Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why you must not forget to send out an e-newsletter

I believe that there is a great misconception among many who are trying to do their own self-promotion. I am referring to the general misunderstanding that there is no merit to email marketing campaigns. I would like to set the record straight right now. If you are not sending out an email campaign at least once a month, then you are not marketing to the people who care about you and your message the most. These are your highest level of influencers and your biggest cheerleaders. They've specifically asked you to keep them updated. Your email list is like gold. Treat it as such.

I know what many of you are thinking: email marketing is spammy. Well, it can be if you do it the wrong way. If your first statement in your email is, "Buy my book" or, "Buy my lipstick" then it could be a little spammy. But it doesn't have to be that way! If you provide a service, then give your clients an information-packed newsletter that is applicable to your service. For example, if you are an editor, send your clients a newsletter with tips and tricks that will help them during the writing process. If you own a retail store, send them some coupons and let them know about new product without directly asking them to come in and buy it.

Don't just send them a regular email. Seriously, don't do it. Sign up for MailChimp or Constant Contact. MailChimp has a free account if your email contact list stays under 2,000 subscribers. This way you can make your email newsletters beautiful, and you'll get analytics to see how many people are actually opening your emails to them (or not opening them). You can integrate these services within Facebook so that people can subscribe right from your business or fan page. You can also add a sign-up form directly on your website.

Email marketing is not the only egg in the marketing basket, but it's a big one. Take the time to research your audience, decide what message you want to convey to them, what your call to action will be, and how you can integrate all of these things within your email campaign. If you need help putting together a successful campaign, visit the sites I mentioned above and watch their training videos. If you consistently send out an email campaign you're going to see results. Keep at it, and keep building your list. It might take a little while, but good things happen to those who email their audience. Go ahead, try it! Send me an email of one of your campaigns. I'd love know how it goes for you.

To your success,


Sunday, January 19, 2014

What is a URL shortener and why should you use one?

When I am speaking to groups about easy ways that analytics can be used within social media posts I notice that I get the deer in the headlight look when I talk about URL shorteners. I would like to take a few minutes and explain what a URL shortener is and why you should be using them when you are sharing URL's on your social media sites.

A URL shortener service takes your very long URL (http://christyhovey.com/live-your-strengths/personality-tests-finding/) and creates a shorter clickable link (http://bit.ly/1dbDfwt) that takes the reader to the original longer link without them knowing the difference. There are many benefits to using a URL shortener including giving you the ability to track how many people are actually clicking on the links that you are providing to your audience. Have you ever posted something on your Facebook profile and nobody has clicked like? You are not alone. When I learned about shorteners a few years ago I began to use them on my Facebook profile page and was amazed at how many people were not necessarily engaging with a post but they were clicking on it. When I found out my audience was reading but not commenting on my posts I was able to determine how to re-word them to facilitate more engagement.

Another benefit of using a shortener is that mobile users can easily cut and paste your link to their notes applications or into an email. Studies show that if you make things super easy for people they are more apt to complete an action. Additionally, when you use a URL shortener you won't have any problems on Twitter if you want to Tweet out your link. Since you only have 140 characters to work with it's imperative that you have as much room as you can to get your message out and if you don't shorten a link you won't be able to talk about it much.

Now that I have your interest in using URL shorteners, the next logical step is to figure out how to shorten your links, right? Bit.ly is my favorite resource to accomplish shortening and tracking your URL for free. Snoop around their site and play with all of the features. It's very easy to paste your long link and copy the new Bit.ly shortened link to any social media platform. They also have a mobile app so that you can see analytics for your links on your phone.

Now that you've had a crash course in URL shorteners, you should have enough information to be slightly dangerous. It really doesn't take but a few minutes to shorten your links and the benefits of doing so are measurable and worth your time. Try using a shortener. At the very least you won't feel so bad when it seems like nobody is reading your posts - I think you'll be surprised when you find out that they actually are!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Get started now with Google+ to build your platform

Let's just be honest. Google will eventually run the world, if it isn't close to doing so already. Since we are all probably in agreement with this, then why aren't you actively working on your Google+ profile and building your Google+ community?

Maybe you think that building your Facebook page is sufficient. Or getting 100k followers on Twitter is the key to building a successful platform. Think again. About 82% of people searching for information are using Google to find what they are looking for. If you are actively working your Google+ page and community, who do you think is going to pop up if you are presenting yourself and your information consistently on Google+? Let me answer that question if you haven't already: YOU!

It's really hard to discover new people or businesses on Facebook unless their page is promoted by an ad or suggested by a friend. Why pay to increase discoverability when you can get it for free on Google+? A quarter of my followers are from every corner of the world and they would have never found me on Facebook. We can chat, share, and video conference for free. You may be thinking, "What about the language barrier?" There isn't one! When they post on my page, Google asks me if I want it translated. Why of course I do!

If you have integrated Google+ Authorship on your blog or website a picture of you will come up you when people are searching for a topic you have written about. This increases trust and like ability on the subconscious level. If you are a business and using Google maps then customers will see you before they see your competitors. Google+ is linked to YouTube, so if you have videos uploaded regarding your book, business, or whatever you are trying to sell then you will have increased visibility with the Google+ and YouTube integration.

There are so many things that are beneficial about being on Google+. Don't get overwhelmed with all of the social networks. Take the time to learn about each one and what the benefits are to using them. Trust me when I tell you that you must get on Google+ now. I promise you will thank me later when you have a large community and your platform has grown exponentially. Then maybe you can rule the world. Just like Google.

Check out this cool info graphic for Google+ beginners used with permission from: http://www.plusyourbusiness.com/pb/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Beginners-Guide-to-Google+.png

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why aren't you looking at the analytics for your blog?

A few weeks ago I spoke with a new small business blogger. I asked this person a few questions about their blog strategy and how they were planning to measure if the blog was successful. Their answer was, "We aren't measuring anything right now. It will eventually take off."

This answer is a total misconception in my humble opinion. If you don't know how many people are reading your blog, which posts are getting the most hits, and where your readers are coming from then why are you blogging?

Having no strategy is still a strategy - and here it is: I'll throw whatever I can at the wall and see what sticks. Bad idea, people! Take fifteen minutes and put Google Analytics on your blog. Use this free tool to look at each post you've done and see what's popular with your readers and what's not. See where people are coming from. It's really not hard. You can do it.

Just as you must have a business plan in order to run a successful business you must also have a blogging plan. Who is your target audience? What are they interested in? What other blogs do they follow? Review the data monthly and adjust accordingly. Blogging can be rewarding, but not if no one is reading your blog or if you think no one is reading it. Do yourself a favor, make a plan. Follow your plan. Measure your results. And celebrate when you reach your goals!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Using Twitter effectively and free unfollow tools

Twitter has been a big part of my life lately. If you would have asked me four months ago what I thought about Twitter I would have adamantly responded, "I hate Twitter." And I did. In fact, I remember speaking at an event and someone specifically asked me if I found any value in Twitter and I had to honestly say,"Not yet." My love for Facebook clouded my objectivity towards Twitter. I believed I couldn't have a separate but equal relationship because Facebook was where I primarily have found most of my business success. I was dead wrong.

After that fateful speech where I recognized that I had not truly researched Twitter enough to find its value, I decided I would do my due diligence. I read tons of blogs on Twitter, I set a Google alert for Twitter marketing trends, and I listened to my marketing mentors explain how they used Twitter to effectively reach their audience. I often publicly speak on the topic of shifting your thoughts to impact your world, so I am always willing to admit when I have a thinking error. I have since quickly changed my thoughts about Twitter.

I decided to pull away from Facebook and Pinterest and dedicate fifteen minutes a day to Twitter. Twitter is a totally different animal than Facebook and herein lies the problem. You can't possibly keep up with all of the total strangers who will start following you and Twitter is completely hit and miss. Unless you set it up properly. The key is to make sure when you follow someone that you truly want to keep up with is that you put them in a list. Lists can be public or private, and you can organize all of your followers and all of the people that you follow in a list. I have a list consisting of close friends, fellow writers, marketing gurus, and even a list of my favorite local restaurants. When I want to get updates on what is trending in marketing, I quickly look at tweets from people in my marketing list. If I want to see if there are any specials happening at my favorite watering holes, I can see those tweets in a matter of seconds.

Finding people with common interests is easy. Just use the hashtag (#) to identify people who may be fun to follow. For instance, I like #entrepreneurs #speakers #writers, etc. You can block spammers who send you stupid Direct Messages or DM's by clicking on the User Actions tab and clicking block user. I  have realized that although Twitter may differentiate itself from Facebook in that total strangers can see your posts, it actually opens up unlimited opportunity to randomly connect with anyone in the world. I just had a conversation with an author from Israel via Twitter. I also had a follower send me a link to a classic car for sale on eBay after I posted a picture of a hot rod I loved but didn't know the make or model. I have also converted followers into clients by just being friendly on Twitter.

It's important to weed the spammers out of your stream and this includes the uber-annoying tweeps who follow people and then unfollow them the next day. I love the free tools that tell you who follows you and then whether they unfollow you or not. You can then return the favor. Visit Manageflitter and Justunfollow to get this accomplished for free.

All in all, I am now sorry that I didn't give Twitter a chance much sooner. My teenagers are telling me that Twitter will soon trump Facebook; I have learned to listen to them as they have not been wrong yet in predicting social media trends. The beauty of Twitter is that you can talk about your blog posts, your business, or your product every hour and it's totally ok. If you did that on Facebook you'd probably lose all of your friends! Give Twitter a shot, you might be surprised at how much it can do for you.

Want to connect on Twitter? Follow me by clicking here.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Social Media Etiquette

Today I received a great question via email regarding social media etiquette. The question was this: "In the social media world, is it appropriate etiquette to follow everyone who follows me?" The question was specific to Twitter and so my answer is specific to that social media site. It is customary to follow back everyone who follows you. My exception to this standard is that I don't follow back obvious scammers, self-promoters or anyone who says, "I will get you 100k Twitter followers." Whenever I receive a new follower, I quickly look at their profile and their last three posts. If I like what I see, then I will follow them back. I will also usually send them a tweet thanking them for the follow (not a direct message aka DM) and ask them a question that pertains to the information that they have on their landing page. I have noticed that most people are not checking their @ mentions so I usually don't get a response, but I least I try to engage them without spamming them.

My personal feelings toward Twitter DM's is that I HATE THEM! Notice how I used all caps to convey strong emotion. I don't care what all of the marketers are telling you. Don't spam new followers with a DM. Send them a personal public tweet instead. I never click any of links that new followers or people I have chosen to follow send me via DM because if I did that, I'd be on Twitter all day long. Use the DM sparingly. If you want to tell someone they have an email from you, or if you want to meet up with someone then this would be a great use of the direct message feature within Twitter.

Remember that the whole point of this social media marketing thing is that you are trying to build a platform and an audience. If you don't spam people (Buy my book! Buy my product! etc.) and if you provide engaging and entertaining content, Twitter will eventually pay off for you. And don't pay someone to get you 100k followers. That's just dumb. But you're all smart enough to know that, right!?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book Marketing for Indie Authors

After an author writes a book, the natural next step is to start to figure out a strategy to market the book, right? Wrong! I'm sorry dear Author, but you really should have been thinking about this before or while you were creating your masterpiece. Why do I say this? Marketing your book should begin months before your release date, especially if you are an Indie Author. No one cares as much as you do about your baby. It is important to identify your target market, how you will reach them, and how you will keep them engaged long before your book hits Amazon. Marketing nowadays is almost completely word of mouth, either via social media or face-to-face. You want to create a buzz about you, your topic, and the release of your book in advance of the release date so that you already have the snowball rolling down the hill.
A few practical steps would be to create a website, regularly start posting to a blog (and make sure to label your posts so that people can find your topic), start a Facebook Author page, start Tweeting about your topic so that you can engage interested readers, and start telling your friends and colleagues about your upcoming book. People generally want to see their acquaintances succeed - unless they are the jealous type, and you shouldn't associate with those people anyway. Make sure you are spreading the news within your local writing community about your upcoming book, and have a media specialist craft a killer press release for you.
If you do just a few of these things,