Don’t Give Into Hibernation! An Invigorating Best of the Web for December 2013

bestIf your year has been anything like our year here at Firepole Marketing, you must be exhausted from all you’ve accomplished, attempted and achieved this year!

In the past month alone, we’ve taken on two new staff members, gone on a company retreat to regroup and strategize for the New Year, and started working actively on a MASSIVE Audience Business Masterclass webinar blitz for January.

We’ve also said a bittersweet goodbye to Robyn Crump, who has been our Experience Lead for a year and a half, and will be moving on to work in Fashion Marketing – something she’s always dreamed of. Please join us in wishing Robyn the very best of luck and success!

As I mentioned in last month’s Best of the Web, it’s gotten cold up here in Montreal, and now we’ve added snow to the equation. Lots of snow. Thank goodness none of us have cars.

After the delight of that very first snowfall (and really, the first one is delightful!), it becomes a little harder each day. Getting up in the dark, watching the sun go down before dinner – all you want to do sometimes is shut the blinds and wait for spring. (To all of our readers in warmer climates – please don’t rub it in. Pity us.)

Unfortunately, entrepreneurs can’t settle down for long winter’s naps, or hibernate during the cold season. We have to keep on keeping on, and we’ve assembled some interesting, inspiring and generally invigorating articles and resources for you to get your blood pumping and keep you working towards your goals.

[Read more...]

Get New Customers and Make More Sales by Fixing the Single Biggest Mistake That You’re Making

targetIf there was just ONE piece of advice I wish I’d received when starting my business it would have been this:

Natalie make sure you define your niche and identify your ideal customer BEFORE you start creating products and services”.

Oh how lovely life and business would have been back then if I’d had absolute clarity on who I was serving and exactly what my ideal customer desired. Maybe then I would have known exactly what their challenges were and then gone about creating a solution to fix them.

But instead, I went blindly where everyone has been before – to no-niche-ville. Like so many entrepreneurs I speak to, I wanted to make sure I targeted everybody and anybody so as not to miss out on or exclude any potential customers.

Well I don’t want you to make the same mistake any longer so in the next 5 minutes of reading this article I will:

  • Show you my real life example of how I went from disaster to niche-tastic
  • Give you an overview of how to define your own niche and define your ideal customer as you read my example
  • Put this knowledge into action by answering a real life question from my community

[Read more...]

CEI 015: Making Big Bets

Business can be risky, but some risks come with rewards!

How do you know when to take risks with your business, and which risks to take? How do you know what to wager with each of your big bets?

In today’s podcast, Danny and Megan discuss big bets that they’ve witnessed other’s make and big bets that Firepole has made throughout the years. They discuss which have worked and which have caused disasters. But more importantly, they teach you how to prepare yourself and benefit from the future big bets you’ll make with your small business!

[Read more...]

Use the Force, Luke: Why Marketers Get Seduced by the Dark Side and Led Into Unethical Marketing

Star Wars

Danny sent out an email not too long ago that really struck a chord with me. He was answering a question from a subscriber who’d been slapped by a recent Google algorithm update and wanted to know where to go with his 200+ sites that were now sitting there dead in the water. I guarantee that this internet marketer didn’t expect what happened next – Danny telling him bluntly that what he had been working on wasn’t a business, it was a scheme… and that he needed to wake up and decide whether he wanted to build something real going forward that actually offered value to an audience.

Go, Danny! I was cheering.

Why? Because there are two sides to this business called Internet Marketing. And one of them is like Darth Vader, hissing through his respirator as he tempts you toward the dark side. Whatever you do, don’t let ol’ tall, dark and wheezy seduce you, because once you do, you could wind up damaging your reputation beyond repair. And once you’ve lost the trust of your followers, chances are you’ll never get it back.

[Read more...]

Mastering an Entrepreneurial Toddler Mentality… and Why That’s a Good Thing!

Baby mit LaptopAs entrepreneurs we get in the game because we feel we can offer something (a service, a product, something!) of value. We feel we can serve in a better fashion running our own show than in a corporate environment. We feel we are fulfilling a need in the world.

While the motivations above are a good start to entrepreneurship, they are quite vague. Think about them – we want to offer something that we know is inside us. We want to be of value. We want to run our own show. We want to fulfil some need.

Side story (but trust me, it’ll make sense soon!). I was visiting a friend and I was having a lovely conversation with her son… who is 3. The conversation started off very topical and somewhat surface. After all, he is 3! And then the quintessential toddler word started coming… non-stop!

Why.

At first I laughed, and then it wasn’t long before I was working to keep up with all the Why’s. And it got me to thinking…

It is not enough to want to offer something, or to fulfil some need. In order to bring true value to others we need to know specifically what we are bringing to the table. And not only what, but why. The saying “the devil is in the details” is quite fitting. These details will drive the products we develop, the services we offer, the mechanisms we employ in marketing and strategy, the business options we explore, the potential partners we engage, and shape the constituency of our business. [Read more...]

Ask the Readers: What Do You Want For Your Business in 2014

questions-card2013 has been a huge year for Firepole Marketing – and that’s an understatement!

We expanded our team from 4 to 8, launched the hugely successful (and educational for all involved!) Business Ignition Bootcamp, redesigned the entire site, re-launched our podcast for the third time, broke new ground by creating and offering our first direct mail product and opened the doors to the absolutely fantastic OnFire Community Forum.

Oh, and we took in nearly 800 Audience Business Masterclass students. ;-)

So aside from being absolutely exhausted (in an exhilarated kind of way), we’re pretty satisfied with what we’ve accomplished, and what we learned along the way.

We were able to accomplish so much, in part, because of the way we plan for the future – what’s going to be happening in 6 months or a year is the topic of today – and we work from the expectation that we’ll always be moving forward. [Read more...]

Will Your Business Be Left Behind By The Revolution of Visual Marketing?

Has your website traffic been diminishing recently? Are you struggling to gain visitors, subscribers and sales?

It’s natural that in a tough economic climate customers will be looking to buy less ‘stuff” overall, and time-starved consumers are torn in all directions, so more businesses are competing for less customers.

Of course it is not the ‘metrics’ per se which are important, but the opportunity to get interested prospects to visit our website, woo them with great content and regular contact, and have the chance to stun them with our brilliance so that they can’t help but buy from us or sign up for our services.

How do you persuade your prospects to ‘know me, like me, trust me, buy from me’? This is still the most important aspect of marketing online, not least because customers haven’t met us face-to-face.

So the way we present our ‘online face’ to the world is vitally important, and becoming even more so. Great, high quality visuals are the way to do this.

We have already entered the ‘visual marketing’ age, and our appetite for attractive visual content will continue to skyrocket.

Why is that? Tweet it! What makes pictures and videos *so* appealing? Research gives us a clue.
[Read more...]

CEI 013: Getting Unstuck With Laura Leigh Clarke

PodcastImage013For today’s episode, Danny got caught up with Laura Leigh Clarke.

Laura is a business consultant, and money coach to entrepreneurs. She is also the author of Wire Yourself For Wealth, a business book that allows people to take steps towards undoing the mental blocks they have around making money.

Laura helps solopreneurs, who are struggling to do everything themselves, find a clear, actionable plan, and then helps to support and implement that plan week by week!

[Read more...]

How to Make Money from a Small List (and Get Some Other Valuable Insights)

Businesswoman on PhoneBack in July of this year, I found myself in a predicament. I wanted to create a new group program for a tiny niche I was working in, but I didn’t know what to make or where to start.

Oh, and I only had 246 subscribers.

They hadn’t heard from me in 6 months.

And in this tiny, old-school industry niche, there were exactly ZERO potential JV partners who could help me with this. I was working in the alcoholic spirits industry, which had a few traditional “consultants”, zero info-products, no big mailing lists, and a handful of magazines for my target audience that all wanted huge advertising fees. They all refused anything that even resembled a JV.

The total size of the market was about 3,000 people worldwide.

My prospects looked pretty grim for doing a big launch, no doubt. For some reason or another, I decided to put my skills as a marketer to the test and see what I could do. (Maybe I was feeling a little bit crazy?)

[Read more...]

Write Email Newsletters that Break Through the Noise

emailIf your inbox is anything like mine, there’s a lot of noise in it.

Emails on top of newsletters compounded by bill alerts intermingled with a three-times-a-day HARO subscription and Notes from the Universe. It feels like everyone wants your attention. Even if you dedicate half of your work day to reading/digesting/responding to all of it and making a significant dent in the pile, it would start all over again tomorrow. It’s endless. Because of this, the delete key becomes your best friend. Check. Delete. Ahhhh.

Here’s the problem though: as a business owner, you are working hard to build a solid email list and provide your contacts with valuable content on a regular basis and it can get frustrating when only a small percentage of people even open your email (and an even smaller percentage click on any of your links). It can feel like all your hard work is getting lost in the void of people’s inboxes without a fighting chance.

At the same time,Write Email Newsletters that Break Through the Noise The key is to make your newsletter stand out from the crowd—make it compelling enough that people actually want to open it and read it. Maybe even so good that your contacts look forward to receiving it.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Tweet it! Here are 7 great tips for writing email newsletters that break through the noise…

[Read more...]