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The Importance of SEO for Your Small Business

SEO spelled out using scrabble letters

Pretty much everyone on the planet has heard of SEO. But, not everybody understands what SEO means, what’s involved, and how to get started. Even more critical, too many business owners don’t know the importance of SEO for promoting their products and services.

What Exactly is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply about driving more relevant traffic to your website. SEO involves making improvements to your website to help you achieve the best possible results in the organic search engines. The goal you’re targeting is to be listed on the first page of Google. The higher up the page you’re listed – the better.

When someone types their problem into Google, we want our website to be shown as the best solution. Unfortunately, getting to the top of the search engine results is easier said than done. After all, we’re competing with oodles of other businesses, all trying to do the same thing.

An Important Marketing Strategy

While SEO is just one part of a holistic marketing strategy, it’s very, very important. To be honest, I think it’s the most important.

When people are trying to learn something or buy a product/service, search engines are where they turn to. According to InternetLiveStats.com, “Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.”

So, here’s the drill. Someone types what they’re looking for into Google. When the search results display, instead of clicking on the first item (which is typically an ad) most folks scroll right on past. It turns out the majority of searchers prefer the natural ranking websites listed on the first page. According to imFORZA.com, “70-80% of users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results.”

But here is what’s even more interesting. Apparently, the majority of Google searchers never make it beyond the first page. “75% of people don’t scroll further the first page.” (imFORMZA.com)

So what does this mean for you? Well, if your website is listed on page 2 of the search results, or worse, chances are nobody will find you.

There’s an old SEO joke:

Q: Where’s the best place to hide a dead body?

A: On the second page of Google.

Sand dunes in desert meant to look like what it's like to rank on page 2 of Google

Meanwhile… on the 2nd Page of Google.

 

Therefore, the higher you rank in the organic search results, the more traffic you can anticipate visiting your website. If you want people to find your website, you simply can’t afford to ignore SEO.

SEO is Cost Efficient

The good news about SEO is that it’s a cost-efficient marketing strategy. Since SEO focuses on organic search results, there’s nothing to buy. You never have to pay Google back for any search engine love they show you. Isn’t that a sweet deal!

When SEO is done correctly, it can deliver nonstop organic traffic to your website. If you were to purchase ads for that same traffic it would cost you big bucks. In addition, whenever you run ads, you quickly discover that as soon as you stop paying, you immediately lose your ranking. As you can see, buying ads is truly a “pay-to-play” marketing solution.

What’s especially appealing about SEO is that you can receive a steady stream of website visitors for years to come. Regardless of how old your website content is, if no other search result is better than yours, Google will continue to rank you at the top.

SEO Really Works

Despite how challenging SEO is, when it’s done correctly, it really does work. What’s critically important is that SEO offers a level playing field. It’s one of the few marketing strategies where the little guy can compete and win. This means you don’t have to be a major brand to grab your fair share of the market. Over and over again, we see small businesses outranking the big dogs.

SEO also has the potential to deliver consistent traffic to your website. Keep in mind, there will always be changes you’ll have to navigate. SEO is always changing because of the never-ending Google algorithm updates. However, what we need to remember is the majority of tweaks Google makes is in response to bad guys trying to game the system.

Google’s mission is to provide the user with the best search results. This means the search engine giant works hard to trip up the cheaters. Google simply wants to ensure their users find what they’re looking for. If you align your goals with Google, you’ll be just fine.

Your Competitors Are Ahead

The longer you delay getting involved in SEO, the more your competitors are getting ahead of you. They will continue to be in the lead until you decide to take the action needed to push them down in the search results. 

However, you can learn a lot from competitors that are doing it right. Success leaves clues. Which means you can reverse engineer your competitor’s SEO secrets. Once you uncover the strategies they used to climb to the top of the search results, you can adopt those same techniques and take the lead. This form of competitive research is totally legitimate and fairly easy to put into practice.

SEO Increases Brand Awareness

Potential customers are more likely to know, like, and trust a business who ranks at the top of the Google search results. The higher your brand ranks, the more influence you’ll have. When people recognize your brand, you’ll have a greater chance of selling your product and/or services.

With all the competition jockeying for attention, it’s getting more difficult to be known for what you do. Therefore, you”ll gain a competitive edge when you are known for who you are. SEO is a great way for you to stand out from the crowd.

Can’t Google Just Figure It Out?

Okay, so hopefully I’ve convinced you to pay attention to this thing called SEO. But, I can already hear what you’re thinking, “Why do I have to do SEO? Can’t Google just figure it out?”

The short answer is no. Although search engines are very intelligent, they still can’t see and understand web pages the way we do. SEO is what’s needed to help search engines figure out what your web content is about and serve it up to your potential customers.

You Don’t Have to Be a Rocket Scientist

Contrary to public opinion, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to do SEO. Instead, you just need to follow tried and true SEO strategies that improve your website for both people and the Google gods. If you’re willing to invest the time to learn the skills needed – you can do this.

Now of course, I don’t want to sugarcoat this and tell you SEO is a walk in the park. I’ll be the first to admit that SEO does have a lot of moving parts, can be super confusing, and will take longer than you think to master. However, once you finally do “get it”, you will feel empowered.

The Future of SEO is Bright

SEO is not going away anytime soon. Therefore it’s not too late to get in the game. As users continue to change their search habits, Google will need to make changes. This is especially true when it comes to new technologies, like voice search. However, no matter what the future holds, the fundamentals of SEO will stand the test of time.

Learning about SEO right now will help prepare you for the future. “The best time to get in the SEO game was years ago. The second best time is now.”

Jump Right In

There are lots of ways to learn about SEO. You can read books, take courses, or get a mentor (or two). While you can learn SEO on your own like we did, you’ll soon discover there’s a lot to learn. While there’s all sorts of great information on the internet, a lot of it is conflicting. As a result, it’s easy to go into SEO overwhelm.

This is probably why so many small businesses end up outsourcing their SEO to an agency. Unfortunately, hiring an agency to run your SEO marketing can be very risky. Not all agencies are created equal. Who can you trust? What are the risks involved? How do you afford the huge fees that good quality SEO requires?

Don't Outsource Your SEO Before You Read This EbookTo help you get a leg up, the Launch4Life team has put together a free ebook called: Don’t Outsource Your SEO Before You Read this Ebook.  Inside, we outline what you need to consider before turning your SEO marketing over to the “experts”.

Our mission is to help small business owners do their own SEO marketing. Instead of doing your SEO for you, we provide DIY coaching. We help small businesses tackle their own SEO in baby steps.

If you built your own business, you’ve probably got the ability to be in charge of your own SEO.

And even if you do decide to hire an agency to handle your SEO, we can teach you the basics needed to feel confident overseeing the work of anyone you decide to hire.

So check out our free ebook and start your SEO journey. Let us help you discover why SEO is important for your business.

Launch4Life - Gillian Whitney

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Countdown For Next Year’s Business Planning

lonely entreprenuer

As we end the year, I always consider Thanksgiving as the beginning of my countdown. It is my favorite holiday of the year and I traditionally host a large group of family and friends, anywhere between 10 and 18. Yikes but so wonderful. But it is also starts the clock for the end of the year. Once the turkey leftovers are eaten, no matter what business I have been in, my clock is set to create next year’s business planning.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

Business Planning Strategy

This is a fast and furious time to complete any last-minute goals and create new plans for the next year.

First up

is completing sales goals or as I call it “dialing for dollars”. Finding all those last-minute sales to finish off the year with a flourish. This may be why “Black Fridays” were created.

Second

is taking thoughtful time to create new business plans for the following year. From deciding to double down on what has worked well, or trashing something and starting anew. This is the time to rethink what worked well this year and what you need to change for next year.

  • Taking time to create your next year’s business plan is very critical. Without it, next year’s business can be set up for failure.
  • You have to do a thorough review of your present year’s plan and analyze what worked, what didn’t and map against current market trends and competition.
  • Technology changes. Social media platforms change. New programs are available. You have to incorporate into your future plans.
  • As your business evolves, you may need to purchase new software, hire staff, and take other steps that will impact your growth.
  • Very important and often overlooked is — you need to consider if you are doing what you love. If not, what can you change so you do?

Our Strategy:

For example, with us, we see the main focus of our business in three areas. We always examine each year by these three goals. #1 passion, #2 lifestyle choice, and #3 profitability. Not necessarily in that order, but all three key components need to be evident.

#1 Passion

We love coaching our clients. Besides seeing how our advice is making a difference in their business lives, we love the interaction. We love the creativity we can bring to the table to help someone transform their business to reach and exceed their own sales goals. Sometimes it is also about streamlining their marketing, so they have more quality time for their business and personal life. So, for us, we need to examine if we are working with the right clients and making the difference that we want to make. We want it to be a passionate experience.

#2 Lifestyle Choice

Our objective is to become digital marketing nomads. So, our processes and services we offer must be compatible with the lifestyle we are striving for. This is a big one for us. Each year, we have seen our business model change as we evolve to this lifestyle we envision.

If we don’t like what we are doing. If it is not creating passion for us every day, we want to rethink it. We both like to travel and enjoy our motto of “laptop will travel”, so having a business that is portable is paramount to us.

#3 Profitability

Obviously, we need to eat and pay our airplane bills, so we must generate a certain income. We need to be sure that our services reflect the amount of time and expense we put into them. Where we can leverage courses or group sessions to offset the time we spend on personal coaching is important.

Ideas for Your Business Planning

So, if our business doesn’t support those three focuses, things have to change. Each year we make new tweaks to support our goals. With that in mind, we have decided this year that we will need to overhaul our services. We will be narrowing our focus on particular marketing strategies and to a specific audience. This requires offering specific services with a narrower people niche. We will be focused on a more process driven structured approach. This will allow us to provide support on a deeper level with those that are the right candidates for our services. It also requires adding new staff.

With that in mind, we have been strategizing and making adjustments to reflect our new goals. We are making updates to our website with a new message, creating a new lead magnet, etc. to reach our specific avatar.

If you have not thought about the pros and cons of your business and where it is going for next year, I highly suggest you do some soul searching like we did.

  • Take a look at your goals. Does your business support you the way you want it to?
  • Are you having fun?
  • What changes may you need to create to have a powerful successful new year.
  • Does your messaging need to change?
  • Do you need to change or add new services?
  • Is your website out of date?
  • Are you attracting the right audience?
  • Have you thought about how to incorporate SEO next year?
  • Will you need to make a financial investment in your business?
  • Determine what new skills and specific courses may be required.

We are on the countdown for next year’s business planning. So should you be on a countdown. We all have one month left to kick off for next year’s success. Let’s go.

 

If you liked this blog post we encourage you to read this related post: 13 Principles for Achieving Success in Life

Janet Elie Launch4Life

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Is Email List Building Still Relevant?

man using email

You may be wondering if email list building is still an effective marketing strategy to reach your target market? The short answer is yes.

In March 2018, the Radicati Group estimated the number of email accounts worldwide to be 3.8 billion. Even more interesting is the number of consumer and business emails sent per day is more than 281 billion. Wow! That sure is a lot of email.

Smart Phones Rock

No matter the age of your target market, email marketing is still the best method to stay in touch with your customers. Of particular interest, is the increase in mobile users. Of the 1 billion Gmail users, 75% of them are now using smart phones to check their email inbox.

Business professionals can no longer afford to ignore mobile email marketing. If you are not formatting your emails to look good on a smart phone, you are making a big mistake. If your email subscribers have difficulty reading your emails – they will just hit the DELETE button.

Which email would you rather read?

Always remember to check how your
font size displays on mobile.

Email Marketing vs Social Media

You may be wondering how email compares to social media? It turns out that most people consider email to be more important. While you can go a few days without checking Facebook or Twitter, most people are checking their email inbox several times a day.

Did you know recently that Google pulled the plug on Google+, a direct competitor to Facebook? As a result of a security breach, the folks at Google decided it was easier to dump the not so popular platform. For anyone who had developed a large social following, in one fell swoop they will lose a means of communicating with their audience.

This is why we always say that social media platforms are like building a house on rented land. Your access to that audience is only possible as long the platform exists.

The best feature of email marketing is that regardless of which program you use, you own your list of subscribers. You can take that list of contacts and export from one program and import it to another.

Don’t Resist the List

When we first launched our business, we did so much homework. We met with business coaches, devised a marketing plan, completed entrepreneurial courses, attended various marketing workshops and seminars, participated in countless webinars, and read a ton of books.

We learned that building an email list of all your existing and prospective customers is critical to building your business. Sounds like great advice, but who had time for that? Not us.

Instead, we focused all of our time on building the infrastructure of our business. There was so much to do when we were launching. Incorporate our business. Set up a bank account. Build a website. Set up social media platforms. Create all the products and services we planned to market.

Once we realized that resisting the list was hurting our marketing efforts, we called a major timeout. Instead of resisting the list – we embraced the list. We learned all about the different email marketing programs out there to determine which one worked best for us. While I am glad that we finally made the decision to bite the bullet and learn all about email marketing, I just wish we had started earlier.

Building your list should be at the top of your To Do list. Instead of focusing on WHAT products or services you are going to package/sell, it’s better to think about WHO you want to sell to and HOW you’ll communicate with them on a consistent basis. Set a goal to learn the basics of email marketing first and then follow up with a plan on how email marketing can work for you.

For anyone that has already launched your business, it’s imperative to know it’s never too late to build an email list. Start today, right where you are. The important thing is to just – start.

If you’d like some tips on how to build an email list, I encourage you to check out: How To Create a Killer Email List From Thin Air. In this beginner’s guide, internet marketing guru, Neil Patel, provides tips on how to build your email list from scratch.

Launch4Life - Gillian Whitney

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

How to Create a New Launch Marketing Plan

Yoda wants to know if you are coachable

When you have a new launch marketing plan, the next step is to create marketing campaigns. That is so important. This will help launch new products or services or relaunches. It needs to be specific, timely and have a call to action at the end.

The marketing plan needs action. Creating individual marketing campaigns will do that. The campaign is the actual process from start to finish in steps. Each campaign needs to be tactical. You may want a campaign for a Facebook or Google Ad, an email sequence, or invitation to a workshop or webinar. The results should be definable. What’s your goal – new prospects, new sales, or new email subscribers?

New Launch Marketing Plan vs. Marketing Campaign

  • A marketing plan provides a high level strategy based on the business’s objectives over a period of time.
  • Your campaign should be a focused, tactical initiative to achieve a specific goal.
  • The campaign must have a work flow. This includes a step-by-step process. It focuses on execution and the resources needed to achieve measurable results.

How to Create a Marketing Campaign

Before you start your marketing campaign, you will want to map out the process step by step. Create a work flow. Here are some guidelines.

Purpose of the Campaign

Decide what the purpose of the campaign is. Because this will determine how you will know if you are successful. For example: number of people to a webinar, new signups to your email list, buying your new online course. You may be spending money for this campaign. So being specific is important as you want to realize the return on investment. You may learn in the process what you need to alter in the next campaign.

Know Your Target Audience

Many business owners need to fine tune their target market. Importantly, you may have more than one target market for different products or services you offer. Make sure the campaign is identifying what the customer needs. Show how your solution is best. Know where to find them – which social media platforms or specific people on your email list. Select the demographics, behaviors, or location or call to action.

Make sure your message is clear for the target market of your campaign. What are you offering that is going to make a difference to that issue?

I recently created a Facebook Campaign for someone and we ran two ads. The audience and location was the same. But there was two different call to actions. One was for a workshop the other was for a personal coaching session. Each had its own call to action and was designed for two different Avatars. One that was interested in a workshop. One that wanted one-on-one coaching.

 

Avatar Workbook

 

If you have not defined your AVATAR as we call it, you will be shooting in the dark. You may want to use our AVATAR Workbook to get specific on who you are targeting. A good campaign to the wrong audience is a disaster. The workbook explains how to create a target market and your ideal customer. Downloading instructions are below.

Incentives

What inducement will you offer to get them to do what you want? You always need to provide some value in advance of getting them to buy or sign up. It could be a workshop, email list, paid webinar, online course, book, coaching package. You may need to create a freebie or gift. Choose a lead magnet like a PDF, a free course, a quiz, a free webinar. The value shows your authority and understanding of the issue of your avatar.

Communicating Your Campaign

What medium will you use to get the word out on your campaign. Once you know your target market, you can select the social media platform they hang out on. Where are they, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or YouTube? Or are you targeting them on Google? If you are selecting people in your email list, you can target by location or other tags that you have set up. Is your purpose to drive them to landing page or signup?

Use of a Landing Page

You should only use a landing page for your campaign. Sending them to your website is a disaster. They can get derailed or too many clicks. Your landing page will be specific to the offer you are making. Everything they need to know about your offer should be on the landing page and it should not be too long. We all hate long sales letters. It should show social proof, authority, and build trust. Tell them the problem, show them the solution, how you help, lead them to the call to action.

Many email platforms have built in landing pages to help you with that. We use WordPress and they also have landing pages. But the choice is yours. Pick one. Don’t send them to your website. If you want them buy something, you can link it to your Buy button. Make it easy for them to understand and buy.

Patience – Schmooze Your Prospect

It takes time for someone to buy. They probably won’t buy first time they see what you are offering. So, create an email sequence that will drip on them until they are comfortable to buy. We call that nurturing. You are slowly showing them how your offer will help their lives. Sometimes people need to hear it a few times in different ways. An automated email sequence will be critical to that nurturing.

Analysis After Campaign

Once the campaign is complete, go through your process and see what went well and where you could have improved. Did you meet your goals?

Do you need to improve your target audience? Did you use the right interests, right geography, right content, or even alluring graphics?

Do you need a better scripted landing page? Did you buy ads for the right amount of time?

Use that knowledge for your next campaign.

Each marketing campaign must be crafted carefully to get the results you need.

I hope this article has been helpful. It will help you turn your marketing plan into a new launch marketing plan. You can plan your next marketing campaign. Each campaign you launch will foster part of your marketing plan. So you get the results you want.

AVATAR WORKBOOK – Complimentary

Target Market

AVATAR Workbook

Feel you need a little help defining your Avatar. Do you want to know the difference between your Target Market and Avatar? Then you will benefit by our AVATAR workbook. You may have more than one Avatar and you need to list them for each campaign. We made our workbook easy to use, it is editable so no printing required.

It’s absolutely free. So all you have to do is click here for the AVATAR Workbook.

Janet Elie Launch4Life

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Your Marketing Action Plan

mapping out your marketing action plan

Do you have a MAP – a Marketing Action Plan? If you are like most small business owners, chances are you don’t. You might have drafted up a formal business plan when your business was born. Then again, you might be like the rest of us that started our businesses by “winging it.”

So many businesses begin as a result of a great idea. You see a need for the product or service you offer. So you build a nice website, create some social media accounts, and wait for customers to show up and buy. Instead of hearing the cha-ching of the cash register, we’re serenaded with crickets. Yep, no website visitors.

Or you have lots of customers, but they’re for the wrong product or service. While you’d rather they buy your big ticket items, they’d rather buy what you’d rather not sell.

Alice in Wonderland wondering which road to take

Alice in Wonderland – Walt Disney

Which Way Should I Go?

They say that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get your there.

That’s true with the way we run our businesses. If want to get to a specific destination, we have to be on the right road. And, if we want to ensure we are heading in the right direction – we need a MAP. A Marketing Action Plan.

If you want to get from one destination to the next, you need a plan. Better yet, you need a map. With a map, you can see where you are now and where you want to be.

What is a Marketing Action Plan?

A Marketing Action Plan is a holistic way to market your business. Many business owners do not take the time to look at the big picture first. Instead, they do bits and pieces that don’t always connect. You should zoom out first and look at the entire roadmap.

A marketing roadmap helps you create a strategy that works best for you. It takes into account your vision, goals, budget, and time. Because it includes all the parts of your marketing plan, it helps you stay focused.

Anytime you feel confused with where you are in your marketing journey, pull over. A quick glance at your MAP might be all you need to get back on track. When you know where you are, you’re in a better position to know where you’re heading.

Marketing Action Plan – Examples

Marketing roadmaps are flexible. They can be simple or complex. They can include several destinations along the way, or only a few. Here’s some of the typical destinations:

• Website

• Social Media

• Email Marketing

• Advertising

• Search Engine Optimization

However, I see them more like stepping stones to help you reach your ultimate destination. Your final destination should be the vision you have of what success will look like for you.

At Launch4Life our ultimate goal is to be able work from the road. Our ideal workspace is location independence. Which is why our motto is “have laptop will travel.” When we keep our ultimate goal in the forefront, we find it’s easier to make a decision. Each time we come to a fork in the road we ask “Will this allow or prevent us from traveling?” We only take action on the business decisions that support our ultimate destination.

Creating Your Marketing Action Plan

Start out by taking some time out to think of what you want. Think about where you want to be in your business this time next year, or even better, five years from now. This is more than thinking about how much money you want to be making. Instead, it’s more about how you want to be making it.

For instance, imagine you’re a life coach with a somewhat steady stream of online. But, you’ve grown tired of meeting clients every day via Skype. You yearn for the day that you could spend an afternoon doing art, going for a hike, or reading a novel.

That life coach needs a vision of what they could do to create passive income. They might get more bang for their buck by offering group coaching. Writing a self-help book. Or creating an online course.

Passive income would be their vision. What they’d need next would be the road map to get them there. That’s where a Marketing Action Plan comes in.

Your Marketing Action Plan should include:

· What specific actions need to occur to reach your vision?

· Who on your team will carry out each of these actions?

· When do these actions need to happen?

· What resources do you need to carry out these actions?

Once you have all that figured out, you will see that all those stepping stones fit together to create a path. This is your MAP – Marketing Action Map.

Now all you have to do is keep moving along following the MAP – one step at a time. Even if the steps are small, as long as you keep moving forward you will be making progress towards your vision.

The End Result

When you have a vision, you will always know where you’re going. Armed with a Marketing Action Map you will have the means to get  where you want to be.

The greatest part of having a Marketing Action Plan is how it will empower you. You will be more in charge of your daily activities. You will stop feeling so overwhelmed about both your present and your future. Your marketing efforts will be in manageable baby steps. As you move from step to step, you will be on track to reach your final destination.

Launch4Life - Gillian Whitney

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Buyer Coachable Ingredients

Yoda wants to know if you are coachable

They say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. One assumes that the student arrives like a Jedi student submitting to the learning of his or her Yoda, being Ready, Willing, and Able. But is that true? Are they truly ready, willing and able?

For Yoda to be a successful coach, his student must be coachable in every way. Meaning they must have their equipment, their desire and passion. A mindset to set everything else aside to learn that one kernel of truth that will make them be a Jedi master of their fate. Truly coachable.

If you are the Yoda, is your student aka buyer ready, willing, and able to be coached in what they have sought from you? In Yoda’s infamous words “Do or do not, there is no try“. All three ingredients are needed for a winning combination. It won’t be fair to your customer or to you otherwise. Let me explain THE BUYER COACHABLE INGREDIENTS.

READY

It must be at the appropriate “time” in your customer’s business or personal life that your product is meant for them. They must have the money. Your product must be appropriate for their needs.

WILLING

They must be committed to take what they will get from you and apply to their business or personal life. This might be the skills or techniques they will learn. It may be hard, but they have to have the persistence, dedication to focus on the end goal. As Yoda would say “Do or do not, there is no try”.

ABLE

This is more of about capability. Your buyer has all of the tools available to execute what they have learned. This may be equipment, tools, time or money.

Let me give you a couple of examples of how I would apply this to my customer. With that insight you will be able to see how this would apply to your client. Are they ready, willing, and able – coachable?

being coachable using the force

Helping your students to be coachable using the FORCE.

Coachable Stories

Story #1

Susie came to me and wanted me to teach her how to create Facebook ads. Susie was READY to spend the money on my coaching and the cost of Facebook ads. When I looked into her process, there were two issues. #1 she hadn’t set up a Facebook Business Page. Without it, she couldn’t purchase Ads. #2 her call to action was classes at a physical location. I found out that the physical location was temporary. I recommended she wait for my help until she had built the Facebook Page and had locked down a more permanent location for the classes. It was putting the cart before the horse. Susie was wasn’t READY, was WILLING, but not ABLE.

Story #2

John asked why he was not getting conversions from his website to sales. He had been spending a ton of money on Facebook Ads. But no results. Why no sales. I took a look at his website. It was not ready. The ecommerce was set correctly however he was missing key components to get people to know, like and trust him. The blog page had no articles. The social media buttons were not clickable. You could not tell from his website who is “avatar – ideal customer” was. If you signed up for his email list, your email went into cyberspace because he had not set up an email program. Why would I buy John’s stuff? This guy was not Ready, was Willing, but not Able.

Story #3

Paul asked me to help him with a marketing strategy. When I laid out the guidelines to accomplish the goals, Paul couldn’t execute. There was always an excuse. Not enough time. Don’t understand. Or what I heard a lot was “I can’t”. Paul was not ready, nor willing, but able. But the able wasn’t big enough. The willingness to adapt, change, wasn’t strong enough.

Help your students with their coachable buyer ingredients – Ready, Willing, and Able

I love going to see Star Wars Movies. I learn from each movie the dynamics between the Jedi Masters and the students, whether of the FORCE or the “dark side”.  As in my three stories illustrated above, these are painful experiences for both the Yoda master and the Jedi student. The student can think they are ready, willing, and able. But for the master to be successful in their coaching, the student must be coachable in all three. Some are physical things to be changed. Some require a paradigm shift in their mind. Make sure your clients have the three buyer coachable ingredients before you embark on your buying/selling relationship. May your light saber coaching make the difference.

Janet Elie Launch4Life

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Yelp Reviews: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Yelp Reviews: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Yelp Reviews

Did you know that customer reviews are a huge contributor to get you top Google rankings? Many consumers look at Yelp reviews. They also look at others like Facebook, Google My Business, Angie’s List, and Thumbtack. You have to look at The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Sometimes we don’t like the negative feedback reviews. They aren’t always 5 stars. But here is a tip. It is not so much the review, but how you respond. If you ignore it, you deserve the review. You didn’t bother to reply. Either an apology or an explanation, will improve your image to potential customers. They don’t always expect a glowing review. But they sure do look at how you handled one.

Responding to reviews will also improve your SEO. Did you know Google will give you a higher ranking if you respond to your reviews, whether good or bad?

Yelp recently won a battle with the Supreme Court of California. It was about removing a negative Yelp review, a case between a law firm and one of its customers. Yelp fought it based on the principal of internet free speech. Here is the article. You be the judge.

https://www.yelpblog.com/2018/07/a-case-for-the-internet-hassell-v-bird

I love Yelps’ response at the end:

As we have observed before, litigation is never a good substitute for customer service and responsiveness and had the law firm avoided the courtrooms and moved on, it would have saved time and money, and been able to focus more on the cases that truly matter the most — those of its clients.

This fiasco reminded me of a blog article I wrote last year.  I think under these circumstances, it bears repeating.

Lemonade out of Lemons: Handling a Bad Review

Do you freak out or become angry if someone writes a bad review about your business?  You worked so hard and yet some of the people that receive your services didn’t feel they had a good experience.  It’s like a soccer punch to the gut.  How do you not take it personal, it’s your business your passion, your life!  Can you turn those negative comments and feelings of rejection into something positive? Yes, making lemonade out of lemons?

Bad Review

This Review is Killing Me

A study by Northwestern University stated, “consumers think a business is more credible if it has a mix of good and bad reviews”.  Yes, they want to see some bad reviews.  If consumers only see shining accolades, it can actually damage your image.  It creates skepticism.  Are all those reviews real? No business is perfect.  You cannot possible meet expectations of all your customers.  When consumers review bad reviews, they look to see how the business owner responded.  The response is the most important element. Positive customer service is what people are looking for.  They want to see how you handled it.

Not responding is deadly to a business owner.  The consumer may think you don’t care.  Or you will be judged “guilty” as charged.  Even if you think the review was not justified. Or someone being obnoxious. It might be someone writing on behalf of a competitor. You MUST respond.  If it is a legitimate complaint, own up to it. Take responsibility in the comment. Take this opportunity to say, “Mr. or Ms. Customer you are right” and then offer to fix it.  If you think it is bogus, try to find a diplomatic way to address the review. Your customers will see that the complaint was not realistic. For example, you could say in a nice way “my style is a different than XX and so unfortunately we may not be a good fit.”

The good thing about reviews is that they are not usually anonymous.  Example if it is a Yelp or Facebook Page review, you will see who sent it.  They may not use their own name. But you have the ability to send that account holder a response, public or private message. Even if you prefer to send them a private message, make sure you write a public comment first. This way others can see you responded.  You can say something like “hey David, I got your review and would like to dialogue about your grievance.  Love to send you a private message? I aim to please my customers”.  Your viewers will see that comment. They’ll know you are going to take care of David, even if David’s complaint was not justified.  Or you could say in the comment “David, stop in or give me a call so we can resolve the issue. Your complaint is important to me”.

The last thing to remember about responding to negative reviews:  Don’t wait.  Waiting is deadly.  Don’t let 24 hours pass beyond a bad review. If not, consumers are already making judgements and it isn’t good.

Social Media has changed the entire playing field today.  Everything that everyone writes good and bad is out there for the entire world to see.  You can’t hide so turn it to your advantage.  By the way, if you get an awesome review, go ahead and comment on those as well.  Someone took the time to write to share their great experience.  Let them know you appreciate it.  People do check out reviews in helping them make decisions about who they want to do business with.

Use your reviews to improve your customer service and make a better product or service. Respond to your positive and negative reviews as fast as possible.  It helps your customers know you, like you, and trust you and that is the name of the game.

Have some sweet lemonade.

Janet Elie Launch4Life

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned On Vacation

Entrepreneurs can be found in many places with all sorts of career focuses. While recently vacationing with my husband on an Alaskan Cruise I had the privilege of discovering a new entrepreneurial type, the “tour guide”. For those of you who have never cruised, at each port of call, you can select a choice of many excursions for your day ashore.

My prior cruises were to the south where tour guides work all year round. Many times, English is their second language which consequently often limits the personal discussions. Touring Alaska was a totally different story. Tour guides for cruises are limited to a 6-month time frame. Most of the tour guides we met were seasonal residents of Alaska and their first language was English. A lot easier to have a good conversation.

Though technically they were employed by some touring adventure company, or the cruise company, it was on a contractual basis which allowed them to pick their availability.  Of course, since for most of them this was their yearly bread and butter, they usually worked 6 days a week to maximize their income.  Tips are a large component to their income so the experience they deliver is critical.

So, what made them be entrepreneurs even though they contracted with a company?  This was discovered in the stories they offered.  We are talking a pretty cold place in the winter and so many of them choose to hoof it after the cruise season ends.  Many went home, some went to sunny places south, or some like our tour guide Rhonda traveled to exotic places.  Others used that time to pursue additional education, some focused on writing a book, or creating art.  I consider this an entrepreneurial life.

As I listened to their stories, I fantasied living their life.  Making people happy, sharing local history and geography, telling stories. I am sure it’s not all as glamorous as it sounded.  But oh what fun to lead a hike to a glacier……until I ran in to the big grizzly bear!!!!

Ok. Back to reality. Each of us entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes.  We offer different products and services.  One of the things I noticed was that these guides were always promoting themselves and their company.  You would think we are “one” visit and done, but I am sure the thought is we are networking opportunities to encourage others to sign up for their tours.  I was offered business cards to give a review on Trip Advisor, or “like” on their Facebook Business Page, sign up for a photo contest, all to stay connected and share my positive experience with others. Even guides use online marketing.

Entrepreneurs at the Dog Musher Camp love working with their dogs

One last thing, we noted many other kinds of entrepreneurs in Alaska: shop keepers, fishermen, hunters, gold miners, dog sled mushers and handlers, and more. Learning about dog sled mushers is another incredible story.  Wow! I wouldn’t want to live in a place so cold in the winter, but I am glad that my business allows me to travel there. Thank goodness. It’s the best part of my life.  Work and play on my terms.  Does your business support the lifestyle you want?  Find your passion and interest and build your business around it so you love what you do and it gives you the lifestyle you desire.

 

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Now I Wrote My Ebook, What’s Next?

Ebooks are powerful marketing and sales tools. You have taken your knowledge and skills and put in writing a training or inspiration for your audience. Some ebooks are leads for sales and other times they are the sale. Either way, since they live on the internet, there needs to be a process to upload and distribute them to your prospects or customers.

Here are four ways to showcase and market your ebook:

  1. Lead Magnet. When you request people to subscribe to your email program, it often helps to encourage sign-ups with a freebie, bribe, or gift, whatever you want to call it. Your ebook is something of value that you want to give away for free that teaches on a specific topic and creates credibility for yourself. You can create your ebook in word and save it as a PDF.  Your PDF needs to have a place to live, so we suggest you use your email platform ( if it can host PDFs), Google Docs, or Amazon Web Service (AWS). While AWS is the most secure, it is a cost based service. Whatever email platform you use, a link to your PDF can be attached to the thank you email. As soon as someone subscribes to your email list or newsletter, they will immediately be able to download your ebook.
  2. Gift Give-away. When you are a speaker at a conference, workshop, webinar, wouldn’t it be awesome to offer your eBook as your Call to Action (parting gift). If they would like your eBook, all they have to do is give you their email address. That’s one way to capture their contact information. If you are selling your eBook on your website or Amazon, you can provide a special coupon with a limited time offer. More on this later.
  3. Website Sales. You can create a website landing page where you can host the eBook(s) and a link to pay for it.  This requires a little work to create and you will have to do your own advertising to get people to your website.
  4. Sell on a third-party platform. Amazon or iBook’s are the most common place to sell your ebook. The added advantage is this method of distributin your ebook prevents other people from sharing your content. When deciding between iBooks and Amazon, take the time to research which one will pay you the best royalties. The biggests limitation of iBook is that you are knocking out all Windows, Android, & Kindle device users. Amazon tends to be the most popular way to distribute ebooks because of it’s popularity and ability to market globally.

Here are a few hints on creating your eBook for Amazon that you may have overlooked that are worth considering:

Font choices – Using one font is best. Standards are Arial, Times New Roman, or Courier.

Hyperlinks – Make sure they are preserved in your ebook prior to saving and uploading.

Page Numbering – Don’t number your pages as they will be automatically numbered depending on the device read on.

Graphics – Use your own or royalty free. Don’t get sued for using someone else’s graphics.

Cover – Make it dazzle. People really do judge a book by its cover. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words. Use as few words as possible with title and author name. You also want to make sure your cover will still look good when its reduced to a thumbnail.

Last thoughts:

 If you decide to use Amazon, using Kindle Direct Publishing is the best choice. KDP helps you create and design your eBook Amazon’s software. You can also upload your own PDF. Kindle can still help you create a cover even if you have created your ebook prior.

If you are selling or giving away your ebook, you will want to blast the word out. You can have links to where to find your ebook. Post details on your website, social media, or include links in your emails. Offer discounts or free for limited time frames. Lastly, you can bundle the purchase with a course.

Whether you want to make money with your ebook or use it to help sell your other products or services, it will help build your credibility. Hopefully you have now learned some new ideas to make your ebook an even greater success.

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

You Thought Building a Website Was Easy?

Think Again!

Building a website is a complicated process and requires a lot of thought. After being involved in building a website for our own business and building websites for our customers, I think I could write a book. It ain’t easy. First there is building a brand-new website. The second is revamping an old one. Both require lots of planning. Whether you are thinking about creating a website or want to update your existing one, I think this blog article will give you a few insights to help you have a better website building experience. Maybe even save you a few dollars.

Before you go to the expense and trouble of building your own or hiring someone, your first step is to determine why you need a website? Is it just to provide information or will it be a place for people to buy your products or services, which means it will require ecommerce integration. If you just need a page or two, you may want to just create an About.Me Page or purchase a do-it-yourself website builder like Weebly, Wix, or Square Space. If all you need is an ecommerce site, you may want to check out Shopify or BigCommerce. That may give you all you need.

If you decide you want a full-blown professional website using WordPress, you will need to choose a web hosting company like GoDaddy, Host Gator, or Bluehost. You will also need to buy a domain, which you will have to renew each year. While it’s not mandatory, it makes life easier if you buy your domain from your webhosting company. If you can get a discount when you purchase these products, you may want to buy a few years in advance. Next up is purchasing a WordPress Theme. While there are some free ones, they should avoided like the plague. Free Themes can have security issues and may not be current with the continuous  WordPress updates. Our favorite WordPress Theme is Divi, which can be purchased from Elegant Themes. We highly suggest you purchase a SSL certificate to keep your website secure for your customer and give you better ranking in Google searches. Finally, a few extras that we also recommend purchasing from your webhost provider is a backup plan, security protection against hackers, and premium email accounts.  

The SSL Certificate creates the locked padlock and makes your site secure.

As you can see, expect to pay a few dollars right out of the gate. Some of these costs will need to be renewed every year, so keep that in mind. Don’t buy a website package unless you know your business is going to be around for a few years.

Bottom line, you will need to do some research. You want to be sure that you have a website that is modern and responsive for mobile devices, since most of your customers will be seeing your website from their phone or tablet.

Heads up, this is just as important! You need to pay a lot of attention to how you want your website to look. Here are a few things to consider:

  1.  Audience – Know who you are building your website for. Do you have one ideal customer or several? Make sure your website answers the questions they will be asking when they visit your website.
  2. Colors and Fonts – It supports your brand identity and sets the tone of what your customers can expect from you. The rule of thumb for the color is one dominant color, one complimentary and one background. You may want to check out some color psychology articles to make sure you pick colors that will attract your desired audience. Font choices should be complimentary and limited to 2 or 3 max.
  3. Layout – How many pages do you want? How do you want the layout for each page? For example, a 4-page layout would have a Home page, About page, a Services or Product page, and a Contact page.  A 5-page layout would also include a Blog page.
  4. Content – It is a good idea that even if you are hiring someone to write your content, that you write some basic information to give your content/web designer an idea of what you want to express to your customers. Otherwise they won’t know what you want, and you may not like what they write. Save everyone time, anguish, and money.
  5. Graphics – Go find the graphics and photos you want. Ask your web designer what size they should be, so you get the right size and make sure they are clear.
  6. Tag Line – Create a compelling tag line. It will surely be the first thing they see when they click your website. Wow them if you can.
  7. Email Subscribe Box – You need a call to action (email subscribe box) so that people who visit your site are willing to give you their contact information before they bounce. Our suggestion is offering some sort of free gift. Like a free eBook, white paper, or free consultation that they would like and has value. If they want it, they will have to surrender their email. That is your goal. Make sure you already have an email platform (ex. MailChimp) to store that email address. You can add a subscribe or sign up button on your website that links to your email program.
  8. Social Media – You can also add your social media links to your website like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
  9. SEO – you will want to do some research or work with your web designer to determine what are the right key words to have on your website. This helps optimize your website and blog for Google searches.
  10. Google Analytics – To track your website’s performance, you will need to have your website connected with Google’s web tools.

One of the biggest issues we have noticed in working with our customers when building their websites, is that some of them have not thought out what they really want in advance. They leave it to the web designer. It sets someone up for disappointment.

You may love it, or you may hate it. Do some research before you hire someone. Check out your competitors. What colors are they using? Do you like their choices or do you want a different look? The website you are building, or redoing represents you. Make sure you love it.  It is the face of your business.

Doing his website due diligence.

WEBSITE CHECKLIST

With this information, you will be better prepared to create the website you want and will be proud of. Most importantly, your website will attract your prospects and turn them into customers.

  • Determine need of Website
  • Web Hosting Company and fees
  • Domain and fees
  • Email Addresses
  • SSL
  • Color (3) and Fonts (3)
  • Graphics
  • Content
  • Number of Pages
  • Call to Action
  • Email Subscribe Button (have an email program)
  • Social Media Buttons (at least 1 or 2 social media programs)
  • SEO – keywords
  • Blog Articles (optional)

P.S.  One last thought. Think about who will maintain your website after its built? You can’t just set it and forget it. Websites need to be updated with content and and monitored for various software updates. Regardless of who is going to maintain your website I suggest you ask your web designer for the user id and password used to set up the website. This way you will still be in control and will never be held hostage.  You can use that web designer, someone else, or yourself to do the additional updates that will absolutely be needed.  But own your own website “keys”.

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com