How To Not Waste Time On Social Media

With so many tools at our disposal these days, it’s difficult to know where to focus.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Blogging
  • Email marketing
  • Lead capture pages

You are likely aware of and maybe even using some of these, perhaps all of them. But what kind of results are you getting? Do you have a cohesive strategy? Or is it mostly a collection of parts, and you’re not sure how they all fit together.

When I bring new people on the team, this is one of the resources I share with them:

marketing-layout

While there’s definitely some complexity missing from this outline, it gives a snapshot of where bottom line results come from. It ties everything together and demonstrates the role each and everything we do plays toward growing the business. Without a tool like this, it’s far to easy to get really busy doing everything you’re “supposed” to be doing but have no overall vision of how all the pieces fit together.

It’s not enough to “be on Facebook”. What are you DOING with it? What RESULTS are you getting? And what results SHOULD you be expecting? Do you have a strategy in place to engage your prospects, track results and continually review your results, so you can ensure you’re growing?

We have enough tools at our disposal now that we can spend all day every day working and still have nothing to show for it. While social media, blogging and email represent massive opportunity for your business, if you’re not putting these tools to their highest and best use, they can end up being a liability instead of an asset.

If you’d like to grab a copy of this marketing outline that we use, download it here.

If you have any questions or concerns about whether or not you’re using your marketing tools for maximum results, get on the calendar to chat with me or one of my marketing coaches. It costs nothing, and even if you’re not ready to work with us on a professional level, I guarantee we can at least answer some of your questions and point you in the right direction 🙂

Workin Late

IMG_2284-2.JPGHere I am again. 10:39PM. Two more proposals to get out tonight before I can call it a day. I have a weight training session at 5am, and I have my first business call at 8am.

Thank you!

It’s an honor and a privilege to work with the most amazing clients. Amy Stoehr, Linda McLean, Whitedove Gannon, Amy Seedorff, David Hood, Brian Russell, Sherrie Cocanower, TJ Blevins, Emanny Seele. These are clients I’ve talked with personally just in the last 24 hrs.

Just in the last day, we’ve come up with creative new solutions to challenges, pushed out 47 updates to improve performance and security for our clients’ websites, not to mention 104 one-on-one messages out to prospects, clients and vendors.

What are you doing to step up?

My man Rob Bailey says it straight up. “Money never sleeps.”

I have no ambition to brag here. I’m simply sharing what I’m up to, making every attempt to walk the walk.

It’s as simple as this. It’s what I talk about with you in consulting sessions. I’m talking into my iPhone, and in 20 seconds this will be live on the web.

If you think you don’t have time to blog, you just don’t know how to do it yet. I’m happy to show you. If you think it’s not worth your time, you just don’t understand it yet. Let’s chat.

With as fast as things are changing, this has to be considered the new norm. We are out of our element. All of us. Hustling to make a difference. Hustling to do what matters.

Hustling matters. Hustling with the right tools in the right strategy makes an impact. That’s what I’m about. That’s from focusing on. Making an impact.

What are you focusing on?

Not Sure What to Do with This!

IMG_2223-0.PNGI’m not saying you need to start your work day at 3:40AM. I’m not saying you have to follow any particular strategy at all.

You’ll know intuitively what works best for you after you dive in. What most people do is never dive in. If there’s a real, true tactic…that’s it.

How do you know if you’re all in? How do you know for a fact that you’re on a trajectory to meet your real goals…the highest and best use of your life, even beyond your current goals?

There’s only one way to know. People need to be telling you to tone it down. Your commitment is uncommon. It alarms people. And they tell you to cut that shit out.

Their brains say “I don’t know what to do with this”, and they feel challenged. So in turn, they challenge you back. It’s an ego thing. It’s a game. It’s YOUR game. And it’s a game you win every time. Why? Because you’re the one who started it, remember?

Maybe you start your work earlier than anyone else. Maybe you work later than anyone else. Maybe you push more weight, take on far more responsibility than is expected. Maybe you decide to try something new, bold and outrageous every day. Maybe you decide to completely reinvent your brand when you’re already successful, because even though it’s a huge risk, you know in your gut that you’re capable of more.

It could be anything. But the point is that you’re doing it. And most everyone else isn’t.

How do you stand out? You do what others aren’t willing or able to do. That’s it. That’s the end of the story. You’re either gonna do it, or you’re gonna make excuses as to why you didn’t.

The good news is that it’s simple. You don’t need to move a whole mountain all at once here. The bar, I hate to say it, is set amazingly low.

  • Finish the blog post you’ve been sitting on for the last month. Click the publish button.
  • Call a trainer and book an appointment.
  • Pick up the phone and call your prospect.

These are the tasks we sit on and don’t address. The little details. This is how you move a mountain. One little rock at a time.

Have you watched tv in the last week? You could have been moving a mountain. True or not?

The Time is Now, Now is the Time

As we go through life, we’re confronted with innumerable decisions. We make over 3,000 decisions per day, whether we realize it or not.

Most of these decisions are made by our rote mental faculties, but these decisions still consume our mental resources. It takes energy to make a decision. That’s why it’s important to be a good decision maker.

When a decision involves money, we put it in a special category. We mark it as important. We think about it. We spend more time on it. We want to get input from friends and family. We want to wait for the right time.

We make tens…even hundreds of thousands of other decisions in a split second. But when money is involved, we hesitate. This is important to realize. And it’s understandable. Money is a limited resource. Whether you’re flat broke or a multimillionaire, money is finite. And it always will be. We need to make our financial decisions carefully.

This is all as it should be.

But what many of us forget is that we have a resource even more limited than money. If we want to grow to our maximum potential as business owners and contributors to our communities, we need to value our time above all else. Time is even more finite than money.

Therefore, please do hesitate. Make your financial decisions carefully. But don’t put your dreams on hold for long. If a financial decision is awaiting you, take a deep breath and go for it. One way or another. Listen to yourself.

Do it.

Or don’t do it.

Regardless of when you jump, you’ll ALWAYS have that knot in the pit of your stomach. It would be unhealthy if you didn’t! But make the decision anyway. Push for your dreams. They require it, and they’re worth it. Commit to one direction or another.

You can ALWAYS make more money, but if you spend days, weeks or months…dare I say years…deliberating on a financial decision, that time is gone. Forever.

Dreams are made into reality every day. Every. Single. Day. No matter what time of year it is, no matter where you are in your career, no matter what your friends or colleagues say, you are the decision maker. This is your life, your career, your ambition.

Listen to your advisers and mentors, but don’t forget to listen to yourself as well. What does your gut say, right now?

Make the decision carefully, but make the decision in a way that’s in alignment with how much you value your time. Yea or nay, take time out of the equation…and go for it.

Make your goals a reality…starting now.

WordPress Resources for Your Small Business Website

Just got off the phone with a Facebook friend in Manchester. Saz Bailey is doing some amazing things with her business and is launching a new blog to chronicle her journey to rehab a home for her handicapped son.

We discussed the ideal configuration for her new WordPress site, and that inspired me to create a short and updated post for my recommended gear.

If you want to develop your own new business site using WordPress, this is a list of recommendations that’ll get you off to the races. It’s fun!

btw…most of this gear is free. Some of it costs a few bucks. If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time, you know I never recommend anything I haven’t tested and used extensively here.

Questions? Need help? Hit me up. I always love to hear from you 🙂

Recommended WordPress Themes

The two frameworks we use most often…

Headway – Easiest to use visual designer I’ve ever used. If you have a vision but don’t want to pay for professional design work, this is what you need.

Genesis – One of the best coded and well-supported frameworks on the market. You simply can’t go wrong with Genesis and one of their child themes.

Recommended WordPress Plugins

This list is in no way meant to be exhaustive. These are however, plugins I consider fundamental to nearly every install we do…

404 Redirection – This fixes any and all 404 errors in one fell swoop. Woot!

Backup Buddy – Here’s the thing…when (not if…when) your site gets busted or hacked, you’ll KICK yourself in the FACE if you don’t have a properly created back up. It’s amazing how many WP sites have no back up strategy at all. Everything on the internet breaks on occasion. If you have a backup, you can restore your site in minutes. If you don’t, it’s too late. Don’t get caught with your pants down, yo.

Bulletproof Security – Security! This blocks SQL injection and a host of other common attacks using a totally different level of security than other solutions. The most effective I’ve seen.

Contact Form 7 – For many years now…one of the best and free plugins for contact form creation.

Google XML Sitemaps – If search engine visibility is important to you, use this. Don’t ask any damn questions. Just install it 😉

Instabuilder – This gives you the tools to easily create lead capture pages, sales pages and sales funnels. Yes, there are LOADS of solutions for this these days. The next time you and I drink bourbon together (you’re buying), I’ll give you the technical explanation if you want. Haha…for real though, it’s the best on the market. That’s just a fact.

Login Lockdown – Security! Install, activate and call it a day. It blocks brute force attacks, which are the most common way thieves and other criminals get into your site for fun time.

MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer – Great solution for maximizing search visibility for the content you publish.

Revision Control – Allows finer control over the number of Revisions stored on a global & per-type/page basis. Geeky! But seriously…a lot of WP sites end up running way too slowly, and a massive database is a big part of the reason. This helps keeps stuff under control.

SEO Friendly Images – Particularly if you host a lot of images, this is just smart. It’s also friendly. For images. I’m pretty sure that’s where they got the name.

 

Recommended WordPress Hosting

Bluehost – I’ve been recommending these guys for almost 10 years now. One of the best start up web hosts out there. I’ll give it to you straight…if performance and uptime are CRUCIAL for you, don’t go with a hosting package with anything less than business-class VPS hosting. But Bluehost is perfect for anyone getting off the ground and cutting their teeth in the web dev arena.

RWP – I’m a partner with this company. Small business-optimized WordPress hosting. We work on a small scale and pick our clients carefully. But no one, literally, can even come close to the level of support offered here. If you’re a developer that requires full admin control over your hosting environment, this isn’t what you’re looking for. If you’re a business owner that wants your site to WORK, and you want to have a full-featured solution to ANYTHING you need for your website within arms reach, it’s the best solution on the market. I’ll take the pepsi challenge any day of the week 😉

Recommended Email Marketing Solution

Aweber – Ever since I moved to Aweber 6-7 years ago, I couldn’t imagine living without it. As soon as I got past the mental block of paying a few bucks to send email, my list started blowing up like it never had before, and my conversion rates took off as well. The right tools for the job make all the different in the world.

Ummm, how do I set all this crap up??

Hit me up. My pleasure to answer any questions you have. I can hook you up with our latest video tutorials also, showing you the whole process.

Conclusion

Over the years I’ve done a handful of this type of post. Every time so far I get a lot of email about stuff I’ve “missed”. No worries. Here’s the thing. I love you even if you have a difference of opinion 😉

Please do feel free to let me know your thoughts. This isn’t a end-all-be-all list. There’s no such thing. I’ve been building WP for about as long as it’s existed. I’m a marketing guy. I focus on bottom line results, performance, security and ease-of-use. That’s where I’m coming from.  There’s no substitute for having a pro set you up. Sorry. There’s just not. That said, if you’re of the DIY persuasion, this list will get you up and running. And it’ll put the right gear in your hands so you can focus on marketing your biznas. Most importantly…by far…have fun!

Thank You, Gary :)

crushitchicago1-1024x768Gary, I really appreciate you reading my blog! You and I originally met up in Chicago when you first put out Crush It, and we’ve touched base off and on since then via email and Twitter.

The reason I reached out to you via email is because the interview I want to put together is something I earnestly feel would benefit everyone…You, Grant and of course my readers and clients here also. It will give us all exposure to new people, and I guarantee the conversation to be frickin electric 🙂

Let me handle all the details, so all you guys need to do is show up! Excited to hear your thoughts!

Questions to Ask Your Website Provider Today

If you’re reading this blog, you’re a small business owner. You probably already have a website. And you probably aren’t 100% happy with the results you’re getting with that website.

Hey…if you want to get some answers, you’re in the right place!

Whether you’re considering staying with your current website provider or are looking for a change, make sure to ask any web developer you’re working with these questions.

Ask them today.

You’re running your business today, right? Your prospects are visiting your website right now, as you read this. Make sure to address these concerns with your website vendor today, so you can ensure you’re not leaving money on the table.

  • Can you provide a strategy for us getting on the first page of Google? If they claim to “guarantee” specific search engine rankings, run in the other direction. SEO isn’t turnkey, it requires a strategy. So if visibility in search is important to you, make sure they provide a strategy you can follow.
  • What if I’m not happy with the results we’re getting? What type of support do you offer? Make sure you’re working with a provider that will work with you in an ongoing capacity to help you get results. 
  • If I want to update my website or change my design later, is that included? If not, what does it cost? You may get a website at a great price, but is it easy for you to edit and make updates? Or do you have to go through your developer for everything that needs to be done? Are you going to be charged again and again for ongoing maintenance? Make sure you get clear answers to these concerns, so you know what you’re signing up for.
  • As technology and search engine algorithms change, what steps do you take to ensure my website stays up to speed? While this didn’t used to be such a big concern, today is hugely important. Tech and SEO are changing constantly. If you’re website isn’t modified to stay current, you can quickly fall behind. Make sure your vendor has a plan in place to ensure your website stays current. 
  • I want to make sure we’re getting x-amount of leads from our website every month. What can you do to help us reach our goals? Be clear about what results you’re wanting to see. Ask your vendor directly what they can do to ensure it happens. Businesses don’t grow on accident. If you want your website to generate more leads and business, it needs to be addressed directly. Most designers study design, surprisingly enough. But most have no marketing experience whatsoever.
  • Do I have a dedicated IP address? This is more important than ever. Details here.
  • Can you ensure a specific page speed ranking? This is another metric that has grown in importance by leaps and bounds. Details here.
  • If I want to create lead capture pages to generate new business, do you provide tools for that? Lead capture pages are the #1 tool for lead gen. Creating them without the right tools is time consuming and expensive. Having tools to easily create your own lead capture pages not only saves you huge chunks of cash and a lot of hassle, it also makes your website much more profitable.
  • If I have marketing-related questions or need help understanding how to execute an idea on our website, do you provide support for that? Does your website vendor provide marketing support or just tech support? Not the same thing, at all. If you’re a small business owner with a web presence, you’re going to have marketing-related questions. You can always hire a marketing coach, and you may already have one. Bottom line, make sure you’ve got a direct and easy way to get the answers you need. 
  • What background do you have related to sales and marketing? Your designer knows design, of course. But what marketing experience do they have? Do they understand your particular industry? Do they know how to sell stuff? If not, how could they possibly build you a website that converts?

The web is filled with beautiful websites that look amazing but produce no results. If you want a website that converts, you need a website vendor that knows marketing, not just design.

It’s also crucial to not confuse search engine optimization with marketing. You can get all the traffic in the world, but if your website isn’t converting, you’ll still get no bottom line result. If your website DOES convert, you can grow your business with even a very small amount of traffic.

Make sure to ask these questions of ANY website vendor you’re considering doing business with. This way you can ensure you’re getting a website that is capable of performing the way you expect.

Questions or need some assistance? I always love hearing from ya 🙂