Word of Mouth and Other Marketing Options

I see this statement on the back of business cards all the time now:

WordOfMouth

“The finest compliment I can receive is a referral from my friends and past clients.”

Personal referrals are definitely (the most?) powerful when it comes to  building a business. And when referrals become the driving force that brings you new business, well, it might be time to have a staff!

However, word of mouth marketing can’t start until you’re established, so having it be your only method of marketing probably won’t work well. I mean, people can’t refer you until they know you can deliver what they need when they need it, right?

So, what other marketing options do you have? You want to use the best method(s) for getting the word out about your writing service that enables people to get to know, like, and trust you — with the goal of them deciding to work with you.

A great place to start is to think about a recent purchase you made – especially for a service – how did the business owner attract you? What captured your attention enough to pursue picking up the phone (or e-mailing) for more information? What did you find most important and particularly appealing?

  • Website
  • Newsletter
  • Blog
  • LinkedIn / Facebook / Twitter / Other social media
  • Print ad you received through the postal service
  • You met and spoke with the business owner at an in-person event
  • Article you read written by the business owner
  • A webinar or other online event you participated in
  • A book you read
  • Business card

You can also look at a competitor to see what marketing methods they use for attracting business. Ask yourself these questions and how they relate to your target market:

  • What is it that I like about what they are doing?
  • What is it that I don’t find particularly appealing?

These are just some overall questions to ponder and ideas to consider to get you started in marketing your business.

It’s insightful to realize what pulled you in enough to ‘make a purchase’ — and a great way to start connecting with your market, since what you find attractive is probably what your target clients will find appealing.

What is one of your go-to marketing methods that works well for you? (mine is LinkedIn)

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

How Julie Writes A Book, aka Our Summer Vacation

red-hands-woman-creativeOn Sunday night I had the great good fortune to be a guest on The Writer’s Chatroom, hosted by our own Lisa Haselton aka Lisa Jackson. I loved answering questions about my writing process and the publishing business. Though hardly an expert, I do know a fair amount. Right now I am deep in the weeds of writing book #3 in the Clock Shop Mystery series (working title, Chime and Punishment). It is due to my editor at Berkley on July 15. Book #2 in the series, Clock and Dagger, is coming out August 2. That means I need to get blog posts prepped for guest spots, work on a social media campaign, and possibly plan some public appearances.

I am so, so fortunate to have a publishing contract. But with that good fortune comes the pressure of producing a book a year for three years in a row. Though at this point in the process, the pain of forcing those words out of my brain onto the keyboard is real (my friend Hallie Ephron said it is like putting a log through a meat grinder) I’ve done this twice before for this series, and three times before for books that haven’t been published. I know I can do this. It may not be pretty, and I may not sleep for the next five weeks, but I can do this.

This summer I am going to write about my book writing process. I won’t make it genre specific, though I can write a post about that if it is helpful.  Posts will include how I plot, writing a series, the editing process, pitching your book, and promotion. What else would you like to know more about?

I post every other week, so two weeks from today we’re going to talk about plotting. I am a plotter, not a panster, and I’ll walk you through my process, how it helps get the first draft done, and what’ I’ve learned by putting it into practice.

Your homework, should you want to play along, is to think about the story you want to tell. Think about these questions:

  • Who are the main characters in your story?
  • What launches your story? “A Day in the Life” can be dull. “A Day in the Life After XYZ Happens” is a novel.
  • What is the overall theme of your story?
  • What else happens?
  • Where is it taking place?

Over the next two weeks, mull your story over. Think it through. Write ideas down. We’ll tackle plotting in the next installment of this simmer series.

Happy to hear any ideas you might have!

*********************

ClockandDaggerJulianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mysteries. Clock and Dagger will be out August 2.

Friday Fun – How do you manage social media?

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: I recently asked NYT Best Selling author Chris Bohjalian how he managed social media. Beside corralling it to early morning and evening (after he completed his writing goals for the day), he also said that he posts 40 to 50 comments/tweets a day (which he said takes about 30 minutes.) “If I can’t give my readers 30 minutes a day then I’m a despicable person,” he said.

We all struggle with social media – what’s too much, what’s not enough. Let’s take a look at how our writers handle this raging bull.

wendy-shotWendy Thomas: I’ll be the first to admit that I spend far too much time on social media. I try to answer as many comments and tweets as I can. The thought of setting a limit, quite honestly, has never occurred to me. I typically keep my social media windows open at all times and when I hear the siren cry of that beep indicating I have an interaction – well I just have to stop what I’m doing to check it out (and there is never any “just checking it out” I always come up many minutes later wondering where the time has gone.)

I’m using Freedom (and it now has an updated feature (you pay for this)  where you can schedule uninterrupted time.) I’ve tried to schedule my own time, but it doesn’t seem to work. I need a strict guard to the internet telling me “not right now, later, but not right now.” Social media is an ongoing problem that I continue to try and manage.

JME5670V2smCROPJamie Wallace: I’m afraid that I’m guilty of the same crimes Wendy confessed. Though I know that I should relegate social media (in my case: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, responding to comments here, and reading/sharing other blogs) to certain times of the day, I can’t quite seem to bring myself to cut off my 24/7 access to the digital conversation. Like Wendy, I almost always have tabs open in my browser to my social media pages, and I tend to “visit” there more often than I should.

That said, I have put some order to the madness by doing *most* of my blog reading at night during an otherwise unproductive time and queuing up tweets via Buffer (my most favorite social media tool for scheduling social media updates). I also try to batch process the bulk of my comment responses. Though this often means carving out a whole hour (or more), I believe it’s more efficient than posting ad hoc responses in real time.

I am always trying to assess the value or “ROI” (return on investment, in my case an investment of time) of my social media activities. At the moment, since I’m not actively promoting anything specific, it’s hard to measure whether or not my time is being well spent. I continue playing in these spaces (and organically building my communities there) so that – hopefully – when I do have something to promote, I’ll have an existing audience to talk to. I’ll get back to you once I see how that works out. 😉

 

Friday Fun – WP.com vs. WP.org

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: This week’s question comes from reader Kernan Manion, MD. He writes, “I would like to hear your thoughts about choice of WP.com vs. WP.org and hosting on a web-host. Did you go through a thought process of pros and cons or was it primarily expediency?”

Lee Laughlin CU 7-13Lee Laughlin: At the time we started this blog, the leading free platforms were Blogger and WordPress. WordPress was definitely the way to go if we wanted to put a forth a professional image. Early on, we wanted the focus to be the words, not the technology. Although we knew each other, we weren’t really sure where this was going to go when we started, so we tried to keep the financial investment to a minimum.  As we’ve progressed, there really hasn’t been a reason to change from wp.com to wp.org. Before we discussed this post, I wrote a blog post about moving my personal blog from wp.org to wp.com.  Given our time constraints as a group, wp.com works well for us. We chip in for a few bells and whistles and stick with our original mission of letting the words be the focus. There are other platforms out there and everyone needs to make the choice that works for their situation, but we’re happy where we are.

SuddenlyJamie AvatarJamie Wallace: WordPress offers a good side-by-side comparison of their .com vs. .org offerings, and since I definitely fall into Lee’s words-not-technology category, I defer to them as the experts. That said, all the other websites I’ve launched (including the one for my marketing business) are built on WordPress.org (the self-hosted option). In retrospect, however, now that I know you can have a custom domain for a small annual fee, I might have chosen to go with a WordPress-hosted option. After all, they provide all the important security and back-up features that I worry about screwing up with my self-hosted sites. If you’re a beginner with not a lot of technology expertise, I’d say to stick with WordPress.com. They keep things simple, safe, and relatively stress-free.

hennrikus-web2Julie Hennrikus: Julianne Holmes has a WordPress.org site that I need to get launched. J.A. Hennrikus has a WordPress.com site. For my day job, I have a WordPress.org site that uses a couple of great plug-ins. For me, it is that flexibility that makes .org valuable. There is a learning curve, but it is doable. I have also heard that you can monetize .org sites more easily, which is worth thinking about.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: Well, I just learned a lot about wordpress.com vs wordpress.org by reading this post! I’m not that technically savvy so I just haven’t paid attention to what we use here.  I’m in the process of redoing my life coaching website and I just emailed the web designer I’m working with to ask if I’m going to have a wordpress.com or wordpress.org site. You’d think I’d know this but I don’t. My blog page (www.dianemackinnon.com/blog) is currently a WordPress site, but I have my own domain name and soon, my entire website will be a WordPress site. I think that means it’s probably a wordpress.org site. I’ll find out for sure soon!

The Truth About Know-Like-Trust


Know. Like. Trust.

You’ve heard it before, right?

People buy from people they know, like, and trust.

 

So…

How do you get known?

How do you get people to like you?

How do you earn their trust?

 

Those are Big Questions with long, complicated answers.

… or, are they?

 

I may be an audience of one, but I know I’m not alone in how I assess the people and brands I buy from. It’s not really all that complicated:

 

I get to know people by:

  • Reading their blogs
  • Sampling their social content – everything from Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram to LinkedIn and Google+
  • Interacting with them on their blogs and social media (and, eventually via email, call, or video chat)
  • Checking out their body of work (products, cases studies, portfolio … whatever applies)
  • Looking at their associations with other people I know

 

I decide if I like them by asking myself:

  • Do their values align with mine?
  • Are they responsive when I reach out?
  • Are they generous with their time and knowledge?
  • Do they have a good sense of humor?
  • Do we have anything in common – hobbies, causes, pet peeves, lifestyle, etc.?

 

I decide if I can trust them based on:

  • Whether their actions are consistent with their words
  • How I see them treat other people
  • How other people talk about them

 

 

The bottom line is this: it all comes down to the old, writers’ adage: “Show. Don’t tell.”

You cannot tell people about yourself – they need to learn who you are by your actions. They need to form their own picture of you based on what you show, not what you say. If you say, “I’m an organic food guru” I may or may not believe you, but if you show me your incredible depth of knowledge and heartfelt passion through the information you share (blog posts, photos, curated articles, answering questions, etc.), I believe you immediately. I can see for myself that you are, in fact, an organic food guru. Each piece of content you create and share online is another piece of the puzzle that shows me who you are, what you do, what you care about, and so on.

You cannot make people like you – you can only put your best foot forward. You are not in control of how people judge you. (And, they will judge you.) Good rule of thumb: remember The Golden Rule. Think about the people you like. What traits make them likeable? Usually it’s not about them, it’s about how they make other people feel. It’s about how they listen, understand, and help. It’s about how they affect positive change for others – solving problems, providing answers, sharing insights, connecting people.

You cannot force people to trust you – trust must be earned. I may know you and like you, but do I trust you? Trust takes a relationship to a whole other level. Now it’s serious. Trust boils down to whether or not you consistently deliver what you promise. At a low level, this could be as simple as providing dependable content that always lives up to the hype. It might mean writing a story that exceeds expectations. Again, this is about actions, not words. Promises are worthless until they have been tested and kept.

 

At the end of the day, it all comes down to human relationships. The writer/reader relationship cannot be developed with a paint-by-numbers approach. There is no secret, failsafe formula you can follow to build a loyal audience. If you want to get people to know you, like you, and trust you, you’re going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. But, that’s only as it should be.

So, the next time you’re thinking about how to grow your audience and nurture reader relationships, ask yourself these questions:

How do you help people learn about who you are?

How do you put your best foot forward?

What do you do to merit trust?
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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Join me each Saturday for the Weekend Edition (a fun post and great community of commenters on the writing life, random musings, writing tips, and good reads), or introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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This post was adapted from a piece originally published on SuddenlyMarketing.com.

Need Help with Social Media or WordPress? Meet Barb Drozdowich

If you’re in need of help getting started with promotion through social media, and/or help in setting up a WordPress author page, I’d like you to meet Barb Drozdowich, a social media and WordPress consultant who *loves* working with and helping writers at whatever stage they are at in creating their writer’s platform.

You can meet her at a free online event this Sunday night.

Barb has taught at colleges and universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world.

Barb owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular romance book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.

Her Building Blocks to Author Success series, currently containing 6 books, was born out of her work with authors once she realized there weren’t a lot of non-technical how-to books slanted towards the needs of authors.

AuthorsGuidetoWorkingwithBookBloggers BookBlogTours FacebookForAuthors GoodReadsGuideforAuthors WhatsYourAuthorPlatform

 

 

 

 

 

BookBloggerPlatform

She also has several free WordPress and blogger-related tutorials on her Website you can check out.

 

You are quite welcome to stop in for the live chat and conversation with Barb this Sunday night, April 26, from 7-9pm EST at The Writer’s Chatroom: http://writerschatroom.com/Enter.htm. No password or registration is needed. I’ll be moderating. We’ll even have virtual drinks of all kinds, chocolate, and other goodies.

–>During the chat, Barb will be raffling off a free 1-hour consultation on any of the topics covered by her books or her blogs.

If you have questions for Barb in advance of the chat, feel free to send them to me at lisa@writerschatroom.com, and I’ll make sure they get asked and answered!

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

Marketing is all about building relationships

You have a business and you want it to grow, so you know you have to make contacts and turn them into connections that lead to business growth. But thinking about the effort as ‘sales’ and ‘selling’ intimidates many, so try to think about it as relationship building.

Nurturing prospects and clients is important to retaining business – and retaining and building your business is your goal, right?

Here are some tactics you can try. Give any or all of them a shot to find what feels best for you and works best for your business.

Offer a perk to a returning client to make her feel special. Perhaps a discount on new work; a discount once a year to see if that encourages clients to hire you for new work. Perks don’t have to be discounts, you could offer a free marketing report for their area of expertise.

Keep in touch with your past clients on a regular basis – whether it’s an e-mail to touch base quarterly, or sending an article, or a link to a resource on a topic you think they might find interesting, having your name in front of them a couple times a year can keep you on their mind when they have a new project. Sending a short, personal note to a contact that shows you’re staying aware of their business in some way can go a long way in building that long-term relationship.

Meet for coffee. This could be with past, current, and potential clients that are local – meet to learn about each other’s businesses or to catch up. Don’t make it a sales-y type meeting, just a relationship building get together. With contacts further away, you could plan to meet up at a conference, when you’re in their town for some other business, or you find out they are coming near to you for some event.

Keep your clients smiling by meeting deadlines, staying within their budget, delivering what was agreed upon, and being available as they need you (within reason, of course!).

Treating new contacts as though they are friends you want to get to know better will keep your name at the front of their minds when they have a project come along. If you treat your current clients well, they will be inclined to come back. And all efforts can potentially lead to new work.

These are only a few ideas to help you build or maintain relationships.

How do you keep your name on your clients’ minds?

 

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with Lisa on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.