ENTREPRENEURS

Is your website mobile-friendly?  

Can you read it? Do you have to rotate and expand to see even a tiny part of the page? As annoying as it is to enlarge a tiny page on your phone, what’s much worse is that your site may not show up in a Google Search. Oh, eventually, maybe page 5 or later, but Google’s search process will prioritize it behind websites that are optimized for mobile.

Why? one reason is that up to 60% of site views are made from a mobile device.

This is an older (non-responsive) website That website on mobile
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Here’s an example of a ‘responsive’ design, optimized for multiple devices.

This is my website My website on mobile
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It might help to think of it this way:

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This is quite a feat of skillful programming. But fortunately, well designed WordPress themes can handle the job. It’s another reason I love WordPress: it gives you the building blocks for a fabulous site, even if you’re not a techie!

I specialize in helping creatives, small biz, non-profits and others make a spectacular site that serves their cause. I provide education and support so that you can actively use your site to build connections, build sales, build a business. And contribute to the Conversation!

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Who is it You’re Talking to?

Customers come in different flavors.

And each customer type has their own specific culture. Think of your favorite hardware store. Imagine a few customers who come in the door one afternoon. The Gardener sees your business from a different perspective than the Young Family, The Contractor has different needs than Dad who takes care of house and yard.

CUSTOMER LIFESTAGE NEIGHBORHOOD PURCHASE
 urbanhomeowners New Homeowners  20-something couple  urban rowhouse latex low-VOC trim & wall paint, rollers & tray, baby-proofing latches,
 contractor Contractors 40 yr old business owner  close-in suburb  5-gallon paint, drop cloths, pro brushes, solvent
 FixitDad Home Fix-it Dad  48 yo homeowner  small city/town  toilet parts, faucet washers, screen repair, 2 cycle oil, weed whip refill
 emptyNester Serial Re-Decorator female empty nester   midscale burbs new vanity, decorator paint, faux finish supplies, garden center items

Target Marketing Power

When I worked for a company that invented Market Segmentation I learned how distinct Target Markets help you aim your marketing campaigns. There is a great deal of subtlety to be found in consumer data. Because you scan your loyalty card at the grocery to get discounts, we know you prefer roast beef to pastrami, Perrier to Pepsi. There is data about what we buy, read, watch, and do,, making full scale Segmentation incredibly predictive.

“But…” you protest “I don’t have 75k to license to those tools! How does this apply to a small business person like me?” Excellent question.

To Get More from Social Media, Think like an Anthropologist

This article in Harvard Business Review encourages us to think like an anthropololgist, (def. one who studies the norms and values of societies.)  The author points out the shortcomings of a strictly big-data approach to studying customers on social media, pointing out that: “the internet was made for people, not for companies and brands.” And, that by only studying data, one could miss the meaning.

As a small business person, your ability to Listen is incredibly powerful, since your customers are talking via social media. You can invite them into conversation with a poll or survey. You also have the Insight to understand how your particular customers fall into clusters based on their lifestage and interests. Which is essentially their culture.

So go ahead, think like an anthropologist! Sketch out your target groups and imagine what they’re like. Let me know what you see, or ask any questions about how to take it further. I’d love to hear what you discover!

Are You Blogging for Business?

The democratization of media empowers us all to be publishers, if we choose,  of everything from top 10 lists to serious think-pieces for your industry.

Blogging has evolved to become an essential marketing tool. In fact, businesses that blog get 67% more leads than those who don’t.

Publishing valuable content on a consistent basis positions you as a source of solutions, and helps prospects understand what you do.

If you haven’t waded into the blogging stream, it’s easy to get started without a huge investment of time and money. I often recommend that you start with a free WordPress.com blog (it can be linked to your site) because of the huge universe of WordPress bloggers who read, comment and reblog each other.

There are simple ways to leverage your blog posts across social media to boost impressions and feedback. If you’d like more suggestions, leave a comment, ask a question or get in touch.

Click here for 5 types of blog posts that have proven performers: 5 Breeds of Posts to Promote Your Business 

 

Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row

What should bloggers know about copyright law?

copyright-symbolQuite a bit, it turns out.

As a blogger, content marketer, writer, designer, course creator, you are constantly generating valuable intellectual property assets as you build your business. You really want to protect your key content. Your proprietary content is found in self-published books, infographics, online courses, workshops and speeches should be protected from copyright infringement.

from copyblogger:

When you federally register your copyright, you obtain the following advantages over common law copyright:

  • You alert the world that you are the creator and owner of the work, which makes it hard for infringers to claim they didn’t know the work was yours.
  • You obtain the right to bring a federal lawsuit; registration gives you the right to file a claim of copyright infringement in federal court.
  • You get to seek statutory damages and attorney’s fees in that lawsuit — the infringer has to pay all of your lawsuit costs.
  • You have an easy and official way to sell your ownership of the work.

How to avoid this mistake
Register the copyright for all of your prized content — namely, your work that makes you the most money, like your online courses, self-published books, and award-winning copy.

Registration is fairly easy and inexpensive. You don’t even need an attorney. You can register online by submitting some basic information and uploading a copy of the content to the U.S. Copyright Office website.

The fee is either $35 or $55, depending on what you register. You can also register multiple pieces of content at once, such as all of the articles you’ve posted on your blog since 1998, or the epic writing course you launched last year.

THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE mentions other legal moves you should be aware of. Check it out and make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row!

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5 Ways to Reap Social Media Value

Here are five useful ways of thinking about social media and it’s potential to empower your business.

IBM’s ambitiously-titled Center for Applied Insights ran a study and produced this video that brings focus to five key areas where Social Media creates value for business.

Most of us marketers are pretty familiar with #3, but the other four concepts have loads of potential.

Many of us who are virtual workers miss the spontaneous collaborations in the hallway, elevator, water cooler. The creative power of quick collaboration opens up new ways for those sparks to travel. How can you use your social network to:

  • Collaborate with colleagues you don’t just ‘run into’ anymore?
  • Reach out to encourage and support less experienced team members?
  • Inspire customers to get more value from your products?
  • Source expertise from all your communities – users, colleagues, prospects and maybe even competitors?
  • Create new avenues of feedback and improvement?

Share an example in the comments of how your business benefits from Social Media.

Why You Need a Good Writer

typingYou know your business. You can probably construct a decent sentence, too, if you got this far. But there are times when you need a professional writer.

We aren’t always the best promotors of ourselves, or even our products. We hold back where we should crow the loudest, or we display proudly the details that aren’t all that meaningful to the audience. It’s hard to remember, but you are not your target market.

Also, it’s very likely that the value of your time has risen to great heights as your business has grown. The cost of a copywriter will pale in comparison to the value of you, creating product and/or business in the way that’s made you successful.

Here are five situations when you need to hire a writer:

1. You’re just no good at it. Not everyone is a great word slinger. If writing isn’t for you, hire or partner with a really good writer to make sure that part of your business is getting the attention it needs.

2. You don’t have the bandwidth Writing is a time-consuming endeavor. there’s a limit to how many words we can consistently get onto the page or screen every day.

3. You need particular expertise You might need a subject expert, or a persuasive sales writer

4.  You’re too close to the topic. The reason it’s so hard to move from features to benefits is that it can be really tough to be objective about your own business.

5. The stakes are high.  If you’ve got a big launch or an important marketing campaign, you need to make sure your copy is making a great impression.

from Copyblogger

A writer who’s focus is on engaging the customer can see from a perspective you do not have. And the copywriter’s skill as a story-teller can bring intrigue, mystery, drama: the right kind of lively interest-engaging energy by virtue of that detachment.

Would you benefit from a writing pro on your current project?

Have you used freelance writers in your business? Tell us about your experience.

 

 

The Cultural Economy

The city of New Orleans has an Office of Cultural Economy.  The third largest employment sector in the city, after tourism and finance, is the cultural category.  And, while manufacturing, oil and gas, and government jobs are declining, cultural workers are gaining employment at a faster rate than any other group.

According to Americans for the Arts, about 4 million people and over nine hundred thousand businesses for the measurable creative economy. And, the AftA definitions do not include the culinary arts. The culinary arts are the largest sector in New Orleans, as anyone who has traveled there would understand. (A friend recently confessed to arranging layovers in NOLA just for the food.)

NOartsEcon-1It’s become commonly understood that artists improve a neighborhood, and arts district will raise property values and improve the urban economy.  But until recently cities and business leaders haven’t really looked at the power of the cultural economy.  Since the turn of the century, however, projects to enhance and create arts districts are gaining momentum.

What could be possible with more awareness of our cultural economy?

Tell me how your local arts and culture economy is faring.  Does your local government support the cultural economy? What’s your role?

Resources & further reading:

Addressing Stereotypes in Stock Photos

enhanced-buzz-wide-20979-1392163420-30Getty Images teamed with LeanIn.org to create a collection of stock photos intended to represent women in a more empowering light.

LeanIn.org is the foundation launched by Sheryl Sandberg, author of Women, Work and the Will to Lead. The book, published last year, challenged women and the business world to step up to increase female leadership. An accomplished executive with business and government experience, Sandberg points to solid research on the stubborn stereotypes that discourage female leadership, and calls on women not to give in to those traps, but rise above them.

enhanced-buzz-wide-24504-1392163397-11The project with Getty is certainly welcome and I might say long overdue. Anyone who has worked with stock photography for the past decade or so has no doubt seen much improvement from the 90s, when smiling white men were the office norm, and the only people of color were gardeners or laborers. Today it’s possible to find images of people of various ages, ethnicities and even disabilities.

But like any media stream, the available stock photography reflects our culture and its resistance to change. Stock photos of women have developed their own tropes, many of them unfortunate. So the LeanIn collection, while populated with remarkably pretty people, is quite a few steps forward. The images feature women  at home, at work, in the world, working, leading, using technology and in hands-on careers. There are girls being bold, reading, using tools and taking charge.

An article in the NY Times points out that we’re becoming more image-based in our daily communication, using our smart phone cameras, Instagram, Pinterest and similar tools. Getty CEO Jonathan Klein notes that “imagery has become the communication medium of this generation, and that really means how people are portrayed visually is going to have more influence on how people are seen and perceived than anything else.”

original-11250-1392253880-5It’s as true as ever: seeing images of ourselves reflected in the culture supports our confidence as accomplished women. Until I browsed this collection I didn’t realize just how much I needed to see an artistic woman instructing a group, or a confident girl looking me straight in the eyes!