The Importance of Consistently

by Lori Saitz

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of the adverb “consistently” is “in a systematic or consistent (reliable, steady) manner.” No matter what you’re doing, doing it consistently is the key to success. Now that I just wrote that, let me add the caveat that whatever you’re doing also needs to be in harmony with the universal concepts of good. I’m thinking someone who consistently robs banks will eventually get caught and therefore not be successful. But I digress.

Recall all the times you’ve started an exercise program. After several weeks of working out consistently, you start to see results. It’s not as important that you work out really hard or for a long time each session as it is that you do it consistently. Maybe the results are not coming as quickly as you would like; that’s okay. Trust that changes are happening. If you continue to work out consistently, after a few more weeks, you’ll see definite and positive improvement in your physical and mental conditioning.

If you want to talk about things moving at a glacial pace, we can look at, well, glaciers. They move incredibly slowly, right? But they are moving consistently and eventually you (okay, maybe not you, but a scientist) will notice that they’re in a different place than they were.

We can apply the same principle of consistency to your business and the good news is it won’t take millions of years to see the changes. Research has discovered that communicating with your clients at least 25 times a year is optimal. WHOA! That’s the initial reaction I get from people when I say that. “Twenty-five times a year is way too much for my business!” No, it’s not. Here’s how you “touch” clients 25 times without being a pest.

Personal contact

You probably talk or meet with each of your clients at least once or twice a year just in the normal course of doing business. Personal contact is very important to keeping the relationship going. If you can’t manage to make a phone call or have lunch with a client once in an entire year, he’s probably not that good of a client. And for sure he won’t be a client for very long.

So that’s two times of contact.

Send birthday acknowledgement

A card, a little gift, something to let him know you remembered his special day. When is the last time one of your vendors or business partners acknowledged your birthday? Has it ever happened? Generally your birthday is a day that is yours alone; it’s not like a national holiday that everyone is celebrating, so it’s your special day. If you have a good relationship with your client, sending a birthday acknowledgement is not a hollow gesture and will be much appreciated.

That’s one more time, so we’re up to three.

Share industry information or tips

You can do this through an e-zine like this one, regular e-mail, a printed newsletter, copies of articles from a magazine, whatever works for you. I recommend sending this kind of information at least once a month. You may argue that you don’t have time to compile stuff that often and that once a quarter is good enough. I’ll give you that quarterly is better than not at all, but higher frequency, more consistently (just like working out) yields better results. If you are providing useful information, recipients will not mind receiving it.

Do it 12 times a year, added to the previous three and we’re at 15.

Mail postcards or greeting cards

Promote a special occasion, upcoming workshop or unusual event. Everyone sends cards and gifts for the holidays at the end of the year. Now more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon to send stuff at Thanksgiving, thinking that will set them apart from all the December exchanges. Who is reaching out at Groundhog Day (February 2), International Customer Loyalty Month (April) or Flag Day (June 14)? Pick a few times throughout the year and use them to express your personality, say thanks for your business or ask for a referral in an unusual way. Your clients will remember you better and more often.

Every other month is six times, plus the 15, and we’ve got 21.

Recognize clients’ accomplishments

When you see an article in the newspaper or hear through the grapevine about a client’s good fortune, send a handwritten note, (or at least an e-mail), to say “Congratulations!” Who doesn’t like recognition for a job well done? And your client will feel good about you for having taken the time/interest to let her know you’re aware of it.

Let’s say you do this once a year and now we’re closer to the target with 22.

Write a column for the local newspaper, industry publication, association newsletter, etc.

Share your expertise with an audience that includes your clients, as well as potential clients. You position yourself as an expert and you reach a lot of people at one time with minimal effort. If there are 1,200 readers, it certainly beats making 1,200 phone calls, doesn’t it?If you get published three times, we’re all the way up to 25! Wow, that wasn’t so difficult.

In addition to these suggestions, you may have some other ideas on what you can do to keep in touch with your clients. Take some time today to come up with a plan for consistently communicating and improving rapport with your clients.

You’ll soon see that whatever you choose to do, doing it consistently yields fantastic results.


Lori Saitz is an appreciation marketing expert and the founder and president of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She created the Zen Rabbit Gratitude Program for business professionals who believe expressing appreciation – for their clients, referral sources and anyone else who supports their success – is important.

Online Writing Made Short Work at iWriter

marketing ideas online writing

Your new website or blog needs content that is going to grab and keep your viewer’s attention. It also needs to appear as if it was written by a true professional. Let’s face it. We’re not all loquacious blog writers and sometimes, our written word may not offer our website what it truly needs to compel readers to action.

If you want content that impresses, you may want to consider paying for articles and buying blog posts. There are many sites where you can find online writing services offering top notch writers (oDesk, Elance, Guru, etc.,) but how do you know where to start? Two popular sites many people use to find writers work are iWriter.com and Fiverr.com. For this article, I will use iWriter and Fiverr as opposites on either side of the online-writing spectrum.
online writing

What is iWriter?

Need an article written? Can’t get to that third blog post this week? Looking for essay writing? Have your writing project done easily by using iWriter.com. Here, “requesters” post requests for writing work. Pick your keywords, suggest the topic and write a short summary to help your prospective writers read your mind. Be sure to include special instructions if you have any other directions that could help a would-be author zero in on your perfect article or blog post.

marketing ideas online writing iwriter

Visit iWriter.com

Your writing jobs are then posted to the writer community (those seeking author and blogging jobs,) at which time someone grabs your request and tries their hand at writing for it. The requester (you who’s buying the article,) can read the article or blog post before you pay. Like the work? Pay for the article. Need revisions? Request them and be specific!

What if you don’t like the article written by your iWriter author? You have no obligation to buy the article. The iWriter website allows you to reject any writing jobs and let someone else try writing it for you. (Keep in mind however, the lower your approval rate, the less likely the higher-quality writers will invest their time into your jobs!) You can also ask the writer to make adjustments to the work so you don’t have to reject them completely (full rejection wastes both yours and your writer’s time, so avoid it when you can.)

To sum up, iWriter is a professional online writing site made for writing and writing only.

online writing

What is Fiverr?

Fiverr is a site where people pay exactly five dollars for a wide variety of services. Here are the categories Fiverr offers:

  • Gifts
  • Graphics & Design
  • Video & Animation
  • Online Marketing
  • Writing & Translation
  • Advertising
  • Business
  • Programming & Tech
  • Music & Audio
  • Fun & Bizarre
  • Lifestyle
  • Other

marketing ideas online writing fiverr

Visit Fiverr.com

If you are looking to have something written for your website or you need some help marketing, you can find that on Fiverr. You will pay no more than $5 for each service or “gig”. While there are some fun gigs on Fiverr, there are also a fair amount of dregs and scams, so buyer beware here! Certain services (such as having fun videos created for you) have a higher chance of quality delivery than others (like this traffic generation scam I ran across.)

With Fiverr, you can also reject your articles if you’re having someone write for you, however you may find your review disappears! (As in, your warning to others that the Fiverr gig vendor is shady or subrate is mysteriously deleted!) Fiverr takes an undisclosed cut of all their gigs, and they seem to protect their top earners; regardless of any sense of good business ethics or transparency.

In review, Fiverr offers an online marketplace for a wide variety of random services.

online writing

Why Use iWriter?

There are several ways you benefit from using the online writing service iWriter for you article-writing needs. Here are some reasons why you should consider becoming a requester on iWriter today.

iWriter is Simple

To begin receiving articles from iWriter, simply sign up, post your writing job and then sit back while writers do the work! Paying is simple and you don’t have to search for good writers to do the job; the writers come to you. Need a really high-quality article written? Pay a little more to have your writing job placed in front of writers with a 4.6- to 5-star rating.

iWriter is Inexpensive

You can pay as little as $1.25 for a quick article. The more you pay, however, the better quality writing you receive. You can pay as much as $18 for a 1000-word article and expect to have gleaming perfection delivered to you from one of iWriter’s premium writers. The amount you pay is up to you. If you are putting the writing on the main page of your website, you may want to spend a little extra to ensure that post is excellent quality. For article marketing, you may feel the backlinks are more important than the quality of the article, so you may target a lower pay range for this work.

As an iWriter Requester, You Call All the Shots

When you place an order for articles you need to have written, you explain exactly what it is you want done in the special instructions area. This is where you can explain to the writer what you want written, how you want it written and what to include. There are also fields where you will specify keywords, article length and article tone so the writer can keep the keyword at a certain percentage if you are using the articles for advertising and marketing.

When a writer completes the first draft of your article, they submit it for your review. If you like it, you simply pay and download. If you don’t like it, you either ask the writer to make revisions to the article or—if it’s a real train wreck—you have the option to turn it down completely. This means you can turn down as many attempts as it takes until you get the article you really want. (As mentioned earlier, it’s best not to reject articles will-nilly because this lowers your approval score and can drive talented writers away from you.)

iWriter Saves You Time!

Often, the turn-around time it takes to receive your article is very fast. One of the ways writers establish their reputation on iWriter is by providing quick responses to writing jobs. Usually, your blogging jobs are accepted right away, which starts the clock on the job. This means you can have quality content written for you within a few hours. If a writer submits their article and you like the first draft, you simply pay for it and it’s yours right away!
online writing

Afterglow

Ultimately, using the iWriter online writing service can save you a lot of time and heartache while bringing you great content for your readers. But then, iWriter is a service dedicated to writing.

While Fiverr is good for certain things, online writing doesn’t seem to be one of them. There are occasionally talented authors found on Fiverr, however they seem to quickly be crushed by a deluge of $5 requests once the Fiverr community discovers them. (I’ve seen several of the best writers on Fiverr remove their writing gigs or fall ridiculously behind in their writing assignments, regularly failing to meet deadlines and compromising their ratings.)

While any online writing service may require some hunting to find your favorite writers, once you have them selected, using a writing site like iWriter can help make your website a content-rich powerhouse. Highly recommended.

»Visit iWriter.com

Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing

Marketing Ideas Article Marketing

Today, article marketing is probably one of the most powerful and inexpensive forms of online marketing available to small business owners and non-profits. For those not savvy with the term “article marketing”, here is a quick definition:

In exchange for a little sweat and focus, an article author (you) shares their wisdom and experience with the world by posting their short article of advice or insight to blogs, social media and article publication sites. Within those articles are one-way links leading back into the author’s own website, raising their website’s “authority” karma with the search engines and increasing their qualified web traffic.

You Are the Expert

Here is a little mental preparation for you. I want to make sure you are looking at article marketing—and yourself—through the proper lens.

When you produce articles, it is your goal to encapsulate gems of experience-hardened wisdom and share them with the online community. In doing so, you:

  1. Help to advise those who are seeking that knowledge, and you
  2. Position yourself as an expert on the topic. (Important!)

Warning: Don’t get caught on the term “expert.” Many humble folks who are vastly knowledgeable about their industry wouldn’t refer to themselves as experts because they are also aware there is much they don’t know. You don’t have to know it all. You just need to know more than your customers and then know where to find the answers when you are stumped.

Your Mission: Inspire, Inform, Entertain

Your primary goal in business is to help, right? Businesses and non-profit organizations provide products and services with the intent of helping people. (Naïve? Maybe. Choosing to see the best? Definitely.) That might mean helping to:

  1. Provide a solution to a problem,
  2. Offer inspiration, motivation or elevation,
  3. Foster greater awareness to a social concern, or even to
  4. Entertain and enthrall.

The best place to start? Begin with what you know. Offer advice. Offer your life experience. Offer sagacious words of wisdom. Expound and elucidate. Maybe even do a little research. Article marketing is your vehicle for taking your wisdom to your audience, answering their questions before their questions have bubbled up.

Step 1: Target Your Topic

What do you specialize in? What do you know a lot about? What is the point to your website? After all, the goal of any article marketing campaign is to place articles of value out into the world and grow your number of back links (links that point back to your website from another website.) Google and other popular search engines/directories see these links leading into your website as proof you must be something of an authority.

Translation: On the Internet, you are somebody important if other people say you are. It’s like high school all over again! Yeah!

Step 2: Write the Article

To begin marketing with articles, you must write the articles. No kidding. Sure, there is some work involved here, but the rewards can be great as qualified traffic to your website increases. Yes, I’m aware there are certain sources for pre-written articles on a myriad of topics, however I would recommend against putting your name on other people’s work. Call me paranoid, but here are some possible dangers with this:

  1. Loss of credibility and damage to your reputation when it’s discovered you’re not writing your own material,
  2. Being called upon to discuss a topic you barely considered to begin with, and
  3. Being accountable for someone else’s errors if they pop up.

Remember: One of the greatest things about writing is the fact you’re building an asset when you write. You are building a body of reproducible and shareable knowledge. This is what “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author, Rob Kiyosaki, refers to as “doing it once and replicating it over and over.”

To write an article, you don’t have to be a Harvard literature graduate, but you should know how to complete a thought, hold a one-way conversation with a friend, and use spellcheck.

  • First, know what your goal is for your article. What is your point? Being clear on this will help keep you on track as craft your introduction, body and conclusion.
  • Next, pretend you are relaying this information to a friend. What would you say? How would you counsel this friend if they came to you seeking this advice?
  • Finally, use spellcheck. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Read the article aloud to test for smooth flow and phrasing. Ferret out all typos, grammatical errors and punctuation gaffs. If missed, these mistakes can detract from your writing and credibility.

The Resource Box

The last detail you’ll consider for your article will be your resource box. Your resource box is the little paragraph at the end of your article that tells the reader a little about you and how to contact you. It should always include a link to your website. Always. You want your readers to be able to find you if they desire more information and you want the search engines to see you as an authority through that back link, remember?

Key point: In your resource box, you don’t always have to use the same link back to your website’s homepage. In fact, you will likely have greater success by linking to the page on your site most closely related to your article’s topic. This moves visitors from the article directly to their topic of interest. (For example, if a web design company also offers web hosting, their article “How to pick the best web host” should link back to the page on their website that describes their web hosting services.)

Step 3: Launch!

There! You have produced a shiny little gem of literary brilliance. Now it is time to set it free.

  • Place it on your blog (if you have one and if it fits appropriately.)
  • Share it with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and your other social media outlets. You can post it over and over by hand or use tools like PingFM to automate this process.
  • Submit your article to free article directories! Here are the top 10 most popular article directories, according to list of the top 50, found at http://www.vretoolbar.com/articles/directories.php:
  1. seekingalpha.com
  2. ehow.com
  3. hubpages.com
  4. biggerpockets.com/articles
  5. ezinearticles.com
  6. brighthub.com
  7. buzzle.com
  8. textbroker.com
  9. selfgrowth.com
  10. knoji.com/articles/
  • Use an article submission software or service to shorten this process. One good example is isnare.com.
  • Feeling brave? Record your article as you read it into a microphone and post it to iTunes.
  • Braver still? Use your digital video camera and post your work to YouTube, Vimeo and the like.

Step 4: Track Your Results

Just because you’ve accomplished the first three steps of deciding, drafting and delivering your article, don’t think you’re done! You should be watching to see how this article affects your traffic. Did you see an increase? Did your website’s conversion rate (the number of calls, emails, sign-ups, sales, etc.) edge up? If not, did your article compel people to want to know more? Did it provide enough value? Was it placed properly?

Marketing Tip: Use the powerful and free traffic-tracking tool, Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics). Design your Analytics reports and schedule them to automatically arrive in your inbox as frequently as you like.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Now do it again. Find different-but-related categories to place your articles under so they don’t compete with each other. Discuss different aspects of products and services you offer. Determine how often you will produce and post your articles. This depends on how intensely you will run your article marketing campaign. You’ll need to weigh your priorities against your normal day-to-day workload, your goals and the competitiveness of your industry.

If you’re just starting out, aim to write weekly or bi-weekly articles using the promotional campaign in Step 3 as a model. If you are an ambitious writer or blogger, step up your efforts to daily and spread your articles across the media outlets.

Marketing Tip: Since you’re writing these articles anyways, you may as well post them to your website to keep your site’s content fresh. Then place them in your online newsletter and send them to your mailing list.

Afterglow

At this point, you have enough of a blueprint to successfully manage your own article marketing campaign. Writing articles can be a fun way to promote your website and your effort, but it can also be a great way to collect your thoughts and bring greater clarity to challenges you and your audience may be facing. Use articles to entertain, educate and inspire!

In support of your efforts,
M

Marketing Ideas #13-17: Provide Value First

Marketing Ideas Provide Value First

One of the best ways to stay in front of your audience or market is to provide value first. One of the best ways to provide this value is to deliver great information, especially important in today’s information-based society. Pulling together information and knowledge for people accomplishes a few things:

  • First, it helps you clarify your thoughts. Taking even a small amount of time to write on matters important to your industry will greatly assist you in those instances where you’re called upon to speak on such topics.
  • Secondly, in providing useful information to others, you make yourself a resource, which is paramount in gaining credibility.
  • Third, in writing or compiling information, you are furthering your own education.

Marketing Ideas Boy with FlowerExamples: Here are a number of ways you might deliver valuable information to others:

#13: Write an instructional brochure.

#14: Start a quarterly, monthly, or weekly newsletter.

#15: Submit an article to local newspapers or business magazines.

#16: Produce and distribute an audio or video presentation on a topic in your industry. Deliver this valuable information through an interactive CD or via the Internet.

#17: Publish a book.