Author Archives: jframst

Back to Marketing Basics: Part I – Be Clear on your Niche

Not sure where to start your marketing? Or, have you started but are feeling a bit lost? Since it’s summer and you may have a bit more time on your hands I have some homework for you. Doing it will give you greater clarity on your business and who you want to work with. Stay tuned for Part II, but let’s get started now!

Get out your note-taking technology of choice and answer the following questions:

1. Who are you?
Every professional is different, even within the same field. Write down what makes you different – why someone should come to see you (or come to your clinic) instead of someone else. ie. “I’m a Massage Therapist who specializes in pregnancy massage” OR “At our clinic you’ll not just receive high quality treatment – you’ll also have fun!” Competition with others in your field is not usually an issue because no two practitioners are the same!

2. Who do you want to serve (or work with)?
Yes, you do need to narrow down who you want to work with, because if you try to talk to everyone no-one will listen. If you’re struggling with this, think about who you’ve worked with in the past (even in practicums) and who you most enjoyed working with. Think about who you can help the most. Also think about who can afford your services (sorry healers out there — but you do need to make money to survive! :) Choose potential clients you love to help – your enthusiasm will come through and people will respond to it.

So that should be enough to get you started. If you want to talk this through, or have any questions specifically about your business, just email me. I’m happy to help.

Simplify Your Social Media

Are you using social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, or a blog (or thinking about it) but are finding it time consuming and overwhelming?

If so, welcome to the party! Social media can take up an immense amount of time and many wellness professionals find it so time consuming that they give up. Instead of throwing in the towel, you can simplify your social media by getting organized. Here are a few ways how.

Plan your posts
Social media seems like it should be spontaneous, but for businesses it shouldn’t be. If you want to save time and have messages that are varied as well as in the same tone you should plan them out ahead of time. (You can add any spontaneous posts as you go along.)

Find Content More Easily
The first step here is to use an RSS feed to curate/collect content (I use Google Reader). I could (and might one day!) write a whole article on content curation, but using an RSS feed is a good starting point.

Have an editorial calendar 
An editorial calendar for your social media can really save you time. It will allow you to;
Have all posts for Twitter, Facebook, etc. in one place
Know what subjects you’ve already posted on and what is coming up
Make sure you have a good variety of types of posts. (ie. informative, graphic, interactive)
I keep all my ideas in one document, then fill in the editorial calendar from it.

Establish a routine
Managing your social media works best with a regular investment of time. (notice I didn’t say a “big” investment!) After you’ve selected and set up your media, you can figure out what routine will work best for you. I try to do the following: monthly – review previous month’s posts and see what was most interesting to my followers, write and post a blog, weekly – check what events/ issues are timely and post/schedule posts on these, daily – check what people I’m following have posted and reply to posts, and on an ongoing basis I put blog/post ideas into my “Ideas” master document.

Schedule posts in advance or in bulk
Services like Hootsuite (link) allow you to schedule posts well in advance and post the same content in multiple places at once (ie. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). They also allow you to track numbers of clicks you get on each post.

Track posts
You might get tired of hearing that you should track everything *but* wouldn’t you rather give your potential and existing clients information they actually want? If you use a service like Hootsuite you can easily see what posts are most popular, and tailor your content appropriately.

Want to talk about your social media; one you’re currently using or are wondering about? Email me (janine@janinedaltonmarketing.com) and I’d be happy to help!

Money Now or Clients Later?

$I was talking to a client recently about whether she should focus on a project that she thought would give her clients immediately or longer term planning (creating an overall Marketing plan). This is an issue for so many small businesses that I wanted to address it.

When you first start a business is the time you would ideally figure out where you’re going with your business – who you want to serve, how you can best serve them, what you want to say to them, etc. In other words you’d create both a Business and Marketing Plan. BUT you need immediate clients so you can earn a living. Problem!

Here are some solutions….

Most ideal– Start with the marketing (and business) plan – really focus on it and get it done. SO much flows from your marketing plan that if you have it done it’ll be much easier and quicker from there to figure out what things use to achieve your objective(s). (ie. twitter, facebook, postcards, promotions, etc)

Least ideal– Start with the short term goal of getting more business, and the thing or things you think will get you there. This is not ideal because if you skip doing some of the thinking about your ideal clients, overall goals and opportunities, you might actually be trying to reach the wrong people the wrong way, and wasting time and money. Ouch!

The compromise – Do both short and long term planning at the same time. If you’re already working on a specific project (ie. a new website) you can also think about your overall marketing because the two overlap. Then in your “down time” (I know, there’s not a lot!) you can work on the overall plan. This way you’ll have clients now and down the road.

Social Media is Like My Asparagus!

Social Media + Asparagus.....I was in my garden today and was *thrilled* to see my first asparagus EVER poking their heads out of the ground. Asparagus only produces edible shoots upon its third year in the ground, so these asparagus have been a long time coming!

This will probably seem strange to non-marketers, but the sight of these asparagus finally coming out after so long reminded me of social media.

When I planted these seeds three years ago I knew logically that they would take some time before I enjoyed the fruits of my labour. However, I didn’t imagine the time inbetween, the waiting and wondering if these things were really going to grow, or if the effort (and cost) would all be in vain.

Last spring was especially hard. It’d been long enough that I illogically felt like I should be getting some return on my asparagus-growing investment, and the scraggly-looking shoots poking up from the ground were not exactly what I’d imagined. I thought about pulling them up, about giving them away (to a good home of course), of not watering them…..

BUT look at those tiny, tender asparagus today! I’m glad I stuck with them long enough for them to actually produce edible shoots.

Social media, like my asparagus, require patience. They don’t grow overnight. If you hop on one medium (ie. Facebook) then don’t put in the effort, or wait long enough, you won’t see results. Then you might try another (ie. Twitter) and go through the same process with similar lackluster results.

I’m not saying your social media will take as long as my asparagus to grow, only that it may take longer than you expect, and longer than you’d like. How long? The consensus seems to be that in general around 6 months is when you should be seeing results. (though of course this depends on the specific campaign)

So, stick with it and I hope your social media results are as sweet as I imagine my asparagus will be this year!

Save Time & Money; Get a Marketing Plan!

Most people think marketing is a website, ads, brochures, or logos. They jump from initiative to initiative almost haphazardly. Then they wonder why it doesn’t work.

It’s because they don’t have a Marketing Plan.

A Marketing Plan is the overall vision of your marketing. It’s like a roadmap that you use as a reference tool to keep you in the driver’s seat. It is based on your business objectives, and will help you evaluate any marketing opportunities that come your way (so you won’t feel overwhelmed with all the tactics you could use.)
Main sections in a Marketing Plan usually include:

Objectives – what do you want to achieve with your marketing?
Target – who do you want to talk to? What do they want?
Competition – what are they doing, and how are you different?
Tactics – what you’ll do to achieve your objectives
Measurement – must be specific and realistic
Budget – may want to assign a certain amount per month/quarter, or per campaign

Having a marketing plan will help save you time in evaluating opportunities, and will help you avoid wasting money on tactics that don’t work for your business. And really, who wouldn’t like to save a little time and money?