Newsletter sign ups a must at your next trade show

This past weekend I checked out the Live the Smart Way Expo that was happening here in Ottawa. I had quite a few friends exhibiting and I was excited to check out a show that was getting great buzz.

My friend Julie of The Magic Fridge at the Live the Smart Way Expo

My friend Julie of The Magic Fridge at the Live the Smart Way Expo

Because I can never quite turn off my work mode, as I walked around the show I couldn't help but notice how many people had nothing at their booths that would give them an opportunity to follow up with the people that they met. Thousands of people would walk by and might even take notice of them, but how many of those people would ACTUALLY take the printed materials you give them and later get in touch?

A trade show is the perfect place to get new email subscribers onto your newsletter list. It allows you the opportunity to follow up with them and then to continue staying top of mind moving forward. Here are a few tips to help you do this effectively at your next trade show:

Have an incentive

People don't WANT to be on hundreds of mailing lists so you need to give people a reason to sign up. A giveaway is a really great way to do this. The important piece here is to make the giveaway applicable to what you do because while you want as many email addresses as possible, you don't want email addresses of completely unqualified leads. 

A great example of a giveaway that isn't a good fit for most people is an iPad. Why? Everyone wants an iPad. They'll sign up and then unsubscribe as soon as you send them anything - all they wanted was the iPad. Instead, offer something that relates to your business i.e., a gift certificate for your business, access to a free class, an hour of consulting, a free rental, etc.

Tell people 

Have signage and verbally encourage people to sign up. When you talk to people and they seem interested in what it is you do, let them know they can sign up to get updates, promotions, and other great information - and also let them know that they might win whatever great thing it is you're giving away.

If you have a big booth with things for people to touch and feel and see, make sure that you have signs at the different sides of the booth, or possibly multiple sign up sheets and/or ballot boxes to make it as easy as possible for people to see the opportunity and take advantage of it.

Follow up

It's great that you got all those email addresses, but you need to make sure that you follow up within a week of getting all the email addresses.  

Why? Because if you wait too long they could forget how they got on the list and be frustrated when your email does show up. Not only that though, it's an opportunity to reinforce what they learned at the show.

Tell them it was great to meet them, send them some links and extra information on what you do and that they might find interesting, and offer them a special time-limited promotion. That one-time email to just the people you met at the show will then set the stage for future emails you send.

A quick note about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation. To make sure you stay compliant, make it clear with a check box for newsletter that someone is agreeing to get emails from you by giving you their name and email address. Then keep that documentation, either by scanning it and saving it or just keeping paper copies permanently.

So, next time you're at a trade show, don't miss out on this great opportunity - get those email addresses for your mailing list!

 

Change in life (and business) is inevitable

December 2014 - The Ottawa Women's Business Network's holiday party. 

December 2014 - The Ottawa Women's Business Network's holiday party. 

When I met Lara Wellman in July of 2010, I had no idea - no inkling at all - that it would be such a life-altering event. We started working together from practically the moment we met and it went really well. It didn't take long for us to realize we enjoyed working together a great deal. Over time, we went from working together on a community blog, to starting a conference together, then I bought into Kids in the Capital, and ultimately we joined forces to start Wellman Wilson. All in less than 5 years!

We've always complemented each other well - her strengths are not mine. Mine are not hers. On so many levels, our partnership has worked really well. Until it didn't. 

Lara is an entrepreneur. Without a doubt, she has the drive, passion, personality, and love of what she does to be very successful.

I am not an entrepreneur and I never will be. The things I love to do that motivate and inspire me don't work as well in the role of "business owner". 

This one difference between us has lead to our mutual decision to take different paths that suit each of us best. It means that I can take the step of going back into the workforce full time, which will simplify life for me and my family. Lara is going to continue doing what we've been doing together and she's going to be amazing. I'll be right there cheering her on and helping whenever I can, because I honestly can't imagine not continuing to work with Lara in some capacity.

Over the next few weeks, there will be a lot of changes with all the Wellman Wilson digital properties. We'll be working to transition from working together to Lara taking it all on by herself. I'm excited and optimistic about the next phase in my journey and I know Lara is as well.

I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the many clients I've been able to help over the past three years. And to those of you who have followed us, thank you for your support. I hope to continue seeing you online.

~ Karen

Beyond your content - blogger/media outreach

Creating your own content is really important, but sometimes what can go even further to get your message out to the public is to have someone else talk about you. Testimonials are great (and you should be asking for them and sharing them!), but if people can create videos and blog posts and share all kinds of information about what you do on their social networks that is also amazing. So how do you make that happen? There are a bunch of ways to do it, but today I'm going to focus on events.

Blogger/media outreach events

There are all kinds of people out there who love to share what they're doing online. It is in their nature to tweet, Instagram or check in whenever they're out having fun and doing interesting things (I'm one of them :) ) You want to try to get those types of people to talk about you online and a great way to do that is to hold an event and invite them.

Recently I attended an event hosted by Giant Tiger called The Secret Supper. It was a 5-course meal by a mystery host and it was only at the end of the night that attendees found out that everything from the dinner had been sourced from Giant Tiger. It was a great way to have people buzzing over the fact that everything about the evening was over and above what one expected from Giant Tiger. Post event, there were quite a few blog posts written about the event (including the one I wrote for Kids in the Capital).

A couple of weeks ago we worked with one of our clients, Tay River Reflections, to create an event to invite bloggers to experience their AQUA expansion. Over 55 people got to go through and experience a facility that most had never heard of, and they shared lots of the things they loved on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and on their blogs like this great post from Just a Trace

How do you plan an event?

First you'll need to create a guest list of people who you think would have an audience that would be interested in what you have to say. Depending on your business, the kinds of bloggers that make sense could vary greatly.

Then you need to make it worthwhile. Bloggers actually get a lot of opportunities and they aren't going to want to write about you for something of little value because most of them are attempting to make a living from blogging, or at least earn a side income. I will never forget years ago someone saying "shampoo samples are great, but I can't pay the bills with them." So you need to create something that people WANT to go to and then give them incentives to share content from what you're doing, but don't make it mandatory.

At some events, people are encouraged to share lots of content during the event (or after) with a specific hashtag in the hopes of winning a prize (I won an Android cell phone at a Rogers event in the Fall just by tweeting :) ).  

Make the event about creating an amazing experience for people so that they will want to talk about you, not that you expect them to do so if they don't want to. Tonight I'm off to an event run by Canadian Club and I have a feeling you'll see some #iheartrye content coming from my social media accounts :) 

It can be a bit of a gamble, but in the long run, having other people tell their audience about you and having more and more content that can come up in search engines about you is what this is all about and it's well worth a try.

Leave a comment and let me know if you think a blogger event would work for your business! If you want to brainstorm more about it, let's book a coaching call and discuss!

 

Create Facebook content by theming your days

contentcreation

We talk a lot about the value of having a plan when you’re creating content. Today I thought I’d talk a bit about how having themes for every day of the week for your Facebook page (or any of your social networks) can help you come up with content quickly.

What do you want people to know about?

First come up with some messages that you want to share with your audience: 

  • Do you want people to know that using your product will save them time?
  • Do you want people to know that you cook amazing meals that are healthy? 
  • Do you want people to know that you’re an expert in renovating kitchens? 
  • Do you want people to know that hiring a realtor is better than trying to sell their house on their own?

Create a list of broad categories of things you want people to know about you – just 2 or 3. This is going to help make sure that what you’re sharing is helping you achieve your goals.

Assign a certain kind of content to each day of the week.

For example:

Sundays you can share an article from someone else. There are all kinds of people writing incredible content that back up what you want people to know – that healthy food made from scratch is good for you, that exercising every day is important, that selling your home independently won’t always save you money. Spend a bit of time right now finding four articles that talk about something you believe in that would be of interest to your audience.

Mondays you can share a tip. Spend some time writing down four tips that would help your audience i.e., cooking tips, marketing tips, productivity tips, etc. 

Tuesdays you’re going to feature something from your website.  Go and browse around your website - what are some interesting things you want people to know about? Is there a page that tells me why I should buy something? Is there a testimonials page? Is there a free tool I could download? Find four interesting things and save the URLs for those pages and explain why people should be interested in having a look.

Wednesday ask a question from your community. Maybe it’s something about their favourite products or tools, or maybe it’s something about how they overcome certain challenges. Jot down four.

Thursday we’re going to play with Throwback Thursday (#TBT). Do you have old photos in the archives? Pull up four and quickly tell the story about a great event, about your first year in business, or about how much technology has changed since you opened.

Friday share an article from your website. You probably have all kinds of great content on your blog. Go find it and share it again – it’s still relevant. Pick four now.

Saturday we’ll go with something lighter because people like light on the weekend. Are there any jokes or comics you could share? I’m a fan of going to Pinterest and typing in key words to find stuff like that to share. Find four of these.

Do you see what I did there? If you find four of each of those things, you have a month of Facebook content already written and ready to schedule. It will take an hour or two most likely, but once completed you will have great content ready for the entire month!

Leave me a comment and tell me what your daily categories would be and if you think this would work well for you and your content creation! 

Is what I’m doing online worth the time I’m investing?

build a successful online presence

Creating a successful online presence requires a lot of work and a lot of content. It can be overwhelming and figuring out if what you’re doing is actually working can be really hard. 

In my experience, people's unrealistic expectations are the main cause of discouragement when it comes to their social media use. People get upset that more people aren’t opening their newsletters, that more people aren’t commenting on their Facebook updates or that more people aren’t viewing their blog posts. But here’s the thing... success doesn’t need to come in thousands of page views or dozens of comments, and it definitely isn’t instantaneous.

The slow build of consistency

Social media and online marketing rarely result in immediate sales and even more rarely does a post go viral. You need to think of social media as an opportunity to prove your expertise and your credibility, and building those things take time. 

We have a really valuable client who followed our content and read our weekly newsletters for two years before signing on with us. That may not be the ideal or the norm, but it shows that consistently sharing content and providing value kept us top of mind until they were ready to work with us.  

Think of the content that you're putting online as a way to build your reputation, make it easier to find you online, as well as giving your audience opportunities to work with you through clear calls to action and demonstrations of what you do and how you can help them. 

Quality over quantity

I know “quality over quantity” is one of those things that you hear constantly and is everywhere nowadays, but it’s true. You can have a small email list and only a few hundred likes on Facebook, but if those people are people who really want to know what it is that you’re doing and selling, they can convert just as well as someone who has tens of thousands of disinterested people on their lists.

Did you know that the average open rate for marketing emails is only 15-25%?

Are you wondering if you’re getting a decent amount of traffic on your web site? Like this article says, the key isn’t so much what your number is, but how well you’re doing by benchmarking against yourself.  Are your numbers steadily increasing? Are they decreasing? What seems to work well? Do more of that. 

Have a plan

Knowing why you're doing what you're doing and how to do it well is key to success in online marketing. It's why we are always 'harping' about having a plan and why we try to offer you all kinds of ways to learn how to use the tools well to increase your opportunity for success.

Want to learn more about blogging? Join us next week on Thursday, April 2nd at 1 p.m. EST for a free webinar all about blogging. During this free webinar, we will give you valuable tips to get you started right, so that the time you spend online IS well worth it. Reserve your spot by clicking HERE.

 

Why do people share so much personal information online?

The other day I asked a colleague, in the shared working space I use, what she would like to know more about and it started a conversation about what people share online and why they feel compelled to, or comfortable, sharing it. This is a topic that I really enjoy talking about, so today I’m going to delve in a bit further as to why I think some people over share and why I think it’s important for you to think through what you’re sharing online.

Private discussions have found their way online

In years past, people sat around in their living rooms and backyards having heated discussions about all sorts of things, often voicing controversial opinions. While these conversations still happen, they‘ve also moved online. The problem with this is that instead of having a small private conversation amongst a few friends that conversation is now accessible to the public, potentially forever.

Do you believe that every opinion that you have should be available to the general public? I know I certainly don’t.

I believe people are sharing their opinions thinking that they’re only talking the way they always have and not taking into account or understanding Google’s reach. Google doesn’t forget things, including the comment you left on a blog post way back in 2007 (I found a few of those when working on this post ;) ). 

This means that making a conscious decision about what information and which opinions you share online is very important. While you may very well be willing to share your opinions online, the key is to make a conscious decision and realize that a permanent record of that opinion can be accessed by anyone.

Why does it matter if we say controversial things online?

The things that we say impact the way people view us. This is key. How do you want to be perceived by the people who can find you online? 

You need to think about who might end up looking you up. Potential employers, potential employees, and potential clients are all likely candidates to do a bit of searching online to get to know you better.  What will they find?

When you Google yourself, would you be happy for a future employer/partner/employee to find everything that you find?

How well are we adapting?

While some people are very careful about what they post online, many don’t take into consideration that what they say online can impact how people view them. For example, many people would never say anything they believe to sound racist, but do they realize that complaining about work online could impact future employment? Do they realize that constant negative commentary could affect someone’s opinion of their overall attitude and how they would fit on a team? Taking that a step further, do they realize what they say about other people (including their children) can have a lasting impact on other people’s reputations?

Here’s an interesting infographic on some of the things people share online: http://www.bitrebels.com/social/how-we-might-share-too-much-online-infographic/

More and more, we want and need to be online personally and professionally. Understanding how to do that responsibly is a step many people haven’t yet taken. Take some time to figure out what you want people to think about you (this is your personal brand) and whether or not your actions convey the same message.

What do you think about what people share online? Do people share more than they should?

 

Learn to blog in 5 weeks with our new online course!

There are so many great reasons to have a blog: 

  • To showcase your expertise.
  • To give people a reason to come to your website (your home base on the web).
  • To help with search engine optimization (SEO) so that you'll come up in search.

The problem, of course, isn't that people don't know the value of having a blog, it's that they don't know how to start a blog, they don't know what to talk about, they don't know how to optimize their content, or they don't feel they can handle the maintenance of a blog. These are all really valid concerns, but we don't want to let them stop you.

Simple Start - Blogging

One of our goals at Wellman Wilson is to create tools to help you feel comfortable with online marketing. We started with a course that helps with Facebook and Twitter, last Fall we introduced a course on newsletters and now we're thrilled to be starting a course on blogging!

The goal of our blogging course is to walk you through the steps of setting up a blog from the very beginning. Does this mean that if you already have a blog this course isn't for you? Definitely not, it may just mean that some of the very first lessons have some refresher material for you - which never hurts!

What you'll learn

Week 1 - Foundations

Choosing to blog - why? how?
Identifying audience, goals
Crafting key messages

Week 2 - Content Basics

Creating a theme (subject) for your blog
Picking blog topics
Telling stories

Week 3 - Enhancing Content

Mixing up content - types of blog posts/media
Creating content
Using images to enhance blog posts

Week 4 - Planning

Setting up a plan
Using a content/editorial calendar
Establishing a regular publishing schedule

Week 5 - Optimize for Success

Optimizing your content for sharing
Learning the basics of SEO (search engine optimization)
Measuring success

How does it work?

The lessons are emailed based and will be delivered to your inbox over 5 weeks. Each week you'll cover a series of topics and be given homework and assignments to move you forward through the lessons.

You will be added to a closed Facebook Group where you will get the support of other people also taking the course and where you can ask questions that we will answer. 

You can also take advantage of our PLUS program which will give you access to one of us for three 30-minute calls.

How much does it cost?

As with our other programs we like to offer a great rate the first time a course is offered. If you enrol when the blogging course launches April 9th the cost is only $49 (it will be $99 when it runs again)!

For more information, including how to register visit: http://www.wellmanwilson.com/blogging

We look forward to seeing you in the course!

Don’t assume people understand

Are you introducing a new program? Running an event that’s going to be amazing? Offering all kinds of incredibly valuable products and services that nobody is buying?

Sometimes we need to take a step back from what we’re doing to make sure that we really and obviously explained to people what’s in it for them to buy or take part in something.

Figure out the key value points

First, think about what the main value is of what you’re offering. What will people get or what problem will it solve?

Try to come up with three to five things. It could be that they’ll learn something, it could be that they’ll feel better, it could be that they’ll meet like-minded people. Having these values in writing will help you get better at selling. 

Share that information in detail somewhere

Now you want to really explain the value. This is where a blog is really useful. If you don’t have that, a product page or a post on Facebook or on other social media networks will work.  Write out in about 500 words (this is more of a blog post guideline) what the value is. Break it up in much the way this post is done with sub-headings that jump out (download our free infographic on the key parts of a great blog post).

Value one – two to three sentence description explaining how that will translate for them.

Value two – what is going to change for them as a result of taking part or buying your product.

Value three – what tangible learning point or thing will they get out of buying? 

Use plain language 

Sometimes one of our biggest weaknesses is not realizing that other people don’t understand the way we speak. As much as possible, break things down as simply as possible. Try not to think of this as “dumbing down” your content, but instead think of it as making it easy to read quickly and simple to understand. 

How plain and simple your content is also depends on who you’re talking to. If you’re offering an advanced class in something you’re going to speak in a language that makes it clear that this isn’t for beginners, but take the time to think that through. You want to ensure that people don’t feel overwhelmed when they’re exactly who you’re hoping to have take part in something.

End with a call to action

One of my biggest weaknesses in business in the past has been to tell people all about the things that I do, but fail to make it clear and easy for them to actually start working with me. I think that’s something a lot of people feel uncomfortable with and worry feels pushy. 

Here’s the thing though – people often don’t think to take the action you’re hoping that they’ll take. You need to make it as easy and straightforward as possible for them to do the thing you want them to do.  

State the call to action – Download this free infographic now,  sign up for the class now <insert a link for them to sign up>, buy this amazing widget here <insert a link for them to buy>. 

By clearly explaining the value of what you’re offering and making buying or taking whatever action you want them to take as simple as possible you are far more likely to convert your readers to customers.  

Leave a comment and let me know if you have anything to add or experience with making this work!

 

How to find quality content for social media scheduling

It’s okay to schedule your social media updates. We all lead busy lives and unless you are a larger business who can afford to hire someone full-time to engage and monitor your social networks 24/7, scheduling is the simplest way to provide your audience with consistent content. Luckily, scheduling tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer make scheduling content relatively painless.

They key is to find quality content that you can schedule to be shared throughout the day and across various social networks. The question then remains of how to find quality content that can be scheduled and shared.

Link back to your website 

Don’t be afraid to link back to previously published (but still relevant) blog posts. Preface the link in the update by telling people why they should read the post, what they may have missed if they hadn’t read it before (that's what the ICYMI you may often see on social media is all about it "in case you missed it") or why it’s a great resource for them. You could also pull a quote from the blog post and use that as the text of your scheduled update and also include the link to the post so people can read more.

You should also schedule and share the services you provide, any workshops you are hosting or any other product or event that you want your audience to know about. Just make sure to schedule it within a relevant timeframe and link back to where they can learn more and purchase or register.

Share third party articles

Sharing articles from like-minded blogs and websites is a great way to show your expertise to your audience. You can find these articles or blog posts by doing a quick Google search on your industry, or just look to see what other people are sharing on your social networks. If you link back to the author's site or source in your tweet or Facebook status the person or company responsible for the article will also be notified that you shared their content, which may in turn result in a new “like” or follower.  Just remember not to share any third party links until you have fully read and understood the content.

Create shareable images 

Research and compile quotes from industry experts or even from your own website and create shareable images using tools such as Canva or PicMonkey. You can easily schedule these images and can encourage audience engagement by accompanying the image with a question such as, “Do you agree?”

Scheduled or not it is important that your social media updates are relevant and inline with your business’ goals and objectives. Remember that if you don’t have time for engaging with your audience to not ask difficult or controversial questions or share content that might start a discussion you don’t have the time for. 

Do you schedule your content? How do you find your content?

What are Facebook Tags?

Have you ever seen a person or a business page in a Facebook post that is highlighted and links through to the person or page in question? That's called tagging and this post is all about how to do that, and why you might want to do it.

How do you tag a person or page?

To tag a person or page on Facebook you simply type an @ symbol and then start typing the name of the person or page you want to tag.  You can type the spaces between words and it will continue to search for the right person or page for you to tag.

Once you've selected what you want to tag it will become clickable.

It works exactly the same way to tag a person with a fairly big exception. A person can tag a person, but a page cannot. Why? Facebook wants to prevent the risk of pages spamming people, therefore a page can only tag another page.

Why should you tag?

Now that you know how to tag (it's pretty simple once you know how, right?) the question becomes why SHOULD you tag a page or person?

There are a couple of reasons:

1) To help your audience find something. If you're sharing information about a page or person because you think the people you're sharing that information with will want take action, tagging the page or person in question makes it a lot easier for people to figure out how to get where they're trying to go. 

2) To let someone know you're talking about them. If you tag a person or page they are going to be notified that you did so. This is great if you're sharing information they're going to appreciate you sharing and promotes reciprocity and the building of your relationship.

So there you have it, the basics of tagging on Facebook. Leave a comment and let me know if you found that useful and if you have any questions!

I like it! Yup, I like that too!

Facebooklike

I hit "like" a lot when I'm on Facebook. I also make a lot of obvious comments or sometimes ask questions I know the answer to. Why?  

Because I'm all about gaming the algorithm. ;)

How Facebook works

We've talked about this before, but here's a quick recap on how Facebook works. Facebook doesn't show you everything because there is simply TOO MUCH content between all your friends and the pages you like (plus the ads, of course). Instead, Facebook tries to figure out what it is that you want to see and they do that based on:

- Things you have previously liked or commented on. If you liked it before, you're more likely to like it again.

- Things that are popular with lots of people. If lots of people like it, it's probably interesting.

Customize your feed

If you feel like you're always seeing content from the same people and not from others, change things up by going to some posts by people or pages you want to see and liking or commenting.  This post came up in my feed today and clearly the post worked for them. It showed up in my feed as well as in many other people's feeds because so many others liked and commented. As a result, people should continue to see this content again in their feeds for awhile (unless they go back to not liking or commenting).

How can you get more people to see your content?

Always put a call to action into what you're saying to encourage your audience to do something.  If you don't do that they are likely to read what you have to say and not do anything because it won't occur to them.

A few other simple things

- Like your own content as yourself.

- Ask a few of your close friends, dedicated clients, etc. to turn on notifications for your page and hit like and comment on your posts, and offer to do the same for them.

- If someone shares your content, like it and comment and thank them. You should do that because it's nice, but also keeping in mind that the more engagement the post has, the more likely that person's audience is to see it.

Facebook is a busy place with a LOT of content.  It can be hard to stand out in the crowd and you can't expect to get incredible reach without being willing to spend some money on advertising. That being said, simply liking stuff can go a long way.  

Leave a comment and let me know if you find your feed can change based on what you've been liking and comment on.  Then go and like a few new things you'd like to see more of!

Three Reasons Businesses Hire Wellman Wilson Consulting

Have you ever thought about shooting us an email or giving us a call, but you are not quite sure what you need help with? Perhaps you are an entrepreneur or small business owner and you have a website (yay!), but haven’t the faintest idea how to set up a Facebook page for your business (or perhaps you accidentally created it as a Group), or maybe you have a page, but it hasn’t been updated since you created it… two years ago.  Then there are those other social networks you know you should have an account with, but don’t know which ones are the best to reach your target market. And let’s not forget about your blog… and a newsletter! 

Businesses, like yours, hire Wellman Wilson Consulting because of our ability to break down social media and e-marketing into manageable pieces and teach you the tools and methods you need to make them work for you. Here’s how we do it:

1) Teaching businesses how to use social media

We don’t just teach people how to use Facebook ads or promote your business on Twitter, we teach you the value social media has in making connections with your clients, online and in person. Our Simple Start programs walk businesses through learning how to connect, promote, endorse, engage, and interact with customers. We teach you how having a conversation with a perfect stranger online can result in sales for your business.

We have had clients come to us afraid of social media, but by the end of the Simple Start program they not only have multiple social media accounts set up, but also have a solid plan in place to keep their social media current and relevant.

These same clients go on to expand their digital marketing to include newsletters and within weeks they have learned all the tools they need to start, create and send regular newsletters to their audience.

2) Creating a plan and making sure businesses stick to it

Every business needs a social media plan and we make sure it meets your business’ objectives. We take a look at who your audience is, where you can reach them, what your key messages are, what your goals are, and how we can make social media work to reach your audience and your goals.

We then take this strategy one step further with our Accountability Program. We have helped numerous clients stay accountable by helping them develop an action plan, keep track of their monthly activity, examine their content, and talking to them on the phone every month for a full year to review how things are working for them (and making sure they are doing what they say they are going to do).

3) One-on-one feedback, guidance and support

Our coaching programs are all about accountability, encouragement and feedback on your social media and e-marketing efforts. We help train clients, implement strategies and develop content. We also customize our coaching programs to fit our clients’ needs – because we know that not every business has the same problems.

Clients come to Wellman Wilson Consulting because they know they are not just getting a regurgitated written social media strategy. They are offered a personalized social media and e-marketing plan that not only includes a strategy, but the training they need to implement the strategy, the accountability support needed to make sure their plan stays on track, and the option to outsource content creation and graphics to us.

So, if you are not sure what you need from us, but know you need help with social media, we have given you three reasons why businesses just like yours took the next step and contacted us. They didn’t regret it and neither will you, so email or call us today!

We look forward to hearing from you.

Business Resources: Toastmasters

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I’m always looking to learn more skills to make me a better businessperson and I love sharing them with you guys! 

Speaking on stage and creating video is something that I have been doing in the last couple of years and it turns out, I really love it! I enjoy sharing my knowledge and I like the personal connection that happens when people get to see me speak instead of just reading the words that I type (though I like to think you can hear my voice in my written words too!).

Toastmasters has been on my to do list for a long time and this past fall a couple of friends decided to join, so I went along for the ride. My goal? To improve my speaking skills.

But aren’t you already comfortable speaking in front of a crowd?

So, the short answer is yes. And, um, I’ve been getting better and better. But, um, I can’t seem to stop using a lot of filler words when I speak – um, so, LOTS of “so". 

I wanted to clean up my speaking so that it sounded more professional and polished.  Originally I told people it was because I wanted my speaking to be more formal, but that’s really the wrong word.  I just want it to be cleaner and more concise without my mouth constantly sounding like it’s trying to keep up with my brain.

What am I learning?

Toastmasters gives you a lot of opportunities to get up in front of a crowd in a lot of different ways. You can give the toast for the evening, you can be the Toastmaster for the evening, which is like being the emcee, you can tell a joke, or you can be the timekeeper.

I'm looking forward to being pushed out of my comfort zone because that's when you really get the opportunity to learn things. I gave my first speech and I was more nervous than I've been in a long time speaking in front of a crowd, simply because it was so different. I gave a 5 minute speech that was about myself and that I had planned from start to finish.

I spent hours preparing and it paid off because the crowd enjoyed it, I got great feedback, and I now feel more confident going forward towards my next speech, both for Toastmasters and in my business.

Tell me in the comments, are you comfortable with public speaking? What helped you? And if you aren't, have you ever considered Toastmasters?

3 tips to help you get that newsletter out

Newsletters are by far one of my favourite online marketing tools (which is why I talk about them so much!) but sometimes they can be hard to get done. I asked our community for some of the common reasons that people don't get their newsletters sent and I'm going to give you some tips on how to deal with those reasons.

I can't find the time. 

There are so many things to get done as a business owner that vague deadlines are the ones that often get pushed off the fastest. A "January newsletter" means that you just have to find the time at some point in January to get a newsletter ready and it will often get pushed off the priority list over and over again.

Set specific dates for when your newsletter will go out. It can be once a month (third Wednesday of every month) or more frequently (every Thursday morning). Once you have a set date that your email is going out, you have a deadline that isn't as easy to push off. The bonus is that your audience starts to expect your emails on those dates and are more likely to open them - that's extra incentive to get the newsletter out on time.

My list size isn't big enough to bother. 

Quality over quantity - we say it a lot, but it's true! You can have a list with 200 people that converts way better than a list with 2000 or even more. Spend time finding the people who you actually want to have on your list and then build relationships with them. Give them valuable content that they appreciate and in time they will become your biggest cheerleaders.

The other thing to remember is that the more newsletters your send, the better you get at it. Practice and perfect your style by sending consistent newsletters even when your list is still small.  

I'm not seeing results. 

It's easy to feel discouraged when you don't see a lot of sales that are directly related to newsletters you're sending. There are a few things you can do here:

- Realize that with a lot of online marketing, it's a slow build. People need to see your name, your content, your product, etc., multiple times before they buy. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't happen right away.

- Analyze what IS working. Make sure you're including links so you can see where people are clicking, test different kinds of subject lines to see what people open, and check your stats. You can learn so much from what you've already sent so you know what to keep sending moving forward.

Leave a comment and let us know if you have any other reasons you don't send your newsletters. And if you need some extra help understanding how newsletters work, check out our Newsletter Course.

 

Should you outsource your social media?

If you had asked me this question a couple of years ago I would have said no, you should keep it in house because nobody knows you better than you. 

But here’s the thing… social media has continued to evolve and as a busy business owner, you may not have the time to learn how to use social media effectively and create quality content. And that’s okay. So, should you consider outsourcing your social media? Absolutely.

Quality content

When you’re creating content to use online it needs to look professional. People expect a business to put together something that looks like a graphic designer or professional writer did it, not an amateur. Why? Because there is so much content to sift through on a daily basis they can’t be bothered with anything that doesn’t stand out.

What does that mean for you? It means that you need to make sure that you’re creating images and putting together content that speaks to your audience. This is a lot more time consuming than you might think, or like, or have time for.

Quantity of content 

The world of online content is fast paced. You want to have regular content to stay top of mind and so that you get picked up in search and algorithms so people will seeing what you’re saying. 

This means that you should have daily content going out on channels like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you should be blogging weekly (or more) and that you should be sending regular email newsletters (I recommend at least two a month, if not weekly.)  It’s a lot of content and you may not have the time to do it all.

It keeps changing

Facebook reach is down – should you keep using it? My audience says they aren’t using Facebook – where do I find them? What is Snapchat and do I need to care?

People keep changing where they’re spending their time and as a busy business owner you may not have the time to keep on top of what tools make the most sense for your business and how they’re changing (for example, while Facebook is certainly not a tool to ignore, it’s absolutely true that to get the best value out of using it you probably want to invest in Facebook advertising). 

Time

Are you sensing a theme? Time is precious and I know that creating quality online content may not be the best use of yours. If that’s the case (because there are certainly many business owners who CAN do their own social media) then outsourcing is probably a great solution for you. 

Hire someone who can take away the stress of having to create regular content for all your channels, who knows how to create images and where to find good links and information that your audience will value. Hire someone who will let you know if things are changing and if you need to change your focus and the type of content you’re sharing. Hire someone who will take the headache out of online marketing and leave you with the value of finding new customers and building relationships with them. 

Who do I hire?

Do you know anyone who has experience in online communications who offers these types of services? There are quite a few people who have a lot of experience in the online space who can help you. The key is to make sure that they understand your business and your goals and messaging.

Wellman Wilson is now taking on social media content creation and management because we recognize that business owners just don’t have the time to do it all. If you’re interested in chatting with us, send us an email or check out the content creation services section on our website.

Online marketing can be time consuming, but it is also the key to reaching new audiences, getting repeat business and increasing revenue. Don't let time or overwhelm stop you from establishing your online presence in 2015!

Mastermind your way to success in 2015

Have you ever heard of a Mastermind Group? I'm lucky because I got to be a part of one over a decade ago (though it wasn't called that then) and it was instrumental in helping me grow my career in the field of communications. I've now created one for myself as a business owner and in the few short months since we began, the members in my group have been pushing me to new places with my business - it's incredible!

What is a Mastermind Group?

A Mastermind Group can be run in many different ways, but the basic explanation is that it is a group of people (in my case, business owners) who come together on a regular basis to support each other and help each other achieve goals. That's it. How it runs is often different, but the basic concept is that this group of people is there to make you the best that you can be.

What are the main benefits of being part of a Mastermind Group?

There are many many benefits, but here are my top five:

1) Support

It can be hard (and kind of lonely) to be a business owner. Finding a group of people who understand what it's like to do what you do, who have experienced what it's like to run a business, and who can support you as your run your business is extremely valuable all on its own.  

2) Accountability

I don't know about you, but I often need outside accountability to get things done. In each meeting everyone in the group sets out three things that they will do before the next meeting and they tell the group how they did on the three things they committed to at the previous meeting.  Admitting to not doing what you said you would can be incentive enough to scramble in the hours before the meeting (I say this from personal experience).  Accountability is huge.

3) Insight

At every meeting someone is in the hot seat. This means that almost half of the meeting is devoted to just them and their business. They bring a question or an issue and the entire group is focused on giving them their thoughts, ideas and insight to solve that problem or move things forward.  

We need people on the outside to be able to tell us what they see looking in to our businesses and the members of a Mastermind Group can do that.

4) Safe space

All of the members of my Mastermind signed a Non-disclosure agreement when we started. It's made talking about anything and everything we're worried about or considering safe to talk about when we're together. 

Not every problem we face as business owners can be discussed publicly - that's just how things go in business. Being able to talk with others who understand what it's like to run a business about the things that are concerning or scare you is huge.

5) Push

My Mastermind Group isn't afraid to push each other. Scared to do something? Too bad - your group thinks you should and CAN do it so they'll push you to do it. Trying to hide in that comfort zone? No go with a Mastermind Group watching what you're doing. Putting yourself into a position to be pushed to be all you can be is a scary but amazing thing to do.

How can you be a part of a Mastermind?

Keep your eyes open. A lot of business coaches run them and you might be able to Google and find something in your area. Or do what I did and set up your own.  

My Mastermind Group runs every two weeks for two hours and has six members. I did a lot of online research to try to figure out what I thought would work best and then went looking for people I thought would blend well together as a group. We then set up a Facebook Group so we can stay in regular communication and publicly list our accountability actions. It's pretty simple to set up once you start!

Have any questions?  Leave them in the comments - I'd be happy to try to help you figure out how you can get the incredible value I do out of your own Mastermind Group!

 

Three words for 2015: Teach, Create, Grow

Happy New Year!

I love starting out a new year with picking three words.  We've done it severals times in the past and the words don't often change significantly, but taking a little bit of time to think about the direction we want to head in to the new year with really helps us focus on what and how we do things.

This year our three words are Teach, Create and Grow and I'm really excited to see where they take us.

Teach

Teaching is definitely one of our passions at Wellman Wilson.  Helping you figure out how to use social media to grow your business online with simple step-by-step processes is something we pride ourselves on doing well.

In 2015 we will continue running our two online courses - Simple Start and Simple Start Newsletters, and we will also launch a third course, Simple Start Blogging.  These courses are designed to walk people through the steps of learning to post on Facebook, Twitter, start sending email newsletters or posting regular blog posts, without feeling like it's an overwhelming and unachievable task.

We will also continue running webinars, taking on speaking engagements and running our own workshops. (Be sure to stay tuned for one coming up early this year!!) If there is anything in particular you'd like us to teach, whether that be as a course, a webinar or a speaking engagement, leave a comment or send us an email and we'll see how we can fit it into our 2015 schedule!

Create

Creating content, courses, videos, blog posts, etc., is something we do a lot of and will continue to do.  But this year we're going to be creating even more than that because we understand that no matter now organized you are, and how well you come to understand the importance of social media and online marketing and how it works, you sometimes just don't have the time to create your own content. This year we're taking on more clients that want us to do the work for them.

Don't let the overwhelm of content creation slow you down.  If you'd like to chat about how we can help you with content creation email us and we'd be happy to set up a call to talk about how we can help meet your needs!

Grow

Most of us hope to grow our  businesses but we've chosen this word because in 2015 we really want to continue to focus on growing our knowledge, growing our services, and growing our business. In 2014 we hired an amazing virtual assistant (now business manager) who has helped up have more time to focus on content creation of all kinds and we intend to keep on that path with more support and more staff.

We want to move forward into 2015 with a lot of serious intention to grow to a place where we can provide you with amazing content and service and grow is the word that will help us get there.

What are your three words?

Leave a comment and share your three words, as well as anything you'd like to learn more about this year.  You are who inspire us in our business. Understanding how you're working on your businesses as we move forward helps us make sure we're creating the right content for you.

Happy New Year everyone!  Here's to an amazing 2015!

It's been a very good year...

This year has been an exciting year of growth for us as a business. Our third year of being in business together has brought Lara and I so many good things:

  • More really interesting and fun clients to work with,
  • We launched a new program to help you launch or refresh your email newsletter,
  • We said goodbye to Social Capital Conference (a bittersweet decision, for sure), 
  • Our website got a nice refresh,
  • Lara and I have evolved to a more strategic approach with planning - and we get together regularly to keep things fresh and moving forward,
  • We started doing webinars! The latest that we had on planning had a great turnout and lots of interaction which made it very successful,
  • Lara has turned into a video-making machine, which means we have great content on our YouTube channel for you,
  • One of the very best things we did this year was hire Tracy Noble, who has become our business manager. She has her own business and we are not her only clients, but she has become integral to our success. (In other words, she makes us look good and keeps us on track!)

We're looking forward to even more great things happening in 2015. Next week, we'll give you a little preview of how that's going to look and what you have to look forward to...I'm having a hard time not spilling the beans now!

From Lara, Tracy, and myself, we hope you are having a lovely holiday season!

You have more to say than you realize

Show me what you've got to say - I bet it's really good!

Show me what you've got to say - I bet it's really good!

There's a common piece of advice given by big name marketers that says you should only write when you have something to say. It's meant to be applied everywhere - your blog, your newsletter, and social networks. In theory, it makes sense: Don't overload/bore/waste your audience's time with content that you share just to have content to share.

For a small business, with a small audience, that's trying to build up engagement, this is not good advice. Here's why:

1) It requires a critical mass of engaged followers/subscribers.

The marketers who say this have all done their time, building up a good sized audience that trusts their expertise. They have loyal followings that look for their content and interact with it when it comes. As a small business owner, it takes time to build that kind of relationship with your audience. To remain successful with a "write when you have something to say" strategy, you need a critical mass following you. Can your business grow if 50% of your followers convert to paying customers? Depending on the size of your audience and what you do, many can say yes to that. The reality is that most businesses won't convert nearly that many people. So, how many people would it take to build your business to the level you want to reach? Now, you'll likely have to grow an audience that is at least 20 times that size (or more!). That's why it's important that you know that when content isn't delivered regularly, your audience will not grow consistently or as fast.

2) Credibility starts with visibility.

The point of posting content regularly is to keep your business and expert content top of mind with your audience. If they don't see or hear from you on a regular basis, they can't learn to trust what you have to say. Whether you're sending a newsletter, writing a blog post, or posting to social media, each of those touch points is an opportunity to provide value that builds your credibility as an expert in your field. As your audience sees the information you share, they will respond in various ways: by filtering it out or ignoring it, reading it, taking some kind of action - like, comment, share, tweet, or apply it to their work. Each of these responses is important - some can be measured and give valuable insight to you for future content. Stay visible with your content by delivering consistent 

3) You have more to say than you realize.

Has anyone ever said, "There's a reason we have two ears and one mouth," to you? Human nature is that we like to talk and some people need a gentle reminder that listening is important too. It's a rare person who truly doesn't like or want to talk. Posting content without thought or for the sake of putting something out there isn't valuable to you or anyone else. But if you think about the interactions you have with your customers and clients each day, how many times did you find you had nothing to say to them? What about associates? 

On January 13, 2015, Lara and I are leading a Content Mindset Workshop that will help you see how much content you truly have. Whether you've been creating content for many years or you're just starting out, we have some exciting plans for this day that will help you look at the creation of content from a different angle. We're going to spend time teaching about various types of content, and tools and tactics that can help you create more effective content. You'll walk away at the end of day with content to use for your business. We strongly believe that you have more to say and this workshop is designed to draw those things out of you - for the benefit of your audience and your business.

Join us - I promise you won't regret it!

Small business resources: 2015 planning

2015planning

Karen and I are always on the lookout for tools that will help us stay focused and working as efficiently as possible. As we get closer to 2015 we're getting ready early and want to make sure that we're on track for 2015 to be our best year yet. With all kinds of new programs, products and directions we have a lot of planning to do this year!

Leonie Dawson

I discovered Leonie Dawson a couple of years ago. She’s a self proclaimed hippie and I will admit that at first I didn’t really think her content would be for me, but I was wrong. Last year we bought her business planning document and liked it so much that this year we went on to buy both her business planner and her life planner (affiliate link).

I really like that she helps you close off the previous year and figure out what you learned, what you achieved and sometimes what you need to let go of. Then she helps you figure out what your goals are for the coming year and how to break them down into achievable pieces.

Her planners, in her words:

The 2015 Create Your Shining Year workbook & calendar is an incredibly popular & useful tool to help you plan out & make happen your most incredible year in life or business (or both!). Over the last six years, thousands of women have used this workbook with the most amazing results. It’s the best planning tool available to help you make your year your most exceptional yet!
Used by entrepreneurs, artists, mamas, creatives, coaches, teachers and women of all ages, the Create Your Shining Year in Life and Biz workbooks are filled with dozens of pages of powerful worksheets & a printable calendar to help you create your amazing new year.

Planner Pads

I’m not very organized; I readily admit it. We were told about Planner Pads by Amanda from Little Lotus Yoga and right away I saw how my brain and this planner could work together. :)

The concept is of a funnel. You list everything you have to do at the top and then funnel it down to the right date and time. If you don’t do it when you funnelled it down, it’s still at the top of the list to funnel down elsewhere.

Since I’m also a big fan of writing things out by hand, this planner has worked really well for me - and everyone else we’ve recommended it to has loved it as well. I keep trying other planners to see if anything works better and nothing ever does. A small note, I tried the executive size this year because there would be more room to write and I found it a bit too bulky to carry around. If you bring your planner with you and you're out and about a lot, I'd suggest sticking to a regular size.

What planners work for you?  Leave us a comment and tell us how you're getting ready for 2015!