Archives for May 2013

Your Site’s Target Market: The 5 W’s

 

When most people think about the phrase “target market” they have sales in mind. Most companies who are in the sales business need to be good at identifying who they are selling to and what that particular group wants to buy.

If a business does a good job at identifying who they are selling to and what those people want, their odds of being successful increase significantly.

So you may be asking, what does this have to do with me if I don’t own or work for a business? All kinds of things! Anyone who owns and operates any type of website or runs a successful blog should be adept at identifying their target market. Without knowing who you are writing/designing for, how will you know what kind of content to post?

Using the classic five W’s, here are some things to think about when it comes to your target audience:

Who

There are so many sub-groups of people out there. My recommendation would be to come up with three characteristics that the person you hope will read your blog might have. For example, you may be targeting moms who live in the Midwest and enjoy sewing. Or internet marketing employees in Silicon Valley who have post-graduate degrees. Thinking of these characteristics will help you to figure out what kind of content to post.

What

Think about what the groups that you have identified would enjoy reading. For our first example, these moms might like sewing tutorials or photo spreads of kids in homemade clothes. The second example might enjoy research articles or news about colleges.

When

Identify how often your target market will be online and perhaps browsing your blog. For the moms, it might be once or twice per week. For the employees, it could be several hours or more per day. This can help you to determine how often you want to post fresh content on your site. Taking the time to post daily can be great, but if your audience isn’t going to check in daily, it could be a waste of resources.

Where

What other sites might your target market visit? Scope out your competition and see what they are posting. Aim to compete with sites that are clearly successful at drawing a similar audience to what you would like to have.

Why

You might be wondering if it’s worth your time to identify the people that you are aiming to draw to your blog. So why should you do this? It will help your blogging to have more direction. And better business blogging wins over more readers. So many blogs out there are just a mash-up of different topic and types of posts. If you take the time to identify your current or potential readers, you can streamline the things that you offer on your site and likely gain more traffic.

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Why and How Your Site Needs to Be Visually Interesting

 

Take a second and think about the blogs and websites that you visit the most often. Are they sites that have large blocks of uninterrupted text? Doubtful. Most of us prefer to visit sites and blogs that have a high level of visual interest. This is the reason why Pinterest is so successful and why businesses are incorporating it into their marketing strategies.

Personally, I love to cook. But would I be likely to visit a cooking blog that doesn’t have photos illustrating the steps of the recipe, or at the very least, a beautiful photo of the final product? No, because it’s hard to imagine how this great-sounding recipe should turn out if there is not a photo of the finished product.

The same goes for blogs and websites in all industries. Ryan Biddulph mentioned in a recent post that his site began to generate more traffic when he added images to each post. We are still a very visual society. If anything, the advent of the Internet and the subsequent movement of advertising and marketing to online platforms has driven us to be even more visual. Keeping your blog or website visually interesting will keep you readers/visitors coming back again and again.

Luckily, there are quite a few ways to add visual interest to your site. Here are a few easy suggestions:

Photos

– Using photos on your site can seem like an obvious suggestion, but you would be surprised how many people do not share photos. Usually the posts that get the most hits are the ones that contain several photos. Instead of a wordy blog post, sometimes just a quick photo share is the way to go. People love to look a photos, they feel like they are getting a glimpse into someone else’s world.

Graphics

– Have you ever realized that while you probably don’t notice every graphic on a website that you always notice if there is a lack of graphics? To me, a site without any graphics, fun fonts, or color looks like someone forgot to finish it. The last thing you want for your business or even personal blog, is to look like you didn’t put in the time or effort to finish the site. There are tons of websites where you can attain free graphics to use on your site. If you can’t find what you want for free, sites like Shutterstock offer relatively inexpensive graphics for purchase.

Visually Interesting

Infographics

– The use of the infographic on blogs and business sites is still relatively new. But infographics have caught on and the use of them is now spreading like crazy. They are a great way to cram a ton of information into one visually interesting space. Infographics use different fonts, images, colors, and sizes in order to relay information that otherwise could be thought of as dry or boring (read: statistics). You can pay a graphic designer to design an infographic for you, or if you are savvy with editing software like Photoshop, you can even make them yourself.

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Technology: Do You Ever Unplug?

 

We talk a lot on this blog and on the web in general about all of the advancements we have made when it comes to staying “plugged in” to the world around us. We’ve also all have read the importance of businesses having an online presence – a website, social media accounts, a blog, etc. The list is endless.  Do you ever unplug?

Most of us are constantly connected, checking phones, tablets, laptops, computers, or iPods many times per day. I know I am guilty, if I so much as even stir overnight, I am checking my phone for texts, Facebook updates, or after-business-hours emails sent from editors or colleagues.

But are we all too connected? It’s certainly possible. There are many reports of how much time we spend connected to the Internet. While researching for this blog post, I came across statistics that say that the average person spends as much as 3 hours or more per day on social networks. 3 hours! That is a lot of time. That does not take into account any other Internet usage.

do you ever unplug?So many professions are now purely Internet-based, even those that would be traditionally more of a face-to-face driven industry. Take the real estate industry, for example. In the past, Realtor’s would search the MLS (multiple listing service) for properties for their clients, then take the clients to see the homes. Since real estate has shifted toward the online world, anyone who is interested in a home can jump online and browse hundreds of properties.

So when do we have the chance to unplug, so to speak? Not often. I can’t remember the last time that I turned my iPhone off, other than when it died from lack of charge after using it to browse the web for hours. A recent article published on Mashable highlights a camp of sorts, where adults and business people go to unwind and unplug. The camp highlights include physical activity, socializing, and arts and crafts; but most of all, it’s technology-free.

Many of the camps participants are CEOs and venture capitalists – people that normally have the most problem unplugging. One of the simplest ways to be a better entrepreneur is to take a day off or dedicate times to unplug. Doing this helps you not have to make a drastic change of being completely plugged for 4 days.

So what are the benefits to unplugging? I would say that the number one reason is just to clear your head. In our technology driven world, we all have so many thoughts swimming around in our heads on a daily basis.

I’m sure many of you tech-heads can relate, but I know that I’m attached at the hip to my iPhone. Unplugging might be able to help us focus better, even on things that do require technology, in the long run.

So I would love to pose the question, what do you do to unplug and unwind? Do you dedicate 1 day a week, or even 1 hour a week to not be constantly connected? Please share!

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.