More than a Few Words - a Marketing Conversation

More than a Few Words - a Marketing Conversation header image 1
July 9, 2020  

#498 Why Web Copy Matters

Everyone wants their website to  look awesome, with interesting pictures and cool animation. Unfortunately, none of that matters if the words don't tell your story.

Why?  Because while it may be impressive, people don't come for this great scrolling animation across your homepage. They come for information.  In this episode we share tips on planning and writing the all important web copy.

July 5, 2020  

#497 The Gain Headline

When you're trying to get someone's attention, get them to open your email, or click on a link from social media, you have to be able to tell them what's in it for them.  You need to use what's called a Gain Headline.

To use this style of headline you have to be specific and define for your reader how they will benefit if they take the time to click or read more. And if you want them to come back, you need to be sure that your content lives up to the promise your headline makes.

This marketing minute features Lorraine Ball - Host of the More than a Few Words podcast. 

July 2, 2020  

#496 No Daddy!

Some web hosting firms are definitely better than others.  While they were once your very best choice, these days we find ourselves saying No Daddy to GoDaddy. 

June 28, 2020  

#495 The Pain Headline

When someone stumbles across your content or social media or it’s dropped into their inbox, you have just a few seconds to make them care enough to click and read more.

With so much information thrown at potential clients every day. Your challenge is to compete with all of those other messages and get readers to pay attention to you.

While there are a lot of techniques you can use. One of the most effective is the pain headline Why? Because hardwired into people is the drive to avoid an unpleasant outcome.

Human beings are much more likely to take action to avoid negative situations than to achieve pleasant results. That’s why pain headlines work so well.

June 25, 2020  

#494 Five Most Common Web Design Mistakes

Building a website is easy, but building it correctly is not.  In this episode Sam Moss of the 1Click Agency shares the five most common web design mistakes. 

The biggest mistake is not including bold call to action buttons. Maybe you have a flashy website that looks great, with some really cool cool pictures, and you spent a ton of money on it.  But if it is missing a strong call to action such as "call now", "get a quote" or "schedule an appointment" you are wasting your time.

Bold call to actions show prospects you're confident in what you do 

June 21, 2020  

#493 Healthy Conflict

Wouldn't it be nice if we all just got along? Well, that seems like a nice idea. But when it comes to running a business, you can't eliminate conflict completely. And quite honestly, you shouldn't.
 

 

Managed conflict helps cultivate discussion and creates opportunities to uncover new and innovative solutions. So as a business owner, one of your main jobs should be to establish an environment that cultivates healthy conflict. 

You can do that by being willing to invest the time it takes to resolve issues. Conflict can be messy and it may take several conversations to come to a solution. You have to create a climate of mutual trust and you have to have a desire for resolution, and not let a desired win take precedence.

And finally, if there are two best options, don't choose yours. Let one of your team members take the lead. Why? Because if it's their idea and they're passionate about it, they're more likely to work to ensure that it's implemented properly. 

June 19, 2020  

#492 Visual Communications

We are living in a visual world. And as a brand, every image you choose has to support the message you want customers to receive. 

Jennifer Riley Simone of Fresh Figs Marketing joined me for a conversation about how businesses can do just that.  She suggested three simple strategies business owners should adopt: 

Cohesion - There are many ways to make images cohesive.  For example you can use consistent coloring or style of photography or the kind of images you choose.  The objective is when the images are side by side on a page they fit together well. Cohesion begins with creating a branding guide

Use a Professional - If you are serious about your business image, don't leave it to an intern. Turn to a professional graphic designer.  They are experts at creating visual messaging and that is what you're creating with all of your imagery and graphics. Then once you have a template or a particular look at a graphic designer has created you can turn to your team to replicate that look across your brand. 

Making a Connection.  The whole point of your visual communication is to speak to your target market. So is what you are creating, connecting with the people that you would like to reach out to does it draw them into your brand story? Does it make sense to them? Can they see themselves in it.

 

Jennifer Riley Simone is the founder of Fresh Figs Marketing and a member of the faculty of the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington. 

June 14, 2020  

#491 Web Performance Review

Why You Should Conduct Web Performance Reviews

If you have employees, you're probably conducting performance reviews on a regular basis, evaluating the quality of their work, the objectives you outlined for them, and the results they delivered.

But my question is, do you hold your website to the same standard? Are you conducting web performance reviews on a regular basis to determine if your website is delivering results?

You should.

As the epicenter of your marketing, it's feeding social and email campaigns, answering customer questions, and capturing leads. And so you need to know if your website is living up to its full potential. To conduct a web performance review, start with your analytics.

Take a look at how many visitors are coming to your site. How are they finding it and what are they doing when they arrive?  Use the data to make improvements.

June 11, 2020  

#490 - The Company You Keep

In the early days of SEO, it was all about the links. It was about quantity, how many inbound links could you build for your website.  These days, the search engine algorithm is a lot more sophisticated, considering multiple factors to calculate your ranking, but a good link is still valuable.

In this conversation, we chat with David Pagotto about simple link building strategies such as  leveraging  existing relationships and connections.  For example reaching out to suppliers, referral partners and industry associations to build your first tier of valuable inbound links.

June 7, 2020  

#489 Make it Personal

Let's face it, everyone wants to feel special. When you walk into a coffee shop and you're greeted by name, or a waitress remembers that you like your eggs over easy before you order, you feel at home. And the next time you want a cup of coffee or an omelet, you're more likely to go back for the personal touch that makes you feel special.

With so much business conducted remotely and online, sometimes it feels like we've lost that personal touch. But it doesn't have to be that way. Companies willing to invest in getting to know a little bit more about customers and prospects can build a competitive advantage through the use of marketing personalization.

Where do you start? Well, it can be as simple as incorporating a person's name into your marketing. For example, when you send an email to your entire database, add the person's name or a relevant fact about them to the email to increase your response rates. I'm not suggesting you send an individual email to hundreds or thousands of people, but take advantage of the personalization tags that are available in most email marketing tools.

June 6, 2020  

#488 Why Reviews Matter

Why do reviews matter?  Part of the answer to that question lies in the psychological phenomenon of social proof. We look to others for advice and ideas.  Whether it is contagious laughter at a comedy show,  or turning around in an elevator to face the door, behavior is observed and replicated.

Particularly when buying something we have never bought before reviews provide that social proof.

How do you solicit reviews? Ask for them when customers are still excited about the purchase.  For example:

  • As you serve dessert at a fine restaurant
  • Just as you sign the closing papers on your new home
  • As you hand over the keys to their new car.

What about negative reviews? Bryan Caplan suggests using the four "p"s to guide your response.

  • Professional
  • Prompt
  • Pleasant
  • And Pick up the phone!
May 31, 2020  

#487 I Can Do That

“I can do that,” I said calmly, as I looked across the table at a potential client.  All the while in my head, I could hear a loud frantic voice saying, “Are you crazy? You have never done that. You don’t know how to do that!”

That was the early days of  Roundpeg  and people were not exactly beating down the doors to work with me. I was excited to be sitting in front of someone who actually had money to spend on marketing. So I decided I would figure it out.  Sure, it was a little outside my comfort zone, but it wasn’t as if I was signing up to do accounting. And that first project opened up the door to other related opportunities, essentially changed the course of Roundpeg.

The characteristic that made me comfortable saying I can do that is common among successful entrepreneurs. It’s what allows us to jump off the edge of a cliff into the unknown as we grow our companies. But that courage shouldn’t only be limited to entrepreneurs. It’s a equally valuable to anyone who is in a position where they want to be doing more tomorrow than they’re doing today.

As a business owner, I look for that trait in my employee. I don’t always spell out everything I want done. I don’t always know the answers. What I do know is that if someone steps forward and says they want to try, I’m always willing to let them.  I will support their efforts. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. That’s part of the risk you have to accept when you try to create a culture of innovation.

When it doesn’t work out, we focus on what we learned, so next time, one of us is tempted to say, we can do that … we really can.

May 29, 2020  

#486 Bringing a Voice to Your Business With Twitter

Since starting my first Twitter account in 2008, I've had a love hate relationship with the platform. It's fast moving and entertaining.  There are days that I can scroll through and just enjoy the conversations. Sometimes it's great for business, and sometimes it's just a complete time suck.

So how do you get the most out of the Twitter platform? That's a question. I've asked a number of people over the years. In this episode, you'll here excerpts of some of my favorite conversations about Twitter

May 24, 2020  

#485 Make New Friends

Nobody told me when I was a kid how much harder it was going to be to make friends when I got older. Changing jobs and moving to new cities, I always felt like I had to start all over again.

The same is true as you start your business. Sure you have friends from former jobs and other positions, but they may or may not necessarily travel in the same circles that you're moving in now that you're a business owner. And so it's time for you to go out and make new friends.

Get out there and start networking and don't just look for customers. When you go to the next Chamber of Commerce event what you're really looking for are peers, other people in your industry and maybe even a few competitors. These are people that you'll be able to talk to about your industry and about your world.

It's a great way to learn and share best practices. Don't limit your networking to in-person, there are great opportunities online to join discussion groups and industry forums. 

 

May 22, 2020  

#484 Build an Audience of Raving Fans

Want to grow your business from zero to 1000 fans?  Start by asking people what they want from you. Sounds simple, right? But that's exactly what my guest Josh Tapp, The Lucky Titan,  said he did to grow his business.

In this episode we talk with Josh about building an audience of raving fans, customers who are so passionate about you, they will pay you, no matter what your offer. They're willing to come to you with their wallets wide open and say, "give me whatever you have because I know you care about me."

More than a Few Words  is a marketing conversation for business owners, hosted by Lorraine Ball

May 17, 2020  

#483 Who is Your Target Customer

Let’s face it, everyone is not your customer. Even if you sell the most basic of products like crackers or toilet paper, some people will like your particular brand and others won’t. And trying to make your product as generic as possible so that it will appeal to the widest group possible means that you’re probably not going to satisfy the demands of any one group.

So, today’s tip is really to start thinking about who is your target customer? Who are the people most likely to buy? What makes your product most relevant for them? What are their needs, and how do you solve their problem? When you begin thinking about your target customers as individual people rather than a conglomerate of everybody out there you have a better shot of creating relevant and meaningful marketing messages.

May 15, 2020  

#482 How to Use Instagram Stories to Grow Your Business

Think Instagram is just for pretty pictures of food, fashion and flowers will think again. With Instagram stories, your business can deliver relevant messages to an audience that really cares. Our guest today Bobbi Baehne will share tips and tricks on how you can use powerful Instagram stories to grow your business.

Instagram was about pretty pictures and celebrity chefs until it was purchased by Facebook a few years ago.  They have expanded the platform adding tools to make it more useful for businesses. 

One of the most powerful tools in the platform are the stories. These larger posts take up more room in the news feed, can be customized with stickers, text and even polls.  And because they disappear in 24 hours people are more likely to pay attention, because they know they will be gone soon. 

May 10, 2020  

#481 What Do Your Customers Call You?

Have you noticed that everyone seems to be changing their name lately? I mean, every time I turn around, Dunkin Donuts is now Dunkin and Weight Watchers is WW, Burger King is trying to slide in there with BK.

What's going on? These brands that have been around for a long time and they are trying reinvent themselves. They think a shorter name makes them sound cooler and maybe a little bit hip.

Also, it allows them to shift focus away from some of their core products. For example Dunkin Donuts wants to talk about muffins and other healthy alternatives. And Weight Watchers watns to be known for more than boring diets and face to face meetings.

Can these brands get their customers to embrace the nickname? Only time will tell. Because at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you want to call yourself. It only matters what your customers want to call you.

May 8, 2020  

#480 Crisis Content Planning

Let's face it, things happen. Businesses take twists and unexpected turns. But are they really all that unexpected? In today's conversation, Sam and I talk about how you can proactively plan for the crises, you know, are going to occur at some point.

May 5, 2020  

#479 What Marketing Can’t Do

Wouldn't it be great if your marketing could get people to buy from you? Unfortunately, as our guest Chris Hoyt explains, that's not how marketing works.  What can marketing do? 

  1. Marketing can help people know you exist.  if you are just starting out, marketing can help introduce your new company
  2. It can communicate your value 
  3. It can give people an incentive to try your services or your products
  4. And most of all it can help you listen to your customers.  Armed with this information you can make better decisions. 

More than a Few Words is a marketing conversation for business owners. 

May 3, 2020  

#478 Patience

The Marketing Minute: Patience

Let's talk about patience, because that is something  small business owners typically don't have.

We start our businesses with grand plans.  We go out and start marketing our product and we expect results righ away. Unfortunately,  good marketing takes time.

This is true of all types of marketing, but particularly inbound marketing and content marketing.  These activities will not double your web traffic overnight.

If you created great content a week, a month or even a year ago, it will continue to be discovered by niche searches and drive traffic for months and years to come.

Search engines may not notice the first article you write on a topic, but once you have a series of related articles, suddenly you are seen as an authority on that topic  and you may see your search traffic go up.

As that begins to occur, your inquiries come as well. So my friends, be patient.

May 1, 2020  

#477 Personalize Automated Messages

The problem with automated marketing is that well, it feels automated. There's a not quite human sound to the way those emails and chat bots respond to questions from real customers. Your challenge is to humanize your automated marketing and make those communications sound like they come from you.

To help us discover how to create personal campaigns that really bring people to you we invited Ellen McDowell, the founder of Ellen McDowell, Your Social Butterfly to join us.

She says the key is to make sure that you are speaking authentically, using your language  you normally would use. Don't rely on the templates that your software tools are providing. Use text from emails or simply imagine a conversation with a potential customer and use the same words in your automated chat response or email that you would use if you were face to face. 

More than a Few Words is part of the Digital Toolbox from Roundpeg

April 28, 2020  

#476 Property Tax Management

Today's conversation is a bit of a departure for us, but it is such an important topic, property taxes. I know , nobody wants to talk about property taxes. But  if you don't talk about it, and you don't think about it, you're gonna pay more.

Our guest Joshua Malancuk, founder of JM Tax Advocates explains the two components of property tax calculations; the tax rate and the assessed value. While you can't change your tax rate, which is set by your local government, you can present logical arguments for reducing the assessed value of your property.

Most business owners don't have the experience to make the case for a tax assessment reduction on their own.  That's where professional tax advocates can play an important role. This is extremely important for capital intensive businesses, but individual taxpayers can benefit from the evaluation process as well. 

 

April 26, 2020  

#475 Email vs Social Media

Is email marketing or social media a better tool for your business. The truth is, it’s not an either or situation. Each of these marketing tools has a very specific purpose.

Social media is where you meet lots of new people with your messages. If your content is interesting you can reach new audiences through your existing connections.  But at the end of the day, it’s like going to a singles bar. Your end goal is to bring your date home for a more personal conversation, without competing with pictures of babies, and kittens.

That’s where email shines.  It is more one to one conversation. And at least from the moment that they open your email, you fill their inbox and their screen and there are no distractions, you have a significantly higher conversion rate on activities from email rather than social media. So as you’re thinking about your marketing, make sure you have a role for each of these tools.

This marketing minute is hosted by Lorraine Ball

April 24, 2020  

#474 Rich Snippets

What is a rich snippet? 

Rich Snippets is the term used to describe structured data markup that site operators can add to their existing HTML, which in turn allow search engines to better understand what information is contained on each web page. However, the major search engines have taken this a step further, and now use this markup to present richer search results, enabling users to more easily find the information they are looking for.

Sounds kind of geeky, right?  Well Lorraine and Sam break it down so it makes sense to all the non-techies in our audience. 

April 21, 2020  

#473 Marketing Automation

What if you had an employee who could be hard at work as you were doing something else. Sounds wonderful, right?  Well that is the idea behind marketing automation. 

With a little planning, you can create campaigns which will reach out to customers and prospects, with just the right message at just the right time.

As our guest, Travis Merle explains automation isn't one size fits all. It is about sending timely and personalized information in response to sales or support queries

About Travis

As a Channel Manager at ActiveCampaign, Travis works with agency partners that leverage and/or are looking to leverage marketing & sales automation as a service at market. A two year veteran, which is an eternity at AC, he spent the first nearly 9 years of his career at various agencies and media production companies. He's no stranger to marketing. He loves his partners, his teammates and the world of automation.

April 19, 2020  

#472 Do What You Love

If you're like many business owners, you started your company to do something you enjoyed. Maybe you were a chef and you started a restaurant, or a doctor who wanted to take care of people, or a marketer who enjoyed the creative challenge of engaging customers with a product. Whatever it was, you started your company to do that thing.

Along the way you learned running a business required sales, bookkeeping, IT and human resources skills. There are multiple distractions dealing with an unhappy employee, preparing paperwork for your accountant, or calling clients who are behind in payments. Each of these tasks takes you further away from what you set out to do.

So how much time do you really spend doing what you set out to do?  If your day is primarily taken up with things that you'd rather not do, you're heading for burnout.  You need to recognize the warning signs and reverse course because life is too short.

To get back on track, the first step is to build a plan. Maybe you need to change your business model, hire someone to help, or outsource some of the functions which keep you from doing what you love.

if you don't love marketing, then give the team at Roundpeg a call, because we do. 

April 17, 2020  

#471 - Simple Texting Tips

These days inboxes are overloaded and social media news feeds are controlled by the platform algorithms.  So, as a small business owner how do you break through the clutter to be sure customers see your messages?

In this episode our guest Alfredo Salkeld explains how texting can be the answer for many small businesses with the ability to deliver simple, timely messages to an audience interested in what you have to say. 

About Alfredo Salkeld

As marketing manager, of SimpleTexting Alfredo is responsible for attracting new users to the platform then helping them see real results with SMS as quickly as possible. He and his team do this by creating expert articles, guides, videos, webinars and more full of useful, actionable advice. Thanks to this content plus SimpleTexting's stellar support team, the company has doubled in size since Alfredo joined in 2019.

Prior, Alfredo lead the content strategy for Oasis—a luxury home-sharing start-up backed by Hyatt Hotels. He also worked as a copywriter at Push, an advertising agency whose clients include national retail, restaurant, and education brands.

About Simple Texting

SimpleTexting is the leading platform for businesses who want to reach their customers by text message. Their powerful set of features allow you to send promotions and alerts, recruit candidates, provide 1-on-1 customer service, create automated campaigns, and more. Everyone from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies use SimpleTexting to reach their audiences.

April 14, 2020  

#470 Marketing Super Heroes Need a Strategy

If you have ever read a comic book you know that the Super Hero has amazing powers, but also the one critical weakness.  Business owners are marketing super heroes with amazing skills and talent, but weakness which can bring us an our business to the ground, like kryptonite does to superman. 

Our guest, Karen Sullivan suggests that a good marketing strategy can help your overcome your kryptonite.  

Curious about your marketing superpower ? Take this quiz. 

About our guest - Karen Sullivan

Karen Sullivan is a fourth-generation entrepreneur and award-winning designer with a life-long passion for persuasive visual and written communication. She founded Sullivan Solutions nearly 25 years ago to help entrepreneurial companies augment their in-house marketing with expert services that help drive sales further and faster.

Her expertise enables clients to develop effective strategies that are built upon their unique strengths and make confident marketing decisions that drive demand for their products and services.

April 12, 2020  

#469 Do You Have a Business Map?

Do you have a plan for your business? I don't mean a vague generic, "Yeah, we kind of want to do this." I mean, a specific plan that outlines the steps that you're going to take to reach your goals.

If you're like many small business owners, I already know the the answer to that question is no. And that is not going to cut it. Working without a plan is like getting in your car and saying, "I'm going to drive from Indianapolis to Omaha.  I have never been there and I don't have a map."

Sure, you might get there eventually, but there's a good chance you're going to get lost along the way, it may take longer to get there or you may never find Omaha.

So as you're thinking about your business, take some time to map out where you want your business to be in a year and how you're going get there.

Get started with a copy of our Business Plan Outline.