About Laurel Lindsay

Laurel Stark née Lindsay has helped thousands of businesses get better results from their online marketing since she began her career as a web marketer in 2003. As a speaker, author and CEO of The New Media Group, she’s been featured on CNN, Entrepreneur.com, CTV and ShawTV.

Do You Really Need An Online Marketing Strategy

Do You Really Need An Online Marketing Strategy Laurel Anne Stark5 signs you don’t need an online marketing strategy.

An online marketing strategy can be described a detailed written plan that explains exactly how you’ll market yourself and your business on the internet.

The development of an online marketing strategy can call for a significant investment of both time and money.

Before you spend your time and money, you may want to consider the following points to find out if you really need an online marketing strategy.

What is online marketing?

Online marketing is an umbrella term used to describe online tools that can be used for the purposes of marketing a person or business. Facebook ads, email broadcasts, getting on google and your website are all online marketing tools.

These are by no means an exhaustive list of online marketing tools, though.

In fact, the world of online marketing changes almost daily. New tools are constantly emerging, old tools dissolving and familiar behemoths changing their functionality or design almost entirely overnight.

Why do businesses market themselves online?

Consumers are savvy creatures. You know, you’re one of them!

In response to being inundated with advertising, we’ve adapted. We have spam filters, Netflix subscriptions and caller ID’s to help us avoid being sold to.

In the same breath though, we’re spending literally hours a day online. (Over 24 hours a week online in 2016 according to the Globe & Mail.)

Being in business, it pays to have a presence where your future customers are, so it makes sense to invest in a presence on Facebook, Google, YouTube and on other online marketing tools like your website.

When is developing an online marketing strategy a waste of time?

There are several scenarios when developing an online marketing strategy isn’t a good idea.

#1 – The first sign you don’t need an online marketing strategy.

The first is if you or the majority stakeholders in your business are of the opinion the internet isn’t a huge opportunity for businesses and business people alike.

Don’t laugh.

This is a reality for some people. Most commonly those who are just about to retire, those who don’t have cell phones and those who are generally resistant to change.

#2 – The second sign you don’t need an online marketing strategy

Another sign you shouldn’t invest in an online marketing strategy is when what you’re already doing is working well really well for your business, and for you personally.

Some businesses reliably experience an influx of new customers and sales from the internet. These leads and sales are willing to pay for what’s being sold and turn a tidy profit.

Sometimes this result can happen fairly easily and naturally, especially if the business owner is really in touch with their customers, where their customers hang out online and when they have an interest in learning online marketing.

#3 – The third sign you don’t need an online marketing strategy.

You’re confident.

You’re measuring your results, you know what works, what doesn’t and what tactics have the best return on investment.

Generating results and feeling confident in your abilities add up to an ideal situation, one where you likely don’t need any further support.

If you don’t find yourself in any of these three situations, it may be worth additional exploration to find out for certain whether or not an online marketing strategy will deliver value for your organization.

Other scenarios when an online marketing strategy doesn’t make sense are:

You may find you need an online marketing strategy, but you’re not able to allocate the resources.
You don’t want, or can’t handle any more business
When is developing an online marketing strategy a good idea?

The following symptoms usually indicate when it may be a good idea to invest in an online marketing strategy.

#1 You’re feeling less than confident:

You’ve been successful with your online marketing efforts to date.

Your business is making money, but you’re not feeling very confident you’re going about your online marketing the right, best or most effective way.

You may be wondering if you’re missing something. You may be worrying about whether you should have a presence on the latest social media site, or if it’s a waste of time. Any leads or sales that you’re getting from the internet may be fairly sporadic, so it’s not a very reliable source of leads.
#2 You’re not generating results:

You could have a very successful offline business, have an online marketing budget and believe online marketing can generate opportunities for you. But everything you’ve tried is a colossal waste of time and money.

#3 Your competitors are kicking your butt:

You may be noticing that your competitors appear to be doing a little bit better than you are. Whether it’s they are ranking better than you are on Google or their social media is getting more engagement or whether you’ve just heard through the grapevine that they’re doing better than you are financially.

#4 You can’t delegate:

You may want to delegate some of your online marketing responsibilities but you’re having difficulties doing so, because you don’t really know what to say to the person you’re delegating to.

#5 Your market is changing:

If you’re looking to expand or pivot into a different market, and you want to use the internet to drive leads, it makes sense to look at developing an online marketing strategy.

What kind of results can I expect from a strategy?

According to the Business Development Bank of Canada small business that have an online marketing strategy and are actually executing it can see revenues up to 22% higher than their competitors.

Obviously 22% more revenue is a significant increase in funds. That may be just the right incentive to invest in a strategy.

Why is a strategy that much more effective?

Without an online marketing strategy, typically anything that gets done in the area of online marketing is sporadic or reactive. It’s what we in the business call “spray and pray”. What this means is that you’re out there testing everything out publicly.

Remember the internet never forgets, so being reactive and inconsistent can compromise your brand and erode the trust you’re trying to build with your audience.
Instead of building on the solid blocks of a foundation, each tactic or effort is acting individually instead of in concert where you can expect a compound effect.

Obviously I am biased, but truly and in the long term an online marketing strategy is much more effective for resource allocation if you’re at all invested in marketing your business online.

An online marketing strategy can save you time, save you money and most importantly it can going to keep those sales coming in and keep those profit margins high.

How To Actually Make Time For Your Online Marketing

If you DON’T feel overwhelmed by marketing your business online marketing – you may be doing it wrong.

Really.

Let me be the first to admit it, small business owners like myself already have towering to-do lists.

Many of us have deadlines that would send your average worker bee into straight up panic mode.

Add in a huge amount of information about a constantly changing set of circumstances that is the world of online marketing, and it’s pretty standard to feel overwhelmed!

People are surprised to hear me say this.  I get called a social media guru pretty regularly and I guess people think that I am calm, cool and collected and perfectly organized when it comes to my online marketing. The truth is, I’m not at all.

One of my favorite personal development truths is that if you can’t change the person, change the environment, and so that’s what I’ve done.

So, walk and talk with me!

Join me and Moe as we walk in the park and I’ll share my system with you.

Why this matters: Your job isn’t what you think it is:

If you’re in business for yourself, you are definitely in the business of marketing yourself. If you don’t have clients and you don’t have sales, you don’t really have a business, do you?

So, your online marketing has to be a priority to ensure your sales funnel and pipeline stay full!

Clarity Kills Confusion

The first thing I do is get really, really clear on my strategy.

What is it that I’m actually doing that is going to drive my business forward?

What specific actions will translate into more credibility, exposure and working with the clients that I want to work with. I also want more profit so I have enough time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine every once in awhile, you know…Because it’s all about the life balance and I want to create a life and a business that works for me, not the other way around.

So before I do any marketing at all,  I get clear on:
who my ideal clients are and

  1. how I can find them online
  2. what the most effective way for me to spend my marketing time and dollars are.

Do you pencil yourself into your own calendar?

Once I’m clear on my strategic objectives, the second thing to do is then actually make time for working on and executing these objectives. Of course, that’s much easier said than done although the tactic is simple.

I basically have to book off time to work on my marketing in my calendar and I have to stick to the time slots I’ve dedicated to this.

How to leverage shame for personal gain

I find that if I don’t make myself accountable to another person then I will not actually execute all the marketing stuff that I promised myself I would do.

So, I have a weekly accountability call with my partner, Wendy, and every week I tell her what I did last week that I said I was going to and what I’m going to do this week and she does the same with me.

I feel like a schmuck if I don’t do the things that I said I was going to do. So I use that to my advantage.

“I basically leverage personal shame to achieve my business objectives.”

But you know what? It works like a charm because I don’t want to let Wendy down and it makes me do the things that I said that I was going to do.

Those are my top tactics for getting clear on the right action, making the time to do the work and motivating myself to get it done.

I’ll need a snack with that.

Believe it or not, I have trouble writing blog posts and filming the videos I do. I am a procrastinator, and even when I have the time blocked off in my calendar, I still find it difficult to get started.

What I do in this situation is  break my tasks and timing up into little chunks, like a half hour at a time. I give myself a little break after each chunk of time, to have a snack or a coffee or go outside and I give myself a pat on the back once I’ve done it as well.

Bulk scheduling tasks.

Because I find 80% of the effort is getting into the right headspace to get my online marketing tasks done, I want to get as much done once I am there as possible.

When it comes to videos and blog posts I typically will do 4-5 at once, all in one day.

I get my equipment set up, I’m in the zone and I can be really, really productive.That’s just what works for me.

In summary.

I hope you found this helpful! If you want more online marketing tips, check out my website at www.laurelannestark.com and don’t forget to like, comment and share this video.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on making time for your own marketing, please weigh in below!.

Thanks for watching.

DIY Video Hacks for Small Businesses: LIVE Behind The Scenes, How To

Video is the most powerful tool you can use to generate sales from your online marketing efforts.

When it comes to getting results from online marketing, my favorite tools are the ones that consistently show strong performance metrics in more than one area and video certainly does!

The top five reasons to start using video to market your business online.

  1. People tend to know, like and trust you faster if you are using videos instead of just text to communicate.  The reason for this is that 99% of our communication is nonverbal. Viewers will get a pretty good idea of who you are and if they will like and trust you based solely on body language.
  2. Videos make you more memorable. Viewers are much more likely to remember you if they’ve seen you on video, than read a bunch of text. That in itself is a victory when there is so much online competing for your customers attention!
  3. Statistically, videos will keep your website visitors on your website for longer than if you don’t have videos on your website.  The more time visitors spend on your website, the better your odds of convincing them to contact you or buy from you
  4. People are more likely to think that you are an expert if they’ve seen you on video. Video not only boosts trust, but credibility as well.
  5. Viewers are more likely to share videos then they would just text.

Even though the reasons to start using video are powerful and plentiful, many DIY marketers still aren’t using it.

Besides the obvious not wanting to look terrible on camera, there are also several logistical bstacles to getting started on video.

The most common question I hear is, what kind of equipment do I need?

I went on Facebook live last week to address the equipment question by taking you through my two setups, for a startup and intermediate budget.

I’ve been filming an average of a 4 videos a month for the last 6 years and I shared my DIY Video Hacks for Small Businesses. Click the video to watch, or read the summary below:

One of the comments I got  live on Facebook, was that maybe lighting or equipment wasn’t really required at all.

And that can be true too. It just depends on what level of quality you’re comfortable with. Check out three options, with samples below:

On The Cheap / Startup / No Budget

I’ve filmed many videos on an iphone in my car.

Even one actually driving, where I share even more video marketing tips: I don’t do this anymore, promise.

Budget DIY Video Marketing Set Up

I have two pieces of equipment in my low budget DIY Video Marketing setup:

  1. A light (a Day Light)
  2. My smartphone (currently an iphone 5)

I also film against a white wall.

The total cost, excluding my time, is about $200 for the light.

A sample video with this equipment is here:

Semi Pro DIY Video Marketing Set Up

I wanted a more polished look and feel so I invested in the following pieces of equipment:

  1. Canon Rebel EOS (approx $1200)
  2. Tripod for said Canon Rebel (approx $100)
  3. Complete Lighting Set (approx $200)
  4. Add on Mic (approx $150)

A sample video with this equipment is here:

Professional Video

I am really happy with my semi-pro setup. The level of control and quality it gives me is perfect for my needs.

That being said, pro videos aren’t something you should rule out if you’re looking to skip the techie stuff and get on with your day.

Here are two examples of professional videos I did a few years ago:

In summary, there are definitely options for every budget.

I’d love your feedback – are you using video ? If you aren’t yet, do you think you will? And if you’re not, are there any tips you’d like to add?

Let me know in the comments below!

How To Write For Your Website To Make It Rain (Money)

Write to RainWhether you’re launching a brand-new website or revamping an existing one, the writing on your website can be the difference between a website that rains (revenue) and one that doesn’t.

The most common mistake business owners make is the failure to answer one simple question for your audience.

Failing to answer this one question means your future customers will leave your website and move on to your competitor’s websites.


(Image credit Meme Generator & Copyright Little Wayne.)

What’s In It For Me?

This is the silent question every website visitor is asking when they land on your website.

If you don’t answer your visitor’s questions, relate to their situation, intrigue your visitor or provide value in some way, they will leave your website.

A common mistake…

Many businesses writing text for their websites focus on themselves and their business, instead of putting themselves in the shoes of their prospective customers.

You’ve been to these websites, they go on and on about their products, services and qualifications, but not in a way that meets you where you are or feels relevant to your situation.

Do You Feel My Pain?

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.

Prior to a visitor landing on your website, they’ll often be on Google, searching for a solution to a problem they’re having.

Generally their problem will be causing them discomfort, if not pain, otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to solve it.

When you’re writing the text for your website ask yourself:

  • What discomfort or pain do my customers have ?
  • What language do they use to describe their pain?
  • When and how does this problem show up for them?

Write your website text in the language your customers use, that reflects their pain or discomfort, describing a moment in their life.

On the topic of pain…let’s compare two approaches

Consider the product ibuprofen.

If you were writing the text for the website designed to sell more ibuprofen, you could discuss the features of the product: how it lasts a certain amount of time, and it comes in a bottle filled with 80 capsules is more affordable than aspirin etc.

All pretty boring stuff, right?

Or you could paint a picture….describe a beautiful sunny Sunday, and you’d love to go out for a run with your friends, but you can’t because your knees are hurting you again, and you’re just sick of this, and you’re gaining weight, and you’re feeling like a big lump, and your life quality has gone downhill.

Writing from your customer’s perspective can create a compelling emotional reaction.

Really get into the discomfort or the pain points that your future customers are suffering, try and paint a picture of a moment in time, in a day in the life of your customer.

Then from there describe the transformation they can experience once they utilize what you sell.

An example of a transformation:

Now I’ve taken ibuprofen, and now I am limber, I can go and play with my grandkids, (if I had grandkids) and I am training for my first triathlon and I feel more confident in my body and I have a better quality of life.

Wow. That is powerful stuff.

That’s the difference between crappy copywriting that alienates or bores people and copywriting that engages your audience.

Please like and share this article.

I also would love to hear your comments in the box below.

You can subscribe to my channel on YouTube for more online marketing tips, or visit my website for more information about how I help people get better results from their online marketing.

How To Get Your Website To Show Up On Google. Part One: (for Beginners).

How to get your website to show up on google

How To Get Your Website To Show Up On Google. Part One: (for Beginners).

Have you ever wondered “How do I get my website to rank higher on Google?”

It’s a question I get asked a lot so I thought I would answer the question (or at least part of it, in today’s article).

The short answer is that there’s no short answer…

But really, the answer is a big one, so I’m gonna break it up into a couple of different posts for you.
What I’ll cover today are basics and first steps.

What do people search for, when they’re looking for what you sell?

Successfully arriving anywhere begins with knowing your destination.

As so with this exercise; the very first thing to do is determine where on Google you want to show up.

What words are your prospective clients typing into Google? Or, what are people searching for when they’ree looking for what you sell?

Typically, people type in a couple different types of words into Google, we call these keywords.

One type is location specific, so things like “vacuum repair, Vancouver,” “Vancouver vacuum repair,” “Vancouver vacuum sales,” so location specific. That’s one set.

Another type is kind of like a big ramble. If you think about how you use Google and what you type into Google, then this will give you a pretty good idea. Questions like, “Where do I get my vacuum fixed in Vancouver?” Or,”What’s the best vacuum repair store in Vancouver?” These types of things are called long tail keywords.

Ideally, you’ll have a list of two type of keywords, short and/or location specific keywords and long tail keywords, which are more sort of rambles or questions.

Compile a list of these key phrases first and get, 30 as a great place to start.

Then once you have these words, associate each keyword or group of keywords with a page on your website, or the pages that you want to show up on Google in response to those searches.

Put out the welcome mat and turn the lights on.

Making your website friendly and welcoming for Google and for your future customers involve many of the same activities.

There’s some pretty obvious stuff that you can start off with to make your website Google friendly. Look at your website from the perspective of whether or not your website is easy to use.

How fast does your website load?

There’s a bunch of different things that you can do to get your website to be sped up. One of those things is definitely making sure that your images are compressed. You can do all kinds of speed tests online and website developers can help you speed your site. That’s one really basic thing.

Is your website mobile friendly?

Another basic thing is looking and being sure that your website is mobile friendly so if you use a tablet or a phone to access your website, you can actually click on the buttons, it’s not impossible to use.

Is your website structure helpful?

Referring back to your list of keywords, all of the pages on your website should answer the questions, or at least be relevant to the key phrases that people are typing into Google.

The three little letters that mean a lot.

Every single page on your website should be what we call “search engine optimized.”, or SEO’d if you want to sound like a pro :-)
This means associating a specific target keyword or key phrase to each page and then optimized each page for that keyword or key phrase.

Say for example, we’re working with this vacuum store in Vancouver, so on the about page they should use those words quite a bit, and say why they are the best vacuum repair store in Vancouver, and how to find the best vacuum store in Vancouver, like where the address is, et cetera. You want to have a whole bunch of content that actually uses those words people are searching for.

Also, provide images, as they are very helpful.

Search engine optimization is also fairly technical, the page URL, for example, www.johnsvacuums.com/aboutbestvacuumstorevancouver – each page URLshould use the keywords as well.

If you have a WordPress site you can use this plugin called Yoast, it’s a fantastic plugin, it basically tells you exactly what to do.

You can download that and then optimize each page accordingly. That’s kind of an overview of your on-site optimization that you can do to help your website rank higher in Google.

Another thing, depending on the resources that you have, and the amount of time that you have, but generally I recommend blogging regularly.

This just shows Google that you are relevant site, and contender, and that your site isn’t old and outdated. Also gives lots of great content that you can share on social media. It’s great for your users as well. I recommend blogging, again, based on those keywords.

Blog for people, not robots!

Now, back in the day, it used to be that you would just write it for the search engines, and all the content on the website, it didn’t really matter if a human could read it.

But now, it definitely has to be relevant, it has to be readable, and it has to be useful to the person who is making that search.

It’s a tricky balance between making sure that the keywords are in there and it’s all based on a particular topic, as well as making sure that it’s coded appropriately according to Google, and people would actually stay on the page, and look at it, and find value in what it is that you’ve written there as well.

How did I do?

If you found this valuable, please consider sharing with your network. In fact, just hit that share button right now and share away.

If you want more information, you can download more free resources here on my website at www.laurelannestark.com.

And if you disagree or think I missed anything, please weigh in in the comments section below.

Thanks for watching!

What The Heck To Post on Social Media (For Business)

wHAT SHOULD I POST
“What should I post on social media?”

The lady asking this question isn’t personally on social media all that much.

She was asking for work and she hadn’t posted to any of the business’ social media accounts for six months or so.
This is much more common than you might think.

If you’re in the same situation, I’m going to help walk you through creating a document that’s going to completely answer that question for you – for the rest of this year.

You will never have to think “Oh Jeez, What do I post on social media?” again!

What we’re going to create is what I call an editorial calendar.

It’s a plan for the year and days of the week we’re going to create in advance, so you stay up to date and have a record of what you’re going to post.
I usually create it as an Excel sheet and I put columns for every single month and have another tab for theme days of the week – like “Sneak a Peek Sundays”

If you don’t have an editorial calendar, following this plan, it will take you, I would say probably, 15 to 20 minutes to sit down and create that calendar.

The 15-20 minutes you spend today will pay off in dividends. Trust me on this one!

Get Festive!

First thing you want to do is grab a calendar, whether it’s paper or electronic, and take a look at all the holidays that happen every single year.

I mean, we all know the obvious ones around a typical holiday season. There’s smaller ones like St. Patrick’s Day that you might want to incorporate.

Once you populate your Excel spreadsheet with all the holidays that are happening in every single year, you’re already going to have so many more things that you could possibly post about on social media!

What’s Happening?

Then, I want you to take it a step further and take a look at the news and events that are happening internally within your company.

Perhaps you would attend a trade show every single year at the same time.
Perhaps it’s your really busy season every single year at the same time.
Perhaps there’s deadlines that your customers need to know about every single year at the same time.
Again, put these events in your editorial calendar so that way next time you take a look at it you know, “Oh. This is what’s coming up this month.”

Channel Your Inner Photographer

Second thing I want you to do, is start thinking about taking behind the scenes photos.

Put it in your calendar once a week to spend a few minutes taking pictures. People love photos of other people so take photos of your staff, your customers if they’ll let you. Post it on social and just do a little introduction as to who we’re looking at here.
This helps people to know, like and trust your business by providing a little bit behind the scenes.

Similarly, if you can’t get anyone to pose for a photo you can also just take pictures about what’s going on around the office. Perhaps someone dropped of donuts or perhaps your parking lot is icy. Seems again, like a little bit of an overshare, but this is the type of stuff that happens on social media, and again, will get people to know, like and trust you.

Change Your Perspective

Then, I want you to put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customers.

What do they care about?
What are they interested in?

In the case of, say for example, you are a contractor, your customers care about making their homes look good.

Perhaps you could share tips and trends about interior decorating or landscaping tips or trends in lighting. Stuff that’s going to be valuable for your customers.

Prove It!

Another thing that is really super powerful to share on social media is what I call “social proof.”

Social proof is the phenomenon where people make decisions based on the decisions that other people have made. By sharing testimonials and reviews on social media, you convince other people that you’re a trustworthy business to do business with.
Even if people are not posting these reviews on social media, you can go into your email and screencap those awesome comments you’re getting and share those on social as well.

Put it in your calendar once a week to spend a few minutes gathering and posting testimonials.

Educate & Influence:

Say, for example, you’re a drywall company, you can share educational things like, what people need to know before they shop for a drywall contractor.

Perhaps any safety information or certification that’s updated and going on. Things like that will really help you to fill up that content calendar with thoughtful, themed content each month.
Once you go through this process once, I promise you will have an editorial calendar that will be fantastic and work for you perfectly.

If you like this article, please share with your network!
You can visit me online for more marketing tips at www.laurelannestark.com

RIP LinkedIN

ByePlease, a moment of silence for the business-to-business social media networking site LinkedIN.

You may be thinking, “Laurel, what are you talking about ?  LinkedIn’s not dead.”

But you know what? I’m predicting it’s going to die in relevance, and here’s why:

The Gloves Are Off! Facebook vs. LinkedIn

Facebook announced recently it’s jumping into the job seeker’s marketplace, which was the reason that LinkedIn came to be in the first place – so job seekers could connect with employers and vice versa.

Now, Facebook is going to start letting employers actually post and advertise jobs on the newsfeed of Facebook.

Because pretty much everyone’s on Facebook I think they could have a real impact on LinkedIn’s market share.

 

LinkedIn’s going to h – e – double hockey sticks

Hockey analogies aside, sInce LinkedIn was purchased by Microsoft I’ve been pessimistic about LinkedIn.

I don’t know about you, but my experience with Microsoft has been absolutely terrible.

It seems like their business model is going to take the LinkedIn contacts that you have and try to integrate them with the contacts that you have if you’re using Outlook, and to encourage you to continue to use Microsoft’s software.

I don’t know about your experience, but Outlook actually just, yeah, killed my computer, so I switched to Mac.

“ Microsoft buying LinkedIn makes me think they’re just going to ruin it. “

Historically, I love LinkedIn in terms of a lead generation source and to get me in front of the people that I am trying to market to, because of course, I’m in the business of helping to other businesses.

Since the acquisition, If you’ve been posting to Pulse, which is the LinkedIn blogging feature, you may have noticed that only a fraction of the people can actually see your blog posts than before.

Reach has declined, which means you’re not going to get as much exposure to your target audience as you would have before Microsoft took over.

Alignable, the rookie, might take it away!

Alignable is a relatively new social media networking site for businesses to connect with other local businesses and network within those local groups.

I’ve been on there playing around for a couple weeks now, and you know, I have to say, I really like it.

There’s an ease of use that’s there. You can promote your business for free. And so far, I’ve had a lot of success with it. Their customer service representatives have reached out to me via email and other platforms – amazing!

For these

These three points are just a few reasons LinkedIn is going to end up dying.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Do you use LinkedIn right now for business-to-business marketing?

Are you thinking about it?

Have you been doing it in the past and not so much now?

Are you going to use Alignable?

Please weigh in with your comments below. I’d love to hear what you have to say about my prediction.

Thanks so much for checking this post out, and you can visit me on my website or YouTube for more online marketing tips at www.laurelannestark.com.

Are women selling themselves short?

Are-women-selling-themselves-short

It’s the day after International Women’s Day.

I’m sure by now you’ve read statistics about the pay and promotion disparity between women and men in the workforce.

It’s 2017 and men are still getting paid more for the same role.

Realistically, we’re dealing with the legacy of a culture where only 100 short years ago women were granted the right to vote. Systems, be they private or public, tend to be slow to evolve and catch up with changing times. They tend to favour the status-quo.

I think we can all agree this sucks.

What I’m more interested in, however, is what we can do about it the other 364 days of the year.

I wonder, are the women inside these systems selling themselves short?

One thing I notice in my role as an online marketing consultant is that consistently more women then men devalue their professional worth.

My work for my clients essentially boils down to helping them sell themselves online.

I’ve met a few men with blustering egos, low value and huge price tags and a huge amount of women with staggering levels of talent and apologetic attitudes about asking for what they deserve as pay.

I suspect the cultural training for women to be nice or the media’s messages we are not good enough have roles to play in this self-sabotage phenomenon.

So what can we do about this?

I just finished reading Hidden Figures, about the hidden role female African American mathematicians played at NASA during the race to the moon.

These women were at a double disadvantage – race and gender. However, one of the main characters became the first female African American engineer at NASA by showing her value, stating her case and asking repeatedly for what she wanted.

I believe a consistent implementation of this very tactic would go a long way toward equalizing pay and promotion inequality.

As anyone with a background in sales will tell you, the way to get what you want is showing the value and asking for it, over and over again – despite how many times you’re told “no”.

Without these two critical steps, I am betting there is a slim chance anyone in a flawed system will be simply handed the promotion or raise.

If women aren’t consistently showing value and asking for more within these faulty systems, I believe we’ll continue to see the same dismal improvement percentages.

A great book on the topic is called What It Takes: Step up, Speak up, Move up, by Amy Henry (with a forward by Donald Trump, no less). Using the techniques in her book I asked for and doubled my salary, back when I still worked for someone else.

Starting with small asks is also a great way to build the confidence to ask for the raise or promotion.

Start with asking for one thing a day that makes you feel uncomfortable.

You will eventually become immune to the word no and you’ll be surprised at what people will say yes to!

I have been given many really nice pens because I ask the banker for his, I’ve received a free box donuts, 3 for the price of 2 zip line admission and discounts on clothes at big department stores…to name a few… and just because I stated my case and asked for what I wanted.

Audacious, yes and silly examples to be sure, but they illustrate my point.

You can’t get a YES if you don’t ask.

Developing the skill of showing value and asking is an invaluable one, whether you’re man or woman.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your comments below.

What my Dad’s Style and your website should have in common

What my dad's style and your website should have in common

Going to the mall as a young teen with my Dad was absolute torture.

I’d ask him to give me a ride and drop me off at the doors, but he’d always insist on entering the building with me.

I’d spend hours getting ready so I could look exactly like my posse of girlfriends, and my Dad would wear track pants WITH his dress shoes.

In PUBLIC.

I was basically a permanent cringe.

When I’d beg him to wear something else – ANYTHING else – he’d shrug his shoulders, refuse and and say, “well, it works for me”.

“It works for me”

Last week I posted an article warning against letting your website become the online equivalent of an 80’s perm.

But being outdated and unfashionable online is totally fine –  on ONE condition – that your website is working for you.

By working for you, I mean that it’s positively contributing to you achieving a specific goal.

Most of my clients tell me they want their websites to help them generate revenue.

If that’s your goal, than there are only a few basics you’ll need from your website.
In the case of your website, think like my dad (trends be darned!) to ensure your website works for you.

My big thumbs can’t click these tiny buttons!

It was 2015, in Nanton Alberta that I predicted you would see a decrease in where your website ranks on Google if you don’t have a mobile friendly website.

This may surprise you, but for the last few years, more people use their smartphones than desktops to navigate the web.

In 2017 the majority of web traffic is mobile.

So, if your website is next to impossible for the majority of people online to use, than it’s not exactly functional, is it?

What do I do next?

What action do you want your website visitors to take next?

Whether you want them to call you, give you their email address or shop online, it should be painfully obvious what the next step is.

All the visual indicators and functionality on each page of your website should lead to this action.

An example:

This is my home page.

screen_shot_2017_02_24_at_4.34.05_pm

With the funky orange arrow, you can tell exactly what I want you to do.

(Don’t be shy, you can feel free to head on over there and sign up for free online marketing tips)

Another example. Again using orange, you can tell we want you to Try TILOS.

screen_shot_2017_02_24_at_4.55.54_pm
I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Yeah? Prove it!

Sure, your website tells me you’re the best around, but I need you to prove it before I spend.

And I am not alone.

Most customers trust online reviews, or what other people say about you.

Take the time to ask for and collect customer reviews and post them on your website.

Literally, no-one can speak as powerfully to your potential customers as your existing ones.

This is called social proof, a phenomenon I discuss on CNN here.

In Summary:

Whether your website is the crocs with socks style or more haute couture, it should be mobile friendly, have a call to action and social proof.

In my opinion, these are the three most important factors in making sure your website works for you and aides in your sales process and revenue generation objectives.

Sharing is caring!
If you found this valuable (or humourous), don’t be shy, share this with your network.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

Is your Dad more stylish than my Dad?
Did I miss a contender for the top three most important basics for a website in 2017?

What No One Will Tell You About Your Brand New Website

Reading a good book can change your outlook on life.

Philosophically speaking, you may even be a different person than you were before you read the book.

Most of the successful business owners I know are voracious readers, they have coaches and consultants and are in regular attendance at workshops and seminars.

Their growth game is strong.

The continued evolution of their offering, brand, services and approach to business and life has a downside no-one talks about.

Sometimes, you can evolve so fast, the online reflection of your business is outdated as soon as you launch.

Yep. Your website is outdated the minute you launch.

The text, images, wording…call to action, all of it is the product of your reality 3-6 months ago, when you were working to get it launched.

If you’re a perfectionist, or like the feeling of being done, once and for all, or even for this quarter, this can eat away at you.

Whether you change your hair as often as Madonna used to, or you’re committed to providing the best in service you possibly can, you’re going to be out of date.

It’s the side-effect of being an evolving entrepreneur.

And it’s ok!

The web has enabled you to become your own broadcaster – and that’s wonderful.

Just know that it’s iterative. Your website, your headshots, your official bio…all of it.

It’s all progress.

It’s never, ever going to be perfect.

And that’s ok.

Going into your new website development or product design or photo shoot or whatever it is with this knowledge can save you a ton of time and frustration.

It may never, ever, ever feel done, or perfect, or 100%.

But it can be an improvement on the last iteration.

Don’t let great be the enemy of good.

Just launch your website, then refine it.

Launch and refine, launch and refine, launch and refine.

That’s the evolutionary way.

But do continue to evolve your online presence on a somewhat regular basis.

Don’t just give up and settle for the online equivalent of an 80’s perm.

What no one will tell you about your brand new site