Testimonials Are Music to a Brand’s Ears

5-star-rating for Aleweb Social MarketingWe hear it all the time. Word-of-mouth referrals are a brand’s bread-and-butter.

No amount of traditional or social marketing can equal the power of a friend who recommends a product, service, book or experience.

Today is the start of the new week. You may own your own business and look for these longed-for referrals, but how do you get them?

Have you ever heard the adage “It is better to give than receive?” When it comes to referrals and endorsements, this rule holds true.

You can ask friends and close acquaintances to endorse your product or service, but after a while you’ll run out of people to ask.

As JFK was quoted as saying “…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Or in this case “ask not who can recommend your business, but whose business you can recommend.”

Think over the past week.

Who have you interacted with? Where did you go to lunch? When you took your teenager to the mall, which stores did you go to? What book couldn’t you put down? Whose advice and support has been crucial to your own success?

I challenge you to come up with one thing each week for the next two months that you want to recommend to your friends. It can be a business that provided excellent customer service, an enjoyable experience, or that went out of their way to make your buying experience exceptional. Or it can be a book, play, concert, or any other experience that you loved.

Why two months?

I want you to establish the habit of looking for people and experiences you can appreciate. Enjoy that feeling. Appreciate the sense of gratitude. Pass it forward. Catch people “in the act of getting it right,” and let them know you’ve noticed.

It will change you too.

Being more focused on showing your appreciation for others will take the pressure off trying to get people to appreciate your brand too. You’ll internalize what you’re learning from brands that “do it right” and potentially improve what you’re doing as well.

Regardless, in giving, you will receive. And don’t be surprised if you start to see your own client testimonials increase as well.

So… Have you thought of someone for this past week?

Go ahead and think of one. We’ll wait for you…

Have it now?

Alright… Here’s the easy part. Go find that brand online. It doesn’t matter if it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Angie’s List, Instagram, Google, their website or wherever else you feel comfortable. Just find their listing and post a review.

What should your review look like?

Write it as if you’re talking to your best friend. Tell them about your experience and what made it so special.

Businesses hear often when they’ve done something wrong. Give them a boost. Let them know when they’ve done something right so they can do it more often!

Wherever you posted that endorsement, share it with your friends.

People like to buy from brands they know, like and trust. Your recommendation tells your friends who you know, like and trust, and exactly why. And perhaps that experience is exactly what they were looking for too!

Share a link in the comments below to a brand that made you feel special recently and let us know how they did it.

Pinterest 101: How to Use the Site for Your Business

Today’s guest post is from Bev Sninchak, a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for both print and online publications. She is interested in business-related podcasts, and writes about many business-related subjects, from online marketing tips to social media strategies. She lives with her husband, kids, and a menagerie of pets in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Social reciprocation - Aleweb Social Marketing

Multiply your client base by social reciprocation

If you thought Pinterest was a leisure site used primarily for pinning cute decorating photos or images of crafts and hobbies, think again. Pinterest can be a powerful site to get exposure for your brand or to gain new clients.

Not sure how to employ this new online promotion strategy? Read further to discover creative ways to use this unique site to revolutionize how you promote your business online.

Keep It Visual

When using Pinterest, keep in mind you are aiming to interact with others on a visual level. While you’ll still need to use text to include product descriptions and prices, be sure to mix things up by using your boards for company-related videos, charts, graphics, and product photographs.

Remember, pins don’t always have to be static, boring photographs. Upload dynamic videos that show your personal brand in an innovative light, using everything from demonstrations of your latest products to a series of micro-interviews with your CEO. If you use case studies as part of your business’s sales strategy, present those case studies as video presentations to demonstrate how using your services can be beneficial and necessary.

Be Creative

Check out how other businesspeople are using Pinterest, and employ some of their successful strategies. Offer snapshots of your personal brand’s culture, mission statement, and philosophy. Create stunning infographs that not only provide integral information about your products and/or services to customers, but do it in a way that pops with color, style, and creativity.

The key is to get your potential customers excited about the merchandise you bring to the global marketplace. The attention span of the average consumer on the internet is mere seconds, so you’ll need to grab would-be clients and hook them quickly if you plan to capture them for future sales.

Get Social

Not only is Pinterest a visual site, it is a social venue as well. Most pins on Pinterest—an estimated 80 percent—are repins of others’ content, so be sure to produce a variety of visual content from which others can choose. If someone repins content from one of your boards, make sure to extend your appreciation to them.

In addition, build connections and open dialogue with possible customers by following their boards, repinning their pins, commenting on their posts, and liking their content as well. To personalize your interactions, employ hashtags as well. Whenever possible, also incorporate SEO keywords.

Stay Connected

If your business is already on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn (and if it’s not, it should be), your next step is to connect all of those social media platforms back to your new Pinterest account. Integration is key; you want to be sure you have connection and a seamless, organic flow between all your promotional resources.

Link your other social media to Pinterest and install the “Pin” button and “Follow Me” buttons to all your other profiles. Add the “Pin” button to your company’s website and blog, also. If you have an online product catalog, make it easy for shoppers to use the “Pin” button to snag images and information about individual products or collections. The rule of thumb should be this: If you want to promote it, make sure visitors can easily Pin it.

To keep abreast of the latest developments on how to effectively use Pinterest for your business, bookmark the Pinterest for Business page and visit it often. Once you get familiar with Pinterest and how you can use it as a resource for your personal brand, you will never look at online marketing and sales promotion the same way again.

How are you using Pinterest for your brand?

LinkedIn for Authors

Every professional should be using LinkedIn, and that goes for writers too. LinkedIn is the online equivalent of real-world networking. As such, it can be used in much the same way. However, LinkedIn goes beyond just meeting new people, and participating in “getting to know you” conversations and lead generating “dance cards.”

LinkedIn for Authors

Here are a few reasons why you want to be on LinkedIn:

  • Links: Links from LinkedIn to your online content count in the Google search algorithm, whereas Facebook links don’t.
  • Credibility: Since LinkedIn is a site for business professionals, there is an air of credibility that having a well-ranking profile within LinkedIn grants you.
  • Research: LinkedIn’s search functions enable you to identify agents, publishers and editors in the areas you want to get into. In addition, though, it also shows you who your mutual connections are, shared interests, and other commonalities between you that enable you to craft an introductory message that breaks the ice, instead of being just another nameless face in the crowd.
  • Connections: The opposite is also true. People who are looking for what you do can find you via LinkedIn’s search functionality, but only when you have a great profile (otherwise, all of the other better profiles outrank you in LinkedIn’s search result – don’t neglect building a strong profile). I have had a number of clients and booking agents find and subsequently hire me due to LinkedIn.

It all comes down to how you use the site, and how strong a profile you have.

aleweb social marketing, tara r. alemany, linkedin for authors, all-star linkedin profile, professional writer, offer sample chapter, how can authors use linkedin, how writers use linkedin

So, how do you create a strong LinkedIn profile?

Want step-by-step video instructions to improve your LinkedIn profile? Check out our LinkedIn Mastery course on “Creating an Awesome Profile!

Follow these simple steps to create and use an All-Star author’s LinkedIn profile. [Tweet]

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The Importance of Blogging, and Blogging Some More

I recently had someone ask me:

Do I really have to blog?

The answer to that is simple. NO! You don’t have to blog.

There is nothing in this world that compels you to blog, just like you don’t have to get up and brush your teeth in the morning, or put fresh clothes on, or take a bath once in a while.

However, you may not get the results you want though if you don’t.

The Importance of Blogging, and Blogging Some More

By Gabriel Weinberg

By Gabriel Weinberg

If your goal for your book, product, service or brand is to gain more visibility (the positive kind, mind you!), then blogging is a very powerful way to begin, for many reasons.

  1. It’s fresh content, which the search engines like to see.
  2. It’s easy for readers to share with their friends.
  3. It brings traffic to your website, increasing its visibility to the search engines.
  4. It’s more information on the internet that’s all about you and your favorite topic!
  5. It gives prospective buyers a sense of who you are, what you care about, and how you present yourself.

So, how do you get started? Don’t you have to have your own website to blog? Well… The answer isn’t quite so simple.

[Read more…]

Staying “Top of Mind” While Marketing Your Book

Anyone who has authored a book knows that there are a million ways to market it. Some tactics are subtle and friendly, while others are more “in your face.” A solid marketing strategy for your book includes a careful mixture of both. You have to let people know your book exists, but then gently remind them as time goes on. It’s a fine line between being enthusiastic and being nauseating. Enthusiastic is good, but don’t be a turn-off to your prospective readers by beating them over the head with it.

Today’s tip will show you one of those tactics intended more to remind people that your book exists rather than directly tell them about it. The nice thing is, if they want to learn more, they can click through and do just that! But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Watch the video below to learn how you can add the Facebook page for your book to your work history in your profile. If you don’t have a Facebook page for your book yet, give us a call and we’ll help you get one set up.

You can do the same thing for your LinkedIn profile. (Once again, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, we’re here to help!)

By linking to your book in both of these places, you’re leaving a subtle reminder for people connected to you that directs them to where they can find more information about your book.

Remember, one of the rules of marketing is to stay “top of mind.” You want your book to be the first thing they think of when they go to pick up a new one, and you can subtly do that by keeping the title visible wherever you interact with people.

At the same time, this additional visibility for your book title helps to grow your platform, enabling more people to be aware of what you’re working on and generating potential interest in your future projects.

What are some of the other subtle ways that you stay “top of mind” for your readers?

4 Steps to Quickly Promote Your Ideas

Carmine Gallo of Gallo Communications

Carmine Gallo | Photo credit: Gallo Communications

Communications Coach Carmine Gallo shares tips on how to craft your business story so that it can be shared in 60 seconds or less in this Entrepreneur.com blog post from January 2011. He says that there are 4 questions that need to be answered in one sentence each. They are:

1. What do you do?

2. What problem do you solve?

3. How are you different?

4. Why should I care?

The same 4 points are critical when looking for endorsements for your latest book, when you’re trying to secure speaking opportunities at new venues, or when you’re looking for media opportunities.

The people you’re engaging with are oftenbeing bombarded with information every day. It comes at them through the phone, the TV, the radio, the internet, their inbox, their mailbox, their iPod, their iPad and more!

To deal with the information overload, we’ve become dependent on receiving byte-sized pieces of information, or snippets, that enable us to quickly process whether the conversation is something we want to pursue further.

In my earlier review of Bill Schley’s book “The Micro-Script Rules,” we talked about the importance of creating a compelling story; something that people want to repeat.

The same concept applies here. When you’re working on presenting your topic to a publisher, celebrity endorser, journalist, event organizer, etc., keep your information clear and concise, but make sure that the idea sticks in their mind.

Consider rephrasing Gallo’s questions for your topic.

1. What’s your topic?

2. Why is it relevant?

3.How is it different?

4.Why should my audience care?

Answer each of these questions in one sentence or less when you present your topic for consideration. To these, I would add one final question, and that is:

5. Why am I the one who should present it?

Keep your responses short and to the point, but make them memorable. Jane Perdue of the Braithwaite Innovation Group recently told me in conversation, “Be brief. Be bold. And be gone.”

The people whose attention you’re trying to catch are being sought out by hundreds, if not thousands, of others; all of whom are hoping to catch their attention. To promote your ideas, you have to be the best at communicating them quickly, easily and in an engaging manner.

Remember this quotation from Albert Einstein. “If you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” The same applies in presenting your ideas and topics. If you can’t explain them succinctly, you don’t understand them yourself. Give enough information to spark curiosity without going into great detail about everything and, if your contact is interested, they’ll request more information from you.

 

Thanks to @carminegallo for inspiring this blog post. If anyone wants to practice being bold and brief, share your ideas below! We’d love to hear them.

How to Promote Your Book Online – A DIY Guide

The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books by Tara Alemany of Aleweb Social Marketing - https://alewebsocial.comMany authors I know struggle with what the next steps are after they’ve finished all the writing work. They search the internet and book stores for “how to” guides to get them started with marketing and promotion, but many of the ones that are available either are incomplete or lack the level of detail required to do it yourself.

Until now, that is… Like any entrepreneur, I listen to my clients and look for those common issues they encounter; the questions I answer on a regular basis. The need I kept hearing over and over again was for a Do-It-Yourself guide to book marketing. And now it’s here!

Introducing The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books!

Within its first 24 hours on Amazon, it is already ranked in the Top 100 for both of its categories. So, it must be resonating with my readers as well!

I have taken my extensive training and technical writing experience to create a comprehensive, 89-page, easy-to-understand eBook that you can use all by yourself. I have spent as much as $27 on book marketing materials in the past that turned out to be simply lists of things you needed to do with lots of white space around them and no additional information to get you started. That’s not useful! So, that’s not what you’ll get in this eBook. (If you like to figure it all out on your own, let me know and I can point you to some of those books.)

For each marketing strategy I outline, I discuss various considerations for the option, and recommend tools and techniques. This allows you to make informed decisions about what you are capable of doing, and where you might want to get a little help. (Of course, Aleweb is always here to support you!)

So, if you or someone you know is an author and book sales are not what they should be, consider picking up a copy of The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books today! It could be the best $9.99 you’ve ever spent. But you won’t know until you try it. 🙂

If you dobuy a copy and would like me to autograph it, you can request a Kindlegraph here.

 

If you are a blogging book reviewer and are interested in reviewing this eBook, please send a review copy request to info@alewebsocial.com with your name, blog address and preferred format (Kindle or .pdf).

Reaching Your Goals for 2012

FocusAs 2011 draws to a close, everyone is busily planning their goals for the year to come, and strategizing how best to reach them. Sounds easy, right?! Well, yes and no…

We all know that goal setting is important, but not all of us know how to reasonably do that. The problem is that our goals are what drive the plans we put in place. So, without clearly defined objectives, how will you know whether you reached your target?

For a solo-preneur, entrepreneur or other small business, goal-setting may be as simple as figuring out how many customers you need to have in order to be successful in 2012.

It’s a fairly simple equation to give you a ballpark estimate, but one we often forget to figure out. So, take a piece of paper or open up Excel, and jot down how much you personally need to earn in a year, plus what your operating expenses are, and divide that by how much your average customer typically spends. Remember, this is only an estimate, but if you don’t know the answer already, it’s a great way to start. So spend some time on this…

Can you decrease your expenses in any way? Is the salary you want really what you need? Is there a simple upsell you can offer to increase your average customer spend?

If you’re just starting out and don’t have actual numbers to base this on, estimate what you believe they will be, and come back and recalculate when you have real numbers to work with. Once you’re satisfied with the numbers, make your calculation as to how many customers you need to reach your goals.

(Salary + expenses) / Avg. customer spend = # customers

Throughout the course of the year, you’ll want to periodically re-check this information to make sure all the factors are still accurate, and compare where you’re at with where you want to be.

Some of the things that will help you achieve these goals are frequently ignored. For instance, do you have a marketing plan? Taking the time to create one will help you to focus your message, making it easier to create pre-qualified leads that are interested in hearing from you.

My friend, Kevin W. Grossman, recently wrote on the HRMarketer Blog:

Whether you’re a big company or a small one, you need to develop an integrated and comprehensive strategic marketing plan that includes:

    • Marketplace positioning
    • Primary brand/product/service messaging
    • Target markets
    • Target buyers and influencers
    • Strengths and challenges
    • Marketing and media relations editorial calendar
    • Marketing deliverables and activities
    • Timeline of activities
    • Activities measurement

With your marketing plan firmly in hand, you can begin taking clearly focused steps to reach your goals.

As you develop the materials and resources that convey your message, be thinking of what your customer wants to hear.

If you’re selling a service, don’t focus on how neat your process is. Focus on what results you have gotten. Prospective customers are typically more interested in what you can do for them than in how you’re going to do it.

The same thing goes if you’re selling a product. Let your prospective customer know, in simple language, what’s new and different about your product compared to the other options they have. Will it make their life easier? Shine their shoes brighter? Last longer? Whatever value proposition you offer, make sure you can back it up!

As you focus on knowing your goals, developing and implementing your marketing plan, and staying focused on your message, you’ll be creating an environment of success for yourself and your business! Look out 2012… Here we come!

Book Review: The Micro-Script Rules

The Micro-Script RulesI met author Bill Schley at the eMarketing Association’s Power of eMarketing conference in October this year, where we were both presenting. When he found out that I’m a blogger and sometimes do book reviews on my site, he gladly offered me a copy of his book, The Micro-Script Rules, in exchange for a review. The one catch? Well, he signed my copy with “Remember! You must blog or no Santa!”

I had every intention of reading and reviewing the book in November, as I’d originally told Bill. So I must start my review with an apology to the author… It’s Christmas week, and I’m still hoping that Santa will come! So, please accept this review and my apologies; unexpected life events side-tracked me for a time, which caused a backlog on my writing calendar.

That aside, let me tell you the key point of this book.

 It’s not what people hear.

It’s what they repeat…

Having told you that, you may think that there’s no reason to read the book now. Even the author suggests, after the first page, that all you really need to know is that the right 5 words always beats 5,000. He acknowledges that stories are more important to tell than ever, but that you need to know how to tell them in one line or less. That’s pretty much the central topic of the book.

If you already know that and have mastered the art of storytelling in one line or less, there’s no need for you to read the rest of the book. But for those of us who aren’t master storytellers yet, Bill offers the remaining 150+ pages that serve two great purposes. First, they use descriptive text and examples to identify what a micro-script is, how it’s used, and why it’s important. Then, the book goes on to help you develop the micro-scripts you need for your own purposes.

The clarity of the instruction and easy writing style of the author makes it a simple read, but a valuable addition to anyone’s book shelf whether you’re in business, or wanting to attract attention for other reasons. (I can see this being a great resource for teachers!)

So, if you’re looking to improve your storytelling skills in 2012 or to create great micro-scripts, based on your dominant selling idea, that people will want to share, this is the book that will help you to do just that. It’s one that I am definitely happy to have added to my bookshelf.

Following the author’s guidance enabled me to generate a new title my forth-coming eBook that is highly memorable as well as shareable. So, instead of telling my readers to be on the look-out for “How to Launch Your New Book Online” (boring!), I can tell them that they need to pounce on “The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books” as soon as they see it! Which title would you prefer sharing?