Fat Wallet, Skinny Waist – The Suprising Link Between Them

Did you know there is a really surprising link between your wallet and your waistline?

fat-wallet-skinny-waist-laurel-anne-stark

No, I’m not talking about the scientific correlation between poverty and obesity , but prosperity and fitness. The idea has been proven by science. No matter what your objectives, whether it’s to improve your fitness or increase your earnings, the strategy to achieving it is the same.

So, you have some objectives.

There’s a difference between where you are and where you want to be. The way to get there in my experience whether it is your waistline or it’s your wallet is to figure out what your objective is. Figure out what’s realistic, and make it a smart goal.

What is a Smart Goal? It’s:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Time Bound

Now that you’ve got your smart goal, it’s time to create a plan.
Your plan is the second part of this whole equation. It’s where you sit down with a pen and a piece of paper or your computer and you figure out “What do I have to do to get where I want to be.”

In the case of your waistline, you probably want to eat right and go work out. Then, you want to look at how often am you’re going to be doing these things.
“Am I going to the gym five days a week or seven days a week?”

The key here is the application of consistent effort. It’s focus and consistency.
>> It’s the same thing with your online marketing plan. <<

Focus and Consistency wins the race

If you want to get more leads or if you want to get more revenue or if you want to get more traffic to your website – whatever the case is – if that’s your objective, then you need to create a plan.

Then, more importantly you need to execute consistently. You need to do certain things every single day, certain things every single week, and certain things every single month. You need to just keep doing it until you hit your goal.

That’s how results happen.

Because if you don’t apply the effort consistently and with focus, you’re not going to get anywhere. If you just go to the gym once every six weeks you’re not going to see any difference. If you change your approach and you don’t stick to your plan in marketing, you’re not going to see results either. It’s the application of the plan. It takes some time to see results.

Usually, it’s the 80/20 rule, 80% of effort for 20% of the results. That applies here as well with your online marketing. What I see too often is people who are not committed to writing out the course. You need to create your plan, and then write it out for at least three months, and then measure your results, and then tweak. Don’t change midcourse; otherwise, you’re not going to see the results.

Please share with your network if you found this valuable, and if you want more online marketing tips, go to LaurelAnneStark.com

3 Simple Ways to Help your Blog be Found and Read

digital marketing blogThe societal shift towards instant gratification in our media has completely altered the way we think about producing and digesting the written word, with online blogs in particular being a major force in the changing habits of both writers and readers.

When people say they want to read an epic blog post, they’re no longer talking about the length. As sad as it might sound to those with dreams of grandeur, unless you are a specially talented wordsmith or raconteur, the 2000 word wall of text you wrote for your digital marketing blog is unlikely to engage many people.

People want quick fixes of pleasure to get them through the gruelling fifteen minute bus commute to work, lists of easily digestible facts that go well with a coffee, and bite-sized nuggets of information they can devour with their fries on their lunch break.

If you’re regularly producing content for your digital marketing blog but finding the amount of either traffic or interaction is lower than you’d hoped, it might be time to rethink what you thought you knew about your desired audience.

Plan for the scan

The first thing to understand when producing content for your digital marketing blog is that even those who read it probably don’t really read it. When digesting web content, people scan, and the way your blog posts are formatted will be a bigger factor in people reading and interacting with them than even the content itself.

Because your digital marketing blog may live or die by the format, it has to be clear. We all know the importance of a good headline, but subheadings are just as vital in breaking up your topics into easier to swallow chunks, and even helping the reader to decide if they can skip to the next paragraph.

Using keywords in the subheadings is a very good idea too. Not only does it help with SEO, but it will also reinforce the relevance of the article to your reader’s interest if they have found it through an organic search.

To boldly go

To help the reader of your digital marketing blog pick out the information they are looking for, making bold the key points will cause them to jump out from the page.

Using this technique benefits yourself as much as it does your audience. While you may like to think they care about every line in your posts as much as you do, and want to spend time taking everything in, they probably don’t.

So while guiding them to the parts they want to see and showing them what to skip over by making bold the important points might sound counterintuitive for those wanting all of their content to be read, your reader is actually more likely to read more of your other digital marketing blog posts if you’re making it easier for them to find and digest the information.

Words and pictures

Whether images or video, using multimedia in your blog posts is vital to stimulating your reader into taking the action you want them to take.

As well as providing a break from the words, and being another effective way of breaking up the wall of text, images and video can get across messages in a way plain text never can.

The important thing to remember is to keyword your multimedia, usually by renaming the file before uploading, to give your digital marketing blog another chance to be found on Google.

People are increasingly going straight to Image searches to find what they are looking for, but your multimedia will not show in the results if it still has a generic, alphanumeric title.

Because most people scan articles on the internet rather than reading them, making your digital marketing blog easier to digest by breaking up the wall of text with key worded multimedia, subheadings, and with the important points made bold is vital in allowing your audience to find you, and in keeping them coming back.

 

For a look at our One Minute Tips and more on this topic, check out our Youtube page here:

3 Pro Tips for Choosing your Business Domain Name

internet marketing strategyWhatever your business or industry, choosing the right domain name for your online presence can have a big effect on your future success. While the wealth of options available to you mean there might not be one single best choice for your needs, making a bad decision can certainly hinder your efforts; your internet marketing strategy, your lead capturing, and ultimately your sales.

A good domain name should be unmistakeable and represent accurately what your company is all about, and there are certain ways to help ensure your chosen domain achieves these aims.

Once you’ve settled on what you decide to be the best domain for your business, you can even think about which others might work in your internet marketing strategy too.

Read on to find out how all this can be done.

Ease of use

Crafting the perfect internet marketing strategy, only to have it undermined by an awkward domain name, would be almost criminal in the modern business world. If you want people to remember your domain name and ensure it will always be typed in correctly, it has to be as catchy and simple as possible.

This means anything overly long should be avoided, as are aspects that can be commonly mistyped. These include double ‘L’s or ‘T’s, unnecessary points, dashes, underscores, or numerical figures.

Company initials are good for shortening long company names, easy to remember, and are very difficult to misspell. If your company’s initials are already taken, anything else you choose should be short, sweet and to the point.

Pros and .coms

For companies based in the United States, the .com domain is still the most desirable suffix for those wanting to be seen as an authority figure in their industry. Luckily, here in Canada, the .ca domain is just as recognized, and can actually be of benefit to your company image if you’re looking to serve mainly local customers.

Depending on the nature of your business, the recently released batch of new gTLDs (generic top level domains) can also help you to project the right image from the extension on your domain name. Although .gov has long been used by government sites, .edu by educational facilities and .org often used by non-profits, the options now include such evocative terms as .guru, .consulting, .world, and .ninja, extensions that are regularly played with in the world of the modern internet marketing strategy.

Smart use of any of these can result in a more memorable domain name for your business than .com ever could, meaning a little time and research before deciding on yours is highly recommended.

Domain event

If you are planning different campaigns, either as part of your internet marketing strategy or offline marketing, another tip is to create multiple domain names that include different keywords related to your business. These could be your location, your product or service, the benefit your product or service gives to your customers, or a combination of any of the above.

By registering bestpizzaincalgary.com or imhungrynow.ca, you can use them as a split test to see which yields the better results, both as part of your internet marketing strategy and on print material like flyers or distributed menus.

We’re often asked ‘what’s in a name?’ When it comes to domains, with all the options out there and the pitfalls inherent in choosing a bad one, there’s actually quite a lot. Take the time to make sure you get yours right.

To watch one of our one minute tips on this same subject, follow us on Youtube!

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The 10 Digital Marketing Commandments

If you’re looking for results from your marketing, look no further than here!

I am going to show you 10 ways to use digital marketing to generate a steady stream of leads to your business.

The digital marketing landscape is crowded. It seems there is a new marketing gimmick, tool or software available almost every day, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Like anything though, the basics are always a great place to begin. Here are the 10 digital marketing commandments you will ignore at your peril:

1. Know thy customer.

What’s important to them? What problem of theirs do you solve? How do you help them? Focus relentlessly on communicating the unique value you provide and your marketing will succeed in driving new customers to your door.

2. Show Proof. 

Sure, you SAY you can help, but can you really? Show case studies, photos, testimonials and reviews whenever and where ever possible.

Social proof acts as an unofficial endorsement of your business, your products, your services.

3. Give to Get. 

Invoke the law of reciprocity.

Share your skills and knowledge with the world. Educate your future customers, by offering up your wisdom through blogging, social media, free quotes, samples, evaluations.

You will reap the rewards tenfold.

4. Fish where the fish are.

Just because Snapchat is the hottest new marketing tool, does not necessarily mean it will work for your business.

Clear away the clutter and focus on the places where your future & current customers are present.

Commit to staying in front of your niche and ignore the rest.

5. Walk in their shoes. 

Think like your customers, speak their language and you will profit.

This takes time, customer surveys and listening closely but it’s worth it.

This is what it takes to build trust and rapport with those that pay the bills.

6. Be Authentic. 

You can tell a stock image or bland corporate speak from a mile away.

More than anything, this invokes suspicion.What are you trying to hide? Be a real person, or appoint a face of your company.

In this globalized world, everyone wants to deal with the small business guy that cares.

7. Be Consistent. 

Even if you can only update your Facebook status once a month, commit to that and do not falter.

Consistency is key in building trust, especially online. It is better to actually do less than set up all your social media accounts and leave them to stagnate.

8. Be Strategic.

A small tweak in direction before you execute can make all the difference.

Spend your time and resources on planning and research and you can double or triple your results.

What is the most effective use of your resources? Don’t start any marketing until you have a plan.

9. Be Responsive.

Customers expect a response on social media within an hour.

That’s an incredibly demanding expectation, but one that exists nonetheless. The better you can meet or even just manage expectations in today’s instant gratification society, the more successful you will be.

This also applies to online reviews. Don’t ignore the bad reviews, address them! Respond to all interactions, good and bad and you will earn the respect of your community and future customers.

10. Get Social.

You can’t ignore social media anymore. It’s here!

Your customers expect you to have a presence on social sites. You need to be present where the majority of consumers spend multiple hours a day.

If you found this post helpful- please share!

Digital Marketing Commandments

 

Where you’ll find your future customers: what social media sites are a must for your business

You don’t need to be on every single social media website to find yourself a community of new customers.

What you do need, is to be on the right social media site for your unique business.

I’ll show you how to put forth 20% of the effort to get 80% of your results, by following this one simple rule:

Choose the social media sites your business uses based on where your target customers are active and engaged

Here is an executive summary of the demographic, or user base information on each of the major social networks.

Pick One Social Network and Get Started!

Pick One Social Network and Get Started!

If your business markets to other businesses (B2B)…

Then LinkedIn is the social media website for you! It is specifically targeted towards people who are in business and want to connect with others in business.

Both a personal account and a business page are recommended.

Is your business local based with a physical location?

If you have the ability to accept walk in traffic or by appointment, then you need to be on Google plus local -formerly Google Maps.

Is your target market ladies in their 30’s to 40’s ? If so, then you need to be on Pinterest.

To build credibility, stay up to the minute on industry news and connect with or position yourself as a thought leader then you need to be on Twitter.

If you’re marketing to moms then you absolutely to have a presence on Facebook.

If you want to get traffic from Google and show up on Google’s search engine…then you’ll also need to be on Google plus and Google plus local. These factors are becoming more more important terms where you rank on Google so you actually do have to be on Google plus now.

Instagram is a great social media network for just about everybody who is tech savvy and is a great way to generate more exposure if you’re in an image oriented business.

If you’re in any type of business where you need to build more trust, You Tube is the place to showcase your personality and expertise. (There’s no better way to communicate who you are and build trust online than video marketing.)

Video marketing is great for industries that have a bad reputation or if you’re in any kind of technology industry,  where things are complicated I require explanation.

If you’re not ready to do a full video, you can use the video capture tool on Vine and Instagram mobile apps which are 7 and 15 seconds each.

And if you’re not sure which social network your customers use, ask them using a free survey software like survey monkey.

The important thing is to pick one social network and start using it regularly. Once you get in the habit of using one,  you can add on to others.

What social network(s) do you use for your business?

Share in the comments below! And if you’ve found this article valuable, please consider sharing it with your network.

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Top 10 list of tech tools for anyone marketing a business in 2014.


The digital marketing world is becoming a technological cornucopia.

Marketing A Business

If you’re wondering what digital marketing tools will really make a difference in your bottom line, look no further than this list.

Here is our top 10 list of tech tools for anyone running or marketing a business in 2014.

1. Video.

Whether you film how-to videos on your smart phone or shell out for a professional video- customers expect you to use video in your marketing & communications.

Bonus- it’s proven to increase conversion rates, so it’ll nudge your website visitors to call, click and connect with you.

Social Video Tools such as YouTube,  Vine, Instagram make capturing & sharing video easier than ever.

2. Social Media.

You’re probably sick of hearing about social media marketing.

There is a reason why there is so much chatter over it though, and it’s time to start paying attention.

Not just a marketing tool, social media offers incredible low cost opportunities for running your business; providing live customer service or tech support, hire & collaborate with your team.

Social media has gone from a marketing tool, to a must have business tool.

Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn & Google Plus are all social media sites with lively communities and user base.

3. Surveys.

Now there is no excuse to ignore your customers. Survey them regularly and profit from knowing what they want from you, and what they want less of.

Using existing customer input in marketing to new clients is a highly effective strategy to connect with your customer’s needs & communicate your unique solution.

Free Survey Software is offered by Survey Monkey, Free Online Surveys

4. The Cloud.

The cloud is essentially online web space, or a server where data can sit. This is opposed to having files located on a device, like your computer.

Ensure your sales team always has the latest collateral. Collaborate on the go & protect your data from loss with automatic backups.

Various cloud providers are Dropbox & Google Drive.

5. Mobile Marketing.

From apps, to responsive web sites, to SMS or Text marketing, if you’re not at least considering mobile marketing you’ll be missing out on sales, period.

Research indicates that internet usage over mobile devices will soon surpass the traffic from desktop & laptops.

And if you don’t believe me, consider your own mobile usage…

mobile marketing guy

6. Analytics

A fancy name for statistics,  you’ll want to measure the results of your marketing efforts for effectiveness.

Learn what pages of your website your customers use, where your web traffic comes from and how many web visitors convert to hot leads or customers.

Making decisions based on what internet users/future customers want as opposed to what you think they want will separate the profitable from the bankrupt.

7. Blogging.

A proven digital marketing method that generates better ranking on search engines and better conversion rates from web traffic, this year is the time to start blogging, even quarterly.

Blogging is as simple as writing a short word article answering your customer’s most frequently asked questions, and posting this article on your website.

As competition increases, blogging also helps establish rapport & build the credibility of your business.

8. Location Based Marketing.

If you’re a local business, you’ll want to look at tools like Google Maps, Yelp, Facebook Places to capitalize on the local search demand.

Tech savvy customers like to search by map and check in when they’ve arrived, and this behaviour is only increasing, so you’ll want to start this year.

Tap into your local marketplace by creating and maintaining a presence on these websites.

9. On Demand Customer Service.

Customer’s now expect a response within one hour of them contacting you. This can be tricky to juggle as a small business owner unless you have the right tools.

Sync as many social media & email apps as you can with your smartphone so you can be notified and check in on the go, and consider a live chat app on your website, like ZOPIM,

10. Email Marketing.

If you’re not already sending out a newsletter, this year is the time to start. Cultivate and nurture your client relationships & prosper.

Use this to: Auto respond to email newsletter sign ups, stay in touch with current and inactive clients.

Mailchimp &  Constant Contact both offer a free to paid email marketing service.

In Summary:

Like many New Year’s lists, the key to success is moving from consideration to action.

If you have specific sales goals you want to achieve this year, start planning how and when you’re going to incorporate these new tools and how you’ll measure their effectiveness.

Do you have a must-have marketing tool? Share it with us below.

As always your comments are encouraged and appreciated.

If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it.

7 ways to use digital & mobile marketing to get better results from your radio, print and in-store marketing:

Bottom line, you need your marketing expenditures to translate into sales.

mobile marketing guyOne of the hardest types of marketing to measure for effectiveness is the offline type- radio, print and in store advertising.

Not anymore!

Maximize the return on your marketing dollars by asking your offline audience to engage with you online.

This way you can capture their data and continue to market to them in free or low cost ways to convert them into paying customers.

It sounds more complicated than it is. Really, just a few simple tweaks to your advertising campaign will net you way bigger results.

7 Actionable Marketing Strategies you can use in your business today:

 

1. Have a QR Code on all print advertising:

Your vehicle decals, in store posters, print flyers, business cards and more.

Have this QR code point to your website, sign up form or Facebook page- depending on the market and your goals. This way you can capture prospect info via their smartphones & continue to market to them in the future.

2. Run a contest:

On radio, phone or word of mouth, ask people to sign up for your newsletter or like your page on Facebook to win.

The giveaway item doesn’t have to be expensive to work as an incentive for consumers to connect with you online. Bonus, you’re then tapped into social media, where the customer already spends their time.

3. Leverage your website design: 

Create promotion specific pages.

Use specific website URLS, like, www.yourcompanyname.com/bestcontest. Then, through Google Analytics, you can track the traffic from each promotion

4. Be smartphone smart:

Get a shortcut to your mailing list and keep it on your smartphone.

Ask people you meet in person if you can add them to your mailing list.

5. Offer a discount:

On the bottom of your receipts, invoices or quotes offer discounted services for those who are a member of the mailing list, Facebook page etc.

This gives people incentive to connect with you online.

6. Use coupon codes:

Offer a small discount in exchange for the presentation of a coupon code.

This way you can both encourage consumers to act, and track your return on investment.

7. Boost the power of social:

In store, post QR codes a way to like you or check in on Facebook.

Facebook Check-Ins act as an endorsement that shows up on the news feed of that consumer’s friends.

What are some ways that you get the most effectiveness out of your Offline marketing campaigns?

Tell us your secrets to getting more sales in the comments below: