To be honest, this milestone would have passed me by if LinkedIn hadn’t sent me a notice. At first I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long!” Then I started thinking about the other things it means. It means this blog is five years old. It means I’m five years older. It means I’ve found a place for myself professionally.
When this business started, Utah was hit with the Great Recession. I wrote this blog for a month and then I started networking in person. That’s when I started getting business and this blog served as a resource to show people I knew what I was doing.
A lot has changed in online marketing over the past five years. Social media is a real thing now. Back then digital marketing practitioners had to persuade businesses to use social media. Now social media is just a given of any web marketing plan.
I became so convinced, I changed the name of the company from SEO by Swaby to Swaby Online Media. It was a move I believe reflected the diversity of what I did in online marketing.
I’ve been very blessed along the way to get help from different people. One early piece of advice I got was to be as specific as I could about who I wanted to work for. That’s difficult to do when you’re trying to keep up with the bills and any money that comes in seems to be the same. It’s not. Being specific about your client is probably the best advice I got. I tried to narrow things down, but it still isn’t narrow enough when your clients include a home builder, a doctor and a start-up designer blanket company.
So I’ve now decided I only want to work with service based businesses in finance and real estate. This makes my target client real estate agents and brokers, mortgage professionals and insurance offices. That’s still fairly broad, but much more focused. When you know who you want to work with, it becomes easier to find them!
Another lesson I learned is to network in person. As I said earlier, I spent my first month in business writing for this blog. Then I went out and networked. Networking got me business but it also got me some perspective. It’s lonely being a solopreneur. Networking got me out of the house, gave me fresh ideas, allowed me to speak in public and helped me establish myself as an expert.
Over the years, I did have regular employment in spurts. I had one gig that looked like regular employment, but they were still really a client. Another challenge in being self-employed is commitment. It’s easy to be committed when you have clients, but a lot more difficult when you don’t. One of the main reasons I started this business is I recognized the economy was changing. America is going to be filled with people who have their own businesses, consult or work multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. This was research I had done 15 years ago, so I was committed to the idea of working for myself.
However, working for yourself isn’t idyllic. It means chasing new business. It means chasing checks. It means criticism. It means losing clients. It means it can be a wild and crazy ride.
My life is a lot different now and more ideally suited for self-employment. I’ve downsized financially so my overhead is low. I have a family commitment that makes my time precious. All my circumstances compel me to be self-employed and keep this business going, so that’s what I’m going to do. I have a new client from my focused target market and I will continue develop business in those industries.
It’s been a great ride so far and I’m looking forward to the next five years!
Email marketing is still a viable and effective strategy to get sales, referrals and stay in contact with clients. The key is to have a strategy and stick to it. There are two main types of email marketing – drip marketing and blast marketing. Let’s take a look at what they mean and how they can be used in your business.
Blast marketing is designed as a one off, or part of a small campaign to promote a product or service with the singular idea the recipient will take action because of the message. Think about retail sales emails as an example. Email blasts can be sent to your existing database, a purchased list or even a joint venture with another business.
Drip marketing is very different in its execution, but can have some of the same desirable effects of blast marketing. Drip emails are designed for prospects or clients as a stay in touch method. Ultimately drip emails are designed to increase sales, but before that happens, they can be used to generate referrals, build traffic to your website and grow your social media channels. Drip emails are designed to be sent to people who know you – clients, referrals, prospects. They also take more time to create and execute since you are NOT directly selling.
What most small business owners don’t realize is email marketing has to be multifaceted. The goals of email marketing are to:
- Get sales
- Acquire clients
- Get referrals
- Stay in touch with existing clients
- Increase traffic to your website
- Increase your social media channels
- Build your drip marketing list
Did you notice the last item on that list? How do you build your drip marketing database? The answer is to get more clients or customers and you do that by making more sales.
- Make sure you ask your customers to join your list. You can do this at the point of sale or when you do post close follow up.
- Acquire databases for your list.
- Make sure you’re collecting emails and sending them something!
- Leverage your social channels to build your list.
Now that you understand the difference between blast marketing and drip marketing, you’ll be able to start utilizing them as part of your strategy. In a future article, I’ll dive deeper into drip marketing.
I’ve said it before; the whole point of marketing is to get you, a.k.a. your sales team, in front of real, live decision makers. What happens if you outsource sales to technology or overseas? Here’s an example. My snarky additions are in parentheses.
Chat with: Visitor, Jeff
Jeff: Hello, thanks for contacting Preferred Law Team. My name is Jeff, may I have your name?
Jeff: Hi Ben
Jeff: How can I assist you?
Visitor: I was wondering who won the Alabama vs. Va. Tech game on Saturday? (A current event to assess who I’m really speaking with.)
Jeff: I see. Before we proceed, may I have your phone number and email to better assist you?
Jeff: I see.
Visitor: Are you software or an outsourced, overseas agent? (When I first thought I wasn’t dealing with a human.)
Jeff: I am sorry as I am not allowed to disclose that information.
Jeff: Is there anything else I can help you with regarding our services?
Visitor: Are you human, or are you dancer? (Thanks Killers!)
Jeff: This is a real person
Visitor: So why didn’t you answer my first question?
Jeff: Our areas of practice include (but are not limited to) Real Estate, Finance, Civil Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Corporations, Partnerships, LLCs, Bankruptcy & Foreclosure, and Entertainment.
Jeff: Can you tell me a little about your case?
Visitor: Your response questions my belief in your humanity…
Jeff: I see. May I know about your legal matter?
Visitor: Can you answer my first question?
Jeff: I apologize, I don’t have access to that information
Visitor: It’s in the chat transcript. Hint…scroll up…
Jeff: Well, I’m not allowed to answer general questions. For more details you can also contact our office at: 801-727-4290.
Visitor: Can you help me with my delinquent mortgage?
Jeff: Would you mind explaining a bit more about your case?
Visitor: My mortgage is delinquent…and so is my child. Can you help with either?
Jeff: The attorney can help with this. Would you like to speak with someone on the phone?
Visitor: Why can’t you help Jeff?
Jeff: I’m sorry, I’m not an attorney and as such am not able to answer specific legal questions or give legal advice. May I have someone from our office contact you? They can assist further.
Visitor: So are you a lead gen bot?
Jeff: For more details you can also contact our office at: 801-727-4290. I’m sure one of our staff member will be happy to help you.
Jeff: Thank you for contacting Preferred Law Team.
System: The chat session has ended. (Way to hang up on your prospect!)
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Admittedly, I didn’t know a thing about this company except for an email they sent me. However, what they sent piqued my interest and I responded…only to get the proverbial phone hung up on me when I asked too many questions.
Would you trust your marketing budget to a technology based or overseas team?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 24,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals