Archive for the ‘mike sansone’ tag
Recently, we were looking for a place to do some commercial-sized laundry, our own machines too small for the job. We started looking where most others do … on Google.
I queried Google for the term ‘Laundromat’ and also typed in my city to get the most local place. One of the results was this Google+ Local page for Wash World Coin Laundry. Success!
- They have a Google Plus Page! A definite “plus”
- Store Hours were easy to find
- Glowing reviews (to which I’ve added mine)
- Photos show a comfortable, large facility
- It’s in a shopping area I do my groceries and get my haircut. Convenient!
When we got there, the manager was heroically helpful (we don’t often do commercial-type laundry) and offered free Wi-Fi and free coffee while we waited. Great experience.
Moral of the Story: Every day I hear small business owners who’ve given up or sunk down. “We’re not big enough for Google” or “Our customers know we’re here” is often the crutch they lean on. An opposite and healthier stance is Wash World Coin Laundry. They have a clean and informative website, a findable presence on Google+ Local. And they service what they sell once you walk in the doors.
One of the mental hurdles most small business owners face is looking at their business from a customer perspective.
No matter how hard you try, your vision is skewed. You’re too close to see with unfamiliar eyes.
What is your prospective customer looking for when they search Google?
If someone is looking for your product or service on their mobile device (and they don’t know about you) – what kind of input are they putting in their search?
And one of our favorite questions when doing a FICS audit is:
What are people saying about you?
When visiting small businesses about their web presence, the rebuttal for having no web page is “We don’t even have a computer here.”
Even though that may be so, your customers and prospects probably do have a computer – and these days, it might be in their pocket.
Are you findable?
Guest posting is very popular these days, and rightfully so. It can be a great way to reach different audiences for both the host and the gust.
I get dozens of requests each month to be a host of a guest post. I gladly turn many of them down for these reasons:
- No mention of what site the guest author will be linking to
- No offer of any social media or network profile (and I search, but there are so many David White or Susan Jones, it becomes challenging
- Even though I send my Guest Post Guidelines there are zero Eye Rests. None.
So I don’t post those. But I do host guest posts I think will be valuable to an intended audience of small business owners or social media learners.
That said, I’m on a road trip through Rural America – four states in two weeks – working with a few small businesses and organizations. This is a great time to submit your guest posts.
No need to ask first, just submit the post with this in mind:
- Topic of interest should be small business or social media (or both)
- Must have Eye Rests
- A small bio or at least a link to one of your “active” social media/network profiles
- A link that will act as a resource to this intended audience.
Mail you submission to firstname.lastname@example.org
See you in a couple of weeks
Next up: Knowing your “Who” gives you focus.
Many businesses will have multiple audiences:
- Core Customers
- Fringe Businesses (companies who also “touch” their customer)
- Shoppers who engage, but never transact (“attending audience“)
- Peers (could be competitors or collaborators)
- Neighboring Businesses
- Vendors & Suppliers
There are probably more we could list, though the top two audiences are who I’d put my focus. Write to them, for them, about them. Answer their questions. Solve their problems. Improve their lives.
Know your “Who”. Maintain Focus.
Sometimes that’s all a visitor will see. One page.
Might be all it takes for them to decide whether to keep searching or know that your company is what they’re looking for. Just one page.
- a page on your website
- a post on your blog
- a video you uploaded on YouTube
- your Twitter stream
- a Facebook tab
- an image on Pinterest.
- your LinkedIn profile
One page can be the tipping point. For or against.
A first time visitor finding your brand might also see your empty Google+ Local page or unclaimed Merchant Circle page. They may see someone else’s rant or rave about you on another site.
Is the message you’re delivering by your absence, “I Don’t Know (about it)” or “I Don’t Care”?
All it takes is One Page. And it could be anywhere – or maybe your business is nowhere to be found (or hard to find).
We work with small businesses, independent businesses, and rural businesses in building a web presence that is Findable, Connectable, and Shareable. By focusing on these three areas, we ensure that new customers find you, connect with you, and share their experience with their friends.
When we visit with small businesses, we offer a complimentary 8-point FiCS report.
Take advantage of this free offer and see if your company web presence is built for maximum impact. Call me (515.802.2273) or email me (email@example.com) and we’ll look at your FiCS (no obligation).
Social Media can be a wrestling match for many small business owners.
It seems like it should be so easy, right? Then once you start, you wonder why you ever started. Your niece can do this Facebook and Pinterest thing with ease. And your neighbor’s son is really popular on Twitter. So why not you?
No, it’s not a generational thing. Often it can be an attitudinal thing. In most cases though, it’s an operational thing.
Your niece and neighbor are probably doing things with a different purpose (recreational?) or practice (WWW = Whatever, Whenever, Wherever) than you as a business owner can (or want to) emulate.
While the Who, What, When, Where, and How are all important – Why should almost always come first.
Without knowing “why” you won’t have conviction to continue and every opinion about social media (and everybody has a few) will knock you off whatever path you chose in the first place.
Make social media mean something to your business.
Know your “Why” first.
Photo on Flickr by hlkljgk
While recently explaining Why and How I use Twitter, an idea struck me that I haven’t been able to get rid of: How can I Be the Resource and still maintain some ownership while also having quick access to the links I share.
Then two recent posts from Seth Godin stayed at me.
Ranking for signal to noise ratio, specifically this bit:
The clickthrough rates on tweets is getting closer and closer to zero. Not because there aren’t links worth clicking on, but because there’s so much junk you don’t have the attention or time to sort it all out.
This past week, I share a few fantastic resources I had share weeks before. The clicks and favorites and likes were as numerous – and sometimes higher – than when I previously shared them. The streams and lists on Twitter have become very crowded.
What are you leaving behind and this question:
All day long you’re emailing or tweeting or liking or meeting… and every once in a while, something tangible is produced. But is there a mark of your passage?
Maybe the example of swissmiss is a model to follow. Still be a great resource, yet continue to own the space you share from.
And you can still tweet about the resource, but maybe from your own space.
Still thinkin’ ….
“Content may rule, but your online content must be the right sort of content: Customer-focused. Authentic. Compelling. Entertaining. Surprising. Valuable. Interesting. In other words, you must earn the attention of people.”
Content Rules by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman (emphasis mine)
You know that person who never ever stops talking about themselves? Or the one who always has something nice to say – right before they tell what their agenda really is? That’s probably not you.
When you and I are engaged in a conversation, there’s plenty of give-and-take. You’re a wonderfully empathetic listener offline. You share ideas that build my ideas into better ideas. You’re humble. You’re modest. I enjoy talking with you.
But when you write a blog post … it’s as if someone else has taken over your brain.
You write about you a lot. And how this idea or that plan will help your business. Dropping names and promoting specials is great now and then (70-20-10), but as your blog coach, let me share this tip:
Write with your Reader in Mind
Read from the other side of the computer for a minute and ask yourself three questions (as the reader, not the writer):
- Would I finish reading this post?
- Would I share this post?
- What would I remember about this post?
Use the quote above from Content Rules as a guideline: Customer-focused. Authentic. Compelling. Entertaining. Surprising. Valuable. Interesting.
Write with your Reader in Mind. Earn Their Attention
Write with Your Reader in Mind: Earn Their Attention is a post from: ConverStations
originally posted on Dialing8
Using lists in your content is a great way to gift readers by providing “eye rests” and making your content easier to read and share.
Is there a difference between using bullets or numbers? Yes.
Think of a numbered list as a step-by-step order and a bulleted list as unordered. In fact, these two types of lists are called “Ordered Lists” and “Unordered Lists”.
An unordered list might include things you would pick up at the grocery store:
- Green Onions
- Bell Pepper
- Orange Juice
An ordered list might be the instructions on cooking breakfast:
- Dice vegetables into bowl
- Wisk three eggs into a different bowl
- Sautee vegetables over medium heat
- While vegetables are cooking, begin toasting bread
- Pour a glass of orange juice
- Pour egg mix into pan over vegetables
- Flip eggs (if omelet style) or scramble
In the second list, if I used an unordered list, we might’ve had cold toast, burnt eggs, and a salad for breakfast. So bullets are simply a list without specifically an order. An ordered list shows a list of items in order of priority.
I don’t know about you, but now I’m hungry.
Here’s a video by Tad on how to do lists in WordPress (with a bonus tutorial on blockquotes):
Whistle Stops are conversations, eye-openers, or tools representing the brain train discovered while traveling along the Conversphere. From business to education, life hacks to giving back, these are the posts and links that have in some way grabbed my attention this week!
- The 6-Step SEO Audit Every Marketer Should Conduct via Hubspot
- 99% Conference 2012: Key Takeaways on Making Ideas Happen from Behance
- 26 Tips for Success With Location-Based Marketing from Social Media Examiner
- Why Small Business Have A Huge Advantage Over Brands In Social Media on SocialMouths
- 5 Creative Uses of Facebook Offers for Business by Jon Loomer
- The Noob Guide to Linkbuilding via SEOMoz
I’ve been using the new Pocket app (formerly Read it Later) to save some must-read (later) articles. These were a few I saved this week.