I want to share a message I received from one of my clients after revving up her content marketing.
“Amanda, I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I have gotten more responses from the article, email blast and social media post you helped me execute. I’ve gotten emails and even social media messages from people I haven’t heard from in years on my mailing list. They are all thanking me and telling me they enjoyed the article and how they hope they can come to an event I’m hosting soon. This is amazing!!!! I feel like I have stepped up to a new level in my communication and it wouldn’t have happened without you!”
The reason I’m sharing this with you is because most of my clients are creatives and transformational entrepreneurs who have the perfect platform to write heart-based content by sharing valuable stories and daring to be vulnerable while doing so.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you write from the heart...
1. Let Your Heart Take the Wheel
Write when you’re full of emotion because when you’re in that state, the words just flow out of you. The content may be raw at first, but that’s what you’re going for. The point is the speak from the heart and worry about editing the article at another time.
2. Don’t Worry About the Stats
In this day and age, it’s easy to place more importance on the article being seen and shared. If you focus on how many hits or shares you get and you start writing from that place, you are getting out of the heart space. The purpose of writing from the heart is just that, writing from the heart.
3. Be Your Topic’s Biggest Fan
There needs to be emotion behind those words, so make sure to choose a subject you feel passionate about. If you have a lot of experience with a particular topic, dive deeper into why you care so much about that and let that drive you and your words.
4. It’s Okay to Unlock the Doors
Dropping your guard and becoming vulnerable with your words is the quickest way to get in the heart space to share something of value that speaks to many. You are also more likely to be seen as authentic when you go there.
5. Pass the Time with a Story
To increase your engagement get personal. People are driven by their emotions, so for every article you write, tap into an emotion and tell a story which connects with your audience.
Driving Your Communication
Creating content delivers long-term value and it's one of the best ways to invest in your transformational business. All you need is to get into your heart space and invest your time!
The reason heart-based content delivers such value is because it's the cheapest way to demonstrate your knowledge and create a strong connection with your potential customers. Not only that, but every piece you write adds to your authentic voice, your message, and ultimately to your business expertise.
What happened after my client’s article was published is a testament to how powerful stories are and how being conscious about how you communicate can get you seen and heard, even when you aren’t selling a thing.
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I recently received a call from a prospective client who was in need of branding assistance and a website overhaul. During the follow up call, he explained that he had went with a web design company that was now holding his website hostage at the “design impound lot”. Not only that, but the fee to get the site released was not going to be cheap.
VAROOM! does not hold any design or website hostage. Why? In the most simplest terms, I believe in transparency and free will. I do not want to hold anything hostage and sure as hell not for a fee when they’ve already paid me for the designs and set up. I believe it’s their right to go with another designer if they believe they are a better fit. And I want my clients to become educated in the software applications in order to handle their own updates if they decide to do so even if I provide maintenance services.
So, when I heard what this man was going through, it got me wondering if other entrepreneurs were experiencing this exploitation. What I have found out is disturbing.
It happens every day. Why? There’s a few reasons. Designers want to keep their clients so they resort to questionable tactics to prevent them (and their money) from leaving and business owners can be too trusting and are not asking the right questions.
If you don’t know where you stand with your designer, read on as I share how to prevent this from happening to you…
The key to protecting your website is control and also having the basic knowledge of how a website is set up. The two things you need to have full control over your website is your domain name account and your website’s hosting account. If you don’t have control of these two things, it can become very difficult if you want to go with another designer or want to make changes to your website or blog.
Buy Your Domain Name
Your registrar account controls your domain name. Common registrars are Domain.com, GoDaddy, and Namescheap. Your domain name is your address (URL) on the Internet.
When working with a web designer, it is important that you either purchase the domain name yourself or have them purchase it on your behalf under your contact information. If they set this up on your behalf, make sure you are the one that determines the login information (user name and password).
Be aware of the ones that want to buy the domain for you as part of the package or design fee. Why? If a web designer or developer is buying a domain for you, they will own that domain name. What does that mean for you? You’ll have a hard time getting that domain transferred into your name, especially if the designer is trying to hold your business hostage.
Pay For Your Web Hosting Account
Your hosting account hosts your actual website and sends it out to the world wide web. The website is sitting inside this hosting account and it is what controls the website. Common drag and drop web hosting companies are Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix. Common WordPress hosting companies are Bluehost, HostGator, WPEngine, and SiteGround. Note that sometimes your hosting company is the same as your registrar like GoDaddy or Squarespace.*
When working with your designer, make sure you either set up your own web hosting account or have them set up and purchase the account on your behalf with your contact information. Again, if they set this up for you, you specify the login information (user name and password).
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to let your designer set up the account and pay for the hosting because they will have the hosting under their contact information and they will ultimately own the account.
Unfortunately, this is really common for WordPress design companies. What makes things worse is the fact that they can provide you with your own personal login information where you may think you have access to your account, but in all actuality you have limited control of your website. Why? Because they don’t want you to be able to access the backend of the admin panel and risk screwing up the site.
If you do go with a WordPress designer, it is imperative that you get the site’s admin login information, even if you aren’t going to use it for fear of wreaking the site. Without this information, you don’t have complete access to the backend of your site and they’ll have control.
Pay For Your WP Theme, Plugins & Builder
If you want to have a WordPress site, you need to also own the theme, plug ins, and if applicable, the site builder. Without owning the theme and builder, even if you do have complete control of the domain and hosting account with access to the admin login and you choose to leave the designer, they can revoke the theme and the builder with the release.
What does that mean for you? At first glance, it might appear that the site is intact, but if you want to make any changes, it could lead to a hot mess!!!
Make Sure You Have This Upfront
No matter which way you go, make sure you ask questions. If something sounds too good to be true, ask for details. If you don’t understand, make them slow down an explain. There are no stupid questions. Even if you are non-tech and this goes over your head, it doesn’t hurt to get everything in writing in the form of an email that way you can go back and research so you do understand.
It also doesn’t hurt to get the basics of how a website works and what web design and hosting entails. The more educated you are, the better prepared you are to pick up on red flags and not get yourself into something you are going to have a hard time getting out of or is going to cost you more in the end.
If you opt for a web design company with a monthly plan, you may not have control of the items listed above. You are in essence paying for the web company to set the website up and keep it maintained. They will want to have control of the site to ensure they get paid each month. Just make sure you own the domain name, own the hosting and the theme/plugins. Most importantly, know what you’re getting into before you sign that contract - including how to get out of that contract.
*I typically recommend my clients purchase the domain name separately from the website hosting company because if you want to go with another hosting company down the line it’s much easier to do so. If they are tied together, you typically have to transfer the domain to a domain registrar or to the new hosting company and that costs extra money. If you have them separate, you can easily point the domain to the new hosting server.
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We’ve all been there. Needing a new vehicle, but dreading going to the car lots because there’s always that one salesperson that just won’t let up or take no for an answer.
The last time I went car shopping, I actually had one guy pull up three cars that didn’t even come close to meeting the criteria I clearly shared with him a few minutes before. I told him those were not what I asked for. He went scrambling for a few more vehicles only to bring up more unwanted options. I walked out of there and will never go back to that dealership.
When I did buy the perfect vehicle, it was because of the reputation of the dealership, the quality of the vehicles, the knowledge and non-pressure of the salesperson, and the overall ease of the experience.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of businesses out there that tend to ignore our needs, peddling their goods and services, marketing day and night, and just putting on the air of desperation.
What’s the real difference here? Push versus pull marketing...
What is push marketing?
Push marketing is like those desperate used car salespeople. They need sales to make their quota, so they cold call people, stalk them in the car lot, and are forever handing out business cards.
This takes a lot of effort and by the of the month, they might have closed a few car deals, but they have lost a lot of valuable time that could have gone into investing in their reputation as a salesperson and the credibility of the dealership.
What is pull marketing?
Pull marketing is like the laid back luxury car salespeople. They need sales to make a commission and a living, but they know that the brand of the dealership and the type of vehicles they offer precede everything else.
These salespeople spend a lot of time building a rapport with their potential clients, adopting a no pressure attitude, offering sales materials that provide benefits and features, and doling out the white glove service no matter if they get the sale or not.
The difference between marketing and branding
Simply put, marketing is actively promoting a product or service. It’s what the online marketing world calls a “push tactic”. It’s pushing a message out via any avenue of promotion like a magazine ad, radio spot, commercial, or social media post where the main goal is to get a sale as a result.
Branding is not a push tactic, but rather a pull tactic. Branding is the expression of the value of a business, product or service. Having a brand will help encourage someone to buy a service or product, not by pushing but instead by attracting those that need it, simply by answering the following questions:
What is it? Why is it offered? Who does it help? And why would I want to purchase it?
Branding is what sticks in your mind about a service or product, no matter if you buy it or not. It is what determines if someone will become a loyal customer. The marketing may convince someone to buy a Chevy, but it is the brand that will determine if they will only own Chevy’s from there on out.
In other words, marketing can bring in sales, but it’s the branding that brings in the loyalty.
Why pull marketing through branding works
With the pull strategy, you focus your marketing efforts inward by spending time building your skills, value and brand credibility rather than searching for your next sale. This takes time, but with discipline and remaining highly focused on what you do best, you can actually build a reputation that attracts clients to you in a relatively easy way.
There are no guarantees with any type of marketing or branding, but with a little time investment and focusing in on what makes your brand valuable, the return from building a business with the pull strategy is much stronger and lasts longer.
So which type of marketing are you spending your time and energy on?
Using pull marketing versus push tactics is the difference between always searching and waiting for your next client and knowing you will have a steady stream of loyal clients and referrals.
If you want to attract ideal clients and avoid the endless cycle of feast or famine, networking and throwing money away on Facebook ads, you need to develop your brand and a strong pull marketing strategy. That means investing time in honing your skills, narrowing your focus by developing a niche service, and demonstrating your knowledge by sharing valuable content.
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Amanda Johnson Young is a brand designer with over 20 years experience. READ MORE
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