Let’s tell the truth!

Quote

I’ve got a great gimmick! Let’s tell the truth!

–Ad writer Bill Bernach

Benefits of Ezines for Your Business

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...

Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all know how important internet marketing is for business growth — and how complicated it can be. With so many platforms, strategies and social media outlets, it can be difficult to determine what’s best for your business.

The ezine is one method of internet marketing that should not be overlooked — it’s simple, inexpensive and a highly professional way to fortify relationships online.

What are Ezines?

Ezines are newsletters or messages emailed to a group of people who have opted to receive them. There are many formats, including email and PDF, and many ezine services for distribution. Some businesses send ezines every day, while others send them once a month or once a quarter.

With these short, simple messages, your business can offer insightful and valuable information to prospective clients. You highlight your expertise, how you’ve helped other clients and the benefits of working with you.

What are the Benefits of Ezines?

  • When you market with ezines, your business will be on the top of your clients’ minds. In essence, sending an ezine gives your business free publicity.
  • Unlike other internet marketing platforms, ezines are highly professional and well-suited for B2B marketing. They can also be used to sustain interest from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites.
  • Past customers, clients and prospective clients appreciate reading your thoughtful ideas and learning from your experience. Ezines aren’t advertisements, so recipients are more likely to read them as they arrive in their inbox.
  • An ezine is the perfect platform to strengthen professional relationships. Your readers will come to know your business closely and even come to think of you as a trusted authority in your niche subject.
  • Ezines produce long-term results. Clients interested in your products or services who may not be able to purchase them right away can opt to receive your ezine. Your messages remind them of your business over a long period of time. Once they’re ready to purchase, they’ll turn to you right away.

Creating a strategic, polished ezine for your business will generate growth and build your online presence! Make sure that ezines are an element of your business’ internet marketing campaign. Remember, however, that crafting well-structured and effective copy for your ezine is difficult, so enlist an expert for content strategy and writing help, especially when just starting out.

5 Ways to Jump-Start Creativity

Unlike other skills — such as organization or logical thinking — creativity comes and goes. Sometimes, you’re brain seems to be firing off one great idea after another. Other times, however, you’re stuck.

This may be the reality, but there’s lots you can do to enhance and grow your creativity — and even eliminate the “ruts.” All jobs require creative thinking and writing, from marketing tasks to entrepreneurial strategies, to coming up with dynamic and fresh ways to present information.

With a few simple strategies, you can get your creative juices flowing:

1. Benchmark new sources.

When benchmarking a current or upcoming project, try to find new and interesting sources. Instead of looking at similar projects, businesses or companies that correspond well to yours, challenge yourself to research many projects that differ greatly.

For example, if you’re examining creative ways to improve your business-to-business internet marketing campaign, look at business-to-business examples in highly different companies, business-to-consumer examples, and examples in the military, non-profit and higher education sectors. You may be surprised to find useful techniques when benchmarking these sources.

2. Follow interesting people in your field (and a few who aren’t).

When you follow people with creative perspectives on your work — through their books, blogs and twitter feeds — you benefit from a consistent stream of new ideas. Follow people who are outside your field to stretch your mind and challenge yourself to think about different issues.

3. Arrange informal meetings with creative people.

We all know (and admire) creative people. Nurture your relationships with them by asking for their valuable input on your current projects. Ask someone creative out to lunch to discuss their projects, new strategies and bounce ideas off one another. Collaboration, in any form, breeds creativity.

4. Vary your tasks as much as possible.

Don’t allow yourself to act or think monotonously. Instead, vary tasks as much as possible. When you find yourself becoming “stuck” on one project or tasks, switch to a different one. This will help you stay mentally active and more open to new ideas.

5. Clear your head.

Take the time to step back from your projects to exercise, socialize or learn about something entirely new. This is one of the best ways to refresh creative thinking.

Some people find that more frequent, shorter breaks help jump-start their creativity. I’m one of those people, so the pomodoro technique — where one works for 25 minutes, then takes a 5 minute break — works very well for me. Others prefer to work continuously for a longer period of time and take fewer, longer breaks. No matter what you prefer, try to set a time or use software that reminds you to take regular breaks and clear your head.

How about you? Do you have any other tips for getting out of a creative rut? Are there other ways to enhance your creativity?

5 Benefits of Blogging for your Business

Every business, large or small, has a wealth of information about their products, services and how they benefit customers. Today customers and clients really want learn as much of this information as possible before handing your their hard-earned money.

Blogging is one of the best platforms to communicate this information and share stories of how you help the community, how customers use your product in creative ways or build success with your services.

While it’s hard to gauge the financial benefits of blogging, it promotes your business in many ways:

  1. Establishing your company’s voice and brand. Your blog can develop a highly professional, knowledgeable — and human — voice for the business. By promoting your brand with conversational and approachable language, you’ll establish trust. A great example is Stonyfield Farm’s blog.
  2. Hearing directly from your customers and clients. Blogging is a great way to create a dialogue with your customers. It’s a space where readers can easily comment on your articles, thoughts and ideas; they can also share stories and pictures about their experiences and successes. One of my favorite examples is Sharpie’s blog, where customer’s artwork created with their markers are showcased.
  3. Becoming a resource for customers and clients. By writing about what you know — your area of business — you’ll establish yourself as an expert in the field. Readers will return to your blog again and again to learn. Eventually, many “repeat readers” will become customers. People Impact Practices’ blog about leadership exemplifies this.  
  4. Marketing yourself for little cost. Blogging is inexpensive and there are many important benefits. You can introduce new products, showcase successes and help spread great publicity.
  5. Creating an online presence. Search engines prefer sites that are regularly updated, so blogging gives your site’s ranking a boost.

Creating and maintaining a great business blog is hard work, but the benefits mean it’s worth the work. With a bit of planning and some time spent writing, your blog will add value, strengthen your brand and increase profits.

Keywords and Quality

website

Image via Wikipedia

Bob Bly – a successful copywriter and internet marketer – recently wrote a blog entry “Articles By the Pound” about the challenges of writing articles and content for websites.

Bly argues that instead of opting for keyword-intensive articles that are churned out quickly and inexpensively, website owners and internet marketers should insist on high-quality and interesting articles.

SEO, keyword development and search analytics are very important for ensuring that your website gets found. Without the right search terms, your website, intranet page or blog won’t ever get found by your readers.

However, when writers focus solely on keywords, the language seems forced and, often, generic. Your site may be found more often, but the readers probably aren’t impressed with your content.

How can you improve your website’s content quality and still get found? 

  • Develop an extensive bank of keywords and search terms. Aim for 250 words for an entire website and 50 words for an article. By having a larger bank of options, your keywords won’t be repeated over and over.
  • Write the site’s content WITHOUT looking at the keywords. Write interesting, well-organized articles that speak directly to your audience so they’ll keep coming back to your site for more. This type of writing takes skill and talent, so make sure that it’s valued.
  • Review the website’s copy and replace any words that have a keyword synonym.
  • Review the website’s copy once more and check that you have at least one or two keywords per paragraph. Every title should include a keyword, as well as the footer and page description.

To craft a readable, clear and highly interesting website, your top priority should be the content’s quality and your second priority the keywords. People will easily find your articles and site – plus, those who are seriously interested in your thoughts will be impressed by your knowledge, understanding of your audience and clarity!