Ideas for blog posts

A friend of mine — a consultant — is starting to blog at the behest of her company’s webmaster.  “But I don’t know what to write about,” she said when we had lunch recently.

So, for anyone out there who’s just starting to blog for business and doesn’t know where to start (content-wise), here are a few memory-joggers that’ll get your creative juices flowing:

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Marketing’s new "perfect storm"

No, it’s not just you.

Other B2B marketing professionals are getting the same results.  Calls are going straight to voice mail.  Phone messages aren’t being returned.  Sales appointments are harder to come by – when you can actually get past that Rottweiler of a gatekeeper.

And that’s just your direct contact strategies.  But even your networking and advertising efforts seem to keep hitting some invisible barrier.

The “same old, same old” techniques for reaching prospects aren’t getting the same results they used to.

You and everybody else are asking the same question: What the heck happened?

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Stay out of the spam nets

No question about it – spam filters are a good thing. At least when they’re protecting your inbox!

Often, though, legitimate email marketing messages can get caught in the net intended to screen out all of the junk.

While spam filter avoidance is becoming more complex every day, here are three tips to help your message get through:

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Build credibility with your own domain

“Yeah, I know, he’s got a address, but we won’t hold that against him.”

It was just a humorous comment from a graphic designer friend of mine. But it really got me thinking: What impression do your prospects get from something as innocuous as a “freebie” email address?

Not a very favorable one, it turns out.

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The two questions your home page must answer

When new visitors hit your website’s home page, what impression do they get? Do they understand what you offer? Do they see something that interests them? Are they intrigued enough to contact you for more information?

If you want your website to pre-qualify sales prospects and encourage your ideal prospects to do business with you, your home page has to inform, engage, even delight. And it can’t do that if you don’t understand their expectations.

So, what do they expect? Here are the two questions new web visitors ask when they land on your home page:

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Are you holding your sign upside-down?

One Saturday morning, I was on my way to grab an oversized latte with a friend. I pulled up to the light just outside my neighborhood and saw some local high school students hawking boxed donuts to raise money. But even though I wasn’t interested in donuts (I was craving an espresso brownie instead), one of the students caught my eye – for all the wrong reasons.

She was holding her sign upside down.

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Open Letter to a New Website Owner

I came across your marketing materials a few days ago and was impressed enough to visit your website to get more information.

Wow. And I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way.

Don’t get me wrong. You’ve obviously put a lot into your startup – a lot of time, energy, thought, maybe even money. You’ve taken a big step into the often scary world of marketing your business on the Internet, and you are to be congratulated for your pluck and forward thinking. The absolute last thing I want to do is discourage you.

But while your website is very attractive aesthetically (the logo is particularly cool), I’m afraid it’s not doing you many favors from a marketing standpoint.

How can I say that? Well, consider these points:

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The perfect testimonial

“Joe Blow is a great guy and a pleasure to do business with” may be a terrific compliment, but it’s a poor testimonial.

Good testimonials from your satisfied customers are a gift. They’re an invaluable sales tool … IF they’re worded right.

So, how do you get the perfect testimonial? Here’s how I structure testimonials I gather for clients from their customers to ensure they’re getting maximum impact:

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