The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


Convincing People to Change

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Change is difficult. Just ask the Goldfish.Change is often needed, but feared at the same time. Change involves risk, and humans are naturally risk-averse. Marketing involves convincing prospects that a change of behaviour is beneficial and as risk-free as possible.

This is the challenge, whether you're operating a bed and breakfast, a restaurant, a retail store, a factory or a consulting firm. Potential customers want to be assured their needs will be met if they choose you. Fortunately, despite the challenges, there are opportunities, especially when marketing online.

One of the best things about marketing online is that you're not limited by space or time. If you have the time, you can write an essay about anything related to your business. As for space, how long is a webpage? Exactly. You can write for hours about the thread count of the sheets on your beds or the uniqueness of your family's secret souvlaki recipe. If you meet a prospect's needs by doing so, then you're on your way to gaining a customer.

This is why you've heard the phrase "content is king" since the dawn of the world wide web. Content is indeed king, and it's fundamental to your ability to market your business online. Feel free to write about anything that's related to your business. Moreover, do it often. If you can be creative about it, even better. 

Content is really important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I always remind customers that if they're not going to hire an SEO specialist, then they have to write content that addresses the needs and queries of their prospects. Creating content for your website gives you a new page for search engines to spider, something new to share on social media and more opportunities to get noticed. You can't expect Google or other search engines to send your small, static website loads of prospects, even if you're exceptionally well-known for something.

Part of the strategy involved in content marketing is to write about a broad range of topics related to your business so you demonstrate your expertise, knowledge and personality to your target audience. I think one's personality is just as important as one's expertise. By sharing your unique perspectives and insights with customers and prospects you educate, create rapport, and build trust. After all, people are going to have to deal with you - so giving them an idea what you are like to work with is important!

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that often, there is no "one thing" that will convince someone to change. You need to provide lots of reasons for people to change their existing behaviours, whether it's staying in hotels versus bed and breakfasts or buying from another supplier instead of you. Building a library of content on your website that is shared on your social media platforms is an approach that can help convince prospects to choose you the next time the opportunity arises. Without that content, you stand to miss a lot of opportunities for getting noticed and getting new customers through the door.

Social media explodes. Here's how to take advantage of the heat.

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Internet Exploded!By now it shouldn't be any surprise that the internet "explodes" on a regular basis. Social media is ablaze with discussions and opinions about every kind of issue you can imagine. When I think of explosive topics, Rob Ford's challenges as mayor of Toronto come to mind, as do the recent allegations about Jian Ghomeshi.

The explosion of opinion online isn't surprising when you understand why people use social media. There's a lot going on in people's minds. As a business owner or someone who's responsible for marketing a business, having some knowledge of how and why social media explodes can be useful as you look at ways to better market yourself through these channels.

Here are some of the reasons people use social media.

  • Being social
  • Passing time
  • Entertainment
  • Relaxation
  • Gossip
  • Learning about other people

I've listed these six first, without comment, because I think they're fairly self-explanatory. I also think they are less important to most businesses. I'm not suggesting they're unimportant, but they're less important than these next two factors.

Social signalling

A post, tweet or status update says a lot about the writer. Every message is an opportunity for people to learn more about what is important to the writer and what the writer stands for. These messages are signals from the writer to the world that gives the reader an idea what the writer is all about. You can find out a lot about people by reading their social media posts. Information about a person's political beliefs, spiritual perspectives, parenting styles, fitness levels, financial status, lifestyle practices and more are all either on display or can be inferred from a person's post.

Imagine you were to see two posts from first-time Facebook users. One person posts a message in support of David Suzuki. The other posts a message in support of Stephen Harper. Most Canadians would, on the basis of ONE POST, be able to infer many characteristics about each of those writers. For many people, this is the point of social media. They want to let the world know what they think is important, and in turn, demonstrate what kind of person they are, or how they want the world to see them.

How do you want the world to see you and your business? What and how you post influences how clients and prospects see you. Keep this in mind as you post because you can use social signalling to your advantage. When you post messages that resonate with people's values and beliefs, you will be more successful in getting your message across.

Building communityBuilding Community

Humans are social creatures. We desire community. Creating community is a challenge, but social media platforms have given people the tools that make creating online communities easier.

Whatever social media platform you use, you have the ability to create a community. It makes sense to do this. Tie into people's existing interests by sharing information that pertains to their important issues. Discuss those issues. If you are able to create a hub of knowledge and experience for people, your social media impact will be much greater.

The challenge, of course, is to find out what your clients and prospects feel their important issues are. It's a challenge, but it's part of the marketing process. It's called research and testing.

These are only two ways social media's appeal can be used to advantage by your business. There are many more. What has been your biggest social media success? I invite you to share your experiences and leave a comment.

 

 

Who likes to eat?

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, October 31, 2013

In theory, everyone likes food. I know it's a necessity, but some people seem to enjoy eating more than others. I am starting a month-long experiment that if it goes well, will mean more people read my blog and engage with the content (and hopefully each other). It will also mean I'm going to meet some people and some local restaurants are going to get some business

My experiment is as follows:

I am going to run a weekly draw for a free breakfast or lunch - with me : )

To enter, all you have to do is interact with recent posts on my blog in some way. When you do, you'll receive a ballot in the draw. Different interactions will receive different numbers of ballots, as below.

  • If you like my blog post on Facebook, you will receive one ballot.
  • If you share my blog post, you will receive three ballots.
  • If you comment on my blog post, directly or on Facebook, you will receive five ballots. Only the first comment you make on each post will be counted.

At the end of each week, I will look back at the interactions with the week's blog posts and tally up how many ballots each person gets. Then I'll do a random draw and announce the winner on Monday. It will be announced on the blog and elsewhere, of course : )

This experiment starts today, so any engagements made on blog entries posted during the week of October 28~November 1 will count towards your ballots. Good luck!

P.S. If you're not local to Niagara, my apologies, but unless I happen to be headed to where you are, if you win, you'll have to come to Niagara to collect. While the internet is worldwide, my ability to travel the length and breadth of the globe to have breakfast or lunch is limited. Then again, it would make for an awesome reason to visit other parts of the world!

Wake Up!!

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The only thing I generally like scrambled during my day are my eggs. And even then, I prefer them over-easy. Here's my tip on not having to scramble to get your online marketing done: wake up earlier.

Really Mark? Yes, really reader :)

Wake up a bit earlier. Say 1/2 hour. I've been tracking how long it takes me to think of an idea, write and edit a post, source an image and do a bit of cross-linking to social media sites that don't automatically pick up my blog. 1/2 hour seems to be about right.

If you're not a "morning person", my suggestion could be a challenge. Here's another: stop watching 1/2 hour of television per day. I'm not talking about the commercials either. You need unbroken time to concentrate on your task. Once you get good at it, you'll likely be able to create a quality post in 15 minutes or less.

Most people can find 1/2 hour of unproductive time during their day. Turn that time into online marketing gold by sharing your expertise and perspectives with your online visitors. Fulfill the promise you made when you created your website and social media accounts. See the benefits instead of the challenges and get cracking!

Doing good for everyone

Mark Kawabe - Friday, October 18, 2013

This might sound a bit hokey to you, but I believe it to be true.

When you do something good for yourself online, you often benefit others as well.

In this online world, most business owners have a sense they should be doing "more" online. They know they should be posting in social media, writing articles, blogging - doing "more". That elusive "more" is supposed to be something that benefits their business in some way. The hope for most is that their efforts will result in more readership, followers, exposure and ultimately, more business.

And yet, they don't do it.

This leads to much disappointment for everyone.

Yes. Everyone.

The reality is that if you put up a blog and ask people to read it, some people will read it. Some will even subscribe for updates. They have an expectation there will be more for them to read. Then they wait, and wait, and eventually they forget they signed up for your newsletter, blog, Facebook page etc. They are disappointed because they had an expectation you would provide them more. After all, you wouldn't have asked people to like your Facebook page if you weren't going to provide them with more value, would you? Of course not.

When you disappoint, you cause harm. You harm your brand. You harm your reputation. You tarnish or destroy the perceptions you've worked so hard to build up among your clients and your prospective clients. You make it less likely people will want to do business with you in the long run. All because you didn't do what you said you would do by choosing to set up a website, a blog, a social media account. Your inactivity in these areas can lead to inactivity in others.

The good news of course is that it's relatively easy to do something positive online. Share a great idea. Praise a client. Do something that will show you are active and engaged. When you demonstrate your engagement and dedication to your online presence, you are showing you care about yourself AND your current and prospective clients.

That's good for everyone : )

Did you miss me?

Mark Kawabe - Monday, March 12, 2012

Hopefully, but probably not.

Why would I think that?

I'm a realist.

There are thousands of demands on our attention every day.

Are you seriously going to miss a week of my blog?

Probably not, but that's not the point.

If I didn't blog regularly, you'd RARELY or NEVER notice me.

Blogging regularly gives me an opportunity to have your attention for a moment. Perhaps a little longer if you choose to read the full post.

Apply this idea to your own business. Would people miss you if they didn't hear from you?

Why? Why not? And what are you going to do about it?

My advice: if you're in business for the long haul, then start and keep at a blog or a Twitter feed or an e-mail newsletter or at least SOMETHING that keeps you in touch with your audience.

Gain people's attention by providing value over the long term. When they're interested in your services, they'll know who to call first.

Just my $0.02 for this gorgeous March Monday.