An Open Letter to Every Small IT Company That Doesn’t Give a Damn About SEO

An Open Letter to Every Small IT Company That Doesn’t Give a Damn About SEO

I was browsing Upwork for interesting projects and came across one for an IT company that needs SEO help. I checked out the company’s website and its social. I never got around to submitting my actual proposal to do the SEO work because after seeing their digital footprint, I decided to just offer some advice. My advice was so spot-on for many of the SaaS and IT companies I’ve done copy for that I decided to make it a blog post. Enjoy and deploy.

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Friend,

I’m going to lead with a peculiar statement and that is this: I’m not sure what it is you do.

That may or may not be a bad thing, depending on who your client typically is. If your clients are other tech stars, huzzah! You are probably winning!

If they are regular Joes like me (I literally read your website, then went and made a cup of coffee before coming back again), you may have a UX issue as well.

The next thought I’m going to lead with is that I may not be the best fit for your team. I say that because if someone on your team cannot de-nerd your home page for me, I’ll be no good to you.

But I am a helluva SEO writer and a brilliant content strategist, if I do say so myself. So, I do have recommendations for you.

TIP #1 – BLAND, WHITE-LABEL FILLER

Get rid of sentences like these: “Our company provides a wide range of Project Management and Installation Services to meet your business needs.” Found it on your IT Project Management page. You get one or two sentences to drive the point home before your prospect’s eyes start to glaze over. SKIP THE FILLER. NEVER FILLER. Go straight to their problem, the pain it causes them, and how you solve the problem.

TIP #2 – WHAT TO BLOG ABOUT

Only write about what your customers are searching Google for answers to. None of your customers are searching the term “Redundant IT Support.” But they are white-knuckling their phones and dashing around the office punching in stuff like:

“What to do when your IT network is down.”

“How do I choose an IT support team?”

And saying stuff like…

“OK Google, how do I repair a broken network fast?”

The words your customers use to conduct Google searches are your KEYWORDS, and keywords are what Google is looking for to connect your solution to their problem.

Use keywords in your blog titles and throughout your blog content at a density of about 2% to 4% (2 to 4 keywords to every 100 words in your blog post).

TIP #3 – GET YOUR FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM GAME TIGHT

I see you’re making use of your Facebook page. I have one suggestion: Stop talking just about technology. If you MUST tech-it-up, how about telling people the inner workings that must be in place for the Oscars to go off without a hitch? How about just putting up a cool quote or two that the funniest guy in the office said? What about a 10-second Instagram series called, “What I hate about tech guys”? Just be people like 30% of the time and techxperts the other 60%.

Oh, 10% of the time, you’re going to be asking for the sale.

That should get you started.

I’ve attached my resume for you to review. I can help you. Contact me. -Sorilbran

P.S. – *** If you have the resources, consider updating the look of your website. Go full-width, bold colors, clean design. When it comes to your home page, choose graphics + headlines over paragraphs. Easier to grab people’s attention that way.  I’ve attached a picture of how your current home page looks on my phone. So many words. It’s like a Stevie Wonder song.

 

 

 

Should You Use the New Kajabi for Your Membership Site? Well…

Should You Use the New Kajabi for Your Membership Site? Well…

The New Kajabi. Here are my first impressions of the platform and my thoughts on using the New Kajabi for your membership site.

A year ago, I wrote an article on Member Mouse, as I was in the middle of trying to find a membership platform to host my membership site. At the time, I was testing Paid Memberships Pro and Member Mouse, with plans to move on to WishList Member. Instead I gave myself a much-needed respite after my long-time friend and oft-times business partner, Ron died unexpectedly of a stroke in mid-November.

For me, taking a break from web technology for a year was like taking a break from walking for a year. I came back having to re-learn everything all over again… including WordPress.

During my year off, I chose to work as a bookkeeper for an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization. I thought it would be mindless, mechanical work. And it would have been if the company that hired me had done any bookkeeping at all over the previous three years. The job turned out to be quite challenging, a bit stressful, and somewhat frustrating.

After my stint with the nonprofit corporation was done, I went back to doing what I do best – helping busy entrepreneurs create content, build information products, and market themselves online. Which pretty much catches you up to date.

My current client is a successful real estate investor who hired me to help him create several products simultaneously, one of which is a paid membership community for novice real estate entrepreneurs. Because he already has the New Kajabi, we’re using the New Kajabi for his membership site.

What is Kajabi?

Kajabi is a content delivery platform. It allows you to create and deliver both paid and free content. I’ve used Kajabi before when it was Kajabi Next and found it… technical. And even using it all last weekend, Kajabi didn’t strike me as a platform for the busy mom who just wants to share strategies with other busy moms in a membership community. At first glance, Kajabi seems like a comprehensive tool for professional online marketers who spend their prime hours building membership sites, not the busy mom whose aim is to share strategies with other busy moms in a members-only community.

Kajabi is Actually Very Straightforward

I know. I know. Easy isn’t everything, Sorilbran. True. And the New Kajabi turned out to be very straightforward once I stopped looking for it to be super-easy. Straightforward? Yes. Intuitive? For me, no. I had to watch hours of tutorials and read about a dozen articles online to get a clear picture of Kajabi’s functionality and capabilities.

The New Kajabi has fantastic functionality. You build an entire website, fully equipped with a blog and static pages right on the Kajabi platform. What does that mean? It means you can have the New Kajabi for your membership site and not even need a separate website for your brand. I’ll get more into that later.

What About Designing a Website Using Kajabi?

Well, that’s the one drawback for me was the design limits. Coming from a WordPress background where functionality can seem limitless with the strategic use of plugins, Kajabi’s design capabilities feel quite limiting to me. There are a handful of website templates from which to choose and I had a hard time distinguishing one template from the next. Wonderfully, the website dashboard is set up a lot like the WordPress dashboard, so it was easy to navigate. But I didn’t happen to come across a website design I like, so we opted to build a separate .com website outside of Kajabi and use New Kajabi solely to host the premium content / membership site.

Kajabi review - website templates

I would have to learn more HTML code to get the blog posts to look like I want them to look. Not my favorite thing.

Organizing Content on Kajabi

I think this is the area that was least obvious to me. As a blogger, I’m used to using tags, categories and posts. In the Kajabi ecosystem, categories and posts are used to organize paid content. Here is the hierarchy:

The Sales functionality for your membership sit will contain an Offer that you name and to which you assign Products. Each product is made up of one or more multi-media Posts and downloads. Each Post is assigned a Category; within each category you have the option to release enable the content to be published immediately or to be included as part of a content drip, delivered X number of days from the date the member first got access to the product.

The New Kajabi for your Membership site

So for instance, for my client’s membership site, we’re building out 52 weeks of drip content that’s divided by topics that we’ve called Units. Each unit is made up of a series of training modules and each module is made available seven days after the previous module becomes available. In Kajabi-ese…

  • The Offer is the Real Estate Entrepreneurs Program (REEP) monthly membership
  • There will be a total of 10 products bundled as part of this membership.
  • Each product contains between 4 and 10 training modules + downloads like sample contracts, worksheets, and instructions + supplemental video content to further explain or show examples of each topic covered by the training modules
  • Each training module is put on a drip schedule using categories. So Module 1 is available immediately once a REEP member signs up. Module 2 becomes available 7 days later. Module 3 becomes available 14 days after sign-up. Module 4 becomes available 21 days after sign-up. Etc.

Huh?

I will admit: I didn’t immediately grasp the way in which Kajabi structured this part of the membership system, despite having used at least two other membership platforms before. And I didn’t love the video tutorials. For whatever reason, that one guy who explains all the features makes me sort of zone out.

 


This guy sort of makes my eyes glaze over.
I can remember running down the process in my mind several times, trying to connect the dots as I drove to pick the kids up from school. By the end of the week, I pretty much had the process down, which is why I say the functionality is fantastic once you stop looking for the easy win.

Kajabi’s List Management Capabilities

Kajabi also provides its members with the ability to send emails and manage their lists from within Kajabi, or to integrate their own list management software using Zapier. Were I just starting out, I would use Kajabi’s list management functions just to keep things simple. But of course, my client already has a list of nearly 7,000 members in InfusionSoft, so we’re in the process of integrating InfusionSoft to track and tag user engagement.

The New Kajabi does have a pre-determined set of emails that go out to your new members confirming their membership and letting them know when the next training module is available. You have the option to revise those emails or use your own once you integrate your own email auto-responder.

In part two of this review on using the New Kajabi for your membership site, I’ll talk about creating landing pages, setting up your Kajabi store, and pricing. Have a productive week.

Why Intellectual Property Should Be Part of Your Business Model

Why Intellectual Property Should Be Part of Your Business Model

What are your thoughts, ideas and homegrown processes worth to your business? It very well may be that you can give your firm a distinct competitive advantage by monetizing your ideas and building an intellectual property portfolio.

**This post was originally published on Iconic Woman.**

It is no secret that small businesses drive the economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 99.7% of all employer firms and employ over half of the U.S. workforce. We’re talking 40% of our scientists, engineers, and tech talent. But there is an underlying reason for small businesses being able to employ technical and creative talent – intellectual property (IP).

What is Intellectual Property?

Let’s start with the basics here. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has this to say:

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.

We’re talking about ideas. Thoughts. And more than just fueling your daily actions, your ideas – some of them, at least – have market value.

 

Why IP is important for Woman-Owned and Minority-Owned Businesses

IP can boost the value of your company. Intellectual property presents a huge opportunity for minority business owners who may be cash-strapped but idea-rich. Women entrepreneurs actually seek outside funding far less than their male counterparts. Adding intellectual property to your portfolio can not only help you build multiple streams of income but a collection of copyrights, trademarks and patents boost the value of your company.

IP can give you a fast and firm market advantage. Intellectual property can also help your firm gain the advantage over your competitors by bringing new innovations to market. What business owner wouldn’t want to be responsible for an invention that helps her dominate her market and have a patent in place to ensure her competitors cannot duplicate her processes?

Inventions and patents aside, the Internet is built on intellectual property. If you want to remain competitive in tomorrow’s market, minority-owned businesses should start adopting the practice of creating content – videos, books, articles, social posts, podcasts, courses, and other intellectual property – today. In our web-driven, search-engine-fueled economy, a business will have a hard time surviving without it in the coming years.

IP can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors. Intellectual property also strengthens your ability to differentiate yourself in the market. As a consumer, whom would you rather patronize: A professional who works a 9 to 5 and does the occasional lecture at a nearby college campus, or the expert who has invested so much time and effort into mastering their profession that they have produced half dozen books and training courses to present and sell at the occasional lecture?

If you miss the live event, you already know you can buy the recording on her website in a matter of days or weeks. IP makes the difference by allowing you to meet your targets right where they are.

The U.S. Economy Thrives on Intellectual Property

Small businesses may be paying everybody, but intellectual property is creating the jobs. A report released by The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and The Economic and Statistics Administration offers insight on just how valuable intellectual property is:

“The entire U.S. economy relies on some form of IP, because virtually every industry either produces or uses it.” – Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus

The United States is not exclusive in its mission to perpetuate innovation by offering creators protections for their ideas. These protections – delivered in the form of copyrights, patents and trademarks – encourage creators to market and monetize their ideas. The more great ideas we are able to turn into profitable businesses, the more economic stability the country can enjoy.

Look, I grabbed this report published by the World Intellectual Property Organization called Intellectual Property for Business. It contains very valuable information, insight and strategies for how small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) can get ahead by using intellectual property.

If you’ve thought at all about formalizing a process or creating and selling multimedia content, I urge you to download Intellectual Property for Business by clicking here.

How to Write a Bio That Kicks Butt

How to Write a Bio That Kicks Butt

“What goes in a bio?” That is the question I am most often asked when the subject of bios and About pages comes up. In this article, I’m going to teach you how to write a high-impact, spot-on, branded bio.

** This post was originally published to my blog, Iconic Woman and is part of The Wily Mompreneur book series. **

So, you want to learn how to write a bio?

Let’s get right to it.

A bio is a narrative. People think of a biography as their life story. It’s actually a short narrative written with a specific audience in mind. If you know your audience, you can figure out what to put in the bio. Download the handbook and compare the two biographies listed in the Targeted Biographies section.

Your biography is a living document. It should evolve as you do. Revisit it at least once per quarter, maybe even once a month. This is especially true if you are in the midst of a transition, or building your skill set.

There’s no wrong way to do it. You may be able to write a better version of your bio. You may be able to write a more interesting version of your bio. You may be able to write a more cohesive or engaging version of your bio. But keep in mind, you’re writing a bio because you need one for a specific reason. It’s, by no means, New York Times best seller material.

Every professional should have at least three versions of his or her biography on-hand. Four, if you’re on Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.

  1. A full-length bio can contain more than 1,000 words. Have at least one up-to-date, official version of your biography on-hand at all times for social media, your About Page, press releases, media inquiries and marketing in general.
  2. A short bio usually has up to 250 words. Use it to provide core information about your brand, but keep it interesting.
  3. A mini bio generally has around 100 words. It bullet points the highlights of your career and clearly defines your value offering.
  4. A micro biography came to widespread appeal from its use on Twitter. Here, you write 140 characters of guts and glory.

Your biography is a reflection of your brand. I suppose the easiest way to demonstrate this is to look at a few bios for people you may know.

  • Case Study: Chris Brogan – His brand is down to earth, helpful, and matter-of-fact. Read both his short and full-length biographies. Visit Chris’s site to read his bio.
  • Case Study: Tyler Perry – A storyteller. It makes sense that his biography is long. He’s influential, wealthy, and powerful. He is known for writing, directing and starring in inspirational movies with a spiritual influence. Read Tyler’s bio here.
  • Case Study: Seth Godin – Thought leader. Seth is famous for his concise, helpful, minimalist, common sense, just-do-it approach to marketing. His 209-word full-length bio is absolutely on-brand.

Qualities of a great biography

  • It’s up-to-date
  • It’s a good read
  • It properly positions you as:
    • The hero of the story
    • A trusted expert, leader or influencer in your space
  • It matches your real identity
  • It sells you

What goes into a biography

  • Your name and claim to fame – This can be your position, title or current mission. Goes in the first paragraph.
  • Your accomplishments – Why should anyone listen to you? What have you done? High profile accomplishments, put at the top to generate excitement and compel the reader to continue. Otherwise, put your accomplishments at the bottom.
  • Education and credentials
  • Personal information – yes, but only a few words about your family unless lifestyle over work is a significant part of your brand identity (like Tim Ferriss).

Unless you’re Ann Coulter and it’s critical to your brand and book sales, steer clear of inserting controversial interests or hobbies.

Now that you have the basics, it’s time to download your worksheet to help you organize your thoughts and put pen to pad on this one.

Click here to download your Biographical Worksheet.

Click here to download How to Write a Bio.

 

Are You Creating EBooks or Info Products?

Are You Creating EBooks or Info Products?

With Internet marketers and online gurus selling ebooks as “information products”, it can be a challenge pinpointing exactly where the line is between regular eBook and an “information product.” Just what is the difference?

Lead with Value

Master copywriter, Bob Bly, extols the virtues of creating information products that deliver the kind value that far exceeds the retail price of the product. That sentiment is in line with Gary Vaynerchuk’s resolve that you start every relationship by focusing on giving value long before you think about selling anything.

Unlike regular books and eBooks, people buy information products for more in-depth information.That means there should be a difference between the content you put in an eBook and the value of the content you put in an information product.

 

S

Information Products Create Turnkey Solutions

Look at the picture above from Suzanne Evans’ Be the Change program. Whether digital or physical, this is what your customers are expecting from an information product. The person who buys an information product is looking for something very close to a turnkey solution.

So, an eCourse on copywriting cannot be developed in the same way one would develop the content for a 40-page eBook on copywriting. No. A course has far more depth.

According to Bly, information products should provide detailed instructions on how to do instead of just pointing readers in the direction of what to do. It is this depth that justifies a price tag of $49 or $297 or $5,997 for an information product.

It is true that for some people, even a turnkey solution is too much work. You may pour your heart out to provide turnkey but they will complain because they wanted magic. You and I both know building any business at all takes time. It takes energy. It takes focus and resilience. And it takes money. So don’t worry too much about those people. They probably aren’t going to do what it takes to succeed anyway.

Still, if you are developing an information product, you should seek to be the only solution your customer ever needs. Use your information product to detail every thought, strategy, action and result your customer can expect. Anything short of that is probably an eBook that you should sell online for $19.99 or less.

Filling in the Blanks to Create an Info Product

What if you don’t know enough to lay out every thought, strategy, action, and result? Well, you probably need to learn more before creating an information product.

Start learning not just your job, but your industry, your market, your competitors, and the names of the thought leaders in your space. Find out who is good at what, and leverage their knowledge to your advantage. An encyclopedia doesn’t reveal new findings. It only aggregates what has already been published. In the same way, creating a quality information product requires you to be the resource. Be your customer’s encyclopedia. Teach them what to do and why, but make the crux of your effort explaining to the reader how to do it.

Finally, have a tool whereby customers who buy your info product can receive continuing support on their efforts. That may be in the form of a membership to your VIP circle, access to a special online forum, or even just an address for them to email you questions and have you respond.

Whatever your choice, focus on becoming your customer’s primary resource for news and insights in your industry.

 

The One Tactic to Help You Grow Your Business with a Blog

The One Tactic to Help You Grow Your Business with a Blog

Do you need a blog for your business? Yep. Why? Because blogging works. But there’s one catch here that most people don’t seem to grab hold of when they first start blogging. I didn’t get it at first either.

If you’re going to launch a blog that you’ll be running yourself, you should definitely, without a doubt, FOR SURE…

Specialize.

Blogging is one of the most effective, affordable, and profitable marketing tools a small, new, or bootstrapping business can use to make money. But blogging and creating content for the web is time-consuming. And if that isn’t your primary business, you can end up putting in a lot of work then questioning whether your efforts are really worth it.

There are about a billion digital properties currently online, each fighting for the attention of two billion Internet users. That means you have to find a way to rise above the noise.

A great strategy to implement if you’re going to start blogging to promote your business is to focus your attention on specific topic. Try to appeal to just a segment of your target audience and provide them with information about the things they want to know about.

In his book, The Longer Long Tail, Chris Anderson  talks extensively about focusing on selling greater quantities of product to a smaller segment of your target audience.

Uh-huh. How does that translate into blog content?

I’ll tell you.

First, let’s get the obvious hiccup out of the way: The narrower your topic, the better your chances of getting found for your specific area of expertise. But it’s also true that the narrower your topic, the smaller your audience.

That’s not a bad thing though.

Let’s say you run a nursery with lots of greenery, flowers and gardening tools. You may be tempted to blog about all things green in an effort to attract the widest audience. There are several challenges you face by going this route.

First, you’re not going to be able to turn out enough content to meet everyone’s need unless you hire a team of writers. And contrary to popular belief, great writers ain’t cheap.

The second challenge you will face is that going wide puts you in a position where you’re competing online with everybody from HGTV to The Huffington Post, both of whom occasionally publish content about plants.

If you “niche-down” your blog (that is, narrow your focus), you may decide to zero in on creating content that helps novices develop a green thumb, for instance. You will be targeting a smaller audience, but you will have a better chance of getting and keeping their attention. You could blog about topics like:

  • Which plants are the safest indoor plants for pet owners
  • How to quickly grow tropical plants
  • When to re-pot your spider plant
  • How to recognize poison ivy from a mile away
  • Fifteen edible plants to plant in your yard
  • Six edible plants that you can grow in your apartment

By only targeting new gardeners, and plant lovers who have special circumstances like living in apartments or raising small children, you can draw droves of potential customers who may have a hard time finding what they are looking for on larger sites that publish masses of content on every aspect of your industry, but not enough content on the topics that specifically appeal to them.

Just think about it: If you’re a novice at something, you do want information, but what you’re really looking for is guidance. You want a step-by-step plan to accomplish what you want to accomplish.

When you are trying to grow your business with a blog or use blogging to position yourself as an expert, your best strategy is to be very specific about who you’re talking to, and use the momentum you create to build a loyal and growing following of a very particular type of customer.

By the way, search engines love good blogs on specific topics. She whom the Great Search Engines loveth, gets the first of the traffic.