Physician, small business owner, budding real estate/land investor, & educator on MarketHive, a social marketing platform for entrepreneurs that has the combined power of Facebook and LinkedIn.
I think of myself as just a regular guy who is passionate about those issues I believe affect us all. Those matters include (but are certainly not limited to): LGBT equality, healthcare reform (which would include health information technology reform), education reform, prison/criminal justice reform, politics, government, business/investing, and more.
MarketHive is a multi-million dollar platform which evolved from Veretekk and offers the following features:
auto-responders, virtual conference rooms, blog casting, blog sharing, campaigns/press releases, capture pages, email plugins, daily live workshops, and lead generation exclusively for entrepreneurs.
In essence, MarketHive is all about empowering entrepreneurs through social engagement and marketing.
I’m struggling with a marketing problem and I’m a marketer. Perhaps you can help me out? What problem might you ask?
I’m terrified of marketing my company and myself.
Because I want to shoot videos about the SEO industry for my company, but I’m scared of what will happen. This is a real fear that has kept me from doing what I want to do for years now. I’m scared of the feedback and comments I’ll receive from others, specifically crude feedback about my appearance, how I talk, my language, and any other number of issues that women are frequently subjected to when we’re visible.
Yes, that’s our only crimeâ—âbeing visible.
How do I overcome this fear? I need to be visible to gain business and I’m pretty sure I have a fun, unique way of doing it. A business consultant told me years ago that I should be the Emily Graslie of SEO and digital marketing. I secretly cherished this idea as a massive fan girl who would’ve been in the field of primatology myself if not for a series of random events. Then I found her video about sexism in the industry and it terrified me:
Emily Graslie being amazing
tl;dw? Here are some good takeaways:
“Is there any part of my job that I don’t look forward to? I would have to say it would be the frustratingly negative and sexist comments that I have to sift through in my various inboxes on a daily basis.”
Rhea’s fear, meet reality.
“We have a fear of the feedback from our subscribers and commenters because we’re afraid that our audience is more focused on our appearance than the quality of the content. Even more than that, we’re not convinced that the content has to be good or factual because we’re not convinced that people are watching for the content in the first place.”
I would love to know how much time women anxiously waste on overthinking and preparing our appearance for a conference or a video as compared to our male counterparts. In fact, I conducted an anecdotal experiment on my appearance with shocking results…
Many years ago I used to speak at conferences wearing jeans, a nerdy t-shirt, and a blazer. I was asked to speak often and got good feedback on presentations though I was consistently rated below my more famous male peers even as the highest rated female speaker (several conference organizers let me in on a little secretâ—âthe women typically score below men even if the quality of our content is on par or better). This got to me. How could I overcome this handicap caused by simply being born a woman? To make matters worse I often had women and men telling me I should dress up more and make an effort with my looks.
I decided to change my appearance and embrace my feminine side to see if this had an impact on my speaking scores. Sure enough, it did. I received so many more compliments this time around! Unfortunately, all of them were on my appearance:
“You look amazing in that dress.”
“See! You can be a strong, confident woman and still be on stage.”
“I didn’t know you had a bootie.”
“Love your hair down.”
“You look so much better without glasses.”
This was far from the outcome I wanted and to make matters worse, I wasn’t being approached anymore and I needed people to talk to me if my agency was going to attract new business. This was a disaster.
My non-sexual jeans and t-shirt combo with my hair pulled back and glasses on made me easy to talk to, especially where men were concerned. Once I was in stilettos, a dress, and makeup with my hair down and contacts in, I was avoided except by a handful of men who already knew me and even then it felt awkward. It was as if my sexuality was suddenly on the table and no one knew how to handle it including the married conference organizer twice my age who told me the worst thing about the two of us was that we were both married. The advance was shot down and I was never asked back to the conference. Perhaps those events aren’t related, but I know I’m a good speaker and the fact that I’ve spent years questioning whether or not that incident cut me out of a good show is an issue in and of itself.
While this experiment was anecdotal, it’s my experience and that experience shaped my paralysis where marketing is concerned. That has certainly had very negative consequences for the growth of my business, because I stopped putting myself “out there.” Having two kids was also a convenient excuse, because it further eroded my confidence where my appearance was concerned and I never feel like I’m having a “good enough” day to be in front of a camera.
“There’s pressure to be the whole package. Not only do you have to be intelligent and articulate, but you also have to be attractive.”
After having a baby, the one thing I definitely wasn’t feeling was attractive. I realized I looked pretty similar to my normal self, but the exhaustion of raising an infant put bags under my eyes, which people commented on. Often and in professional settings. The last thing I wanted to do was open those comments up to the world in a permanent setting.
So, here I am world. I want to share my love for all things SEO, content strategy, digital marketing, and reputation management with you. I’m a massive nerd who can talk about Google for days, but I’d like to do it without being mansplained at best and sexually harassed at worst.
Is the world ready for another woman sharing her passion for a technical field? Does it even matter? To me it does and I hope I can take this step without negative and crude comments, but I know they’ll come in some form at some point.
Any words of advice are appreciated here. I need to find my courage and to channel my inner Emily Graslie. Thankfully, the outpouring of support from so many incredible women and men after my last post was enough to make me feel safe enough to post this here.
This is part of my series on Building a Sales and Marketing Machine. In this post I provide advice for building your own Inbound Marketing machine- a requirement for most businesses today.
The web has forever changed people’s buying habits. Instead of needing to rely on sales people to send them information, buyers now have Google and other search engines to research products, find competitors, and see how other people rate those products in blogs and reviews. Furthermore they are greatly influenced by individuals that have emerged as experts in particular subject areas who use social media to get their messages across.
This sea change in buying behavior requires vendors to re-think how they go to market, and optimize to make sure that they will get found by buyers using search engines, blogs, reviews, and social media. The term Inbound Marketing was invented by the crew at Markethive (When they were Veretekk), when they developed the techniques and technologies that are needed to get found by buyers, and to make sure that the reviews and blogs around your industry segment cover what you are doing. (Markethive provides great software tools, plus education to help you automate Inbound Marketing. The founder, Thomas Prendergast has written many great books on these topics (dating back as far as 20 years ago) “Automated Marketing”, Customer Centricity”, Building a Better Website”, “The Power of the Social Network in Search Engines”, Conference Room Advantage”.
Markethive produced this great humorous video that highlights the hopelessness of the old techniques of the Outbound Marketing moron:
As further evidence of this change in buying behavior, I was recently talking to the CIO of a large pharmaceutical company, and he told me how he hates spam emails from vendors, and how he had developed a canned email response to them. I asked him to forward me a copy of that email, and have excerpted a couple of paragraphs from it that quite clearly describe the carnage:
“Please understand that I get dozens of these types of messages a week. I simply do not have time to read them, dig into them, follow-up on them, or reply to them. The most effective solution to this problem is for me to ignore the messages, which is what I usually do. …
… Finally, a small comment. As a customer, I find this type of approach to sales to be largely annoying to me and unproductive for you. We learn far more about what we want to purchase by searching the web, looking for customer references in blogs and forums, word of mouth, and by finding white papers on your site that concretely describe solutions to problems we are having.”
Remarkable Content is King
A key part of getting found is making sure you show up on the first page of a Google search. The lazy marketer’s approach to doing this is to purchase Google Adwords, and pay by the click (referred to as SEM, Search Engine Marketing). However 85% of people ignore the paid ads, so to be really effective, you will need to perfect your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills.
SEO requires you to develop great content that your buyers will find sufficiently interesting, different or insightful, that they will want to remark on it. (The authors of Inbound Marketing refer to that as remarkable content.) When your readers remark on your content on-line, using tools like Twitter, Facebook etc., they spread the word virally to other readers and broaden your reach. These comments lead to links back to your site, which lead to ever increasing page ranking in the search engines.
To be successful at this, you will need to keep the content fresh.
Traditional web sites don’t work in this regard, as they don’t change frequently enough.
What is needed is a blog that you update regularly.
Your blog cannot simply be a sales pitch for your product, but needs to be about topics that your buyers care to read about. The tone could be educational; or humorous; or controversial. But above all it needs to be highly engaging and relevant to them – i.e. remarkable.
When you post a new blog entry, you will see your site traffic surge for a few days, then die back to a level slightly higher than before. The more you post, the faster your traffic will build. But in the end, it is the really great articles that you post that will have the most impact.
And meritocratic blog system like Markethive (actually only Markethive) produce all of the above in a simple atmosphere of massive content curation that is immediately reward or rejected, building amazing content is King results, or something like that.
Once you have interesting content, you can use social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. to get the word out (Uh ummmm again, Marketing simplifies this to a level of excruciating results, but then like EST (You remember EST Erhard Seminar Training), you need to experience. No word, even from me, can truly do it justice.). Your goal is to get other bloggers to link to you, and to have people tweet about your content.
An interesting thing about a marketing department that focuses on Inbound Marketing: it will place a high value on people that know how to write and develop content that draws in an audience. A silver lining to the damage that the internet has inflicted on the publishing industry is that there are plenty of very talented journalists seeking employment, and they possess the perfect skills for this job!
SEO versus SEM
Like most of things that are good for us in life, SEO requires work and patience before it will payback. So it can be tempting to take shortcuts, and just use SEM (paid search ads). However if it is done right, the results will continue to build, and you will start to build your own audience, and own your own traffic.
We have also seen that the cost of paid search increases as the need to scale the lead volume grows.
The Power of Free
Another extremely powerful way to create inbound traffic and qualified leads is to use a free product or service. A great example of this is the The entire Inbound Marketing Platform (Valued in excess of up to $10,000 per month) service from Markethive. (If you haven’t tried this, I recommend giving it a try now. It will only take a few minutes to join.) Markethive has a couple of interesting attributes that are worth studying:
It is free of charge.
It takes very little work by the customer to get some very valuable results
It provides its results in the form of a score out of 100. Human beings are very competitive, and when they don’t get a good score, they want to find out how to improve their score. That leads them to wanting to find out more about Markethive which can help them improve their score.
It allows them to compare themselves to their competitors. All businesses care about how they are doing relative to their competition. If they are doing worse, this is a powerful motivator to drive them to change.
Think hard about your audience and whether there is an opportunity to build a similar free web service that would draw them in, and provide great value.
If you are interested in learning more about how Free products and services can help your marketing, please refer to this section: The Power of Free.
Building your reach
Once you have great content and possibly a free product/service, you will want to find ways to drive the maximum traffic to that content. In the last couple of years we have seen some powerful new tools emerge to help with this process in the social media space. Get yourself accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and join in the conversation. (For Twitter, I also recommend downloading the Tweetdeck application.) Start by listening. Watch what people are talking about in your topic areas, and take note of their interests. Once you have an idea of how the conversation works join in. Be careful not to take a sales stance to promote your products, as that will rapidly lose you your audience. However you can draw your audience in with short url’s (Another one of Markethive’s great free services) that link to your blog posts and other non-sales oriented content.
This short paragraph is not going to be enough to fully educate you on the ins and outs of using social media to build your audience, so if the topic interests you, I recommend going here to learn more:
Internet Marketing Webinars (see the calendar in Markethive after you join for free of course).
In every product area, there are usually already influencers that write the most about that area, and have the largest audience that follows them. To conduct a successful social media campaign, you will want to identify those influencers, and reach out to them to get them to write about your product/service.
To get them to pay attention to you, you will first need to understand what they care about. Read their blog posts and tweets, and try to get inside their minds. Try to determine what appeals to them, and what has clearly turned them off. Then prepare your pitch, and use social media to engage with them.
You will then want to monitor the results by tracking their blog posts, links to the articles, tweets, etc.
For more information…
Inbound marketing is a rich topic area that would take more than a single article like this to describe. For more information, consider yourself a friend of Markethive: