If you try one new marketing tool this month, make it Facebook. I have made personal connections on Facebook as well as professional ones, many that have proven to be invaluable. In particular, it has helped me to stay on top of what's going on in the journalism world in Seattle. I hear things from my peers before they are widely known in media circles, and I'm able to contribute to those conversations.
Think about how Facebook might help you connect to others - family, friends, co-workers, vendors and prospective clients. It is a great way to professionally connect.
I am getting married this weekend and, in the weeks and months leading up to this moment, I have rediscovered an obvious truth - to be successful, my life requires balance - a fact I often overlook or ignore. To be my most productive, I am implementing these steps so my business can continue to be successful, and I can reduce my stress level of trying so hard to please everyone:
1) Take 2 days off per week. 2) Make time for myself daily - proper nutrition, exercise, relaxation. 3) Make time for my family every evening and weekend. 4) Set more realistic expectations about what I can accomplish in any given day. 5) Reduce interruptions such as phone calls, e-mail checking and social media interaction.
These are guidelines I should implement already, but that I often ignore in my fury to get work done. I have found that following these rules more strictly, however, causes me to be more productive and more creative - a bonus for me and my clients!
Have you ever been in a conversation where someone was explaining a previously unfamiliar concept and you struggled to visualize the idea with the description alone? Have you listened to a teacher or lecturer who talked without visual aids? For many people,a concept is easier to understand when there are accompanying figures, diagrams or photos to illustrate key points. The same is true of marketing online.
If you are selling a product, insert pictures of all conceivable uses of the product by the text on your web page. For example, if you are selling a doll, take a picture of the product’s packaging, usually designed to be very compelling to shoppers in person. The toy should also be photographed outside the package with any included accessories carefully arranged. Finally, photograph the doll in the hands of a child so shoppers can visualize the overall dimensions and functionality of the toy.
The same concept applies if you are selling a service like technical support or web posting. You might include a picture of Ethernet cable or a graphic of the World Wide Web. As an owner of a pest control company, you can revive your tired pricing web pages with pictures and subtitles of the insects for which your service targets. For more abstract services, such as web design, include screen captures of your finished projects. A proofreader or copywriter can easily post links to online work and may be able to post pictures of the covers of published works. An alternative is to photograph a book shelf or stack of books to post beside your text. If these options are unavailable to you, you can use stock photos free (www.publicdomainpictures.net) or at minimal cost (www.istockphoto.com or www.bigstockphoto.com) to liven your web pages. Note: To prevent copyright infringement, always make certain that you have the rights to display a picture or graphic if you are not the photographer.
For photo composition, ensure that there is adequate lighting and a clean background. It is important that the item of interest is centrally positioned in the foreground with little background distraction. A black or white drop cloth or sheet often offers the best background in terms of focusing the reader’s eye on the product by providing optimum contrast. In the highly competitive world of online marketing, creating visual interest will set you apart from your competitors and will show – not just tell – your customers why they should do business with you.