Sunday, November 22, 2009

I’m looking for bloggers to join me in a mini-blog posting project?

I am interested in putting together a collaborative blog project about experience with various social media. I would like you to write a 200 – 300 word mini post explaining how you have used twitter, face book or, LinkedIn. If you email me these mini posts I will display them on my blog three at a time. I will credit you as the author and will put a link to your blog or website in your post.

Your post should tell a story of how you have used one of the three social media sites mentioned above. This will end up being a collection of mini-blog posts of 200 – 300 words. I will try to include three posts with every entry and will post them as long as I have posts submitted.  I will also send you a copy of the blog post with the three mini posts when it is posted and, you can post it on your blog also. Please give credit to the other authors, their blogs and, my blog just as you receive it. I think that 250 words would be ideal and I would ask you to not go beyond 300 words.

Let me repeat; this mini-post should give a detailed description of how you have used either twitter, face book or, LinkedIn. You can let the readers know what results you have experienced, etc. Make sure it is informative. I will select the blog posts sent to me and, if they meet the criteria, I will post them. Then, if you blog the same posts on your blog, please give credit to the authors and my blog. I think this could be a very exciting experiment and I am looking forward to lots of input.

Please send your mini blog post to with the subject line referring to the mini blog posting project. Thank you in advance for your participation. When you have participated and have the blog posts back to post on your blog be sure to share it with your contacts. Tweet it and, promote it in the same way you promote your blog

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How To Make Sure Your Blog Posts Get Read; 4 Suggestions

I have recently read a couple of excellent books. One is Content Rich by Jon Wuebben and the other is The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert Bly. They have helped me think about blogging from the point of view of copywriting. This is a good strategy with any blog that you want to increase your readership for but, it is especially important for a business blog that is designed to generate traffic to your website. Using good copywriting techniques makes a big difference in blogging results.

Does the title grab attention?
Like the envelop and headline of a direct mail letter, the headline in a news article or, the subject line of an email, the title is one of the most important aspects of your blog article. Make sure that it grabs attention. People are interested in how to’s, lists of things that will bring a known benefit and, promises of knowledge that will be learned. Early on in my blogging I was more concerned about literary concerns and I have to admit that I did not grab as many readers as I could have. I am even considering changing the titles of some of my blog posts and trying them over again. I will probably do that as I have the time and I will be happy to report back my findings. Therefore, I suggest that you either think of a great title and write to it or, write an article without a title and after it is finished spend some time with the title. Let me repeat; use titles that grab!

Do not make it too long!
I try to hold my blog posts at or about five hundred (500) words. Busy people want to be able to glean information quickly. I know for a fact that when I see a blog post that is long I do not read it all unless it is something that I have to know about. However, I will read blogs of five hundred words or less much more often.

Make it keyword rich!
If you want to receive the benefit of the search engines make sure that you are using words and phrases that have large search engine results. You can become aware of these keywords from sources like or, you can use the program I have called Traffic Travis. This is a program that sits on your hard drive and will give you results on popular keywords. It also gives a large variety of SEO benefits, but it is worth the price; FREE…smile. Actually, I have paid for a version that gives a little more bang but either way it is a great resource and it will help you with keywords. Don’t use them just because they are keywords…use them as they fit your subject.

Make them specific!
The more valuable information you can pack into a post the better. You don’t have to go on and on but, it is important that you are able to offer valuable information. It does not have to be original information, there is nothing new under the sun, but, if you remind people of things or state something in a new and unique way, or give a different perspective than most you will have gone a long long way down the road to great content, and that will lead to more readers.

I would appreciate any comments and observations so feel free to interact!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

4 Important Steps to Ensure Success with Online and Social Media Marketing for the Small Business Owner

Contrary to popular belief social media marketing takes time. This is especially true for the small business owner and, even truer for the small B2B owner but, that should not be the reason for not doing it. So many of the articles written do not emphasize this time element and end up making it sound like you can be a social network success overnight. Of course that has happened and will continue to happen from time to time but, it is not the rule; it is an exception. The reasons for overnight success are varied but, they involve one or more of the following conditions: The entrepreneur has found something to offer so unique that no one else is offering it or anything like it; they have made a unique video that goes viral overnight; they have developed a product or system that many people need that is not readily available any where else and so on. Let’s face it. Most of us will not do that.

So, for the rest of us, here are some important points to consider in web marketing in general, AKA web 2.0, and social media specifically. These suggestions are tailored for the small business owner:
  1. The easiest way, not the most efficient way but, none the less, the easiest way to get immediate returns from the internet is pay per click (PPC). You can do this with a rather modest budget in the beginning but you will only reap the benefit of what you can afford to pay for. There are other important factors to consider however. You must be certain that you have a compelling website that has powerful web copy/content that will ensure that many people who click take another step and execute your call to action. You will only be successful if you offer something that people need and want and the benefits have to be communicated precisely and clearly.
  2. Your website acts as a sales person for you and it is the online customer’s first impression of your business. Therefore it must be appealing to that potential customer and it must tell a story about your business that will get the prospect to act. But, you also must make it appealing for the search engines so that eventually you can drive the traffic to your site by rating high in Google, Yahoo and the other search engines. Always remember that your web copy needs to be optimized for search engines.
  3. Utilize social media marketing to get yourself known by as many people as possible. The more exposure you have on the social media sites the better but, it must be quality exposure. And, as I began this article quality exposure takes time. It must be pursued methodically with a strategic plan executed over time. It is all about networking with the right people and becoming established as a thought leader with them. On social media you want a nice mix of personal and business sharing. The business sharing should be subtle like posting your blog.
  4. Blogging is the best way to establish yourself as a thought leader and it is also the best way to add lots of good content to your site over time. Each blog post ends up being a page in the view of the search engines. Blogging will also help build you links over time which will add to your ranking in the search engines. One good thing to remember is that you don’t have to write all of this yourself. You can hire people with skill in this area that will help you out a lot.

    Following this plan will surely result in marketing success. I would appreciate your feedback on this article.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    A B2B business owner’s Imperative; 3 reasons to become active in social media now!

    Social media has worked exceptionally well for B2C businesses. It is a remarkably versatile medium for promoting business to the public. It works for B2B as well but it seems that not as many B2B businesses have embraced social media. That must change. Here are the reasons:
    1. People continue to block interruptive marketing attempts and this becomes increasingly so day by day.
    2. Because of the blocking, direct marketing efforts become more and more difficult to execute.
    3. Direct mail is not often looked at think of the last direct mail piece you acted on.

    The old saying, “what goes around comes around’ is causing a great amount of difficulty for B2B marketers. Think about it…if you screen your calls and email, you better believe that others are doing the same. The fact is that in screening, all of us pass up the opportunities to find really beneficial products or services that we need. The reason for this is that we find that most of the time we are not interested or we do not need the product or services being offered. This is precisely the reason that we view direct marketing efforts as interruptive.

    Herein lays the importance of social media and blogging. Blogging is the perfect way to share incredible, valuable content and the social media is a perfect way to share your blogging efforts. This requires two things from B2B business people. First, they must participate in blogging and in social media and, secondly, they must have patience and be in it for the long haul. The sooner you begin this effort the better.

    The ideal perfect world for social marketing would have all B2B businesses participating regularly. This would allow social media to be the source of business exchange… you may say to me duh! It already is. Well that is true, but for the B2B segment it is not nearly true enough.

    At the very least, small B2B companies should be doing at least one thoughtful quality blog post per week and they should share it where their target audience is hanging out in the social media. Added to this, they should be giving at least two thoughtful and valuable posts per day on twitter and face book. What this does is build relationships and thought leadership over time. I want to emphasize the words over time. Social media marketing is definitely a relationship building process and this take time. Establishing yourself and your company as a thought leader takes time.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Why you must read Inbound Marketing; To the small B2B business owner

    I just finished reading Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the co-founders of Hubspot. It is an informative book that I would recommend to anyone who is trying to market anything these days. Their perspective is totally focused on social media marketing and SEO methods. They reinforce the idea that interruptive marketing tactics are less and less effective as people develop ways to block and filter out the interruption.

    The centerpiece of their strategy is Google, the blogosphere and, remarkable content. They hammer the point that if content is king; then remarkable content is the Alexander the Great of content marketing. They cover all of the bases but, I found that they give just a little more detail than most. I learned some things that I was not aware of and identified some mistakes that I made early on that are not easily fixed….using macboo62 for my twitter name instead of Joe Machuta is one of them…smile.

    This book covers it all from domain names to getting found on YouTube by creating outstanding videos. It provides very detailed information about the workings of all the major social networks like Face Book, LinkedIn, Twitter, Digg, and Stumbleupon. It also goes into detail about each one of these venues and it reinforces the methods and strategies that are already being used by most of us.

    There is also some good advice for companies along the lines of planning for the future and measuring and hiring employees. The major argument is that web 2.0 should be considered heavily in everything that is being done. All companies would do well to have some web 2.0 savvy employees.

     I am writing to the small B2B business owner; the one who has 5 – 35 employees and is the CEO, CMO, COO and , CFO all rolled into one person.. This would be a great addition to your bookshelf. It is imperative that small B2B service businesses embrace the new rules of marketing. Yes, this book is about the new rules of marketing and the impact that they can have on the business person who is willing to wholeheartedly embrace change.

    I really appreciate feedback so feel free to make comments to my blog posts.

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Why Spin Selling is Important in this Economic Downturn

    This is actually an older post that has been renamed. I am experimenting to see if the title change will increase the interest in the article. The idea for this was expressed in my post How to make sure your blog posts get read. If you have read this post I am not trying to spam...this is a real experiment. If you haven't read this post before read it and comment if you think it is helpful. The former title of this post was Implied, Explicit Needs and the Economic Downturn.

    Original Post:
    In re-reading a portion of the book SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham, it dawned on me that SPIN selling is even more important in this economic downturn. The book speaks mostly of the large sale, i.e., the large B2B sale. The thrust of the book then is aimed at the large sale and concessions are offered to suggest that with the smaller sale, SPIN selling is not so important. He makes the distinction between implied needs and explicit needs and concedes that in the smaller sale implied needs may be enough to close a sale. He uses an illustration example of a scale with a large price tag, $120.000.00 on the one side and a few implied needs on the other to show that the large price outweighs the implied needs.

    It dawned on me that during times of economic downturn, implied needs are not effective even in the smaller sales. For this reason it would benefit B2B sales people and businesses to review chapters three, four and five of Rackham’s book. Chapter three explains the idea of needs and differentiates between implied needs and explicit needs. He defines implied needs as statements by the prospect that identifies problems, difficulties and dissatisfactions and explicit needs as wants or desires for a specific solution to the problem. In other words, just because you can identify a problem does not necessarily insure that you have a prospect that is convinced that he or she or their company needs a solution, especially when the solution is going to cost money that is limited.

    In fact, it is only when the prospect is convinced of an explicit need that a sale can advance. The entire SPIN selling process is designed to identify implied needs and, through questioning, develop awareness of explicit needs that will justify spending money to solve a problem that is a real problem with revenue consequences. There is not a better way that I know of to do this.

    Here is a recap of the SPIN selling system. SPIN is an acronym that, as I wrote in my last blog post, stands for four types of questions used in the inquiry or investigation stage of the selling process. They are as follows:
    • Situation Questions; questions that find out basic information
    • Problem Questions; questions that identify problems
    • Implication Questions; questions that identify the implications of the problems
    • Needs/Payoff Questions; questions that help explicitly define problems needing solutions.
    During the economic downturn especially, prospects do not have the time or the patience to answer a bunch of situation questions so keep them at a minimum. The problem questions will help you identify the problems that you want to be able to solve with your goods or services. So then, the main focus should be placed on the Implication and Needs/Payoff questions. I would strongly suggest that, if you do not have one, get a copy of Neil Rackham’s book SPIN Selling and focus at the very least on chapters three four and five. You may find that it offers a lot of help in this particular economic time period.

    I would appreciate feedback on my articles. Please feel free to leave comments on my blog. I will read them and take them to heart. It can also create an important dialog that will benefit all of the readers.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    How to switch from hard sell to thought leadership

    I cut my sales teeth prior to the internet; way before the internet as a matter of I was trained to think that the three most important aspects of selling was closing, closing and closing. Every time one encountered a buying signal…what should he/she do? Go for the close! In fact, everything revolved around the close. There were many retailers that used these selling techniques and many a customer was sold. Today however, people are sold less and buy more often. They buy because they understand that the product or services satisfies their wants needs or desires. They look to the person that has knowledge not salesmanship. They look to thought leaders.

    I am a great fan of Neil Rackham’s book SPIN Selling. He methodically traces the change of buying practices in the large B2B sale. He authoritatively establishes the idea that the strong closer sales tactics that I was taught do not work in the large B2B sale. Well it is becoming increasingly obvious that these strong closer sales tactics do not work today period. What has changed? The answer is the knowledge level and sophistication of the buyers. This has been made possible in large part because of the internet. Today anyone can research anything on the web. Many times the prospective buyer knows as much about the prospective product or service as does the salesman. Therefore, it is imperative that the sales person or business is involved in the early process of the sale. How you ask?  By being a thought leader and a trusted advisor is the answer.

    .My focus is on the small B2B business owner. It is very important that these small businesses establish themselves as thought leaders and trusted advisors. The how to do this is the question that needs answering. Here are some tips:

    1. Start a blog and contribute content often. It is essential that the articles offer helpful information. It does not matter so much that it is brand new information (there is nothing new under the sun) but it must be stated as freshly as possible and it can become helpful to a specific readership or vertical.
    2. You can get some of your blog information from article publishing sites like There are hundreds of thousands of article available for reposting. Be sure that you follow their instructions and give credit to the original author and location. You demonstrate your though leadership by writing your own posts but you also show that leadership by selecting information that is helpful.
    3. Look for helpful articles at other blogs and retweet them. This goes toward establishing your thought leadership. This is especially true when you are following and are followed by people that are a part of your target market.
    4. You should publish your blog articles on article submission sites such as This will establish you as a thought leader to an even wider audience.

    You can share your blog and articles with your prospective clients. You can also turn them into PDFs and send them along to your prospects via email. All of these things are a great start to establishing yourself as a thought leader and trusted adviser.

    I would appreciate feedback on my articles. Please feel free to leave comments on my blog. I will read them and take them to heart. It can also create an important dialog that will benefit all of the readers.