sure everything happens the way I’ve decided in my plan.

I’m a business owner, I’m a problem solver, I’m also a control freak. It’s hard for me to admit someone else will do a better job if I just give them the guidance and the opportunity.

Do you need help with your social media?

Natalie

www.morrismc.com

Client Spot : The Cleveland Gladiators

The Cleveland Gladiators are an arena football team in Cleveland Ohio, and I have the absolute pleasure of working with them on a Facebook PPC campaign to get 10,000 fans by the end of the season.

There are a lot of things that make working for the Gladiators fun. Of course the season ticket don’t hurt, and the fact that the sport is actually really exciting so I can honestly say I enjoy the games. Then the fact that so far they are having an excellent year makes it even more fun.

The next reason why I like this project so much is the people I work with are wonderful. They are a fun group who is optimistic and excited about what they do. They are very supportive of us and of each other. There is always a feeling of comradery and a true desire to do a good job on everyone’s part.

The last thing that makes the Gladiators a blast are the fans. Having a group of people who are that supportive of an organization is really amazing to work with. Because most of our campaign focuses on the Facebook Fan Page keeping up with the posts is imperative on our part. It is great to hear all the positive comments of how much the fans enjoy the games, but what I get an even greater kick out of is how the fans will defend the team as if the guys playing are their own flesh and blood! It really shows the power of Social Media.

Besides running the PPC campaign on Facebook the Gladiators have someone in charge of monitoring and engaging visitors on the Fan Page. This is a great place where they can get feedback and find out what people really want.

Give to receive is another thing the Cleveland Gladiators embrace. They ar currently running a Military Night to honor all the men and women who have dedicated themselves to protecting our freedom. Thank you to all our Armed Forces!

Thank you and have a terrific week,
Natalie

Morris MC, ltd.

Troubleshooting – Telling the whole story

Frustrated woman sitting at a computerIn a former life I manned the support line for the company I worked with… It wasn’t really a support line, it was just the fact that customers would call in with issues and I was usually the one that picked up the phone. Then I needed to figure out who could actually help them. That’s where I learned about troubleshooting, then this week one of my CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members was having an issue with a PDF.

So the e-mail I got said she could not open the PDF that had been sent via e-mail.

I suggested downloading the free Adobe PDF Reader.

I was told that still didn’t help. Now my years of training kicked in… ok I had no training, but I did have years of experience that told me as a support person never believe what someone is telling you! Not that they are lying, it just they don’t know what they are saying. So I sent a list of questions.

  • Can you see the attachment on the e-mail?
  • Can you save it to your computer?
  • What happened when you try to open it?
  • Ok are you getting an error?
  • If yes what does it say?
  • If no what is happening?
  • What kind of computer do you have?
  • How old is your computer?
  • Have you been able to open other PDFs?
  • Can you open this http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf?

I was not surprised to learn that the real problem was she had not received the attachment. She was able to open the PDF from the site, so her computer was fine, but there was nothing for her to click on to see the PDF that had been e-mailed.

This was an issue I had all the time with people, they told me one thing but really meant something else. The end result was she could not open the file, however the problem was she did not receive the file.

So if you are having issues, either with your computer or anything else and you are talking to a support person try to give them all the information you Frustrated Man sitting at computercan, not just the end result.

Tell them what you did, what happened when you did it, any errors you received. Let them know how knowledgeable you are on the subject. Tell them everything you tried. If you think you might know what is causing the problem, let them know. The more information you can give them the easier it is for them to solve your problem.

It would be really hard for you to determine my problem if I called and said “I’m cold”

  • I could be outside in the snow
  • I could be wearing shorts and a T-shirt in February in Cleveland
  • I could have a broken window in the winter
  • My door may be wide open during a blizzard
  • I may be in AC
  • I may have just eaten an ice drink in one gulp

Just remember the result does not help nearly as much as all the information that lead up to that point.

Have a terrific day!
Natalie

http://www.morrismc.com

Writing the Dreaded Business Plan

I must admit, when I started Morris MC, ltd. I really never did a Business Plan. To tell the truth I never really thought it would ever grow to be more than just a way for me to own my own job. That’s really what my goal was.

View DetailsHowever, as I am sure many of you know, life never works out the way you planned it to. My plan, was to own my own job, to have a few clients that could bring in as much money as I had been earning before, and give me the freedom to work the hours I wanted to work. Not less, just when I wanted. I mean really, here it is 9:26 pm on a cold and rainy thursday night, the heat is cranked up, I’ve eaten a quiet dinner of Hubbard squash and sugar cookies and now I am writing my blog. A few fellow entrepreneurs would say “shame on you for working late!”, but the fact is I took off early yesterday, when the sun was still shining and the weather was warm and dry and spent the whole evening at the barn playing with the horses. That is what I mean by my time. I don’t mind working, actually I love it, I’d be bored without it, but don’t make me sit in an office with nothing to do just because I am supposed to be there from 8:00-5:00. Don’t waste my time!

But I digress, so my plan was owning my own job. I phase out of my 5 year job to spread my wings, all is roses for the first month! Then my husband loses his job, so we go from a very healthy 2 income family, to a very surprised zero income family within 30 days! WOW, that bites.  The plan was great with one full-time income coming in, the plan was not designed for nada.

View DetailsSo the business plan never got written, I mean it got started, but never finished. It was a sink or swim scenario, either I made it work or we were going to have some serious issues. And when you are working full-time as your own employee, your business manager, your sales staff, and so much more, you just run out of time to write a plan.

But even without a plan we were able to make it work, and in fact we worked well, we have seen steady growth even in this economy. Most importantly I wouldn’t trade this feeling and freedom for my previous life for anything!

But I have discovered something even more exciting, although I have managed to keep things going here very successfully, I have discovered that I am an entrepreneur, and I LOVE it! I thrive on it, I wake up in the morning itching to get going on my next adventure. And I have discovered, that to do something bigger than owning your own job requires a lot more work, planning, and research. It requires a business plan.

business plans,business to business,businesses,businessmen,connections,men,metaphors,networks,office buildings,persons,plansNow I always thought the business plan was a way for you to describe what you are planning on doing to others. It would give them the ability to read what you mean, study it at their leisure and then discuss it with you, or with others.

I was wrong, a business plan is a way for you to really figure out how your business is actually going to work. It forces you to look at it from every possible angle. It makes you take a hard, honest look a the numbers and see what will and what won’t work. It makes you look at the way the business is structured and what is needed to make it work the way you want it to. The business plan is really your own personal “devil’s advocate” in document form.

The act of writing the plan out forces you to think all the way through the process. It doesn’t allow you to say “well it will work something like that” you need to explain how it will work, and you need to understand it well enough that you can put it down in print. It has to be rational enough that other people will look at it and say, yes that makes sense, and it forces you to read it and say “yes, that makes sense” or “No, that doesn’t”.

Even if I never shared my business plan with a single soul, I would say it is a necessary activity to achieve my plan. In fact without it, I don’t think I would ever have gotten to my final plan.

View DetailsIf you business is all you have ever wanted, or if you are happy with where you are in life, or if all you want is to own your own job, than I don;t think I would push writing a business plan. However, if you want to achieve greatness, if you want to change the world, then a business plan is a great first step!

Do something grand!
Natalie

www.morrismc.com

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my!

The Secret, by Rhonda Burns. OK, I don’t know how this thing works. My rational side says it’s a bunch of malarkey, however, I have too many personal stories that make it just too real to me. I actually have a whole notebook full of my “Secret” stories. But I will just share this one because it was just too cool.

Tigger jumping off his perch to come say hi to me.I LOVE animals, I love big animals, small animals, furry and scaly animals. I love nice animals and ferocious animals. I have a dog, cat, and a snake, I ride horses, feed the birds, I put in a pond and have fish and now frogs and even a toad that visits. I will stop my car to rescue a loon, a hawk, or any other animal I find on the side of the road, that I don’t think will kill me… actually I just haven’t found a dangerous one on the side of the road, so who knows what I would do. But there is a place in my heart that loves the big furry animals that could kill me. You know, lions, tigers, and bears!

Well I have been to the zoos, I have been to the animal parks, I have watched TV shows, and seen them on-line but never have I ever had the opportunity to really get close to them (of course safety first). So a while back I get this random e-mail, for a sanctuary who needs a new website. I decide to go down and visit them, of course that week was a marathon of “deadly attractions” crazy people who keep their pet tigers in a NY city apartment building, crazy snake ladies, etc. So by the time the weekend came, and I convinced by husband to come with me I was terrified of what I might be getting myself into. However I went down to see what they were about and was totally impressed by their facility. The thing is the animals get all the attention, the website, got none. So I decided to take it on!

So part of a good website is good pictures, and the people who work there are constantly running so I volunteered to take the pictures myself. Ok I really wanted to take the pictures. So I spent all day Saturday down there with a wonderful guide who kept me safe and the animals engaged and I took hundreds of pictures, of you guessed it, lions, tigers, and bears! There were also bobcats, cougars, zebras, camels, ponies, tortoises, horses, llamas, wolves, and so many other animals that they rescued from terrible futures.

So although there is still a lot to be done with their new site, I am happy to say the new look is LIVE! And I must say it represents their facility so much more than their old site.

http://www.noahslostark.org/

If you are ever even near Berlin Center Ohio, and you have the opportunity please go visit them, the work they do is amazing!

Thank you Universe for giving me the opportunity to get THAT close to these magnificent animals!

Natalie