Articles on Marketing and Marketing Strategy

If you build it, they won’t come. If you market it, they might &$8212; as long as you do it right. But what is the right way? As a business owner, it is your job to market your business and get the word out so people who need what you offer can find you, hire you, buy from you, learn from you, and tell their friends about you.

But marketing is about so much more than covering the world with marketing materials, blasting your message across every medium available, and promoting yourself like crazy.

Below you will find a collection of articles on marketing strategy and marketing planning, tips on finding and choosing the best marketing tools and tactics for your business, strategies on how to make your marketing as effective as possible, ideas on how to market your business, gain visibility, earn trust, and attract new clients, and more.

10 Ideas To Build Quality Inbound Links and Increase Website Traffic

10 Ways to Build Quality Inbound Links

Search engines look for two criteria when evaluating your website links and determining your website ranking: quantity and quality.

That means both the number and the relevance of your links are crucial for getting your website found faster by search engines, and by potential clients.

The number of links to, from, and within your website come from three areas:

But just having a lot of links isn’t all you need to consider.

The quality of your links is also important. While your goal is to build a good mix of inbound, outbound, and internal links, those links have to be relevant to your content, business, industry, and audience — and you can’t forget that the basic, naturally occurring links are extremely powerful too.

The Indispensable Inbound Link

The most valuable — and the most difficult link to get is the inbound link, especially an inbound link that comes from an in-industry authority website.

An inbound link is valuable because it means someone else in the web universe has visited your site and is giving it a stamp of approval — and that action, repeated over and over by people all across the web, means achieving what everyone wants for their website — thriving traffic.

But how do you get those links, those clicks, that traffic?

Learn 10 Easy Ways to Get More Quality Inbound Links

Not Enough Clients? You’re Probably Networking In The Wrong Place

Feast Or Famine Networking

Recently I was being interviewed about owning a design business and how we have successfully built a brand and grown the business (and the profits) year after year.

About halfway through the interview the conversation turned to clients and client attraction — how to get clients, where to find clients, and how to keep clients — and inevitably we started discussing networking.

After all, no one can hire you, buy from you, or learn from you if they don’t know you exist

So you must market your business, get out from behind your computer, and network with others. You must share with other people what you do!

The problem is that a lot of business owners, especially designers view networking as not-working, and believe that if you are not working, you’re are not getting paid. So instead they sit behind their computers working and tweeting, and waiting for someone to hire them.

But the reality is that networking is the cornerstone of growing a successful business. Through networking you can expand your network, build strong relationships, find strategic partners, find clients, grow as a business owner, and more.

Learn why some business owners who are actively networking still don’t have enough clients

Same Tools, Same Strategy, Different Result

Differentiate Yourself By Being You

I see it happen over and over: A coach or expert sells “how they did it” or their process for achieving results. A business owner wanting to achieve the same results hires them to learn how they did it. The business owner learns tactics, uses the same tools, and applies the same strategy… yet they don’t achieve the same results.

In many cases, they don’t even come close to achieving the same success. Why is that? Why can you do everything exactly the same and not enjoy the same success?

There is one major difference that wasn’t accounted for

You are not them! The person, the expert, the history, the experience, the story, the brand, the positioning, the relationships — the person at the center of everything is different.

So while you can use the same tools and the same strategy, and you can achieve the same results, you can’t just copy a cookie cutter formula. You must adjust your approach and customize it to fit you, your brand, and your business.

How Strong Brand Positioning Can Eliminate Competition and Grow A Community

Step-by-Step, How to Close The Sale During an Enrollment Conversation

How to Close the Sale During a Discovery Session

Our clients may hire us to design their brand, create a killer WordPress website, and design and map out an online strategy — But more often than not, we end up consulting on much more than branding and website strategy.

During our initial discovery phase, we ask our clients A LOT of questions and require that a lot of decisions be made — that’s where the consulting comes in.

One area our clients have a lot of questions about is ironically, how to close the sale when speaking to new prospects AFTER the site has generated the lead — which is good, because it means they are confident we’ll deliver a site that does its job.

These conversations — referred to as sales conversations, enrollment conversations, discovery sessions, free strategy sessions, get acquainted sessions, complimentary consultations — are uncomfortable for many business owners because they don’t know what to say, what to ask, what order to present information, etc. As a result, they talk too much and feel like they are being too salesy, they don’t make a strong enough connection, or they never ask for the sale.

This past week, after walking a client through a sample sales conversation step-by-step, she shared with me how helpful the process was and how much clarity and confidence she felt she gained from no longer having to “wing it” on her calls.

And she suggested that I share it on our blog so you could benefit too! So…

Learn how to close the sale during your next enrollment conversation, step-by-step

One Profound Question That Can Drastically Improve Your Marketing

Improve Your Benefits-Based Marketing With This One QuestionI’ll bet you started your business to follow a passion, to do something you love, or to create your own future.

And yet, marketing is what you find yourself wrapped up in all the time.

After all, you need leads, clients, and customers, and no one can hire you, buy from you, or learn from you if they don’t know that you exist!

Why Marketing Is So Hard

You’re good at what you do. You know it. In fact, you’re brilliant at what you do. But unfortunately, for most of us marketing isn’t what you do best.

Learn the one question that will make marketing with benefits easy

Start A Sales Conversation With Your Marketing Message

Jennifer Bourn and Ali BrownRecently I flew to LA for Thrive Live, Ali Brown’s Elevate member event. The two day event, was mainly taught by Elevate coaches James Roche, Joy Chudacoff, and Sue Painter (as Ali is very pregnant with twins!), and was focused on basic business concepts like your mission, your marketing message, and your business model.

One of those areas caused some serious grief and stress for many of the attendees… and the exact same thing causes several of our clients who are newer to business ownership to freak out a little. Can you guess which one it is?

It wasn’t understanding and communicating their mission, and it wasn’t choosing a business model.

It was figuring out a marketing message and how to communicate what you do in a way that is clear, easy to understand, and in alignment with your mission and values.

As I sat in the room, I couldn’t help but think that if this many business owners at this event were struggling with crafting their marketing message, then imagine how many others around the world are struggling with the same problem … Yikes!

Learn what a marketing message is used for and get a step-by-step formula to write your own marketing message

Adding Google Authorship To Your WordPress Site

(AKA: Getting Your Photo To Show Up In The Google Search Results)

Google Search Results Page Showing Author Photo

Facial recognition is a powerful marketing tool and authors, business owners, and bloggers alike are taking advantage of it.

When searching Google, you have more than likely noticed that photos are now appearing next to some of the listed search results on the search engine results pages — and you may have even been influenced by those photos when deciding which link to click.

Getting YOUR Photo to Show Up

Adding your photo to Google’s search results can easily be accomplished in a few different ways with a WordPress site. In fact, the process is nearly identical using three of our favorite WordPress tools:

Learn How to get your photo to show up next to your pages and posts in the Google search results

Branding Mistakes That Will Sabotage Your Small Business Success

Brand StrategyIt takes an enormous amount of time, effort, perseverance, determination, consistency, and action to build a strong and powerful brand … But it only takes one negative brand experience to undermine your credibility and sabotage your success in the eyes of your ideal clients and customers.

Here are 8 branding tips to help you avoid the most common brand mistakes small business make:

Branding Tip 1: Stick to Your Brand Fonts

Don’t use gimmicky, cheesy fonts to be “different” and stand out from the crowd. Using fonts with “wow” and “pop” aren’t going help your brand, neither is changing your fonts in each piece of marketing material! Too many fonts, cheesy fonts, or constantly changing fonts will give your brand an amateur and unprofessional feel. Stick to your official brand fonts to build credibility and promote your professionalism, and maybe every once is a while add in one unique font for a special use case. (NOTE: The same rule applies to your brand colors!)

Learn 7 More Branding Tips

VIP Treatment: A Smart Marketing Lesson From Lego

Lego Valentine's Day Special PromotionWhat does VIP treatment equal?

For your clients and customers, feeling like a VIP often equals spending more money!

I think we all can learn a valuable marketing lesson from Lego this Valentine’s Day on marketing and VIP treatment.

For Valentine’s Day, Lego put together a special promotion. As a VIP member, I received a gift in the mail containing special early bird opportunities, discounts, and opportunities to earn double VIP rewards.

It’s no secret we’re HUGE Lego fans in the Bourn household.

Heck, we’re remodeling our entire bonus room into one giant Lego utopia. So when this little package arrived, we were excited. We’ve received special Lego packages like this before and they’re always brilliantly done and well designed.

Learn the Marketing Lessons Lego Teaches Us