CEI 038: Engagement and Vulnerability

building business relationshipsJoin us for this frank conversation about vulnerability: what it is, why it’s scary, and why we do it anyway.

Danny certainly didn’t set out to build a business about authenticity, vulnerability, and online marketing. But as our regular listeners know, Firepole Marketing has developed a reputation for all three!

Listen in to this week’s episode to learn why authenticity and vulnerability are so important to your business, and how to practice them even when common sense is tell you not to.

Click here to download the transcript.

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How to Effortlessly Find The Voice That Engages Your Audience

Find Your Voice - Firepole Marketing“I’ve only know you for a few hours and already I’m hooked.”

 “I stumbled across your site, 4 hours have passed by, and I’m STILL reading! I can’t get enough!”

 “Where have you beeeennnn my whole life?”

 Let me guess – 3 things nobody has ever said to you?

You know you’ve got to find your niche. You know your copy has to resonate with your audience to get any attention. You also know that to stand out in the over-populated, highly saturated world of online biz, you have to have a unique voice.

Tweet it! How do I make my voice sound like me? And appeal to my ideal client? And make it interesting? And engaging?

That’s a lot of pressure for one person to write in a unique way. But thankfully, given the hundreds of examples of businesses that do just this, it is achievable.

Let’s get started.
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A Fiction Author’s Dilemma: What Should You Blog About?

blog topic ideasYou’ve been toying with the idea of putting up a blog.

Your engagement with your subscribers over e-mail is great. You’re already seeking resources on where to get themes and hosting for your potential blog.

But there’s something that’s stopping you.

You don’t know what you should blog about.

And you know it’s awful. You can think of countless story ideas and write about them, but when it comes to blog topic ideas, you’re all out of creative juice.

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way

You know your characters and your stories all too well. Your readers love and devour your stories, so clearly writing isn’t the problem.

And it isn’t motivation, either. You already have a compelling reason to blog: to introduce your writing to new readers and promote your stories.

Tweet it! Trouble finding blog topic ideas to promote your writing shouldn’t stop you from starting a blog.

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Ask the Readers: What is the Value of Online Contests?

online contestsContests are widely regarded as really good ways to increase your online engagement.

They come in all shapes and sizes – from the massively detailed and logistically challenging Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunts – to the quick and dirty book giveaways and random draws you so often see around the blogosphere.

Likewise, there are all sorts of reasons that you may want to run a contest, from increasing social media engagement to teaching new skills and a whole world of options in between.

Now, some online contests perform better than others, and measuring that performance means knowing what your goals are and how much time and energy you’re willing to commit!

If you’re looking for a quick bump in your blog post engagement – then a simple giveaway can be very effective.

Social media not giving you what you want? Facebook contests, Twitter contests, and Pin it to Win it contests have been around almost as long as their respective social media homes.

Traffic down? A guest posting or other content-centered contest is a great way to see your numbers jump up.

At Firepole, we run at least two online contests a year – the annual guest posting contest in January, and the Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt in March – and we always find these to be great ways to deliver value to our audience. Less frequent for us is the one-off contest, where we have something to give away to a lucky commenter – although we have used that technique in the past, like when we were re-launching our podcast.

Whatever type of contest you run, it’s important to have clear goals about what you’re hoping to achieve, and the metrics to see whether or not you reached those goals – whether it’s comment counts, social media shares or backlinks.

And so this month’s ask the readers is about contests.

Do you participate in online contests? Why or why not?

If you’re a blogger yourself – do you run contests? What works best for YOUR audience?

The Insanely Simple Trick To Keeping Your Customers Hooked

Business CreativityThe dawn of a new year is the traditional time to revamp ourselves and our lives. But does your business need a makeover too?   Tweet it! If your mailing list is not bursting at the seams, maybe it’s time to shake things up.

The pace of change in the business world is breathtaking.

Are your competitors moving relentlessly forward?  Are your customers becoming ever more challenging to satisfy?   We all know the answer to those questions!

Customers are increasingly savvy and demanding – they want experiences.  They want ‘fresh’, ‘new’, ‘unique‘.  They want to be entertained.

But at the same time they want higher perceived value and cheaper prices.

We need to work harder than ever to satisfy those needs and make a profit.

Our business needs to constantly adapt.

It’s Not About ‘Keeping up’. It’s About Survival.

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CEI 036: Starting in Software with Jack Born

building softwareMeet Jack Born, a software entrepreneur who creates products that help other small businesses and entrepreneurs connect more effectively with their audiences.

Jack is the brains behind AWeber Pro Tools, a software that helps entrepreneurs do all kinds of cool things that aren’t available through AWeber itself. He has also launched Box Shot King, as well as another successful software that we’ll get into a bit later.

Listen up for details on how Jack built two successful software products and the lessons he learned along the way. If you’re thinking of creating a software product for your business, you can’t miss this episode!

Click here to download the transcript.

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My “Good Friend” and other Marketing Myths

Good Friends & Marketing Myths - Firepole MarketingLast week, I received an email invite to attend a webinar with someone whose list I’ve been on for a few months.

They were going to be interviewing their “good friend”, the President of a major corporation/country/intergalactic empire (you fill in the gaps) on April 1st.

Of course webinar attendance was free but there would be the obligatory sales pitch at some stage, and undoubtedly the list holder would get a commission from his “good friend”.

Was this an April Fools setup or was it genuine?

It’s hard to tell if this person really is their “good friend,” or if this is yet another cynical sales gimmick that proliferate on the internet.  It seems that as the digital world gets smaller, everyone knows everyone, and the world spins on joint ventures supported by half truths and lies.

At this stage you probably think I am against joint ventures, commissions, webinars, free thinking, the tooth fairy and a lot more besides.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Some of my good friends make their living via joint ventures.  They take and give commissions and are honorable people.  So what is the difference?
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Social Media Marketing is Changing, not Ending

Facebook is not deadGrim news has shocked the social marketing world: Facebook is losing its user-base.

At least that’s what many business and social analysts are saying.

When I first heard that the flagship of social marketing was sinking, I’ll admit I panicked a little bit. My own company specializes in SaaS products, and we have based so much of our past marketing strategies through the social platform that I was sure that, if Facebook crumbled, it would take our presence down with it.

And I know I wasn’t alone in my fears – 82% of businesses use Facebook to market. So any time Facebook marketing shifts, 8 out of 10 business owners have to scramble to figure out what that change means.

Determined to discover the veracity of these reports, and to try and quell the surges of panic I, and so many other small business owners, were feeling, Tweet it! I did a little digging and uncovered that rumors of Facebook’s demise have been great exaggerated.

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Project ABC Update: How I Made Failure a Non-Option in 2014 and How You Can Too

abc“Success doesn’t happen in a night, it happens in the thousands of nights that no one will ever write a song about.” ~Paul Angone

Tweet it! What would you desire if you knew failure was not an option?

What would you be capable of if the people around you refused to let you fail?

In 2012, I chose to lose 40 pounds.

What it Feels Like to Not Have Failure as an Option

I came into college overweight and wanted desperately to lose the extra luggage and carry a six-pack instead (not the alcoholic kind).

In high school, I had much going for me: my grades, my extracurriculars, my friends, but not my health. If Jared was the spokesperson for Subways, I was the poster child for McDonalds.

I tried multiple times to change my diet and exercise.

P90X, Insanity, Low-Carb diets, you name it.

I failed.
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A Beginner’s Guide to Online PR

Beginners Guide to Online PRSince Matt Cutts recently announced the death of guest blogging for SEO purposes, many Internet marketers have been exploring other options of obtaining links and building their client’s brand presence online.

I believe many of us saw this day coming and were already putting to practice different strategies.

One of those strategies we found to be effective is online public relations: a mixture of content marketing, reputation management, social media, SEO and public relations all nicely wrapped in a Matt Cutts-friendly fashion.

Online PR has gone by many names: SEO PR, custom publishing, reputation marketing. You can check out the graph below to see their popularity in the search engine.

Online PR Search Term Popularity

Online PR Search Term Popularity December

Online PR remains the top term because of its cost-effective approach to communicate with a company’s stakeholders. It takes the values and many of the same tactics of public relations and puts it to use in the digital world.

Online PR started gaining traction in 2010. According to the 2013 UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report, 42% of companies surveyed are paying for online PR at their Internet marketing agency but an additional 33% said they plan to use the service in the near future.

There’s no doubt online PR will continue to rise as a go-to service considering its ethical tactics, measurability, and results.

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