Episode 1 of Become a Social Business

Episode One Blab And Scope

Episode 1 of Becoming a Social Business by Scott Gombar.  It really was an open forum.  I spoke with numerous people regarding how to make their business a more social business by using Blab, Periscope, Facebook, LinkedIn and a relative unknown in the Social Media world, Alignable.  We had several experts in the field chime in and let us know their thoughts and opinions.

The focus was definitely on Blab and Periscope.  Let’s just say the future looks bright.  We discussed how politicians might be able to leverage Blab and how it’s already been used for webinars, training and even a realtor showing a house.

I also briefly discusses a new platform called Alignable.  This is a newer Social Media channel focused on local business growth.  Sign up and add Scott Gombar!

Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Knowledge helps set yourself up as an expert

Give Everything Away Now

Give Everything Away Now

Yes, you read it right.  I said give everything away right now.  Uh-oh, Scott’s gone mad.  That’s probably what you’re thinking, isn’t it?  Well good news, I haven’t gone mad.  I’m just telling you something that my marketing agency does as a general rule of thumb but I bring it up because not everyone seems to agree with this methodology. 

Give Away Knowledge to Show Your ExpertiseHow Digital Marketing is done seems to be a big giant secret for many business people.  I constantly see businesses create social media accounts only to never use them, or to post sales pitch after sales pitch.  I often stumble upon websites with outdated copyright notices (thanks for all the free content..just kidding).  Those same websites often are not mobile ready or lack simple things such as a favicon, and not so simple for some..a blog.

Digital Marketing Methods are not really a secret, and if you’ve been reading my blog or following me on social media you’d know I share everything I do.  There are no secrets here.  I will tell you exactly how I do it and have done so numerous times.  Just look at my last blog post, 5 Simple Steps to Blabbing Your Way to Success, and you will see what I mean.  I give everything away just about every day, and guess what.  I’ve experienced business growth despite telling everyone my so called secrets.  In fact, I always give potential clients a review of what I would do before they become a client.  They don’t all come running and maybe they give that review to a competitor but that’s OK..they can use it.

I am not the only one who believes in doing this.  I manage a marketing campaign for a local wildlife control company and routinely share tips on how to get squirrels out of the attic, or prevent raccoons and skunks from coming around.  I have been working with them for over a year now and they have experienced month over month growth both in traffic and sales.  Their site receives about 9 times the amount of traffic today versus a year ago.

I know several attorneys (Yay, watch out for me!) that routinely share ideas, tips and thoughts on their respective areas of practice.  They post blogs, videos and participate in podcasts giving the same information that they had to spend tens of thousands of dollars to receive.  They give everything away for FREE!  Why?  Because it works.  They are seeing growth in their business and increased traffic to their sites.  On the day an email blast goes out their traffic spikes.  On the days they share their own information on social media their traffic spikes.

On a recently podcast with one of those attorneys shared some of his methods to business growth and legal advice..for free.  Why?  Because he understood that you have to give before you receive.

On the contrary, I know another business owner who thinks that he should keep all his ideas and projects a secret.  He has been in business for over 40 years and did quite well for some time.  Today he is struggling as the competitive field has changed and his competitors are more than willing to share their “Secrets” and ideas.  He doesn’t want to budge on his thought process and I believe this is one of the reasons for his decline in traffic and business.  He doesn’t want to blog because he doesn’t want to share…he’s losing.

Give away the farm as part of your content marketing planThe moral of the story is essentially you have to give to receive.   But don’t give expecting to receive because it doesn’t work that way.  Some will take, take and take some more for a long time.  I was told of a business that had a client who participated in free webinars and received all types of free information for over a year but did eventually become a client.  It might take time, some people take longer to commit but being a source of information and knowledge will help you build an audience and eventually clients.

Giving away knowledge, information and expertise is not only a good marketing plan, it’s recommended by some of the industry’s top marketers..including me.  I hope you enjoyed this bit of free advice.

So get out there and give the farm away.

 

My Client Deserved to be Fired

Why I Fired My Inbound Marketing Client

I quit on my clientIt’s not me, it’s you!  I want to break up, I want a divorce.  Yes, it’s true. I fired a client. I am sure all business owners have been there at some point.  That one client who just isn’t worth the effort.

Let me explain.

It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint!

I was hired to improve a small business’ inbound marketing efforts, as I often am.  When I am hired I make sure to help them understand while every effort is made to achieve immediate results it often takes time, sometimes months.  With this particular client, I explained this to him several times over the course of two weeks before he agreed to hire me.

I also agreed to allow payments in installments as the cost was a concern to him.  Don’t get me wrong, I completely understood his hesitation especially after working with several so-called SEO people in the past.  You see these SEO Experts did not really do anything, at least nothing that translates to Google Dominance.

After a down payment, the real work began. Let me lay the groundwork for you. His website was not optimized at all.  He was also using the free version of Weebly which has limitations.  He was not willing to switch.  I even designed a brand new site in WordPress which he balked at. So I worked within these limitations.

Before I continue I want to be clear that inbound marketing requires more than Google Dominance now. Don’t get me wrong, Google is a big part of my marketing roadmap for EVERY client but it’s not the only avenue.  This client did have a dormant Facebook Page which required cleaning up and was non-existent on every other social platform.  He did not have a blog (and still doesn’t against my recommendation).

I developed his Twitter account and quickly established a base of over 100 followers, more than 80% from CT, along with a small It's a marathon, not a sprintcampaign.  I established a business page for him on Google+ and began developing a following.

His traffic in the beginning of this campaign was a big fat ZERO! His traffic increased daily with most of the real traffic coming from cities he was targeting.  I showed him the results of my efforts only to be told: “But I am not on the first page of Google”.  I let him know that we are working on better Search Engine Placement but these things can take time (for the 6th or 7th time). After all, what we all want are more sales.

Oh Ye Of Little Patience

Five weeks into his marketing campaign with continued positive results but he still wasn’t on the first page of Google for a particular keyword phrase. Traffic is there, people are engaged and interacting with him but he is still not on the first page of Google which was his only focus. He lost sight of the bigger picture.  We had a discussion of sorts that led to me explaining again that it takes time and the results will come. He stated he was losing patience and felt like the money he had spent (only half of the agreed upon rate) was for naught.  I suggested that if he felt this way we could discontinue the agreement and part ways to which he agreed.

That was 10 days ago as of this writing.  I am the type of person who when told it can’t be done will set out to prove you wrong so I was still monitoring the results of the keyword phrase he was so interested in placing on the front page for.  Today he is on the first page of Google competing with some of the biggest providers of his service in CT.

If after you read this you still want to Learn how my services can help you increase sales use the form to the right to contact me!

 

Who Elected You Thought Leader?

What is a Thought Leader?

What-Is-A-Thought-LeaderThe new buzz word is Thought Leader.   Well, that’s one of many new buzz words.  I am starting to see a lot of social media profiles where the user claims to be a thought leader.   What does it mean to be a thought leader, and is that enough?

A thought leader is someone who’s views and opinions on a subject are said to be authoritative.  That means that you are the subject matter expert and people look to you for answers on that subject.  That would seem to eliminate all the self-proclaimed thought leaders right away.  Who made you the authority on a subject, especially something as broad as small business or marketing?  All of the sudden your 17 twitter followers (10% of which are spam) have elected you the thought leader on a subject?  This seems a little pretentious to me.

How does one go about becoming a thought leader?  Is there an election process?  I’d like to throw my hat in the ring, heck I am constantly thinking about stuff.

Just read my other blog posts and you will see I am often rambling about this or that.  This only happens when I have time to put pen to paper so to speak.  In reality, it’s fingers to keyboard but you get the drift.  There is so much more that I don’t blog or write about.  My mind is constantly wandering, thinking of how things could be better in different aspects of my life…and others.

Forbes says that it’s truism that thought leaders tend to be the most successful individuals or firms in their respective fields.   Well if that’s true then I should be the most successful CT Inbound Marketer.  I don’t believe I am..well not yet.  I find it hard to believe that a thought leader with little following is the most successful individual in their respective field.  In fact, to be a leader don’t you have to have followers?

A Thought Leader Among Men/Women

What if I told you I know of a thought leader who was recently hired at a large corporate firm because he was considered a thought leader?  You’d probably say that’s awesome, that just proves Forbes point and we should all strive to be thought leaders.  Well, whatA Thought Leader if I told you that the thought leader was fired months later because he failed to put any of his thoughts into action?  Oh, now I have your attention.

You see being a thought leader is cool, especially if you were not self-appointed but it’s not enough.  You have to act on your thoughts as well.  You have a great idea, a great course of action or steps to improve an existing plan and that’s awesome but it does no good if you’re not putting those thoughts into action.  The best-laid plans are useless unless you are prepared to, and do execute.

It’s kind of the reverse of acting without thinking.  You know what kind of trouble people get into when they act without thinking first.  It’s usually not very pretty.  Occasionally it’s downright ugly.   Well, thinking without action probably won’t become ugly (unless you get fired for it) but it’s essentially the same thing.  At least if you act without thinking you just might accomplish something.  A thought leader who doesn’t act will just portray someone who does nothing.

Do Something

The point of this brief but necessary post can be summed up with two words..Do Something.  I would not say I am the smartest man in business but I believe I can hold my own.  I have made mistakes but isn’t that how we learn?  I know, it’s cliche.  I am constantly thinking, looking for new and interesting solutions.  I love challenges, especially the challenges where everyone tells me it cannot be done.  I thrive on the “impossible”.

I put it all into action.  I do something.  And that’s the point I am trying to make.  Being a thought leader without action is the same thing as doing nothing.  It’s not enough to be a thought leader.

What are your thoughts on this?  Put your thoughts into action and let me read them!

Do Something

 

It Takes a Tribe to Raise a Small Business

Raising a Small Business

Raising a Small BusinessI remember hearing often throughout the years that it takes a tribe to raise a child.  It has been a long time since I have heard that but I do believe it is true to some degree today.  I have four children.  My wife and I are not the only disciplinarians, coaches, teachers, nutritionists and schedulers.  We rely on family to contribute to our children’s upbringing.  Sometimes our children are with friends, neighbors or teachers who we also rely on to build a solid foundation for our children to become productive members of society.

Well shouldn’t the same hold true for a small business?  Isn’t it time that we support the economy ourselves and stop relying on the government?  Shouldn’t we stop assuming that just because someone has a store front and a website they are OK financially?  Aren’t all small businesses in need of some type of help?

It Never Ends

I have been running a small business in some shape or form for over 8 years.  Before that I worked for small business owners who often could only afford to pay minimum wage with no benefits.  Last year over 3 million people lost their jobs because of small business failures and closings.   I can tell you from my own experiences that it is not easy running a small business on your own.  Here’s a list of just some of the things I have had to do while running these businesses.  One was an IT Support company which I had for about 7 years, the other is this one which is a little over a year old.

  • Marketing/Advertising
  • Bookkeeping
  • Taxes
  • Answering the phone
  • Accounts Payable/Receivable
  • Hiring contractors
  • Making sure contractors signed all paperwork including NDA
  • Paying contractors
  • Networking
  • LLC Paperwork
  • Ordering
  • Develop Website
  • Maintain Vendor Relationships
  • Maintain Client Relationships
  • Vehicle Maintenance

I am sure I am forgetting some things.  If you have employees there is quite a bit more to deal with.  I purposely hired contractors with the IT company to avoid the extra work of hiring employees.  That’s a lot of work, and that does not include actually doing what the business is supposed to be doing, like writing this blog post or managing a clients inbound marketing.

What’s a small business to do?

In my area I have networked with a lot of small business owners, even some of my competitors, over the last year.  One thing I learned while running the IT business is face to face networking is almost essential to your small business survival.  What networking has done for me (besides grow my client list) is allowed me a resource to bounce my small business problems off of other owners/managers.  In turn I can help with problems they might be having.

Small Business NetworkingGet on Meetup and Facebook.  You will find tons of networking groups, some specialized in areas where you might need the most help.  Join a chamber or BNI group.  Both are great resources for meeting different business owners who specialize in accounting, taxes, legal, HR, insurance and so much more.  Many business owners are more than willing to give free advice to other business owners.  I know I do it all the time.  Heck I do it on this site and on social media.

Just today I attended a relationship building group in New Haven called Our Breakfast Club.  After the meeting another attendee asked questions about uploading video to their website.  We tried to work through solutions but were not immediately able to find one.  I did however tell her I would look into it further.

Isn’t that every small business owners responsibility?  Shouldn’t we all be accountable for our peers success?  All too often small business owners are worried about their competition taking business away from them, but I am not aware of any business category that doesn’t have enough potential clients to go around.  The truth is small businesses make up over 99% of all employer firms.  That’s a large number!  If we truly want the US economy to turn around for good then we need to support each other.

Why Am I Bringing This Up Now?

Today I had an argument of sorts on Twitter.  Another small business owner who is doing quite well took it personally when I tweeted shame on small business owners who don’t support other small businesses.  It’s part of a campaign I am currently running for another business.  We went back and forth for a few tweets before he decided to just block me.  It seems if you don’t agree completely with some people then they don’t want to acknowledge you.  Either way the point I was trying to make was that we owe to each other, and ourselves to pay it forward.  I do help other small businesses out with advice, by purchasing from them rather than the corporate giants, by telling others about their business.  I am a raving fan of some area small businesses.

Small Businesses Can Get Along Like Cats & Dogs CanIt’s obvious to me that I struck a nerve with this gentleman.  And to be painfully honest he kind of pissed me off.  Don’t get me wrong, I kept it professional.  I do have a knack for calling you an ass professionally.  I learned this from all my years in the corporate world.  I do believe the small business community is responsible for helping each other out, just as I believe we are all responsible for paying it forward every chance we get by helping others who need help.

It is time that we stop taking food out of each other’s mouth and step up to help other small business owners.  I have always had a soft spot for small businesses, solopreneurs and self employed.  It’s hard work to be on your own but we don’t have to be on our own.  Stop being selfish and start working with other business owners.

To the business owners who don’t get out to network..I would strongly encourage you to do so.  We can’t help you if you’re not there.

What do you think?  Was I wrong using a tweet that was somewhat confrontational?  Am I wrong about small businesses supporting each other?  I would love to hear your comments.