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How Blogging Can Boost Your Business

Matthew Keener - Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blogging for Business Defined

Why do you think business owners or business managers would want to focus on blogging if it will not be beneficial to their business at all? You're right. You could already say that there should be no more question as to why more and more business owners are gearing towards doing blogging for business.

It is obvious that blogging has proven its worth as far as any business is concern. Blogging has slowly and surely picked up speed as more and more business owners are realizing the benefits that blogging brings to business. Here is blogging defined for us to better understand why more and more business owners are into blogging for business nowadays.

Delineating Blog

As Pyra Labs Blogger has put it, a "blog" is actually a web page composed of some short and concise, regularly updated posts arranged by order of the dates posted. It was originally called "weblogs" in 1997 as thought up by a certain Jorn Barger. These weblogs started gaining popularity in 1999 when quite a number of companies as well as developers came out with blogging software and tools that would make blogging much easier to use. And since then, the number of users patronizing blogging has boomed from just a thousand to about a hundred million of bloggers.

Business Blog Category

There are two kinds of blogging: the personal blogs which are a combination of a personal diary or journal with some postings on opinions and where research links are present; and the business blogs which is considered more of as a communication tool for promoting business to existing clients and prospective or new and potential customers.

Blogging For Marketing Purposes

Blogging for business is also usually made as a venue for marketing products and services, communicating the special features and benefits of each product or service. It has slowly yet captivatingly seized the attention of the global business community what with the dramatic increase in the number of bloggers recorded. Truly, blogs are a brilliant technique a business owner can use for sharing or campaigning its expertise and business portfolio. These, while at the same time boosting the site's traffic and connecting with new prospective customers as well.

What's In It For The Smaller Businesses Then?

As for small enterprises or businesses which have just recently started and recognized the benefits of blogging on their business, there are also known benefits to them which include the following:

Very Easy To Use

Basically, jot down your thoughts, link your site to other various resources, and after which you should publish to your blog, in just a few push of the buttons. You may try using the Blog software applications such as the Movable Type, and Typepad since they are all known to provide user-friendly blogging tools for your business.

A Low-Cost Alternative

Setting up your own blog site on the Web will not even hurt your pockets. It is a very cost-effective alternative to indulging into advertising and marketing promotions. As we know these advertising and marketing endorsements will cost your business a great deal of money just to promote your products and services. And especially for small business owners who do not have much resource yet to learn blogging for business, you may simply hire a Web developer or do not have the time to learn about web html, then settle with the cheaper means of getting your business' name visible online.

Jelly can't turn into Cheese

Matthew Keener - Monday, May 24, 2010
Everyone's heard of a company called Kraft. "Hey, those are the cheese people." Yup. For years, Kraft and cheese were one and the same. It was an example of branding with a position competitors would have been hard-pressed to wear down had company brass been content in their cheesiness. They weren't. Like many companies blessed with strong brands, Kraft began to think their brand name was invincible and that any product introduced under its banner would dominate their markets simply because of its name. So, Kraft began offering jams, jellies and mayonnaise among other things.

The numerical truth about Kraft's brand extension strategy

Ohio-based Smucker's owns 35% of the jams and jellies market. Kraft has 9%. Hellman's mayonnaise has 42% of the mayo market. Kraft has 18%. The plan for equal domination didn't quite work out as planned. Despite its dominance in the cheese market, Kraft was relegated to bit player status in these other categories. Their strategy of trying to leverage a great brand name into being all things to all people resulted in few real winning products.

People who wish to expand into other product areas need to do so by using a strong brand identity as the foundation of its marketing strategy. Either that or create new product lines that somehow relate to your old product line, such as cheese companies putting out a line of pre-made cheese and cracker snacks. What Ritz did with Mini Ritz sandwiches, Kraft could have easily done by focusing the product's marketing slant on the cheese in the cracker.

Over the long term, as your brand becomes synonymous with a specific kind of product or service, more people will turn to you for that product or service...and continue to do so because they believe they're getting quality only a specialist can provide.

A jack-of-all-trades really is master of none. So if you are a master, or wish to become one, do it. Be it. Just not to everyone.

Be Kind, Re-Tweet

Matthew Keener - Friday, May 21, 2010

Now let's talk about getting your Tweets spread even further and increasing the chance of meeting even more people by using 're-tweetsí.

Re-tweeting is a common practice on Twitter where youíll re-post someone else's tweet that you like and you think your followers will like.

With this method, you take the original twitter message someone else has posted, and rebroadcast that same message to your followers. To do a re-tweet, simply type in RT at the beginning of your tweet and then a @ before the original tweeters username followed by their original tweet.

Now Twitter will let you click the Retweet button on the Twitter website which will set up the RT function automatically.
Reasons To Re-Tweet

When broadcasting the message, you should definitely give credit to the original poster in the way I showed you above.  I know at first it may sound like this will only be good for the original tweeter, but retweeting can actually benefit you just as much if not more because;

1.  It provides more value to your followers.

When you provide value to your followers, you make them happy! You are also more likely to attract followers. Providing quality content is always a great way to build your business no matter what platform you use.

2. It will benefit your brand.

If you point a reader to a source if good information that is truly relevant and beneficial to them, the amount of trust that they have in you will increase.

3. It will help you build relationships with the original posters.

Retweeting someone elseís content is an act of kindness, and for the most part bloggers like to return the favor. You shouldn't expect someone to re-tweet your content just because you retweet theirs. Just keep in mind that your chance of being on the other end of a re-tweet increases as you retweet.

Retweeting is all about providing value to your followers so if you want others to retweet your post then you want to make sure that you are providing them with quality content worth tweeting about.

The bottom line is retweeting is a great way to add quality and value to your Twitter page. If done right, retweeting can help you educate your followers, build your personal brand, increase future traffic, and connect you to other great people in your niche.

Just be careful if you use it incorrectly, retweeting can actually hurt your personal brand and future traffic. You want to treat your followers like gold. Don't ever send them to inappropriate websites or spam them with one sales pitch after another.

Start following Easyfish on Twitter today, and give Re-Tweeting a try.

A Recipe for good Branding

Matthew Keener - Thursday, May 20, 2010

Three Key Ingredients in Branding

Personal Branding can be the most influential tool for success. You can identify, package and sell who you are to build a personal brand that results in business growth, influence, and income.
Here are three key things you need to develop a strong personal brand:

1. Get clear on your personal strengths, talents, values, and core area of expertise. Understand how you connect best with people. Consider what your target audience needs and wants, and then identify the value and the experience that you can deliver to meet those needs and wants. Communicate in ways that reach into the hearts and minds of your target audience and connect with their core values and deepest desires.

2. The personal branding process is about having self-awareness of your strengths and talents, and then letting everyone know about your gifts, talents, and experience. It's about giving a clear impression of who you are, what you value, what you're committed to, and how you can be counted upon to act. Your branding statement must provide a clear, concise view of your unique set of strengths and tell why you can do it better than anyone else. You need to be able to state clearly and unequivocally why you are different than everyone else, and what services you offer that make you unique and set you ahead of your competition.

3.Consistency is one of the keys to building a strong personal brand. Be aware of being consistent in every interaction you have, both in what you say and how you respond.
Establishing a Professional Brand is absolutely critical to long term, sustainable business growth. In an overcrowded marketplace, if you're not standing out, then you're invisible. Branding your products and services will give you an edge over your competition and enhance your value to your target market. 

Keep on Tweeting on! Twitter Strategy for your business.

Matthew Keener - Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Believe it or not regularly updating your tweets will help you drive more traffic to your site. Avid Twitter users like people who post tweets regularly. If you want to gain active followers through your tweets you will want to set up a schedule for posting and do your best to stick to it.

You will also want to make sure that you reply to the tweets addressed to you. I don't recommend that you stay on the site all day or spend long hours tweeting away your time. Just pick a good time once or twice a day and login.

If you have a mobile device, all the better because you can sync it up with your Twitter account and you won't have to worry about being away from your computer.

Don't worry if your followers don't become active right away. It may take some time, but they will begin to notice the times that you are more active and after a while they will join in your conversations, which is one of your main goals.

Just remember the basic rule we talked about in chapter three "keep 90% of your tweets full of helpful content and limit your promotional ones". This way you will keep the followers that really matter.

While some personal tweets are a must if you want to help your followers get to know you, you will want to avoid sending out to many personal or unrelated tweets because it can actually cause you to lose followers. After all there aren't too many of your business contacts that will want to hear that you took a shower or what you had for breakfast, so keep your tweets focused!

By taking the time to build good relationships with your followers, you will be laying the ground work for converting them into lifetime customer for your products or business. Establishing a good relationship with your followers is vital if you want to take advantage of the massive flow of traffic that pours through Twitter every day.

Here is a little checklist that you can keep handy:

  • Let everyone know that youíre on Twitter.
  • Send tweets regularly.
  • Retweet good content.
  • Reply to the tweets addressed to you.
  • Pay attention to the kind of tweets youíre sending.
  • Make the tweets personal, but not too personal.
  • Most of all, build good relationships.

 Using Twitter is fun and easy that is why is has such a big draw.  I'll be honest, not everyone who uses Twitter as a marketing tool  will be successful because it takes time, effort, and patience to  see effective results. But if you follow these steps regularly you  should see an increase of activity and conversion.

What's Twitter and Why Should I be Using It?

- Thursday, April 08, 2010

Twitter is not just for teens or trendy tech geeks anymore. Twitter is a genuine sales tool, and if you see it any other way, you and your business are missing a major opportunity. 

What started in 2007 as an abbreviated form of Facebook has turned into a mammoth marketing machine for all businesses, big and small. According to the Pew Research Center, 1 out of every 5 Internet users is on twitter and that number is doubling each year.

So what is it? Twitter is essentially a form of micro-blogging. It’s short, sweet, and easy. While a blog can be quite an undertaking, twitter lets you get your message out without fancy headers, high-resolution pictures and expensive templates. It’s a very simplified way to spread the word.

Twitter users are able to send out short “tweets” from their computer or mobile device, not exceeding 140 characters, to communicate with their followers. Is your business having a promotion? Do you have a blog or article you’d like to promote? Is there a tip you’d like to share about your business? Twitter is one of the most powerful self-promotion tools on the web at the moment. You can communicate with an unlimited amount of people in the blink of an eye.

Twitter also allows you to run searches on user's conversations. Why is this important? Say you are on your way to Asheville and you’re STARVING. You tweet something about food, Asheville, and being hungry. Local Asheville eateries can be searching for conversations involving those keywords. They could then @reply you and let you know they’d love to have you join them for lunch, and add a link with directions to the restaurant. If you’re in the business seat of this scenario, you’ve just sent out a personal invitation to someone to come spend money at your establishment in a matter of seconds!

The real-time search component of Twitter is what makes it such a powerful business tool. Business owners have instant, live access to exactly what people are saying about their service or product. By using this valuable information, and acting on it, Twitter-friendly businesses can grow their customer relationships by leaps and bounds.

It doesn’t stop there though. Building good Twitter relationships with your fellow “tweeps” is crucial and can push your brand harder and faster than you could imagine. When you develop Twitter relationships, your friends will “retweet” your messages, spreading it to their followers. There’s no limit to how many eyes can see your company’s message when you get twitter working for you.

 You’re probably wondering, “How do I even get followers? How do I get people listening to my message?” The answer is simple and twofold. You follow others and you tweet like nobody’s business. In the same vein of thought as blogging, you don’t start a blog with an instant readership of thousands of people. You start with maybe two readers, which are probably both related to you. But you keep blogging anyway, and eventually gain readers. Twitter is no different. Just start following and start tweeting- the process will happen organically from there.

 To get your tweeting off on the right foot, here are few rules of the game.

1) Decide if you want to promote your business or yourself. For some who’s name is synonymous with their business, the lines can be a little blurry.

2) Include a profile picture!! The only people who don’t use a profile picture are twitter spammers.

3) Plaster your brand on your twitter page. You can customize your backgrounds to match your logos and it’s highly recommended.

4) Don’t be too shy to @reply anyone. When you use the @ symbol in front of another user’s twitter name, you publicly send a tweet directly to that person. This is how you build twitter relationships. For example, “ @chickfila I had a great lunch today!” When you @ reply, the username becomes a link, allowing your followers to click on that user and see their profile and tweets

5) Retweet anything you find interesting. Also know as just “RT” in Twitterworld, this is when you copy someone else’s tweet and share it with your followers. This is another great way to build relationships. The user that you are retweeting will see what you’ve done, and probably take note.

6) Direct Messages are as good as a quick email. If you want to send private information to someone, like a personal phone number or address, you can send what twitter slang calls a “DM” or direct message. These are not shown on your twitter feed or theirs. It’s a private conversation between you and your twitter friends.

Local Business or Local Dinosaur?

jeffrey greer - Friday, January 08, 2010

Well, I am only a local business you say and that fancy marketing stuff does not apply to me?   This will not work for my business. I have a website and it doesn’t work, I don’t believe this will work either.  Besides, I don’t understand any of the techno-babble. This is not for me! 

Well, you know, that’s what Rex stubbornly and defiantly said too - Tyrannosaurus Rex.  You remember him.  He was a local dinosaur that failed to adapt to his new environment.  He quickly became extinct and went out of the dinosaur business forever.  Read here about a local Hair Salon Case Study that refused to go the way of Rex.

A week in the life of owning the 21st Century Hair Salon

Monday – You decide to run a 25% off sale on one of your best product lines.  You have an e-mail listing of customers who have bought this brand of product from you in the past and you are ready to market this special to this grouping. You upload a few photos from your product catalog, create the e-mail blast and you are off to the races. By 2:00 pm you have sold $370.00 worth of product from your online business.   

Wednesday -   Just opened and the phone rings from two of your best customers. They always come together from 3:00 – 4:00 every Tuesday.  Today, they had to cancel.  You have two empty chairs to fill.  You quickly log on to your online business module, send out 20 customers (on your special cancellation list) an SMS text message to hit their cell phones.   Your announcement states you have two unexpected vacancies this afternoon from 3:00 – 4:00 pm.   The first two respondents, you state in your offer, get 40% off.   Within 10 minutes your chairs are no longer vacant.     

Friday – You send out your Newsletter via an e-mail blast to all your customers.  This newsletter describes the style of the month you are promoting.  You showcase a new shampoo, from your high margin product line,  that will not promote wax build up like those popular grocery store brands. Next, you introduce your new stylist Rachel that just joined your team.  Rachel used to work for one of your competitors where she was quite popular.  You want to get the work out and you are able to do so in an instant. 

Saturday – You login to your online business bookings and see that you are jam-packed next week and all of your stylists have chairs full.  Life is good. You are happy.  You are nowhere near extinction because you have been trained to embrace and adapt, your business is thriving.  All this for less than $300.00 per month!  Does this beat that big clunky, yellow book filled with phone numbers, you ask yourself?  You bet.

If you run a local Restaurant it’s Monday afternoon and reservations are looking light, you decide to send out a coupon  e-blast at 3:00 pm.  The coupon states that kids eat free and Mom and Dad get a free dessert or appetizer.  2 hours later, the reservations are closed for the evening.  At 10:00 p.m., you are a happy owner.

Whether you are a local Chiropractor, Attorney, Dog Groomer, Real Estate Agent, Landscaper or Lawn Service it really doesn’t matter.  We can help you grow your business.  We can help you adapt.  We can teach you how to learn and maneuver, we can help you take full advantage of what’s available and increase your profitability.    Let’s find a stream with a strong current that is well stocked.  It’s time to fish or cut bait.  Let’s get started.

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