Over the last several days while considering edits to make where to head next I realized something very important. This guide will not serve anyone as well as it could or should unless I make an effort to niche it down enough that it is not only simple but effective.
For this reason, I have determined this first guide will cover Online Marketing for Service-based businesses such as consultants, web builders, and marketers. In the future, I will develop more guides that will incorporate the changes needed for each industry.
The reason I have picked the industry I have is that they will see the greatest immediate impact from getting to know and understand their customers. This could also apply to some local services such as law firms, coaches, and alike. We shall see as the guide develops.
Your company, startup, or even personal brand needs a solid plan for marketing online. Each path leads to its own challenges and needs. I am working to design this guide in such a way that you will be able to plug in the parameters of your needs and then see the path you should follow. Until this guide is completed with that ability I will be posting everything related to online marketing in a start to finish fashion that will allow you to build your own solid plan.
Where to Start
As I develope this guide you will see major changes, but some tenets of marketing shouldn’t ever be changed. Some of these have only been learned more recently while others take on the form of almost an ancient knowledge. The first tenet you will learn is simple:
Start With The Customer
*Additionally I will be working to ensure what I write about is implemented on this blog at a minimum. Each thing I will talk about will be tested somewhere if not here. To see the latest changes check out my change log (bottom of the page for now)
Customers: Who is your Dream Client?
Understanding who your customers are or who you would like them to be is a large part of the battle. The best resource for working through this I have ever found is Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid. He has developed an entire process that will take you cleanly through understanding who it is you would like to work with, server, and overall deliver results to.
We are going to take a stunted approach to this here and simply ask a few questions:
- Who would you love to work with?
- What kinds of problems do they have?
- Where do these people hang out? Where do they get their information?
- How can you help them?
Now we need to match this to your current business. Are you working with the people who you would most like to work with? Sometimes the answer is a very hard no. Personally, I have been down this road and it begs you to ask some specific questions such as:
- If these are not my ideal clients how long do I want to keep this up?
- Am I making enough money that it is truly worth it?
- Do I love what I am doing?
- Can I do what I love while serving the “right” clients? (Hint: The answer is nearly always yes)
Next, we will look at building your customer story and how it is going to help you find your ideal clients.
Customers: Building a Customer Story
Knowing where your dream clients are is just as important as identifying them. What good is it to know you want to help veterans if you don’t know where or how to find them. I have not fully introduced the concept of the customer story yet. So let’s take a quick look and I will add more details later. This process helps alot when used properly, and I will get into more details later.
Customer stories are all about making our ideal clients as real as if they were standing in the room with us. Our brains are kind of funny in that if I asked you to tell me ‘what age range is your customer base’ you might look at me perplexed. This is normal.
To get around this problem we build an ideal client then it is easier for us to make more accurate adjustments almost like doing it backwards.
“my ideal client is a 34 year old career driven marketer that is making progress but knows they could be doing so much more. They have been in marketing for at least 10 years and understand the major changes that have happened over that time while also seeing the things that have remained the same.”
Now it is a little easier to come back and say looking at the ideal client model and say ‘my customer base age range is approx 29-50’. We arrive at that number knowing that is going to be hard for someone much younger to fit inside our 10 year model, and anyone much older might be less likely to keep up with the current trends. (If this offends you then you might fall outside of my ideal client model 😉 )
Customers: How Will You Serve Them?
It might seem strange to start with the customer. You might already be saying, “I’m serving the wrong people.” If this is the case it is time to make some changes. The reasoning is simple here.
You only have one life to life and if you plan on living it effectively that should mean doing your best work.
The key to this is that you define what your best work is. You choose each day when you say no to one thing and yes to another. This applies to whom you choose each day that you will work with as well.
So ask yourself, take some time to think on it: “How am I going to best serve my Dream Client?”
Customers: Where “is” Your Dream Client?
Typically we know where our clients are. However, I find it difficult sometimes and more to the point I hear from my clients a often, that they do not know where their dream client is. A better way of saying this is possibly they do not know how they can effectively communicate with their client.
This is one of the major differences in the online vs IRL, In Real Live, when you are IRL you can typically walk right up to the person you need to talk with and have a conversation. Your marketing, or rather salesmanship, in this scenario may or may not be effective, but the main point is you can literally point to and directly talk with the person you need to see.
However, when we are talking about online it is important to realize that the same person you can talk with while you are in the same room will never see your carefully planned out Facebook campaign and advertising if they do not use Facebook.
More than once in helping someone with their marketing campaign some simple questions and a little reconnaissance can go a long way.
Doing Proper Recon Work
For the purposes of moving things along I will fill this section out in more detail later, however here are some prime examples of how you can ensure your Dream Client is where you think they are.
Google/Bing/Other – The engine you use is not important and often I will use different ones in the hopes of getting different results. But you want to start out by searching for the product or service you are about to offer and see if any special groups pop up such as forums, targeted fan websites, blogs, or other interesting results that might help you find your Dream Clients faster. (example to come later) Think of things like:
Have any major news articles were published in this space? Do any peoples names keep popping up? etc
Facebook – Just the same as searching on Google only this time you are looking for Pages, Groups, and Influencers in your space. You may find a few people are posting often about your topic/niche now you should investigate. Are they posting as a potential competitor to you? Are they a fan? For the Pages and Groups which ones seem to be most active? Which has the largest following?
(use this same method for any social network such as Twitter, Linkedin, etc..)
These are the changes I am making to the site as a whole during the progress of writing this post.
*This log was started a little late and represents changes as of 9/23/2017
- Added push notification for updates and new posts
- Integrate Facebook and G+ comments (testing different methods)
This morning for no apparent reason I woke up around 6:10 am and the first thought I had when I got up was, “It seems pretty bright for being 6.” Then I was reminded of how my granddad used to always announce with excitement every year sometime around now, “This is the longest day of the year!”
While I missed the summer solstice this year, June 20th. The early morning light reminded me that he is gone, and reminded me of all the little things he would do that at the time I didn’t think much of but now I miss.
I hope everyone is doing well make sure you tell someone you love that you love them.
Sometimes my life just feels nuts.
What I have come to realize is true. At some point when I try to do too much at once. I really do nothing at all.
Now here we are trying to scale back on the amount of stuff we own and the things we are doing (we being Sherece and me). You’d think it would be as easy as just throwing a few things out and saying no to new things that come along but it is not always that easy.
Anyhow there is no doubt about it, we are busy right now. Things are hectic, but we press on and get through. Today was a nice day…
We spent some time looking at apartments and finding ways to save some money. It was nice just to spend some time with my wife more or less just hanging out. All that and I still managed to actually get some things done.
Friday, on the other hand, was a disaster of sorts! Getting our tag for our car was its own special kind of drama. I won’t go into details but I will say I will be happy if I never purchase a new car again. 👿
Now, this post has been way more personal than typically you have seen from me, but I used to do this kind of thing far more often. I think I wouldn’t mind doing so regularly. If I at least get into the habit of banging out another post every now and then maybe I will just sit down and write to the backlog I have created of posts I want to write. Yeah…. I have lots of them and while I kicking some things to the curb posting help articles, reviews, and blog type stuff, in general, is something I want to try to do more often.
So if you didn’t already know I have been making some Minecraft videos. I keep it cursing free and clean so it is kid friendly. I really enjoy playing and wish I had more time to do these.
Right now I am at a crossroads in my game and want to know what you guys think. Should I start my series over or should I continue???
Let me know what you think!
What I Mean. Defining: Paper vs Digital
Paper – better said as analog this represents the more or less “real” things in our lives that we work or interact with. This could be as simple as writing your schedule out or reading a book (printed on paper) from the library. This could be as complex as personal interactions with “real” people in the “real” world or taking a plane to fly halfway around the world.
Digital – this is all of the electronics in our lives. While it is easy to conceptualize it is kind of hard to describe (at least for me). Using the examples from the paper the digital versions would be using outlook for your schedule, reading an e-book, interacting on Facebook (or any social network), and using YouTube or another method to take a virtual vacation.
Some History (my bias as I understand it)
Digital will solve many of the problems we have, however sometimes the biggest problem is identifying what should be solved now. If you think about it digital is awesome and holds lots of promise such as unified scheduling, easier access to information, smoother communication, and access to virtual worlds, be it, representations of the real world or completely new ones we imagine. I think these things sound awesome and this is only the tip of the iceberg. They represent a few small things that were easy for me to gather a little information about and easily make comparisons.
My experience was that technology failed me.
To get a clear picture of how I feel on this issue you need to realize that I have been one pushing for the “digital” for a very long time. I have tried using an electronic pocket scheduler from young an age as 8 or so, and back then they were these credit card sized plastic devices that usually had a flip cover and then a full keyboard and a “screen” or rather display about the size you would find on most microwaves. Some of them were a little different with larger screens or dot matrix displays instead of the digit type (correctly called seven-segment display). Most of them were handy enough. I bet I could find one in a junk box. I brought these up to start with as an example of a major fail.
First Attempts with Digital Organizers
I didn’t have one as nice as in this picture, but you can get the idea. This was one of my first experiences with relying on technology in a meaningful way (outside of all the things we take for granted), and by meaningful I mean telling me what homework was due or when a friend’s birthday was. My experience was that technology failed me. Batteries would die–data would be lost, I would press the wrong button–data would be lost, I would lose one–data would be lost. At some point, I started doing the next reasonable thing. I would keep the paper I wrote all the information down on to organize things before I would enter it into the organizer.
By the time High School rolled around I dropped the electronic version and got myself a bonified Day Planner. Remember this was before every kid walking around had a cell phone and even when they did they were not that smart. Things were good. Now fast forward through many years of switching back and forth, and I find myself where I am today. Trying to evaluate which things truly are better digital and what things just aren’t. This has raised a lot of questions for me more than answers.
Some Problems with Digital Schedules
I think it should be clear by now that to me there is no clear definition or guidance on what things I should digitize and what things I should not. The best example comes back to scheduling again. Recently I have started getting a little more into my schedule and trying to lock things down so that I am able to get more things done and still spend more time with my wife. Sounds easy and great… Except it hasn’t been. The funny thing about all this is just a few years ago it was actually easier.
When I would build my schedule on my phone or on Outlook things would sync up and the world would be right. This includes syncing with Google Calendar which ultimately meant if I looked at my computer, phone, or tablet (PC, iPhone, or Android) I could see the same schedule that I had to only enter once. It was awesome. Then somewhere along the lines, I ran into a problem where things were getting duplicated, then one system stopped syncing with the other. My option at the time was to move everything to my phone and work from that.
Our First Major Issue
A few weeks ago when I was trying to figure out how to sync my Outlook with my phone and tablet again I came across a really cool technical article (I will link to it when I find it again or if anyone can find it please comment below) that explained the timeline of how The Big Three (Apple, Google, and Microsoft) decided they each wanted to own the market for people interested in shared scheduling but to do so it mean each user need to exclusively own only one of The Big Three’s devices. You need to be an Apple Household, Google Fanboy, or Microsoft dinosaur if you wanted your schedule to sync across your PC/Mac, phone, and tablet. No picking and choosing.
This brings to light our first issue about digital…
Often the technologies we rely on are controlled by third parties interested directly in other things than our simple happiness or ease of use.
Now as it stands so far we have only talked about digital scheduling and we have not given it many positive attributes. I may add to this in the future, but next time I will try to talk about the positive side of digital scheduling.
I found some old content and thought, “why not!” I’m going to post this old content just to have it. So over the next few weeks or possibly days, I will post this stuff by making it live and linking to it here on this post. I am hoping I can develop a habit of posting on a regular basis.
Well, This one is first up because it is called “first post”. While this by far was not my first post it was at this particular time. I was getting a “new” poker path and wanted to chronicle my journey not so focused on poker as much as my general feelings and goals etc. I should have explained that I had at this time started a couple of challenges the for the new year of 2011. First was a challenge of x dollars to x dollars bankroll growth challenge. I think it was $100 to $10,000. Another challenge I had set to do was x hands which I have written in my actual (physical) notebook and when I find that I can confirm but I am sure it was 1 million hands.
Just a video of me playing some poker.
just a quick post.
In this post, I talk a little about politics and the things I see that are bothering me and still bother me today. I would say I’m less consumed by watching these things as they happen these days; more or less despondent over the whole matter.
Not as long but Still
I am almost ready to move!!!
Recently I started on a project that I thought would be relatively small connecting a web app/Database to QuickBooks desktop edition. Small was not the right thought on this one. Starting out there is so much conflicting information about how to make this happen I don’t think anyone truly knows. They only seem to know what they have gotten to work for them. Beyond that, some people claim that the WebConnector will go away in the near future but I have it on good authority that it is not going away.
Info On QB Web Connector
I will post more details as I can but if you are looking to get started read the SDK for both web connector and for the QBXML/Desktop SDK. Beyond that, I am still working through my own issues, but I have found a really cool project on Git Hub and have even gone so far as to get with the developer for a deeper understanding. I’ll post more about that later.
Don’t ask me why but I have avoided even looking at it since it was announced. In my mind, I had already spent the time learning Objective-C, but never put it to good use. Well, today I have decided it’s time. This is more of a side-project so I don’t expect to make a ton of progress immediately. I know I have enough other things to get done at this point.
The last thing on my list to mention is C# and really Visual Studio. As a JetBrains and Python fan, I thought the transition to Visual Studio and C# would be far more painful than it has been. I’m making this switch for the QB project I am working on. Visual Studio is actually very nice and powerful while C# is similar enough to python that I was able to get rolling on things pretty quickly.
Gonna Try to Blog More Regularly Again
The iOS Swift class I signed up for recommended it and honestly I’ve been wanting to take a little time to bang out an update for a couple of months, but I never think about it when I actually can do so. Well, that is not entirely true as I have written a few drafts, but sometimes I just have to make myself post whatever I come up with for the day or I end up with a long list of drafts.
Other updates I’m behind on Minecraft videos for mrhobbeys, and tech videos for Hektechnologies because I got sick and have just gotten to the point I feel my voice is recovered enough. I plan on getting back on that horse very soon too.
I work for and with AWESOME people!
Camtasia 9 is out for several months now and I upgraded about 1 month ago. I can say I am thoroughly pleased with the results. The new version is faster on encoding, more stable when editing, and most important, easier to use. As someone who has worked with Adobe Premiere Pro, I can say the new Camtasia 9 is on par especially for what I am doing. Which mostly consists of how-to videos for tech-related needs and video game videos such as Let’s Plays.
One of the biggest changes is the new look which is clean and easier on the eyes.
Selecting Record shows us the Recording Options Screen
Once done recording we can hit F10 to automatically save our capture and open the Editing Interface.
The new design also makes the workflow of editing videos simpler. All this while giving us more options. I think you can see how much cleaner, more clear, the interface is to work with.
I will actually be making a video about some of the new features and how to use them. I have even had the thought that some of these things were likely do-able with Camtasia 8, if that was the case it was not clear you could do things, like animated media intros, or it was just stinking hard, like animations in general.
My Favorite Feature
These don’t compare to my favorite feature! 1920×1080 editing for full HD export with no quality loss and use of full 64-bit capability for said encoding… Ok, that was more than one feature, but they all tie together.
I’ll admit this article is missing some much-needed explanation and depth, but if you give me a week or so I will put together the promised video and it will explain in more detail.
To Prepare for the Sale of Better PC Health
It’s hard work to sell a business. You realized how many things you need to get together and ready for the new owners. That is what I am working on now;. Not only am I seeing the things that I have done but the plans of things to do. It’s kind of cool and a little sad. Don’t misunderstand I have no regrets, I know for me I have other things to work on.
Coming soon to a blog and YouTube channel near you 😉
I have several irons in the fire and this all about getting irons out so I can get to the ones I really want to be working on. That is why soon I will be posting more about what is going on, and I will be producing more videos. In general, though I think I will be doing a better job of the things I work on and be able to give them more focus. In theory, this should allow me to my best work.
So in case you were wondering the sale of Better PC Health is here: https://flippa.com/7137327-betterpchealth-com