Valentine’s Day Blogging Tips to Get More Readers (& Customers!) to Your Blog

valentine's day blogging tips

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.  Love is in the air! Can you feel it? Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? It’s right around the corner so it’s time to get ready. But I’m not talking about buying flowers, chocolate or jewelry for your boo. Nope! I am talking about using Valentine’s Day to get more readers to your blog and even make a few sales. So depending on where you are in your blog and your business, here are a few love-inspired ideas that you can use.

But before I dive deep into my tips, do you have a blog yet?  If not, don’t despair.  I am here to help you though the whole process.  In just 5 minutes you can get your blog up and running.  Check out this blog post where I give step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog.  The instructions are clear and easy to follow.  So get started on your dream today by clicking HERE to start your blog.

 

 

If you already sell products and services on your blog

Create a Gift List!  Since everyone is searching for the perfect Valentine gift, give your readers gift ideas featuring your products and services. Most people buy traditional Valentine’s Day gifts like candy but why not show them that your products and services can make their loved one happy too? They won’t know until you tell them, so show them and (hopefully) make the sale.

Package it Up!  You can even create special packages for the holiday that are only available for Valentine’s Day. Be clear about what products and/or services are being offered in the package and the pricing. If you can, offer several packages at different price points to attract a range of customers. If your products and services aren’t love-themed, try using red or pink packaging instead. I realize these ideas may take more than a week to implement, so be sure to give yourself enough time to give your products and services “the look of love”.

Gift Card, Anyone?  Another great option is to allow customers to buy your products and services as a gift to a loved one. This works for a wide range of products and services. And if all else fails, give your customers a coupon that can only be used on Valentine’s Day. The coupon code can be the word “LOVE” or another holiday-related term. If you have an email list, shoot them out a quick email Valentine’s Day morning letting them know about the special coupon code and see what happens. Hopefully, the sales will start rolling in.

Target Different audiences.  When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of romantic love, right? And that’s what the holiday is all about. But other people in our life need love too. Show potential customers that your products and services will make great Valentine’s Day gifts for parents, children, co-workers, friends and even pets. Yes, people love their pets and treat them like family members, so why not?

If you are not at the point where you are selling products and services yet

No worries. I still have some ways you can use Valentine’s Day to pull in more readers to your blog.

If your blog has nothing to do with love or Valentine’s Day, you can still use the holiday to get more readers. For example, if you blog about vintage Ford Mustangs, you can write a blog post called “10 Reasons to Love the Ford Mustang” or “5 Rom-Com Movies that Feature Ford Mustangs”. Take some time over the next few days to think about what you want to write about and try to come up with some cool ways to incorporate Valentine’s Day into your blog.

As a side note, I bought a bright red Ford Mustang when I finished my master’s degree. I sold it when I had my first child because I couldn’t fit my stroller in the trunk of the car. As you can see, I have never quite gotten over that.

It’s Valentine’s Day, spread love on social media

If you plan ahead, here are some lovely things you can do on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Dr. Marcella Wilson on Valentine's Day

Create love-themed posts on social media the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Now be sure to mix it up. Use quotes, funny memes, pictures and even videos hyping up to Valentine’s Day. You can use your posts to advertise Valentine’s Day specials that you are offering or to just send readers to your blog.

Create a Hashtag that brings awareness to Valentine’s Day but also promotes your blog. You can use your hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. But just remember that hashtags are not owned by anyone and can be used by anyone. So it is possible that someone else can use the hashtag you’re using for Valentine’s Day for a something totally different.

Photo Contest – If you are not selling anything, use your hashtag as a photo contest. The way it works is that readers can post pictures on their Instagram or Twitter account using your Valentine-themed hashtag. But only the best photos or top 10 winners will get retweeted on your Instagram or Twitter account. And you’ll be surprised. If you use this method, I bet you’ll get a lot more participation than you anticipate. People don’t always need the promise of winning something to get involved. Just giving someone the opportunity to be recognized and promoted is more than enough motivation for some people. Try it out and see how it works for you.

In closing, use one of these ideas to get your readers in the “mood for love” by showcasing your products and services or reading your blog. The key is to be creative and think outside the box. I know you can come up with something special, thoughtful and fun that your readers will just love.

In the comments, tell me which idea you are going to use this Valentine’s Day on your blog. Or tell me about an idea that I haven’t talked about.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Toodles,

Dr. Marcella Wilson

Social Media: Do I Really Need it to Build My Business or Brand?

Dr. Marcella Wilson - Do I need social media?Dr. Marcella Wilson - Do I need social media?

I have been asked this question so many times.  Social media is everywhere and its power is undeniable.  We’ve all heard the stories of people who became “internet famous” from a viral video, tweet or meme.  Did you know that Justin Bieber got discovered on YouTube?  Let’s be honest, YouTube stars are just as popular as mainstream celebrities in music, television and film.  If you have a million YouTube subscribers or 500,000 Instagram followers, you can write you own ticket and quit your day job. But not everyone is sold on social media.

And while so many people like social media, they don’t really want to be bogged down with the day in and day out grind of posting and updating it for their business.  So that begs the question, do I really need to consistently update my social media accounts to build my business or brand?  Do I have to post every day or on a regular basis?

Most people have social media accounts.  In other words, most people have a few of the following accounts: Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.  Most people use their social media accounts for personal reasons and they update them when they want to.  And that’s fine.  Personally, I recommend everyone getting the social media accounts of their name on the major social media accounts, even if you don’t use it.  However, if you are trying to make money or build your brand, I highly suggest securing your business name in “the fab four” social media accounts – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and twitter.  If you don’t want to get four because that’s too overwhelming, just get a Facebook page.  Why Facebook?  Because Facebook is the number 2 site in the world – Google is #1.  So it’s the top social media platform.  Therefore, if you are going to go with only one social media account, go with Facebook.

In closing, the answer to the question is yes.  Yes, you do need social media to build your business.  Why?  It is a great way to get information out about your business to the public for free.  If you have a lot of followers, great things will begin to happen.  Companies and brands will begin to approach you for sponsorship opportunities and you can sell you products and services to your following.  You can build a career or business solely off of social media.  So it really is a gift.  It may not seem worthwhile to invest the time and effort in social media if you are just starting out or only have a few hundred or thousand followers (or even less).  But if you can grow your numbers, build an audience, your business will explode.

Another question I get asked a lot is what is the best social media platform to use?  Should I focus on all of them, one or a few?  Check me out next week when I will tackle that topic.  But in the meantime, what is your business and what social media accounts do you use?

What Services Do I Really Need to Pay For?

What Services Do I really need to pay for

You finally made the decision to start an online business.  Yay!  You get your blog up and you’re ready to start making money.  But wait a minute….   You slowly to realize that you’re forking over lots of cash for service to run that business.   You’ll need over $1,000 for webinar service, about $250 for an email subscription service, $120 a year for social media management, $300 or more for Leadpages and the list goes on and on.  You begin to ask yourself, “Do I really have to spend money on all these services to run my online business?”  Signing up for these services can easily cost you thousands of dollars per year.  Well, right now you might be thinking to yourself, “There are lots of free services out there, Dr. Wilson!”   Yes, that’s true.  However, I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for.  So today, I will discuss the essential paid services you need to run your online business.

I am speaking from experience here.  This is something that I debate and struggle with on a regular basis.  I run an online business and make money so I can contribute to my family.  However, I need services that help me run my business more efficiently.  Again, I can hear you saying, “But how much money do I have to put out?”  Well, I have spent thousands if not more in email subscription services, social media management software and more.  Plus I have spent thousands more on coaching and training courses to learn more about setting up and running a successful business.  I shudder to think how much money I put out even before I turned a profit.  I was making a lot of other businesses successful before I could get mine up and running properly.

How did I get all the money for services?  All of my free or personal money went to services for my business.  And if I didn’t have enough money, I’d ask (beg!) my husband for the money.  It got to the point where he was just exasperated with me always asking for money for some service that would “explode” my business.  I recognized I had to make some changes when it came to the money I spent on services.  I purposed to pare down the services I was paying for by getting rid of the ones I didn’t need or use.  I also realized that I paid for convenience and that I could actually do a lot of the services myself if I just carved out some time to do it.  So I took a really hard a look at my needs, my budget and made some tough decisions.

One thing I decided to do was use money that I earned from my business to pay for services.  For example, last year I created numerous websites for various small businesses.  When I got paid for making those websites, I didn’t immediately go to H&M with that money – which is what I would have normally done!  I put that money in my business account and use it to cover monthly and annual services I needed for my business.  My goal each month is to generate more money than my services cost.  If I have any extra money, I just reinvest that money back into my business.  Now I know that seems intuitive and basic – because it is.  I mean, I knew I should do that, but I wasn’t.  I was just signing up for all these services even before I made any money.

3 Ways to Get Cash for Services your Business Needs:

  1. Use your own personal money initially to cover the costs of the services you need.
  2. Do a few small jobs first to use as seed money for your business expenses.
  3. Research the costs of different services. Is it cheaper to pay annually or month to month?  Is this a service I can do myself to save money?  Can I barter with someone else who offers a service I need to cut down on expenses?

The #1 Service EVERY Business Needs

But what services do you really need to run your online business?  Well, I don’t know what type of business you run or know its specific needs.  However, I know that EVERY business needs to collect email addresses of their customers.  Why?  Because every checks their email all day every day.  And if someone gives you their email address, that means they want to hear more about your products, services, sales, events, coupons or whatever you have to offer.  That’s powerful!  Every entrepreneur should start collecting email addresses the first day that their blog is up and running.  There’s a saying among internet marketers – The Money is on the List.  Meaning, if you don’t have an email list, you won’t be making any money.  So, do yourself a favor.  If you really want to make money from your business, set up an email subscription service today.  Personally, I use aweber to handle my email subscription services.  I have used aweber for years and highly recommend them.  If you want to try aweber out free for 30 days or learn more, just click HERE.

So what did you think of this blog post?  How much money do you spend monthly on your business services?  Leave me a comment below and let me know what type of business you run and what paid services are a must.

How to Have Your Readers Create Your Blog Content

Past research has shown that 25% of people will buy from you the first time they visit your blog.  What about the other 75%?  They are in the decision-making process.  They are looking at your blog to see if you solve their problem, pain or fill their need.  The goal of your blog is to convince the remaining 75% to buy from you.  You do that through your content.  More specificially, user-generated content.  It is the content that other people create that convinces your readers to buy your products and services.  This is the content that you do not write but is highly popular among readers and search engines. It is the content that your readers create when they have bought or are considering buying products and services. This type of content includes (but is not limited to):

  • Discussion forums
  • Comments
  • Product Reviews
  • New uses for Products
  • Testimonials
  • Case Studies

Want to learn more ways your readers can create content for your blog?
Check out my “Blogging 4 Bucks” eBook”

The above list is not a complete list. There are many others ways that consumers produce content for your blog. The wonderful thing about user-generated content is that it bolsters your products and services online for your benefit. It’s a bonus that this type of content is that it requires little to work on your part. And if we go back to the mantra of working smarter, not harder, this is definitely a great way to do that.

Another benefit of user generated content is it builds credibility and trust in your readers or potential customers. Earlier, I discussed how simply having a blog will boost your authority and credibility with readers. So, in addition to the faith your readers have in you, what if they can also read comments, user reviews, and discussions from online groups that tout your products and services? What this creates is the reader’s iron clad confidence in you and it’s only a matter of time before they become your customer.

We are living in the information age. The Internet brings a wealth of information at our fingertips. Many tap into that huge knowledge base on the Internet before making a purchase. I don’t know about you, but I don’t make a purchase before I check it out online to see if I can find a coupon, get the cheapest price and find out if it is a good product. A study conducted in 2012 that found that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. That study was repeated in 2013, and the percentage jumped to 79%! Another study found that up to 90% of purchases were influenced by online reviews. Therefore, include content on your site that consumers are looking for and can create on their own.

How often do you buy from the blogs that you frequent the most?  Post your answer in the comment section below.

 

Why I Started Blogging, Pt. 2

Why I started blogging

Hey!  This is the second part of a two-part blog post series.  So, if you didn’t catch “Why I Started Blogging – Part One“, click HERE to read it.  But if you’ve already read it, let’s pick up where we left off…

Since I was home with my children, I felt that there wasn’t much I could do to stay current in the field of technology.  I felt out of the loop because I wasn’t working day in and day out in my industry.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I was happy and blessed to stay at home with my babies.  I was also fortunate to be able to work out of my house.  However, I knew that once I started job-hunting, my resume would not be as strong as someone who worked fulltime at a tech company or a university.  I needed a way to stay current.  I needed an edge.  Then one day it came to me.

One day, I was watching an entertainment show and they were talking about fashion week in New York City.  During fashion week, the media is always focused on who is sitting in front rows of fashion shows.  You’ll see magazine editors like Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley of Vogue.  You’ll see socialites or celebutantes like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton.  You’ll see former fashion models like Tyra Banks.  You’ll also see actresses and singers like Emma Stone and Beyoncé.

But this show I was watching focused on how fashion bloggers were sitting front row at all the shows and how their blogs were impacting the fashion industry.  Right then and there, a light bulb went off in my head.  These fashion blogs were started by people who love and have an interest in fashion.  But for some reason or another, they were not able to land a coveted job in fashion.  Therefore, they started blogging about fashion to give their opinion on new trends, up and coming fashion models and industry gossip.  Many of these fashion bloggers gained huge followings and became experts in the fashion industry.  Overnight, fashion bloggers had become the hottest fashion stars.

I also noticed that fashion bloggers were getting work.  Like real paid jobs.  I was really interested then.  When I read a magazine, I noticed that fashion bloggers were writing editorials in magazines.  I saw them in commercials and advertisements promoting brands.  I turned on my favorite news and talk shows only to see them discussing the seasons latest fashion trends.  I also saw them as judges on reality competition shows.  I was like, what!  All this from blogging?  I thought to myself, how can I be down with this!?!

Now, of course, I had an advantage because my educational background is in computer science and my graduate research focused on online social networks.  Thus, I was familiar with the technical aspect of blogging.  However, my education did not focus on blogging as a way to build income, become an expert or build a brand or business.  I wanted to learn more about how blogging could build by reputation and increase my income.  I saw lots of people in magazines, online and on television talking about technology.  They were touting the latest tech products, advising parents how to keep their kids safe online and discussing public figures that had inappropriate photos pop up on their social media accounts.  I thought, if they can do it, so can I.  I wanted to learn more about these people and how blogging helped them get to where they are.

But more importantly, I wanted to use blogging as a way to stay current in the technology industry.  Even though I was changing diapers and making bottles during most of the day, I needed a way to stay viable in my industry.  And in the ever-changing job market, it’s important to stay marketable.  As a result, I set out to learn more about how blogging could build my career.

So basically, I started blogging so I could stay current in tech even though I am a stay-at-home mom.  How many of you reading this can relate?  Well, that’s my story of how I started blogging.  What’s yours?  In the comments below, write a comment and let me know why you started blogging.  Or if you haven’t started a blog yet, why you want to start blogging.

 

 

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