You know how I—and every true marketeer whose advice you trust (or at least, get)—constantly plead with you to stop talking about yourself all the time? You must know the drill by now… Your audience isn’t interested in your company and your objectives; they’re interested in their company and their objectives. It’s 100% true.
So with a little apology in advance, can I ask you to temporarily ignore my advice and allow my company—and my company’s objectives—to be the subject of one little article?
Thank you kindly.
Here’s the thing: I don’t mean to make this article a “Dig Me” love fest. My objective is to tell you about the things I’ve done the 353 days before today, which proved to be wise and might help set an agenda for making next year über productive for you too. What comes around goes around, so here goes: 11 things I did in 2011, which resulted in the growth of my business.
I, Barry Feldman, a one-man freelance copywriter guy, and CEO of Feldman Creative:
Got serious about my site.
The Feldman Creative website had been static for far too long. Having vowed to make 2011 the year I’d conquer online marketing, I knew I needed to begin with an improved website. My new site features a new logo and a WordPress CMS, which allows me to update the site easily and often, operate a blog, and perform the SEO and analysis techniques required to thrive online.
Bottom line: Way more traffic and new business.
Hit the books.
2011 was the year resolved to turn off the TV and read more. I read a lot… fiction, narratives, novelties, “help,” and mostly, marketing books. I had a lot of laughs, found a lot inspiration and learned a ton.
Favorites: “Sh*t My Dad Says” (fun), The Soloist (non-fiction) & “Launch” (business)
Hit the road.
In the past, I never got into industry conferences and networking in general. I discovered the error of my way in the biggest way when I attended Blog World/New Media Expo in LA. I learned immeasurable amounts of insights, got to know some of online marketing’s biggest influencers and had a great time.
Lesson: Get out and go more often.
I felt great about getting into blogging and the content I was producing. However, I’m too impatient to rely only on my site’s traffic to build a large audience and too frugal to invest ad dollars into my blog, The Point. So, I applied to one, then two, and now about 10 reputable online publishers, got sanctioned as a contributor, and got busy. My advice articles have now been seen by thousands and tweeted to millions. I get great feedback and have started some interesting conversations. Visit the bottom of my home page for details regarding the sites that now publish my articles.
Net-net: I’ve become a trusted authority on a handful of important subjects relative to my business.
I could write a book about my experiences in social media this past year and its remarkable benefits. I’m not going to. Suffice to say, I’m active on Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, Quora and Facebook and vow to get going on YouTube, Squidoo and SlideShare in 2012. If you want to succeed in marketing your business, your use of social media might be as vital as your use of email and phones. I wish I learned that earlier, but it’s never too late to begin.
Plus: Social media is fun.
Ever frugal, I had lived without a smartphone until this year and suffered through the endless string of hassles that come with using a Windows-based laptop (when mobile). I decided to invest in an Android phone and MacBook. I absolutely love both devices and am now far more mobile, connected and efficient.
Bonus discovery: App shopping is time well spent. I put valuable new tools in my toolbox almost every day.
Found my G-spot.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Google holdout. I’ve been advertising with AdWords for years, using their search engine, and admiring their playful approach to all things online. However, I’ve relied on Apple’s Mail until I couldn’t take the spam any longer. I got on Gmail. Ahhh. Relief. Then I customized an iGoogle page to be my hub for calendaring, to-do lists, RSS feeds, news, mail, docs, notebook, and all things under the sun. Started using G+. Tinkered with Picasa. Added WiseStamp for my signatures. Tossed 10 or more useful extensions into my toolbar. The list is long. If you don’t have a Gmail/Google apps account, get one today.
Favorite widget: Rapportive, sent to us from the online Gods. See why.
Moved to AWeber email.
I had been a Constant Contact customer for years, but a tad lazy about creating enewsletters. No dig on Constant Contact, but enews takes work. After having seen about 100 testimonials for AWeber, largely from bloggers, I made the switch and now understand why its the best service of the bunch. Great support. Generous templates. Powerful tools for broadcasts, feeding your queue via RSS, signups, subscriber management, autoresponders, tracking, and even more.
Tip: Capturing email addresses and nurturing leads via e-newsletters is THE most vital element of online marketing.
Expanded my services.
I suppose the truth is there were few forms of content and marketing communications I didn’t take on when the opportunity was there. However, the truth is I really did stay out of certain areas. Now, in addition to the usual categories you’ll see on my site’s porfolio pages, my services include blogging for clients, PR, enewsletter writing, and social media consulting. I may have left a few out. If you need something for your online marketing efforts, I’m on it.
Post-script: I can help create an editorial calendar for your company to help make you the publisher you need to be to be an effective online marketer.
Okay, every year since 1995 I’ve been hired to work with new clients, amounting to hundreds of projects in nearly every conceivable industry. However, in 2011, to a couple of businesses, I proposed stepping up the relationship to becoming retained. Essentially, I offer a chunk of my time to join the company as a part-time member of their marketing team. It’s been mutually beneficial.
Latest and greatest: I work for and with Social Stage, a company you need to check out if you want to generate business via Facebook.
Became a content marketer.
A major key to marketing your business is to offer prospects and customers free and valuable content in a variety of forms. It takes a commitment of time and hard work. On my site, in a section called “Free-B’s” I’ve offered a free guide called “Find the Right Copywriter,” which has been downloaded by many new business prospects. I also did my first podcast. Plenty more is soon to come.
Stay tuned: On deck are: (1) a video series, “Persuasion Pointers,” and (2) a free opt-in email series, “Zero to Social in 12 Days.”
I hope to be able offer 12 new lessons in productivity in 2012 and assist you in capitalizing on the lessons I’ve learned.
What about you? Did you discover any productive practices this year? Please share ’em.