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Are You Repelling Prospects? Good!

A hundred years ago a shop might have tried to be many things to most people. In fact, big box stores still do that today, with good success. Walmart is everything and all things to those looking for the cheapest price. But even they repel customers – namely those people who value service and quality over price.

Are You Repelling Prospects? Good!

These days it pays to specialize. Rather than trying to be most things to most people, you want to do one thing and do it really, really well. If you teach gardening techniques, rather than teaching everything to every gardener, pick a focus such as organic vegetable gardening. If you teach marketing, teach it to a very specific audiences, such as chiropractors or coffee shops or contractors.

Yes, you’ll be repelling the vast majority of customers, but you’ll also be attracting the exact prospects you can help the most. And in so doing, you can also charge accordingly.

After all, who commands the highest price – the person who teaches generic marketing techniques to anyone and everyone? Or the specialist who teaches plumbers to build their businesses to seven figures? Every time, it will be the specialist. If you don’t believe it, look at the health care industry, one of the biggest businesses of all. Who makes more – a general practitioner or a heart surgeon? Specializing pays, and it pays big.

One more benefit of specializing and perhaps the most important of all is this: You become the ONLY choice. When a dentist wants advice on building his practice and he’s faced with 10 choices – 9 of whom do marketing for any kind of business and 1 who works exclusively with dentists, there simply is no competition. Even if your prices are double or triple of your so called competitors, because you are the specialist you will win the business nearly every time.

Bottom line: Know exactly who your target audience is, become their ONLY choice, and repel everyone else who is not a good fit. You’ll attract better customers who appreciate you more and are happy to pay for your specialized service and products.

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15 Free Ways to Get More Blog Post Views

You’ve written a truly terrific blog post. In fact, you’ve written dozens of them – yet your traffic still looks more like a ghost town than the bustling metropolis you were hoping for. Here are 15 ways to drive traffic to your blog posts without monetary cost.

15 Free Ways to Get More Blog Post Views

1. Add social sharing buttons to your posts. The easier it is for your readers to share your posts, the more likely they will do so.

2. ASK your readers to share your content. At the end of your post, you might write something simple like, “If you found this helpful, please share.”

3. Build up your own contacts. Make list building a priority so you can capture as many visitors as possible. Encourage people to join your list, follow you on social media, etc. Use bribes and offer great info to get them on board, then take good care of them to ensure they stay with you. When you write a new post, ask them to not only read it, but share it liberally with their own networks.

4. Email your list each time you post great content. This one seems too obvious, but it’s surprising how many bloggers don’t do it. Make sure your email is optimized for all size of screens. And rethink the timing of your email. It used to be that first thing in the morning was best, but now that people are deluged with marketing emails, later in the day when they’re not so rushed might be better.

5. Build up your V.I.P. Contact list. Make friends with those in your niche. Promote their blog posts and their work. Build relationships. When you write posts, they’ll want to reciprocate and promote you as well.

6. Link to websites, blogs and authors who have large social media followings. In your blog post, find ways to mention these folks in a positive way. Maybe you reference one of their posts, or a technique they’re using. When your blog post goes live, send them a message letting them know you mentioned them. Often they will tell their followers and you could get a nice flood of traffic along with a new contact.

7. Do a case study on someone successful. This could be one of those bloggers in your niche with a large following. Analyze what makes them so successful, do an interview with them, get quotes from their followers, etc. Again, you’ll get a big surge of traffic when they promote your post to their followers, plus you’ll have a new friend.

8. Target a specific blogger. In this case, you’re choosing a topic that you know is near and dear to a particular blogger. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to look at their recent posts, find one that was emotionally driven, and write your own post about the topic. You might point out in your post how this blogger was right about the topic, but use a slightly different angle on the story. You’re not copying what they did, you’re taking it up a notch or moving it in a different direction.

9. Get influential opinions. When you’re writing a post, email a pertinent question to several influential people and ask their opinion. Everyone loves to give an opinion, and unlike a full-fledged interview, it only takes a couple of minutes to answer. Then quote these people in your post and let them know when you post it. Odds are they’ll share it with others. Added bonus: Placing movers and shakers in your posts also increases the chances of your post being shared by readers.

10. Use quotes from personalities in your niche. This one is really easy to do and it doesn’t even have to affect the flow of your post. Simply find appropriate quotes from leaders and shakers in your niche and insert them between sections of your post where appropriate. It’s a great way to visually break up the copy and you can link the quotes back to the original author. Be sure to let the authors know you quoted them.

11. Write lists. You might list the “10 most influential people in your niche,” for example, and link to all ten influencers. Posts like these tend to get shared a great deal.

12. Use infographics in your posts. Yes, it takes extra effort and / or money to generate an infographic, but the results can be powerful. People love infographics and are more likely to share them with others. And if you’re on Pinterest, you’ve already seen how viral infographics can be.

13. Go negative. Write a blogpost on the things you’re doing or have done wrong, or the mistakes people are making. Fear of loss is greater than desire for gain. People are more likely to read and share “10 things you’re doing wrong” than “10 things you’re doing right.” Just don’t go too negative or you’ll turn people off.

14. Be contrarian. If everyone else thinks one way, make an argument the other way. Be polite, be nice, but clearly state your case, your evidence, and why you think the way you do. If it’s a topic people care about, your post is very likely to go viral. Be ready for a major traffic surge as well as many heated comments on both sides of the issue.

15. Present one post in several different ways via social media. Let’s say you have a post on how to raise pigs. Different sections of the post might include: Choosing the piglets (or birthing the piglets, if you own the sow) feeding them when they’re young, housing, feeding when they’re older, exercise, training, things to watch out for, health issues, etc. Each of these topics can be individually highlighted in social media, so that you have several different ways to promote your post instead of just one.

If you spend as much time promoting your post as you took writing it, you should see a dramatic upturn in your traffic. One good rule is to do 5 things every day that promotes a post on your blog. Make this a habit and traffic will never again be an issue for you.

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The Word of Mouth “Secret” to Advertising

One of the biggest expenses for some businesses is advertising. Think about the auto repair shop, the kitchen cabinet maker, the plumber, etc. They can spend a small fortune each month running ads that might not even pay off. After all, what’s the reaction of most people to advertising? It’s disbelief. “Sure they say they’re great, but… They all say that!”

The Secret to Word of Mouth Advertising

But what if you could show offline clients how to get all of their business from referrals, thereby saving the money they spend on advertising? What would that be worth to them? Frankly, it should be worth about 2-3 months of their current advertising budget, paid directly to you.

This won’t work for all businesses, so use your best judgement on which businesses to work with using this strategy. While every business will be different, you can quickly learn the basics on how to set up a referral system that brings in as much if not more business than their current advertising.

Let’s use an automotive repair shop for our example. First, what do most people think of when considering auto repair places? The shops are dirty, the mechanics try to take advantage of customers by doing work that doesn’t need to be done, they take too long to make repairs, you have to arrange for transportation while you don’t have your car, their waiting room is depressing, etc.

We want to change all of those things. Cleaning the shop up won’t cost a thing beyond labor and it can make a tremendous difference in how people perceive the shop when they arrive. If the outside of the shop needs a new coat of paint, some flowers planted in the bed out front or a fresh sign, it should be seen to. This alone can bring more business in off the street.

Next, unless the mechanics are really good at explaining what needs to be done to the mechanically illiterate, there should be a liaison between the mechanics and customers. This liaison will show the customer what the problem is, what might have caused it, why it needs to be fixed and what it will cost. A clear, thorough explanation without technical mumbo-jumbo can go a long way to putting the customer at ease and making them feel they’re not being taken advantage of.

If the work is going to take longer than, say, 90 minutes, the auto shop either provides a loaner car or offers to drive the customer to their home or place of work, picking them up when the car is ready. How many auto places do this? Almost none. Imagine the word of mouth this alone can create.

If the customer opts to wait for the car, they’re shown into a waiting room that looks more like a living room than a nasty waiting room. The chairs are plush and comfortable, there’s flat surfaces if they want to work on a laptop or do anything at a desk, and instead of the usual daytime television, there’s a DVD playing of a truly funny and non-offensive comedian. Who doesn’t feel better after laughing? Plus there’s beverages – not just coffee – and maybe even some bagels, fruit or danish.

After the repair is made, the car is washed and cleaned. The bigger the repair, the better the washing and cleaning. This could range from a quick exterior wash to a full wash and wax outside, vacuuming and wipe down inside. An alternative would be to set up an affiliation with a nearby car wash, getting car wash tokens in bulk at a discount. Then for every $x amount of money spent, the customer gets a token. If the amount is $50, then on a $300 repair job the customer would get 6 tokens which could be used for 6 car washes. This is hugely unexpected by the customer and something they’re likely to brag about to others for weeks.

If the customer doesn’t receive car wash tokens, she should be given something. It could be as simple as homemade looking cookies for the road or a cup of good coffee to go. As the customer is paying her bill and receiving her tokens, she gets a very brief questionnaire about her experience. The final question is, “Can we use your comments for marketing purposes?” Thanks to the law of reciprocity and the small gift she received, she’s almost certainly going to say ‘yes.’ These comments can be put on the business’ website, and after several months should number in the hundreds. If they ever do more advertising, all they’ll need is a list of these comments along with their hours and location to create a very effective ad.

The customer gets an actual thank you card in the mail within 2 days of her experience at the shop. On the card is a photo of the shop with all the employees out front, holding a giant blank sign. Only the sign isn’t blank, it only appears that way when the photo is taken. Before sending it out, “THANK YOU customer name!” is hand written onto that blank sign. If they have the technology they can do this in Photoshop, but hand writing it in is fine. In the card is a very warm thank you along with 2-3 magnets containing the business’ details and the suggestion she give one or two to friends.

Finally, 3 to 6 days later the customer gets a follow up phone call, inquiring if the car is still running fine and making sure everything is alright. If there should be any problem, being this proactive will keep the business in good favor with the customer. And if everything is fine, it leaves the customer with a very warm, cared-about feeling that they simply don’t get with the typical auto mechanic.

This has been just one example – how you set up a referral program will vary according to the type of business you’re working with. You probably noticed that nowhere in this sequence did we actually ask the customer for referrals. Typically the best way to get great word-of-mouth advertising isn’t to ask for it – it’s to give the customer such an amazing experience, they just have to brag to others about it.

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