March 6, 2014
At first glance, Pinterest can befuddle. To the new user it appears to be nothing but a screen of random photos. The experienced, however, see it as an elegantly designed photo-sharing site optimized for planning and inspiration.
Pinterest is a powerful social media tool for small businesses, increasing brand recognition, website traffic, and sales.
- By 2011, Pinterest drove more traffic to retailers than LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+
- 81% of U.S. women who spend time online trust Pinterest for information and advice
- 70% of those on Pinterest use it for purchasing inspiration
- The average Pinterest user has a household income of over $100,000
Pinterest is undeniably a muscular business tool. But, how do you apply it?
Four Steps to Leverage Pinterest for Your Business:
1. Make Your Business Visual
Document your products, services, and staff with your smart-phone camera, or hire a professional photographer or videographer. Then use those images to promote your business on Pinterest.
Create boards to showcase your company’s before and after photos, how-to information, case studies, and reviews.
Develop a special offer just for your Pinterest followers, like a coupon or free report.
2. Know Your Target Market
Pinning photos and videos about your services and products is just the beginning of leveraging Pinterest for your business. The next step is to create boards highlighting your target market’s other interests.
If you’re representing a flooring company, as an example, begin with boards that feature hardwood, tile, and carpet. Next, create boards on dream homes, remodeling, design ideas, house cleaning tips, organization, recipes, or whatever will draw your target market to your site.
3. Drive Traffic to Your Website
Write content for your website on the topics you have chosen. This can be blogs, articles, reports, FAQ’s, or videos. After you post that content on your site, upload the featured image to Pinterest. Even better, include the name of your content on the image, like this example:
Make sure you include keywords, descriptions, and hashtags in your board titles. Verify your website with your Pinterest account by going to your Pinterest Settings page and clicking on the Verify Website button. This will increase your Pinterest’s profile credibility and trust with your followers.
4. Remember, Pinterest is Social
Pin consistently and pin during peak times. Just as with all marketing platforms, to be effective, you must use Pinterest consistently. Scheduling software such as Sendible.com is a convenient way to schedule your pins in advance. Because most people suggest pinning 3 to 10 images a day, pre-scheduling pins allows you to consolidate your marketing time.
Pinterest users are most active in the evenings and on weekends. Schedule the majority of your pins for those times.
Putting the power of Pinterest to work for you is an amazing way to build your business. Remember, though, that advertising yourself 24/7 gets tiresome for your followers. Therefore, when you pin, blend content from both your own site and other business sites.
Social media is social – engage with your followers. Share pins from their boards, comment on their pins, and thank them for sharing yours.
Posting your business on Pinterest is a great way to increase your brand recognition, website traffic, and sales. In four steps, you can be successful on Pinterest: be visual, know your target market, create content on your website, and be social.
Gail Nott is the co-founder of Nott Ltd Solutions, which builds communities of loyal customers for influential business owners through social media. Gail combines her 17 years experience in web development, referral marketing, and social media to turn her clients’ business goals into actionable plans and marketing strategies that pay off into 6 & 7 figure businesses. Learn how to leverage Facebook for your business in 10 minutes a day with her free webinar. <link: http://gailnott.com/social-media-resources/free-webinar/
January 2, 2014
We’ve all done it: taken on that client we knew we should walk away from. But whatever the reason, we took their money, did the work, and regretted every second of it. We constantly felt like we weren’t doing enough, our resources were stretched, and our profit margins eroded to practically nothing.
For many of us, we only did this once. For others, we do it again and again. Why? I think it’s important to dig deep and ask ourselves this important question. However, if you’re faced with a new project or client and your gut is doing a yes-no push and pull, I’ve created a checklist to help you out.
- Their values don’t match your company’s values. If you’re faced with an opportunity to work with a company or a person who embodies everything you stand against, you might want to reconsider taking the job. Are you going to be able to sleep at night? Are you going to feel like you’re selling out? I say it’s best to work with people and companies whose values align with yours to avoid any internal conflicts or employee morale issues that could lead to stress and doubt.
- They treat you like a vendor and not a partner: They’re always late, they cancel, come unprepared, or don’t bother to show up for meetings. These things are signs that they don’t respect you or your time. If they don’t respect you now, they’ll certainly not respect you once they start paying you.
- They don’t appreciate your value. They’re nickel and diming you to death over the contract or sale price or they keep asking for you to throw things in for free. If they don’t understand your value now, they probably never will and you’ll constantly feel like you have to justify your fees.
- The work isn’t really what you do. It’s a great contract worth a lot of money, but it’s not really what you do, so you won’t’ be as effective as when working with the right partner/project. It’ll take extra time and resources to make it work and you and your staff will end up feeling ineffective and frustrated. Do everyone a favor and walk away.
- You’re feeling desperate. Every business owner has been there! The bank account’s looking a little low and the pipeline is pretty empty so you’re willing to take on anything just to get paid! But that nightmare job staring you in the face is not the answer!!! Walk away!!! NOW! This one requires a good honest gut check and a little faith. But trust me, giving up the wrong client and waiting for the right one is always the right thing to do. For one thing, if you’re spinning in circles trying to make the wrong client happy, you’re probably missing out on opportunities with the right prospects!
The bottom line is, like anything else in life, if it just doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! Walk away! If you follow these guidelines, I promise you’ll be happier, your employees will be happier, your good customers who value will be happier, and your profits will soar!
Do you have any other signs that it’s time to walk away? If so, please share them with us!
October 31, 2013
Whether you’re a business owner like me, an independent consultant or you’re responsible for a company’s bottom line – our jobs are really hard. We have a ton of responsibility. We work really long hours – and even when we’re not working, we’re thinking about it. And for those of us who are business owners, on top of all that, we have no security net; no regular pay check, no vacation days, no sick leave, no 401k…. nothing. Yes, it’s really f****ing hard!
And lately, things have been especially difficult. The whole country seems to be in a funk – and who can blame us? With health care reform confusion, government shut-downs and a congress that acts like a bunch of spoiled 4 year olds, who feels secure? No one is spending, and we’re all feeling it.
Despite all this economic and political turmoil, as the entrepreneurial go-getters we are, we tend to blame ourselves when things get tough. And I’m going to share a secret with you – I’m no different. My critical demons sit on my shoulder and taunt: “You’re not doing enough; you need to be selling more, speaking more, writing more, emailing more, networking more…More. More. More”. Honestly, it’s exhausting.
We work extremely hard for every customer and every sale. We know the big wins don’t come every day. In fact, they can be few and far between. So when I got an email this morning from a contact I made last week, that can potentially lead to some business, asking ME when we can meet (instead of me having to chase him down), I took a moment to recognize the victory – and I celebrated. I got up from my chair, voiced a victorious “YES!!!” (Even though only my dog Capone was here to hear it), and I even did a little happy dance. I won! It was small, but it was an accomplishment! This contact saw something in me – and Fortune Marketing Company – that made him want to follow up with me– I didn’t have to chase him down and beg him to meet with me – that’s HUGE! Yet all-too-often we miss these. We take them for granted, we move on too quickly. We forget to stop and recognize it for what it is – an accomplishment - a shimmer of hope amid a sea of let-downs and disappointments!!! A WIN!!!
As small business owners the big wins can be few and far between. We’re not going to land every new contract, nail every presentation, or reach all of our sales goals. So it’s absolutely crucial that we celebrate even the smallest accomplishments. If we don’t get in the practice of recognizing and celebrating the little victories, it’s too easy to get down on ourselves and feel like we’re not accomplishing anything while we’re waiting for that next big win.
So if you need a win – here are 5 things you can celebrate:
- You didn’t give up today. It was hard, but you kept on going! Give yourself a pat on the back!
- You didn’t let a client down today. Despite all your stresses and struggles, your clients are happy! Congratulations on a job well done!
- A new colleague / strategic partner asked to meet with you (because he/she obviously admires and/or respects you). Wow, that’s awesome!
- You did something that took you out of your comfort zone because you knew it would be good for business. Way to go, you brave soldier you!
- You did something kind for someone else today. You’re busy and stressed, but you still took the time to volunteer, make an introduction, or give someone a compliment. You rock! Celebrate it!
What are some of the small victories you celebrate? Please share them with us, so we can all recognize our own accomplishments. After all, being a business owner is F***ing hard and we could all use more reasons to celebrate!