What Can Dog the Bounty Hunter Teach Local Businesses?

Ever seen Dog the Bounty Hunter? He’s a Harley-looking dude in Hawaii who goes around rounding up the bad guys. But he doesn’t just round them up, he takes them down with style. Duane “Dog” Chapman and his family have turned their little bounty hunter enterprise into a full blown reality TV sensation. Since 2005 Dog has also turned up as a guest star on other popular shows as well.

Alright, enough with the show prep. What has that got to do with your local business? Well let me answer that with a question. If you live in Hawaii and need a bounty hunter who are you going to call? I’ll answer that for you, you’re going to call Dog the Bounty Hunter because he is the expert.How did he become the expert? He did it by allowing you to see what he does for a living – but more importantly he shows you how he does it.

There’s a roofer in Maryland who has achieved the same “expert” status in his community. He didn’t have a TV show though. He, like you, has YouTube. He films himself everytime he gets on a roof to make his initial inspection. He films the roof while talking about the problems he sees and the solutions required.

He’s created so many films that he’s featured prominently when you search for his local keywords. That ability to prove yourself by allowing others to see your expert knowledge creates a level of trust, appreciation and credibility. Not only that, but he uses the video when he talks to the client and proves to them he understands their problems and necessary solutions.

Become the Dog of  your community. Plan your work and turn it into a marketing and teaching moment. You’ll revel in the appreciation your local community shows and accomplish your marketing activities while you’re getting your work done.

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The Buying Process – Writing Ads for your Audience

So, I’ve written quite a bit about the buying process lately. I think that’s mainly because marketers don’t always understand. For instance if you’re an affiliate marketer and you write an ad that says:

    Nikon 30D Camera
    Lowest Price on the Nikon 30D
    No registration required

Now, suppose you write that ad because you’ve become an affiliate of a camera website and the Nikon is a popular camera. Does it make any sense to send that person to a landing page with a title like:

    Nikon 30D vs the new Canon SLR

NO! It doesn’t. Do you know why? It doesn’t make sense because the person who clicks on your ad (based on what you wrote) is beyond comparing features in their buying process. They want to be taken to the page that shows the price and the “BUY NOW” button. Anything less than that and you’re wasting your money on ads.

And speaking of how you write your ads, make sure you spend some time testing what’s written. A poorly written ad won’t get you anywhere (well, maybe you’ll get a spot in this blog) :)

Here’s an example of a poorly written (from a non-native English speaker, most likely), and highly humorous ad – just for fun. I got it in my spam e-mail folder today:

Christmas, Happy!
Hey, what are you doing lately? I’d like to present to you a very good company that I knew.
Its home page company: www.Ele-sky.com
If you have any needs, please contact the company Email.
They can offer all kinds of electronic products that you need, such as motorcycles, laptops, mobile phones, digial cameras, , x box, ps3, GPS, MP3 / 4, etc. Please take time to look at that there must be something you’d like to purchase.
Hope you have a good state of mind in buying your company!
Regards

Please check out these posts on the Buying Process as well:

enjoy!

Internet Marketing: Do You Know the Steps of the Buying Process?

I recently read Todd Brown’s Article on “the Greatest Marketing Lesson”, which I thought useful, and it made me think about reiterating this important lesson to go along with it.

Todd actually wrote about a concept he learned from Eugene Schwartz regarding the “level of sophistication” your audience has achieved and how to tailor your marketing to that. When you’re finished reading this post, go read Todd’s.

The Structure of Social Media for Small Business

Structuring your social media platform as a business gives you an opportunity not available to a consultant or sole proprietorship. While I spend a good deal of the time branding my own image, a company has the option of allowing it’s “employee faces” to brand themselves as employees or to make the “employee faces” anonymous giving all the credit to the company.

Does your company website make sense?

So you’ve got a website and you’re proud of it. In fact, many of you were probably excited to tell people once it was up and going.  I’ve got some questions for you. What is it for? What does it do? How do people find it? How do people use it? Do you know the answers to any of these questions?

What you need to know to increase reach and profitability

Bulb II

There are few jobs easier than blogging. In its simplest form there is little to separate the writings of a private diary to those of a blogger. With a computer, internet access and a willingness to pour one’s thoughts out over a keyboard –BLOGGING in essence is easy.

Unfortunately blogging as a business is anything but easy. Success, as we all measure it, isn’t the number of posts we write but the fans, “likes”, comments and money we get. Success rests on the fundamental understanding of the science of human behaviour, the mechanics of search engines, and that mysterious art of writing effective copy.

ENMN Conference Insights

I was honored to have a chance to speak at the Entertainment New Media Conference, the premiere blogging event for entertainment and travel bloggers. Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 1.23.01 PM

One of my favorite activities is meeting with bloggers who have a different paradigm view of blogging. I absolutely love that. Sometimes it’s just bloggers of a different niche that are interesting, like the genealogy bloggers conference I attended, but this time it was something else entirely.

While travel, fitness and entertainment bloggers weren’t new to me necessarily, the culture in which they operate as bloggers was somewhat novel. But I didn’t “feel” it until several bloggers asked me what niche you had to be in to make money the way I help bloggers do.

Learning about that “mindset” was my favorite part of the weekend.

(Don’t let me fool you, meeting Mr. Sean Astin, hanging out with Erica I. Pena-Vest and meeting new people like Pilar Clark and Lisa Robertson were pretty darn awesome times, too. And meeting entrepreneur Andrea Schroder. . . come on. . super awesome. But that’s another story for another time.)

So let’s tackle that mindset.

Some of ENMN’s goals are to create industry-smart bloggers who know how to act around celebrities, what to ask of travel partners and how to be provide content that truly adds value. And they hammered it home all weekend using stories of great blogging experiences and great bloggers (and even throwing in some not so good examples).

During the training it was made clear that you’re not going to get paid cold, hard cash from hotels to blog about them, not that you won’t get unbelievable perks and value from them. But ENMN’s goal wasn’t discouragement by any means, rather education about the industry standard and expectation. With appropriate expectation comes grace and appreciation. Bloggers who lack this whine and make life harder for the rest of us.

But that in no way means travel and entertainment bloggers can’t blog profitably. In fact, unless you are independently wealthy or a spouse makes the income, you are ethically bound to produce revenue from that much work.

Take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Making sure that your family is loved, has shelter and enough food is the base of the pyramid. If you have no way to pay for groceries, spending 8 hours/day blogging for nothing isn’t in the cards.

How do we make money, exactly?

So the question was “how”? They asked me how they make money if the travel industry doesn’t pay. And the answer is simple as pie. The travel industry is the content you deliver. It is the goods. The money doesn’t have to come from the travel industry at all. The money comes from the readers . . . not only that but when your readers are also customers you have a lot more influence.

Readers not only will pay but they want to pay. You and I are one of them. We love buying stuff. We buy books while we’re at the airport, we buy umbrellas when it rains, we buy shoes because we want to, we buy tickets when we travel, we buy egg timers for the kitchen. When we spend money. . . it is because we WANT to spend money. If it makes our life better, we want it.

Let me give you some examples of things your audience would love to buy. Many would be excited to know that the product even exists

Doug Bowman (@stop) at ENMN, Creative Director at Twitter

Doug Bowman (@stop), Creative Director at Twitter

1. Ebook of your most popular tips
2. 1 tip per day travel club membership
3. Phone apps they can use to make their photos better
4. Insiders secrets club
5. Any “much needed” product via Amazon
6. Sample budget and vacation budget calculator
7. Your Guide to “____________” (Example Lisa’s Best Disney Secrets)
8. Book review videos where you review every travel book on the subject
9. Calendar of your favorite picks form some place
10. Your favorite niche “sayings” on shirts and hats from Zazzle or Cafe Press
11. Adsense and other advertising networks
12. Site, clothing, trip or event sponsorship
13. 21 Day Challenge to do something
14. Guide to saving $2,000 through phone apps and coupons
15. Webinar and interactive discussion with your favorite guru (Wouldn’t you pay $5 to be in a webinar with Bono?)
16. Complete budget, itinerary, grocery and shopping list
17. Printable coloring pages for kids to take on the plane
18. 30 Minute Strategy session with you to learn how to get the most out of . . .
19. Your actual book that you wrote
20. Audio Guided tour of a place they can listen to with their earbuds

The only thing you have to do as a blogger is serve. Serve them awesomeness. Make them better, make them smarter. And when you do charge money for your efforts. You, as the CEO of your company, are no different than Barnes & Nobles, Stephen King, Burger King, Fodor’s, or Nike.

When you produce value and others recognize it, they will trade their dollars for it. Gladly.

Remember. . . . There are no retired bloggers.

And guess what you get to do with the money. You get to bless your family with the rewards of their sacrifice. You get to bless another family if you hire a housekeeper. You get to donate to church and charity. You get to lend money to friends.

Be the professional you are. Your efforts deserve revenue. And that makes everyone happy . . .even the people paying you.

ENMN was great in its focus that you should learn what the industry is all about. You need to heed all that was said, listen to all whose experiences come before yours. Be the expert Erica expects you to be in her industry.

And make money doing it.

If you’re interested in learning more about monetizing your site, come to one of our Blogging Concentrated workshops nationwide and spend an entire day perfecting it.

Become a Power Pinner

I’ve been working on becoming a power pinner on Pinterest for a few months (in our industry, who isn’t eh?). I define a power pinner as someone who’s efforts have resulted in a vast number of followers. Fortunately, I did find a formula that seems to be working. To illustrate that I thought we would talk about two of Pinterest’s most prolific power pinners and how they achieved it. You’ll be surprised at their completely different paths and the one thing that makes them similar. Let’s start with:

Sherry Petersik

There is no way Sherry thought about becoming a power pinner on Pinterest when she started her blog YoungHouseLove.com. In fact, there’s a good chance she didn’t plan on making the blog as big a success as it is. But what her and her husband have built is nothing less than an internet Juggernaut.

Sherry and her husband started YoungHouseLove on October 5, 2009 on a part-time basis. Through unbelievable content and dedication to their craft they grew the blog into a full-time gig now receiving more than 70,000 visitors per day. Today’s blog post, for instance, has 332 comments already, yesterday’s 7,102 and 2 days ago 236. You don’t get that kind of love without working for it for sure.

They’ve built their Pinterest following by leveraging their web traffic. In the last couple years they’ve featured their own “Pinterest Project Challenge” on their blog asking readers to undertake a new “Pinterest-worthy” challenge, blog about it, pin it and then upload that pin to their site. I looked at one of the challenges and 688 readers had shared their project. What are you going to bet they followed Sherry’s Pinterest account as well? They merely had to share their love of Pinterest with their community to grow in on Pinterest as well.

And they didn’t have to pin 10,000 things to get to the top. Nope. As of today, they’ve only pinned 574.

Some would call that the iceberg syndrome. What’s visible above the surface doesn’t come close to describing the work that went into it behind the scenes. As bloggers yourselves, I’m sure you can relate to the amount of work they put into their site. That community is the bottom half of the iceberg.

Erin Dollar

Erin took a different route to becoming a power pinner on Pinterest, though it’s not apparent from the surface whether she fully intended to do so. Erin is an artist who sells her wares on Etsy.com and last year finished making fake silly beards on IMadeYouABeard.com.

Unlike Sherry, Erin hasn’t amassed an enormous 70,000/day following – in fact she just has a respectable 500 or so followers on Twitter. But like the rest of us, she’s started to build a “raving fan base” on etsy and her site, she just hadn’t hit super stardom prior to Pinterest.

An early adopter of Pinterest Erin started paving the way for Pinners yet to come. Because her boards were edgy, purposeful and smart, they often got noticed. In fact on August 26th, 2010 (2010? Hmmm. . . she’s been at this a while, eh?) Erin was interviewed by Pinterest on the Pinterest Blog. She didn’t get that honor by knowing the “higher-ups” at Pinterest. Nope. Someone liked her board and recommended to Pinterest that they interview her about it.

That same attention to great boards is what made her the winner of the Pantone Color of the Year Contest held on ChronicleBooks.com, a site that gets 50,000 visitors per day by itself. Similar to the Pinterest interview, she won that not by knowing someone who knew someone, but by creating a quality and engaging board called Tangerine Tango.

Constantly sharing her love of Pinterest with others (back before it was big) landed her interviews or mentions on sites like mademoisellecrankypants.com, juliacantor.com and PinterestPower’s “most followed pinners” board. And all of those interviews centered on her love of Pinterest.

The bottom line is Erin rose to the top because of her taste and dedication to creating engaging and quality pin boards. These mentions, interviews and contests got her in front of thousands of people she didn’t have access to alone. But there is a similarity between Erin and Sherry as both have about 500,000 Pinterest followers and both were early adopters.

For them becoming a power pinner on Pinterest meant not giving up, creating great quality pin boards, and having faith that their readership would grow over time.

Which brings me back to my goal of becoming a power pinner on Pinterest. I’m still interested in the viral approach that I wrote about in my recent article “How to make your photos go viral on Pinterest”. But I think quality, patience and hard work, exhibited by Erin and Sherry, are a much stronger community building strategy to get there than viral is for anyone.

Dan R Morris

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Use Surveys to Take Action

It’s always in the back of our mind, “I should be surveying my audience”. We all think it and wish we were doing it. And then some of us actually do it (which makes the rest of us start thinking about it again).

But when have you seen the results of a survey? I’m not talking about the graph or chart that shows how many people picked A on Question 2. I’m talking about a change in direction. When have you seen someone take action because of the answers to a survey?

Most likely. . . never . . . or it was something tiny.

That’s because there aren’t too many people teaching surveys. So today, let’s do just that.

Getting Started

In an ideal world you could publish a 100 question survey that didn’t box people into choosing A, B or C. You could ask questions that open up entire realms you hadn’t considered. Then you could put together a team to analyze the answers, devise an action plan, implement it and track if it worked.

But we don’t live in an ideal world. It’s pretty hard to get people to fill out one survey, let alone answer 100 questions. And then to find the time to analyze 1,000 different answers. . . I could only dream of having that kind of fun with my audience.

Nope. Time and purpose are linked and thus we must be more deliberate with our time.

The Action Plan: Survey Questions

A smart survey has a point to it. That point is action. If you’re going to ‘bother’ your audience to garner information, make sure it is information you can take action upon.

To make sure you’re doing this, you need to spend time writing an action plan based on the replies you could get back. For instance if you ask “Are you a stay-at-home parent?”, then you need a plan that says

  • “If only 10% indicate they stay home, I will refocus my content this way”.
  • “If it is 50/50, I will change x, y, and z”.
  • “If the respondents are 75% stay-at-home, I will stop doing m, n and p”.

If you can’t think of a single change you would make or action you would take, then don’t ask that question. Maybe none of the demographic questions would alter your strategy – if that’s the case then skip them all.

You really want to narrow down the # of questions to as few as possible. Narrow, narrow, narrow the focus and your readers will feel they are more valuable to you and part of the solution.

And remember Google Analytics can tell you a lot about your site and how people navigate it. Don’t ask questions of your audience if you already have the answer somewhere else. Figure out the holes in your analytics – and ask those questions.

The Right Survey Software

It’s important to have a robust survey package. You need one that will allow you to branch out after each question. For instance if the first actionable question is the stay at home question, then you will want to ask the people who said “yes” different questions about the future of your blog content than the people who said “no”.

If you serve parents and you spend a good deal of time talking about child care options, separating the opinions of the stay-at-home parents from the employee parents will help you decide how to frame future content to improve reader engagement.

(Think about this, if I told you that the only people who have signed up on your email list are stay-at-home parents, and told you that conversely 75% of your readers are employee parents, what would you do?)

So make sure you use software that can ask separate questions depending on how you answered the previous one. By the way, I recommend SurveyMonkey – it does that.

The Survey Funnel

If one of your questions is “Do you own any of my ebooks?”, then the ensuing questions would be much different for the people who do than the people who don’t. Imagine 50 people saying “no” and 50 people saying “yes” and having the next question say “Was it helpful?”. (Now 50 people are annoyed)

Before you write the survey, build a funnel on paper and ask yourself at each step, “what would I do if learned this from my audience today?” And what do I want to know of the people who say yes vs no? Hold their hand as you walk them down a path learning what you need to learn to take action and improve your site.

It should really only take 4 or 5 questions to learn good, meaningful information. But first you must plan it out – along with the actions you will take depending on the answers.

What type of Questions

In a package like Survey Monkey, the multiple choice answers dictate which questions they answer next. So ask multiple choice questions, but always include a space to leave comments. You don’t want to box people in if they have something to say.

Once your survey has divided your audience into the groups you feel you can learn from, ask them a final essay question to really learn what action you need to take. In the photo (see above) you can see that there are a total of 20 questions, but no one has to answer more than 5 to get to the end.

Sometimes it is appropriate to ask everyone the same essay question at the end. Then you can compare the answers from one group to the next, which can really supercharge your action plan, can narrow your target market and can increase your income.

Finally, when they’ve answered the last question make sure you take them to a “thank you” page. You can use that page to give away your ebook, have them sign up for your newsletter or give them a link to an article that will make their day brighter. Don’t miss that opportunity to do something nice for them. They just finished doing something nice for you.

Dan R Morris

Community Building Extras

I decided to go to BlogWorldExpo this year. I have had this impression that it’s just enormous with tons of vendor booths and people wandering this way and that. I just imagine being somewhat lost in this sea of people.

And then I was looking at the sessions “grid” and there seem to be 10 different ones going on every hour. Holy Moly! I better bring a friend. Honestly, can you really make friends at something so huge?

And then. . . I got a card in the mail. I got a handwritten card from one of the organizers. I can’t even get my friends and family to send handwritten Christmas cards. I immediately took a picture of it, uploaded it to Instagram and thanked them the for the card using the BlogWorldExpo hash tag.

Guess what? They replied and said they looked forward to seeing me. Hmmm. . . What a simple gesture that made me feel so welcome. I certainly wasn’t expecting a handwritten letter from this “giant” event.
<h2>Examples of Community Building Extras</h2>
Sending physical notes is hard if you don’t have your audience’s addresses. But don’t let that stop you. I have learned time and time again that even the small gesture of welcoming people to your audience is appreciated. At FreeWeeklyMastermind.com we welcome each person as they press the “join” button and have gotten many emails of appreciation because of it. Small isn’t bad.

When teleseminar coach Cyndi Dawson speaks she brings something special for those of her community members who happen to be at the event. And at the NAMS event in Atlanta I know Lynn Terry holds a dinner for her elite community members. Those are great community building gestures.

From the big business side of the world, Choice Hotels (the Comfort Inn / Sleep Inn folks) have little gift bags at the front desk for their frequent stay card holders. I believe the last one I got had an apple and a bottle of water in it. Simple, but most appreciated.

So what kinds of things can you do for your audience that will set you apart?

  • Open up a teleseminar line once/month for your community to call, chat or ask questions.
  • Take pictures with your fans in person. Upload and tag them on Facebook.
  • Friend your community members on other networks and initiate conversations.
  • Write an ebook and give your audience pre-publication access in exchange for comments and feedback. If you get their name and address in that process, send a real thank you note.
  • Send out TweetUp notices when you travel and invite your community members to come out and meet you. Do that in your own city too.
  • When you create products, give long-term community members an extra 10% affiliate commission

Got some other ideas of ways to reward your community? To praise your community? To serve your community? Share them with us.

Dan R Morris

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