Category Archives: Uncategorized

Simple SEO to Get More Business

If one of your goals is to get more clients one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do so is to optimize your website. I can’t tell you what a difference this can make for your business – it’s that important! Below are some basic SEO tips that aren’t overly technical.

First, a couple of definitions:
“SEO” stands for Search Engine Optimization, and “optimizing” is just a short form of SEO.
“Meta tags” are information contained in the code of your website that give information to web browsers and search engines.

1. Use Relevant Keywords
In my opinion this is the #1 most important thing you need to know in order to attract more clients. Find out what words or phrases your potential clients are using to find you or your competitors. 

The Google Adwords keyword generator tool is an invaluable free resource to figure this out. You can even use the keyword tool to find out what keywords and phrases people are using for your competitors websites!

Now, where to use those keywords…..

2. Include a Title Meta Tag

SEO Title Tag

Title Tag

The title tag is like the title of a book – it tells people what your website (or specific page) is all about.

And just like people judge a book by it’s cover, they’ll also judge your website by it’s title. Use keywords people are actually searching for. ie. if I’m searching for “small business marketing” I likely won’t click on something that doesn’t have a similar term in the title (or description)

Also, title tags should ideally be 65 characters or less. Any more and you risk the title being cut off.

3. Include a Description Meta Tag

A description meta tag explains the content of the page. It’s often (though not always) used in search engine results pages, so it’s important to include keywords that are relevant to what people might be looking for. 

Description tags should ideally be between 150 – 156 characters long.

If you use WordPress, I’d recommend the “Add Meta Tags” plugin; you can enter both title and description meta tags for each page very easily with this plugin.

meta tag description

Description Meta Tag

4. Add “alt” Tags for Images

Image Meta Tag

Where to insert Image Meta Tag

Did you know people can find your website through photos and images? That’s why it’s a good idea to include “Alternative text” for your images. This is what people will see if images don’t load, and also Google uses it to figure out what your website is all about.

Alt tags images

Get found by using Alt image tags

In WordPress you can set the “Alternative Text” and “Description” right when you upload the image.

And, take a look below at all the images that come up when I searched for my website — these are all from my website, blog and Facebook pages.

There is *always* more you can do to improve optimize your website. The above is a bit time consuming – you have to have different title and description tags for each page of your website, but you’ll find it’s worth it.

If you have any questions about SEO or want me to help with yours, just email me.

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Speak Pipe – Free Voicemail From Your Website!

A few days ago I found out about a service that allows you to receive voicemails directly from your website; Speak Pipe.

I’m not really a phone person, however not everyone is like me, so I thought I’d try Speak Pipe on my website to give people another way to reach me that may be more suited to them.  I installed and tested this just a few minutes ago.

Here’s how it looks on the page. You just click on the black bar at the right hand side and tSpeak Pipe Reviewhis window pops up. Then you can record your message and click to send it. You can listen to it before you send it and start over if you don’t like what you’ve recorded. Super easy!

When you receive a message you just click to listen to it, and you have the option to record a message and send it to the person who left you the message. (or contact them via email…..)

At first I hadn’t configured the settings so people didn’t have to enter their name/email, but I changed that – I kind of need to know people’s name/ email in order to get back to them! Changing settings on this tool is very easy, and there are lots of options to customize it, which I like so you can customize it more to the look and feel of your website.

You can also add Speak Pipe to your Facebook page with just a few clicks and no technical knowledge. Check out my Facebook page to see how it looks.

In terms of cost, the free version allows you 20 messages per month and after that plans start at $5 per month.

Overall I think this is a fun option but I’m not convinced people will use this feature  (If you want to prove me wrong, or try it out? Just leave me a message.)
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25 Social Media Content Ideas

Social media post idea

25. Caption This!

Do you find you get stuck with when trying to come up with content for Social Media? I have a confession – I sometimes do too. So I’ve come up with this list, both for myself, and for you, so we can both refer back to it if we get stuck. If I’ve missed a good one please add it in the comments!

  1. Answer questions asked by customers
  2. Share unique uses for your service – ie. a different way someone’s used it
  3. Solve a problem that’s common to your clients (ie. mine often wonder where to start their Marketing)
  4. Curate content – add your own analysis to it
  5. Share a review of your service (with a link to the person who wrote it if possible)
  6. Upcoming community events (ie. Green Living Expo for Wellness Company)
  7. Share company updates
  8. Use Survey Monkey to survey your customers
  9. Infographics – for those of us who are visual people!
  10. Try Twitter’s Vine application and share a 6 second video of one of your daily activities
  11. Share bio’s of your staff — and fun little-known facts
  12. Interesting industry facts
  13. Put together a how-to tutorial
  14. Twitter conversations – ie. Abbotsford Police tweets of bad driving excuses (use screenshots)
  15. Have a contest – promote it on Social Media, share photo of winner on Social Media
  16. Skill testing questions (ie. name that poop, what animal is this? for Safari company)
  17. Photos of clients (tag them, of course)
  18. Ask for feedback on a new service or feature you’re considering
  19. Questions – ie. what are you reading this weekend?
  20. Book reviews (relevant books) ie. My recent book review of “Ctrl, Alt, Delete”
  21. Quotes (check out Brainy Quote for ideas)
  22. Jokes (appropriate ones!)
  23. Check out LinkedIn, Twitter or Reddit for news in your category – may spark an idea!
  24. Pick out key points of longer posts and share, with link to longer article
  25. Caption this! (photo)
  26. Got another?? Please add it below and we can all benefit!

Please note: what you say in your posts really depends on your objectives, what interests your ideal clients, and where you are posting it (ie. Your Twitter posts will be very condensed compared to LinkedIn).

And one tip — Check out HootSuite – it’s a free content management system (allows you to post to many different social media and schedule posts)

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Are You Ready for the Digital Future?

Ctrl Alt Delete book reviewI recently finished reading “Ctrl Alt Delete” by Mitch Joel, as well as listening to a podcast interview of him by Social Media Examiner.

In his book Mitch Joel provides *excellent* advice for businesses looking to move forward and survive and I thought it’d be valuable for me to share some of the parts that I found most relevant and useful for wellness and service businesses.

From Me to You – Instead of thinking that you love your customer, think about what they are doing and how you can help them. ie. think from your customer’s point of view not your own. 
I’d suggest thinking about what they want or what their problems are and how you can help them. Maybe it’s hosting a very low cost session packed with advice on one of their problems. Or offering free 10 minute sessions once in a while. (trials only….don’t give away everything!!) I think this also makes good business sense – someone can try your service before they buy. But you have to be okay with not getting paid.

The “new consumers” are not linear – they are scattered, connected and social.
If you think about the process you go through when purchasing something this makes sense. You’ll look for online reviews, ask friends what they think via social media, look at a few stores…..etc. etc. This is why I think just having a website is not enough marketing for most businesses. Maybe add on online reviews, plus a strong referral/loyalty program and that’d be enough….but not just a website.

iPhoneThe one-screen world- We no longer use one screen for watching tv, one screen as a computer and one screen for a phone…..everything is converging, and quickly. And if you think your customers are not online now, well, they will be very soon. Be ready! Joel suggests that to survive entrepreneurs need to adopt a digital-first posture. I’d say at a minimum have a mobile-friendly website.

Joel also talks about the importance of data – tracking results. In my opinion you can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you are, so I wholeheartedly agree!

And a useful reminder….

“When you’re on a media, look around and ask yourself — Why are people here? What are they doing here? What is their experiential intent when they come here and how would I – as a brand or a company – be able to better connect without disrupting their experience? Can I provide a truly additive dose of value?”

One final note: I found the book so jam packed with good ideas that I’d suggest reading the book in chunks rather than all at once.

Are there any business books you’d recommend? Please share below!

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6 Ways to Boost Your Marketing this Summer

Summer in Toronto

Summer in Toronto

Summer is officially upon us, and for many Wellness Professionals this means business slows down.

I think this makes summer a great time for you to think about your Marketing and gear up for Fall.

Here are 6 ways small businesses can improve their Marketing this summer…..


Update all your Social Media profiles

Things get old and stagnant and even if everything is still correct you may see a way to improve it. (ie. by making sure you’ve included your keywords)

Basics are to make sure your profile picture is current, check that you’ve added any new skills, endorsements and credentials and take a look at your profile and bio description.

Revisit your business and marketing goals
While these should not change drastically, by reviewing where you said you want to go you should be reminded where exactly that is. And it’s only when you know where you want to go that you can take steps to get there!

Try a new Social Media!

Have you been curious about Twitter? Wondering how to most effectively use LinkedIn or blog? Summer is a great time to experiment with a new Social Media. You may also want to learn about how to improve your Google ranking, or learn how to use Google Analytics to track your website’s performance.
(Hint: you can Google almost anything to learn more….or check out YouTube if you’re a visual learner)

Review Your Website

You might be surprised at what you see that you’d like to change! Perhaps your hours are different, or your service offerings have changed. It’s pretty important to have an up-to-date website. (and please, add Google Analytics if you don’t already have it!)

Get caught up

Maybe you have something like tracking how your Marketing performed or getting up-to-date on your bookkeeping. We all have things we should do more regularly….and summer is a good time to get caught up on them so we can start September with a clean slate.

Take Time for Yourself

When your job involves helping others it’s really important that you take time to take care of yourself. Whether you relax at the beach, go for a bike ride, do more rock climbing, or go on an overseas adventure, recharging your batteries is important.

I know you know this, but sometimes we all get a bit too caught up and forget to take care of ourselves. So think of this as a gentle reminder!
Okay, that’s it for now. What do you think? Did I miss something you think is important? Please share!

If you want advice specific to your business please email me. Or, sign up for my email newsletter to keep receiving monthly practical Marketing tips and advice.

The Ultimate Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet

My friend sent this social media sizing cheat sheet to me and it’s SO good and I refer to it SO often that I wanted to share it.

If you’ve ever been in Facebook and had a photo look blurry, this will help you fix that problem. Or if you’ve wondered exactly how much space you have for your G+ header. (it’s lots, by the way!)

So head on over to LunaMetrics.com and check out this terrific social media sizing cheat sheet!

If you have any questions about this please email me. Or, sign up for my email newsletter to receive monthly practical Marketing tips and advice directly to your inbox.

Social Media sizing cheatsheet

Do You Give Back to Your Clients?

Maybe you think that sounds like a crazy question. Yes, of course you do, right? At least a little bit, or you wouldn’t be very good at what you do!

I want to share with you a (relatively) easy way you can give back to your clients.

It began this way —

Our cat Mango

Our late cat Mango

Last week I met someone who obviously cared about his clients and patients. Our Veterinarian. The two visits to his office were a blurr and heart-wrenching for me and my family. We found out our 11 year old cat had cancer and had to take him in to be euthanized two days later. But we also met this professional that was kind and caring, even in how he delivered the worst news.

Since we wanted to say “thank you” to him I tried to find his email address online. And there he was, with a blog and twitter account. I felt like it was a bit of a gift – that I got to see this very human side of him which obviously was part of him, but not something that could be shared at work.

Social Media made this possible. It allowed this Vet to share both information on a wide variety of animal health topics (and I found some of this really useful) and also allowed me to get to know him.

From a purely small business perspective, and if I put on my official “Marketing Hat” I’d say that using Social Media is a good way to grow his business – it allows potential clients to find him online, get to know, like and trust him and therefore choose to take their pet to him.

But it’s so much more than that. I think that you as a wellness provider have so much to offer. There is so much good you can do, but only one of you. (and possibly a slightly burnt out one of you) Social Media allows you to give back and in a way that may be less emotionally draining.

Whether you choose to share information about common ailments such as our Vet chooses to in his blog, or quick and easy tips as he does on Twitter, you can help many more people through social media than you can by seeing patients one-on-one.

It also allows people to get to know you, and feel more comfortable with you.

This may seem like I’m preaching, but I’m not :). If you’re already using Social Media, I’d challenge you to look at how you’re using it and whether you’re both helping others and enjoying the opportunity it gives you to connect.

If you want some tips on getting more organized with your Social Media so it doesn’t take over your life check out this article: Simplify Your Social Media.

If you’re thinking about starting, but don’t know where, think about your ideal clients and what social media they are using. You could best help them by being there.

If you want help figuring this all out or taking it to the next level, just email me. I’m happy to help!

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Been Avoiding Something?

ProcrastinationEver have something you’re procrastinating doing? Something that you know you have to do, but for whatever reason something is holding you back?

That was me last week. It felt like part of a project was hanging over my head, and while I’musually very diligent about digging in and getting things done, I found myself coming up with excuses…..mostly because it involved a computer program I’d never used, and I wasn’t very keen on learning.

So you might wonder what happened……?

Well, yesterday I decided to pack in the excuses and get down to business. I sat down and mapped out what needed to be done, and this afternoon I got a good chunk of the work done.

And you know that feeling you get when you accomplish something? Well, it definitely felt good to get over that initial “hump” that had caused me to avoid it in the first place!

I know that for many small business owners, especially wellness practitioners, it’s easy to procrastinate on marketing their business. It can feel like the last on a big list of things “to do”, overwhelming, and many people just don’t know where to start. I’m guessing it’s not what attracted you to your line of work, and may not be your favourite thing to do. (I know that is most certainly the case with a number of my clients!)

I’d like to encourage you to “Go for it!” Jump in and get started!

Wondering where to start marketing your small business? As a starting point – I’ve got several blog posts that will be useful when learning how to market a small business. Check out “Back to Marketing Basics – Part I” or “Back to Marketing Basics – Part II”

And if you need more help, just post your question on one of my social media (Facebook, G+, Twitter, LinkedIn) or  email me.

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Small Business Marketing in Toronto

Make Your Small Business Stand Out!What does it take to successfully market a small business in Toronto?

Here are three small business marketing best practices that will help make things easier for you.

1. Know Your Company
Sounds simple, I know! You built it, after all. But do you know what makes you different from your competition, and why someone should choose to do business with you, rather than others? Toronto is big enough that you need to be clear on what you do in order to effectively market your small business rather than try to be everything to everyone and just confuse people.

2. Know Your Potential Clients
If you are very clear about who you want to do business with it is so much easier not only to know how you can help them, but also to find them! Where do they shop? Are they married/single/have kids? What do they read? What do they want out of life? What are some of their problems? (and how can you solve them?)

3. Connect!
Since you’ve already thought about your potential clients, you should have an idea of where to find them. ie. LinkedIn groups for business/professional, Twitter for busy people on the go, or Pinterest for people looking for inspiration. Before you jump into any online (or in-person!) conversation, look at the forum/group/media to make sure your ideal clients are on it, as well as see what kinds of information (“content”) people are sharing. You need to use the language your potential clients are expecting.

In the end, small business marketing in Toronto is quite similar to many other cities. It’s a matter of doing your homework before you start!

If you have questions, or want to get help marketing your small business, just contact me. I’d be happy to help you succeed!

5 Ways to Engage With Social Media

Engage CustomersWant to connect with more potential clients, get to know them, and help many more people? Social media is an excellent tool to reach people, and these days it can can partially replace (or boost) your in-person client-finding efforts.

Here are 5 tips to help you engage your current or potential clients.

1. Know your audience. Most importantly, what do they want, and how you can help them? ie. Most of my social media followers are small business owners (with limited time!) who are directly responsible for their Marketing, so I share short, actionable tips on social media and general marketing. Keep your posts relevant to your audience, avoid too many personal topics, and always be professional and positive.

2. Vary your posts to keep people from falling asleep. ie. photos, a contest, quotes, facts & statistics, links to relevant articles/blogs, offers, videos, maybe even a joke or two. This will keep it interesting!

3. Start a dialogue. How? Ask questions! Send a short survey! Don’t you like when someone asks what YOU think? Me too! For example, you could use the poll function on your Facebook page, or send a survey to people on your email list. (which can also give you really important information about your audience too!) Warning – if it looks like “work” most people won’t take the time. (sorry, but it’s true)

4. Don’t carry on about your business. Most of what you share should be helping others with just a small percentage about you.

5. Track your results. Which of your Twitter posts was re-tweeted or commented on the most? Post more like that! What newsletter subject got the most opens? Your audience would like more like that!

These 5 tips are just the beginning, but they’re a great start. For an analysis of your social media or other Marketing just contact me. I’d be happy to help you succeed!

How to Schedule Your Posts in Facebook

Did you know you can schedule your posts in Facebook? It’s really handy if you want to plan in advance and schedule a bunch of posts at the same time. Here’s how to do it:

1. Type our your post as usual.
2. Right underneath your post is a clock symbol. Click on it and set the year, month and date.
3. Click “post”
4. You’re done!

FacebookSchedulePosts

 

 

3 Ways to Boost Your 2013 Wellness Marketing

Do you want your Marketing to be organized and run well this year? Want to feel on top of it, rather than like a dog chasing it’s tail? Want results?

Below are three things you can do to organize and plan your Marketing for 2013.

1. Review your 2012 marketing 
While you may not have tracked your 2012 efforts, go back and think about each marketing activity and whether it worked for you. Some of the questions you might ask of each marketing activity include: Did it bring me any clients? (if that was one of your goals) Did I enjoy doing it, or was it completely painful? (hint: drop it or outsource if you dislike doing it) How much did it cost? (Money or time) And did it pay for itself? (if that was one of your goals)

2. Set out your business goals for 2013
ie. Do you want more clients? Want more visibility for your business? Want to be current? Want to educate more people? This is when you should think of results and measurement. ie. If you want more clients, why not set a goal of getting 2 more clients per week? (or whatever you think would be realistic for your business)

3. Research the “media”*
Make a list of ones that could help you achieve your goals and start trying them out, one by one. (set and track results for each one so you know whether it worked for you)

*By “media” I mean both “online”/Social Media (ie. Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) and “offline” (ie. flyers, brochures, posters, events, etc.)

If you’d like help getting your 2013 Marketing organized or putting together a Marketing Plan to help you get where you want to be just contact me. I’d be happy to help you succeed!

Do you Embody Your Marketing?

EmbodyWellnessMarketing

Do you embody how you want your clients to look, feel or act? And, do you think it is important to look/act how your clients expect OR is it more important to have the knowledge to help your clients attain their goals?

Here’s a story…… This week I went to a boxing exercise class at a local gym. I was very surprised when I saw the instructor; I’m guessing she weighed 250lbs. Now, there’s *nothing* wrong with that weight, but it was not what I expected. I imagined that the gym would have someone more “aspirational” as a fitness instructor. So, I didn’t expect a very challenging workout.

I’m pleased to say that it was an *excellent* workout. Not only was the instructor motivating and encouraging, she was also knowledgeable about the more technical aspects of how to punch/kick properly (and avoid injury!). She also had a fun and funny personality, which I appreciate. She didn’t actually lead the class; she acted more as a coach, but that’s fine with me. (and I love that this gym hires “real people” rather than only “models”)

For me this experience brought up not just personal expectations, but also the business side.

As a Wellness Practitioner, how important is it for you to be as clients or patients expect you to be?

My personal opinion is that professional skills are much more important, but embodying clients’ expectations also factors into getting hired. Ideally, your “Marketing Message” should permeate all parts of your business. ie. If you are a Naturopathic Doctor who focusses on children’s health and healthy eating, many clients will perceive you as more credible if they know you help come up with healthy menus for school lunch programs.

Obviously, this varies by Practitioner, their area of expertise and their Marketing Objectives (which should be in line with where they want their business to be).

Honesty in Marketing?

MarketingLetterThe other day I received this letter in the mail. The envelope had no names on it, just my address and a return address. So, with some curiosity, I opened it.

When I saw the letter I was pretty sure I knew what this was about. I’d received similar “I want to buy your house” messages from Real Estate Agents in the past. BUT, they weren’t so disguised as this one.

Just because I was curious, I looked up the phone number online. Turns out people were complaining about getting the same letter as me.

I don’t know about you, but there is NO WAY I would entrust the sale of my home to someone who couldn’t even ask for my business in a forthright and honest way. This Agent likely didn’t have many Marketing ideas, and didn’t know where to find clients, so he did something he thought would work.

As someone who serves others, your reputation IS your business. I’m sure you would have the sense not to try something like this Real Estate Agent did, but you might have been approached about a Marketing opportunity that sounded just a bit too good to be true.

Just a reminder to stay honest in your Marketing and enjoy that good feeling! (plus the business it will bring in 🙂

ps. If you’re so inclined, check out my Facbook page. On it I post various short marketing tips as well as other thoughts, tidbits and inspiration. Plus, if you “like” me I’ll “like” you back, and we’ll both feel loved.

Social Media: It’ll Cure What Ails You!

Do you remember what you heard a few months after Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook or FourSquare or YouTube or blogs or pretty much any new Social Media came into existence?

Each of these Social Media was going to change the way we communicate, change the world……..and be the answer to businesses prayers. Businesses could stop any other marketing ideas they had and simply use social media. People would come in droves!

Social Media has definitely changed the way we communicate, and shaped our world. For example, in a crisis we get most up-to-the-minute information via Twitter, and if we’re shopping many of us will purchase through Ebay or look at Craigslist.

Now the disappointing part……I think we all know that Social Media has not been the miracle cure we small business owners would have loved.

Many small business owners are not sure how effectively use Social Media, so sign up for lots of them, spread themselves too thin and use all poorly. They sign up for ones because they think they *should*; ones they really don’t like using. This ends up being a waste of time, and frustrating.

Some wellness professionals also haven’t figured out which Social Media are best for their business.

When all is said and done, the biggest benefit to Social Media, one that is sometimes forgotten, is that Social Media allows businesses to connect with potential clients and develop relationships. In our modern world everything is done online, which has resulted in people coming together and connecting online. People still feel a need to connect to people and want to know, like and trust those they do business with. This is especially true for wellness professionals, who are often offering help and advice rather than a tangible product.

Although Social Media is useful, businesses still need a solid online media strategy (ie. to know who they want to talk to, what kind of Social Media these people use, and what their problems are). If this is an area in which you struggle, a Marketing professional like me can help sort things out and get you on the path to using the right media in the right way. Then it might seem like Social Media really IS the answer to your business prayers!

ps. If you’re so inclined, check out my Facbook page. On it I post various short marketing tips as well as other thoughts, tidbits and inspiration. Plus, if you “like” me I’ll “like” you back, and we’ll both feel loved.