Elayne Whitfield, BA, MVA ~ VA Industry ExpertSubscribe Now

Do You Need a Coach?

CoachingToday, more and more people are hiring life and business coaches. Coaches can help you set goals and create a plan for you to work towards achieving them. Similarly to fitness or athletic coach, life and business coaches help you develop your strengths and work around your weaknesses while getting you to a point where you are at your best.

Almost anyone could benefit from having a coach, but people who operate their own businesses from home may reap more rewards than those who work in offices. This reality is partially due to the fact that working from home will generally make you more isolated. If having someone to bounce ideas off or brainstorm with is something that you’re missing, a coach should be something to consider.

Coaches will also hold you accountable for your actions. If you are in direct sales for example, and your goal is to sell $400 worth of product each week, your coach will help you set mini goals to accomplish what you set out to achieve. When you meet with your coach and they ask you what you have done, you need to be honest. There is no convincing yourself that failing to reach a goal is no big deal when someone else is holding you accountable.

To name just a few, coaches can also help you with time management, leadership, and customer service skills. If you tend to procrastinate or struggle with fears of success or failure, a coach can help you work through it. Some other issues that coaches can guide you through are: creating a better balance between work and life, becoming more organized, and improving your communication skills.

Good coaches will also give you truly honest feedback. They will let you know where you are lacking and give you tips on how to improve. It can be hard to hear criticism, but if it makes you a better business person in the long run, it is worth it. And if dealing with criticism is something in-and-of-itself that you struggle with, a good coach will help you with that too!

Many coaches will offer a complimentary session or trial period to help determine if your personalities mesh well or not. Different coaches have different styles, so you may want to talk to several before you choose the right one for your needs. You may also want to ask them about their accreditation and experience. If you are having specific issues with a certain aspect of your business, ask if they have experience in that area.

A coach may choose to work with their clients via email, one-on-one telephone calls, or group calls. If you feel intimidated to speak up in a group session, let your coach know. Many people however enjoy group sessions as it allows them to see what other people are going through.
Coaching rates can vary quite a bit. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50/hour to several hundred per hour for the more accredited names.

It is important to remember that a coach is not a therapist and cannot fix your problems directly. They can guide you along the way to success, but you will need to be fully committed to making a change if you want to see real results.

Using Your Social Network Presences to Promote Your Podcast

Promoting Podcast on Social MediaUnless you’re just now emerging from several years under a rock, you’ll know that social networking has taken the world by storm. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all excellent platforms for connecting with your friends and family but they are also fantastic tools that you can utilize to promote your podcast and acquire new listeners. These sites give you the ability to promote to their millions of users but best of all, they are easy and often cheap or free depending on what social media marketing strategy you choose to engage in.

It’s important to diversify social network platforms when planning your marketing efforts and remember not to limit yourself to only using the big sites. There are a number of niche social networks you can tap into. To begin with, take a look at services like Ning. Ning allows its users to create their own social networks, often for very specific interests. Seek out and become a member of these micro social networks. You may not be promoting to many people at once through these sites, but if you've carefully selected the right networks to tap in to, you should be able to establish a high conversion rate for those who you do connect with. They have the same interests, after all!

Targeting by Groups, Fans, Likes, or Dislikes

Most large scale social networks employ some method or function that allows users to tag or become part of a group related to a topic they are particularly interested in. Take the time to find these niche groups of fans and promote your podcast to them. If you can narrow your promotion down to the right relevant groups you will be able to garner much more positive attention than if you were to just try and appeal to the broader population of users.

Bulletins & Announcements

Utilize your social network's announcement and notification system. Have you recently released a new podcast or do you have some exciting news to share with your audience? Let everyone on your friends list know about it. You may spark interest in people who haven't thought about your show for a while which can help regain old listeners. Remember, not everyone uses RSS feeds or has the time to keep up-to-date with all of their favorite sites and content producers. That being said, it certainly does seem like everyone today has time to log into their favourite social network to see what's going on.

Getting the Most Out of Your Friends List

Trying to add as many people to your list as quickly as possible can be time consuming, expensive, and most likely very ineffective. Instead, narrow your focus and consider what specific kinds of people listen to your show. If you can, try and compose an audience profile and determine what your ideal listen would look like. This should include information like the average age of your listeners, if a certain gender tends to listen to your show more, and what their relationship or financial status generally is. By targeting your marketing efforts towards these individuals you'll produce much more effective results.

Social networking sites are powerful platforms and, if used correctly, can be one of the most effective ways to promote your podcast. When trying to use these platforms for marketing, always remember to be genuine in your efforts. If you focus on promoting yourself to people who will be more likely to be interested in what you have to say, gathering a large following is a very real possibility.

How to Create Wow-Worthy Content for Your Blog

How to create wow-worthy content for your blog  When people read your blog your goal is for them to immediately want to share it with their friends and then click away thinking, “Wow, that was awesome!” With blogs being such a large part of internet marketing today creating wow-worthy content is more important than ever. Here are a few tried and true methods that you should consider if you want your blog to be truly successful.
 
 
 

Know Your Audience

Remember, audiences change and it is not as simple as you may think to keep on top of who they are. Studying your audience as they grow and develop is important for you to stay ahead of trends. A great example to look at for this is a company like Ivory Soap. They have been around since 1879 and although their audience has always consisted of the same general demographics, their morals and ideas have changed a great deal.

Keep Up-to-Date on Industry Trends

The more you know about your industry, the more knowledge you’ll have to share with your audience and the more valuable you’ll be to them. Being aware of what is going on will make you a go-to person for information in the niche you’re involved with. Reading and studying your industry will also improve the quality of how you run your business too.

URL Structure and Tags Matter

Often times bloggers will underestimate the power of the right URL structure and the tags they use on their blog posts. These things still matter. The best URLs consist of unique, keyword-rich titles, and the best tags consist of keywords that are within the content. Don’t forget the tags on your images. Make it all count.

Know Your Numbers

Do you know what kinds of blog posts bring the most attention to your blog? If you don’t, you should. Once you know what types of blog posts get the most shares, views, engagement, and comments, you can create more of that type as well as spiff up the ones you already have.

Create Shareable Content

Content that has valuable information, great images, or content in video form, is shared more than other types of blog posts. Pay attention to what your audience shares and create more of that.

Link Internally

A great way to draw more attention and up the wow-factor in your blog posts is to develop good linking practices by linking internally to other blog posts that relate to the current post your audience is already reading.

Understand How Keywords Work

From short tail to long tail and all in between, there are many different types of keywords. The more you can understand how keywords work and which ones are important within your niche, the better you can use them to your advantage.

Use Many Forms of Content

Don’t skimp on your content variety. Use different forms of video, images, podcasts, text, and more. Your blog will be much more dynamic and interesting if the content used is not always the same. For example, some “how to” blogs might be best presented along with a video rather than a text only post.

Engage Your Readers

Don’t leave out your calls to action and reader engagement ideas like asking them to buy, click, read, or comment. By promoting it upfront you’ll get a lot more engagement than if you just hope it happens on its own.

Creating wow-worthy content for your blog will come naturally the more you understand your niche and what your audience likes best. If you’re unsure about anything, consider polling your audience to find out what types of content they prefer and what products and services they need most. Stay focused and up-to-date and your blog will be successful.

Conditioning Your Prospects and Customers

Conditioning your prospects and customers

When you’re looking to market to prospects and build relationships with existing customers, it’s important to stay in touch with them as often as possible. Get them on your email lists and segment them according to where they are in the buying cycle so that they can be targeted by your messages accordingly. Consistent communication can go a long way for conditioning customers to trust you and think of your business whenever they are in need of your services.

Tell Them What to Expect

Whenever anyone buys from you or signs up for your email list send them a thank you note with an explanation of what to expect from you in the future. How often will they hear from you? What will you contact them about? Make some promises and assurances to them.

Do What You Say You’ll Do

It’s very important that you do whatever you said you were going to do. For example, if you say you will send them a newsletter every Monday, send them a newsletter every single Monday and never on any other day. If you skip or switch the days they may get confused. A lot of people will actually forget they signed up for a list and when you don’t stay active they will report you for spamming them.

Remind Them of What You Said

Periodically, be sure to remind your prospects and customers about your previous promises and assurances. This will help them remember who you are and will build trust.

Let Them Know When You Follow Through

When you do something you said you would do, tell them. “I told you I would send you an update on my xyz product and as promised, here it is.” Again, this reinforces the point that you stick to your word and can be trusted.

Ask Them for Input and Opinions

Once in a while invite your prospects and customers to submit their ideas and input. If you have a new product idea, tell them about it. Ask them what they think. Ask them what they’d pay for such a product or service. Ask them if they would like to see something from you that you do not currently offer.
Tease Them about New Products – Never pass up an opportunity to give them some hints or small bits of information on a new product, service, or event. As you hint about it, make them really want it by explaining what’s in it for them.

Thank Them for Buying

When someone buys something from you (or answers any call to action), be sure to thank them. A ‘thank you’ is always a nice thing to do, plus it gives you a little bit of extra space to provide them with more information about you and your products and/or services.

Follow Up Regularly

Even after someone has purchased and you’ve thanked them, it’s not over. It costs a lot less to create a repeat buyer than it does to turn a lead into a new buyer. On top of that, repeat buyers are more likely to make larger purchases than first time customers. Cultivate your relationship with buyers even more consistently than you do leads and prospects.

Most people need to hear things multiple times before it sinks in so stay consistent with your messages. The more you stick to your word and the more value you can provide to your audience, the more they’ll look forward to whatever you offer them.