Blog Articles from Fawkes Digital Marketing
Stop following and start leading
I was going to write an article about a client I met with last night but instead went through my list of old articles I had written back in 2014 and never published. Not that I couldn't write anything better today but this was just as good and rang so well when I read it that I think it speaks perfectly to the situation of many people following instead of being the leader they want to be. All too often we see small businesses following, focusing on the wrong items, and not working on their core strengths.
Life is about being perfect
We've all done it, we hate we are not perfect, and it sucks to have dropped the ball. What you do with that drop is what truly defines you and your company. It's not something any of us is ever proud of. It shows we're human, our systems we've put into place aren't perfect, and that we have a lot to learn. That statement resonates with me each and every day. I do weekly reflections on Sunday thinking of everything that happened in the past week. I also look at my previous day each day from 4-6am when I write these articles. Some days I nail out only one while other days I can nail out four articles in that two-hour span as my fingers become a machine (or I have that much running through my mind). I use this time as my personal reflection and insight to keep things fresh in my mind. Recently you'll notice that I start posting a lot of these. There are two reasons for this and I am going to explain as you read on.
Your writing can change the world
When you look at the success of any business and marketing plan (you have one right?) there are four things that we constantly see to achieve success. These are consistency, posting times, strategy, and of being authenticate. This doesn't mean there are only four items. These are four items that appear in every successful marketing campaign. Each together will help you grow your business and your brand to achieve success. During the past several months during our weekly team meetings the talk of 'reach' and 'engagement' has been at the forefront of the conversation. A lot of this is due to bringing on content writers that have a desire and passion for writing and have the love of small business that we do. It also is happening because we want to make we are providing more value each month. Let's dig into each of these and see why they are important to growing your business brand online.
Why no sales pitch?
This past week I have had four emails for my latest articles that have been shared on LinkedIn. This is actually good news as on Twitter we get an email every blue moon (less than monthly). They saw I also posted on our company page the same article. Each person inquired why I wasn't including some 'sales pitch' for our companies' services? This question took me back that it was from four different people who don't directly know each other according to LinkedIn. One of the people we had some emails back and forth and then an hour-long phone call about the subject of not having a sales pitch. In the end we both realized that not having a sales pitch of 'buy my stuff' or 'use our services' at the end was actually more of a sales pitch then just stating so and the person said by not doing so actually made me sound like more of an industry insider and expert. Yeah! That is what we have been shooting for with all of our 200+ articles over the past three years.
The power of communication
With the company growing I have spent a lot of my time focused on improving business processes, fixing areas that can be improved based on our teams input, and stepping away from what I would call 'normal blog writing' to a more focused on our overall business and marketing processes. This shift is letting our expertise shine even more and allows our search engine optimization team, social media experts, graphic designers, and software developers focus on the free advice I had done for the past three years.
Small business has heart
Normally my blogs are written from 4-6am to be sent out later in the day but being it is a relaxing day I did reading and research during that time instead. Last night I was out at 10pm to see what was up in the community. I drove through Chesterton Indiana and then Valparaiso Indiana. I had a secret agenda to see if small business really believes in the support of their community. What I saw truly shows the heart of what small business is and how much they depend on the local community to help them grow.
Put marketing on its head to create buzz
Part of any good marketing plan is to create a positive buzz in the industry that you are. When people talk about your marketing after days or months have past you know you've created something substantial. An agile company needs to quickly adapt to change. Our own marketing efforts need to change as when you target big publicly traded companies that seems to have endless supplies of cash you need to be creative in everything you do. Recently we have been adding clients from these large publicly traded companies and learning a lot from these clients. Each new client we bring on we always ask what made you switch and choose us over X, Y, and Z. We always ask what is their definition of success and failure as everyone has a different opinion on each. This knowledge helps us in giving recommendations for other companies that we have aligned with to further help drive traffic and increase their business.
Become the leader you were meant to be
When you take control of your destiny you risk not only success but failure. It's that fear of failure that deters many of us to not push ourselves beyond our comfort zone. We all have in ourselves to be better than what we are today. Tomorrow we have the option to be better than we were the day before. It is this constant option of freewill that we have to improve ourselves.
Are you tired of being nickel and dimed?
We hear your struggle, feel your pain, and we are making a solution for you so that your unique story can be heard. Everyone has a story and many haven't been able to be heard. Not because they don't have a good story or because it's not worth hearing. For many it's because to get a story heard you either have to know someone or you have to 'pay to play'. Those that know JM2 know we think that is not right and we're making a game changing announcement about how stories are told.
Push beyond your comfort zone
We often get complacent in life where we get into that comfortable state and stop pushing ourselves. There isn't anything wrong with that but I see part of being human is always challenging yourself and pushing beyond what my limits are today. This doesn't mean that I am setting myself up for failure or pushing myself beyond my capabilities. I look for opportunities that I know if I devote the energy that I will succeed. I am going to go over two different short stories that I can say one I have personally conquered and the other I am currently working on conquering. How each of them has made me a better and well-rounded member of society and I feel prouder of my existence as a person.
Power of co-working
I saw an old friend today who helped make JM2 Webdesigners & Marketing the growing agent of change in Northwest Indiana. While up at the local coffee shop writing blogs, working on social media accounts, making new websites live, adding new features, and adding some green padlock (SSL) security to the new websites I saw was Eric Zosso of Zoseco Co-working and seeing him made me think of where our company has come from the idea stage in the fall of 2012 when the idea of starting a business was still a pipe dream. Each and every Sunday is a day of reflection on where we've come, what happened in the past week, and what we have coming in the upcoming week. It's a time to look at three ways small business can start out.
Organic SEO vs Pay Per Click vs Doing Nothing
Debate as much as you want regarding organic search engine optimization or SEO versus paid advertising or PPC and you will find out it is a hot topic with people fighting on both sides of the fence that one is better than the other. A third option we see all too much is to be completely lazy and do nothing as you've vested so much money that you expect that money to also be heard by the search engines that you didn't even pay because your site is just 'that great'. The question comes down to which one will work best for your brand, your timeframe, target market, what your budget is, how patient you are, and whether you have truly great content. We've re-written this several times and are going to lay the pros and cons to each.
Getting more and paying less
Today you do not hear the phrase I will give you more and not expect you to pay more for it. Businesses raise prices as payroll increases, costs increase, etc. but rarely do you see more being provided and the prices not increase. We do raise our prices every so often like other businesses but we always add value without raising costs throughout the year as well. We do this as we want to see the small businesses that choose us see growth in their business. To be fair and honest we are increasing our prices in 2018 but that is for the sake of payroll as our team deserves it as they are rocking it which you can tell by what I have below!
Short sweet and too the character point
Just a week ago Twitter rolled out to everyone the new standard for tweets of 280-characters. We are a year away to see what the true impact of this increase in 140-characters will do to all of us in communicating on Twitter. We still believe that short and sweet is the best way to reach most audiences as we are all actively busy with work and our personal lives. Doubling your character account can do a lot to your overall marketing strategy and we're going to take a look at some of the major items we are already doing for our clients.
The birth of an entrepreneur
Being able to be different, to live your dream, and make a difference in the lives of small businesses is what I strive to do on a daily basis. From my home town in Chesterton Indiana and now in Valparaiso Indiana I have changed the way small businesses grow. To many they don’t understand who we are, what we do, or how we do it. I want to give a quick look into what an entrepreneur is. For many, you will think we’re crazy. We are not. We are the agents of change in what we do. Whether you are in web design and marketing like I am or if you are doing the next big thing. An entrepreneur is someone that wants to make a difference in this world.
SEO Best Practices for Your Small Business Website
We believe that small business truly makes our communities grow. They have heart, passion, raise their families, and are 100% committed to our communities. We believe big business is important but will never be as vested in our local community as much as small business. To that end we look for ways to improve small business search engine optimization for small business whether you are in Valparaiso, Merrillville, or in a big city like Chicago. These SEO techniques work for every small business.
Facebook and the Science of Consistency
Consistency is the foundation for success in all aspects of life. The constantly repeating, almost instantaneous execution of a perfect golf swing or a piano master performing a near-perfect rendition of Chopin's piano concerto comes from years of repeated practice until perfection.
Why small business matters
We are often asked why we work with small business and nothing else. That wasn't always the case but small business is what we only work on now and the answer is quite simple. Small business make up 3/4 of the businesses within the United States which is a large group of businesses to work with. Five years ago, we went straight to the big box stores for everything as we were selfishly looking at just saving a few pennies (literally just pennies). As we saw spending these pennies on a small business were not only possible but made us happy and we established relationships with these businesses. This change happened and was our wakeup moment when we started our own web design and marketing small business in Michigan City Indiana. Our eyes opened, and we started to 'see the light' of what was really driving the American economy. It isn't these large stores but the small business that invest in our local communities that made our communities grow.
Importance of website content
We let all our clients know about the importance of content. In that regard why is content truly important, how can it increase your effectiveness, and how can it help you grow your small business? When you have content that is designed to drive an interaction that creates a sale you can easily create a goal within your analytics software, track it, and justify the contents success and value. In most cases success from your quality content happens over a period. Quality content will showcase your expertise, build trust, educate, and establish your brand as a leader in your industry. In this article we will delve into five key items of why quality content is important to your brand.
5 Small Business Digital Marketing Mistakes
You are starting your new business in Valparaiso Indiana (replace with your town/city name here). You have a lot on your mind and truly lot of work to do. When you start you wear many hats and years from now you'll still be wearing those hats even with a growing team. Starting a business requires a lot of juggling on your part, dedication, and passion. Checklists are one of the most valuable assets a growing small business owner will use. It allows you to stick on-task, on-time, and hopefully on-budget. We hear from other business owners, startups, and even business consultants and are amazed at what we've done as well as how we've done it. I have a series of articles that I will be sharing that will help businesses get started and hopefully started better than we did. As you are building your list for your new business or if you have a growing and established small business these five tips will help you better market your company online.
Getting yourself out there
There are all kinds of ways of getting yourself out there as a company and showcasing your expertise for others. For many there is a centralized figure head who becomes the voice of the company. We're not that and we truly hate when one person 'is the man (or woman)'! We do not believe that one person will make a company; and shouldn't. We believe that a team consists of a group of people that are truly good at what they do but together those good people become great. This is what makes JM2 Webdesigners & Marketing of Valparaiso Indiana unique and different. The owner (me; John) give equal say to everyone as it's not about 'me'. What we do for our small business customers is about them and to help our clients grow takes an entire team and not one person. We volunteer our time and talent to talk in front of groups and organizations. Not for sales pitches (of course that is an underlying cause but not our motivation). We want the local population to become more educated, informed, and have a better understanding of what digital marketing for small business is and can be. In this article, I am going to talk about a recent talk Kyle and I did with First Trust Credit Union of Michigan City Indiana.
The power of two marketing channels
We are JM2 (JM Squared) Webdesigners & Marketing from Valparaiso Indiana but that is not what we are talking about today. We are going to talk about the power of two great digital marketing products that separate are good but together can be great. We hear many social media marketers say you need social media and a website is a waste of your dollars and marketing time. We hear the opposite from those that do websites but not social media in that you only need a website and social media is a waste. Both thought processes are the furthest from the truth. Quality marketing requires you to use both and use both effectively! They should work together, complement each other, and help drive traffic to each other. Why you need both we will describe in this article and this will certainly not be a complete list, but it surely will show you why you need both.
Are You Checking Your Facebook Stats? You Should Be
Some people are stat crazy when given the option. The numbers, charts, and comparisons can give a wealth of information for people to analyze and formulate their next move with.
Living your life in your own way
I was asked by an old school friend that I used to play soccer and other activities with. This will not be a technical blog like others but a 'life blog article' where I look at who I am as a person, husband, and a person on this planet we call Earth. Like most we've grown apart due to distance, time, and having different lives. This doesn't mean that we can't help each other. This past week a core value that I call 'Rule #1' came into full affect that made me angry, upset, and ready to do things I did as an adolescent when I lived back in Chesterton Indiana. This wouldn't be a big deal for most as it wouldn't be a truly big deal but when one makes a life altering change you don't want to revert back to that. One item I've always done is sleep on every decision before acting. This time, like every other time, has helped me. Let's see what I wrote to my friend as well as a bit more detail on it.