Archives For mike coleman

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We are in the first week of the New Year. How did 2015 end for you? Did you accomplish all you set out to do or did you fall short … again?

What can you do to change the outcome for 2016? Here are a few steps you can take to make sure this year ends on a high note.

The first step is to imagine how you will feel at the end of the year after accomplishing all of your goals. Really think about this and give yourself a few minutes to meditate on it to experience how you will actually feel. I can assure you, it will be a much better feeling than you will experience if you do not accomplish what you set out to do. Take a five minutes out of each day for this meditation exercise.

The next step is to spend some time on Friday afternoon to write down three things you want to accomplish for the following week. And they need to be tasks that push you a little and take you out of your comfort zone. And each task needs to be something that will propel your business one step closer to your ultimate goal for yourself and your business. Do the math. That adds up to 156 very focused tasks that will build and grow your business. Do you think that will have an impact? Don’t let time get away from you again and end the year wondering what happened.

The third step you want to take is to learn how to implement anything you learn as quickly as possible. Most people know everything they need to know to grow and build their business. The problem, most of the time, is in the implementation of what they know. Taking fast action and implementing what you learn is the key to building a business. Don’t wait for that one more piece of information, for the timing to be “right”, or to get things perfect before moving forward. Done is better than perfect. Just move! You can fix it as you go along.

don't-let-your-web-designer-hold-you-hostage-blog

Every week, without exception, I run across someone who is being held hostage by their web designer. And this is what I mean by “being held hostage”.

Let’s say, for example, you become dissatisfied with your web designer. They are not returning your phone calls, not doing the work as quickly as you would like, or whatever the case may be. And you want someone else to take over the site.

Do you have access to all your usernames, passwords, and all your other online collateral so you can do this? Or do you have to go through your web designer?

Unfortunately, what usually happens is you have to go through your web designer, and they will not let you have your stuff. If that is the case, your only option is to start from scratch with a new web designer, which can cost more money and more time.

Be wary of any web designer who says, “Oh, I’ll take care of that for you” or “You own everything”. If you do not have access to usernames and passwords for everything, you do not truly own everything.

Here is how you can lay a solid foundation for your online marketing strategy and avoid being held hostage.

1. Register your domain name through GoDaddy. Create your own GoDaddy account. Do not use the web designer’s account.Go to my GoDaddy affiliate link at mikecolemanwebservices.com to set up an account with GoDaddy.

2. Set up a hosting account on GoDaddy. Same applies here. Create your own hosting account. Do not use the web designer’s hosting account. Go to my GoDaddy affiliate link at mikecolemanwebservices.com to set up an account with GoDaddy.

3. Use WordPress to create your site. You have much more flexibility and there are WordPress web designers everywhere.

4. Use Constant Contact or AWeber for your newsletter campaign. Click Here to go to my Constant Contact affiliate link and set up a trial account.

5. Set up your Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and any other social media profiles.

6. One other bit of information you will need is FTP info. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and allows you to access your files online. You use FTP to upload or download files. If they refuse to give you this info, find someone else to do your website.

7. Your web designer should give you a sheet with the following information: usernames and passwords for everything (domain name, hosting, social media, WordPress, etc.) and FTP information.

Take responsibility for your business early in the process to avoid pain and heartache later. It doesn’t take that much time to be aware of what’s going on in your business.

There is no excuse for not doing the things I outlined above. You do not need to be a “techie”. You just have to be aware of what’s going on in your business and obtain all the information listed above.

And if you are unsure about what you should do, turn to a trusted advisor who can point you in the right direction before spending your hard-earned dollars. If you do steps 1 thru 7 above, you will never be held hostage again.

seo getting found online mike coleman blog

Getting found online is key to your success if you are depending on your website, social media, and other online collateral to help market your business. Unfortunately, when it comes to creating a web presence that is search engine friendly, it can seem like you are trying to hit a moving target.

But if you follow a few simple rules, you can hit your target and win the game of SEO. Here are seven for your consideration:

1.  Create great content on your website. Google is always looking for “relevant” content, and a lot of it, so when someone searches on a keyword phrase, your site is found to be more relevant than your competition. This will also decrease your bounce rate, which is another key factor in your ranking. Change your content periodically and have a blog on your website that you update on a regular basis.

2.  Create profiles on the main social media channels – Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest. Make sure you place your domain name in each of your profiles.

3.  Place short (less than one minute) how-to, instructional, or informational videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Place your URL as the first thing in your video description and write a good description using your keywords. Also, use your keywords in the title of your video.

4.  Use your keywords in your domain name and in the title of your blog posts.

5.  Optimize your images. Use image editing software, such as Photoshop Elements or Gimp, to decrease the size of your images. This will also decrease the load times of your web pages.
Make use of and populate the “ALT=” tag on your images.

6.  Promote your website, both online and offline, on all your materials – business cards, store signage, networking events, direct mail, your social media channels, etc. Something as simple as driving more people to your site can improve your SEO.

7.  Use Google Analytics and Google  Webmaster Tools to track your progress and monitor your results.

Doing the things listed above will not “guarantee” your success, but doing all of them will increase your chances of being on the first page of the major search engines when someone searches for your business.

There are many other elements to developing a good SEO strategy for your website, such as link-building, but the steps listed above are a great place to start.

Remember, it does take time to develop an SEO strategy, so don’t get discouraged if in a couple of months you are still not on the first page of Google or Bing. There are a lot of factors involved, and it takes consistent, ongoing effort to make it work.

mike coleman nashville online marketing

One of the big mistakes many people make with their email and social media is trying to say everything. Remember, less is more when it comes to email and social media marketing. Your emails and social media are not for telling people everything that you do. Thats what your website is for.

Consider offering one thing at a time and remained focused on one topic at a time when it comes to crafting your blog post, article, newsletter, or social media post. By doing this you accomplish a couple of things:

1. You make it easier for your audience to digest the information you are sharing with them.

2. It takes the pressure off you to write a lot of content. And one more thing about content. You don’t have to be “original” and have something profound to say every time, but you do need to be delivering content that is helpful and applicable to the audience you are trying to reach.

3. It’s much easier to track your results. Anything is your online marketing strategy, just like your offline marketing strategy, should be measurable. You want people who read your blog post, article, or social media post to take some type of physical action. That physical action could be a click, a download, a phone call to your business, signing up for your services, or any number of other things.

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When it comes to writing sales copy, there is nothing more powerful than a strong call to action. Anytime you send an email or direct mail piece, the most important part of your communications is your call-to-action.

This is NOT a strong call to action: Call BR549

This is a strong call to action: Call BR549 before 10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning to receive 15% off our services.

You’ve told your audience what to do, when to do it, and why they should take action. If you have these three things, you have a strong call to action. If you are missing one component, then it will not work.

I would like to hear from you. Send me a few of your calls to action you have used in the past.

 

If you want to be successful in sales, stop being a salesperson and become a businessperson.

If you can convey to someone that you are not trying to sell them something, but instead you want to partner with them to increase revenue, increase market share, reduce expenses, increase their client base, or make their life easier in some way … then you have someone eager to work with you (or at least want to have a conversation). In other words, you want to partner with them to grow their business and make their life easier. It’s that simple. This approach (and shift in mindset) makes you a businessperson rather than a salesperson.

So, number one – you want to have the mindset of a businessperson (or partner) … not a salesperson.

And number two – you want to provide solutions. How do you know if there is a need and what solution you can provide? One way is online research. Visit their website or check out their LinkedIn profile. Find the key players in their organization. Prepare what you are going to say and then rehearse it a hundred times until you are comfortable with it.

Now you are ready for your first meeting or call. You’re going into the first meeting (or cold call) thinking of yourself as a business partner with solutions to help them grow their business and increase revenues.

Think about this scenario for a moment. If you walk into a business and you are trying to sell them on how great your product is, and you have to ask who is in charge of (fill in the blank), then you are viewed as a salesperson. And worst of all, you are viewed as a poorly prepared salesperson.

Now think about this scenario. You’ve done your research, you know the key players within the organization, you have established a need, and you have come up with a couple of solutions for them that will increase revenue. How do you think they will view you now? Now you are establishing your position as a leader who cares about their business and can offer a solution to a need that you have already identified. Now you are a valued ally, a trusted advocate, and a business partner.

Everything mentioned above also applies to your online marketing. You want to convey the message that you are a businessperson who knows your target market, knows the needs of your target market, and can provide solutions.

Review the Home page of your website. Is this the message visitors to your website are getting? Are they finding the information they need quickly or do they just see a nice graphic? Do they have to click on another link to find out your business philosophy, who you work with, what you do, and the solutions you provide?

I’m not saying you can’t have a nice graphic AND great content. But if I have the choice of having a shiny new graphic on my website or giving my visitors information that is pertinent to their business, I will choose giving them the information they want as quickly as possible.  This moves the sales process forward, and isn’t that really the purpose of your website?

If you approach selling your products or services as a businessperson, find the need, offer solutions, go into meetings fully prepared, and deliver value … then your career, business, and life will move to the next level and beyond.

As most of you know, I am a voracious reader. I really believe your success in life is all about the books you read and the people you meet. There are a handful of books that I read over and over again at least once a year. One of those books is “The Greatest Salesman In The World” by Og Mandino. This simple book tells you everything you need to know in order to be successful in sales … if you study, learn, and internalize each of the principles taught in the book.

I have listed the 10 principles here. I chose not to elaborate on any of them because I want you to really think about each one and make it your own.

1. I will form good habits and become their slave.

2. I will greet this day with love in my heart.

3. I will persist until I succeed.

4. I am nature’s greatest miracle.

5. I will live this day as if it is my last.

6. Today I will be the master of my emotions.

7. I will laugh at the world.

8. Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold.

9. I will act now.

10. I will pray for guidance.

Write the ten principles listed above on an index card or put them in your smart phone. Read them each morning before you start your day. It will make a difference.

Is what I’m doing right now the best use of my time if I want to get more clients and make more money? If you don’t ask this question every minute of every day, it will be easy to get overwhelmed with long to-do lists (that never get done), which leads to frustration and stress. Then you end the week wondering where your time went.

Here is the solution. Each day, write down the three most important tasks you need to complete for that day. This doesn’t mean you only do those three things and quit for the day. It simply allows you to complete the three most important tasks in your business, for that day, before doing anything else. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and relieve some of your stress.

You could write down a task that takes 2 minutes or one that takes two hours. Just make sure whatever you write down is doable, and make sure you allot a certain number or a certain amount of time to each task. You can make 3 sales calls, spend one hour prospecting, 15 minutes updating your blog. Whatever you do, make sure it’s measurable. Then, once these tasks are completed, you can move on to something else. It can be something totally different or you may want to go back to one of your tasks, such as making 3 sales calls, and make a few more calls.

Here is an example of the three things I wrote down for Monday – 1) Make 20 sales calls, 2) Spend 1 hour working on a client project, 3) Create and schedule my newsletter. All three tasks are measurable and they were tasks that I could actually complete. After I completed the three tasks, I had time to write a direct mail piece that I will be sending to dentists this week. I also sent a few follow up postcards and emails.

As you know, this is the time of year when everyone is making their New Year’s resolutions. Don’t worry about making a resolution. Take a couple of hours to figure out what you want to accomplish for the coming year. Map out a plan of action. Then write down the three most important tasks you have to do today that will get you one step closer to achieving your goal.

Do not let 2013 end wondering where the time went. Just like everyone else, you have 24 hours in each day. The main difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is how they use their time. By implementing the strategy I laid out for you in this newsletter, you will be much more effective in how you use your time.

My challenge to you is to give this a try for 30 days. If you will do this, it will start to become a habit that will dramatically change your business (and your life).

You make a sales call and schedule an appointment to meet with a potential client. You have your first meeting and everything goes great. Your potential client tells you they have all the information they need and no need to have another meeting. They will call you. BUT the sale is not final.

What is the next step?

This is where a lot of sales people drop the ball. They wait for the client to take the next step, when the reality is you have to be in control of the sales process at every step. You can’t let your prospect control the flow of the sale. On a rare occasion, the client will call you back but many times you never hear from them again if you don’t take the initiative to keep the conversation going after the meeting. And many times, it’s not because they don’t want your services. It’s because they forget about you because they are busy with their life and their business.

So it’s up to you to make sure they don’t forget about you. How do you do that? There are many ways, but I’ll mention six here.

1. Send a handwritten note to thank them taking the time to meet with you.

2. A follow-up phone call a few days after the meeting to see if they have thought of any questions since you met.

3. A follow-up email to thank them for meeting with you and to let them know you are available should they have any questions. Keep in mind a handwritten note is better, but an email is better than nothing.

4. A direct mail piece that reminds them of what you discussed at the meeting with an overview of the benefits you provide as a result of using your services.

5. A postcard with an overview of what you have to offer, as a reminder.

6. Connect with them on social media channels, such as, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. (You should do this step before meeting with them, but if you didn’t, then now is a good time to connect.)

Building a business is all about building long-term relationships. Just because someone doesn’t need your services today does not mean they will not need them tomorrow. Always know what your next step will be to keep an ongoing dialogue with your prospects and current clients.

Email marketing is still the best way to stay in touch and keep that top of mind presence with your prospects and customers. And when you use email marketing in conjunction with social media, you have a very powerful online marketing strategy that’s hard to beat.

But, it’s important that you launch your email marketing campaign properly. It’s equally important that you follow a few simple rules when composing and sending your email.

Here are eight tips for you …

1. Be consistent in your delivery. Whether you commit to doing a monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly newsletter, make sure you keep that commitment to your readership so they know when to expect your email.

2. Keep your text clear, concise, and easy to scan. Compose short paragraphs with maybe 2 or 3 sentences to make your point.

3. Place appropriate links in your newsletter. For example, you will need a link to your website, links to all your social media, and you could also include a special offer.

4. Deliver content that people want to read and possibly share with their friends. Also, make it easy for people to share your emails by providing a “share” link or a “Forward this email to a friend” link.

5. Send a test email to yourself to make sure your formatting is correct before sending it to your list.

6. Always ask permission before adding anyone to your email list.

7. Keep your list (or database) clean. After you send your email, take care of any bounced email addresses by entering the correct email address or removing them from your list.

8. Monitor your reports after you send your email to see how well it performed. Check your open rate, bounced email addresses, delivery rate, etc. If you are using a professional email marketing program, such as Constant Contact, it’s easy to do this.

The next step is to start your email marketing campaign, and I can help you get up-and-running whenever you are ready.